Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Give Me A K-I-L-L by R.L. Stine

Series: Fear Street Relaunch #6
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin 
Genre: YA, Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: The sixth new book in the re-launch of R.L. Stine’s bestselling Fear Street series, which has sold more than 80 million copies around the world.

At Shadyside High, cheerleading can be a scream!

For the first time since the original series, R.L. Stine brings back his most beloved characters—the cheerleaders of Shadyside High.

The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Heather Wyatt, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Heather make the squad—if there's even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?

Packed with screams and guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine, this is a terrifying installment in Stine's bestselling Fear Street series.

My Rating
5/5 stars

My Review
If you’re a fan of this series, a fan of R.L. Stine, or are just looking for a good mystery to read, then look no further. You need to pick up a copy of Give Me a K-I-L-L right away!

Gretchen has just moved to Fear Street and is the new kid at Shadyside High. Her mother’s messy divorce has moved them far away from her best friend and cheerleading co-captain. Settling into a new school can be hard, especially when everyone’s known each other for years. Gretchen’s best chance is to put the past behind her to try out for Shadyside’s cheerleading team. While Gretchen manages to score a tryout, she also makes an enemy, Devra, a spoiled rich girl who's used to getting her way, and will stop at nothing to win the tryout. Can Gretchen get out of this without making any enemies? Or getting herself killed in the process?

If you’ve read my review of the previous Fear Street Relaunch book called The Dead Boyfriend, you would know how much I obsess over this series. I haven't read all the books (yet), and fyi you don't need to read the books in order, so feel free to start off with this one.

Give Me a K-I-L-L was absolutely fantastic. I had to start reading the book right away, and when I started it, I finished the book in one sitting. That’s how good it was. No joke. There is tons of action and suspense throughout the whole book, and the one thing I love about the way that R.L. Stine writes books, is that no matter what theory I have about who the bad guy is, it is never who I think it is, I never come close. I’m always pleasantly surprised, and this book was no exception. 

It’s very hard to talk about this book without spoiling anything, because like I said, the action starts right from the beginning. I do want to say, that the characters are absolutely amazing, the storyline is very creative, and it definitely has enough action and suspense to keep the reader engaged. You wont know what’s coming next. The only thing about this book that I would change, is the length, because I did not want this book to end. I need more!!

I highly recommend this book to all readers, whether you love young adult or adult books, I feel like everyone could find something they love about this book.

Happy Reading,
Aneta

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Of Glitter and Gold Anthology by Sherry D. Ficklin


Of Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Anthology
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 27th 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Synopsis: Set during the flamboyant anything-goes era of 1920’s America, these three tales are filled with intriguing characters and rich imagery from the time period—with flappers, jazz music, gangsters, and lavish wealth. Escape to a different decade today with the compelling stories of the Canary Club Anthology.
Novelette 1- Gilded Cage
Masie, the flaxen-haired daughter of notorious bootlegger Dutch Schultz, returns home from boarding school to find her family in crisis. Her mother is dangerously unstable, her father’s empire is on the brink of ruin, and the boy she once loved has become a ruthless killer for hire. To keep her family’s dangerous secrets, Masie is forced into a lie that will change the course of her future—and leave her trapped in a gilded cage of her own making.
Novelette 2- All That Glitters
A dame with brains, moxie, and killer curves, June West isn’t your average flapper. She’s managed to endear herself to the son of one of the most powerful gangsters in New York, earning herself a spot in the limelight that she’s always longed for. With the infamous playboy at her side, June has become accustomed to living the high life. Lavish parties, expensive clothes, sparkling jewels—nothing is beyond her reach. But when her carefully woven web of lies finally catches up with her, she must make an impossible choice… come clean about her past and risk losing everything, or find a way to bury her demons—once and for all.
Novelette 3 – Nothing Gold
Dickey has been down on his luck since the day he was born. Flat broke and sick of being looked down on, he meets young socialite Lillian at a wild party. The connection is like a strike of lightning. From a wealthy New York family, this debutante is everything he’s been told he can never have—and the only thing he wants. Determined to win her, he knows the only way to get her parents approval is with cold hard cash. So when a shot at the biggest score of his life comes around, he just can’t refuse…
NOTHING GOLD EXCERPT:
It’s easier than I imagined to sneak into the party. The music is so loud and the crowd so enormous that no one sees me wind my way through the shrubs on the outskirts. The massive estate is far enough away from the city that I had to hitch a ride to get here, and I’ll have to time my exit just right to make the train back to Manhattan.
Brushing off my secondhand suit coat, I enter the party via the back patio. A wide pool is filled with people, most still in their fancy evening wear. My eyes slide past them, searching for the one person at this shindig that I know. I scan past butlers with white gloves holding silver trays covered in champagne glasses, past gleeful dames in short skirts with blood-red lips, and past gents in their glad rags I can tell with one glance cost more dough than I make in a year working at the mill.
When I finally see him, his pinstripe suit, matching fedora, and red pocket square, he’s standing atop the massive staircase on the ledge overlooking the party. Deacon Brewer, the reason I’m here tonight. His hands are stuffed in the pockets of his trousers as he chats up a fella I don’t recognize, along with the dame hanging off his arm. Plastering on an easy grin, I wind my way through the people, helping myself to a glass of bubbly as I head for the stairs. The stone steps are covered in gold confetti, the whole place practically dripping with it. Long, red velvet drapes hang from arched windows, and leafless branches painted gold and draped with crystal beads sit in tall vases in every corner. Nothing has been left un-gilded.
I shake my head at the audacity. Might as well have a neon sign—someone, please rob the joint.
Deacon sees me coming and dismisses himself from his conversation, welcoming me with an open hand.
“Dickey Lewis, glad you could make it, boy,” he offers warmly.
As if I had a choice.
“Of course, Mr. Brewer,” I respond with more warmth than I feel. Truth is that I’m in deep to Deacon after a few bad bets at his club last month, and he opted to make me work it off rather than take it outta my hide. I suppose that makes him clever, but I can’t help the gnawing feeling that this is a debt I may never fully repay. “What’s the score?” I ask, lowering my voice.
Draping an arm across my shoulders, he walks me through the glass doors and into the house. Still crammed with people drinking, dancing, and generally wrecking the joint, he pulls a cigar from his vest pocket with his free hand.
“Upstairs in the den is a lovely Monet, behind which is a very large safe. Cash, some baubles, and a bankbook are inside. I don’t care about the rest; you take what you need. But the bankbook needs to find its way into my hands tomorrow morning by eight am.”
I take a deep breath, rolling my tongue over my teeth before answering, “How am I supposed to get into the safe?”
He barks a deep laugh, slapping me on the back. “Guess you’ll have to get a little creative. Just get in, get out, and don’t let nobody see ya, got it?”
All I can do is nod and watch him swagger away. Sure, I’ve boosted loot before, but always simple jobs, smash and grabs. Nothing like this. What have I gotten myself into this time?
Still, whatever else is in there is mine for the taking, I tell myself. Could be a big pay day, judging by the looks of the place.
I wander casually through the house, trying to look as if I belong while also counting the number of cops and guards watching the area. It’s not as many as I expected. I grab a dark-haired dame by the waist, offering her a charming smile and asking for a dance. We Charleston together for two songs, finally stopping to imbibe more champagne. When I ‘accidently’ stumble into her, she spills the contents of her glass on my jacket, fumbling a wide-eyed apology.
Waving her off with a smile, I hand her my glass, “You take this, and I’ll go find a place to wash up.”
“You could always take a dip in the pool, honey,” she says, batting her eyelashes.
Beside her, a gentleman points up a secondary set of stairs near the front door. “Washroom is up there, I think.”
I mutter a thanks and a promise to return, then make my way up the stairs, continuing to stumble around as if drunk, occasionally opening a door to find a couple necking or a room full of folks smoking the Indian hop in long pipes.
Finally, the thumping of the music fading below me, I make my way to the library. Beyond that, I find the only locked door on the entire floor. Digging into my pocket, I pull out my lock kit, a simple flattened iron jimmy and a hooked pick. Sliding both in the lock, I slide them back and forth, listening for the mechanism inside to release. It doesn’t take long and the door springs open, allowing me to step inside and close it quickly behind me. It’s dark except for the glow of a single lamp atop a massive oak desk, behind which is a tall arched window overlooking the front of the estate. From this spot, I can see the cars lined up along the circular drive, partygoers coming and going in wild abandon. Pulling the pocket watch from my vest, I wipe my fingers across the cracked glass face, checking the time. Only thirty minutes until the train. If I miss it, it’ll be two hours before the next one. Not the end of the world, unless someone notices the lift before I’m gone. That’s a long time to stick around with a pocket fulla stolen goods.
I glance around me, the blood chilling in my veins. Every wall except the one with the window is covered in framed paintings. And I have no idea which one is a Monet.
Scrambling, I begin lifting each, checking the wall behind for any sign of the safe. Finally, on the opposite wall from where I started, I find it. Carefully lifting the heavy canvas free, I set it on the floor and turn my attention to the wall safe. It’s not large, about the size of a bread box with a spinning combination dial in the center. Unsure what else to do, I pull the pocket knife free from my trousers and flick it open, trying to wedge it between the door and the frame. As soon as I do, I know it’s going to be futile. The thing is heavy steel; no way my knife is gonna bust it open. Putting it away, I begin spinning the dial at random, praying I’ll get lucky.
I’m so flustered I don’t hear the door open or the footsteps from behind me until it’s too late.
“It’s my birthday,” a voice offers, making me spin, hands balled into fists to fight my way free from the room.
The dame is tall, her garnet-red hair rolled into bouncy curls and pinned in a messy heap at the back of her neck. Her dress is green, almost the same color as her eyes, and it hugs her slender frame as if it were a second skin. Even the long strings of pearls twined around her neck seems completely natural, not just a decoration but an extension of her. I take a breath, blinking, momentarily stunned. She drapes one hand on her hip, her entire body listing to the side as she points to the safe.
“The combination,” she repeats. “It’s my birthday.”
Finally recovering my voice, I stammer. “I was, uh, just…”
The corners of her mouth turn upward. “Breaking into my father’s safe?”
I don’t know what to say. I feel her in the room, the way one might feel the air change right before a storm, a heaviness that settles in, leaving my soul with a sense of foreboding. My instincts battle inside me. Do I grab her and tie her to a chair, or do I flee? The weight of her gaze makes it impossible to think clearly.
“Relax,” she says, raising a glass I hadn’t noticed her holding to her lips and taking a slow drink. “I’m not calling the guards if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Oh? You’re just gonna let me crack this safe and walk away with whatever’s inside?”
She shrugs. “It’s not my money. What do I care?”
I lick my lips, sizing her up. A spoiled little rich girl who wants to stick it to Daddy. I’ve seen a few of those in my day. I can work with this—if I can get my head back on straight. It’s not like me to get so flustered by a dame, not even a high-quality one like this.
“Besides…” She sets the glass on the desk and saunters toward me. “It’s not like we don’t have enough.”
I catch a hint of her perfume in the air when she brushes by me, lavender and something else I can’t quite place. Taking the dial in her hand, she spins the knob until the door finally clicks, then she steps back, giving me a go-ahead gesture.
I hesitate, flicking glances at the bare skin where her neck meets her shoulder, at the creamy whiteness of her skin, before settling my eyes on her face. “What’s your name, doll?”
She looks down, sheepishly at first, but then raises just her eyes to look at me with an expression of bold defiance. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
I swallow, considering her offer. She’s already gotten a good look at me, enough to rat me out to the cops. The look on her face is one of challenge, I realize. She’s daring me to trust her.
“Dickey,” I say, pulling the flat cap off my head and holding it over my heart as I bow to her. “Dickey Lewis, at your service, Miss?”
“Lillian Rose Duke,” she answers. “But my friends call me Lilly.”
Replacing my hat, I grab the safe handle and twist, pulling open the heavy door. Grabbing a large wooden box first, I hold it out to her. Moving back, I grab two stacks of fresh bills and stuff them in the pockets of my suitcoat. Finding the bankbook last, I tuck it into the back of my pants before pulling my shirt and jacket over it.
I spin to Lilly, watching as she upends the box, spilling jewelry onto the desk in a pile. She picks through it, finally just scooping it all into her hand and sauntering over to me. Getting so close I feel the warmth of her, she grabs the lapel of my jacket, sliding the gold and stones into the inside pocket.
“Give these to your girl, Dickey Lewis.”
She releases my lapel, but doesn’t step away. Instead, she leans forward. Thinking she’s going to kiss me, I straighten in anticipation, but she just trails her fingers along my collar until she’s cupping the back of my neck.
“I ain’t got no girl,” I admit, my heart pounding behind my ribs.
“Well, isn’t that a shame?” she says, her lips a hair’s breadth from mine.
Unable to resist, I close the final distance between us, clutching her by the waist as I urge her lips to mine. I’ve never tasted gold before, but I imagine this is what it would be like—champagne, honey, and nerves of steel. When she finally pulls away, I’m gasping. Tugging tugs the white linen handkerchief from my pocket, she wipes my face, then hers, of her smeared lipstick before returning the hankie to its place.
“I hope to see you around, Dickey Lewis.”
With that, she spins on her heel and heads for the door, listening for a moment before pulling it open and stepping out. The room is instantly colder, the air thinner. I can finally breathe, can think.
As I slink from the party and disappear into the shadows, making my way down the street to the train station, I can’t force the sight of her from my mind, or the taste of her from my lips.
Even if it takes every penny in my pocket and every breath in my body, I will see Lillian Rose Duke again.


Author Bio:
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

XBTBanner1

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cover Reveal: Claimed by Power by Zoey Ellis


Claimed By Power
Zoey Ellis
Publication date: April 3rd 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis: Not all angels are angelic…
Thea Robinson has never needed anyone’s charity. Sure, her impoverished existence isn’t desired by most, but her ability to manipulate people’s emotions helps her to blend into the shadows of an unforgiving city. When hideous creatures threaten her life, a surly but gorgeous stranger shows up revealing a world she didn’t know existed. She refuses to put up with his rude, arrogant attitude, but how do you dismiss a warrior angel? And does she really want to when his stormy gaze sends delicious thrills straight to her core?
Cam is one of the most ruthless Power angels in the fight against evil. His devotion to kill demons has made him a celebrated warrior in the Angel Realm, even though his motivation stems from grief. When he is assigned to train and protect a half-angel just coming into her abilities, his rage is unparalleled. Until he realizes Thea isn’t like any others. She stirs a carnal passion in him that he can’t shake. He never counted on her being so beautiful… so fierce… so most definitely his.
Claimed by Power is the first book in the Empire of Angels series, a paranormal alpha angel romance series. If you’re a fan of alpha heroes, powerful heroines, paranormal worlds and falling in love, Zoey Ellis’ riveting, sexy tale is perfect for you.
About the end: Although this book can be read as a standalone, Cam and Thea’s story does continue over the next two books.
Sexual scenes and strong language included. Not suitable for readers under 18.
EXCERPT:
“What exactly are my powers?” Thea asked
The angel stood up. “Not now. It’s time to go. You have your answers.”
Frustrated, she exhaled loudly. She went to her wardrobe and grabbed a bra, top, and another pair of jeans. The angel turned away, allowing her to dress. She eyed him from behind. So angels were real. And they were handsome and powerful and stern. Nothing like she would have ever imagined them to be. He couldn’t even crack a smile and yet mocked her like a child. Were all angels like that? Maybe he didn’t like humans.
“At least tell me why they sent you,” she said, smoothing down her top. “Why you?”
“Why not me?” he said, almost in a growl. “Who would you prefer?”
“I don’t know,” Thea said, lifting her shoulders. “Someone able to smile once in a while?”
He turned to face her, his plain expression flavored with annoyance. “I’m not here to entertain you. You need someone to train you and help you learn how to control your abilities. I’m the best there is. You should be honored.”
Thea shook her head, annoyed. Trained? Like a puppy? Not happening. Especially not by this man, who’d been abrupt with her from the start, despite his careful treatment of her wounds. “I should be honored? Honored that I was attacked by those creatures? Honored that I almost got ripped apart? Honored that you had to come and save me, a poor damsel in distress?”
His face hardened with each word she said, but she couldn’t give a fuck.
“I don’t need to be saved by a warrior who can’t stop the horrors happening in this city every day. Or by a God that keeps himself hidden from those he’s supposed to inspire? People are raped and drugged and killed every day; where are you then? Where is He then? I’ve gotten this far without the help of you or God, and I’ll be fine to continue without you.”
The angel’s stance didn’t change. The only indication of his agitation was in the grounding of his jaw. “You’re being irrational. If I was able to find you here, the demons will find you here. You cannot escape them. Pack. Now.”
“No.” She grabbed her phone. “You go. Thanks very much, but I’ll be fine.”
With a low grunt of frustration, the angel grabbed her around the waist quicker than she would have thought possible. He flew up to the ceiling, his rock-like arm digging into her stomach, pressing her against his chest. He swept his free hand over the length of the room. The room began to glow and then burst into flames, smoke eating up the remaining air.
“No!” She struggled to get out of his arms while her home and everything she owned burned.
He leapt out of the window, holding onto her as he flew over the city.


Author Bio:
Zoey Ellis spends her most of her time thinking up stories that explore how love and romance can be tested by the darker side of our personalities and the heart-wrenching challenges that must be overcome for love to win, even if two people belong together.
A lover of the fantastical, Zoey enjoys how intense and vast the challenges can be for couples in the paranormal romance genre. Her goal is to build a body of work depicting thrilling, fantastical romances between demanding alpha heroes and fiery heroines hoping the love they make will scorch ereaders and melt hearts. With a soft spot for angels, dragons and alpha shifters, Zoey blends her love of a Happy Ever After with strangely unique worlds and complex plots.
If you're interested in hearing about Zoey's new releases first, as well as her bonuses and giveaways, sign up to her newsletter.

XBTBanner1

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Book Depository 

Synopsis: Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

My Rating
3.5/5 stars

My Review
Duels and Deception was a great read. The main characters are amazing, the world building is great and the plot line will keep you entertained.

Lydia Whitfield must do everything she can to keep her father's land from her greedy uncle, who will plummet the profit of the family. When Lydia devises a plan, along with a lawyer called Robert Newton, to finalize Lydia's marriage early to Lord Aldershot, in order to inherit her estate faster. But on her way to meet Robert to sign the marriage papers, Lydia and Robert are kidnapped, and barely escape. But when someone starts threatening Lydia's status and Robert's job, they must work together to solve the mystery of who is trying to blackmail them.

I absolutely loved the two main characters. Lydia is the type of fierce woman that I love to read about, especially in the time period that she is in. Usually in the 1800s, all women cared about are looking pretty and attracting a man, but not Lydia, she cares about her family's well being, earning money and her education. I was extremely impressed with Lydia, words cannot describe it. She is selfless and such a well rounded character.
Robert was also a fantastic character, he is focused on his career, he is a very kind man that knows how to outwit anyone when he needs to. He and Lydia make the most perfect pair, they are very similar, but when their differences do arise, they compliment each other so well. I definitely ship them.

The characters that I had a problem with, were basically all the side characters. Lydia's whole family is just crazy, and annoying. I definitely give props to Lydia for surviving with them for so long, because I don't think I could. Lydia's best friend Cora was okay, but she didn't do anything that made me really like her as a character, I found her romance to be a bit annoying. Robert's boss Mr. Lynch was just crazy and didn't help the story whatsoever, and Robert's best friend Cassidy was stupid and a pig... The only side characters I liked was the couple that took Lydia in after being kidnapped, and unfortunately they were only in the story for two chapters. 

The world-building in this book was very well done. The author must have done a lot of research because her descriptions on the land, the attire, the way people talk and the norms of society were so well explained, it really felt like I was transported back in time. I loved it.

The plot line of this story was very good. The action starts at around 30% in, and theres definitely enough action to keep you interested. While the book itself doesn't get boring, I did find the plot to be a little predictable. I was able to guess who was behind the blackmail early on, and a bunch of other little things, before they were revealed in the story. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend the book to all historical fiction lovers, especially if you love books set in the early 1800s period. It is perfect for romance and action fans, as long as you're okay with it being a tad predictable. 

Happy Reading,
Aneta

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Publisher: Putnam's Children's
Genre: YA,  Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.
 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Star to Steer Her By, by Beth Anne Miller


A Star to Steer Her By
Beth Anne Miller
Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: March 20th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same.
But I will take this journey.
Ever since my last dive ended in bloodshed, I’ve been terrified to go back into the water. But the opportunity to spend a semester at sea is too good to pass up. I need to get my life back.
I never expected to love it this much. And I never expected Tristan MacDougall.
Rugged, strong, and with demons of his own, Tristan helps me find the courage I thought I had lost and heals me with every stolen moment we share. But the rules of the ship mean we can’t be together.
When a dive excursion goes terribly wrong, our only hope for survival is each other.
EXCERPT:
I was standing alone at the helm, under full sails and a glittering sky, guiding the ship unerringly across the endless black sea with only the stars to guide me, like the sailors of old. It was amazing. This was why I was here, why I’d gone ahead with this semester at sea, even after everything that had happened. Because I loved the sea, and wanted it to be a part of my life.
I returned my gaze upward, focusing on my guide star.
“‘And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’”
The low voice came out of nowhere. I spun to the right, where I could just make out the vague outline of someone leaning against the stanchion that held Speedy the motorboat suspended at the stern.
“Tristan?” As soon as the question left my mouth, I rolled my eyes in the darkness. Of course it was him.
“Aye, it’s me.”
“How long have you been standing there?” I hissed. “And where the hell did you come from?” I’d been at the helm for at least half an hour, and I knew he hadn’t been there the whole time.
There was a flash of white in the darkness as he grinned. “I’ve been here for about five minutes. You were so focused on staring up at the stars that you didn’t see me. I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“So instead, you just lurked in the dark until you could scare the hell out of me. Makes sense,” I muttered, trying not to be too thrilled that he’d chosen to hang out up here with me. “What was it that you said, anyway?”
“It’s from a poem. The full verse is:
“‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.’”
His lilting accent gave the lines a musical quality, and a shiver ran down my spine. “It’s beautiful,” I said, “and perfectly describes the way I feel. You didn’t write that, did you?” Because it would be supremely unfair for him to be kind, gorgeous, athletic, musically brilliant, and a poet, too.


Author Bio:
My first book, written in elementary school, was bound in pink fabric and was about—what else?—a girl and her horse. I soon began cheating on horses with the sea, becoming an open water scuba diver at age 14. That love of the sea led me to a college semester aboard a schooner. I returned with fond memories of the exhilaration of being on a ship under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug I couldn’t quite shake.
In addition to horses and the sea, I have a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which I explored with my first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST (The Wild Rose Press, 2011), and carried into my new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, 2017). A native New Yorker, I work in the publishing industry and am always looking ahead to my next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship. You can find me on the web at www.bethannemiller.com

XBTBanner1

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review
Freeks is a well written novel, filled with so much action and great characters that you can't put the book down.

Mara knows not to get attached to any of the town folk, after all, she is leaving in a week. Yet when Mara meets a cute boy at a party she stumbles upon, she can't help but catch feelings. The only problem is that no one ever falls for the girl working at the carnival. But dark forces are found in the new town, and they're attacking the carnival and everyone Mara loves. 

Mara isn't the usual type of main character I fall in love with, but she has something about her that you can relate to and understand, she almost feels like a little sister. Mara has been travelling with the carnival for a long time, so long that the workers feel like family to her. Mara's love for her carnival family comes out when they are being threatened and I absolutely love it. I love how her bonds are so strong with everyone, and how she's so protective of her people. She's just a very likeable character, not only by other characters but by the reader as well. She is only 19 but she's so responsible and hard working she almost feels older, she just makes for a wonderful role model. 

I really loved Gabe, and the romance in this book. The scenes between Mara and Gabe are really cute and romantic. They are perfect together and every scene with the two of them was a pleasure to read.

The storyline was so close to being perfect. I loved the beginning and middle of the book. The book had a good pace going, the action was building up, everything was going perfectly... then the climax happened.

~ Mild spoilers ahead ~

When we hit the climax of the story, and Mara kills the beast, it almost seemed too easy. This demon was described in a way that it was so hard to kill and the townsfolk couldn't kill it for decades, and then all of a sudden Mara shoots it with a magic crossbow and its dead.

~ End of spoiler ~ 

I would have given this book 5 stars if it wasn't for the climax being so... easy. But everything that happened after the climax went back to the wonderful style of writing I liked in the beginning.

Overall, I would still really recommend this book. It's slightly different than anything I've read before in the paranormal world of books. The characters are great and it's so close to being a perfect book. Definitely give it a try if you can.

Happy Reading,
Aneta

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Birthright by Jessica Ruddick


Birthright
by Jessica Ruddick
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: March 20th 2017

Synopsis: How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda. 

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.


  


Birthright can be purchased at any of the following retailers:



About the Author
Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at www.jessicaruddick.com.
Author Links:
   

GIVEAWAY:
A Kindle copy of the Author’s first award-winning book, Letting Go.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. With this amazing meme, you can check out which books I've gotten this past week.

Traded with @Splintered_Luv
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza 
CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA'AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEEhas spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne - and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding - even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee's name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

Traded with @justintime2989
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares 
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.
 

Thank you so much to the two wonderful people who traded with me over #booksfortrade, I can't wait to dive into these books. What did you guys get this week? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Petals by Laurisa White Reyes


Petals by Laurisa White Reyes
Genre: YA
Release Date: March 15th 2017
Publisher: Skyrocket Press


Synopsis: Some memories refuse to stay buried…

On Christmas Eve, a horrific car accident leaves Carly Perez without a mom. After a year of surgeries and counseling, Carly’s life is nearly back to normal—except for the monsters—vague, twisted images from the accident that plague her dreams. When her father insists on spending their first Christmas alone in Guatemala with a slew of relatives Carly has never met, she is far from thrilled, but she reluctantly boards the plane anyway.

That’s where she first spots the man with the scarred face. She could swear she has seen him before. But when? Where?

In Reu, the Guatemalan town where her father grew up, Carly meets Miguel, her attractive step-cousin, and thinks maybe vacation won’t be a total waste after all. Though she is drawn to him, Carly’s past holds her back—memories that refuse to be forgotten, and a secret about the accident that remains buried in her subconscious. And everywhere she turns, the man with the scarred face is there, driving that unwelcome secret to the surface.



Buy Links:


Excerpt: 

In sixty seconds, Mom would be dead.
We’re driving down Telegraph Highway, the two of us, a wrapped gift box on my lap. It is rectangular, maybe fifteen inches tall, in red foil paper with a white bow on top. We were lucky to find the drug store still open on Christmas Eve.
Mom is pleased. She’s humming along with the radio, which is playing a lively fifties holiday song. Her thumbs tap out the tune on the steering wheel. Her car keys sway in the ignition, jingling like bells.
                                      
Outside, the sky is dark. Through the storm, the road ahead looks like a long tunnel.
Snow is falling.
It happens so fast there is no time to react. Bright lights hurtle toward us on our side of the road. Mom’s arms brace against the wheel. She thrusts her foot against the brake, but the road is slick with ice. The car swerves.
I hear a car horn blaring. I hear the crunch of metal, the pop of glass shattering. A powerful force shoves me against the car door as everything suddenly whirls in the wrong direction. I feel pain. I scream.
And then it’s over.
When I blink open my eyes, everything is white.
Snow is falling.


CHAPTER ONE


His was the sort of face you couldn’t forget—yet somehow, I had.
I was slumped in a chair, blocking out the airport racket with my music and a pair of ear buds, when I first spotted him slipping quarters into a vending machine. His faded gray coveralls looked completely out of place amid the crowd of holiday travelers, and I wondered if he was an airport janitor or some kind of repairman. But it was his face that sent the jolt of recognition through me. His brown skin was disfigured with long, deep scars, as though shriveled by the sun like a raisin. I knew this man, the way I’d know a song by hearing the first notes of a melody. But where had I met him? I couldn’t remember.
“Are you all right, Carly?” Dad closed his Grisham novel and patted my hand. He was a handsome man, with cocoa-colored eyes and short black hair, completely at home in khaki Dockers and a polo tee.
 “I’m fine,” I said. But I didn’t feel fine. A wave of hot prickles crawled under my skin, like they did whenever I was somewhere I didn’t want to be. Dad meant well, but the truth was that I was still angry at him for guilting me into this trip.
The loudspeaker in our terminal crackled, and a woman’s nasally voice called our flight. I rolled up the magazine I hadn’t read and tucked it into my jacket pocket along with my phone. Then Dad and I got in line. Once on board, I slipped my art box (my only carry-on) into the overhead compartment and shut the cover. Dad settled in at the window, so I dropped into the aisle seat.
The other passengers continued to board. They moved slowly, a trail of human ants doped up on Dramamine, waiting for the inevitable deep sleep of late night air travel. I tried to imagine what secret lives they might be living, like mail carrier by day, stripper by night or something.
Then he got on.
My stomach lurched. Go to the back of the plane, I thought, as if summoning some latent power deep within my psyche. I read this e-book once on mental magic, about how our thoughts influence the world around us. I tried to move a paperclip just by thinking about it. It didn’t work, but that didn’t stop me from trying to will Raisin Face into sitting as far from me as possible. Instead, he took the seat directly across the aisle from me.
Dad and I sat in silence while the plane taxied down the runway. I leaned over Dad to look out the window. As the plane nosed its way into themidnight sky, I stared, mesmerized as the lights of Los Angeles spread out below me. The city from this vantage point was astoundingly beautiful, like a giant Christmas tree. My town, three hours north of Los Angeles, didn’t even have a regular traffic signal. It was snowing there when we had left that afternoon. I couldn’t believe I’d missed our first real snow day of the season.
After a few minutes in the air, the lights disappeared, blocked by cloud cover. It was so dark outside I could see my face in the glass. I squinted at the reflection staring back at me, narrow bronze features framed by long, brown hair topped by a white halo.
“You can take off your hat now,” Dad joked. “The sun went down hours ago.”
The hat, cotton canvas with a floppy brim, had been a gift from my mom.
“I like my hat,” I replied, tugging it tighter onto my head.
“Reminds me of Gilligan’s Island. You know. That old TV show?” Dad hummed the show’s theme song and took a pitiful stab at the lyrics. “A three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.” He looked pleadingly at me as though expecting me to chime in.
I settled back into my seat.
“Never mind,” he said, giving up.
It was well past midnight by the time the plane reached cruising altitude. The flight attendant came by, offering drinks. I accepted a plastic cup filled with Coke and ice.
“Peanuts?” she asked with a pasted-on smile. There was a swath of red lipstick on her teeth, and I wondered if I should do the polite thing and point it out to her. I curled back my lips like an orangutan, but her expression didn’t change. So, I pointed to my teeth. The skin between the attendant’s eyebrows creased. A possible sign of intelligence?
Dad sipped his drink. “This trip won’t be so bad,” he said.
“I already told you, I don’t want to talk about it,” I replied, and I didn’t. What I wanted was to spend the next three weeks in my own house sleeping in my own bed. Why did I agree to come on this trip? I could have chained myself to the tree in our front yard in protest, but then Dad would either have cancelled the trip and spent our entire vacation making me feel guilty about it, or I would have starved to death like a neglected Rottweiler. In either case, I really didn’t have much of a choice.
“I know you were mad,” Dad continued, “but you’re over it now, aren’t you?”
No, Dad. I am not over it.
I scratched at my front tooth. The attendant blinked twice.
“Peanuts?” she asked again.
Dad accepted a bag. Then she turned to me, expectantly. I gave her an exaggerated grin. If she wouldn’t get the hint about the lipstick, couldn’t she at least wipe that mannequin-esque smile off her face? I was not normally so critical of people, but this whole situation had set me on edge.
“No thanks,” I told the attendant. “Peanuts give me the runs.”
That did it. Her smile morphed into a slightly unpleasant expression.
Dad choked on his drink. “Carly!”
“What?” I said as the attendant moved on to the next passenger. “I’m allergic.”
“Since when?”
“Since you dragged me onto this plane and ruined my plans for winter break, that’s when.”
Dad opened his nuts, picked one out, and rolled it around his tongue to suck off the salt. Then he crushed it between his front teeth.
“Trust me, Carly. You’ll love Guatemala,” he said. He was relentless. “It won’t be so bad, spending Christmas there.” He poured the rest of the nuts into his mouth and chewed.
Personally, I had serious doubts about spending nearly a month in a third world country where half the people lived in mud huts.
“It’s a great place,” Dad continued. “Lush jungles, ancient ruins, coconuts—”
Malaria, sauna-like heat, amoebas—
“All I ask is that you give it a chance, Carly. Give them a chance.”
Them. The so-called family I never knew. For all my seventeen years, they had been nothing more than pictures on the mantle. Dad rarely spoke of them, so why he chose our first Christmas without Mom to change the status quo was beyond me.
“Why did I have to come?” I asked, my frustration piquing. “I’m old enough to man the house while you’re away. I can take care of myself.”
“We already went over this, Carly. They want to meet you. It’s important to me that they do.”
“If they’re so important, then why haven’t you seen them in two decades?” I didn’t expect an answer. I just wanted to get Dad off my back. But instead, he shrugged his shoulders and gave me an apologetic grin.
“Let’s just say we had our differences,” he said.
The flight attendant returned, this time offering a pillow. She was still smiling. At least the red mark on her teeth was gone.
I took the pillow and arranged it behind my neck. Dad took one as well, tucking it behind his head. I should have been glad to finally have some quiet time to myself, but curiosity got the better of me. I leaned over and whispered.
“What differences?”
“Go to sleep,” said Dad.
“What differences?” I asked again.
“Carly, it’s almost one in the morning. Even if you’re not tired, I am. Let me get some sleep. Okay?”
I looked around and realized that most of the other passengers had already dozed off.
“Do you need your pills?” Dad asked.
I shook my head. “If I take them now, I’ll be a zombie when we arrive.”
Although, maybe Guatemala won’t seem so bad if I’m in a drugged-out stupor.
“Night, Carly,” said Dad. Five minutes later, he was snoring.
Across the aisle, Raisin Face had a magazine open on his lap. He licked his thumb before turning each page. I didn’t realize I was staring until he turned abruptly to look at me. Our eyes locked, and in that sliver of a moment, my heart threatened to explode right out of my ribcage. I broke away from his gaze and jerked opened my own magazine, pretending to be absorbed in it.
When my heart returned to its normal rhythm, I set the magazine aside, turned on my music, and leaned back against the pillow. I closed my eyes, but thoughts kept racing through my head. I wanted to look at him again, to study his face and give my brain time to place him.
Is he watching me? I wondered. Does he recognize me too?
After a while, I started to relax. Oblivion was calling, but I desperately clung to consciousness, like a mountain climber gripping a rock by her fingernails while dangling above a precipice. The fall was inevitable, but I strained to hold on. It wasn’t that I had trouble sleeping, but the pills kept the monsters at bay.

Finally, unable to fight it any longer, I surrendered. Falling into sleep, I struggled to recall just where I had seen that man’s face before.

About the Author
Laurisa White Reyes is the author of the 2016 Spark Award winning novel The Storytellers, as well as The Celestine Chronicles and The Crystal Keeper series. She lives in Southern California where she teaches English at College of the Canyons. Newsletter Sign-up - http://eepurl.com/6jz9b
Author Links:
   



GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...