0

Creatures of Light: Stiffly Stoic, Beautifully Emotional

bookreview

Creatures of Light (Woodwalker, #3)Creatures of Light
(Woodwalker, #3)
by Emily B. Martin
384 Pages
Fantasy / Romance
Harper Voyager Impulse
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Queens, countries, and cultures collided in Woodwalker and Ashes to Fire, the first two books in Emily B. Martin’s Creatures of Light series. From Mae’s guidance to retake Lumen Lake to Mona’s eye-opening adventure in Cyprien, we now see things from Gemma’s perspective—a queen in disgrace…and symbol of the oppressive power of Alcoro.

Queen Gemma—although she isn’t sure she still has claim to that title—is in prison.

To her people, it’s simply called “The Retreat,” but in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by guards and unable to speak to her husband, King Celeno, there’s no other word for it. The only comfort she has is knowing she might not be there long—the Prelate has let her know in no uncertain terms the council is, even now, deciding her ultimate fate.

And Gemma would resign herself to that if it wasn’t for a mysterious stranger breaking her free and setting her on a course that could change the world. With precious information—and a skeptical travel companion— Gemma must undertake a journey to find answers to the questions that have defined her life for years…and her country for centuries.

If she can make this desperate scheme work, she might not just forge peace between Alcoro and their neighbors, but win some peace of heart as well. And, perhaps, she’ll learn the same lessons Mae and Mona learned: that being Queen doesn’t mean having to do everything alone.

Creatures of Light—the eponymous third and final book in Emily B. Martin’s series—is a novel filled with adventure, betrayal, and a queen’s lifelong struggle to love and trust herself.

addtogoodreads

Other Books in the Series:

Woodwalker (Woodwalker, #1)   Ashes to Fire (Woodwalker, #2)

About the Author:

Emily B. MartinPark ranger by summer, stay-at-home mom the rest of the year, I am also a freelance artist and illustrator. An avid hiker and explorer, my experiences as ranger helped inform the character of Mae and the world of WOODWALKER.

When not patrolling places like Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, or Philmont Scout Ranch, I live in South Carolina with my husband, Will, and two daughters, Lucy and Amelia.

Find Her Online:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Amazon


4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: the final perspective sheds light on events that started way back in book 1; I felt like Gemma’s POV was a bit stiff/formal; there were some smaller emotional moments that really helped to “shape” her for me; once again, Emily B. Martin yanked the rug out from under me; awesome conclusion to a thrilling adventure

Huge thanks, once again, to Emily B. Martin and Harper Voyager Impulse for shooting a free digital galley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! As always, this in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

CoL Quote1

And having completed this series, let me just say: it is so, SO obvious that Emily B. Martin knew where she wanted things to go from probably the very first page. There is a plot twist lurking in this last installment that I hadn’t even imagined might happen. The build-up to this is subtle, quiet enough to pass by even the most observant readers. It was masterfully done, and I applaud Emily B. Martin on achieving it–and making it seem so very seamless!

 

I did feel as if Gemma is the more stiff/formal character of all of them. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t connect with her nearly as well–perhaps this is due to the way she carries herself throughout the series, or the fact that she always seems to be holding everything within herself. Don’t get me wrong here, Penguins–there is ANOTHER character, or several, who tend to hold themselves in check…but something about Gemma on the page felt a bit more distanced. There were a few smaller, emotionally-driven moments, however, that REALLY helped to “shape” her as a character for me. These were the moments I caught a tiny glimpse past her surface–and found a woman made of steel and barbed wire. Seriously, I adore the way that Emily B. Martin wrote her characters for this series–they are all so very vibrantly different, and SO well-rounded!

CoL Quote2

This was a fantastic closure to a thrilling, heart-pounding adventure! I am so, so honored to have gotten the chance to read the series back-to-back; despite not usually binge-reading an entire series all at once, I dove into each installment with breathless anticipation, excited to see what came next! I really did adore that each book follows a different person, and is from an entirely different perspective–this helped to fully mold the story, and keep the journey from feeling “stale” during quieter moments. Emily B. Martin wove a masterpiece with these novels–I definitely recommend them to lovers of fantasy, strong-willed women, and mounting political tensions. There’s an execution bell tolling, Penguins; will YOUR head be on the chopping block?

Advertisements
0

Ashes to Fire: The Page Count Lied to Me!

bookreview

Ashes to Fire (Woodwalker, #2)Ashes to Fire
(Woodwalker, #2)
by Emily B. Martin
430 Pages
Harper Voyager Impulse
Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

An adult fantasy tale that will surely resonate with young adult readers, Ashes to Fire is the story of a queen’s desperate journey to secure peace, and the even greater journey to discover herself. Ashes to Fire is the captivating and adventurous follow-up to Emily B. Martin’s Woodwalker—once more with cover art by the author!

“You are a country.”

Those words have been the guiding force behind Queen Mona’s every move since she was a little girl—the idea that all her actions and desires were, first and foremost, decided based on what was best for Lumen Lake. It had kept her alive after the Alcoran invasion, it had driven her to retake her country, and now it is the steely resolve she needs to finally confront the despotic Seventh King, Celeno.

But when her diplomatic mission finds herself on the run through the swamps of Cyprien—accompanied by the unlikeliest group of companions—Mona discovers that while she is her country, she is also someone who has been sheltered by principles and bound by past mistakes. Now she must struggle to reshape her view of the world and face intimate new truths—not only for the good of her country, but for herself, as well.

addtogoodreads

Other Books in the Series:

Woodwalker (Woodwalker, #1) Creatures of Light (Woodwalker, #3)

About the Author:

Emily B. MartinPark ranger by summer, stay-at-home mom the rest of the year, I am also a freelance artist and illustrator. An avid hiker and explorer, my experiences as ranger helped inform the character of Mae and the world of WOODWALKER.

When not patrolling places like Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, or Philmont Scout Ranch, I live in South Carolina with my husband, Will, and two daughters, Lucy and Amelia.

Find Her Online:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Amazon


4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: the page count lied to me!; well-rounded, complex, endearing, and totally human characters; action-packed and full of surprises; Emily B. Martin has me hooked, for sure; I almost threw my kindle, AGAIN, though for entirely different reasons this time

HUGE thanks to Emily B. Martin and Harper Voyager Impulse for sending a free digital galley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

AtF Quote1

Okay, Penguins, let me just start with this: at around the 330? page mark, I (for whatever reason) realized that there were, at least from what I knew, only like 10 pages left…and I started panicking, because there were HUGE unanswered questions still left to be entertained and just how in the ever loving beak was Emily B. Martin going to traverse such long distances in such a short amount of time?! Of course, once I kept reading, I quickly realized there weren’t actually only 10 pages left–more like 100, honestly–but STILL! For that brief window of time, my poor Penguin heart nearly shattered in confusion; as much as I (sometimes) love cliffhangers, I felt this book ending on one would have been a poor decision. I am, of course, super stoked that that didn’t end up being the case. (I did try to throw my Kindle across the room again, though–for entirely different reasons from the first book, I swear!)

 

Once again, there is a very finely tuned balance between characters and plot–the former are compelling, believable, and complex. The latter is entertaining, fast-paced, and FULL of surprises. While I was a bit surprised, heading into this installment, by the change in POV, I found myself absolutely loving the technique by the end of this read. We got to see the world–and different characters–through another set of eyes, and this helped to bring a second perspective of events and situations into focus for me. Because there are SO MANY things happening in these novels in terms of political upset, it was interesting to be given two intimate and separate glimpses into the same world!

AtF Qupte2.png

I also felt it was super interesting, the path that Emily B. Martin took with the relationships in this installment. There are a couple of characters who are, for lack of a better word (and in attempts to avoid spoilers!) thrown together who wouldn’t otherwise, necessarily, “get along.” It was both endearing and nail-biting at times, watching these characters tip-toe around and fall over or blur the lines in their interactions with and reactions to each other. The two women, especially, were an interesting experiment in political and personal cooperation. I was intrigued by the ways their viewpoints of each other shifted and changed depending on the day, the situations they faced, and the mounting tensions between two very stubborn factions. Overall, Emily B. Martin walked a very fine line–and crafted it beautifully!

 

I absolutely CANNOT wait to dive into the third installment and see where the adventure leads us! I definitely recommend this series to all lovers of fantasy, political tensions, and strong-willed characters. Emily B. Martin has got me officially hooked! Take a deep breath, Penguins–the water’s getting just a little rough.

0

Woodwalker: Fantastic Action, Kindle-Throwing Plot Twist

bookreview

Woodwalker (Woodwalker, #1)Woodwalker
(Woodwalker, #1)
by Emily B. Martin
336 Pages
Harper Voyager Impulse
Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

“What on earth would I gain from that?” I asked him. “Risk my own neck by violating my banishment just to leave you? The sentence placed on me if I return is execution. If I’m entering the mountains again, I’d damn well better get something out of it.”

Exiled from the Silverwood and the people she loves, Mae has few illusions about ever returning to her home. But when she comes across three out-of-place strangers in her wanderings, she finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: risking death to help a deposed queen regain her throne.

And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect. Mae was once one of the best, and despite the potential of every tree limb to become the gibbet she’s hanged from, she not only feels a duty to aide Mona and her brothers, but also to walk beneath her beloved trees once more.

A grand quest in the tradition of great epic fantasies, filled with adventure and the sharp wit—and tongue—of a unique hero, Woodwalker is the perfect novel to start your own journey into the realm of magical fiction.

addtogoodreads

Other Books in the Series:

Ashes to Fire (Woodwalker, #2) Creatures of Light (Woodwalker, #3)

About the Author:

Emily B. MartinPark ranger by summer, stay-at-home mom the rest of the year, I am also a freelance artist and illustrator. An avid hiker and explorer, my experiences as ranger helped inform the character of Mae and the world of WOODWALKER.

When not patrolling places like Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, or Philmont Scout Ranch, I live in South Carolina with my husband, Will, and two daughters, Lucy and Amelia.

Find Her Online:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Amazon


4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: fantastic action; smooth, fast-paced plot from page 1; believable, complex, and compelling characters; an explosive start to what promises to be an awesome series; THAT PLOT TWIST I CAN’T EVEN!

Huge thanks to Emily B. Martin and Harper Voyager Impulse for sending a free digital galley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

WW Quote1

I just have to start this off by mentioning that plot twist, Penguins–seriously, it caught me completely off guard! Like…if that plot twist were a cliff, I walked right off the edge and was caught, cartoon-style, mid-air before I even realized! For about a minute, in fact, my poor penguin heart dropped; for a minute, I thought that twist was leading to a completely different place. I almost threw my kindle across the room, in fact, I was THAT upset! Lucky for me (and the hardware) I decided to keep reading and was wrong in my assumptions. Still, it’s obvious that Emily B. Martin knows how to keep readers guessing–and surprise them in huge ways!

 

These characters are compelling and complex. I really enjoyed the addition of the origin stories for their different POVs–this helped to more fully round them out for me, as well as giving me a better glimpse into the whys and hows of the ways they approached things like hardships and every day life. I really appreciated that Emily B. Martin took the time to so fully devote herself to bringing these characters to life, while still also bringing the world around them more fully into focus. It is books like this, with the focus on dual narrative techniques, that really set my reading life on fire!

 

This journey was also action-packed and FULL of surprises from page 1. I’ll admit, I don’t often read high fantasy–mostly because the more popular novels that everyone goes GAGA over often leave me feeling bored or dissatisfied. THIS book, though–and hopefully the rest of this series–swept me up from the very beginning! I didn’t even realize this was categorized as high fantasy until after I’d finished the book and looked it up on Goodreads (because that’s how I do things, you know–backwards.) I am VERY impressed, and cannot WAIT to settle in to book 2!

WW Quote2

I definitely recommend this to lovers of fantasy, origin / oral narratives, complex and compelling personalities, and action-packed awesome! I cannot wait to see where book 2 leads these characters–and the ways their futures will change with this new-found agreement. Emily B. Martin is an author to watch, Penguins; why don’t you pick up this book and find out why!

4

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Teasers, and Review: Shatter

Shatter tour banner with coversShatter tour banner

Shatter_frontcoverShatter
(Midnight Ice, #4)
by Kaitlyn Davis
300 Pages
Fantasy / New Adult / Paranormal
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Pandora Scott just saved the world…or did she? 

Fresh off her victory, Pandora thinks life is finally starting to look up. No one is trying to kill her. A few people actually consider her a close friend. The future is wide open with possibilities. And she’s in love with the boy next door.

But when the titans come crashing into Sonnyville, adamant that the monster she destroyed still lives, Pandora can’t help but wonder if things could possibly be as perfect as they seem. A shocking death forces her to face the truth and understand that what she’d hoped would be the end of the war might really be just the beginning…

Shatter is the fourth and final book in the thrilling Midnight Ice series, a fantasy romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that twists vampire lore and ancient Greek mythology into an intense paranormal adventure!

addtogoodreads

Other Books in the Series:

Frost_frontcover Freeze_frontcover Fracture_frontcover

See my reviews for:

Frost | Freeze | Fracture

ABOUT FROST (MIDNIGHT ICE #1):

“A snarky, action-packed, and entertaining read!” – Betwixt the Pages

“I am in love with Pandora, she is badass!” – E.A. Walsh

“If you love vampires and magic then let me tell you, you are going to love Frost” – The Avid Reader

Even the hottest love can turn a girl cold-blooded… Don’t miss FROST, a fantasy romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that twists vampire lore and ancient Greek myths into an intense paranormal adventure!

Life’s tough for a vampire thief on the run–just ask Pandora Scott, she knows. Four years ago she ran away from home after everyone she loved betrayed her. But now her annoyingly grown up (and handsome) ex boyfriend is stalking her, begging her to return. A mysterious vamp with a particularly dangerous (and sexy) stare keeps popping unexpectedly into her life. The extremely powerful head vampire of New York is hunting her down because she may (or may not) have broken into his highly-secure, highly-secretive personal vault. And the fate she’s been trying to outrun? Well, it’s about to catch up. Because even a super-speedy vamp with the ability to disappear can’t escape her own destiny.

A brand new spinoff to Midnight Fire, a bestselling series with over 200,000 copies sold and over 5000 5-star reviews on Goodreads! Fans will enjoy special appearances from Kira, Luke and Tristan while falling in love with the new characters and new adventure of Midnight Ice. *Please note, you do not need to read the books of Midnight Fire to enjoy Frost (Midnight Ice Book 1). They are two standalone series with character crossover.

Available from:

Amazon  |  Apple  |  B&N  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

Inspiration Boards JaxInspiration Boards PandoraInspiration Boards Sam

Kaitlyn Author Photo About the Author:

Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie.
Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found indulging in some puppy videos, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com
To stay up-to-date with all of Kaitlyn’s new releases, sign up for hernew release newsletter here: TinyLetter.com/KaitlynDavisBooks
Author Links:
Excerpt from FROST (Midnight Ice, #1):

All she wanted to do now was forget. Forget Jax, forget everything he’d stirred up, forget her birthday. So, she downed another bloody cocktail, this time O-negative. And another after that. She let the feeding frenzy take over, let the high of fresh life wash through her.

She drank.

And danced.

And lost herself in the blood and the music and the touch of other cold bodies just like hers, searching for that little spark of life, reveling in it.

“You look good enough to eat,” a sultry voice whispered in her ear.

Pandora whipped around lightning fast, flashing her fangs. “I bite.”

The man smiled, lips practically dripping with sin. “Me too.”

Normally, this was when she’d punch and run. Seduction wasn’t really her thing. It just made her think of another boy and another time she’d never get back. But tonight was different. Tonight she wanted to be free. Tonight she was determined to move on, to move forward.

So she grinned back, taking the stranger in. And really, a girl could do worse, much worse. He was tall, broad, with bright golden hair that seemed almost aflame in the darkness of the club. His vampire-blue eyes were just as bright as hers, flashing with unabashed hunger, brazen want. His skin, though, was what really caught her eye. It was sun-kissed and bronzed, not pallid, not washed out by his ebony shirt. Somehow he looked almost warm to the touch.

Before she could stop herself, Pandora lifted her fingers, stretching for the triangle of hard skin at the base of his throat, exposed between two sets of open buttons.

He stepped swiftly to the side.

The darkness seemed to follow, wisps of ebony clinging to his frame, undulating with his every movement.

“Not yet,” he murmured, never once taking his eyes off her.

The longer he held her gaze, the more familiar it seemed to become, as though she’d seen those eyes before, as though this wasn’t the first time they had caressed her body.

“Have we met?” she asked.

His smile deepened, filling with secrets she could tell he had no intention of spilling. “Not like this.”

“Like what then?”

But he looked away without answering, sweeping his stare down to her lips, to every inch of exposed skin, lifting back to her throat, pausing there. She didn’t move. There was a dangerous sort of confidence about him, but against her will, she found it alluring, intriguing in a forbidden way. She’d always been drawn to things she wasn’t supposed to have. Usually, she took them anyway.

She reached out again, trying to touch him.

He moved deftly away, almost made of air as he circled behind her.

“Pandora,” he whispered into her ear, breath like a kiss against the soft skin of her neck, making her shiver.

And then the word he spoke registered.

Her name.

He knew her name.

“How…?” She spun around, trailing off when she realized there was nothing there, no one there.

A ghostly finger brushed against her elbow, tracing a burning path up her arm. “You’re not the only one who knows how to disappear.”

Pandora spun again.

But he was gone.


bookreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: tidy, clean wrap-up to an action-packed series; I felt the element of surprise was a bit lacking; loved the use of POV, though a bit disappointed we didn’t get more from Sam; small character redemptions for the win!

HUGE thanks to Kaitlyn Davis for having me along for this wild ride and sending me a free digital galley in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

 

To say this series was a hurricane sweeping through my reading world would be an understatement, Penguins. From the get-go, Kaitlyn Davis left me feeling a little bit off-kilter, as if she could yank the rug out from under me any time she chose (which she did, often and brutally!) I did feel as if this potential installment lacked a bit of that “element of surprise” feeling I’ve so grown to expect from this author. Even knowing this was the final piece of this puzzle, I went into this read hoping for one final satisfying plot twist, which I sadly didn’t find.

Shatter Q1.jpg

These characters arc gorgeously, though! There are several small, heart-wrenching redemptions written into the main action that caught me off-guard but left me endlessly pleased. Some of the smaller players were recognized and given room to breathe on their own a bit, which I enjoyed seeing. I was a tiny bit disappointed that we didn’t get more of Sam, however. His character, as full of hatred and darkness as he is, sort of took the backseat–he felt very stunted to me in this installment, honestly, which might not have been the best way to deliver him. I feel as if the story was lacking a huge amount of tension and drama that could otherwise have been present, with more of Sam’s POV.

 

This was, overall, a thoroughly clean and tidy ending to an explosive series, and I’m so happy to have been a part of the journey! I definitely recommend this entire series to readers seeking exciting new adventures, characters with huge hearts and big flaws, and action-packed epicness! The war is ending, Penguins; beware the shadows and their kin.

0

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe: Gender-Bent, Romantic Fun!

bookreview

Pride and Prejudice and MistletoePride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
by Melissa de la Cruz
225 Pages
St. Martin’s Press
Retelling / Romance / Contemporary
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

addtogoodreads

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: so many thumbs up for a gender-bend well done!; this was refreshing and entertaining; the romance might have been a bit too quick for my taste; LOVELOVELOVED that this was written from DARCY’s POV; some of Darcy’s motivations fell a bit…flat? for me

You’ve all been around my neck of the igloo for long enough to know that I go ABSOLUTELY PSYCHOTIC over Pride and Prejudice retellings–ANY and EVERY Pride and Prejudiceretelling. So when I (somehow completely accidentally!) stumbled across this book on Amazon, I KNEW I needed it in my life–how could I possibly say no to a genderbent retelling of what has become bae in my heart?! There was no way I could turn the chance down. And then I received this as a Christmas gift from my mom. It was meant to be, I suppose–the world (and my Penguin Army) wanted me to READ THIS BOOK.

 

Let me tell you, this is probably one of my favorite P&P retellings of late. Melissa de la Cruz put a lot of time and effort into taking characters we’ve all inherently grown to know inside and out……and giving them their edge back. The fact that this is a gender-bent retelling helped to give her the room for creativity and individualization that might not have otherwise presented itself. Mix this with the chosen POV for this journey–that of Darcy, instead of Luke–helped to even further distance this from the original tale. I really adored the many small, seemingly benign choices that Melissa de la Cruz made along the way–they helped to shape and mold this into a unique and refreshing adventure!

PPM Quote1.png

The romance did feel a bit…simplified? quick? fairy tale like? It felt contrived to fit the story, instead of the other way around, I suppose. I felt as if these characters, while moaning and groaning about the inherent chaos of romance, jumped VERY quickly from “they mean nothing to me” to “I must give them EVERYTHING.” While I understand that this is a very short journey and that whirlwind romances can and do happen, even today… I felt as if perhaps the romantic portions of this read were not quite as complex as they otherwise could have been. The fact that certain characters, without real thought or reason, find themselves throwing everything they think away for the chance of love that they didn’t before want… it was a bit unrealistic for me. Or maybe I’m just growing jaded in my age.

 

Still, this was an entertaining and beautiful retelling of a novel that I apparently just can’t get enough of, and I’m so pleased with how gorgeously Melissa de la Cruz pulled off the gender-bend. These characters are quirky and just far-off enough from the originals to stand beautifully on their own, which is a MASSIVE plus in a retelling! Overall, I had a ton of fun reading this, and am so happy to have received a copy for my shelves (and my ever-growing collection of all things P&P). I’d definitely recommend to lovers of P&P (because OBVS, right?!), seekers of well-crafted retellings, and hearts that still hold out hope for their “love at first sight….or kiss” moment. Keep an eye out for mistletoe this season, Penguins; destiny could be waiting.

0

Oshun Rising: Welcome Back to Trinity Forest

bookreview

Oshun Rising (Trinity Forest #2)

Oshun Rising
(Trinity Forest Book 2)
by Jennifer Alsever
382 Pages
Sawatch Publishing
YA / Fantasy / Romance / Paranormal
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

OSHUN has everything a young pop star could ever want—fame, fortune, and beauty to spare. But there’s something dark inside of her, rising like the tide, fighting to be heard. Something that terrifies her. Because once she lets it out, she knows there’s no going back.

EMBER is drowning. Fighting for consciousness, struggling to make sense of the strange dreams she’s been having—prophecies of murder, deception, and blackmail. But once she begins to untangle them, she realizes that they might not be dreams at all…and if she doesn’t find a way to stop what she’s seeing, more people will die.

MADDIE is barely staying afloat. How can she be expected to care about school when her best friend Ember is still missing, presumed dead? So when Ember’s brother calls and tells her about his theory about a pop star who may be involved in Ember’s disappearance, she rallies him to take a road trip to check it out.

Other Books in the Series:

Ember Burning (Trinity Forest #1) Venus Shining: Trinity Forest Book 3 (Trinity Forest Series)

See my review for EMBER BURNING by clicking here!

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: great use of perspective; unique, entertaining story-telling; a little too much “filler plot” in certain places; I missed the synesthetic descriptions, they weren’t as prominent as in the first book; can’t wait to see what happens next

Huge thanks to Jennifer Alsever and Sawatch Publishing for sending a free egalley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

I was SO excited to jump into this book when Jennifer Alsever reached out to me about doing a review for it… and then my life took a huge nosedive and shot my reading to the deepest pits of not happening. So as soon as I found the chance to crawl back out of the hole, the first book I picked up was this one–and I’m so glad I did! These characters once again took me on an unexpected and exciting journey, though they also made some stops along the way to site-see. I applaud Jennifer Alsever on her ability to take definitely-not-human characters…and make them READ as definitely-not-human. That’s a super difficult thing to do, sometimes–to get into the head of a character that is in no way like we are, and still make them complex and distinct enough to stand out. She did a thoroughly awesome job with this; in fact, some of my favorite portions of this book came in the chapters when Ember and Oshun battle for supremacy over their shared mind/body.

The world comes to me in snapshots.

The sound of laughter at a party. A hailstorm of camera flashes.

Reality is like a dream that turns to vapor the moment you try to remember. Here one minute, gone the next. I fight for consciousness as though drowning and gulping for air. When it finally comes, it’s too brief and I can’t control my body, my speech, my actions. I’m like a passenger on a ship that was once mine, but now someone else is steering and all I can do is watch. Scream silently in my head.

I did feel as if there was a fair amount of filler-plot happening in this read, particularly with Maddie and Jason in their quest to find/save Ember. While I was able to finish this within a few short hours, there were moments I found myself pondering over purpose–I guess certain scenes felt a bit stiff and prolonged to me, personally. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; these scenes just didn’t read quite as smoothly as the rest of the book. I also noticed that the synesthetic descriptions weren’t QUITE as prominent in this book as in the first–they’re still there, and they’re still deliciously beautiful, but I felt like they were more “snapshot” than filled out. This might, of course, be due to the way these perspectives are written–and it didn’t, overall, bother me a whole lot. Like I said, we still HAVE the synesthesia; I just didn’t feel it was as fully detailed as in the first book.

 

This read is creative, beautifully vibrant, and (at times) super creepy. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment! The POVs are individualized and easy to differentiate, though some of the scenes came off a bit stuffy or prolonged. I’d recommend this series to lovers of the paranormal, seekers of the unknown/undefined, and adventurously brave hearts. Step back into Trinity Forest if you dare, Penguins, but remember: the trees hear everything here.

0

Book Tour, Giveaway, and Review: The November Girl

TheNovemberGirlTour

TNGCoverThe November Girl
by Lydia Kang
Entangled Publishing
YA / Paranormal / Romance / Fantasy
340 Pages
Publication Date:  November 7th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

“Three-dimensional vividness…An emotional and dramatic tale of an otherworldly relationship.”
–KIRKUS REVIEWS

addtogoodreads

About the Author:

lydiakangI love salt more than chocolate. I’m somewhat small, yet deceptively strong. Sort of like an ant.

I’m a part time doc, full time family member, and if you offer me snacks, I’ll be a friend for life.

My adult fiction debut is an historical forensic mystery, entitled A BEAUTIFUL POISON, coming August 2017 from Lake Union Publishing.

I have a nonfiction adult book written with Nate Pederson entitled QUACKERY: A Short History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, coming in 2017 (Workman).

And also…a new YA novel, THE NOVEMBER GIRL. Set on a remote island on Lake Superior, a girl with violence running through her veins meets a boy running away from an abusive home life. (Entangled Teen, 2017)

Finally, announcing CYCLO, a space opera about a created, teen girl who’s abandoned on a biological spaceship, and the mercenary boy doomed to die on it. (Entangled Teen, 2018)

My YA sci-fi novel, CONTROL, debuted December 2013 (Dial/Penguin). The sequel, CATALYST, released March 2015 (Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin). I released a short story in the dark YA anthology, AMONG THE SHADOWS October 2015.

Find Her:

Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog | Pinterest

Giveaway:

The November Girl Swag Pack!!!


arcreview

 

4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: gorgeous purple prose; I LOVE LOVE LOVE how well Lydia Kang wrote Anda; the juxtaposition of their POVs and character traits is endearing and beautiful; the magic and otherworldly-ness surrounding Anda was brilliant; this novel was absolutely masterful

Huge thanks to Lydia King, Entangled Publishing, Chapter by Chapter Book Tours, and Netgalley for sending a free egalley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

This book is just so heartbreaking and beautiful, Penguins. Starting with the COVER–just look at that gorgeousness! I couldn’t help but show off the cover to a friend of mine; she practically drooled over it, so I know I’m not TOO biased. This cover–and this BOOK–are absolutely stunning and I just cannot cannot CANNOT stress that enough! The prose is purple and flowery and so so easy to imagine–Lydia Kang is a weaver of words and made this journey a treat!

NG Quote1

I really, really adored how well-crafted the characters are, especially. Anda is something not quite human–in fact, at the beginning of this read, she is VERY VERY far from human. Lydia Kang took a character who is not wholly human (or not human at all, in some instances) and made me believe in her. Believe that she could actually exist, could actually be sitting right in front of me. And she managed, somehow, to weave her not-humanness so thoroughly into the story, it felt exactly and totally right! I laughed at the interactions between Anda and Hector; I pined for more of the magic and mystical ethereality of Anda’s existence. This book just…made me feel ALL THE THINGS, and right now, that’s an awesome thing.

 

I just…you should for sure pick this novel up, Penguins! The prose is breathtaking, the characters are so vibrant and complex… It’s a journey you’ll want to take again, and again, for fear you missed something even more gorgeous along the way (and it’s possible you just might, if you blink!) I’d recommend to lovers of magical realism, transcendent first loves, and inhuman characters. November is calling you, Penguins; are you brave enough to answer?

 

chapter-by-chapter-blog-tour-button

4

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Wolves and Roses

Wolves and Roses tour banner.jpg

Wolves and Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1)Wolves and Roses
Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1
by Christina Bauer
Monster House Books, LLC
292 Pages
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Bryar Rose has a problem. She’s descended from one of the three magical races—shifters, fairies, or witches. That makes her one of the Magicorum, and Magicorum always follow a fairy tale life template. In Bryar’s case, that template should be Sleeping Beauty.

“Should” being the key word.

Trouble is, Bryar is nowhere near the sleeping beauty life template. Not even close. She doesn’t like birds or woodland creatures. She can’t sing. And she certainly can’t stand Prince Philpot, the so-called “His Highness of Hedge Funds” that her aunties want her to marry. Even worse, Bryar’s having recurring dreams of a bad boy hottie and is obsessed with finding papyri from ancient Egypt. What’s up with that?

All Bryar wants is to attend a regular high school with normal humans and forget all about shifters, fairies, witches, and the curse that Colonel Mallory the Magnificent placed on her. And she might be able to do just that–if only she can just keep her head down until her eighteenth birthday when the spell that’s ruined her life goes buh-bye.

But that plan gets turned upside down when Bryar Rose meets Knox, the bad boy who’s literally from her dreams. Knox is a powerful werewolf, and his presence in her life changes everything, and not just because he makes her knees turn into Jell-O. If Bryar can’t figure out who—or what—she really is, it might cost both her and Knox their lives… as well as jeopardize the very nature of magic itself.

addtogoodreads

THE AUDIOBOOK IS HERE

Find the audiobook HERE!

About the Author:

christina bauerChristina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. Across the lifetime of her series, Christina has driven more than 500,000 ebook orders and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Website Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Giveaway:

ENTER TO WIN

CLICK HERE to go to the Giveaway!


bookreview

 

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: quirky, unique twists on some old fairytale tropes; complex, vibrantly imagined characters; entertaining, surprising plot; listening to this audiobook was exactly like being told a story, and I loved that

Huge thanks to Christina Bauer, Monster House Books, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending a free audiobook of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

AND I JUST SO ADORED THIS BOOK! So let’s start with the obvious things first. Obviously, this is a fairy tale retelling–and it’s such a unique, fresh take on some of the oldest fairy tale tropes! I cannot explain to you how much I absolutely adored that there are “remedial fairy tale” classes of sorts, that each character has a template for their fairy tale personality that they’re meant to follow–and that sometimes, characters find they don’t or can’t follow those guidelines as easily. This was such a fascinating moral statement on human nature–and how things, no matter how well planned, don’t always work out the way they’re expected to. I just absolutely adored that Christina Bauer took this route–and did it in such a refreshing, entertaining way!

Listening to the audiobook was like settling in for a story. The personalities of the characters–particularly those whose POV we’re treated to–really seeped through my headphones, drawing me in further. This story fell like curtains from each page, enlightening and reshaping me along with the characters. I feel like Christina Bauer really hit all the high notes with this one, pulling the smallest, most intricate details of story telling from her pockets and lining them with her words. This felt exactly like being told a story, which I feel is a huge plus for an audiobook–to be so completely captured and enthralled, you never want the journey to end.

This was just so fantastically done, Penguins. The characters are vibrantly written and BEG readers to get to know every side of them. The story telling is entertaining and unique, putting some new twists on old fairy tale tropes. I just so adored everything about this read, and I think you will, too! I definitely recommend you pick this book up, if it sounds like something you’d enjoy! Are you ready to follow your template, Penguins…or are you going to forge your own path through the world?

 

2e6a6-yabounktourbutton

0

Blog Tour and Review: The First Kiss Hypothesis

TFKHTour.png

tFKHCoverThe First Kiss Hypothesis
by Christina Mendalski
Entangled:  Crush
250 Pages
Publication Date: November 6th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction.

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing.
Game. On.

Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.

addtogoodreads

About the Author

christina_mandelski Christina Mandelski was born in South Florida, where her love of reading was cultivated in a house full of books. Stories like The Little House series, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Secret Garden, filled her imagination and fueled her dreams to be a writer. That dream came true when her first young adult novel, THE SWEETEST THING, was published in 2011, and she’s beyond thrilled about her upcoming series for Entangled Crush. Chris lives in Houston with one handsome husband, two beautiful daughters, and two freakshow cats. She has a fondness for the beach, her family and friends, and she still loves to read (especially curled up with a good cup of coffee!) She also enjoys shopping, traveling and eating, especially cake. Always cake. When she’s not doing these things, you can find her holed in a cozy spot with her laptop, writing. Visit her at http://www.christinamandelski.com.

WebsiteTwitterInstragramGoodreads


arcreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: best friends to lovers romance!; super endearing, well-rounded characters; so much angst and teenage drama, be still my Penguin heart; not terribly fast-paced, but still entertaining and delicious; dual-POV for the win

Huge thanks to Christina Mandelski, Entangled: Crush, Chapter by Chapter, and Netgalley for sending a free egalley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

This was a super cutesy, quick read. The plot isn’t driven by huge twists or fast-paced action, but the way Christina Mandelski pulls readers in and keeps them enthralled is enough to make a Penguin keep flipping pages, wanting to know what happens next. Like most contemporary romance novels, this was full of teenage drama and angst–all the pretty depressing things that make my ice-cold heart thaw just a bit. There was, however, a bit of a twist–found in Nora’s “first kiss hypothesis.” Now, we don’t actually see Nora do much kissing in this book. While the first chapter starts with her running a kissing booth, after that she sort of sticks to herself and stops sucking lips with everyone she can. This could, theoretically, be attested to the fact that she’s sort of arcing in her character growth…but I’m just a tiny bit disappointed that she didn’t actually kiss Texas dude and realize THAT way that her hypothesis was bogus. But that’s just my opinion.

FKH Quote1

The characters are endearing and enjoyable to read, and I really appreciated that this was written in dual-POVs. I feel like this type of writing style, especially in contemporary romances that rely on so much angst, really helps readers connect with both sides of the story–and be better able to formulate thoughts and opinions on said story. Christina Mandelski really used this to her advantage, weaving the heartache and confusion into every page along the journey–and making readers feel it right along with her characters.

 

Overall, this was an adorable and heart-fluttering read! The plot isn’t super fast-paced, but it is filled with teen angst and drama! The “boy/girl next door” romance–coupled with best friends to lovers–was done in a cute and entertaining way. I really adored the “twist” that Nora puts on soulmates–and the ways she comes to grip with the idea she might be wrong. This was just such a heartwarming read, Penguins–I definitely recommend you pick it up, if it sounds like something you’d enjoy! What do you think, Penguins–can a first kiss really make or break forever?

 

chapter-by-chapter-blog-tour-button

0

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Haven

HAVEN

Haven-1600pxHaven
by Mary Lindsey
Entangled Publishing
400 Pages
YA / Fantasy / Paranormal / Romance
Expected Publication:  November 7th, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

or at the following:

B&N, TBD, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play Books, Indiebound

BLURB:

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

addtogoodreads

Early Praise:

“Dangerous, dark and a definite page turner. Mary Lindsey rocks this book.”

– New York Times bestselling author C.C. Hunter

“A smoking hot hero and spine-chilling mystery = total win.”

– #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout

“This electrifying tale will take you on an unexpected journey into a secret world of witchcraft and shape shifters. Romance, adventure, and magic! Lindsey leaves you breathless and wanting more.”

– Adriana Mather, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch

“This is not your mama’s paranormal! Sexy, dark and intense. Unputdownable!”

– Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

“Lindsey writes a hero with fire and gasoline. Then she lights a match with break-neck pacing, and scorches a path to readers’ hearts. Don’t blink for a moment.”

– Victoria Scott, bestselling author of Fire & Flood

“Gripping and gritty, HAVEN had me glued to the pages from beginning to end! Rain is the best kind of hero — tough, sexy, sweet, loyal. He charges through this action-packed tale that had me tearing up more than once, and I was perfectly happy to follow!”

– Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of Forget Tomorrow.

“An utterly gritty and satisfying resurrection of the monster genre.Rain is an intense narrator and you won’t know whether to scream or swoon. Haven is an instant classic!”

– Courtney Moulton, author of Angelfire

“Darkly compelling and deliciously chilling, Haven hooks you from the first line and never lets up. Gritty, spine-tingling, and full of nail-biting tension.”

– Amalie Howard, bestselling author of Bloodspell

“Dark, different, sexy, and edge-of-your-seat intense.”

– Shawna Stringer, bookseller

About the Author

maryMary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of HAVEN, US Only.

CLICK  HERE TO GO TO THE GIVEAWAY!


arcreview

4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: gorgeously gritty, devastatingly dark; LOVELOVELOVE the lore and world-building; the prose is positively purple; complex, realistically flawed characters; such a powerful, poignant build-up of emotions and anticipation; I was on the edge of my seat throughout; the small touches of magic went a long way for this read

Huge thanks to Mary Lindsey, Entangled Publishing, and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a free egalley of this title my way in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

Haven Quote1

This book is a BEAST, Penguins–a fantastically dark, delightfully atmospheric, gorgeously penned beast. Someone really ought to chain it up in my basement so it can’t escape, because HONESTLY, I just cannot even begin to explain my adoration right now. It’s too huge. (Also, side note, I don’t actually have a basement… but I mean, if you want to buy me a physical copy for my shelves? I wouldn’t say no to that. Just saying.)

 

The prose Mary Lindsey wove throughout these pages is darkly delicious and intricately detailed. Every sense was called into play–I could hear every sound, taste every breeze, feel every ridge of the world taking root around me. Before I even started this journey, the cover lured me in. Everything about this book screamed “READ ME”…and I did, Penguins. And what a wild, beautiful, alluring journey it was! The poet in me is so satisfied right now–the imagery was brilliantly rendered, the prose was purple and flowery… I just… GAH. New favorite author alert? Check and check!

Haven Quote2.png

I really adore that Mary Lindsey played with the lore of witches and werewolves…and then molded them, even if only slightly, to fit her needs/purpose. The world-building and backstory of this book are laid out in snippets and pieces–enough to give readers the answers they need at the time, but never enough to give away the whole picture. And while the ending is brighter than the rest of this read, with just a small nodding to hope…the whole book was so poignantly dark and disturbing, I’m not sure I’d call it a happy ending per se. Which I ADORED, Penguins–I mean let’s be honest here, happy endings? Overused. Cliche. Mary Lindsey found that beautiful middle ground for this book, and left me drooling for more!

 

I cannot sing enough praises for this read. The atmosphere, the prose, the gritty and “gothic” feel to the entire novel… This is artwork, Penguins. Pure, raw, and unfiltered artwork. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Mary Lindsey does next–and you can bet your beaks I’ll be watching closely! I’d recommend this to lovers of the paranormal, those tired of the same old “happily ever afters,” and hearts who consistently wonder what might be lurking in the dark. Be wary of the wine, Penguins–it might change everything, or kill you trying!