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Young Adult

Review: Skin Deep-A Dark World Novel By T.G. Ayer

13604857A person’s current personality of love, hatred, jealousy, rage or a murderous intent and so on is formed upon genetic elements, education, the environment and a family a person grows in. – Kim Ki-duk

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks. – Mary Wollstonecraft

 Kailin has quite the life. Only twenty, she is one busy girl. School. In training at the Sandhurst Centre for Rehabilitation as a counselor for drug addicted teens trying to better their lives after sometimes horrific beginnings. So many children – so much pain.

And then, there is the fact that Kailin is a Hunter – a Wraith hunter – searching out and destroying evil creatures who inhabit the bodies of humans, killing them and wearing their bodies while they spread their evil. Of course, being a Panther shifter helps – but when she witnesses a body dump, everything changes for the worse. For the Wraiths are getting stronger – the veil between worlds thinner – and things are about to take a hard turn into brutality and treachery such as Kailin never expected. And which will change her life forever.

Kailin is an interesting character. She is strong, intense, and one of the hardest working young women you can imagine. But then, she is also fragile. When she lost her mother as a child, she also lost her father to the isolation of grief and introversion. Alone and in pain she moves to Chicago where her grandmother, Ivy, a flighty woman who is nearly never home – and then only for a day or so when she is – provides her with a home, as long as she works and goes to school. A good arrangement all around when Kailin is desperate to hide her Wraith hunting. Kailin doesn’t always make the best decisions – she is young, after all – but she feels very real within the bounds of her character, and you can’t help but like her, and hurt right along with her when things are bad, and feel joy with her when things do go right.

Overall? I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good paranormal story. There is a minor romantic thread which I see developing over the series and is well done and interesting. I intend to continue the series over time.

The Black Swan Inheritance – Marigold Deidre Dicer – FREE on Smashwords

My friend Marigold is offering her book, The Black Swan Inheritance free on Smashwords until February 6th. You should pick up a copy! Click the cover to read my review and order your copy. And yes, there is a new cover and type-style.

https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/fdf02f29ac4dd3c3b9587e2d7f984027931b5ebc

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The striking Black Swan is native to Australia, unrelated to the seemingly pure White Swan of Europe. She is found in the strangest of places – from ugly mines to cultivated farms, peaceful bushland to violent coast.

Yet, she always shies away from humanity.

The Black Swan is always beautiful, surprisingly resilient and very, very powerful. Most Black Swans are wise enough not to use that power to challenge the status quo.

Most…

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido has become more than something hormonal – it’s magical.

The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.

She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.

If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.

DISCLOSURE: PLEASE NOTE
This New Adult Paranormal Fantasy includes regular coarse language, violence, sexual references and sex scenes.
There is also reference to rape. Not in any detail, but there is reference to it.

Review: Becoming Alpha By Aileen Erin

18242939Normally, I don’t really pay attention to Young Adult novels. Hey, I have been a young adult – didn’t like it back then, don’t really want to read about the angst, you feel me? But the fourth or fifth time it caught my attention, and having an evening which really called for something light, I went ahead and picked it up.

Huh. The heroine is 17, and a touch telepath, which is interesting to me. Can you imagine touching some boy in your high school and knowing everything he is thinking about? Actually seeing what is on his grubby little hormone-crazed mind? Euuu. Just. EUUU!!!! Gross. And yes, I sound like a high schooler!

Anyway. The good part is the heroine. She has her stuff together. She has been switched from school to school as the bullies and weirdos glory in someone even weirder than them. Being different amongst one’s peers is pretty much like being chum thrown in amongst the sharks. But I liked her. Life is tough, but she handles it, though it hurts.

After being ‘outed’ at yet another school, and left with pretty much no place to turn, her famous father/attorney to the stars in Hollywood is moving them to Texas. Texas?!?????! Well, at least there won’t be as many people around to touch, right? But things are not all what they seem at the new school her father will be working for. And before Tess knows it, her life takes a hard left and roars off into a new, and even more painful direction. Like Really. REALLY. Painful.

The storyline is good. The characters are interesting. Overall, it should have been a pleasant evening read. But then, the whole thing goes off the tracks. Why WHY do authors not invest in Editors?!?! Come ON PEOPLE!!! Most of the book was well done, editorially, but then the whole train ran off the tracks and plot holes you could drive a freight train through reached up and slapped me in the face, ripping through Discontinuity Land with no brakes. Totally ruined the whole thing for me. Ugh. I was right there on the whole “recommended for people who get a kick out of paranormal for the YA audience”. Now? Not so much. Sigh.

If you aren’t upset by discontinuity issues, the book is OK for its audience. Otherwise, I would give it a pass. And I hate that. It had such potential!

Skin Deep (Dark Reflections Book 1) By Elizabeth Sharp – FREE!

Maybe this holiday season you can give a young woman a book which will help her be much more accepting of her body image?

Book Description

April 10, 2014
****This book contains sexual content, explicit language and intense situations of domestic violence. Recommended for mature teens or higher***
Found on my Freebies at BookGorrilla.com, one of my favorite free and discounted book sites.
This book deals with a lot of self-image issues, bullying, anger, and oh yeah- it has a pretty bad ass demon in it too. You’ve gotta pick this one up if you have ever felt alone, bullied, under-appreciated, or like an outcast. Great book.A Book Nerd (Southern California)
I don’t want to give a play-by-play of the story, but will say that I HIGHLY recommend this book!
Bethany is a very strong-willed heroine, I adore her and want to know what happens in this series – as the story ended on a cliff-hanger!
~Wicked Reads Review Team~

The first book in the Dark Reflections series.

Being a teenager is hard. Being an overweight teenager is even harder.

Bethany Watson has tried to accept herself, but being either bullied or ignored by her peers leaves her feeling she has nothing to contribute. Worse, just as the feelings for her best friend begin to blossom into something else, another girl sets her eyes on him—someone she can’t compete with.

She discovers a host of problems bigger than her social life and waist size when she comes face to face with a creature hell bent on destroying anything that gets in its way. An unwilling recruit in the fight against the darkness, Bethany is torn between what is right and what is easy.

Review: The Sword And Its Servant by Victor Salinas

swordWhat first must be said about The Sword and Its Servant is that this is very much “High Fantasy Sword and Sorcery.” Good and evil is a large part of what the book stands for, though the whole concept of “gray areas” is a strong underlying theme. To be honest, I had thought that, being a “YA” book, that the violence would be minimal. And I would have been very wrong. This first in a six-part series is, in a word, nightmarish, with nightmarish scenes that would discourage me from recommending the book to the under-18 crowd.

With that said, this is indeed a very good book. There is an undercurrent of the horror genre that drew me in right away, as we first meet Johannes, whose nightmares we enter upon our first introduction to the story: He groaned as the terrible vision of a giant wolf chased him through his dreams. Dreams are an inherent theme throughout the book – though one would more easily say nightmares. Glowing eyes, shining in the dark . . .

The Sword and Its Servant is something more than a book. There is a whole world set up around the book series, the world of Grauwelt. Online, the Grauwelt follower is immersed into an experience well outside of the novel, as readers can immerse themselves into a whole world, including a role-playing game, Grauplay, on the publisher’s website. Apparently based upon a “Dungeons and Dragons” style platform, the site takes the storyline of the book series and pulls the reader even further into the storyline, and the world, of Grauwelt.

If you are a High Fantasy aficionado, with a penchant for horror, this is absolutely something you should check out. While the author and publisher say that the reading audience is “15 and up” I would, however, not recommend the book to those under 18. But then, maybe I am just behind the times. I know that bloody shoot-em-up, whack-of-body-parts violence is available to the younger set, but there is quite a bit of disturbing imagery in the book.

I received a copy of The Sword and Its Servant from the publisher in return for a realistic review. Personally, I will not continue the series, but for the proper audience, this is an exceptional read.

Now Out! Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand

Whisper

 

Whisper
by Heather Hildenbrand

New Adult Paranormal
Fantasy

The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned , love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past
six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.

  Whisper prerelease teaser 2

Heather HildenbrandAbout The Author:

Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker. For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. Heather’s Website – I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my Amazon Fire TV! (oh yeah, I’m a fan of puns.)

 

This is my 500th Post!

Review: The Society of Imaginary Friends by Kristen Pham

societyI had an imaginary tormentor. He was made up by my parents whenever we would go on holiday to Porta Pollensa. He was `The Vampire Man’. He lived in a house with round windows, and my parents told me that, if I didn’t behave, he’d feast on my blood. When I go there now, I still cross to the other side of the road to avoid that house. I’m a 27 year-old man. – By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

My niece was around 6 years old but could talk really well. She grew quite fond of this imaginary character named Donney or Donee. She said he would only show up whenever Mommy and Daddy went to sleep. He said she would play with her and s***. Well, one night she was in the living room resting on the couch when I walked in the door. She shot right up looked at me with the most dead but evil filled stare ever and, I quote, said, “Donney, no! Don’t hurt him! No!” then went back to a comatose that would be followed by screams of horror. This is where it gets real interesting. One day I was sitting watching the television when she looked at me and said, “Sometimes, when I’m playing with Donney, we take of our clothes an jump on the bed.” I decided to ask her what Donney looks like (no, I didn’t have a clue what I was ******* doing) and this is exactly what she said, ” He’s tall, with black and red skin. He has worms crawling out of his eyes. He also has black teeth and black hair. He wears black clothes.” – An Ask Reddit reader

What is a girl to do, when her imaginary friend is plotting to kill her? When we first meet Valerie this is a very serious consideration for her – because Sanguina, the imaginary “friend” that has tracked her all her life isn’t a friend at all. And she is setting up Valerie’s foster brother, Daniel, to die. Sanguina, Valerie’s very own personal tormentor, who doctors considered proof that Valerie was truly, certifiably schizophrenic. And to make things worse, every time Sanguina shows up, Valerie has a seizure – and now, one more of these seizures and Valerie will die.

But things are about to get much worse – because Sanguina has a partner – and he is very, very real.

Pham has made me eat my words. Yep. I have said repeatedly that I am not a Young Adult' book reader. I have found that there is a lot moreteenager’ in `teenage’ books than I can handle. Well, imagine that! LOL

Really, when you think about it, excitability and end-of-the-world histrionics is what being a teenager is all about, and the proliferation of `Young Adult’ books on the market today is, in my mind, a wonderful thing. It not only encourages teens to read, but gives them an outlet, an ability for even the shyest to realize that they are not all alone, that what is happening to their minds and bodies is natural.

So, as I was saying, Pham has changed my mind about not enjoying YA with her book, The Society of Imaginary Friends. Yes, there is a YA feel overall, with it’s compliment of temper tantrums and attitude. But this is a lot more, a testament to the strength of a young girl and her friends as they begin a fight which ultimately will become a war – a war of magic and terror, of hatred and pain which will change the fate of not one world, but two – and possibly that of the universe itself.

There is much to like about Pham’s first in The Conjurors series. The characters, Valerie, Thai, Henry and Cyrus are all well written, well-developed characters. They are brave, but not too brave. Smart, but not too smart – they feel real. Through heartache and joy, they work together to do what needs to be done in order to not only survive, but to thrive. Society is a book filled with magic and wonder – and a lot of terror and madness as well.

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Highly recommended.

Gateway to Faerie – M.D. Bowden – Young Adult Dystopia

Gateway to Faerie was provided to me by the good folks at storycartel.com for an honest review. Of course, that in no way adjusts my review of the book, but it does give me access to some books that I wouldn’t have normally picked up to read. Whether I like those books on a personal level sometimes varies.

faerie
At least the cover is well done.

Gateway is a book that I would recommend to the Young Adult and Teen audience looking for a dystopian novel that qualifies as an ‘easy, clean’ read. Bowden has written a nice story with sharp edges and an unusual world build.

Fayth Blackman lives in a dystopian world, set two hundred years or so after a global apocalypse blamed on religious fanaticism and growing to nuclear war. In reality, the destruction is the outcome of a gateway between worlds, allowing the faerie world to intersect with our own through a gateway opened by evil fae.

I have read and enjoyed many YA books, some of which as exceptionally written. Sadly, this isn’t one of them. Though not offensively incompetently written, there is still a great deal that could be better about the book. The story line when dealing with the three main characters is pretty much ‘rinse and repeat’ – the whole walk, fight, walk, fight, teenager finds love in a time of terror situation. The editing of the book is poor, the sentence structure is choppy, and overall I wish that the author would find a really good editor and work to outgrow the “See Fayth Run, Run Fayth Run” flow of the books narrative.

The concept pulls the book back from a lower star rating, simply because the government line of what happened to the world two hundred years ago vs. the reality is interesting. Even now, the books and schooling which Fayth receives are “humancentric” rather than realistic. The book also ends rather abruptly. I note that there is a second volume, but I won’t be reading it, as I understand from reviews that it is not written any better than the first, is novella length and basically would have been better served to be added into this volume.

Overall, this is a “tell it” not a “show it” and it simply didn’t enthrall me, even with the understanding that it is designed for a YA audience. Just because that is your audience doesn’t mean that your audience should be talked down to. A great number of the YA readers out there are smarter, better educated, and more literate than their Adult counterparts.

I would rate this book a 2.5 on a 5 point scale based on back story only.

April Kindle First – A Choice Of Upcoming Books

April Kindle First

It’s time for The Kindle Firsts Again!

This month’s Kindle First books are available to download through April 30, 2014. Don’t have a Kindle? Read it on our free Kindle reading app.

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Young Adult/New Adult
Young Adult/New Adult

In sunny Southern California, seventeen-year-old Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died, she’s also got a few killer secrets.

To cope, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal). But after six months of therapy and pathetic parenting by her mom, the District Attorney, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

When Ruby ends up killing a murderer to save his intended victim, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up swapping Valentino red for prison orange.

With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

iamlivia
Historical Fiction

 

At the tender age of fourteen, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset—and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military officer. Her mother tells her, “It is possible for a woman to influence public affairs,” reminding Livia that—while she possesses a keen sense for the machinations of the Roman senate—she must also remain patient and practical.

But patience and practicality disappear from Livia’s mind when she meets Caesar’s heir, Octavianus. At only eighteen, he displays both power and modesty. A young wife by that point, Livia finds herself drawn to the golden-haired boy. In time, his fortunes will rise as Livia’s family faces terrible danger. But her sharp intellect—and her heart—will lead Livia to make an unbelievable choice: one that will give her greater sway over Rome than she could have ever foreseen.

hometostay
Romance

Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.

Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.

plastercity
Thriller

Jimmy Veeder and Bobby Maves are back at it, two years after the events of Dove Season—they’re not exactly the luckiest guys in the Imperial Valley, but, hey, they win more fights than they lose.

Settled on his own farmland and living like a true family man after years of irresponsible fun, Jimmy’s got a straight life cut out for him. But he’s knocking years off that life thanks to fun-yet-dangerous Bobby’s booze-addled antics—especially now that Bobby is single, volatile, profane as ever, and bored as hell.

When Bobby’s teenage daughter goes missing, he and Jimmy take off on a misadventure that starts out as merely unfortunate and escalates to downright calamitous. Bobby won’t hesitate to kick a hornets’ nest to get the girl to safety, but when the rescue mission goes riotously sideways, the duo’s grit—and loyalty to each other—is put to the test.

 

 

 

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Kindle First is a program that offers customers early access to new Kindle books across popular genres from Amazon Publishing.

  • Prime members are automatically eligible for Kindle First.
  • Every month Prime members can enjoy one of the four books selected by Amazon Publishing editors for free.
  • Kindle First books can be read on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading app and become part of customers’ permanent libraries.
  • Prime members can sign up to receive a monthly e-mail announcing new Kindle First picks.

Please also note:

  • Kindle First is available to US customers only.
  • Prime invitees are not eligible for free downloads.
  • Kindle First books downloaded for free cannot be returned.
  • Customers who have previously opted out of all Amazon e-mails will not receive the monthly e-mail announcing new Kindle First picks. If you would like to update your E-mail Preferences, you can do so by visiting Your Account.

 

 

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