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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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Book Blitz, Teasers, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Ruin

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Ruin
Clarissa Wild
Publication date:
September 20th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Maybell Fairweather was the girl of my
dreams.

Always smiling brightly, she kept going, despite the names her classmates called
her behind her back.

She was full of curiosity and independence, the extent of which I could only be jealous
of. Even though she had all odds stacked against her, she knew what she wanted from
life and pursued it, no matter the cost.

She was completely my opposite in every way.

Perfect, even though she couldn’t see it.

Perfect … until me.

Because this is the story of how I ruined her.

Based on a true story. Standalone Romance. No cliffhanger.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

He winks, and somehow, it makes me blush.

For some reason, it’s hard to look away too.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

“Alexander Wright.”

I smile. “Maybell Fairweather.”

“Hmm … Maybell … nice name.”

“Thanks.” I blush.

I don’t know why or what it is about him, but he has this gentleness about him that
soothes me and makes me want to ask him to stay, even if I don’t have a reason for
it.

But then I realize it’s not the only reason I’m looking at him.

Something’s felt off since we met, and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now, I
can.

“Wait …” I mutter. “I know you, right?”

“Yeah, I’m that guy who ate a sandwich with you the other day. You don’t
remember? Should I call a nurse?” He chuckles.

I roll my eyes. “No. I mean …” I recognize him from somewhere. “I know you from
… school, right?”

His eyes suddenly widen, and he slams his lips shut.

HA! I knew he looked familiar. “No way! I knew it.”

The muscles in his face tighten. “Oh, boy.”

“I’ve seen you at school a few times.”

“Really?” he says, scratching the back of his neck.

“Yeah … don’t tell me I’m making this up. I’m not crazy … right?” I pout.

He smiles, his dimples making me wanna pinch his cheeks. “No, you’re not crazy.
It’s just a surprise that you’d even recognize me. People usually don’t even see me. I’m
invisible.”

“Yeah?” I bite my lip and frown. “Same here.”

He lowers his arm. “No … you’re not invisible at all,” he says, looking at me with
half-mast eyes. “I see you. All the time.”

Romantic couple kissing

Lean fit man with muscular back

Woman in fairy forest

 

clarissaAuthor Bio:

Want to be the first to get your hands on new books & get access to free short
stories, giveaway prizes, previews, and more? Sign up here
http://eepurl.com/FdY71

Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for
the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious
Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series,
The Billionaire’s Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer
of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat
friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all
sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook /
Twitter / Fan
Club

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Elegant stylish handsome man. Black-white studio fashion portrait.

Young Couple in love

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Somniare

 

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Somniare
D.T. Dyllin
(Somniare, #1)
Publication date: July 19th 2016Somniare
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Remy Novem was murdered…

But she didn’t die.

Forced to escape to Somniare, a dream landscape, Remy must somehow survive living nightmares, and endless torment without using her magic. Her only hope for freedom is to hitch a ride with a human back into reality, tricking the poor creature into believing no harm will befall them.

Remy isn’t troubled by the fact that she must kill to live…

Until love changes everything.

Goodreads / Amazon

*Are you a reviewer? Request a review copy of Somniare here!*

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bloody

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DT Author Bio:

D.T. Dyllin is a bestselling author who writes both paranormal and contemporary romance. Anything with a love story is her kryptonite. Her obsession with affairs-of-theheart is what first drove her to begin twisting her own tales of scorching romance.

D.T. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Black & Gold for life, baby!) She now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband and two spoiled German Shepherds.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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GIVEAWAY! — 3x Signed Paperback copies, each with a set of character illustrations
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Book Blitz, Giveaway, and Excerpt: True Calling Series

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This is my stop during the book blitz for the True Calling series by Siobhan Davis! This blitz will run from 28 June till 4 July. The book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The tour schedule can be viewed here

True Calling is a fully completed YA sci-fi dystopian romance series that will appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced action adventure, sublime worldbuilding, strong character development, and tons of swoon-worthy romance. With over 500 five-star ratings on Goodreads, the True Calling series is currently FREE to download from Kindle Unlimited! If you don’t read on KU you can benefit from significant discounts during the blitz – read the first 3 books for 99c!

All books in the series are listed below, and check out the cool giveaway!

True Calling – free!

Lovestruck – free during blitz!

Beyond Reach – 0.99$ during blitz

True Calling Boxset – all books plus bonus content for only $7.99

True CallingTrue Calling (True Calling #1)

By Siobhan Davis

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Age category: Young Adult

Blurb:

Welcome to Novo: Your new home in Space

For Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, Ariana has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.

Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

You can find True Calling on Goodreads

You can get your free copy of True Calling here:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

SAMPLE FROM TRUE CALLING:

Changing back into my clothes is no easy feat. It’s too dark to get changed under the shade of the trees, so I strictly instruct Cal to turn his back while I try to pull my clothes on over still too wet skin. I end up falling several times in the sand, much to his amusement. Finally, I succeed, and we’re ready to go.

Cal takes my hand as we navigate our way out, and he never lets go. I raise no objection, relishing the warmth radiating between us.

I realize I’m totally starving at about the same time my stomach does, making a loud rumbling sound. “I really need to eat.”

“Me too, let’s see what our options are in the square.” Our options, it seems, are rather limited at this late hour, so we settle for takeout burgers, which we eat sitting on a bench in the square.

“Thanks for sharing your cove with me. I had a great time.”

“You’re welcome,” he says, moving in close beside me.

My heart accelerates wildly at the look in his eyes. This time, I don’t move away when he lowers his lips to mine and gently kisses me. Instinctively, I return the kiss, and a surge of warmth floods every cell and nerve ending in my body as my lips brush his. I’m surprisingly adept at this, I think fleetingly, as my mouth moves naturally against his.

Emboldened, he deepens the kiss, and I lose myself in him. I only break away when the kiss grows in intensity and our joint ragged breathing accelerates. My father’s caution is all too fresh in my mind. “What’s wrong?” he asks, wrapping his hand around my wrist.

“No good can come of this, Cal,” I whisper. “You remember what your father said–we’ve no choice but to comply with the rules of ‘The Calling.’ There’s no point starting something, no matter what we might feel.”

“Nothing that feels this right can be so wrong,” he says quietly. But he doesn’t make any other move on me, and we head back to Aqua in silence.

It takes me ages to fall asleep; I can’t stop thinking about Cal. Touching my lips, I smile as I remember our tender kiss. In my dream, he’s kissing me passionately as we lie entwined on the golden sandy beach of the cove. But it’s not Cal’s arms that embrace me–it’s Zane’s.

 

All the books in this series:

True CallingLovestruckBeyond ReachLight of a Thousand StarsDestiny Rising

Lovestruck (True Calling #1.5) by Siobhan Davis

You can find Lovestruck on Goodreads. Get your free copy of Lovestruck from June 28 till July 2 on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Beyond Reach (True Calling #2) by Siobhan Davis

You can find Beyond Reach on Goodreads. You can buy Beyond Reach for only 0.99$ during the blitz on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Light of a Thousand Stars (True Calling #2.5) by Siobhan Davis

You can find Light of a Thousand Stars on Goodreads. You can buy Light of a Thousand Stars on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Destiny Rising (True Calling #3) by Siobhan Davis

You can find Destiny Rising on Goodreads. You can buy Destiny Rising on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Praise for the True Calling series:

“In a word, WOW!! Talk about a fascinating and magnetic tale!” Tome Tender

“With intergalactic battle, love that traverses countries—entire planets—and endless twists and turns, this series deserves a spot on your e-reader.” A Leisure Moment

“True Calling is a dystopian sci-fi romance that is FABULOUS!” The Caffeinated Booknerd

“Fresh with original ideas, exciting characters, great storyline, and a realistic love story.” Amazon reviewer.

“This series deserves to become as well-known as popular series such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc… it’s that good.” Paranormal Books.

“I cannot put my love for Siobhan Davis’ True Calling series into words – it’s easily one of my favorite series.” RamblingB00ks

“This isn’t just a book I couldn’t put down, but a series I cannot put down. All I can say is wow!” Patricia Hamill. Author-Blogger. Puretextuality

“It’s Hunger Games meets Twilight but only better!” Amazon reviewer.
SiobhanAbout the Author:

Siobhan Davis writes young adult science fiction fantasy romance books, and she is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling series. The first book in her new Saven series was released in December 2015.

A self-professed teenager forever–at least when it comes to books, music, and films, Siobhan is totally addicted to teen fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. She loves baking, shoes, bags, makeup, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).

Before pursuing a full-time writing career, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in Human Resources over the last twenty years. She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.

You can find and contact Siobhan here:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

Goodreads

Amazon

Newsletter

Sample chapters, quotes, reviews and book excerpts are all available to download from the authors website

Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of the True Calling series. These are the prizes you can win:

– Paperbacks of the three books in the Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass

– Paperbacks of the three books in the True Calling series by Siobhan Davis

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Ella’s Twisted Senior Year

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Ella’s Twisted Senior Year by Amy Sparling. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 31 May till 6 June, you can view the blitz schedule here.

Ella's Twisted Senior YearElla’s Twisted Senior Year
By Amy Sparling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: May 31, 2016

Blurb:
Having spent most of her senior year flying under the radar, the last thing Ella Lockhart expected was to have a tornado rip straight through her house, leaving her homeless. It’s bad enough that the whole school now pities her, but did her parents have to let the neighbors take them in?

Now she’s sharing a house with Ethan Poe, her former best friend-turned-enemy. All those feelings she used to have for him are starting to rain down on her again. Too bad he’s a jerk and his new girlfriend has territorial issues. Thanks to Mother Nature, Ella’s house and her entire life have been turned upside down.

Ethan isn’t quite sure why Ella hates him so much, but he does know she wants nothing to do with him. He’s never quite gotten over the crush he had on her as a kid, and now that she’s living across the hall, it’s hard to stay away. His girlfriend isn’t helping the situation and when she shows her true colors, he doesn’t want to date her anymore. He wants to date someone like Ella. Too bad she hates him.

You can find Ella’s Twisted Senior Year on Goodreads

You can buy Ella’s Twisted Senior Year here:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia

Amy SparlingAbout the Author:
Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She lives in Texas and has an addiction to sparkly nail polish, taking photos of her cute dog, and swooning over book boyfriends.

You can find and contact Amy here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

There is a book blitz wide giveaway for the book blitz of Ella’s Twisted Senior Year. These are the prizes you can win:
– a $10 Amazon gift card (Open internationally)
– a signed paperback of Ella’s Twisted Senior Year by Amy Sparling (USA only)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


banner Lola's Blog Tours

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Blog Tour (Review) and Giveaway: Memories of Ash

thumbnail_MemoriesOfAshTourBanner-copy-copyMemories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles, #2)

Title: Memories of Ash
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
Price: US $3.99 (eBook), US $TBD (paperback)
Goodreads Rating: 4.69 Stars

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In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase your copy of Sunbolt at:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple

Giveaway–A Kindle Fire (US entrants) OR $50 Gift Card (Int’l entrants)


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4Penguins
Quick Reasons: great fantasy; intriguing twists to vampires; tons of action and drama; complex, well-written characters; unlikely friendships; realistic relationships and emotional reactions; nail-biting scenes; lots of wit, snark, and entertainment

Huge thanks to Intisar Khanani, Purple Monkey Press, and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

MA Quote1

Going into this read, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really enjoyed Sunbolt, but was also left with a ton of questions and missing plot points that I wasn’t sure would be easily wrapped up or explained.

I should not have doubted the brilliance that is Intisar Khanani’s mind. This is only the second book I’ve read by her, but let me tell you—she knows what she’s doing. The characters in this sequel are complex, wholly realistic, and beyond entertaining. The snark and sass that comes out of just ONE of these characters is enough to knock you over; the fact that she isn’t the only character with such a huge amount of personality could probably light an entire town, if such a power source existed.

MA Quote2

The prose is gorgeous, melodic, and SO descriptive. You will literally sink into the story…and come out on the other side blinking, wide-eyed, wondering what happened to the time. The action is fast-paced and entertaining. The nail-biting, cringe-worthy moments will keep you in suspense throughout. There aren’t very many “plot twists,” which I both enjoyed and didn’t—much as I loathe bad plot twists, sometimes books NEED them, you know? However, the plot was so well-thought out, things were revealed in their own time—and that worked.

I think my favorite thing about these books, though, are the relationships. While there were some confusing or vague plot points, the relationships remained realistic and believable. I particularly enjoy the bond between Val and Hitomi—they accept one another as they are, no questions asked, and it’s obvious from their interactions that there’s a grudging sort of friendship growing between them. The respect Hitomi shows throughout—toward everyone, not just certain groups—shows a side of her personality we might not have been privy to otherwise. And I LOVE that, even in the worst sort of danger, she sticks to her morals like glue—they aren’t even a question for her.

MA Quote3

This was an entertaining, awesome read—the fantasy is detailed, the prose gorgeous, and the characters wholly believable. I recommend this to lovers of complex stories, multi-dimensional relationships, and new/adventurous settings. This was a great installment to a pretty awesome series; I can’t wait to see what book 3 has planned for these characters!

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Shining Sea

Shining Sea
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.

Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

GOODBYE

Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.

As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.

Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.

Or not.

The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.

I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.

Not just leaving . . . moving.

“Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”

In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.

My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”

Saint Anthony—is he the one?

A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.

“Arion? You up there?”

Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.

She doesn’t see me.

Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.

There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.

My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.

But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.

Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.

“So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.

Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.

She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?

I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.

In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.

“I love you,” I choke out.

She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.

Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded. But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.

Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.

Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.

A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.

My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.

Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.

Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”

I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.

But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.

The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.

Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.

So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.

It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.

Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.

Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.

It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.

Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.

I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.

So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.

But nothing like this happens.

Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.

And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.

Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.

“Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”

Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .

Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.

“Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”

Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.

“Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.

Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.

My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.

We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.

It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.

My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.

We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.

 

Author Bio:

Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master’s degree from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she’s shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.

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7

Blog Tour (Excerpt) and Giveaway: Ivy Pocket

Ivy Pocket BannerIP 1 Cover

Ivy Pocket is a twelve-year-old maid of no importance, with a very lofty opinion of herself. Dumped in Paris by the Countess Carbunkle, who would rather run away to South America than continue in Ivy’s companionship, our young heroine (of sorts) finds herself with no money and no home to go to … until she is summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity.

For the princely sum of £500 (enough to buy a carriage, and possibly a monkey), Ivy agrees to courier the Duchess’s most precious possession – the Clock Diamond – to England, and to put it around the neck of the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. It’s not long before Ivy finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, mayhem and murder.

Illustrated in humorous gothic detail by Barbara Cantini, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is just the beginning of one girl’s deadly comic journey to discover who she really is …

Goodreads Rating: 3.73 Stars
387 Pages
Bloomsbury Children’s Publishing / Greenwillow Books
Get a copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

IP 2 Cover

Are you ready for Ivy Pocket? The wickedly funny, completely unreliable maid of no importance returns—this time as a coffin maker’s daughter—in this action-packed sequel to Anyone but Ivy Pocket. School Library Journal says, “Fans of . . . Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will love Ivy Pocket’s zany adventures.” Featuring extensive black-and-white interior art by Barbara Cantini throughout.

Everyone seems to want a piece of Ivy Pocket. Her adoptive parents keep trying to get her to clean the funeral home, even though Ivy’s certain she’s already the picture of a perfect daughter. A beautiful heiress named Estelle wants Ivy to uncover the dark truth behind her brother’s death. Her new friend, Miss Carnage, keeps asking Ivy the most curious questions (the poor, clueless dear). To top it all off, Ivy must protect the Clock Diamond from the evil Miss Always, who seems to be lurking around every corner! A fast-paced and hilarious follow-up toAnyone but Ivy Pocket, which Booklist praised as “a droll chapter book with a Victorian setting and a one-of-a-kind protagonist.” This is the second of three books about Ivy Pocket!

Goodreads Rating: 4.17 Stars
416 Pages

Bloomsbury Children’s Publishing / Greenwillow Books
Get a copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


 

Excerpt from Anyone But Ivy Pocket

I collected my carpet bag from the wardrobe and sat down by the window. I needed time to think. The situation was rather serious. My options, rather limited. I had one pound to my name. No job. No ticket back to England. No prospects. What to do?

I am remarkably good in a crisis—for I have all the natural instincts of a five-star general—so in no time at all, I had formed a plan. I picked up my carpetbag and headed down to the lobby, replacing my anxiety with the flickering flame of hope. The streets of Paris were sure to lead to adventure and opportunity. No doubt I would stumble upon something utterly thrilling. Or I might end up a beggar, friendless and starving. Which would be terribly inconvenient. But on the bright side—how wonderfully tragic!

The lobby was a hive of activity. People coming and going and rushing about. I stopped for a moment to drink it all in. Which is when it hit me—the answer to my problem. It was staring me in the face. A hotel like this was full of travelers from England—and who better to wait upon them than a genuine English maid? I would speak to the manager and apply for a position.

He was sure to love me.

“We have no vacancies,” said Mr. Gateau firmly, scratching at his thin mustache. “Besides, you are too young to work at the Grand.”

“I am twelve,” I declared with considerable pride, “and you will not find a better maid in all of Paris. My talents are legendary.”

Mr. Gateau smiled thinly. “Yes, I have heard all about your talents. Countess Carbunkle had much to say about you before she departed the hotel.”

“Well, there you go,” I said, slapping Mr. Gateau on the shoulder to cement our budding friendship. “So, when can I start?”

“Out!” he bellowed.

A rather ill-mannered doorman was escorting me from the hotel when a bellboy raced across the lobby and called my name. The poor chap was rather breathless. “Are you Ivy Pocket?”

“Of course I am, dear.”

“The maid who was traveling with Countess Carbunkle?”

I was thrilled that he had heard of me. But not surprised. A good maid gets a reputation. “That’s right,” I said.

“She wants to see you,” said the boy gravely.

I gasped. “Countess Carbunkle? Is she still here?”

The bellboy shook his head. “The Duchess of Trinity. You’ve heard of her?”

Well, of course I had. My lady had called on the Duchess just the day before—slipping away from me rather sneakily, and paying a visit to her private apartment on the top floor. Countess Carbunkle said her old friend was the richest woman in England, though she had lived abroad for the past sixty years. Not sure why exactly. Something about a broken heart.

“What on earth does she want with me?” I said.

The bellboy looked alarmingly pale. “She is dying. Please, just come.”

The next thing I knew we were hurrying up the grand staircase.

 


 

Giveaway (US entrants only): 2 sets of IVY POCKET books!

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6

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Gilt

Gilt: By Invitation Only
Geneva Lee
(Gilt Series, #1)
Publication date: May 31st 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary

In a world with too much money and not enough rules, anything goes. Welcome to Belle Mère, the most exclusive zip code outside the Las Vegas Strip. It’s every sinner’s fantasy and every good parent’s worst nightmare.

Emma Southerly doesn’t belong at Belle Mère Prep despite her new stepfather’s money. Not after she shunned her invite to the popular table, and especially not after what happened last summer. So when her best friend begs her to crash an invite-only, end of the year party, she should say no with a capitol H-E-L-L.

It’s just a party. What could go wrong?

Getting kicked out to start. Running into the man who destroyed your family.

Everything.

Until she meets Jamie, who’s also hiding from the in-crowd. After spending the night with the cute stranger, Emma barely makes it home before news hits Belle Mère’s brunch tables. A body’s been found on the West estate, and Jamie is the number one suspect. But he couldn’t have done it…right?

Emma isn’t sure she can trust him or the rest of Belle Mère. After all, no one is safe when everyone is a liar.

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Sign up for Geneva’s newsletter for a chance to win 1 of 50 advance copies of Gilt before release! Sign me up!

Winning subscribers will be notified by May 25, 2016.

 

Author Bio:

Geneva Lee is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of The Royals Saga. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her traveling, buying unnecessary shoes, or drinking champagne. Her debut novel Crewel, written as Gennifer Albin, was a YALSA Teens Top 10 read and a BEA buzz pick. She lives in Kansas City with her family.

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One (1)! special person will win a Swag Pack from Geneva Lee herself!  Follow the link to the giveaway on Rafflecopter.  Winner will be notified June 1st, 201.  Prizes will be mailed after June 2nd, 2016.  This giveaway is open to US/CAN residents only.

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