Thursday, January 28, 2021

Review of Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

It's a new type of dystopian novella! Welcome to the blog tour for Altered Helix by Stephanie Hansen. Read my review and then follow the rest of the tour for even more. Best of luck entering the great giveaway!

Altered Helix
(Altered Helix #1)
By Stephanie Hansen
Young Adult Fantasy Novella
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 96 Pages
May 19, 2020 by Hypothesis Books

I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?

The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria's life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.

Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.

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**My thoughts**
Right off the bat, I was drawn into the story with the main character and narrator, Austria, pretty much insinuating that she was dying. And then the questions began. Why is she dying? What is going on in this world? And of course, is she actually going to get out of this?

Some of those questions were answered. I can't tell you which ones because of spoilers. But I can tell you that the setting seems to be in the relatively near future, based on some pop culture references. The federal government no longer exists and now states are fending for themselves. People are pretty much divided up into about four different groups. But I want to understand more about what got society to this point. What actually happened? I feel like I missed that part.

I have a lot of questions about Austria's father. Then again, so does she in some ways. We explore those questions together through the novel.

I admit I glazed over a little bit as they were setting up the haunted house. I know the purpose was to introduce the different groups of kids to each other and to set up Austria's psychic abilities. I will say it is an interesting way to bring a group of kids together. And I think there is more to come with what was really happening at that haunted house in later installments of the series.

And I will say that many aspects of this story do fit in with current situations in society. But to get into the parallels would be giving away too much of the story. It did get my brain churning at some points.

I did find this story interesting. I will warn readers that if you want resolution in one installment before moving on to the next or are adverse to cliffhangers, don't start this one. It does end with a lot of questions and a cliffhanger. You're not going to feel satiated without continuing on. I may do so to find out what happens.

I received a requested review copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

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About the Author

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind's Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers' conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Review of In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount


Welcome to the blog tour for In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount! I loved this book and am sharing my thoughts with you today. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour, too, for interviews, more reviews, and more!

The Cutting Edge meets Friday Night Lights in a sizzling new hockey romance from bestselling authors Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush!

In the Penalty Box 
by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount  
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Entangled Teen! 


Willow Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down...but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team? Of course, the infuriatingly hot captain of the team seems to think I’m nothing but sequins and twirls. What’s a girl to do but put him in his place? Game on. Brodie Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie? Of course, the distractingly sexy skater thinks I’m nothing but a testosterone-laced competitive streak. And surely she’s only biding her time to heal, then she’s gone. Game over.

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**My thoughts**
I picked up on The Cutting Edge reference right out of the gate. But this story is even better than that one. Granted, it's partially because this story is more modern, with the movie being almost 20 years old. But Willow is also much more tolerable than Kate. Yes, she is a figure skater, but she isn't a prima donna. She is coming off of a devastating injury that cost her a spot on her Olympic team.

Brodie may be the star hockey player, but life has not been super kind to him. His mother was killed in an accident by a drunk driver. His father, unable to cope, has become an absent alcoholic. And now Brodie is also serving as a surrogate father to his kid brother. But he wants to go pro and follow in his family's footsteps.

So the two of them have had a lot of trauma in their young lives. Perhaps that is part of why they seems so much older than seniors in high school. Between their traumas and dreams, they have lost a good chunk of their innocent childhoods.

So Willow ends up joining Brodie's hockey team and becomes one of the greatest goalies they have ever had. Willow and Brodie, who are essentially training together, of course fall for each other, but have to keep their romance a secret.

They complement each other well, able to be supportive of each other through the difficult times, but also able to push each other to do their very best. It isn't easy, but their determination just may make it work.

I loved that this book put a girl on a boys hockey team. It's empowering to read about a strong girl who isn't necessarily following the traditional gender roles. This provides a chance to demonstrate some of the gender bias that persists in our society.

These two also show how to follow your dreams without needing to trample everyone else along the way. Plus they show how persistence pays off. And while it is typical for teens to be somewhat self-centered, these two show how you have to look beyond just yourself to really be successful at life.

If you like sports romances, I think that this is a good one to add to your list. If you're not as into hockey and figure skating, you may not enjoy this as much because there is a lot of technical focus as part of the story. For me, it worked and I loved it. I may have even learned a little.

I've enjoyed what I have read from each of these authors individually in the past. I liked this collaboration and hope they consider more in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Authors:

Lynn Rush: New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Lynn Rush, is a full-time writer, wife, and trail runner living in the Sonoran Desert, despite her fear of rattle snakes. Known as #TheRunningWriter, Lynn can’t resist posting epic sunrise pictures while running in the desert with her trail sisters, even if she has to occasionally hop a scorpion.

When she’s not running or writing, she’s watching movies that fuel her everlasting love of superheroes, vampires, and all things Supernatural. The books she reads usually carry the same theme, but this former college athlete loves reading sweet sports romances as well.

She’s madly in love with her Ironman husband of 20+ years who is the inspiration for what true love is. You can find her on social media as @LynnRushWrites and her website is:

Kelly Anne Blount: USA Today Bestselling author and Wattpad Star Kelly Anne Blount has more than seventy-three-thousand followers on social media. Her Wattpad stories have been read more than twenty-million times. She’s contributed to Tap, Wattpad’s new app for chat-style stories, where her work has been “tapped” more than fifty-million times. She is a writer and reviewer for SpoilerTV, which has allowed her to develop an incredible network of film and TV stars.

Two of her Wattpad works, including Captured (seventeen-million reads), have been optioned for film by Komixx Entertainment, and she is regularly invited to present seminars about social media at author events.

Stop by any of Kelly’s social-media platforms (@KellyAnneBlount) and stay tuned to this website for announcements and information about upcoming releases and events.

Kelly Anne Blount is represented by Jennifer Wills ( and Nicole Resciniti ( of The Seymour Agency.