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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Shag Lake

 

Shag Lake
by Susan McEachern
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Action, Adventure, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

Geri McKenna hasn’t seen her brother’s best friend, Sean Eastman, since he graduated high school. Sean left their little town of Pembroke just hours after she nailed him with a kiss behind the shed, never to be seen or heard from again. No calls, no texts, no social media to stalk online.

Eight years after the awkward incident behind the shed, Geri and Sean meet again. She’s now an ambitious journalist working in a dead end job, and he’s a successful structural engineer working on a classified government project. For different reasons, they’re both interested in a woman who has gone missing midst allegations of a Sasquatch encounter in the vincinity of Shag Lake. Geri is determined to get the scoop on the hottest story to hit the Internet, while Sean is determined to stop her.

Dodging other-worldly creatures and a corrupt shadow government, Geri and Sean struggle to find neutral ground in this debut new adult adventure by author Susan McEachern (who also writes young adult as award-winning author S.M. McEachern).

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Check out the FREE short story, Shag Lake Prequel: The Kiss here!!

EXCERPT:

Where the hell is it? Why can’t I see it?

Keep moving. Don’t look for it. Just go. I’ve run enough marathons to know that distractions, like trying to keep my eye on my opponent, will only slow me down.

A guttural shriek slices through the quiet, and I almost lose it, I almost scream, because the shriek came from somewhere on my right. That means two things are chasing me. I save my scream for later because right now I’m locked in marathon mode, concentrating every ounce of my energy on running.

The trail is just up ahead, and I push harder, trying to remember when the officers said they would be back. An hour? Two? How long have I been out here? Jumping over deadwood and low-lying bushes, grateful for every second that something doesn’t grab me, I head toward the caution tape like it’s a home-free zone. Whatever is running on my right lets out another violent shriek, louder this time, and I’m not sure if that’s because it’s closer to me or just super pissed off.

Clack, clack, clack echoes through the air, the sound of rocks cascading down on other rocks. The noise is coming from up ahead, in the home-free zone of yellow caution tape, where the land ends in a twenty-foot drop-off into the lake.

A third thing is in front of me?

Illogically, I keep running in the direction of the caution tape, back to the crime scene, back to the path that will lead me to the truck, and praying those two RCMP officers are on their way up here now.

I’m almost there; I can see the trampled area of the crime scene and where it abruptly ends at the cliff’s edge. I push myself harder, my lungs burning with the effort. Then something suddenly flies up over the edge of the cliff, as if it had been catapulted.

I stop in my tracks so fast I almost break my ankle, and watch in horrified silence as it lands on two steady feet in a slightly crouched position, arms away from its sides and hands balled into fists in a threatening posture.

The scream I’ve been holding down finally erupts out of me. My eyes wildly dart in every direction, looking for an escape route. I can’t go forward, I can’t go to the right, I can’t go to the left, and for all I know, some thing is behind me too.

Get yourself together, Geri. If I can’t flee, then I have to fight.

Gritting my teeth, I raise the rifle into a ready position, swing it left, and damn near drop it when I almost hit a large mass. It’s just standing there, over eight feet tall, wearing a purple tunic with red writing on it. The thing has a symmetrical face covered in scales with a rigid spine running from its forehead to under its chin, with two large nostrils on either side. Deep yellow eyes with vertical slits for pupils ogle me in what I can only describe as cold interest.

“Geri?”

I barely hear my name being called over the roar of adrenaline pulsating through my ears, but it registers that whatever is crouched by the cliff knows my name. I risk a glance and see a man, naked from the waist up, all rock-hard muscle with sunlight glistening off his wet skin and hair, his chest heaving from exertion.

Am I hallucinating? “Sean?”

I swing my eyes back to the reptile man, but he’s gone. Just disappeared.

Or is he? I couldn’t see him before when he came right up to me and whispered in my ear.

“Are you okay?” Sean calls out to me. “Are you hurt?” Despite the odd mix of concern and wariness lacing his tone, I’m so relieved to hear his voice that I’m weak in the knees. I’m not hallucinating. He’s really here.

“No,” I reply in a breathy voice. “I have my gun on one of them—I think. I can’t see it anymore. And I don’t know what the other one behind me is doing.”

“Geri, lower the gun,” Sean says.

“Are you insane?” I scan the area, looking for any sign of it. “Can you see it? I don’t have eyes on it anymore.” Is it behind me now? I pivot, keeping the rifle aimed.

There’s a light wind blowing the tall straw grass, so it’s hard to tell if anything else is disrupting it.

Suddenly, I’m aware of a rank odor being carried on the breeze. I think maybe the smell has been there for a while but was drowned out by the rush of adrenaline.

“Absolutely nothing is going to hurt you.” The clear underlying threat in Sean’s tone does nothing to calm me. It only confirms that I’m in just as much danger as I thought I was.

Keeping my rifle aimed, I shuffle my feet to do a full sweep around me. Where the hell did it go?

“See? There’s nothing there,” Sean says. “Now lower the gun and walk to me.”

It finally registers that he’s not going to come to me. He’s been standing in the same aggressive stance, using the same threatening tone ever since he flew up over the side of the cliff. And he’s talking to me as if I’m a hostage who has a shot at getting free of her captor if I do everything right.

I don’t know what Sean is doing here at the very moment I need him, at the very place two young women were terrorized and one went missing, but right now I trust him way more than whatever is stalking me.

 

Author Bio:

Award winning author S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) attended Dalhousie University in the 1990s where she earned an Honours Degree in Sustainable Development Studies, specializing in ocean resources. With a background in international development and resource management, as well as being the wife of a military officer, Susan has had first hand experience in international affairs and policies. She attributes Elizabeth Mann Borgese–daughter of Nobel prize winner, Thomas Mann–as one of the greatest influences on her view of world politics. Susan had the privilege to work and study under Mann Borgese, an author, teacher and political activist for world peace. The first book of a series, “Sunset Rising”, combines Susan’s knowledge of politics and resource management with her love for Young Adult literature and action and adventure. The second book of the series, “Worlds Collide”, was published March 2014. The third book, titled “New World Order” was released January 2015.

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Cover Reveal: Rum Runner

 

Rum Runner
(The Key West Escape, #1)

by Tricia Leedom
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance

Perfect for fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Janet Evanovich, this action-packed debut from a fresh voice in contemporary romance offers a sexy and comedic take on love, adventure, and what it means to trust your heart.

English socialite Sophie Davies-Stone has been longing to meet her father since she was a little girl. When he sends her a mysterious medallion and asks her to forward it to him in Miami, she can’t help herself from doing something totally un-Sophie-like. Rather than mailing it as instructed, Sophie hops on a flight to Florida.

But the family reunion never happens. Instead, Sophie is attacked and almost kidnapped by her father’s enemies. Her savior is Jimmy Panama, a cocky and annoyingly handsome former Navy SEAL. Sophie isn’t the only one who’s annoyed. After years of trying to find a way to pay back his CO, Jimmy never thought his debt would get him mixed up with his commander’s uptight, British daughter. He just wants to put her on the next flight home and get back to his low-stress life in Key West, but fate has other plans.

As Sophie and Jimmy embark on a heart-pounding adventure through Key West and the Caribbean, Sophie finds herself falling for the snarky American. Still, her head says Jimmy is all wrong for her, and the more she finds out about him – and her father – the more uncertain she is about who she can trust.

One thing is clear. Sophie is in way over her head, and her greatest adventure might be her last.

The Key West Escape Series

1. Rum Runner – Releases July 18, 2017!

2. Bahama Mama – Coming January 2018!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

Author Bio:

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men… even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom

Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter

 

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Daybreak

 

daybreakDaybreak
(Girl from the Stars #1)

by Cheree Alsop
Publication date: October 7th 2015
Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Liora Day, half-human, half messwith-her-and-you’ll-die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the
choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced.

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99 cents for a limited time only!

EXCERPT:

Liora twisted the bent end inward until she felt the teeth slide free. She slipped the
bar from the handcuff and let it fall off her wrist. In two more seconds, the other cuff was on the floor.

The lock of her cage proved to be more difficult. Luckily, Liora had the two pieces of
the tweezers to work with. She bent the second one to match the angle of the first.
Following the same steps the apprentice had done so many times, Liora pushed the
bent end of the first piece into the lock opposite the pins. She turned it slowly upward
until it was in tension.

Inserting the second piece, Liora raked it slowly along the pins. The small metal on
metal sound set Liora’s nerves on end. If Malivian found out what she was doing, she
would be tortured again. The voice in the back of her mind whispered that perhaps she wouldn’t survive a second round.

A subtle, metallic click sounded. Liora’s heart jumped. She pushed at the bars. Her
breath caught in her throat when the door swung outward. Liora stepped onto the cold
floor and stumbled lightheadedly. She caught herself on the next cage, pushed upright, and ran down the hall.

The alarm sounded when she hit the button for the hatch to open. As soon as the
gap was wide enough, Liora jumped out. Her feet, then her knees, hit the deck of
Gaulded Zero Twenty-One. She shoved up to her feet once more and ran past the other starships.

Even at the late hour, the Gaulded’s landing deck was filled with activity. It appeared
the Kratos and Kirkos weren’t the only ships who had been attacked. Blow torches,
plasma cutters, and blazers filled the contained air inside the Gaulded’s hold with the
acrid scent of metal. The sound of mallets and hand saws sounded from every corner.

Crew members of the ships Liora passed turned to watch her go. She felt conspicuous and alone as she darted between space crafts and around repair gear. A giant pallet of artillery swung over her head. Liora ducked and made her way along the stripped hull of a Copper Crow painted to look like an iridescent fish. The name Space Poseidon glowed near the hatch.

Liora ran around the corner and slammed into Devren.

“I was about to come looking for you—” he began.

Tariq cut him off. “Dev, her face.”

Devren gently pushed her back so he could see her better. Liora dropped her gaze at his gentle probing.

“Malivian did this to you?” he asked.

The anger in his voice made Liora look up. Devren appeared ready to kill someone.

“Calm down,” Tariq told him. “Let’s get her to the ship. It’s the only place we’ll have
leverage.”

Devren put a protective arm around Liora. Tariq walked behind them like a bodyguard. Liora felt as though she had entered some different reality. Somehow, even with the thought of Malivian coming after her, she felt safe between the two humans who had entered her life by accident.

 

chereeAuthor Bio:

Cheree Alsop is an award-winning, best-selling author who has published over 30 books, including two series through Stonehouse Ink. She is the mother of a beautiful, talented daughter and amazing twin sons who fill every day with joy and laughter. She is married to her best friend, Michael, the light of her life and her soulmate who shares her dreams and inspires her by reading the first drafts and giving much appreciated
critiques. Cheree is a fulltime author and mother, which is more play than work! She enjoys reading, traveling to tropical beaches, spending time with her children, and going on family adventures while planning her next book. Cheree and Michael live in Utah where they rock out, enjoy the outdoors, plan great quests, and never stop dreaming. You can find Cheree’s other books at http://www.chereealsop.com

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Blog Tour, Teasers, and Review: The Red Pearl

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the-red-pearl-coverThe Red Pearl,
by C.K. Brooke

Genre: NA Fantasy/Adventure Romance

Release Date: November 2015
by 48fourteen

Summary from Goodreads:

Treasure lost… passion found?

Antonia Korelli ison the run from her coven of priestesses. She never desired a life confined tothe temple, relegated to chastity and service to the goddess, Azea. Instead, she longs for true love and adventure in the Kingdom of Elat.

Robin Watkins is a fiery dreamer on a mission of his own, to uncover the legendary lost Red Pearl. Only, he must first regain his treasure map, which was stolen by his former best mate and conniving ex-girlfriend.

When Antonia becomes unwittingly entangled with Rob, she’s more than dismayed to find herself stuck on his harebrained hunt. But somewhere amidst their bickering and banter, their plight for survival through desert and tropics, and the joint pursuit of impossible dreams, Antonia begins to realize that perhaps she might have found the unforgettable adventure – and romance –she was seeking.

*Advisory: Contains some sensual/sexual content

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Buy Links:

Amazon |  Barnes and Noble  |  Books a Million  |  Goodreads  |  Publishing

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About the Author

ck brookeC.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers’ Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books – reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them. When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. There’s tons to check out at the new CKBrooke.com, so come and see what she’s up to!

Check out her V.I.P. Readers Club (Subscribers get a free eBook!)

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebookAmazon Page

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GIVEAWAY:

Subscribe to the author’s newsletter (www.ckbrooke.com/vipclub) and get a free eBook!

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bookreview

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: fun, fast-paced read; I fall just a little more in love with C.K. Brooke every time I pick her books up; complex, emotionally well-rounded, entertaining characters; Antonia has QUITE the personality, and I adored her; action-packed and full of adventure

Huge thanks to C.K. Brooke, 48fourteen Publishing, and YA Bound Book Tours for granting me access to this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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C.K. Brooke continues to amaze me. Every time I pick up a new book from her, I KNOW I’m in for an adventure, a few snarky and stubborn characters, and a steamy love affair. So of course, when I saw this one up for tour, I KNEW I needed to jump on it if I could–how could I possibly turn it down?! It called to me, penguins. (Of course, that cover is STUNNING and did it’s own share of calling me)

I was not disappointed. Let’s start with the characters. Antonia and Rob are a pair of snarky, stubborn, willful people…and I adored them from the very start. For one, Antonia recognizes she is not doing with her life what SHE would choose, and therefore sets out to set that to right–by abandoning her parents’ plans for her and following her own dreams. And Robin… Well, he’s just the sort of roguish, gruff character I expected him to be…with a soft and vulnerable side that evens him out and makes him even more human than he already felt. They are complex and emotionally well-rounded…and I adored every second the pair spent together, bickering or not. While I knew it was pretty much assured they would end up together in the end, I was hardcore shipping them from the get-go regardless; they’re just TOO adorable and well-matched not to root for!

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There is a group of other characters who make an appearance–and a right mess of things–throughout this story. While they are not the focus of this book and, therefore, sort of fade into the background when not a part of the action, I still found myself wondering about and wanting to know more of each of them. They are equally as well-written and just as entertaining as the main duo.

The plot is action-packed and full of adventure. C.K. Brooke knows how to weave a story of romance, daring, and disappointment around readers–she took me on a journey with this one through towns, mountains, and infested forests. Every page is ripe with beautifully detailed descriptions and pulse-pounding situations. I thoroughly enjoyed stepping into this world and “living” through these characters for a time, and was sad to reach the ending–I didn’t want to part with them or their story just yet!

I think it’s safe to say that C.K. Brooke has quickly become one of my favorite fantasy authors, and for good reason. Her plots are action-packed, her characters are vivid and well-written, and the story literally leaps to life around you while you read. You will, stepping into her novels, forget about the real world for a time–and lose yourself to romance, daring, and adventure. I recommend this to lovers of willfully stubborn characters, dreamers fighting to find their “destiny,” and books that remind you what it means to hope. I cannot WAIT to dive into my next C.K. Brooke novel (and trust me, it’ll be soon!) If you haven’t picked her up yet, all I can think to ask is… Why not?! GO DO IT.

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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Immortal Writers: Okay, I want to Move to THIS World!

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Immortal Writers

Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?

Fantasy/Romance/Adventure/YA
296 Pages
Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: November 5th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: hugely entertaining; I ADORE the unique, creative take Jill Bowers took with this plot; gorgeously descriptive, detailed writing; fast-paced, heart-pounding action scenes; imaginative and enthralling; realistic, steamy romance; DRAGONS!

So many thanks to Jill Bowers, Blue Moon Publishers, and Netgalley for sending me an advance copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Quick note to sensitive or easily triggered readers: there are scenes of physical and sexual abuse in this book. If such subjects are difficult for you to read, PLEASE be careful going into this book! Stay safe, penguins.

That being said… I am SO super in love with Liz, I can’t even. I mean, let’s just ignore the fact that we share a first name–that has almost absolutely nothing to do with this. For one thing, she is SUPER fierce. She is wholly independent, hard-headed, and snarky. In the midst of everything that happens in this book, she holds her own–and she does it with admirable strength and determination. Seriously, I want to be friends with her–I think I could learn a LOT from just being in her presence. Of course, the rest of the characters are just as entertaining and complex! I adored each and every character this book introduced (or re-introduced, in some cases) me to–and had SO much fun following all of them on this journey!

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AND OH, my penguins–this read is super unique, super inventive (at least, I think it is, and that’s all that counts right now). The plot is fast-paced and TO THE BRIM full of action, adventure, and–most importantly–dragons! Also, a literal ton of literary references, writerly characters, and plays on things like world-building, plot devices, and world immersion. Seriously, penguins, if you’re in any way at all interested in writing or being writerly, you should check out this book JUST for that–I had so much fun with how creative and awesome Jill Bowers made this read!

I am super excited to have been given the opportunity to start this journey, and I cannot wait for book two–from the tiny snippet of an excerpt I got at the end of this book, I can tell it’s going to be just as unique and entertaining! These characters are bomb; the romance is realistic and steamy and endearing; and the plot is super enthralling. I just… So much yes in one book. Jill Bowers wins, and has been put on my “to watch out for in the future” list. I recommend this to lovers of dragons, fantasy, and writerly awesomeness. (I know, I know, writerly is totally not a word–don’t care, using it anyway!) Jill Bowers is a debut author to watch out for, penguins–pick this book up!

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway and Review: Amber Sky

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AMBER SKY is the first prequel novella preceding the adventurous steampunk horror tale CRIMSON SKY, and tells the story of Nash before he joined the Dauntless Wanderer when his only means of survival was to fight to the death, and how he was forced to make a choice that would change his life forever…

Buy it here: Kindle | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords | Goodreads

Press-ganged into servitude by a ruthless band of marauders who survived the devastating Storm, Nash has grown tired of his career– the young, undefeated champion of the Stray Dog fighting pits. All he longs for is a place to live where his family is not his enemy.

When his captain gives him an assignment to embed him deeper into the crew, Nash attempts to refuse, until the life of his friend is threatened. Determined to save her, Nash embarks on the mission to subjugate and control a supplier. But the supplier has other clients, one of which could be the son of the most feared pirate captain in all of Westraven.

And if Nash plays his cards right, the key to his deeply desired freedom, if he can live with the consequences of his choice…

Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Nash and Sawyer crossed paths– and fists. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.

About the Author:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Her short stories published by independent houses like Mocha Memoirs Press and April Moon Books, and she has independently published a collection of standalone and series novels including Storm Born, Path of the Horseman, and the Cursed and Dark Sky series. Many of her short stories have been featured in anthologies such as Amok!, Avast, Ye Airships!, and That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, and Stomping Grounds.

Social Media Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

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HALLOWEEN THEMED GIVEAWAY!

Click above if you’re interested in being entered to win:  One Ebook of AMBER SKY, One Paperback Copy of THAT HOODOO, VOODOO, THAT YOU DO, and Swag!

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3Penguins
Quick Reasons: I agree, this should be read BEFORE Crimson Sky; love the glimpse into Nash’s past, and how his relationship with Sawyer was forged; the characters felt a bit stiff at times; this wasn’t quite as engaging a read as the full-length novels have been; a good dose of sass, a good amount of action

HUGE thanks to Amy Braun for sending me a copy of this novella free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I feel…a bit let down by this novella, unfortunately. I’ve had the opportunity to read both full-length novels in this series so far, and LOVED them to pieces–but this one fell a bit flat, in my opinion. I feel like a big part of this falls on the storytelling and characterization–there is SO MUCH focus on getting this story told within such a short amount of time, I’m not sure the characters were allowed to show their true colors completely. Having read the rest of this series, I’ve grown to know and adore these characters as older versions…and I didn’t see much of those men in this novella. They aren’t as well-rounded.

I did, however, appreciate the backstory that this novella provides. We were given a glimpse at these characters from BEFORE–and that’s not often something readers get the chance to see. I especially enjoy that we see more of Nash–while he’s just as integral a part of the later series as the rest of the crew, I feel he sometimes slips off to the sidelines to observe. We were put right into his head for this read, and I loved that shift in perspective–the chance to see Nash in his element, instead of through someone else’s eyes.

The action is decently written, though not as high-stakes or fast-paced as the books later down the line. While there are several battle scenes, I didn’t feel as emotionally connected during them as I thought I would I missed the nail-biting anticipation of the other books in the series. I feel like something important was missing in this read, overall–I have a feeling it might be the rest of the crew, all the characters I’ve so grown attached to in the future journey.

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This was, overall, a quick and entertaining read. There are some noteworthy snark moments, particularly from Sawyer (still love Sawyer, guys; I’m obsessed!). The battle scenes were engaging, though not necessarily as emotionally-driven for me as a reader. I appreciated a glimpse at this world from a new set of eyes…but in the end, I’m not sure I really NEEDED this book in my life. Still, it’s a fast-paced, swashbuckling tale of vampires and pirates (er…mostly sans vampires)–and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here! I definitely recommend to lovers of prequel novellas, backstories, and ruthless daring in the face of life and death. Amy Braun, you know how to keep a reader on her toes–I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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The Duchess Inheritance: Soap Opera Scallywags!

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The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia #2)

Her inheritance awaits…but is it what she expects? Dainy Ducelle possesses only one clue to her hidden inheritance. Accompanied by her loyal companions – Mac, Jon and Bos – the young woman embarks upon another riveting quest, braving pirates, desert thieves and mountain gales through the exotic nations of the Great Continent to seek her royal fortune. But when her unusual treasure is finally uncovered, the former duchess gains the sudden potential to become a future empress. Thus ensues the battle to reclaim Jordinia in C.K. Brooke’s gripping sequel to The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1). Wrought with harrowing adventure and deepening romance, war is waged while love is lost and found in this epic conclusion to the tale of Jordinia.

Jordinia #2
Fantasy/Romance
482 Pages
48fourteen Publishers
Publication Date: April 11th, 2015
Get a copy here!

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: awesome action/adventure; entertaining, hilarious characters; tons of dramatic, soap opera-esque moments; snark, sass, and all things delicious; endearing, steamy romance; pirates, coups, and power struggles; I’m not so sure I liked the epilogue, but that’s personal preference; a heck of a great read!

So many thank yous to C.K. Brooke and 48fourteen Publishers for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Guys, seriously–this series is the absolute BEST. The whole time I was reading, I kept asking myself: am I stuck in the middle of a fantasy, or a soap opera in book form?! And it was awesome! I’m not one for daytime tv, but C.K. Brooke does such a fantastic job crafting her characters and the world surrounding them, I immediately get sucked into her stories–and don’t even mind all the drama! (in fact, the drama in this series only made these books more enjoyable for me!)

 

The characters are entertaining and endearing. Dainy, especially, called to me, easily keeping me enthralled and wanting to know what happened next. Which is weird, because I don’t usually enjoy characters like her. She has SUCH a huge flair for dramatics and overreacting; I usually find such traits in characters annoying, but C.K. Brooke somehow managed to include them while still rounding Dainy out. She is a truly complex character, and I loved following her on her journey. Of course, the rest of the cast is JUST as well-rounded and entertaining!

There were so many more shifts in perspective–and so many new characters–to keep track of in this book than we were introduced to in the first. This wasn’t confusing, though–each chapter heading told readers which character they were following, and C.K. Brooke wrote the transitions seamlessly. It was a bit daunting at first, though; if I remember correctly, the first book had a few slight perspective shifts, but nothing like this one. Still, the change of pace and scenery from one chapter to the next allowed me to get a broader sense of each player in the story–and helped bring them more fully to life for me.

 

And the plot! The plot is probably the best thing about this book, because it’s FULL of action, adventure, romance and power struggles. There is a touch of every genre, which is sure to keep even the most easily distracted/bored readers entertained and flipping through the pages at break-neck speed. I, personally, devoured this novel within a few hours, and was left hungering for more.

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I’m not so sure I’m keen on the epilogue at the end, but that’s a small matter. I feel like it was written a bit more haphazard than the rest of this duology–more to answer the questions of “what if” than to give closure. But I found I didn’t NEED to know the answers; I almost wish I had left it off at the end of the last chapter, and skipped over the epilogue completely–I’d have still been happy with the ending, and these books, without knowing where the characters ended up. This series, though, is a TON of fun. I recommend this book–nay, this series!–to lovers of fantasy worlds, confident women, and soap opera levels of drama laced into the action. I promise, C.K. Brooke won’t disappoint you–pick her up!

5

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Frost

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The robots are rising.

Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she’s spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.

She understands why she’s never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it’s not her real father giving the orders . . .

It’s his memories.

Before he died, Frost’s father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the only living creature she loves.

With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters . . . to talking to the first boy she’s ever set eyes on. But can a girl who’s only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own?

About the Book

Title: FROST
Author: M.P. Kozlowsky
Pub. Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Cinder meets The Walking Dead in a chilling futuristic fairy tale that will reboot everything you thought about family, love, and what it means to be human.

About the Author:

m-pM.P. Kozlowsky lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of Juniper Berry and The Dyerville Tales, books for readers of all ages.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


GIVEAWAY:
3 Finished Copies of FROST

Interested in snagging your own copy of this read?!  Click above to go to the giveaway!


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4Penguins

Quick Reasons: yet another awesome take on the robot (and zombie!) apocalypse; I LOVE the examination of what it means to be “human” that goes on throughout this read; the robots I expected, the zombies took me by surprise; a few delicious “twists” I didn’t see coming, a few delicious twists I guessed pretty early on; this was a quick, entertaining read

One very HUGE thank you to M.P. Kozlowsky, Scholastic Press, Edelweiss, and Rockstar Book Tours for sending me digital and physical copies of this ARC free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

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This book gave me EVERYTHING I never realized I’d been looking for in a dystopian world: humans vs. zombies vs. robots. A main character akin to Rapunzel–both endearingly naive and yet stubbornly strong in her morals. A wide cast of vibrant, well-rounded, individualized characters. A darker, questioning undertone. Sly and subtle hints at a bigger picture. I just… I am blown completely and utterly away, penguins!

So let’s start with the last thing first, yes? There is, throughout the entirety of this read, a darker undercurrent seeping through the pages. Every word, every emotion, begs the question: what, exactly, does it MEAN to be human? I absolutely ADORE how M.P. Kozlowsky went about broaching and examining this subject–and then portraying it across the spectrum of the characters in such satisfying, well-rounded ways!

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There were some very surprising twists and turns throughout–and a few that I, avid reader I am, was able to catch onto fairly early in the read. Don’t worry, penguins–I’ll save these secrets for you to discover all on your own! I will say, despite knowing the biggest twist at the end, I wasn’t at all disappointed–it wasn’t until the big reveal that I actually realized there HAD been hints scattered throughout. M.P. Kozlowsky wrote these with subtlety and sly genius–he knew how to give readers just enough to make them stop and ponder…but not enough to realize TOO soon that they were actually foreshadowings of what was coming. It was brilliantly done, and I tip my hat to the author for pulling it off so well!

I think the biggest triumph, though, came in the smallest package for this read: the characters are astoundingly vibrant, uniquely individualized, and portray HUGE amounts of character growth in very short amounts of time. I was especially taken by Flynn (I mean, let’s not even talk about the fact that his name is FLYNN, and therefore another tipped hat to Rapunzel–Disney’s version, at least). There is so much growth happening, so many changed motivations and shifted allegiances…but Flynn, in particular, exuded the most amount in my opinion. In just a short amount of time, he seems to flipflop on several of his strongest morals. And while there’s a HINT at romance happening…that’s all it is. A hint. Flynn and Frost part ways, to find their own destinies and do what they need as individuals. I just… I have so much love for these characters, guys! SO MUCH!

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I think the only problem I have is, I don’t know if this is a stand-alone or the start of a series. And this bothers me…because…I LOVE these characters, and this world, and I need more! The ending is so ambiguous and open, I just… I am dying to know what happens next. I guess I’ll just have to keep my eyes peeled, and keep hoping. I definitely recommend this to lovers of dystopians; new twists on the zombie/robot apocalypse; and sort of star-crossed lovers who put their destinies before their emotions. This was a wild, entertaining ride from start to finish; I cannot WAIT to see what M.P. Kozlowsky does next!

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Blog Tour, Excerpts, Giveaway and Review: Songs of Seraphina

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Songs of Seraphina

by Jude Houghton
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Tenebris Books, Grimbold Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Some battles bleed so much, and for so long, that the earth never truly forgets their dead. Some battles are born of oppression, and some of greed, and some simply because it was written in the stars.

Three sisters—Charlemagne, Cairo and Pendragon Agonistes—are sent from America to England to live with their eccentric grandparents after their mother disappears and their father falls to pieces. But before the girls have time to find their feet, Charlemagne is married off to a dead man, Penny takes a nap and wakes up as a boy, and Cairo is swept into a dangerous romance with a man who wants her for more than her considerable charm. With the girls wrapped up in a conflict they barely understand, they don’t notice that their grandmother is transforming, or that the two demigod assassins who took their mother are now coming for them—if one of them can get over his crisis of conscience.

In this richly painted tale, at whose heart is the unbreakable bond of family and blood, the world of Seraphina collides with our own as three unique girls are dragged into twilight lives past, fighting for vengeance, retribution, and the survival of their exiled people. 

Add it to Goodreads!

Get a copy here!

About the Author

Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.

GIVEAWAY:

5!!! Paperback copies of Songs of Seraphina are up for grabs!

CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway!


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4.5Penguins

Quick Reasons: dark and atmospheric; vivid imagery; unique, well-rounded characters; creeptastic antiheroes with ambiguous and shifting morals; an interesting re-imagining of immortals and demigods; a fantastic, entertaining journey

Huge thanks to Jude Houghton, Tenebris and Grimbold Books, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Penguins, let me just tell you–these characters are an absolute blast! I really enjoyed Crakes’ journey, in particular–he goes through such an awesome character arc and shows SO much growth. For beginning as a type of antihero, he… Well, he’s still an antihero, but he’s an antihero with morals? Does that even make sense? Doesn’t matter, I’m sticking with it. Crakes for LIIIIIIFE, guys. Crakes for life.

The rest of the characters are just as vibrant and well-rounded, though! There are some super shady, creeptastic motivations driving half of them, though it’s often difficult to discern just which side of the “war” they fall on. This is mostly due to the fact that they are constantly shifting–their morals, their motivations, their beliefs are never quite the same from one chapter to the next, which made them SO believable to me as characters. I had a ton of fun attempting–and failing!–to figure out what was driving who, and where the journey was leading.

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The plot is fast-paced and full of action, though there’s also a touch of something for EVERY type of reader–romance, intrigue, mythology, alternate universes… I especially adored how Jude Houghton handled and incorporated the pertinent backstory–this information is worked into the story so seamlessly, I found myself forgetting I was in the middle of a flashback and instead got sucked into the minds and motivations of THOSE characters. It was always somewhat a shock, therefore, to be returned to the “present” day–to be reminded that I was, momentarily, shoved into a long-forgotten moment.

And the prose! Dark and atmospheric, Jude Houghton sucked me in from the very first sentence. Several times while reading, I found myself wondering over the magic woven into every word, almost convinced I’d fallen under a spell and been transported out of reality into an entirely different world. The story is seamless, the language vibrant and detailed–at the end of the journey, I found myself loathe to leave!

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I cannot wait for the next book, to see what adventures await our band of unique characters. Jude Houghton wove the magic and beauty of the otherworldly into every page, easily transporting me out of reality and into the heart of this read. I definitely recommend this to lovers of fantasy, alternate universes, and stubbornly emotional demigods. Trust me, guys–you do NOT want to pass this book up!

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Wildwood: Coyotes, Bandits, and Bloodthirsty Ivy

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Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)

The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger—nothing less than an American Narnia—from Colin Meloy, lead singer of the highly celebrated band the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, the acclaimed illustrator of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Wildwood is the first in a planned trilogy.

Wildwood Chronicles #1
540 Pages
Fantasy/Middle Grade
Balzer + Bray Publications
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Get a copy here!

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Quick Reasons: lyrical, melodic, atmospheric prose; beautifully vivid descriptions and scenes; a few parts of this seemed to drag; quirky, unique cast of characters; vibrant, well-rounded emotions and situations; action-packed and decently paced plot

The illustrations that accompany this story are WONDERFUL, guys–seriously! They are so filled with intricate, delicate details and movement, you’ll feel as if you’ve crash-landed into the middle of the scenes being depicted each time you stumble across a new one. Carson Ellis did a masterful job combining elements of the narrative with his own personal artistic flair, and helped to bring this story more fully to life for me, so huge hats off to the artist!

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First off: this book was not quite what I was expecting, going in. I mean… I’m not rightly sure what I WAS expecting, but a battle between bandits, coyotes, and bloodthirsty ivy was definitely not it. This book has a smattering of dark and realistic undertones that both enthralled me and pushed me away in turn…and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey!

The characters are vibrant and unique, a motley cast of personalities that was both a blur of chaos and a mixed bag of entertainment. I don’t feel as if we really got a SENSE for many of the characters, however–most of them, in the long run, fell a bit flat overall, instead relying heavily on the cliches of their roles to carry them through and/or “round” them out. The only characters I feel we really got an HONEST sense for were Prue, Curtis, and Alexandra–and even they, at times, felt a bit stiff and formal to me.

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The language was also pretty heavy-handed; while I enjoy the lyrical or melodic prose, this book felt a bit TOO overdone in places, and instead became a hindrance instead of an enjoyment. Certain scenes, therefore, felt a bit like I was slogging my way through a bog–a bit heavily weighted, a bit slow to the point. These moments were ones where I found the book to be a bit dragging–a lacking of, I suppose, the type of adventure and action I had fully expected to come across when opening this book.

However, the plot IS full of action, and there are plenty of battle scenes and snarky moments to go around. I especially loved watching how the inhabitants of Wildwood reacted to and interacted with Prue and Curtis; it was in these moments I found the most character growth, the most pertinent pieces of information. And there is, of course, a sort of Narnia-esque feel to this read in general.

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Overall, I enjoyed this read, though it wasn’t quite as full of adventure as I’d been expecting. The illustrations and artwork are beautiful and delicately done, matching well with the vibrant and clashing personalities of the characters we meet throughout the journey. I definitely recommend this to lovers of mid-grade novels; Narnia; and snarky, headstrong female protagonists. There’s an understated magic to this book; perhaps you should give it a try!