Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (TBR Challenge #10)

Yes, I'm late to this fandom, but now that I've read this book, I can totally see why everyone loves it.  I got this book a while back from a giveaway, but now I'll have to buy or check out the rest so I can see what happens next.

The main character is Mara Dyer of course.  She recently lost her best friend and her boyfriend in a terrible accident that she almost didn't make out of either.  She feels guilty for surviving, and has hallucinations of her dead friends.  It gets so bad that her mother starts talking about putting her in a mental institution. She is able to convince her family to move instead, saying that the house will only make her remember her best friend and make it harder to move on.  In the new town Mara and her two brothers, one older named Daniel, and a younger one named Joseph, got to a private school.  And on her first day at the school she meets a mysterious and frustrating boy named Noah.  She also meets the "queen" of the school and her best friend, and has a not so great run in with them.  And she meets a boy named Jamie, who will become a good friend.  But she doesn't seem to be done with the hallucinations, including one on the first day where she walks into a class and all of a sudden sees what she remembers of the building she'd been in with her friends as it is falling down around her.  Soon her problems seem to be more than just hallucinations.  She sees a dog that looks abused and neglected near the school one day, and when she's trying to be nice to the dog, its owner comes out and yells at her, and then she sees him do something terrible to the dog.  As she walks back to school she has thoughts about how the dog's owner should die horribly for what he's doing to the dog.  She goes by later and finds out that the man is dead.  And pretty similar to how she'd pictured it.

Other things happen, alligators disappear/die when she has thoughts about them, other people die as well.  She also starts remembering bits and pieces of the night she lost her best friend Rachel and boyfriend Jude.  Turns out that maybe Jude wasn't quite the boyfriend you'd think.  And maybe she might have thought or wished something would happen to him right before the building crashed down on them.  And then there's Noah.  His interest in her is part of what sparked the conflict between Mara and the popular girl Anna.  And while he seems to be very interested in her, he's got quite the reputation for loving and leaving all the girls.  But he seems to be really interested, even as he makes her annoyed.  There's something about him that she can't quite put her finger on though.  She learns more about him because he lets her in, something he hasn't done with anyone else it seems.  But every once in a while he'll leave her for a minute or two, with no explanation.  Or he doesn't show up to school with no explanation.  All of this is going on, and Mara is trying to figure out if she's crazy, or if she's still just trying to heal from the big tragedy.

I loved the relationship between Mara and Noah.  I always feel like any real relationship I might have would be full of sarcasm and annoying things.  The story was great, while I kind of had an inkling of what might be happening in different parts of the story, I was always pleasantly surprised to find I hadn't quite guessed it, and what happened was a really neat way to meet that detail of the story.  While for the most part the story kind of wrapped up at the end, there was a bit of a big cliffhanger or WHAT?! moment at the end.  Definitely leading in to make me so eager to read the next book and see just what is going on.  Great, great story.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Mania (The Night Walkers #3) by J.R. Johansson (Series Ender Challenge #2)

First, I have to thank the author, as well as Netgalley and Flux publishing.  I first came to love this series back in January of 2014 when I read Insomnia, the first one, after winning it in a giveaway.  I got the 2nd book, Paranoia, as an egalley from Netgalley last summer, when I was not fortunate enough to get to meet the author on the last day of BEA.  A couple weeks ago I got an email from the author asking if I was still interested in reading and reviewing this third and final book in the series.  Of course I hopped on the chance!!  She emailed me a copy, and right about the same time I remembered that I'd also seen it on Netgalley and requested it there as well.  And I have to say I loved this book as much as I loved the first two, which if you click on their titles, you can go to my reviews.  Obviously if you haven't read those two, most of what I say her won't make sense, and will be spoilery. But if you have read the first two, then I shouldn't be giving anything away with my summary.

This book not only is back in Parker's life, but we get to also see from his brother Jack's viewpoint.  When the last book ended, the Takers' headquarters had been destroyed by Parker's and Jack's father.  Unfortunately their father also died.  The good news is that supposedly their father had figured out a new type of vaccine that would help the Takers to be able to dream and sleep.  So that they wouldn't have to take over people's lives like they did.   Unfortunately the leader of the Takers, Cooper now that his father is dead, still wants the elixir they had been given that would help them to be able to take over people for good and as they put it, be gods.  Chloe, Cooper's sister, also a Taker, has now started to go along with Jack and Parker and Finn. When she let Finn go, her family basically disowned her.  And now all she wants is to help make the serum that will give her a normal life.  But their dad didn't just leave instructions.  He left clues to get to bits and pieces of it until they had it all added together.  And along the way they get one more thing to deal with, Parker gets kidnapped and taken by Cooper and his group.  Once there the scientists start injecting him with all kinds of things that make his life miserable, to the point where he can only hope to die.  Jack is given 10 days to make the original serum, which his dad didn't leave any instructions for.  So of course the time is spent doing their best to find all that is needed for the new "cure" in time to save Parker.

Another great story.  I like both viewpoints, really helped to see just what was going on, as well as getting a look inside some of the characters you might not otherwise have had time to learn about.  And it was so great getting back to Finn.  I love Finn.  His funny t-shirts, all of it.  So it was really fun to have him back.  There is lots of danger in this.  Times we don't know for sure if someone has betrayed the group.  Or if someone else might be able to help even though they are on the wrong side.  I liked all the different/new ways they were able to do things in dreams, and even finding more about what started all of the different things they're dealing with.  The ending was pretty set, although I can see that maybe, some day, there could be another book, and I would not be opposed to that!  A great finish to a favorite series of mine.   

Book Blitz: Dream Casters: Light by Adrienne Woods

Book Details
Title: Dream Casters: Light
Author: Adrienne Woods
Series: The Dream Caster Series
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9946641-2-9

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Casters-Light-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00YBBTBYU

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/546067

Mr. Sandman, send me a dream, ta da da da…..Seventeen year old Chasity Blake knows the Sandman is just a silly children’s story parents tell their children to get them to sleep. At least she thought it was, until the day a mysterious, light golden sand appeared in her hands during a high school prank that went horribly wrong. A sand that has the power to send anyone it touches into a deep, sound sleep.

Fearing she had lost her mind, Chasity soon discovers the shocking truth of her heritage- she is a Dream Caster. Chasity was never supposed to be raised on the Domain, or what humans call Earth and she is forced to return to her true birth place, Revera – the world of Dreams.

However, in Revera there is no balance between good, the Light Casters, and darkness, the Shadow Casters, and Chasity is caught square in the middle. She soon learns that there is no place for anyone containing both the light and the darkness within them, and the shocking truth that if anyone in Revera ever discovered her shadow self, Chasity would be thrown into the Oblivion – the world of Nightmares.

Dreams are always more than they seem, and this time Chasity is going to discover just how different they can be.

About the Author
Adrienne Woods was born and raised in South Africa, where she still lives with her husband and two beautiful little girls. She always knew she was going to be a writer, but it only started to really happen about four years ago. In her free time―if she gets any because moms don’t really have free time―she loves to spend it with friends, whether it’s a girls night out, or just watching a movie. She’s a very chilled person. Her writing career started with Firebolt, book one in the Dragonian series. There will be four books in total, including a further two to three books, which will be stories that take place within the Dragonian series. Her other series, Dream Casters, will be released mid 2015. She also writes in different genres, and her woman’s fiction, The Pregnancy Diaries, will be published under a pseudonym. And then, she has a paranormal series by the name of the Aswang series, which will consist of about ten novels. And if that wasn’t enough, there is another series, Guardians of Monsters, which will be released in 2016.

Author’s Links
Facebook Book Series Page
Fire Quill Publishing


The Giveaway
  • (5) ecopies of Dream Casters: Light by Adrienne Woods

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Proudly brought to you by

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa Tawn Bergren (COYER Summer Challenge #1)

This is a book I downloaded for free quite a while ago.  I think it was one of the first books I downloaded for my Nook that wasn't an e-galley.  Now that I've read it, just as with other books like this I read for the last COYER challenge, I can't believe I waited for so long!

The main character is Gabi.  Her mother is an archaeologist, and so she and her younger sister Lia are spending their summer on a dig site in Tuscany.  But as the girls have been doing this their entire life, they know this isn't as glamorous as it seems.  They'll be stuck in a small town, away from anything that other kids their age will be doing.  When they get to this site there is a bit of an issue with a local official, which gives Gabi and Lia the chance to sneak off to get a look at the artifacts before everything is cleared out, something they normally have to wait for.  When they find these interesting handprints on the wall of the tomb, they each put one of their hands on the print that fits them, and when the stone becomes warm instead of how a stone is normally cool, things start to get weird.  Gabi pulls her hand away first, and lands in the past, 14th century Italy, where there is a fight going on for the land.  Her sister doesn't seem to be there. But she knows that she must find her sister.  She will have to learn how to live and speak with the people of this time, fortunately she knows Italian, and also figure out how to get their help to find her sister.  Of course there will be love, not only is it a love she shouldn't have because of the years of time between when they live, but he is also taken. There will also be bad guys out to take over the castello where she has been helped, and grown to feel a part of the family, as she helps them in ways she can as well  There is family intrigue, forbidden romance, and some interesting history woven in. 

While it is a Christian book, it is in a way that I totally liked. The main girl was not really religious but began to wonder in the book what was really out there. And I like the way it was done.  As someone who grew up very religious, attending a religious school from 1st-8th grade, but now questioning what I believe, it was done very realistically.  While I'm now not sure if I believe, I do still find myself praying for help, etc., just like Gabi did. 

I now have to wait until I can get a copy of the 2nd book to read.  Definitely a good read, a quick read, and highly recommended.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Audiobook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

For my 3rd audiobook to listen to, I chose this one because it was narrated by the author, and I am a huge fan of Mindy Kaling, especially after her show.  This was so much fun to listen to.

The book goes through her family life, growing up, school, college, moving to NYC, getting jobs like on The Office, etc.  To hear her telling it was so much fun.  I have to say as I listened to it, I just knew that I need to be friends with her.  She talked about how she ended up with a friend that they could sit and talk about things and no one else could understand why they did that.  I can totally be the same way, and seem to have different friends for each of the things I want to talk that way about.  A lot of the things she talked about made me think that if you were popular back in school, you might not find the things as relatable and funny as I did.  I loved hearing of her love of food and also being dressed for photo shoots. 

For the most part I agreed with almost all she talked about.  But there were two main things I did not:  chest hair (on men of course), and not taking free cupcakes when offered. 

Not too much more to say without going on and on about every single chapter, so I'll just share my Goodreads updates as I read it:

If you enjoy a self-deprecating, yet full of self confidence persona, Mindy Kaling is the person to listen to, or read if you have time for the actual book.  I used Scribd again, and still had issues with listening to it in my car.  Probably not going to continue listening with that after my free 30 days.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Blitz: Tor Maddox Series by Liz Coley

Book and Author Details:

Tor Maddox Series by Liz Coley
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

INTRODUCING Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times

“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor

Book I Tor Maddox: Unleashed

When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.

Book 2 Tor Maddox: Embedded

Life has been way too quiet for Tor Maddox since her fifteen minutes of CNN fame. Then agent-in-training Rick Turner reappears with what sounds like a simple assignment—to embed herself as his eyes and ears in her own high school. When she agrees to keep tabs on high school state swim champ Hamilton Parker for the Feds, she is plunged into the deep end of a sinister plot. Knowing that freedom, justice, and lives are at stake again, Tor jumps in feet first, but has she gotten in over her head this time?

When observe and report becomes kiss and tell, Tor’s first mission may blow up in her face.

Book 3 Tor Maddox: Mistaken

Grab a flotation device and welcome aboard for more shenanigans, villainy, and romance.

Eight leotards and a ball gown—that’s what Tor Maddox packed for her summer ballet intensive in New York. Pity she never arrived. Kidnapped once by the good guys and once by the bad ones, Tor finds herself involved in a high seas adventure featuring princesses and pirates, a wedding ring, and the guy she thought she’d never be allowed to see again, junior man-in-black Rick Turner.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/156239-tor-maddox

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Tor+Maddox
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Tor-Maddox?store=allproducts&keyword=Tor+Maddox

In 2013, Liz Coley’s psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series: UNLEASHED, EMBEDDED, and MISTAKEN. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction, You’re not Alone, and Winter's Regret.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColey.com.

Author links:
Blog:  http://lizcoleybooks.blogspot.ca/p/novels.html
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LizColeyBooks
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LizColeyBooks
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4750818.Liz_Coley

Q & A with Liz Coley

How did you get the idea for the Tor Maddox series?

The story idea for the first book, Unleashed, came to me as many do when I was listening to NPR. They were covering the bird flu epidemic—the first time around! My husband and I were driving past Best Friends Veterinary Clinic at the time. The reporter mentioned the millions of birds that had to be destroyed to stop the spread, and I said, “What would happen if it were dogs?” Brian said, “You should write that.” This became my very first NaNoWriMo project in 2006.

What’s with the funny character names?

I love unusual names, especially the ones that make you ask, “What were the parents thinking?!” I wanted to recognize the trend of mad creativity with baby name choices and spellings. Tor’s mom, representing the older generation is Suzie. Tor’s best friend is the hip, new version, Sioux-san.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

In UNLEASHED, Tor copies a lot of the research I did, looking in detail at flu genetics and pandemic numbers. I also researched sunset and sunrise times, moon phases, actual flight itineraries, and the street view (and inside photos) of CNN headquarters. There’s a website where you can actually print out the genetic code letter by letter for different strains of influenza and compare them. To plan for Tor and Rody’s escape, I hiked the specific route they took with a camera.

For EMBEDDED, I researched white supremacy and anti-immigrant websites, which are rather chilling. Almost all of the news quotes at the tops of the chapters are quoted from real online sources. I also had one of those “browser history” moments that authors feel very self-conscious about when they are researching things like improvised explosives. Just saying.

For MISTAKEN, I did extensive research on a particular cruise line which shall remain nameless so Big Mouse doesn’t get mad at me. There are hours of videos on the cruise ship work experience, expectations of employees, and orientation procedures. I also looked at cruise itineraries, ship layouts, and the actual CDC handbook on the Vessel Sanitation Program (and several years of inspection data). Most chilling was a book I read/skimmed called “Cruising for Trouble.” Finally Google Earth and Google Maps were extremely helpful in figuring out very specific plot points.

What about all the cool technology in your books. Is it real?

I wrote my first draft of UNLEASHED before the iPhone was released. So all the smart phone functions that Tor performs—searching the web, doing mail, submitting assignments, GPS—that all came out about 6 months after I wrote it, which tells you the dangers of trying to write near future.

The high-res photo pen she uses in EMBEDDED can now be bought on SkyMall, although not with some of the other fancy features hers might or might not have. Pocket printers are now available on Amazon. But as far as I know, we aren’t microchipping people yet; we are following their phones, student IDs, etc. via GPS and RFID. It will happen; it’s only a matter of time. Does the government have something that captures live feed from private webcams. Well, what do you think?

As far as MISTAKEN, yes, we really do drink ocean water that has been distilled and reflavored when we cruise. The LRAD sonic cannon to repel pirates exists. You can buy them online, and the website makes for very interesting reading.

Will there be more books in the series?

That’s going to depend on how successful these books are. I would love to write more stories, because these characters have become like family to me. Quirky family, but family. The best way to ensure the continuation to tell lots of people about the series, ask your library to carry it, and encourage everyone to purchase and read legitimate e-copies or paperbacks, not pirated files. There’s no sonic cannon to repel book pirates.  


It was spooky climbing down the slope under the dark trees. I bent low under the overhanging branches and walked east along the lowest part. Twigs tugged at my hair. Wisps of spider web caught my cheeks. Under cover of the slope, I dared to turn on the flashlight to scan the rocks underfoot. If I broke an ankle out here, I was nailed. Cocoa panted along beside me. I say panted, but there was a definite wheezy quality to it that made my own chest ache. We’d hardly gone any distance. He shouldn’t be tired yet.
When we were safely out of sight of houses and humanity, I found a less gravelly spot to collapse into at the base of a tree. Cocoa curled up against me, a nice warm body. Still, I put on a double layer of sweatshirts and opened up the mylar blanket to spread over both of us. I flipped the flashlight around in my hand, covering the clear plastic with my palm. The red glow was all the nightlight I thought safe.
Even with three layers of clothes and an insulating blanket, I shivered and shivered in the night. I was terrified that heat-seeking rattlesnakes would slither under the blanket with us. Terrified that spiders would drop out of the bushes. Terrified that Cocoa would take off after a wild rabbit. I was afraid of men in black suits. Afraid of men in white coats. And especially afraid of falling asleep. My eyes ached. Exhaustion battled with adrenaline.
At 5:15 a.m. all the batteries ran out, both mine and the flashlight’s. I slept, pursued in restless dreams by the vengeful spirits of barking dogs.
At 6:51 a warm, pink light penetrated the underbrush. A rising swell of birdsong served as alarm clock. At my stirring, Cocoa yawned and stretched. He lifted a leg against the tree I was leaning on and streamed against it.
“Hey, watch it,” I scolded. “I mean, good boy. Come, Cocoa. Lie down.”
Down? His puzzled eyes asked me. He knew it was time to stretch, time to play, time to go for his quick morning walk with Rody.
“Sorry, fuzzy face. We can’t. Have some breakfast.” I poured dog food into one bowl and water into the other, but Cocoa turned his head away, uninterested. “I guess you need a walk first. I’m sorry.” He whimpered softly.
“I hear you, bud. Me too.” I rolled my shoulders, stretched my legs out in front of me. Every square inch of my body hurt. The granola bars tempted me not.
What was going on at home this morning? By now, Rody would have discovered Cocoa was gone. Would he say anything?
Mom was probably wondering why she hadn’t heard the shower go on and off in my bathroom. Maybe she was knocking on my door right now, calling me to wake up. Maybe she was cracking open the door and walking over to the tousled lump of covers to run her hands softly through my hair and kiss me on the cheek. Maybe she was turning in horror from the empty bed, running through the house, calling to my Dad, crying, “She’s gone…she’s gone.”
My throat ached. I did that to her. A tear slipped out of the corner of my eye.
I pulled out my phone and sent her a text message: Mom I’m safe I’m fine don’t worry don’t search.
I hoped she could live with that. I doubted it.
I huddled with my dark thoughts as the sky brightened. In the distance, on the playground, toddlers laughed with their own mothers, enjoying their morning playtime before naps. A knife twisted in my heart. Life went on for the innocent as well as for the ignorant. But knowing what I knew, I could never be that carefree again.

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • A hardcopy set of all three books in the Tor Maddox series
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Blitz: Spectable by S.J. Pierce

Book and Author Details:
Spectacle by S.J. Pierce
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

***This is currently a web series!!! I’m releasing a chapter at a time on my website at www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com. You can read there or go to Scribd, download their app, and read there.***

Hunger Games meets Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding new Young Adult Science-Fiction web series by bestselling author Susan James Pierce.

Fear can make you a target…

Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three small, remaining landmasses – the threat of overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.

Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a new discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos: blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that are distinctive of a humanoid alien race named Changers that secretly sought refuge on Earth years ago. Markings that allow them to camouflage their skin, but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.

Mira’s dad is one of them.

Anger can make you a spectacle…

Banished to a treacherous, uninhabited island, a newly orphaned Mira and her kind struggle to survive and settle into a new way of life. Her main priority becomes seeing to Jackson’s care, her friend with Muscular Dystrophy, and tending to her garden as a way of distracting herself from the pain of losing everything she loved. But just as she’s adapting to this new life, their Elders approach her with a plan to insert themselves back into New America to uncover a conspiracy. A conspiracy, they believe, that includes the presidency and landed them on the island, costing many Changers their lives, including her parents’.

In a world where staying on the island means a possible untimely death, as does risking her life to uncover a horrible secret that might one day set them all free, which one will she choose? And if she chooses to help, can she tame her anger over their mistreatment long enough to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch? Because, after all, the last thing her kind needs is to make spectacles of themselves, and as she knows all too well, both anger and fear have a perilous knack for destruction.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25365630-spectacle?ac=1

All proceeds from pre-orders are going to a local kid named Brayden who has Muscular Dystrophy. 
-->  Brayden is a smart and witty twelve-year-old boy, who loves video games and sports of all kinds, especially football, but the only thing holding him back is that he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He was diagnosed on April 1st, 2010 with the disease, which will one day (possibly sooner than later) put him in wheelchair fulltime. His mind is sharp as a tack, but his little body is giving out daily; the more tired he gets, the more frequent the falls. Luckily he hasn’t broken any bones (yet). He will one day need a tracheotomy to be able to breathe and speak, and his lungs and heart are muscles that will give out just as easy as his arms and legs. Most boys with this disease will not live into their 20’s, and the disease claims lives daily. To help Brayden in his journey with DMD, S.J. has pledged to donate all of her pre-order proceeds to Brayden’s family.

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Spectacle-S-J-Pierce-ebook/dp/B00YLUZO3S/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spectacle-sj-pierce/1122059507?ean=2940151949255&isbn=2940151949255
Kobo - https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/spectacle-6
Apple - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spectacle/id1001695474?mt=11

Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels.

Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you'd like to hear when new books come out! Coming soon:

Iris (Novella: The Captivated Series) Available now!!!

Fight for Me (Book Two: The Captivated Series)

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562942.S_J_Pierce
Blog:  http://sjpiercebooks.blogspot.ca/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SJPiercebooks?ref=bookmarks

Spectacle Excerpt, Chapter Two

 Following the scent of cheese toast and eggs, I stop short when I see my mom standing in the kitchen doorway, her hands fidgeting with the frayed hem of her apron, a tight smile on her face. I don’t like the way she looks at me – worried and afraid and about to cry all at the same time. “Mirabella, dear,” she says, almost whimpers. “Daddy and I need to talk to you.”
Heat crawls over my skin, flushing my cheeks and leaving gooseflesh on my arms. Dread squeezes my lungs. “Okay,” I manage, but it takes me a minute to remember how to walk. Mom doesn’t move out of my way.
I notice the radio isn’t on again. Dad usually listens to it for his morning news.
She kneels to look me at me on my level, and I know now something really bad must have happened… or is happening. Yet again, the rings around the moon were right.
“Everything’s okay,” she lies, reading my worried expression, “But I want to warn you about your father before you see him.”
My eyebrows draw together. Warn me?
I hear dad shifting in his chair, and he grunts nervously. My chest clenches tighter. All I want is to see him. To know what’s going on. I can’t fathom what she would have to warn me about.
“His skin is… different than before.”
“Yes, baby,” she soothes. “And whatever you do, please don’t scream. You know how thin these walls are.”
I muster a nod.
“Okay,” she says, clasping my hand and straightening, “It’s time.”
She leads me into the kitchen, my heart racing, eyes snapping right to my father. He’s sitting with his face behind his hands, his elbows resting against the tabletop. The skin on his arms and hands look the same to me – smooth and the color of coffee with milk. Still normal. I breathe a sigh of relief.
“Is she looking?” he asks through his hands.
I answer for her. “Yes, daddy.”
He lets out a long slow breath – a brooding sigh.
“Show her, Grant,” mom pleads.
Moments pass. He sighs again and slowly moves his hands away. Behind them, blue marks, starting at the corners of his eyes, branch out in a rough, jagged pattern - like webs of blood vessels, but more defined - over his cheekbones and stopping along his jawline. Smaller patches curl around his temples. It almost looks like a butterfly, almost beautiful, like these odd markings are meant to be there. Like someone had painted them for fun. I would assume this is all a joke had my mom not been acting so weird.
I look up to her questioningly. Why would this have made me scream?
Her hand meets her chest, and I can tell she’s relieved I didn’t freak out, but not all the concern is gone from her eyes. At least she’s smiling normally now.
“So you aren’t afraid?” she asks.
“Why would I be?”
Her lips press tight. She throws a nervous glance at my father.
“Because these are permanent,” he says. “And they’ll get worse.”

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL) Ends July 2nd

  • $25 Amazon gift card 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Storm (The Rain #2) by Virginia Bergin

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  My choice this week is the sequel to a book I read and enjoyed last year.  It was called H20 then, but is now called The Rain I guess.  I believe the egalley is available on either Netgalley or Edelweiss now as well.  So I will have to get it.  Here is the blurb on the sequel from Goodreads:

"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins . . .

Sounds so good.  I can't wait to read on and find out  what happens after this big natural disaster.  My only issue is that I loved the cover of the first one when it was called H2O 
The slipcover actually had holes in it, it was cool!  Not sure this new one matches up.  

Anyway, what about you?  What book are you waiting on this week?

While you're here, make sure to go enter my July New Release giveaway HERE. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

First, I have to thank the author who sent me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.  I had entered a giveaway on Goodreads but didn't win.  She emailed me on Goodreads and offered to send me a copy.  I was very excited and of course said yes because I'd been wanting to read this for a long time. 

The main character is Thea, and she is from Bulgaria.  She is a piano prodigy, and has decided to attend Princeton.  Of course she does this on a work-study program and so she will have to work in the cafeteria to go there.  When she first gets to Princeton, her music advisers immediately set her up in a solo concert.  She plays Chopin, and is a hit.  Even though she is very nervous.  And the night of the concert, this very handsome guy shows up in the back of the auditorium, and then leaves.  But then comes back towards the end and leaves flowers for her on the stage.  She gets a mysterious assignment from her Greek Art professor that leads her to a vase that seems to have a connection to her home and a myth that she is familiar with.  It is of a woman who is like a witch or nymph that can captivate a man to the point that he will do anything she says, and eventually she kills him.  They are called samodivi, which means wildalone in English.  While she is in the school's art museum, she runs into this handsome, mysterious man again, but he doesn't really come out of the shadows.  Just says that he will find her again, and when the museum announces it is closing, he disappears.  She runs into him again when she is out on campus on a foggy day.  His name is Rhys, and he is immediately all over her.  Very romantic and suave and kind of possessive.    He wants her to be his, and she is immediately overwhelmed, but in a kind of good way, just being swept away by him.  However she soon comes to find out that he is not the guy who was at her concert, or in the museum.  That was his younger brother Jake.  And now she doesn't know for sure which one she really loves.  But there is something about Rhys that she loves, that she doesn't want to give up on.  However there are things about him that she doesn't like, things he says he can't change, even if he would want to, but that he will always be hers. 

Along with all this romance, there is the mystery of her older sister who also went to Princeton 15 years ago, but died/disappeared. And it seems that she may have been involved with Rhys as well.  And that the myths her Greek Art professor has been teaching and discussing with her, well, they may be real.  Or at least happening in Thea's own world, affecting her life as she is there, following in her sister's footsteps.

I loved the mythology in the story.  I enjoyed reading about Thea's experiences as a foreigner in the US, especially at Princeton.  The past mystery about her sister was also good.  And while I could definitely feel how hot the relationship was with Rhys, it just was almost too insta-love for me.  Not only that, he was so possessive it was kind of hard to like him at first.  For him to come in an assume she would do all the things he tried at the start, well, I didn't have a whole lot of respect for her for putting up with it the way she did.  If people think Edward was bad in Twilight (which I didn't think he was), then they will probably not like Rhys in this book.  I guess we can forgive her because as I mentioned, she was new to the country.  However it definitely kept me reading, and it left off in a way that I can't wait to read on, although I'm not sure when a sequel might be out.  I only know that I'll be waiting to read it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review and Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Designed by Kate Tailor

First, I want to say thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to read a copy of this title.  I am a fan of science fiction stories, and this was a pretty good SciFi story.

The main character is Raleigh.  She is just about to graduate high school, and wants nothing more to go away to college like any other girl her age.  But Raleigh has dealt with some health issue her whole life.  Sometimes when she is around a lot of people she will faint.  Lucky for her though, her uncle who is a doctor, has heard of someone who might know what is going on with her health.  Dr. Henry has been researching something called Lucidin,  a chemical that Raleigh's body makes.  And her body makes a lot of it.  That is why she faints.  This chemical causes her to be able to sense things about people around her.  It is because she has been able to help others get diagnosed with things that brought her case to Henry's attention.  He has a machine that they can use to distract the Lucidin from her blood.  This chemical, and people who can make it, or even use it like she does, are very rare.  In fact, most scientists don't even believe that it is anything real.  While Raleigh's mother didn't want her to go away to school because of her health issues, they are able to convince her to let Raleigh go to Europe to work with Henry and get her health back in order.

There is another main character, and his name is Rho.  Rho's body also makes Lucidin.  Only he didn't come about it naturally like Raleigh.  He was "designed" by scientists who wanted to make the drug.  We meet Rho as he is being held and drained slowly of his Lucidin.  He escapes and ends up back at Henry's, where the Lucidin being drained from Raleigh helps him recover.  Soon Raleigh is learning about the shady past of Rho and his 11 brothers who were all designed just like him.  The scientists who created them were using them in a way that they felt wasn't fair, and they escaped.   Now they are on the run, and hiding out.  To make money they may sell their Lucidin to drug dealers who then sell it as the drug Lucid.  Raleigh feels like she may be in trouble of being kidnapped herself after hearing of the dangers, and decides to go with Rho and his group.  This leads into finding that two of his brothers have been kidnapped, Mu and Tau I think, and she tries to figure out how she can help them escape.

It's a great story.  I had a few issues with the way it was third person omniscient, at times it was too much to know everyone's thoughts. While nice, you didn't know everyone's really.  And the people you didn't know, are probably the ones that we need to watch out for in the story, which made that a little suggestive.  And sometimes the dialogue was a little stilted, something I know that when I write I've been told needs to be worked on.  Probably why I notice it now.  But the story really makes up for it, and those are such minor issues, that they probably only bother me.  It's a very interesting science idea, and I'm glad to know there is a sequel, because we're left a big hanging at the end.

Book & Author Details:

The Designed by Kate Tailor
(The Designed Series #1)
Publication date: January 26th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

What if the next new drug was you? Raleigh’s body produces a drug that could define the future of medicine if the dangerous world surrounding it doesn’t kill her first.

Eighteen-year old Raleigh Groves can sense disease in others and is suffering from her own unexplained illness as well. After years and dozens of doctor visits, she has given up hope of ever finding a cure, let alone a diagnosis. Then she meets a man who explains that her talent and curse are linked. Her body produces a drug, Lucidin, which allows her to sense others. She’s rare, and the drug she makes is coveted.

Rho has spent the last few years on the run. The Lucidin that is racing through his system makes him a target. Surrounded by addicts and dealers on one side and scientists and doctors on the other, he has to rely on his wits and his team to stay one step ahead. So far he has stayed afloat, but some of his brothers haven’t been as lucky.

As Rho and Raleigh collide they must face the perilous world of Lucidin together. Nothing is black-and-white and Raleigh must decide where her alliances lie. Sometimes the hardest heart to sense is your own.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24602715-the-designed?ac=1

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00STY2I2W
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-designed-kate-tailor/1121099897?ean=9781483548838

Kate Tailor lives in Boulder, Colorado. She has a background in molecular biology and pharmacology. Writing has been a passion of hers since she was young.

Author links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateTailorAuthor
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13038008.Kate_Tailor

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL):
  • $50 Amazon gift card
   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:  http://xpressobooktours.com/2015/03/18/tour-sign-up-the-designed-by-kate-tailor/

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Post #31 and Stacking the Shelves June 21st, 2015

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.
Last week on the blog:
I got three reviews done last week, and one audiobook review.  I'm really getting more and more into them. So much so, that when my stupid car won't connect to my iphone for some stupid reason, I get really cranky when driving.  I had one post a day, like my goal is for the year as well.  On the Fit Readers side, I walked 3 miles EVERY day this week!  One day when it wasn't supposed to rain in the morning, it did start raining enough that I had to go stand in one of the park shelters for a few minutes, but I didn't let it stop me, I went back out as soon as the rain started tapering back to sprinkles and finished my walk.  I'm getting lots of reading done though this summer.  Don't forget while you're here to go enter my June New Release Giveaway!

This week on the blog:
  • Reviews:  Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova, The Designed by Kate Tailor
  • Audiobook review:  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Possible reviews:  Sweet by Emmy Laybourne, Watched by CJ Lyons, Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren  
  • The last two above would be COYER Challenge books.  
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book Blitzes:  Spectacle by S.J. Pierce, Tor Maddox series by Liz Coley
I am probably going to try to do some of the Scavenger Hunt with the COYER Challenge as well.  Downloaded that document so I could add to it as I went through it.  I have several review books I should go ahead and read to get ahead on.  I have a ton of egalleys scheduled in August, so I have to get a move on!!  As for the walking, well, not sure I'll get as much done this week.  You see, it is going to be really hot.  And, I'm going to be back doing inventory in my library.  So I'll be in the library in the morning, which will be the best part of the day to walk in this heat.  Not sure when I'll get out and walk.  Wish I had a treadmill in my house, or a place to even have a treadmill.  Oh well.  Guess I'll figure it out.  I also bought a swimsuit after seeing a picture of a friend in a pool and remembering just how nice it feels to be in a pool on a hot day.  I've not really lost any weight, and I still don't really want anyone to see me in a swimsuit, but I've got to get over that.  So hopefully I'll get my one sister to take me to the pool at her apartment one weekend.  I just wish I knew someone I would go to a pool with that had weekdays off, I feel like it might not be as busy.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.  I was pretty good about not buying books this week.  But we had the big 40% off all DVDs sale at the bookstore, and I got sucked into that by the other employees who spend a lot with that, and I spent a little bit on DVDs.  Which I never seem to have time to watch. But I have them now, in case I do want to, and do have time.  Here are the movies I got:

I've seen the Monkees and The IT Crowd, but not Caprica.  I've heard that I will really like Caprica since I liked a series by Robin Wasserman, so for the 40% off and a couple member's coupons I had, I bought them.

Physical Books:

 Since no one else had grabbed the ARC of Armada at the bookstore, and I was in the middle of listening to Ready Player One at the time, I had to take it.  The other book I saw in our bargain books.  It was $4.98, plus my 30% off, it was the only in the store, so I had to buy it.  Should be a quick fun read.


These are pretty much all free ebooks.  We Are Watching was for review.  The last one, Voice of Gods, is only a preorder, it comes out in August.

So that is all I got this week.  Oh yeah, I guess I did download an audiobook of  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  But it was a free download through my 30 day free trial of Scribd.  

So, that's my week and what I got.  What did you add to your shelves this week?