Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

Book Description:
Trading Secrets
Back in fifth grade, Micah Knight got an Amish pen pal, and over the years, they've exchanged many letters--and many secrets. At age seventeen, Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. The only problem is that because of confusion about her name when the pen pals were assigned, her pen pal was a boy, Zack Miller. And all this time, Micah's never told Zack that she's actually a girl! While she wants nothing more than to experience life on Zack's Amish farm, she's afraid he'll hate her for deceiving him all these years. But she makes up her mind to face the music--and that's where the fun really begins. 
Bestselling author Melody Carlson brings young adults another fascinating tale of worlds colliding, secrets being revealed, and friendships forming. Teens will love this story of miscommunication and mishaps along the way to the truth.

My Thoughts:
This was a cute story.  Micah has written to her pen pal for years.  Zack is an Amish, now teenager, and he is Micah's pen pal.  When she was old enough to realize the mix up and her being a girl writing to an Amish boy, Micah kept her gender a secret.  Now, she has a chnace to meet him face-to-face and she is going!  She knows she has to reveal her secret but how will Zack react?
I really liked seeing the difference between the Amish family and the English family interactions.  The author does a great job with this story.  The way she sets up the story of the mixed up identity then face-to-face meeting while there are so many secrets between them.  Micah is so wanting to see the Amish for herself and Zack is wanting to get away.  The mix of cultures and friendships is worked perfectly.
5/5 for a teenage/young adult book.  It was a cute story.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Broken Destiny Book Blitz!

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Title: The Broken Destiny: A Broken Novel Book two Author: Carlyle Labuschagne Genre: Dystopian. Science- Fiction. YA Release Date: November 2014 Publishers: Hallowed Ink Press
Blurb: "You cannot know what light is if you have not experienced darkness"  Ava and her people have been exiled to the planet Poseidon for reasons she can't fathom. Upon meeting a boy from a different sector, her life turns into a beautiful chaos. She begins to feel things she isn't allowed to, thus motivating her to find out the truth about why her kind are so different, and why the Council are so interested in her. Once her mind is freed, with it comes a terrible power that could either save her kind, or destroy them all. But Ava is not the perfect heroine. She will become what she hates to save the ones she loves, and the cost of such a burden is deadly at best.








Displaying Carlyle.jpgCarlyle Labuschagne is a South African award winning author working her way into the hearts of international readers with her first two books in the Broken Trilogy. Her first young adult dystopian novel "The Broken Destiny" reached top 3 in its YA debut Category. The Sequel Evanescent won YATR literary award for best Sci-Fi book 2013. Her become a published author prgramme for students launched Feb 2014. She is not only an author, but works as a marketing manager by day. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at College SA. Carlyle loves to swim, fights for the trees, and is a food lover who is driven by her passion for life. Carlyle also writes for IU e-magazine India, an inspirational non-profit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. The drive behind her author career is healing through words. Carlyle is also the founder of the first annual book drive – Help Build A Library in Africa Project. And hopes to launch her very own Indie book festival in Johannesburg March 2015. “My goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another.”
Author Links:
Buy Links: Amazon

Prologue

All my life, I had searched for something; something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved.
I was the Chosen One, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me were not meant to exist.
What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of ‘The Broken’.
Excerpt two: 

Chapter One

Oh, Star

I wasn’t sure why they called us ‘The Broken’, but what I did know for certain was that we were different from the other ‘human’ inhabitants of this planet. We were the third generation of our kind, with a huge―some would say, cursed―destiny. We are also the last of our kind, a dying race. I used to believe that the reason we were exiled to Planet Poseidon was because we were a lot different from the humans on Earth. They tell us at assembly every morning that we are what survived of Earth because of those differences.
 Global warming, war and evil undertakings were said to have contributed to Earth’s destruction in the late twentieth century. Greed stripped Earth of its ‘magic’ and caused the planet to turn on itself. A way of getting rid of the ‘virus’, so to speak. Did I buy into those lies anymore - No. I believed that there was a lot more to the story behind our origins and our extradition to a long forgotten sector within the Titan galaxy was no accident. I could feel it in the cold burn of my legs as I walked the hollow halls of our institutions, and I could see it on the eerie motionless faces of my peers every day. Little by little, small things started changing and I started believing in the signs my mother wrote about in her secret journals.
A haunting feeling stared back at me as I looked upon my reflection in the monitor every morning, clearly remembering as a young child my iris were a lot bluer. At first I thought it was the effect of the changeover from mirror to monitor. I used to think that maybe the mirror was the lie. That it was evil and that that was the reason it had been outlawed. But so many new laws had been put into place over the last few years, I was beginning to doubt our perfect Utopia really existed, that beneath the surface something deceivingly dark was brewing, and the nightmares my biological mother wrote about were real events the council had stripped from her memories. Keeping it on paper was the only way she could decipher real memories from the planet ones.
Excerpt 3
My mother has me in some kind of arranged marriage, to the chief’s idiotic son of all people. I don’t want that. But it’s my duty. I have to. ” She said staring into the ground.
 “You don’t have to anything!” I shouted defensively. “No one can force you into a life you don’t want.”
My heart was racing, as my feet hit the wooden platform of the bridge. But the look on Maya’s face made me calm my anger and consider my words carefully, because the truth was that people did make me do things I didn’t want to.
Maya didn’t speak for a moment. From her facial expressions, I could tell she was having a fascinating debate in her own head. My eyes fell on the small stream. Only, the stream was no longer gentle.
“What do you suppose this means, then?” I asked Maya as I stopped to look over the edge of the bridge, my hands grasping the rail firmly as I peered all the way down the shallow canyon. By the look on her face, I knew I wasn’t imagining things and that she was concerned, not excited to have the planet alive again. Surely this would mean the cycle of autumn is finally over? She stood motionless on the overpass. We were both looking down on what used to be the tiny stream that snaked through the pebbles and disappeared over the ridge among the rocks and into the valley.
Maya grabbed my right arm tightly and tugged me away with such force that I almost fell over my own feet. Our footfalls clattered loudly over the bridge, as it slowly swayed beneath us.  
“Slow down, will you?” I yelled at her in frustration. “What’s going on, Maya?” The urgency in my voice momentarily startled us both.
“The prophecy,” she said distantly, keeping her eyes straight ahead.
“What?” I snapped.
But all she would say over and over again was: “It’s too soon! Too soon. Something’s wrong.”
I heard a loud thud. The bridge suddenly swayed dramatically and I looked down, trying to figure out what could have caused the sudden erratic motion. I noticed Maya extracting a sharp object from her boot. She was crouching down, baring her teeth like a wild cat. I tried to turn, but a sharp sting shot through my thigh. I looked down to see a long, red splinter protruding from my skin.
Maya shrieked and came at me, a thin dagger gripped tightly in her hand. She came hard and fast. I stood frozen in shock. What is she doing?My vision blurred and I started feeling dizzy. Maya yelled for me to get down, but I was frozen with fear. Suddenly, she ran around me and up on to the railing. She came crashing down―not on me as I had expected, but on something behind me. I staggered and fell on my hands and knees, barely feeling the hard wood as it pressed against my trembling palms and bony knees.
There was shouting. The bridge continued to sway beneath me, making it hard for me to clear my head…to get away. I managed to turn my neck just in time to see two dark figures climbing over the railing, reaching for me. Four powerful, dark hands clamped down on my arms and legs and lifted me off my feet. I heard Maya scream my name, but I was limp and couldn’t move.
As I was hurled away, unable to struggle, I could make out Maya’s form standing over the body of one of our attackers. She struck out at the two remaining assailants who were dragging me away. Another sudden shudder shook the bridge. I could hear the sound of weapons and fists flying around me. I dropped to the floor, suddenly free. By now I was completely numb. I didn’t feel the thud. It should have hit me full on. Instead, I tasted dust and then copper; blood.
Maya stood over me and yelled for someone called Enoch. I looked up at her as my vision faintly perceived two Zulu warriors grabbing her. I shouted for her safety, but the words got stuck in my throat, and I was lifted to my feet once more as they tore her off me. Maya screamed and fought her way out of our attackers’ claws. I heard an object slice through the air, passing over my head with a soft whistle. A dull thump and a soft growl followed, before the hands let me go.
This time I didn’t hit the ground. I kept on falling. I could barely hear the water over the shouting and after what felt like an immense force, I was underwater being overpowered by the cold.
Crystal blue eyes floated towards me like shooting stars, and I allowed myself to surrender to the darkness.
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Interview of Author Katherine McIntyre

AW: Tell us about yourself…
I'm a massage therapist by day, writer by night, and caffeine junkie 24/7. On top of all that, I dabble in a thousand and one hobbies, ranging from soapmaking to beer brewing, and most recently, blending tea. 
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AW: What genre do you write and why?

Anything speculative fiction. That includes science fiction, young adult scifi/fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, etc. I've always been drawn to spec fiction since I was a kid. There's something about the departure from the norm, from everyday life, that just tantalized my imagination. 

AW: Tell us about your book….
My most recent release is Snatched, a young adult dystopian novel I wrote years ago.
To summarize, it's a story about family--about a girl going to any length necessary to save her sister. The monsters on the surface keeping humanity underground, and the intrigue involving human survivors still living up above are the sci-fi icing on the novel-cake. 

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?
Kind of a weird inspiration actually. I first got the idea for this book from the concept of what it'd be like if society had to go back to using herbs and the old ways to heal, versus all of our modern day medicine and technology. That's actually where the shifters, the antagonists of the story, stemmed from. They're mutations that formed after usage of certain medications. End result, humanity's progress caused their own backlash. 

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
My favorite character would have to be Tweak. While I love my main character, Tweak was so weird and eccentric that she just stole the stage every time she appeared in the book. She's that sort of character like Anya in Buffy that just doesn't know common gestures or social cues. 

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Actually, yes. The ending was incredibly tough to write. My original ending involved breaking free prisoners--twice. When I realized it had been repetitious, I completely redesigned a huge portion of the story. 

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
I'm currently editing a dystopian pirate tale, and just started writing an urban fantasy centered on Norse mythology. I'm always juggling multiple projects.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
Two big ones. First off, I assign all of my characters zodiac signs when I write them. It helps me get into their headspace better since I'm obsessed with astrology. Seriously, I've got them all mapped out for An Airship Named Desire and Snatched. Secondly, I may get an idea for a story, but I don't act upon it until I get inspiration for the first line. Even though I'll push through and write, even on days when I'm not feeling it, that first line absolutely has to be inspired. 


AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?
Displaying IMG_7512.jpgGet yourself some good beta readers, but definitely swap stories with people. Not only will it help you build the tough skin you need in the field, but you will grow so much as a writer. Learning to critique another person's work can help you look at your own in a different, more objective light and help you become better at self editing. On top of that, a lot of beta readers that I've enjoyed swapping with have ended up becoming more like writing partners, and building connections in this community is so important.  

AW: Where can we find you?
I update book news on my website: www.katherine-mcintyre.com

However, most sneak peeks, regular news, and excerpts can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter: @PixieRants

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 
Most of my works can be found on Amazon, and through my author page: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU
However, my most recent one, Snatched, can also be found at Jupiter Garden's Press Store: http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/snatched/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wolf Haven by Lindsay McKenna

Wolf HavenBook Description:
She's caught in her past until he showed her a future… 

Some things can never be forgotten. A helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Capture. Torture. Now U.S. Navy nurse Skylar Pascal is struggling to regain control of her life after a trauma that nearly destroyed her. After losing so much, an ideal job at the Elk Horn Ranch in Wyoming offers Sky something she thought she'd never find again…hope. 

Former SEAL Grayson McCoy has his own demons. But something about Elk Horn's lovely-yet-damaged new nurse breaks something loose. Compassion—and passion. And even as Gray works with Sky to piece her confidence back together, something deeper and more tender begins to unfurl between them. Something that could bring her back to life. 

But not even the haven of Elk Horn Ranch is safe from dangers. And all of Sky's healing could be undone by the acts of one malicious man…

My Thoughts:
This one was good.  Sky is trying to get on with her life and hopefully move past what what happened.  She was in Afghanistan and went through a terror that will never be forgotten.  Gray understands what Sky is going through, maybe not exactly but he has his own past so understands more than most.  As they work together at healing and their jobs, forward progress may be undermined.
I liked Gray.  He just pulled me in.  He was not over what happened to him but he had figured out how to deal with it.  Sky's issue were much more recent and his desire to help her was something you could feel.  Of course his desire FOR her was the same way!  I liked the way the author wrote their interactions.  Neither was perfect but both had realistic missteps and they had to work through them.  
It was a 4/5 for me.  I'm going to have to go back and read the earlier books in this series.
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Complication by K.A. Salidas

Complication (Chronicles of the Uprising, #2)Book Description:
Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Magistrate, Mira travels west, toward the coast. With three weakened human fugitives accompanying her, she searches for the mythical land of Sanctuary. 
After encountering a pack of wolf shifters, headed by the charismatic—and brazen—Stryker, Mira learns that Sanctuary is real after all. Caldera Grove: home of the Otherkin. Hidden in the mouth of a dormant volcano, it has protected its residents from humans since the early days following the great cataclysm. For Mira— a vampire— Caldera Grove is a land of peace; an escape from the relentless persecution of the humans who once enslaved her, and an end to the daily struggle and bloodshed of being a gladiator. 
For the humans accompanying her, Caldera Grove means death. Humans, greedy and untrustworthy creatures, are destroyed before they can penetrate its borders. 
To plead her case for entry into Caldera, Mira must abandon her companions, albeit temporarily, and follow Stryker into the heart of the city. What she finds within Caldera Grove presents her with an unenviable decision between her own desires for freedom and peace, or honor and the human companions who risked it all for her.

My Thoughts:

After reading the first book in this series, I couldn't wait for this one.  Mira and her group of 3 humans have escaped the city.  Now finding the Sanctuary that she has always dreamed of, and honestly isn't sure really exists, is the goal.  They travel and encounter a pack of shifters who patrol the perimiter to keep Sanctuary safe.  Humans are forbidden to enter and Mira has to go in alone to plead for herself and them, but what will the price demanded be?
We find Mira to be a kick butt vampire in the first book, but she shows to be more than just a gladiator in this book.  She negotiates, meets a hot wolf shifter, and still manages to go toe-to-toe with the powers in Sanctuary.  The fact that the sanctuary she dreamed of was real the whole time and is just that (at least in appearance), made me happy.  I didn't like the way they treated her human companions but I did like that she never gave up on them.
It was an absolute 5/5 for me.  I love Mira and can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

Book Description:
She can turn the head of the man who spurned her--but can she turn his heart?

When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty. But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams. When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office, she's thrilled that her life is taking shape. But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she'll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.
Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice. But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man? 

My Thoughts:
Good book!  Megan has grown up.  She transformed from the 'gangly, awkward' stage to the beautiful young woman stage while studying abroad.  When she comes home, she finds a job she thinks she will love (until she finds out more information) and attracts the attention of men who've never noticed her that way before.  Her life is dramatically changed but not completely for the better as she has to work through some adversities if she wants to achieve her goals.I really liked Megan.  She, like almost all the characters Ms. Lessman writes, is such a believable character.  The love triangle here wasn't over done, and neither was God's message preached at you in an overbearing way.  She does make sure to make sure that God is central in her books and I love that.  I also liked that things didn't just magically fall into place for Megan but that she had to work for things she wanted.  
I love the way Julie Lessman writes.  If you haven't read the previous books in this series, you need to because this is a good series!  4/5.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

Book Description:
Leaving him was Impossible...
It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance...whether they like it or not.
Seeing her again is even worse
The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he's tried to bury comes roaring back-and there's no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.

My Thoughts:
Good book.  Danica knows she and her FBI partner are in over their heads the minute she sees the body.  They have been called in for a serial killer that kills like an animal.  Danica knows exactly what they are looking for...a shifter.  Clayne is sent to investigate as part of Danica's team.  Unfortunately neither knows the other is involved in the case and with their past, it is not an easy alliance to form.  Danica can't tell Clayne why she left and Clayne can't forget how the woman broke his heart and walked away.  There is a murdering shifter to find though and Clayne may just have to let the wolf inside him take over to find them.
I liked Clayne.  He was an in your face, strong, MAN.  Ok so he was more than a man and had a bit of a temper issue but that is where Danica comes in perfectly.  She balances his hotheadedness.  She is a strong, sure woman who knows what she wants but will do anything for the man she loves.  She and her new partner are great friends and I love how they work together and the way he is written into the story.  I hope the bad guy gets what is coming to him.  I can't wait to read more about the secondary characters in this book because I think all of them have their own stories to tell!
I plan to go back and read the first in this series.  This one was a 4/5 for me and I will be looking forward to the future books in the series!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#Tour of Whole in the Clouds by K_Kibbee #giveaway #Hosted @Crossroadreview

Hidden in the pages of Whole in the Clouds you will find the ticket to a fantastical new world, complete with trees that sprout children, shy unicorns, elves who move at dizzying speeds, inchworms who wear spectacles and a pudgy little girl who is magically transformed into an ethereal beauty. An unhappy orphan, Cora Catlin is a misfit at best, an outcast at worst. She feels out of place in her life, as if everything is backwards and part of her is missing. But her long, tormented hours in hum-drum Harborville take a decided turn upwards when she encounters an elfin stranger who tells of a mystical world that awaits her atop the clouds. As Cora travels to her new home by way of a magical elevator to the heavens, she finds herself and her companion physically transformed. As if an entirely new body wasn’t enough to get used to, royal parentage, talking pegasus’, a raging war and an alluring love interest who just happens to be the son of her father’s greatest enemy await Cora as well. Exploring this new land alongside her devoted dog Motley, Cora will unearth wonders and secrets beyond her wildest imaginings. She will discover the meaning of true friendship, love and what it means to finally feel whole—Whole in the Clouds.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book Description:
Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge. And that suits Bess Riehl just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word of explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes when Billy's cousin Amos proposed--for the third time--and beginning to plan for her Christmas wedding.

When a "lost" rose is discovered in a forgotten corner of the greenhouse at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. His plan is to get in, identify the rose, and get out. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose--and he can't get Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed this novella.  Bess is set to marry Amos Lapp.  She loves him but has never really gotten over her first love Billy who left years before.  When an old rose is discovered and an expert is called in, it is none other than Billy who shows up.  His plan is to get in identify the rose and get out.  As the story unfolds things change.
I fell in love with the characters.  Bess is set to move on and marry since Billy has left, even if she is still in love with him.  I really enjoyed the story of the rose and how it came together.  The overall theme of God being a constant is woven through and is such a great thing to remember.  I have to say this author knows how to write a good Amish story!
Absolutely a 4/5.  The author tells a wonderful story here and a good Christmas tale!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

God's Great Creation! I Can Read 2

Book Description

"Man and woman had been created in God’s image … that meant people were extra special to God." God spent seven days creating his world. He made the stars and the moon, the plants and the trees, and the birds and the fish. On the last day he made Adam and Eve - people like you! God loved everything that he made. But one day Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
This level 2 I Can Read! book is designed for newly independent readers and is based on the Adventure Bible - the #1 Bible for kids
My Thoughts:
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via BookLook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading this with my 6 year old.  It brings creation down to the child's level and makes them enjoy reading about it.  My son was thrilled that he was reading about what God did and understanding it.  Sometimes the Bible has words that either he can't read or doesn't grasp but he had no problems with this book.  He knew the story already but reading on his own made it even more real to him.  I enjoyed watching him absorb it and have him happy about reading.
This was a 5/5 for us.  We really loved it.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via BookLook).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.