Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Review of The Ghost Hunter's Daughter by Caroline Flarity

Welcome to the review tour for The Ghost Hunter's Daughter by Caroline Flarity! Please check out an excerpt and my review and then follow the tour for even more! Leave comments and questions for the author, too, as you enter the giveaway.

The Ghost Hunter's Daughter

Sixteen-year-old Anna sees things from another world, the spiritual world, a skill that isn’t exactly useful in high school. It’s bad enough that her mother, possessed by a demon, took her own life when Anna was a child, a loss she remains tortured by. Now her father makes his living “clearing” haunted objects, and Anna’s job as his assistant makes her a social misfit. Most kids in her suburban New Jersey town refer to her just as “Goblin Girl.”

Only Freddy and Dor remain loyal friends. But Anna’s so focused on her own problems, she’s missed that her connection with Freddy is moving beyond the friend zone.

As junior year approaches, a rare solar storm lights up the night skies and the citizens of Bloomtown begin to act strangely: Anna’s teachers lash out, her best friends withdraw, and the school bullies go from mean to murderous. When Anna realizes she can harness this evil power, she sets out to save Bloomtown and the only family she has left.

But to do so, she must keep her own increasingly dark urges at bay.

Read an excerpt:
“Want a new nick name?” Sydney asked. “How ‘bout Frankenskank?”

Damn. Anna had spent so much time on her eye makeup that morning that she forgot to cover her scar. Her fists clenched. She was microseconds away from smacking Sydney right in her perfect face. Her palm actually tingled in anticipation of the after-slap burn.

“All dressed up and no place to go,” Lyric sneered, indicating the cleavage exposed by Anna’s scoop neck.

“Except maybe a whorehouse!” Sydney yelled, attracting the attention of everyone in the commons who wasn’t already watching.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Breathe. Anna restrained herself, knowing that in her current state of mind one slap wouldn’t be enough. In fact, while the river raged, she might also decide to go ahead and slam Sydney’s head into one of the metal lockers, perhaps several times. Nausea rolled in Anna’s gut. She was disgusted by the burst of pleasure the violent fantasy brought her. She took her eyes off of Sydney’s smug face and scanned the commons. Was there a portal here, too? There must be, but Bloomtown High wasn’t on Saul’s list.

Anna forced herself to walk away from Sydney and Lyric, ignoring their parting sneers. Was she being paranoid or was everyone in the hallway gawking at her? Anna picked up her pace, her heart dropping into her churning stomach as she passed a blur of scornful faces. Everyone was looking at her, and the worst part—she thought about Craig’s snub that morning—was that she might know why.

Available on Amazon

**My thoughts**
This book definitely dealt with some important YA issues, such as bullying, distorted self image, teen friendships, battles with parents, dealing with high school in general. But the supernatural aspect of the story was definitely much more mature than I am used to seeing in the YA genre. And this is not a bad thing. I actually enjoyed the dark nature of the story and know that I would have loved reading it back in my teen years as well. I'm curious as to whether these characters will return in future stories, armed with the knowledge and maturity that they gained in dealing with the dark forces and demons in this story. Anna especially grew a lot and finally found something worthwhile in herself. I think she is destined to do great things within the family field.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not obligated to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About Caroline Flarity

Caroline Flarity is a web content producer living in NYC. Her fascination with fringe topics and love of scary movies led her to begin her writing journey penning creepy screenplays. Her debut novel THE GHOST HUNTER'S DAUGHTER started life as a feature script, placing in the finals of the StoryPros Awards and as a semifinalist in Slamdance Film Festival's writing competition. She enjoys pitting her characters against both supernatural and cultural evils.


Author website:

Caroline Flarity will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Review of All Boy by Mia Kerick

If you follow me at all, you'll know that I am a longtime fan of Mia Kerick and her books. So I was excited to be able to hop on this tour. Read on for an excerpt from her latest book, All Boy, and my thoughts on it. Please leave her comments and questions and then follow the tour for even more. And don't forget the giveaway at the end!

All Boy

Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.

With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.

From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.

Read an excerpt:

Just what I need—Shawn Heck and his goon, Carlos Luna. Either they snuck up on me, or I was so caught up in worrying about bathroom issues that I didn’t notice they were already here. My best bet is to ignore them, so I bend in half to touch my toes as if I didn’t hear the taunt.

Carlos apparently doesn’t appreciate my show of disrespect to his crime boss. He steps up beside me, sticks his foot on my lower back, and presses. When my nose touches my knee, the muscles in the back of my legs scream. “He asked you a question, pansy.”

I roll out of the painful position. “I’m not bothering you guys, so why don’t you take a hike?”

“I think he wants us to pick on somebody our own size.” Shawn grabs me by the neck of my sweatshirt and pulls me to my feet. “You’re such a freakin’ lightweight. I’ve got no clue what she sees in you.”

“He’s probably one of those sensitive guys,” Carlos suggests. “Girls get into that shit.”

They both laugh, but Shawn doesn’t let go of my sweatshirt.

“Stay the hell away from Callie.” Shawn issues his demand, and then shakes me so hard my teeth chatter. “She’s mine.”

I hate that he just claimed ownership of another human being. And I hate being so terrified of this Neanderthal that I momentarily consider keeping my distance from Callie. I guess I like Callie too much for my own good. But I hate it most that my greatest fear is he’ll find out about my body—his hands are too close to my chest for comfort.

I want to fight back so badly I can taste it. These guys have no right to do this to me. But the risk of exposure is too great if I get into something physical with them. I twist out of Shawn’s grasp, snatch my water bottle from off the floor, and head for the exit, glancing back just once to see if my escape is successful. He straddles a stationary bike, plugs in his ear phones, and starts to pedal. Carlos has something more to prove. He follows me.

**My thoughts**
Mia Kerick brings another book that really made me sit down and think. Many times I have wondered how I would react if I was dating someone and found out later that they were trans. I like to think that I am open-minded. I have had many friends and acquaintances in the LGBTQ community over the past couple of decades, but have always known their stories or was there during the transitions. Would I feel betrayed at first? How much would it hurt to have not been privy to their secret? I don't think we can really know unless we are in the situation. So it is interesting to see how each of the characters respond when they find out the truth.

I also think of how hard it is for those who are trans, trying to decide whom to trust and struggling to live their most authentic lives. Is it easier for those of us who are adults? These kids are teenagers. I remember being 18, trying to figure out who I was. These are even more difficult identity issues than I dealt with all those years ago.

Callie and Jayden both have a lot of secrets in their past and a lot of hurt. They cannot help but be drawn to each other. And as Callie's wise roommate Lauren says, "Love is love." I think it is because they are both broken that they are attracted to each other. Somehow their broken pieces fit together to make a whole. And both of them have so much to sort out. They don't come to a magical perfect ending, because life doesn't work that way. It's always a roller coaster. But they definitely grow a lot over the course of this book and you can see the trajectory they are going to take after we leave their world.

The bullying issues make me ill. Callie was treated horribly in high school, which is part of the reason she is attending this post-high school program. I can completely relate to her. And Jayden experiences a horrific bullying incident at the school, one which unfortunately has happened to many a trans person time and time again because of our society that does not and will not see people for who they are and be understanding, loving, and respectful. And there is one quick scene in North Carolina that particularly stands out and is worth noting.

A lot is being said in this book, both outright and subtly to provoke your thoughts. I think it would be a great launching point for some good discussions with teenagers, and even adults. It was a little long and drawn out and I didn't necessarily fly through this one as quickly as I usually do with Mia's books. But it is still worth reading and reflecting on, to better understand both points of view. I continue to admire Mia's work and will keep on reading as long as she keeps writing.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one a recent graduate of law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and the baby finally off to college. (Yes, the nest is empty.) She publishes LGBTQ fiction and romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of young people who are challenged by the circumstances of their lives and relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. Now she publishes her work—it’s an alternate way to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine. They have won a 2019 IPPY GOLD award for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction, Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for YA Fiction, and a category finalist for the Eric Hoffer award, a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards for Young Adult Fiction and more.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at or visit at to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

Mia Kerick will award a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner during the tour.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Extinction of All Children by L.J. Epps

Welcome to the book blast for Extinction of All Children, the latest YA fantasy from L.J. Epps. I have an excerpt for you to enjoy today, and you can follow the tour to read even more of them. Be sure to leave comments and questions for the author after you download your own copy. And of course be sure to enter the giveaway!

Extinction of All Children

The futuristic world of Craigluy has been divided into three territories and three economic classes. A large wall separates the territories, so the poor cannot mingle with the rich.

Since President Esther, the ruler over all of Craigluy, believes the poor do not have adequate means to take care of children, they are no longer allowed to procreate. Pregnant mothers are imprisoned until their babies are born, then the infants are taken away.

Emma Whisperer is the last child to survive. She is the last child born in lower-class Territory L before the law was instituted in the year 2080. She is the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma struggles to understand why she was spared while others weren’t. She doesn’t like the laws and believes they should be repealed. Her family doesn’t agree with her; they discourage her rebellious streak. Yet, she helps them to cover up their own family rebellion. She helps them to hide a big secret, a secret that could be both disastrous and deadly for members of their family.

As she meets new people along the way, Emma learns who she can and cannot trust. And, in the end, she makes a gut-wrenching decision that may be disastrous for everyone.

She finds herself in danger for doing what she feels is right.

Read an excerpt:
“I see your side is still bothering you.” He looks me up and down. “That’s why I came by in regular clothes. I knew you wouldn’t feel much like training. You should rest your side for a few days, like the doctor said.”

“How do you know what the doctor said?”

“Samuel told me. He said we should put off training, for a while.”

“Until I recuperate.” I groan again, pushing the pack more into my skin. “I don’t want to lose my newfound skills. Pretty soon, I will be good enough to beat you.”

“Now wait a minute.” He holds up his hands. “Slow it down, a little. You’re doing well, but don’t get ahead of yourself. I think the nickname Whisper has caused you to lose all sense of reality.”

“No, I’m still in my right mind,” I say. I grin like baby Abigail when you tickle her stomach.

“Seriously, though.” His eyes find mine. “Is your side all right?”

“It’s fine, or it will be.” My fingers sting, holding the pack.

“What about your hand?”

“They gave me some ointment to use.”

“Why did you let Samuel take you?” His chest rises and falls like the words were hard to say. “I mean, I asked to take you to the hospital and you refused. Why would you let Samuel take you, instead of me?”

Buy links

About L.J. Epps

L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.


L.J. Epps will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Robin Martin, author of Once an Alien, discusses character creation

Do you wonder how your favorite authors come up with their characters? Today, Robin Martin is giving us some insight into her character creation. You can also read an excerpt from her latest book, Once an Alien, the third book in The Alien Chronicles series, and then enter the giveaway after downloading your own copy! Be sure to leave her comments and questions and then visit the other stops on the tour for even more fun!

Once an Alien

Mischief, mayhem, and magic hit East Valley High when Pandora, the rogue alien, turns up. This sassy alien has one agenda, to have as much fun as she can before her people realise she's gone rogue and materialised on Earth in human form without their permission. Instantly popular, Pandora charms students and teachers alike as she parties her way through the term, but still aces her studies. Even Rion, is influenced by her as he begins to question whether he is still more alien than human. He and Zoe are finally together, but for how long? Zoe has worries too, especially about her mother's health. Everything is changing in this final year of high school. Zoe and Rion are crazy about each other, but can their new relationship last not only the ups and downs of human problems, but alien ones too!

Read an excerpt:
The music changed from an Ariana Grande pop song to the opening chords of a much older Deep Purple track my previous host, who had been around in the 60s, had listened to. I was surprised because I didn’t think many teens knew it today. Then I heard the thump of heels on wood, and I looked over to see Pandora on top of the coffee table, starting to dance and turn circles. Catching my eye, she stopped and lifted her glass. ‘This one’s for my favourite alien, Orion,—“Space Truckin’.” Woohoo!’

I sensed rather than saw heads swivel in my direction. I felt dozens of pairs of eyes on me. How could she do that? How could she blurt out the one secret I’d tried so hard to hide? I felt the blood drain from my face, and I dropped the can of cola I was holding as the opening lines of the rock song blared out. Pandora downed her drink, threw her glass into the crowd, and started to dance again.

Then I heard laughter and someone, I think it was Chad Everett, say, ‘Good one, Pandora. We always knew he was weird.’

Available on Amazon

Character Creation

A good plot is important, but characters bring life and breath to the story and make it come alive. I've always enjoyed creating characters, but they are not all made in the same way.

Some of them evolve with the story, and the more you write about them, the more you discover who they are. For example, Orion starts out as an alien with little understanding of human beings, even though he has known them for thousands of years. However, over the course of the series he discovers there is more to being human than he realised, and by the end he embraces his new-found humanity and his love for a human girl.

Other characters burst on the scene fully formed and ready for action. Pandora is one of these. Her personality was clear to me right from the very beginning. She's a life force ready to take anything and anyone on. Even though she's an alien, like Orion, she couldn't be more different. She wants to embrace all things human and have fun, but she knows exactly who she is, an alien. Pandora also has a lot of charm and a few alien powers, which she has no hesitation in using — much to Rion's dismay. She's also a party animal and loves a good time. Some characters, and Pandora is one of them, try to take over the book and they are just a little bossy to the writer. Occasionally, I have had to take her in hand and remind her who's in charge. Sometimes, she reluctantly agrees and does what I tell her, but not always!

Minor characters are also fun to write. Harry is my all time favourite. He's the guy who would be an ideal first boyfriend, and the boy every mother would like her daughter to date. I really had hopes for him and Zoe for a while, but Orion got in the way. I'm now casting a speculative eye at Lou. She's evolved over the series too, from the shy girl who can hardly express an opinion, to the more confident gal who decides she's never going to change herself for a guy again. I really think she and Harry would be great for each other — but they haven't let me know yet. Another character who has surprised me is Kerri. She's so studious and just that little bit socially unaware, yet sometimes she has amazing insights. I think she's been unappreciated at times, but I've a feeling that's about to change. And, finally, one of my all time favourite characters is Archimedes, a pompous and condescending alien with zero empathy for the human species. You'd really have to worry if all aliens were like him! Like Pandora, I'm pretty sure I had little to do with his creation. He just decided to gift us with his occasional visits to the books. However, sometimes he shows a weak spot, and I think Zoe's mum, Sue Brennan, might be one of those!

So characters come to me in many different ways. But what's common about them is how much fun they are to create (or perhaps semi-create in the case of Pandora and Archimedes) and, hopefully, how much they add to the life of the story.

About Robin Martin

Robin Martin is an author and teacher, who writes both adult and young adult romance. Originally from Canada, she now lives in Brisbane, Australia. Her YA sci fi romance series, The Alien Chronicles includes My Alien, The Alien Within, and Once an Alien.

Her adult books published under the name Robin Thomas, include High Stakes and Bonjour Cherie.

A member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Write-Links, for children's and YA writers, Robin also connects with writers and readers on her author's Facebook page or on her website

Robin Martin will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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