Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blog Tour: Review and Tens List: H.A.L.F. The Deep Beneath

Welcome to my stop on this tour! For the rest of the stops and schedule, go here.

Synopsis 



H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.

Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill?

The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.


My Thoughts:
I expected to like this book. But it blew away all my expectations. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down.

I love our characters. Erika is really fun and she reminds me a bit of myself. I like her snark, even when it is in the worst of times. Jack is great and I like how he is portrayed as being more sensitive and emotional than the typical tough manly guy. Ian. What can I say about him? He's the best best friend someone could want and he's so fiercely loyal. But that said, he doesn't let Erika get away with everything. They argue. I love that. H.A.L.F. 9 is also a character that I love. I loved being put inside his head. Also, Natalie does a fantastic job with keeping his voice unique to him, especially with the formal structure.

I love the plot and how it is executed. I think one of my favorite things is that the alien war wasn't thrown on us in the very beginning, but it was mentioned, quite casually, pretty soon. I love the secret part of the government and how ecstatic Jack is about it. The headquarters are interesting to be in because of all the characters that live there. I loved interacting with all of them.

Natalie's writing style is simply beautiful. Everything flows and makes so much sense. I was able to read this quickly whole still understanding it all. It was a pleasant and satisfying read.

Overall, I have no complaints. I want to read book 2 right now and I'm not sure I can wait. This book was well-written and very enjoyable. I'll definitely read more from this author.

5 stars


6 Things I Cannot Live Without

The post was supposed to be a list of ten things I cannot live without. But I could not come up with ten! What can I say? My needs are simple.

If I see zombies ambling down my steet, these are the six things I’ll grab as I run for the hills:

1. My daughter.

2. Our cats, Flower and Magic.

3. My husband (who also happens to be my best friend).

4. I cannot live without music, so I’ll include my smart phone because it is filled with my favorite tunes.

5. My favorite pen and some Moleskine notebooks. Even if the power goes out, I can still write.

6. Toothpaste and toothbush. Even during a zombie apocalypse, I want clean teeth.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalie is the author of H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, tween daughter, and two young cats.

Natalie spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, hanging out on social media, and meeting readers and fans at festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. She likes to walk in the desert, snorkel in warm waters, travel, and share excellent food and conversation with awesome people. Natalie supports the rights of both humans and non-humans to live a life free of suffering caused by people. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.

WEBSITE: http://www.nataliewrightauthor.com/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/NatalieWright_
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468945.Natalie_Wright

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieWright.Author


Giveaway
--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card.


1 Winner will receive the H.A.L.F. full Swag (Compass, Necklace, Mouse Pad, Magnets and Book Cards). Signed copy of one of the books from Natalia's First Series (Emily’s Trial Book 2).



Thank you to Jean Book Nerd Tours for hosting this tour and to Natalie for sending my copy!

~Ashley

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: Silk



silkbanner
Welcome to my tour stop for the historical suspense novel Silk by Chris Karlsen. This is an adult book and is rated NC17. This is a review tour runs March 16-27th. Check out the tour page for more information and the tour schedule.

About the Book:

Silk on the skin—luxurious, luscious..lethal.

London-Fall, 1888

The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.

Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.

As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.

 What would you do to stay young: Lie, Manipulate..kill?

Goodreads | Amazon

My Thoughts:
I'm a die-hard fan of mysteries and this book was so enjoyable to read. I had a blast reading through the investigation, which was well-written and believable. I love the setting and the idea of using the Jack the Ripper time. The characters were also fun and realistic. Chris has a fantastic writing style and I must say I adored each page.

4.5 stars

Book Trailer:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ6oRpQK0c0
About the Author:

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write two different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is, Dangerous Waters.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.

Website | Facebook | Pinterest

Giveaway:
Each tour stop is giving away one kindle copy of SILK, just comment to enter!
In addition, fill out the rafflecopter to enter to win:
Kindle copy of SILK, swag bag & a $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
Ends April 1, 2015
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

~Ashley



Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning Giveaway HOP



Spring is starting and that means spring cleaning! Which, for me this year, means I need to get some books off of my shelf, and what better way than by giving them away?

At this stop, I'm giving away a box of books, pictured below. There are several adult books, along with a handful of young adult titles and one children's book. I may be adding more to it, it depends.



All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below and voila! You're entered!


Continue hopping through the remaining participating blogs!


~Ashley

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: The Burned Bridges Protocol



burnedbridges
Welcome to my tour stop for The Burned Bridges Protocol by Abigail Borders. This is a YA science fiction published by Giant Squid Books. 
The tour runs March 2nd-13th with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule. 

About the Book:

Burned Bridges Protocol CoverThe Burned Bridges Protocol by Abigail Borders
238 pages, young adult, science fiction

Seven hundred years ago, disaster forced humanity to abandon Earth. Life on the colony ship New Edinburgh is all sixteen-year-old Lilliane, the best programmer in her year at the Institute, has ever known. A week ago, Lilliane woke up in a life-pod. Its destination? Earth itself. Because it's time to rebuild. It's up to Lilliane and the four other survivors of the New Edinburgh to reclaim humanity's ancestral home. Today, the life pod arrived at Lady Diana--the lunar holding station that was once the luxury holiday destination for Earth’s super-rich. It’s supposed to be a good place. A safe place. Not anymore. Today, Lady Di is a battlefield. Because while Lilliane and her friends thought they they were the only humans left, somebody else got to Lady Di first. And he will stop at nothing to keep Lilliane from ever getting to Earth.

BBP on Giant Squid Books | Goodreads | Amazon | Indiebound


My Thoughts:
I really was interested in this book. The sci-fi aspects, the coming back to Earth, etc. It is just intriguing.

Abigail did an excellent job writing this. She included great characters and made the idea into a full-on novel, without having any horribly lagging spots. I love the idea that someone got to Earth first; it reminds me of The 100. This book is full of action and fun and suspenseful keep-you-reading moments.

The only thing I did not love was that the writing was choppy in places. It slowed my reading and made it harder for me to get into it.

Overall, this was a good book with a fantastic idea behind it. It's well-executed and was a nice read.

3.5 stars

About the Author: 

Abigail BordersAbigail is fluent in three languages, grew up in Asia, studied History in the UK, and now calls sunny Southern California her home. When not working with flowers (and daydreaming about what a ranunculus flower fairy looks like) she sings about Winnie the Pooh while baking treats like pineapple tarts and sand dollar cookies for her son, El Kiddo. She has an-going love/hate relationship with all things chocolate, although coffee will always remain her first love. She also holds graduate degrees in International Management and Special Education. 

The Burned Bridges Protocol is Abigail’s first novella. Her first novel, Cyrion, is scheduled to be released by MuseItUp Publishing in spring 2015.

Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 

 Giveaway:
Five (5) digital copies of The Burned Bridges Protocol (INT) & a signed paperback copy (US)
Ends March 18th


This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

~Ashley

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence
Marie Laval

With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel.

Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

See more at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spell-Provence-Marie-Laval-ebook/dp/B00RVQO8RM/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420915312&sr=1-9&keywords=accent+press

http://www.accentpress.co.uk/Book/13421/A-Spell-in-Provence.html#sthash.X8MLryS5.dpuf


My Thoughts:
I'm a total Francophile, so this book definitely appealed to me. I really enjoyed just the setting of this book, as well as the plot. I'm a sucker for anything mystery and Maria did a fabulous job writing it. She also created a really awesome romance that kept me happy for a while. Her writing style flows well and sounds great. I enjoyed this book.

4 stars


About the Author:


Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press.



Thank you to JB Johnson for hosting this blog tour!

~Ashley

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: In The Woods




In the Woods
Based upon the original horror screenplay IN THE WOODS by Lynn Drzick, now an independent motion picture.

Hundreds of years ago their battle began . . .

In an age of knights and sorcery, a good king must raise a monster to protect his people from the demon unleashed by a dark-hearted enemy determined to claim his kingdom. But once called forth upon blood-drenched fields, can such evil ever be truly laid to rest?

To a present day community held hostage by fear, a serial killer will soon be the least of its worries after two off-duty firefighters enter a forest and find a grave. What they dig up isn’t a victim or family pet. When they race from the woods, they bring a timeless hell with them . . .





My Thoughts:
Oh my goodness, nope. I cannot even imagine how I'm going to get through a review for this.

This book was great. It kept me reading from page one until the end. I also really enjoyed the fact that it's based on a screenplay, not the other way around. It's original. Now I need to watch the movie. But this book scared me so badly. In a good way. I'm always up for a bit of horror, and this definitely gave it to me. It was also interesting to start in the medieval age, then go present. But this whole book is just well-written and fun to read, especially if you want to scare yourself. Then you read it at night, alone outside.

4 stars

Excerpt:
The woods were thick and green, a lush paradise of almost primal splendor. No marked pathways wound through the tangle of vine and overgrown brush, only the natural trails followed by inhabitants of the forest. Eden must have been such a place, untouched by civilization, rich with verdant foliage and host to a cacophony of sounds, each celebrating life renewed and reborn.

Only on this day, the chorus ringing out beneath the canopy of spreading oaks wasn’t a symphony of life. It was a loud, discordant dirge of death.

The resounding clash of steel on steel peeled through the woods, harsh, out of place amid the peaceful setting, an ugly man-made tune where only the delicate melodies of nature should have played.Branches snapped, brush gave way in a noisy yielding to activity not at meant for a quiet glade. Against the mellow pallet of greens and carpet of mossy browns, glints of callous metal flashed when touched briefly by spears of sunlight that penetrated the tunnel of interlaced limbs. And a scent, both redolent of life and death, challenged the earthy cycle of woodland decay as vivid red blasphemed the sacred forest floor.

Battle raged between armored knights, fighting man-to-man in the most primitive of combat, for that was all the dense stand of trees would allow. It was no organized attack, with orderly lines and mounted men. The terrain over which they fought would not permit such luxury. Instead, a brutal, chopping, hacking, within arm’s reach war raged with barely room to accommodate the full swing of a sword, but plenty to provide for the spilling of blood. Two sides engaged, one in the pure gleam of silver, the other in the flat black of death’s very door. None could say which side ruled the day, only that each foot of ground, given or taken, was earned or lost with a tragic toll. Such was the way of any war once reduced to its most basic component.

Man.

“It’s hard to see just how many there are, sire! They’re coming out of the forest like rodents!”

“Which is what they are!”

Prince Freeacas threw up the visor to his helm and glared through the tight grouping of trees. He could see glimpses of warriors, both his and the enemy’s, engaged in close quartered combat—a sword slashing here, an ax falling there, everywhere the ringing of mortal blows upon steel and bone. Pure madness, waging battle under such conditions, but war was not a sane endeavor under the best of circumstances. Here, it was necessity.

A sudden movement to his left distracted the young prince. He caught the dull black sheen of his enemy’s armor, like darkness fast approaching, as a knight charged from the cover of the trees bent on slaying him to win the day. Before Freeacas could react in his own defense, Galan, the silver knight who served as his protector and friend, stepped in to deflect the blow with his own sword. A brief contest of strength ensued as blades locked at the hilts, and hate-filled eyes met with only inches between them. Then Galan threw forward with all his weight behind it, upsetting the would-be assassin who stumbled back, his balance precarious. Galan drove on, taking full advantage of the weakness, forcing the man to his knees, then to his back, ending it at last with a fateful thrust of his blade through a vulnerable gap of the breastplate where it gave at the underarm.

Freeacas stood unmoved by the savagery. After years of trying to conquer a foreign land with only his wits and the strength of his right arm to keep him alive, nothing held the power to shock the young prince. He understood battle, and he understood the fighting man’s mind. Loyalty was best demanded when it was fairly earned. He was not one to retake his lands by directing others from a safe distance. The staining of souls lost to his massive blade darkened his mail and mood. These were his properties, his inheritance, stolen by cunning thieves whilst he was away in the Holy land fighting for their salvation. He could not expect others to die at his command if he were not willing to do the same at their side.

Of late, the countryside seemed bathed in blood. Men steeped in violence with the scent of dying in their noses from long hard years at the Crusades had no patience for peaceful solutions. They fought each other as viciously as they had faced the Arab hordes, only this time, the Promised Land they died for was their own home soil. A man was capable of terrible things when he was defending what was his by birth and royal decree. As this land was his, and would remain his while he had yet breath in his body.

A cruel and clever adversary, Karth bid his time until his neighboring king was left unprotected as his knights and only son sailed for Jerusalem. Karth had expended none of his own in that noble cause and hence ruled a mighty number. King Haggert lost more than he held to the plundering black plague of knights, but now that Prince Freeacas was home to lead his vassals in a reclaiming quest, the odds were more than just even.

Or so they had been to this point.

Prince Freeacas frowned as he observed several of his knights running afoot, not toward battle, but rather fleeing from it. A man of iron fortitude, he hated cowardice almost as much as he loved his father, the king. There was no room for the faint of heart and weak of nerve in the heat of confrontation. Had he been able to recognize those yellow curs, he would have made note to strike them of all their courtly privileges and strip them of their feudal lands. Such behavior was not to be tolerated by any man of honor who’d taken oaths of fealty that bound as firmly as blood.

Furiously, he stalked in their direction, shouting, “Where are you men running? Are you not warriors?” in hopes of shaming them into standing their ground. But he saw one last flash of silver as they disappeared into the trees. He still cursed them as another knight came running from the foray, also abandoning his duty to his king.

It would not be borne!

Freeacas lunged forward, gripping the knight by the arm. The man swung toward him, sword half raised in his own defense until he recognized his liege. He went still, then slowly lifted his visor.Freeacas was struck by the look of sheer terror upon his features.More than just a healthy fear of consequence placed that deathly pallor upon his face and left his stare blank as gazing crystals.

“The battle’s not done ’til all are bleeding!” he called angrily, wanting to shock the cur from his fright with the boldness of his words. But no such concession could be won. Instead, a deeper panic rose, and with it, incredible words came pouring forth.

“Sire, a beast came out of the sky and attacked us!” the knight all but babbled. His gaze flew over the prince’s shoulder to anxiously scan the woods beyond as if expecting some supernatural terror to charge out in pursuit.

“Beast?” Freeacas jerked the man up close, fighting the want to shake him. What nonsense stemmed from a fearful imagination. Beast, indeed. Probably the man’s own conscience swooping down to chastise him for failing upon the field of honor.

But the knight wasn’t daunted by the prince’s sneering doubt.He pointed, plates of armor rattling upon his quivering arm.


“Over the hill! Our men are being ripped apart!”

About the Author:

With over 60 sales since her first publication in 1987, which was written in long hand then typed up on a manual Smith Corolla, Portage, Michigan author Nancy Gideon’s writing encompasses romance genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal.

Under her own name, she’s a bestseller in contemporary romantic suspense, has written an award-winning vampire romance series, and has a six book shape-shifter series with Pocket Books. Also listed on the International Movie Database (IMDB), she collaborated on Indie horror films In the Woodsand Savage with screenwriting and ADR script credits, and even played a small role, that of “bar extra.”

Writing historical romance as Dana Ransom, she’s a “Career Achievement for Historical Adventure” and “K.I.S.S.” award winner with books published in Romanian, Italian, Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, German, Icelandic and Chinese.

As Rosalyn West, she’s a HOLT Medallion winner with nominations for “Best North American Historical Romance” and “Best Historical Book in a Series.”


A prolific writer, Nancy attributes her creative output, which once peaked at seven novels in one year, to her love of history and a gift for storytelling.  She also credits the discipline learned through a background in journalism and OCD.  The due date for her third book and her second son were on the same day . . . and both were early!  When on deadline, she turns on the laptop between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. to get a chapter in before heading in to her full time job as a legal assistant. She’s a member of GDRWA, MMRWA, FF&P and dotes on her critique group.

Giveaway:
Go here and click 'Giveaway', and enter to win a gift card and an ebook of In the Woods!

Thank you to Buy the Book Tours for hosting this tour!

~Ashley

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: Deviate


Deviate (The Light Key Trilogy #2) by Tracy Clark

Release Date: 03/03/15
Entangled Teen


Summary from Goodreads:

Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...

On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them, Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.

No longer will she hide.

No longer will her loved ones be hunted.

And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.


Book One:



My Thoughts:
This book has done it. It broke the rule of "sequels are never better". Because this book was incredibly excellent.

First, Tracy switches to dual POV between Cora and Finn. I so love getting to see inside Finn's head, especially after book 1's huge reveal at the end. He's so charming externally, but it's interesting to see how he is reacting inside to everything that is going on, especially with Cora and Giovanni, and others.

I cannot get over how many twists and turns are in this novel. I'm still sitting here in shock because I don't know what to make of everything. I never suspected really anything that happened, which was such a breath of fresh air. Usually, I can guess what will happen ten pages from where I am. Not with Deviate. I was guessing until the end.

I love love love the character build-up and development through this book. I think Tracy did an excellent job in the first, but she delves deeper in this one and really brings these characters to life. They become more realistic and react even better to everything.

The plot of this book is great. It runs through Cora, still trying to deal with the events of the first book and still running from the Arrazi, and her trusty bunch of friends and family. They stick together and find the Arrazi more than they'd like to, but they end up finding a sanctuary in an unlikely place, where Cora tries to figure out how the Scintilla and Arrazi fit in the world. Does that not entice you to no ends? And trust me, Tracy executes it even better.

Giovanni and Finn are ever so perfect and I cannot figure out who I like Cora with more. Obviously I love Finn, but G is always there for her. I suppose I like him more as a flirty best friend.

I've hit the rambling phase of my review, so I'll wrap up with this: This book is even better than the first and I think I might die having to wait until October for Illuminate.

5 stars

About the Author:

Tracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through, they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.

She grew up a “Valley Girl” in Southern California but now lives in her home state of Nevada, in a small town at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Her two children teach her the art of distraction and are a continuous source of great dialogue. She’s an unapologetic dog person who is currently owned by a cat.

Tracy was the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant. A two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program where she was lucky enough to be mentored by bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins, who taught her so much about the art of writing and cured her of her ellipsis addiction. Her debut novel was inspired by her enchantment with metaphysics as a teen, seeing it as the real magic in life. Tracy is a part-time college student, a private pilot, and an irredeemable dreamer.


Giveaway








Organized by:

~Ashley

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blog Tour: Review: The Ghost of You


The Ghost of You by Amanda Burckhard
Release Date: 12/30/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:


Emmy has everything she’s ever wanted: a hot boyfriend she adores, great friends, a promising future, and even a well-connected family. But one night rips it all away.

A car accident shatters her world, claiming the lives of her twin brother and her best friend. In the wake of the accident, her friends drift away, her family falls apart, and her boyfriend cheats.

The grief is more than she can handle, so she finds escape at the bottom of a bottle of painkillers. Taking the pills makes her brother alive again, if only in her head. Seeing and talking to her brother as if he were still alive is the only thing that keeps her going. Until Logan King moves to town. Logan sees past the mask of pristine popularity she wears in public and he’s the only one who can tell she hasn’t moved on. His uncanny ability to read her forces her to open up and she starts to fall for him, no matter how unwilling she is to admit it. But Emmy isn’t the only one keeping secrets and when a close brush with death sparks events that bring everything to light, Emmy
will have to decide what’s more important: learning how to forgive and move on, or holding onto the pills and the ghost of her past.


My Thoughts:
I can't think of anything wrong with this book, so I'll stick with positives.

I love how there really isn't any sugar coating in this book. Emmy's twin and best friend both die, so she starts taking pills. I'm so glad that that is not masked, because, guess what? It happens. Avoiding it in literature is only lying, whereas Amanda lays it all out, which is important.

Aww the romance in this book is really cute. I just...yeah, I don't want to give anything away. It's worth it, though. The romance. Totally worth it.

I was really impressed by the characters and the story in general. This book was very good and kept me wanting more.

4 stars


About the Author

Amanda Burckhard grew up exploring bat caves and hunting for dinosaur bones in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she wasn’t crossing paths with mountain lions, she was making up stories and devouring books at the library. Although, she still does that.

Amanda loves to travel and cross out things on her adrenaline packed bucket list. Some of the things she's been able to cross out include see an active volcano erupt, ride a gondola in Venice, and pet a tiger. She currently lives in North Sioux City, South Dakota and works as a microbiologist by day. Some of her obsessions include comic book movies, hot chocolate, sushi, sunshine, and Doctor Who.


Giveaway

Book Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

~Ashley

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: Scintillate

Scintillate
By Tracy Clark

18050015A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.

Cora Sandoval’s mother disappeared when she was five and they were living in Ireland. Since then, her dad has been more than overprotective and Cora is beginning to chafe under his confines. But even more troubling is the colorful light she suddenly sees around people. Everyone, that is, except herself—instead, she glows a brilliant, sparkling silver.

As she realizes the danger associated with these strange auras, Cora is inexplicably drawn to Finn, a gorgeous Irish exchange student who makes her feel safe. Their attraction is instant, magnetic, and primal—but her father disapproves, and Finn’s mother orders him home to Ireland upon hearing he’s fallen in love. After a fight with her father, Cora flees to Ireland, both to follow Finn and to look for her missing mother.

There she meets another silver-haloed person and discovers the meaning of her newfound powers and their role in a conspiracy spanning centuries—one that could change mankind forever…and end her life.


My Thoughts:
Scintillate blew away all my expectations. I was expecting to like this book, but I was wrong. I loved it.

Cora and her friends are all really awesome characters. They are developed and they are all realistic. I enjoyed listening to their banter and I especially loved Finn. But who wouldn't love an Irish boy with that much charm? ;)

The auras of this book were so cool. I thought it was fascinating going through the different emotions of people just by seeing their colors. But I absolutely adored the whites and silvers. I love how they advance the story.

The Scintilla and Arrazi are incredibly interesting. Tracy does a fantastic job showing how they act and how they interact, along with the necessary backstory for each.

Okay the plot twist at the end. Well, the almost end. I almost cried. But first I had to put down my book. It was that powerful and shocking.

Overall, this book is well-written and left me begging for more. Good thing I have my copy of Deviate to start now.
5 stars

**Do you want to win insane prizes by earning points? Join Tracy's #DV8TLC challenge! More info here**

~Ashley

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blog Tour: Review, Playlist, Dream Cast: Dead to Me



Dead to Me
by Mary McCoy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Rate: 4 stars

Synopsis:

LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

"Don't believe anything they say."

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.


I've been looking forward to this book for a while now. The crime, the noir, the setting, everything appeals to me. And I must say, I wasn't disappointed.

Alice meets her runaway sister Annie at a hospital. And one of them is in a coma after being beaten almost to death. Now Alice needs to find Annie's attacker and she finds out there was a murder involved and one witness who still runs free. I love this plot and what it leads the reader to expect. I expect them to look for the witness. Correct. But there are so many twists and turns along the way that I could never have expected the exact outcome.

Jerry is a really awesome character. They all are; he just spoke to me. He's a detective ex-cop who is often just in the right place at the right time. And he's a support for Alice while they work to find Annie. I greatly appreciate that the two did not have a romance; it reminds me that a detective and his/her partner can simply work together. My favorite kind of relationship.

I still cannot get over the setting. It's 1940's Hollywood and our characters have been in the thick of the fame industry since they were children. We get so many different looks at life in that age.

Even though we find out who the culprit is early on, I enjoyed the suspense and mystery. I knew they would catch the man, but I didn't know how or what he would do to foil their plans. And he was so awful otherwise that his character was just incredible. 

While I liked this book, it was slightly confusing in parts. I didn't know exactly what was going on, or I didn't see how something was important or tied in. I'm still fuzzy in some parts. But the good easily overrides the not-as-good, which means I give it...

4 stars


Alice
Played by: Gabrielle Wilde

Annie
Played by: Theresa Palmer

Jerry
Played by: Daniel Bruhl

Gabrielle
Played by: Elle Fanning

Conrad
Played by: Tom Cruise

William Tell: Overture by Gioachino Rossini (I can hear this playing softly in the background)
Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down (At the parties)
Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia (During action scenes, this is on repeat for me)


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg



Follow the Dead To Me by Mary McCoy Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



Mary McCoy is a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She has also been a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the 1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles's notorious past. She grew up in western Pennsylvania and studied at Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. Mary now lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Her debut novel, Dead To Me, is a YA mystery set in the glamorous, treacherous world of 1940s Hollywood.




Win (1) hardcopy of DEAD TO ME by Mary McCoy (US Only)








~Ashley