Saturday, February 27, 2016

Audiobook Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Click to view on Amazon.
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description:
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

My review:
Ah, now I feel satisfied. Is the series over? Well, no… There are at least three more I haven’t gotten to, but book three resolves several issues that have spanned the series up to this point. So, other than satisfied, how do I feel?

Well, good. Happy with the outcome, a little keyed in on a couple of possible problems (glossed over a little) that likely lead into the following books, but overall good. Unlike the others, though, I don’t feel that driving urge to immediately reserve the next copy.

Ok, so the big, burning mover of plot in this installment was the hinting and the wondering about Clary and Jace’s particular issue. If you’ve read the first two books, you know which one. If you haven’t, you should read them, and then you’ll know.

Simon’s growing from kind of a geek you feel sorry for into a geeky hero. Not sure he’s there yet, but there’s progress. And Valentine, what a creep, with even more reasons provided. Other surprises, shocking and satisfying, made this a joy to read, just really fun.

Now all that said, I couldn’t help but recall the Wonder Twins (from the Super Friends) with regard to their special gifts. Clary is like the girl twin (Jayna) who can make herself into any sort of awesome animal, if I remember correctly, while Jace is like the boy twin (Zan) whose only skill is being water of some form. I remember Zan turning into a cup of water once… Anyway, to tie this into the book, Clary’s got a mad, awesome superpower, while Jace’s is just a bit disappointing in comparison.

So, overall, I loved this book, but it seems to resolve everything I cared about in the series, so I’ve lost the drive to pick up the next one. I’m sure I’ll do so, but a bit later, I think.

I borrowed the audiobook of this story from the local library.


View all my reviews

Thursday, February 25, 2016

YA Sci Fi Book Trailer: Facsimile by Vicki L. Weavil

 
Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal! But wait it's a Thursday you're probably asking yourself! Yes it is but we have a super special reveal for you today and we will have a reveal tomorrow as well!

This week, we are revealing the trailer for
Facsimile by Vicki L. Weavil
an upcoming Month9Books Title!

 
facsimile ebook final
Title: FACSIMILE
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
For a ticket to Earth, seventeen-year-old Anna-Maria “Ann” Solano is willing to jettison her birth planet, best friend, and the boy who loves her. Especially since all she’s required to do is escort Dace Keeling, a young naturalist, through the wilderness of the partially terraformed planet Eco. Ann‘s determination to escape the limitations of her small, frontier colony never falters, until Dace’s expeditions uncover three secrets. One offers riches, one shatters Ann’s perceptions of herself, and one reveals that the humans stranded on Eco are not its only inhabitants.


Ann’s willing to sacrifice friendship and love for a new life on Earth. But when an entire species is placed in jeopardy by her actions, she must make a choice – fulfill the dream that’s always sustained her, or save the planet she’s never considered home.
Now here's the trailer!
 


 
Vicki Weavil 11
Vicki L. Weavil is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel. Her Young Adult Fantasy, CROWN OF ICE -- a dark YA retelling of H.C. Andersen's "The Snow Queen" -- is published by Month9Books. Two companion books to CROWN OF ICE -- SCEPTER OF FIRE and ORB OF LIGHT -- will be published in 2016 and 2017. Her YA SciFi -- FACSIMILE -- will be published by Month9Books in 2016, with a sequel, DERIVATION, to follow. A new YA Fantasy, THE DIAMOND THIMBLE, will be published by Month9Books in 2018. She also writes adult SciFi.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr
 
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Title will be sent upon its release.
 

Cozy Mystery Cover Reveal: The Daydreamer Detective by SJ Pajonas

Today is the cover reveal for The Daydreamer Detective by SJ Pajonas. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

The Daydreamer DetectiveThe Daydreamer Detective (The Daydreamer Detective #1)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Mystery/ Cozy Mystery
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 31 march 2016

Blurb:
Luck? Forget it. Mei Yamagawa is fresh out of it. She's just been downsized from her 3rd job in five years and her bank account is dry. Now, to keep her head above water, she must leave Tokyo and move back to her rural Japanese hometown. And there's nothing worse than having to face your old rivals and ex-boyfriends as a failure while starting life over as a farm girl.

But when her best friend's father is murdered, and her best friend is named the main suspect, Mei turns her daydreaming ways towards solving the crime. Between dates disguised as lunches with the town's hottest bachelor chef, searching for clues, and harvesting sweet potatoes, Mei has a lot of non-paying work cut out for her.

Will she catch the killer before her bad luck turns worse? Or will she fry in the fire with the rest of her dreams of success?


You can find The Daydreamer Detective on Goodreads and for pre-order at Amazon.

The Daydreamer Detective teaser 1


The Daydreamer Detective teaser 2


SJ PajonasAbout the Author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com.

You can find and contact SJ Pajonas here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Tumblr
- Instagram
- Youtube
- Wattpad
- Amazon

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cover Reveal: Saven: Disclosure by Siobhan Davis

Today is the cover reveal for Saven: Disclosure by Siobhan Davis. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Saven DisclosureSaven: Disclosure (Saven #2)
By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: April 21, 2016

Blurb:
THE TRUTH WON'T STAY HIDDEN FOREVER

To protect Logan, I've no choice but to betray his trust.
The stakes are high, and there are no guarantees.
But I'm not the only one hiding the truth.
Will our love survive all the secrets and lies?


Enemy alien ships crowd the skies over Earth while the world waits with bated breath. The Saven have been exposed, and where once they were abhorred, they are now championed as our greatest ally and our only possible savior.

Logan and Sadie have been separated, and the longer he is gone, the more their love is tested by duty, doubts, and deception.

Sadie and Jarod have infiltrated the highest levels of government, but they are playing a dangerous game. Surrounded by people with conflicting agendas--hell-bent on using her for their own aim--Sadie is confused when the lines between good and evil are blurred. It's impossible to tell friend from foe, and no one can be trusted.

When the full extent of the experiments taking place in Sector Twenty is disclosed, Sadie can no longer sit back and watch as the lower classes face a horrific fate. Racing to save her loved ones and mankind, she risks her own safety and the love she's waited a lifetime for to do the right thing.

But no one thought to save her from herself.


You can find Saven Disclosure on Goodreads

You can pre-order Saven Disclosure here:
- Amazon USA
- Amazon UK
- Amazon Canada
- Amazon Australia

Excerpt from Saven Disclosure:
I pad into the kitchen and hoist myself up onto a stool at the counter. Haydn slides two muffins and a home-made smoothie across to me. “You trying to fatten me up?” I inquire
“You need to eat more when you’re training.”
“I’m sure I read somewhere that you should eat more protein when in training. I doubt you’re supposed to be indulging in calorie-laden treats.”
“Watch your mouth!” Haydn swats me with a dish towel. “Those muffins are made with bran, yoghurt, honey, and fruit. All natural. And totally healthy. Now shut up and eat.”
“Ooh, get you! All right!” I hold my hands up in defeat. “But I doubt I’ll manage two.”
“You can give one to Jarod in work,” he suggests.
I snort. “As if he’d eat anything you prepared! I’d have to lie and tell him I baked it myself.”
Jarod isn’t over his aversion to aliens. And that’s putting it mildly. He absolutely refuses to go anywhere with me outside of work if any of my Saven friends is involved, and he hasn’t ever stepped foot in this apartment. It’s a constant source of tension between us; the cause of more than a few arguments. I understand he’s pissed over the whole memory-erase situation, and the fact that enemy alien ships still hover in our skies doesn’t do much to ease any human’s apprehension, but I’ve tried explaining, time and time again, that we have nothing to fear from Logan and Co., but he won’t hear a word of it.
While I’m grateful that Jarod managed to make it out of Thalassic City safely, and I’m thrilled to be working in the same building as him, sometimes I could happily bash his head against the wall.

Note from the author: This is from the unedited draft and the final version is subject to change.


Praise for Saven Deception (Saven #1):
"The heir to the Lux series." Natasha Anne. Dreamland Teenage Fantasy.

"The worldbuilding and characters leap off the page and come alive with flawless writing and a plot that had me engrossed and on the edge of my seat." Dali. TJ Loves to Read.

"Gripping Read. From the start I was drawn into the world and felt like I was experiencing everything right next to Sadie." Patricia Hamill. Author-Blogger Pure Textuality.

"This book had me hooked from the first chapter. An exhilarating ride with many twists and turns. Awesome." Karla. Goodreads Reviewer.

"Siobhan Davis has created yet another world of characters I became very invested in. The premise is an intriguing one ... and it's different enough to stand out from other YA books." Deirdre. Goodreads Reviewer.

"I am beyond excited for this series. Saven Deception was AMAZING and I couldn't put it down. Ms. Davis created an incredible world and I cannot wait to read the next installment." Michelle. Adventure in Bookland.

"Saven Deception was a freaking awesome read! The worldbuilding was fantastic and the romance between Logan and Sadie felt amazingly perfect to me." Poulami, Daydreaming Books.

"Another hidden gem from the treasure trove in Siobhan Davis' mind." Dianne. Tome Tender.

"If you like Jennifer L. Armentrout's books then you'll love Saven Deception." Amazon UK Reviewer.

SiobhanAbout the Author:
Siobhan Davis writes young adult science fiction fantasy romance books, and she is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling series. The first book in her new Saven series was released in December 2015.

A self-professed teenager forever--at least when it comes to books, music, and films, Siobhan is totally addicted to teen fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. She loves baking, shoes, bags, makeup, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).

Before pursuing a full-time writing career, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in Human Resources over the last twenty years. She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.


You can find and contact Siobhan here:
- Website
- Blog
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Google +
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Newsletter

Sample chapters, quotes, reviews and book excerpts are all available to download from the authors website

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Saven: Disclosure. These are the prizes you can win:
- a 5$ amazon gift card
- an e-copy of Saven: Deception by Siobhan Davis and an ARC of Saven Disclosure by Siobhan Davis

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cover Reveal: Trees of Life: A Colouring Experience by Jenna Lyn Field

Today is the cover reveal for Trees of Life: A Colouring Experience by Jenna Lyn Field. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Trees of LifeTrees of Life: A Colouring Experience
By Jenna Lyn Field
Genre: colouring book/ non-fiction
Age category: for all ages

Blurb:
Trees of Life is a wonderful colouring experience that will relax your mind and bring peace to your soul. Inspired by life itself and what it means to others, each and every image is an original artwork just begging to be filled with colour.


You can find Trees of Life: A Colouring Experience on Goodreads

TreesofLifefullspreadcoverUK


Interior Pictures from the book:
TreesofLifeColouringpicture1


TreesofLifeColouringpicture2


TreesofLifeColouringpicture3



Other titles by Jenna Lyn Field include:
From the Colour Me Funky range:
- Alphabet Graffiti
- Alphabet: Quake
- Christmas
- Advanced Colouring
- Anti-Stress Colouring
- Swirls & Curls

From her picture book range:
- The Rabbit With Terrible Habits
- Noah's New Room
- Pink Hair, Blue Hair

Jenna Lyn FieldAbout the Author:
Author of children's picture books, Jenna Lyn Field is the pen name of adult author J.A. Belfield. She lives in Solihull, England, with the best husband in the world, aka Mr B, a couple of back-chatting but pretty cool kids, a pooch she treats likes the baby of the house, and a scrawny cat that drives her insane.

Jenna also writes adult fiction under the name J.A. Belfield.

You can find and contact Jenna Lyn Field here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Trees of Life: A Colouring Experience. These are the prizes you can win:
- a paperback copy of Trees of Life: A Colouring Experience by Jenna Lyn Field (UK and US only)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land

Today is the cover reveal for A Shot of Bourbon by A.C. Land. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

A Shot of BourbonA Shot of Bourbon (The Bourbon Series #1)
By A.C. Land
Genre: Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: BookFish Books

Blurb:
In the little highway town of Bourbon, Missouri, deadly secrets lurk behind Southern charm.

Seventeen year old Charli Valentine didn’t expect to spend the last few weeks of summer break nursing a broken heart, icing a black eye, and watching her ex kiss another girl. Since being a good girl has gotten her nothing but heartache, Charli decides to give rebellion a try. She pigs out, drinks, and hangs with Luke Parker, the son of the infamous Bourbon Butcher.

But there’s more to Luke than meets the eye. His tough exterior and terrible dialect hide a good person despite his bad boy reputation. No matter how hard he tries to fight it, Luke is drawn to Charli’s innocence and finds her clumsiness too charming to resist. Though they’re from opposite sides of the tracks, neither can resist the magnetism drawing them together.

When Charli discovers a box in her mother’s closet, she pieces together the truth about Bourbon’s past and uncovers a deadly secret about her family. And once Luke learns of it, he vows to protect Charli no matter the cost.


A Shot of Bourbon full wrap


Excerpt:
Charli
I stepped into line behind a guy I recognized immediately. Chills shot up my spine the way they did when I dipped my foot in a cold pool. He twirled a worn looking cigarette between his fingers. It slipped over his dirty knuckles before sliding between his thumb and forefinger. The cigarette had finger impressions all over the filter and dirty smudge marks across the white paper. I wondered how long he’d been twirling it for it to look that way. 
Lucas Parker had always fascinated me. I didn’t know what it was about him. Maybe the fact that he was overbearingly protective of his brother, Collin. Or that he worked so many hours at his incarcerated father’s failing auto shop. Or maybe because his family was the only one my mother had explicitly told me to stay away from.


A.C. LandAbout the Author:
Author of the Bourbon Series, A.C. Land has been a lover of stories since she first read about Peter Pan giving Wendy an acorn and teaching her to fly. A.C. always dreamed of telling big stories about small towns.

Residing on a cattle farm in Missouri, A.C. loves playing with her rambunctious Jack Russell, Riley, making decorative cakes, taking pictures, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and hanging out with her nephews.

You can find and contact A.C. Land here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instagram

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of A Shot of Bourbon. One person will win a 50$ amazon gift card!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Release Day: Avalee and the Dragon by Patricia Hamill

Happy Release Day!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AJ5D4BM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B01AJ5D4BM&linkCode=as2&tag=ireatoomuc-20&linkId=PC3FFSQMBQFP7R3J
View on Amazon.com.

The day is finally here. Avalee and the Dragon is live on Amazon!

As a huge fan of fantasy and swords and sorcery books, I'm excited to announce this book, the first one I've written in that genre. I read through the story again last night (you know, pre-release jitters and last looks), and I feel great about this one.

Title: Avalee and the Dragon
Author: Patricia Hamill
Cover Art: Jack Baker Design
Released: February 14, 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy, and just a touch of Romance (clean).

Description:
Every ten years, a maiden must be sacrificed to the dragon to ensure the safety of the village for the next ten. This year, Avalee has been selected.

But unlike those before her, she has no intention of submitting to her fate. No, she intends to fight, and not just fight, win. If everything goes as planned, the dragon will never trouble her village again.

Then again, things seldom go as planned. . . 

Intrigued?

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Pick up a copy at Amazon:
Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk   

 (Hint for international readers, replace the .com or .co.uk in the amazon link with your country's website suffix. The rest of the link's the same. :-D)


Do you love getting your books in both ebook and paperback?
The paperback is in review, so it should follow the Kindle edition soon. I always turn on matchbook, so if you're planning to get the paperback and want a discounted copy for your Kindle, too, I'd say wait for that. I'll post when both the paperback and the matchbook are live.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Audiobook Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Click to view on Amazon.
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

My review:
Main theme, let’s kill off a main character. And if that doesn’t work, let’s do it again. And again. Still, pretty awesome book. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook, which I borrowed from a local library.

While book one was great, it seemed to feature all the tried and contemporary paranormal prerequisites: monster/demon hunters, vampires and werewolves, fairies, demons, angels. Book two has all those, but also a great deal more plot, action, and romantic suspense.

Clary’s predicament is maddening and page turning, and hints and maybes really drew me along to the very end and right into the next book, which was, thankfully, available the very next day at the library.

I also rather enjoyed the narrator for this volume. Great pacing, easy to listen to, good use of emotion to match the mood of the book.

So, yes, I’d say this is worthy of the hype. I very much enjoyed this and would recommend it to fans of paranormal romance/modern fantasy.


View all my reviews

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cover and Chapter Reveal: Triumph of Chaos by Jen McConnel


Today Jen McConnel and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for TRIUMPH OF CHAOS the final book in the Red Magic Series, which releases March 8, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win the complete eBook series!!


A quick note from the author:

I can’t tell you how bittersweet it is to see the cover for Triumph of Chaos. In a few weeks, the Red Magic series will be entirely in your hands, and while it’s hard to let these characters go, I’m thrilled that you’ll be able to follow Darlena as her journey culminates in Triumph. The cover is a perfect way to wrap up this trilogy, and I hope you love it (and the story!) as much as I do. Red Magic has been a part of my life for five years, and of all the characters I’ve created, Darlena feels the most familiar, the most real to me. I can’t wait for the last installment of her story to be out in the world!

On to the reveal! 



Title: TRIUMPH OF CHAOS
Author: Jen McConnel
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

After the disaster in Europe, Darlena’s starting to get desperate. She knows the only way to defeat Hecate and the other crazy Red Gods is by banding together with other Witches, but is it any wonder she has a hard time trusting them?

With Izzy’s support, Darlena begins making fragile strides toward repairing the mess she made, but she just can’t catch a break. As chaos runs rampant around her, Darlena begins to think that things would be better if she’d never become a Red Witch in the first place. But there’s no way to change the past…is there?


The final book in the Red Magic series brings Darlena face to face with impossible odds, and a terrifying choice.


Exclusive Excerpt
Chapter one
For months, I thought I’d killed my best friend.
Now I sort of wish I had.
What kind of person does that make me? Justin had once told me that I’d go crazy if I tried to decide who should live or die, but I kept thinking that if I’d been able to make that kind of choice in the first place, none of this would have happened. If Rochelle had really died on that rooftop last fall, then the world wouldn’t be falling apart, and I wouldn’t be to blame.
Sometimes, it sucks to be a Witch.
I used to scoff at people who preached about the end of the world, but ever since Marcus, I hadn’t been able to laugh off the sandwich-board crazies popping up everywhere. Maybe it would have been funny if I didn’t know the truth.
The world was ending. Or at least it would be if I couldn’t stop it.
Sulking, I followed my parents into our favorite breakfast place. They didn’t seem to notice the group of people standing on the corner holding signs that promised the end was nigh.
“Phew,” Mom said, pulling off her light-blue cardigan. “Summer will be here before we know it!”
A waitress bustled over, handing out menus and smiling at us. “Feels to me like summer’s already started!”
“Weather like this is exactly why people need to pay attention to global warming. I’ll have a sweet tea, and the breakfast special,” my dad added, settling back into his chair without glancing at the menu.
The waitress scribbled on a notepad. “I don’t know about all that, but eighty degrees in March is odd, even for North Carolina!”
Mom nodded, shooting a look in my direction. “We just have to stay cool and try not to think about what July will be like.”
After the waitress had taken our orders and moved on, I leaned forward. “You don’t think this heat has anything to do with … ” I gestured helplessly.
Mom shook her head. “Not something we should talk about here.”
Dad snorted, and I heard him mutter, “Not something we should talk about, period.”
My stomach clenched, and I stared at my hands, trying to pretend I hadn’t heard him. Ever since I got back from Scotland in January, my parents had kept me at arm’s length. Well, not Mom as much, but even she was more reserved than usual. My father seemed to want to pretend that I didn’t exist.
I had thought I’d only been away for a month, but the trip had actually taken over a year. I’d ended up in the Celtic Underworld, and time runs differently in Underworlds; I should have remembered that. While I’d been there, Rochelle had glamoured herself and pretended to be me. My parents said they believed I was who I said I was, but there was an edge to our relationship that hadn’t been there before.
It probably didn’t help that I had participated in what had become the biggest nuclear disaster in the history of the world.
Mom and Dad are both Green Witches, hippie-dippie earth-loving types, and they seemed to take it personally that their daughter had so thoughtlessly damaged the earth. To be fair, I had thought what Marcus and I did could be fixed, but that’s beside the point. My parents seemed to think the fact that I had messed with nuclear power at all was an intentional act of rebellion. It made talking to them nearly impossible, but I kept trying. Whether they liked it or not, I needed their help to fix the mess I’d made of things.
“So,” I began, forcing myself to sound cheerful, “what are you guys going to do this weekend?”
Dad muttered something about saving the world, but Mom shot him a dark look. “I might work in the garden.” She hesitated. “Did you want to help?”
Before I could answer, Dad butted in. “Lena doesn’t exactly have a green thumb.”
His words stung, but he was right—my gift seemed to be destruction, not growth. I tried to shrug it off. “I can help, if you want.”
Mom smiled, and for a moment, I could almost forget about everything that had happened, but by the time the food came, the familiar knot was back in my stomach, and I picked at my pancakes without enthusiasm. It had been hard for me to eat ever since Marcus died.
Marcus had been another Red Witch, like me. He was a little older than me and hard as granite. He’d been trained by his patron, the goddess Cerridwyn, and she had shown him how to use his magic by subjecting him to countless battles and acts of brutality. I’d never known anyone as powerful or frightening, and I had killed him.
Well, not directly. I released this crazy god of chaos, Loki, and Loki was the one who instigated Marcus’s death. But it still felt like the guilt rested solely on my shoulders: if I hadn’t listened to any of the Red gods, maybe Marcus would still be alive, and then I could figure out if I hated him or was in love with him. Yeah, I’m not messed up at all, I thought sourly.
“How’s breakfast?” Mom interrupted my thoughts, staring pointedly at my plate.
I looked down, surprised. I had eaten everything in front of me, and it even looked like I’d licked the plate clean. I didn’t remember taking a single bite. “Um. Good,” I lied. “What about you?”
She shrugged. “The toast was a bit dry, but the omelet was good.”
I nodded, struggling to make small talk. Before I could think of anything else to say, someone cranked up the volume on the TV suspended over the doorway.
“Europe is still in a state of chaos as leaders scramble to secure the countryside of France. Meanwhile, the president is preparing for a visit to Germany to discuss nuclear energy. It is assumed that he will push for stricter safety regulations.” The reporter read the teleprompter with no emotion, clearly unaware of the effect his words were having on my family.
Dad slurped his sweet tea loudly. “I thought you said you were working on it.”
I shrugged, but I felt my hands starting to shake. “I’m trying. There’s not a lot I can do, remember? It’s not my territory.” If I didn’t get a grip on myself, I knew I’d light up like a sparkler in a minute.
“You should have thought of that before.”
“Richard.” My mom’s voice was low with warning. “This is not the place.”
He glared at me. “Fine. But she needs to think about the consequences of her actions.”
I met his gaze, furious. “Believe me. That’s all I’ve been doing lately.” A burst of Red energy crackled on my skin, and I gritted my teeth, pulling the power back inside.
Dad snorted, oblivious, and Mom flagged down the waitress for the bill. When my arms stopped sparking, I stood up and headed for the door. Neither of them asked where I was going, but I didn’t care.
I marched up to the apocalyptic group, still chanting on the corner. “Give me one,” I said, sticking my hand out for a flier.
An older man with gray hair and a sagging chin frowned at me. “There isn’t much time left.” He handed me a flier solemnly. “Repent now, before it’s too late.”
“It’s already too late.” I pretended not to notice the fearful look he shot me as I sat down on the curb, skimming the paper. It was the same old religious drivel, talking about Armageddon and God. According to this group, the only way to escape the coming end times was to give up worldly goods and join them in their quest to spread the truth.
I crumpled the flier in disgust. It had been foolish of me to expect Nons to have a solution, but I couldn’t stop hoping that they might know more than they let on. Evidently, that group didn’t. What am I going to do? Resisting the urge to bury my head in my hands and sob, I slapped the hot pavement underneath me instead. Cracks shot through the sidewalk, like ice, and someone in the little group on the corner shrieked. Good. You should be afraid. I glared at them, and one by one they picked up their signs and crossed the street.
When my parents finally walked by me, I stood without a word and followed them to our Subaru parked at the curb. The seatbelt buckle burned my fingers, but I barely noticed. The heat was miserable, but something about it made me feel powerful, too. I almost laughed at that thought. Powerful and destructive. Red magic was linked to fire, something I’d learned firsthand after meeting Loki. It’s no wonder the hot weather is winding me up. I glanced up at the front seat, wondering if I should tell my parents how close to exploding I’d come that morning, but then I shook my head.
We drove home in silence, even though I knew the storm would have to break sometime.
A few blocks from our house, my phone buzzed insistently in my pocket, and I looked at the screen. My throat clenched. Justin. My ex had been trying to get me to sit down and talk with him ever since I came back, but I hadn’t felt up to it. I didn’t know what to say to him about Loki and Rochelle, and I couldn’t even imagine telling him about Marcus. So, yeah, I met the other Red Witch, and we sort of made out, but now he’s dead, so we can get back to normal, right? Still, talking to him would be a break from not talking to my parents. Anything was better than that.
“Mom,” I leaned forward, tapping her on the shoulder, “could you drop me off at Justin’s house?”
She hesitated, glancing at Dad, but he didn’t act like he’d heard my question. Finally, Mom nodded. “I suppose. But be home in time for dinner.” Her eyes flicked quickly to the rearview mirror, and I heard her unspoken thought: sooner or later, we’d have to deal with all this.
“Thanks.” I hopped out of the car as soon as we pulled up in front of Justin’s house. He only lived a few blocks away from us; I could have just walked over once we got home. But for some reason, now that I’d decided to see him, I couldn’t wait a minute longer.
He was sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house. His shoulders looked a little wider, and maybe his hair was shorter than I remembered, but nothing else about Justin had really changed. He was still the first boy I’d ever loved, and the poor guy had been the recipient of my disastrous attempts at love magic twice. And he’d spent a year with the fake me. My stomach clenched.
I had no idea what had happened between him and Rochelle while I was gone, but I had a feeling whatever it was would be more than I could handle. That was only one of the reasons I had been avoiding him: the whole Marcus situation had been holding me back, too. I tried to push the other Red Witch out of my head when I saw Justin.
He stood up and smiled his heart-melting smile, and just like that, it was like I’d never been gone. Without thinking, I threw my arms around his neck. He embraced me, and it felt good to just stand there, safe in his familiar arms. Tingles raced up my spine, and I shivered in pleasure. It wasn’t the same electric shock I’d gotten whenever I touched Marcus, but I still leaned into his body, enjoying the sensation.
“That’s quite a hello.” He chuckled, letting me go, and I tugged on the bottom of my T-shirt, not meeting his eyes. Maybe I still wasn’t ready to be around him.
I cleared my throat, preparing to tell him everything. “I’ve been gone a long time.”
He nodded. “I know.”
Startled by his serious tone, I looked at him closely. “What do you know?”
Instead of answering, he silently opened the front door. He led me up to his bedroom, and then warded the door behind us. “I know that you were gone for over a year.”
If I had been sitting down, I would have fallen off the chair. Instead, I lowered myself shakily to perch on the corner of his desk. “How long have you known?”
“Lena, come on. Do you really think I can’t tell the difference between the real you and a glamour?”
I blushed, thinking about the glamour Aphrodite had taught me to weave. Justin had been fooled by that for a few days, but there was no way I was going to bring that up. “My parents didn’t know.”
He shrugged. “They probably expect you to be different all the time. We’re teenagers, right?”
I laughed weakly. “So you knew this whole time. But I thought—” I broke off, remembering something Mom had said over the phone while I’d been gone.
“I kept hanging out with her. I mean you. I didn’t know who it was, and I didn’t want to do anything to make your parents suspicious. But nothing happened.” He spread his palms wide. “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.”
So you got back together with the fake me, but you didn’t do anything? I looked at him, wanting desperately to believe what he said. “It was Rochelle.”
He stared at me as if I’d slapped him. “I thought she was dead.”
“So did I. But I didn’t kill her, I guess, and she glamoured herself to look like me to take revenge.” I forced a laugh, trying not to imagine Rochelle making out with Justin. “I’m actually surprised she didn’t hurt you. She’s always hated you, you know.”
His brown eyes were full of concern. “How did you get rid of her?”
“My friend Izzy helped me.” I kept my words short, hoping he wouldn’t ask me any questions about Izzy. Talking about her would lead to talking about Marcus, and I wasn’t sure I could do that yet.
Justin closed his eyes, pressing his fingertips to his forehead in concentration. “How has she gained so much power? Black magic is strong, but this is ridiculous.”
I took a deep a breath. We’d gotten there quicker than I’d hoped, but I couldn’t lie to him. I could never lie to Justin, but that didn’t mean I had to tell him everything. I measured my words carefully. “Another Red died, and Rochelle took his place.”
Justin opened his mouth, and I shook my head.
“It’s complicated. But Rochelle is a Red Witch now.” I took a deep breath. “And it’s even worse than that. While I was gone, I found out what Hecate wants.”
I told Justin what I could, haltingly, doing my best to leave out Marcus while telling him about Hecate’s plan to remake the world. Finally, with shaking hands, I told him about Loki.
“So now the worst of the Red gods is free again, and between him and Hecate, the world could end at any time.” I swallowed the lump in my throat and tried to sound matter-of-fact. “Rochelle controls a third of the world, and if you’ve been watching the news, this hasn’t been a good few months for Europe.” I held up my hands helplessly. “I just don’t know how to stop any of it.”
Justin didn’t say anything for a minute. I watched him nervously, waiting for the cold glances and accusations that I’d gotten used to from my parents, but he didn’t tell me I was a monster. He studied me, and then he sat down on his desk chair and reached for my hands. Smoothly, he pulled me into his lap, one arm circling me firmly for support, and I leaned against him, surprised at how easy it was to be so close. “You said your friend Izzy helped you stop Rochelle. So maybe it’s a question of working together.”
I nodded, relieved that he wasn’t asking any questions yet, and I tried to think straight. It wasn’t easy with his breath tickling my ear. “Did you know that there are six types of magic?”
He looked at me as if I’d grown wings. “There’s White, Black, and Green. And of course, Red.” He squeezed me gently when he said that, and my heart began to speed up.
I shook my head, trying to focus. “For some reason, when magic came to America, part of it was left behind. There’s also Blue and Yellow; my friend Izzy is a Blue Witch.”
Justin paused for a moment, digesting what I’d said. “Why wouldn’t they teach us that?” He rested his chin on my shoulder, and I shivered at the contact.
“I don’t know.” I wanted to lose myself in the simple sensation of being pressed against Justin, but finally I leaned away from him, still perched on his knees. “I have a lot of questions, and I don’t know where to start. But the important thing is the six magics. Together, they’re balanced. Green is earth magic, Blue controls water, Yellow is for air, and Red is for fire. And White and Black are the balance of spirit.” I twisted around, watching his face. “If we can balance the paths, maybe all six together is more powerful than any Red Witch.”
“Or the Red gods.” Justin spoke without inflection, and I watched him nervously.
“If we could form a group, a Coven—”
He stood up abruptly, dropping me onto the chair. “What kind of crap did you get into over there?”
I hopped out of the chair, clenching my fists. “It isn’t crap! I met a Coven there, and Izzy and I think that might be our only option.” I could feel the swirl of Red energy pulsing through my hands, but I struggled to control it.
His lips parted in surprise. “Covens are things in horror movies, Darlena! And besides, how could Witches of such different paths work together? It would all turn into chaos.”
“No,” I said tightly. “This is our only chance to stop chaos.”
He shook his head. “Look, I want to help you. You know that.” His eyes searched mine. “But you’ve changed since you came back. I can’t,” he paused, taking a deep breath, “I can’t tell what it is, but it’s as if you’re somebody else.” He stared at me for a long moment. “Maybe I just got used to the way Rochelle felt.”
I reeled as if he’d slapped me. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He held up his hands quickly. “You were gone for over a year. I knew that she wasn’t you, but I still spent a lot of time with her. I got used to the way her energy felt. Yours feels—well, it isn’t the way I remember it.”
I glared at him, fighting the urge to kiss him and show him I was exactly the girl he remembered. Instead, I gritted my teeth. “People change. That’s part of life.”
Justin shook his head. “But are you sure you’ve changed for the good?”





About Jen:

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. She's a graduate of Western Michigan University, and she also earned her MS in Library Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.



Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads




Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the all 3 Red Magic eBooks. International.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two for Thursday and Giveaway: 2 Awesome Anthologies! #T4T



Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday! #T4T presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that will tickle your fancy, and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles! You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:


Title: Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Author: Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Shannon Delany, Max Scialdone, Karen Mahoney, Lisa Mantchev, Georgia McBride, C. Lee McKenzie, Gretchen McNeil, K.M. Walton, Suzanne Young, Michelle Zink, Leigh Fallon, Angie Frazier, Jessie Harrell, Nancy Holder, Heidi R. Kling, Suzanne Lazear, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg ,Leah Cypess. Forward by Francisco X. Stork.
Pub. Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 340
Formats: Paperback, eBook

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

"As a whole this is an inspired and enjoyable nibbler for those days leading up to Halloween. If you love dark retellings, especially when they involve murderous fiends there's more than one here that will leave a wicked gleam in your eye."~ Rhi Reading

"Twenty-two authors. Twenty-two stories. Twenty-two rhymes. This is an anthology of twenty-two Mother Goose Rhymes that will have you shuddering in your reading nook, crying in public and looking over your shoulder during the day. These are not the silly rhymes that you used to sing as a child or watch on Barney. These are creepy tales with no happy endings (or bittersweet at the most). From fantasy to paranormal, twenty-two authors dive into the dark side of Mother Goose rhymes."~ Dark Faerie Tales

" The stories in this anthology are dark & sometimes twisted retellings of nursery rhymes we all remember from childhood. The stories are wonderful, not one leaves you bored. This is a book I will definitely purchase a physical copy of. It is perfect for the YA readers right now who crave worlds with a supernatural twist. The variety of this collection is great; each author takes a completely different approach in their re-telling.."~ Little Miss Trainwreck


Title: Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition
Author: Shannon Delany, Pab Sungenis, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Mari Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Jackie Morse Kessler, Dianne K. Salerni. Edited by Georgia McBride.
Pub. Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 297
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

As told by some of today's most admired young adult authors—and a few newbies—this charity anthology boasts stories that will make readers scream, laugh, and tremble with fear, and all for a good cause! Proceeds from the sale of the first 5,000 copies will be donated to the SPCA International. Based on stories long-told by the campfire, superstitions passed down through the generations, creatures who exist in legend, literature, and film, and those myths that raise the hairs on the back of our necks, these tales are sure keep readers up late at night with lamps lit and covers over their heads. 


WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

"A collection of spook-licious tales that will taunt, and in a few cases, tickle the fear bone in any reader. "~ Author S.A Larsen

“VERY SUPERSTITIOUS is a fine anthology for fantasy readers looking for something slightly creepy for Halloween reading.” ~In Bed With Books

 
“A timely collection for a good cause, with some delightful surprises, full of myths and superstitions, and a vast array of stories that will make you laugh, cry and think.~  Books Bones & Buffy




Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive an eBook of TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES & VERY SUPERSTITIOUS. International!

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Avalee and the Dragon's cover has been revealed! A huge thank you to everyone who shared.

So, just in case you missed it, here's the awesome cover Jack Baker Design created for my newest book, Avalee and the Dragon.


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Cover Art by: Jack Baker Design (UK)



Instead of repeating everything that all the awesome bloggers shared during the cover reveal (description, chapter one reveal, etc.), I'm going to share the link to Lola's Blog Tours where the cover reveal post links out to all of them. I visited each one, and let me tell you, I was amazed by all the unique themes, blogger backgrounds, and approaches to blogging. I love blogging, but these bloggers have quite a flare. Love it.

 
 
A huge thank you to Lola's Blog Tours!
 
banner Lola's Blog Tours
 
 
 
And finally, a mega thank you to all the readers who shared the cover reveal with their friends and followers. Without all of you, this reveal wouldn't have been as amazing and fun as it was. I can't wait to find out which of you won the giveaway!
 
 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Release Day Review: Not Quite the End of the World by Jonathan-David Jackson

Click to view on Amazon.
Not Quite the End of the World by Jonathan-David Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 6, 2016

Description:
Charles has his life organized just the way he wants it. But when a freak accident plunges his city into anarchy, Charles and his boss, Janet, must journey to a distant town where things are simpler. Along the way they encounter a particularly hot sun, possibly dirty water, cans that can't be opened, impolite cannibals and sore feet. But in a world where the only trail mix has no chocolate chips, can things ever go back to the way they were?

My review:
Humorous, post-apocalyptic spoof, poking fun at all the things we (some more than others) take for granted or call important (that really aren’t). Pairing up with his boss and other unlikely allies, Charles reluctantly leaves everything he knows behind on a quest to find an acceptable alternative to being burned alive in his house after the apocalypse hits.

This book’s a lot of fun, and I especially enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek logic the character’s use throughout. There were several times I laughed out loud, and there were a lot of spots where I was sorely tempted to highlight a phrase for later, particularly those that began to make a rather surprising degree of sense after a little thought. Despite the humorous intent, I picked up on some interesting ideas and views sprinkled in here and there, particularly about right and wrong and how those can change during hard times.

On the other hand, I sometimes had trouble distinguishing between the voices of the various characters. The story is third person, but that person switches out. Sometimes it’s a very clear transition, but others I had to pick up on context. Additionally, some ambiguous pronoun usage led to occasional confusion, though, again, context usually helped me figure it out.

So, overall, I really liked this book for its irreverent, mature humor and its unique take on the end of the world. Folks who enjoy absurd stories that are still logically sound would like this story; I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but the author pulls it off.

I received the review copy of this book from the author as an ARC.


View all my reviews