Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Enhanced by Courtney Farrell


Sixteen-year-old Michelle is a product of the Institute's eugenics program, where people are bred like livestock. One doctor decides which kids get to grow up, and which disappear. Only Culls walk into the slum outside Institute walls, and they never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she's about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. Then the doctor banishes her brother Seth and her boyfriend Brian, and she risks everything to find them in the cutthroat slum. She's in trouble until handsome Dillon stakes a claim to her. Michelle is mortified, because Norms are practically animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted plan and she needs Dillon's help to stop him. Michelle and her friends must find Seth and Brian, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her and Dillon isn't thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.

Publication Date: March 25, 2015

What an awesome ride! Sci-fi and fantasy YA books are typically a mixed bag for me, but books like Enhanced make me so happy when I travel outside of my comfort zone. The premise was horrifying and I really found myself empathizing so much with Michelle.

Michelle is my favorite kind of YA heroine: strong and smart. She is selfless and constantly risking her life for the people she cares about. I also liked the romance a lot in the book. I adore the angst in YA books.

There were a good number of secondary characters and they all had an important part to play. Despite the large cast, I still felt like the author took the time to make me invested in their fate. The book is action-packed and if I had one complaint was I would’ve liked a little more world building. The dystopian setting was just so interesting, I would’ve loved to know more.

I’d highly recommend the book to fans of dystopians with a sci-fi twist. Although the novel is YA, I feel like it definitely has crossover appeal.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Until Alex by J. Nathan


On the outside, Hayden is every girl's fantasy, brooding and devastatingly gorgeous. He spends his nights losing himself in alcohol and faceless girls, but it's all just a facade. An elaborate cover for the emotionless shell of a man he is. One who harbors too many secrets and destroys lives the way his was destroyed. It’s the reason he avoids relationships and keeps everyone at arm's length…

Until Alex

Alex’s life just shattered into a million pieces, leaving her with more grief than she knows what to do with and guilt so deep it’s destroyed the carefree girl she once was. Now she’s hundreds of miles from home, living with an aunt she doesn't know, finishing senior year at a college she’s never been to, and trying desperately to get through a single day without breaking down. She's never felt more alone in her life...

Until Hayden

The trouble with Hayden is who he wants to be and who he is are in constant flux. And though he’d die before letting Alex learn the truth about him, he can’t be sure he's strong enough to let her in…or push her away. She’s the one person who just might see the real him.

Publication Date: July 17, 2014

This book was so intense! I really loved the characters and the author made me empathize with how much tragedy they had already experienced in their young lives. I was glad to read a standalone, but I definitely want to check out more books from the author.

The standout in the book was Hayden. He was such a complex character and when the author revealed his secret, I really understood his hot and cold attitude toward Alex. Alex was likable for the most part, but I did wish she didn’t forgive Hayden so easily each time he tried to push her away.

The pacing was good, but I wanted more romantic development earlier on. Just a twinge more steamy scenes and I would’ve been a happy girl. However, the romance was sweet and I could feel how much the characters deeply cared for one another. I loved that the author chose to tell the story in dual points of view.

Highly recommend to fans of contemporary New Adult romances.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #123

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

I have an awesome giveaway to promote the release of my new book The Dark Dreamer. Feel free to enter below =)

For Review:
If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

The Escape by Hannah Jayne

Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Sight by Juliet Madison

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 24, 2015

What You Need to Know About Amazon Giveaways

Today I wanted to share a new feature offered by Amazon: Amazon Giveaways. This convenient service allows you to enlist Amazon to help manage all of your giveaways. I've set up a paperback giveaway ending April 27 for The Dark Dreamer if you're interested in entering:

A few points about the service:

  • Products must be selected from the Amazon catalog. This excludes eBooks, but can include anything from paperbacks, jewelry, music, household items, clothing, etc. Eligible products will have a giveaway option on the footer of their Amazon product page.
  • There are two options for setting up your Amazon giveaway. Awarding the first winners who enter in order to initiate a rush to secure the prize or picking a random entrant number as the winner. For instance, if you are giving out two books, you can choose the winner to be every 100 person who clicks to enter. Giveaways run for a week or until the prizes are claimed.
  • You can choose one of two ways for participants to enter. You can just have them click the entry button on the giveaway link or you can have them follow you on Twitter. No other entry options are currently available. 
  • Checkout is done before the giveaway goes live. Once you enter your payment details, Amazon will take care of the rest. They'll charge your card once winners are selected and mail out the prize directly to the winners. The only downfall of this option for authors is that you won't be able to send signed books.
  • Amazon sets up the Giveaway link and shares the link with you via email. You can share the link via email, Facebook and Twitter. An Amazon Giveaway hashtag is included in the tweet to help others find your giveaway.
  • The Amazon Giveaways seem to have a substantial reach. Besides sharing the link on Twitter and Facebook, I haven't done major promotion, but I have still seen a dramatic jump in my number of Twitter followers since the giveaway launched.
  • One bummer about the service is you can't use your Prime membership for shipping. You must pay the standard rate for each item. Giveaways are open to US residents only. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: By a Thread by R.L. Griffin


Stella's future was set, and it was a bright one. She was engaged to a man she adored, and was headed to law school in the fall. Tragically, her perfectly planned future ends just as it was beginning.

With no ties to family or friends, Stella finds herself alone in a new city, spiraling out of control. Her typical day comes to a close with her passed out on the floor; sometimes clothed.

Luckily, her new roommate, essentially a stranger, is dead set on getting Stella past her grief and back to functioning within society. Putting one foot in front of the other, she climbs up from the bottom of a bottle. Even with all her progress, Stella walks through life unfeeling, numb. Defiant, she sends out warning signals for the world to keep away. But, is that what she really wants?

With the steadfast help of a few tight knit friends, she gradually begins to feel again. She starts to savor the flavor of food again; lets herself notice how the handsome bartender glances at her. Still, after allowing herself a fling, she wonders if she will ever be able to let go of her shattered past, fully enjoy the present, or get over what she thought would be her perfect future and with the man who destroyed her heart.

Publication Date: March 15, 2013

By a Thread took me completely by surprise! I didn’t expect it to be so dark and then that ending…Gah! I’m still reeling. I have to give the author props because I am so eager to read the next book to see what’s going to happen to Stella.

Stella is a tough nut to crack. I didn’t like her all that much, but I believe her characterization was pretty realistic. She’s supposed to be this hard woman undone by grief, so I did feel bad for her and understood why she pushed people away the way she did. I did find it a little annoying how every guy was head over heels for her although she could be such a raging biotch.

George was a total sweetheart and I did feel bad about how much crap he had to put up with in order to be in Stella’s life. Every girl needs her own George! As Stella lets down her guard, I really enjoyed the two of them together.

The story took a little while to get going, but once it did, the last quarter was a doozy! I really didn’t guess the twists the author decided to throw in. The cliffhanger ending makes me want to read the next book ASAP.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Sweet by Emmy Laybourne


*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Publication Date: June 2015

This was a strange little book. Definitely not something I ever read before! I give the author major kudos for originality. I did find Sweet an interesting book, but the twist made the overall tone of the novel feel uneven.

The beginning of the book fooled me into thinking I was getting into a book about a teen cruise with characters dealing with body image issues. Tom and Laurel have a sort of meet-awkward-cute and they both have their reasons for avoiding Solu, the diet sweetener intended to make you lose weight fast. Tom and Laurel instead get to witness what happens to everyone who gets addicted to Solu.

The second half of the book is very B movie schlocky so I wasn’t a huge fan. I probably wouldn’t have minded the twist, but after the light tone of the first half, it just didn’t fit. I almost felt like I was reading two different books.

Not a bad teen horror read and I did like the overall message of self-acceptance. The characters were also very relatable.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers


The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

Courtney Summers became one of my favorite authors after I devoured This Is Not a Test last year. Although the plot of All the Rage is so different than that novel, I still found myself drawn into the world Summers crafted. The author has a way of making you feel such a strong connection with the characters.

Romy is complex, just like Summer’s other female heroines. She has very honest feelings about what it means to be a girl in a world that isn’t always the kindest to girls. Her emotions were honest and realistic and I’m betting so many girls will be able to relate to Romy.

The book has some dark stuff going on. The small town people in Romy’s world are small-minded and she is treated cruelly after suffering through a horrible trauma. Reading about Romy’s self-loathing was heart wrenching and I did have to put the book down from time to time to give myself a breather from the intensity. I was glad not all the characters were evil and Romy did have a strong support system.

My only complaint is the timeline confusion. I couldn’t figure out when some of the events were happening. I did have an advanced copy, so maybe chapter headings will be clearer in the final proof. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I just felt like a love interest wasn’t necessary and took away my focus from the awfulness of what Romy goes through.

Overall, another amazing book by Summers and I can’t wait to read more from her!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Review: After We Fall by Emma Kavanagh


A moody, intense debut psychological thriller by a former police psychologist, this debut novel explores four lives that fall apart in the tense aftermath of a plane crash, perfect for fans of Tana French, S. J. Watson, and Alice LaPlante. Unraveling what holds these four together is a tense, taut tale about good people who make bad decisions that ultimately threaten to destroy them. Debut author Emma Kavanagh deftly weaves together the stories of those who lost someone or something of themselves in one tragic incident, exploring how swiftly everything we know can come crashing down.

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

I loved the premise of this book! I was so curious to see how the stories on the ground would relate to the people on the doomed flight. The thing I enjoyed most about the story was the way the author interwove seemingly unrelated events together.

The characters were a mixed bag. I think my biggest issue was with Cecilia. As a mom myself, I just couldn’t find myself relating to her decision to abandon her child. Despite my dislike of her, I did find her and the other narrators characterized in a believable way.

The suspense was what kept me reading. I really needed to discover the mysteries surrounding the plane crash and the murder. I loved how the author kept me guessing on where she was taking the story.

The pace was good, but I did wish for the narrative to be a little clearer on the tenses. I found myself going back several times to determine whether the narrator was talking about the present or the past. Too many narrators can sometimes irritate me, but I found it worked well for After We Fall.

Overall, a good and complex story about flawed characters.  

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: The Lie by C.L. Taylor


I know your name's not really Jane Hughes...

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves...

Publication Date: April 23, 2015

The Lie was a pleasant surprise in my to be read pile! I found the story to be so compelling and I really couldn’t stop reading until I discovered what was traumatic enough for Emma to leave her former life and become present-day Jane.

The story flips between past and present with the catalyst for the plot being a note Jane receives stating that they know her real name isn’t Jane. Jane has tried to rebuild her life after the events on a Nepal holiday with her former girlfriends, so she becomes terrified of everything being snatched away.

The characters weren’t very likeable. I kept wondering why they were all friends since each of them had reprehensible character traits. I wanted to reach through the book and shake some sense into them. I guess I wasn’t totally shocked how things fell apart in the way they did.

The suspense was so awesomely done. The author never gave much away besides a few breadcrumbs here or there. The climax is explosive and well worth the long wait.

Overall, a great book from a new to me author. Can’t wait to read her other books!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Book Spotlight and Re-Release: Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey

Speak of the Devil

By Shawna Romkey

Book one in the Speak of the Devil series

After dying with her two best friends in a tragic car accident, Lily comes back to life only to wind up in the middle of a war between good and evil at a time when God has disappeared.

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the crash and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and learns they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, figure out a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble:

About Shawna Romkey

Shawna grew up around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, one rescue dog and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.
She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.


Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Pinterest  |  Goodreads

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Release Day and Giveaway Event: The Dark Dreamer by Heather Topham Wood


For as long as she can remember, Rebekah Clayton’s life has been dictated by her dreams. As a dream interpreter, she has become privy to her clients’ deepest and darkest secrets. Affairs, financial ruin, even murder—nothing shocks her anymore. But Grant Raskin’s dreams are unlike any she has heard before.

If Rebekah’s interpretation is right, Grant has foreseen the end of the world. A plague is coming and everyone Rebekah cares about will succumb to the illness. And Grant can trace the origin of the disease back to two men: Dr. Mark Holman and his son Drew.

Grant enlists Rebekah to track down the Holmans and determine their connection to the viral outbreak. But uncovering Drew Holman’s secrets will lead her down a dangerous path—unearthing a deadly conspiracy she never could have predicted.

The first book in a two-part series from bestselling romance author Heather Topham Wood.


I was in the middle of a cyclone, in the dead center of the eye of the deadliest storm I'd ever witnessed. The world was a blur as the wind picked up pieces of the earth and flung them in the air around me.
I felt claustrophobic as the tunnel of wind closed in around me, tightening the eye and whipping chunks of earth ever-closer to my face. I couldn’t see out and I imagined no one could see in. The storm trapped me and I doubted it would ever let me go.
“Ezekiel.” The name was a whisper—a soft breath into my ear, but loud enough to make out clearly despite the raging storm.
My body swung to the sound and I stood before a powerfully built man. I took him in in one full look—dark eyes, dark hair and dark stubble surrounding his full lips. He towered over me, hunching down to reach my ears and whisper his secrets. He was the younger man from Grant’s illustration brought to life.
“Is that your name?” The storm faded in importance. The earth trembled below our feet, but my full focus stayed on the man next to me.
He laughed. “No, but Ezekiel has my secrets.”
“The prophet from the Bible? The one who had to teach the world a lesson because of false shepherds?”
He didn’t answer, but instead took a step closer to me. I stared farther up at him and found myself caught in his intense gaze. His eyes were full of too many emotions I recognized from my own life: drowning pain coupled with a desperation to be understood.
Would the root of his evil be borne from his need for understanding? Did I empathize with a man who possibly viewed annihilation as a freedom from unbearable pain?
His fingertips grazed over my lips in a leisurely way. Exploring the dip, circling over the creases. He leaned down and I found myself trapped in place. I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t move. I only could wait for him to kiss me.
Instead, he pressed his forehead against mine and squeezed his eyes shut tightly. I let go of the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding in. He inhaled shakily, taking in the breath I released.
The familiar way he held me wasn’t alarming. I felt like I belonged there, as if he and I was one and the same. I didn’t feel fear or revulsion, only the strangest sensation of two magnets being pulled together by forces unseen.
I’d been so enthralled in the moment, captivated by his nearness, I didn’t notice the way his shirt had begun to change color. The burgundy color deepened and the fabric clung to his chest. My hands reached out and touched the spot over his heart. Pulling back, my fingers were dripping with fresh blood.
He looked down at his chest and frowned as if the stream of blood were merely an inconvenience. “It’s happening,” he murmured. Without warning, he began to claw at his chest. Ripping through the blood-drenched cotton, digging his nails into the flesh.
I scrambled away from him—screaming in horror as he ripped himself open. He didn’t flinch as his flesh fell in clumps to the dirt floor in front of him. He just kept at the self-mutilation—tossing aside muscle and tendons as if he were a corpse who felt nothing.
His hand disappeared inside his chest cavity and I wrenched my head away. I dry-heaved and fell onto my hands and knees. The storm intensified once again as if its destruction were somehow equal to the obliteration I just witnessed. I wished for the moment to end, for the storm to finally come and tear me to pieces so I no longer had to stay trapped with the nameless man.
A thud in front of me forced my head up again. A silent gasp escaped my lips as I gaped at the bloody object the man had thrown before me. I tried to process what I was seeing, but my brain couldn’t seem to keep up with what was happening around me. After my shock wore off, I realized beneath the blood and gore wasn’t a heart constructed from human flesh. Beneath the surface stained with crimson slashes was a heart made out of stone.
“You can have this now.” His voice, deep and rich, drew my sight away from the horror and back to his beautiful, unblemished face. Despite his chest being dissected by his own hand, he still was standing and seemingly unaffected. “I won’t be needing it anymore.”
     “Who are you?” I asked again, but this time with more urgency. He shook his head in reply and I pounded the ground in frustration. I had to know him. I had to find a man who could display so much raw emotion, but hid a heart of stone. Although the vision receded and I could feel him slipping away, I still refused to accept he would be a mystery I’d never solve.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant


The new, brilliantly tense psychological thriller by Sabine Durrant, author of the hugely praised UNDER YOUR SKIN.

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.

A year after her husband Zach's death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.

As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.

At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.

Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.

But she's starting to realise she didn't really know him.

Or what he was capable of . . .

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Remember Me This Way was such a great psychological suspense read! I was so caught up in the story, I literally couldn’t sleep until the book was finished. I had to find out what happened to Zach and Lizzie during their brief marriage before his tragic death in a car accident.

The book is told in flashes of the past and present. We get to see Lizzie dealing with her grief a year after her husband’s death. Although their relationship wasn’t healthy, she still misses him and wants to find out what happened during his final moments. The other chapters are Zach’s diary entries starting back to when he first met Lizzie.

Zach was one messed up character! Sometimes I probably enjoy reading from the perspective of crazies a little too much. Lizzie was a sad sort of character and really let a lot of people walk all over her. Although her attitude was frustrating at times, I felt like she was authentic. Zach chose her as his wife because of her submissiveness.

The climax was pretty crazy and there was a super messed up twist revealed in the third act. I suspected something early on, but I thought no way the author would go there. But it happened and I definitely felt traumatized by the reveal.

Highly recommend this book and author to suspense fans who don’t mind having their heads messed around with a bit!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #122

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

I know it's been a couple weeks, but with my boys being home for spring break and trying to finish my book The Dark Dreamer, I've been crazed. My book's release is Tuesday, so stop back then for a crazy huge giveaway event.

For Review:
Blood & Bone by Tara Brown

The Lie by C.L Taylor

The Returned by Seth Patrick

Awake by Natasha Preston

A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride

Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Don't Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie


Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “ Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…

Publication Date: March 24, 2015

This was a good middle grade to young teen read. I liked the haunted house premise and Sunshine was a fun character to follow. Based on the popularity of the YouTube series, I imagine there will be a lot more books featuring Sunshine’s adventures.

The book is driven by Sunshine’s likability. She is super quirky and I loved that she wasn’t one to fight for a spot in the cool crowd. She’s confident with who she is and doesn’t care what others think of her unconventional interests.

The haunted house aspect was well done and I liked how the creepiness built gradually. The book is scary without the need for blood and guts. This was perfect for me since I’m not into gory books. There were some chapters told in a unique point of view and these were my favorite in the story. However, Sunshine still kept me engaged in the sections from her POV.

If you’re looking for clean teen fiction with a spunky heroine, then you should pick up a copy of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy


Akin to Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, House of Echoes is a debut thriller populated by achingly sympathetic characters, charged with psychological suspense, and rich with a small town’s strange history.

A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

This was a good debut with a few twists I never saw coming. I liked the creepy rural atmosphere and the mysteries surrounding the property inherited by Ben and Caroline.

The characters were good enough and I liked how they had that everyman sort of appeal. I could picture any family reacting the same way they had to the horrors they encounter after their move.

The pace was a little slow for me, but I think the author intended to gradually build the tension in the story. However, I felt like some mundane details about the couple’s life could’ve been left out to make the story flow better.

The animal mutilation stuff freaked me out and the author did make me think several times the book was going in a totally different direction than I expected. He definitely made good use of red herrings. The ending wasn’t bad, but not exactly how I saw the plotline being tied up.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Enhanced by Courtney Farrell


At the Institute, they breed people like livestock. One powerful doctor decides which children get to grow up, and which will die. Losers are dumped in the savage slum outside Institute walls. Those kids never come back. Sixteen-year-old Michelle is a perfect specimen, destined for a luxurious life as a breeder. When her brother and her boyfriend are both mysteriously culled from the breeding program, she jumps the wall to find them. Alone in the ghetto, she’s in trouble until handsome, streetwise Dillon stakes a claim to her. She’s mortified by her attraction to a Normal. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted experiment, and she needs Dillon’s help to stop him. Michelle must rescue the boys, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her, and Dillon isn’t thrilled to help find her lost boyfriend.


Brian could go no farther. Below him, Carissa rounded the corner, sticking close to the only home she ever had.
“Carissa!” he shouted. She hesitated, looking up, and then shook her head at him.
Brian waved wildly. “Wait!” That threw him off balance and he windmilled his arms, trying to stay on his feet. Fresh pigeon droppings made the metal slick, and the Institute’s star athlete failed. He slipped and crashed hard onto the broken pavement Outside. Pain exploded through his knees and back, but he struggled to his feet almost immediately. Bloody abrasions covered Brian’s forearms and knees. Pain screamed from the crushed knee, triggering an animal instinct to hide. He backed into the shadow of one of the little Norm hovels that lined the alley.
He took a deep breath to call Carissa’s name again, but a flash of blue in his peripheral vision stopped him. A couple of Augment security guards lurked in the alley outside the gate. Cooking fires made the air gray with smoke, giving the place an eerie feel. Brian concentrated, trying for a pain block, but these things take a focused mind. He limped around the corner, finally forcing himself into a shambling run. Carissa slipped along ahead of him like she didn’t even touch the ground. 
Brian did his best to catch up, but he never got any closer. The cull entered a sunny stretch and he suddenly saw why. Carissa ran for her life, pursued by a man in blue. Pain from Brian’s shattered knee shot up his leg, slowing him down, but he wouldn’t give up. Ahead, the blue uniformed man dropped to a crouch and pulled out a crossbow equipped with a laser sight. Ignoring his injuries, Brian pounded down the alley.
The cull must have seen the little red dot dancing along the wall, because she stopped running and turned around to face her hunter. Sunlight caught her hair, turning it to gold. She spread her arms like an angel, and the bolt took her in the heart. Carissa fell more gracefully than any cull had a right to, dead before she hit the ground.
“No!” Brian screamed. He turned on her murderer. The Augment security chief knelt in the dirt with a second bolt already fixed in his crossbow, aimed right at the boy’s chest. For a moment, neither one moved.
Brian didn’t want to know, but he had to ask.  “Do you,” he gasped for air and spit out blood. “Do you kill all the culls?”
The man’s face crumpled, making him look decades older. “Them fancy genes of yours, they don’t want ‘em mixing with the common folks’.”
“They? Who gave the order?” But Brian already knew.
“So there’s no colony of Imperfects…that’s just what they tell the culls, so they go quietly.”
The security chief nodded, his weathered cheeks streaked with tears. “I told ya, boy. Givin’ her food wouldn’t matter none.”
The Augment unexpectedly pivoted the weapon in his hands and held out the stock. Brian snatched it away and leveled it threateningly. The chief clambered to his feet, gripping his knees like an old man, and straightened up to stand at attention. His blue eyes locked fearlessly on Brian’s brown ones. Brian froze, and the man gave him an encouraging nod.
                  “Go ahead, son. Do me the favor.” The chief slowly lifted his arms and held them out, just like Carissa had. Strangely, that little movement saved his life.
                  Brian couldn’t pull the trigger. Instead, he swung the bow savagely against the Institute wall, beating it over and over until it flew from his hands. Then he walked away, leaving the Institute security chief alone with the body of the first girl he ever loved. At the corner Brian turned and looked back.

“Are y’ gonna tell ‘em?” the chief called down the alley. His voice echoed strangely from the ruins of the old city. “Are y’ gonna tell’em, or will you let ‘em hope?”

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Soul Crossed by Lisa Gail Green


One Demon. One Angel. One Soul.

Josh lived a reckless, selfish life, so upon his death, escaping the eternal torments of Hell by assuming the role of a powerful, soul-corrupting demon is an easy choice. His first soul assignment doesn’t seem too hard: the mortal Camden is already obsessed with weapons, pain, and torture. If only Josh wasn’t distracted by Cam's beautiful friend, Grace.

Grace never expected to die violently at age sixteen, but now she’s an Angel, responsible for saving a soul. She can already see past Camden’s earthly flaws, so the job should be be easy. If only that handsome, playboy Josh would stop getting in the way.

It’s forbidden for an Angel to be with a Demon, so if Josh and Grace stop resisting each other, the results would be disastrous.

And only one can claim Cam’s soul.

Publication Date: February 25, 2015

I love demon/angel stories, so I was very excited to get started on Soul Crossed. Overall, I liked the premise, but just felt like much of the story would appeal to a much younger audience.

I think my issue was I felt underwhelmed by Josh and Grace. For a demon, Josh didn’t seem very badass. And for an angel, Grace was pretty whiney. The dynamic between the two was fun, but I wished for a slower build before their feelings became so intense.

The story took a little time to come together because of random time jumps during the first half of the book. The pacing in the second half of the book was much better. I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, but the paranormal aspect was much more interesting.

The ending was solid and I may end up picking up the sequel once it comes out. However, I do think the book will appeal the most to younger teen paranormal readers.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: Second Life by S.J. Watson


The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep ...She loves her husband. She's obsessed by a stranger. She's a devoted mother. She's prepared to lose everything. She knows what she's doing. She's out of control. She's innocent. She's guilty as sin. She's living two lives. She might lose both ...

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Second Life had an awesome premise. I was so intrigued by the idea of an average middle-aged woman going undercover online as a way to suss out her sister’s killer. I did like parts of the novel, but I struggled at times as well.

Julia is a tough sell and I think my main issue with her was her character seemed so uneven. Like I thought she was selflessly trying to help with her sister’s murder case, but then some of her later actions were so selfish and it really made me dislike her character.

The pacing was a little slow at the start, so I’m glad I stuck out the book since the second half was much more exciting. There’s a lot of messed up stuff that happens as Julia infiltrates Kate’s life and she uncovers so many dirty little secrets. She also seems to get in touch with a darker side of her personality.

Despite my qualms, the book was a solid four stars until the ending. Sometimes ambiguous endings work, but this one really didn’t for me. Not a bad book, but not nearly as good as the author’s Before I Go to Sleep.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!