Take me where no one has gone before. A review of Avalon by @MindeeArnett

Avalon by Mindee Arnett (Hardcover)

This book is a hard sci-fi, which isn’t usually my thing, but I am happy to say that I really loved it!

17149396We are taken off planet where we are introduced to a group of kids that are deviously good at stealing things. Their leader is working off his uncle’s debt in order to hopefully one day have enough money to buy his deceased parent’s ship back. They end up voyaging into a dangerous part of space to retrieve some sort of weapon. This is where the fun begins.

I really enjoyed the rag-tag group of characters in this book. Each was distinct and could probably hold a novel on their own. The Main character’s plight is engaging and relatable, and you are genuinely concerned about the fate of him, his crew, and the ship.

I definitely recommend this one. This is a duology, but I was not left hanging without an ending. I will still most likely read the next book thought. Great sci-fi fun.

Strap yourself in for a heck of a ride: A review of Betrayed by a Kiss

Betrayed by a Kiss by (Ebook)

This book starts out with a huge bang. Hacker Marnie races to save a retired cop after finding out that her former boss has put a price on his head.

The beginning of this book really drew me in. Marnie was hired for her hacker skills to find out information about her boss’s enemies. While researching the cop, she falls for him, and when she discovers that people she has researched had a bad habit of being murdered, she decides to try and save him.

This is a really interesting clash of two worlds, because we have this straight-laced cop being helped by this white-collar criminal, and also by several people that he would have felt compelled to arrest not to long ago.

This is a romance, at heart, where the cop and Marnie team up to clear their names and bring down the boss and the corporation that has marked them both for death. I give this four stars, taking off one because it gets a little slow here and there, but this is true to the story and didn’t really affect my enjoyment. Overall, I found myself excited to get back to this book every evening.

I Never Dreamed I’d be a Writer by @sloantamar

Interestingly, I never considered I’d be a writer. As a child I loved to read (I devoured romance novels from the moment I discovered them), but it NEVER occurred to me that I could write one myself.

My first book came to me in a dream (so cliché, right?). But it was a beautiful dream. There were moving scenes of a boy who never came of age like every one of his kind has. It was a story about the girl who has wounds of her own (and totally underestimates her potential) and the power of their connection. A connection powerful enough to spark Noah’s change, and to challenge Eden’s beliefs. And it was an idea that wouldn’t go away. I thought, maybe I could…

Many dedicated hours later punctuated by much cursing and face-palming because it was far more difficult than I realised, Prophecy Awakened was born, and it was a pretty big high when it won the Romance Writers of Australia 2015 First Kiss competition and finalised in the Heart of Denver 2015 Molly competition. It was the encouragement I needed to start the second book in the Prime Prophecy Series, Prophecy Accepted.

As it turns out, once I opened the doors to a possibility I never considered, I discovered a passion and a talent I love more and more every day. More characters and stories came knocking (some far more insistently and impatiently than others) and my young adult contemporary romance is sitting on the desk of a US literary agent as I type.

So here we are — Prophecy Awakened is on virtual shelves thanks to Clean Reads and I can’t wait to see what readers think of it. It just shows you, never underestimate your potential or what is waiting for you…behind the door that you never noticed was there.

 

About the Author:

A school psychologist by day, Tamar channels her passion for books into creating young adult stories about discovering life and love beyond our comfort zones. She is the award-winning author of the Prime Prophecy Series. Her debut novel, Prophecy Awakened, is an epic story of a love that defies boundaries.

When not reading, writing or working with teens, Tamar can be found with her ever-patient husband and two beautiful sons enjoying country life on their small acreage in the Australian bush.

Tamar finds it deeply rewarding to share her stories and she loves to hear from her readers and fellow lovers of all things book related. You can find her at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

About the Book:

Eden – shy, wounded…all she wants is to finish her senior year and escape to college.

Noah – the guy who’s spent two years drifting aimlessly, not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has.

When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.

A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed.

A prophecy others are willing to kill for.

As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.

Goodreads Amazon |B&N Website |  iBooks Kobo |

 

Mermaid off the port bow! A review of Emerge by Tobie Easton

Emerge by Tobie Easton (Ebook)

This is book is about a group of Mermaids who move on land to escape a war going on in the sea. All is great until a few new Mers show up, and one of them starts using siren powers to control a human teenager.

27882492This is a really interesting take on Mermaid lore that pulls in the Little Mermaid story (The original one, not the Disney version with a happy ending) and builds off this premise with a curse and Mermaid wars that followed in Arial’s wake (no pun intended).

My one little quibble in this book is that there is a love triangle, and (as usual) the girl picks the wrong guy for me. I don’t know why, but inevitably when there is a love triangle involved, I am disappointed because I would have picked the other guy. Oh, well. Despite that, this is a fun read.

It’s the End of Opposition – The Finale of the Lux Series

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Audiobook)

This is the final book in the Lux series, and boy does it go out with a bang! I really enjoyed this book a lot.

13644055My only quibble is that we get to the epic battle scene-to-end-all-battle-scenes, and it is over really quickly and kind of anti-climatically. It was an interesting way for the battle to go, all things considered through all the books… but I guess I was looking for more.

Once the battle is over, we get a long look into the aftermath, and get a nice peak into the lives of all the characters that survived the series. There is one character that stands out as missing in the end. I would have been interested to see what happened there, but there is an off-shoot series in the Lux world that may deal with what happened to them.

So, overall, despite only kinda-liking the first book, I really ended up loving this series. If you are interested in contemporary alien stories, give this a try and do your best to get through the first book (And that is only because the main-character is purposefully off-putting in the first book) Once you are past the Daemon-hating phase, this series is a roller coaster ride of fun.

The odd world of Mangus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. A review

Mangus Chase by Rick Riordan (Ebook)

This is book one in a Norse god contemporary spec novel.

15724396This was a book-club pic that surprised me from the first page. I really enjoyed the pace and the voice in this novel. I really felt like I was sitting down with Mangus as he told me his story. That being said… He story did fall into the ridiculous at times.

Part of me wondered if I was reading middle grade, but I guess you need to be a little ridiculous when you are dealing with mythology. I’m considering giving this book to my reluctant middle grade reader to see what he thinks. (note: he actually is enjoying it)  This book was very good, but with jumping from place to place so much, and the almost silliness of some of the situations as the book unfolded, my original enthusiasm began to wane. And at one point, our hero kills two people – er… things—that I don’t think really needed to be killed, and I think this was out of character.

So, overall, I’m going to give this book three stars. I did enjoy it. It was totally readable, with great writing and a great voice… but some of it seemed a little too middle grade for my reading tastes. If I loved talking inanimate objects and talking animals I probably would have given the book four stars, subtracting one for the unnecessary deaths.

 

The Sky Throne: Infighting Fractures Top Performing Academy

About the Sky Throne by Chris Ledbetter

33280983By every standard heretofore devised, Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia sat high atop the Pantheon League in both academics and athletics. Recent events, however, have caused a massive split, leading Kronos, Son of Gaia and Ouranos, to found Othrys Hall Academy to the south of its predecessor.

“Othrys,” Kronos said, “Will be the shining beacon on the hill, the lighthouse that guides our students home to knowledge and enlightenment. We will extract everything that was positive about MO Prep. And we will leave to rot all the aspects that simply don’t work. This is about giving students and their parents a better choice. If one school isn’t working for our students, if it’s failing, why punish the student? Why not give them a better option?”

When our reporters interviewed Ouranos, current headmaster for Mount Olympus, he had this to say, “It’s sad the way Kronos’ thirst for power and self-gratification led to the sowing of lies and disinformation such that our once strong and proud faculty has splintered. Along with my daughter, Rhea, we will rebuild our academia into a galactic powerhouse once again. That begins with our current 33280983student body. One student at a time. The dawning of a new revolution.”

The High Temple of China and the Two Rivers Senior Edubba of Sumeria now battle to ascend to the top spot in the Pantheon League in academics. The Celtic Academy of the Emerald Isle, Yggdrasil Institute of the Nine Realms, and the Aztec Coatepec Calmecac should challenge for athletic supremacy, if neither Othrys Hall nor Mount Olympus Prep can regain what was lost and return to greatness. Time will tell. Stay tuned for more developments.

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About the author:

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade.

After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the conference without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and

earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. He taught high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads

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About The Sky Throne

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

33280983When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus’s quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

“Destined to have a sequel or two, young teens will appreciate the story, and teachers will appreciate that it instructs readers about the pantheon of gods.”–Kevin Beach, VOYA Magazine

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate, US Only.

Click here to enter!

 

There be trouble afoot – A review of Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (Audiobook)

16000044This is the second book in the series of an epic fantasy adventure. I’ve heard people recently refer to “second book slump”. I think this is a classic example. (At least it was for me) This book seemed to drag on forever at times. Not boring… But I just felt sometimes like, “Why are they still talking… nothing is going on.” You know what I mean?

HOWEVER this book does not disappoint on the ending. In fact, despite the drag throughout most of the book, the ending is so exciting, and the last few words set up the next book so nicely, that I could pick up the next book right now and be perfectly happy doing so.

There are some surprises in here that I think will definitely entertain, shock, and sadden, and anger those who loved the first book. Despite the drag in the first ¾ of the book, I would still recommend this one.

Hanging out AMONG THE HIDDEN, a review of the book byMargaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix – This is a middle grade dystopian. Middle grade is not normally my thing, but I was trying to 1222403encourage my youngest to actually finish a book by reading it with him.

This is a pretty dark look into the future, and it probably enough to scare the pants off younger middle graders, so please take caution.

There is an evil-overlord government, and people die for the crime of being born… yeah, pretty scary.

My son liked it overall, and he DID finish it. He was not disturbed, but he is 11… take caution for younger readers. He did say he would be willing to read the next book in the series, so I’d call that a win, being that he has not finished a book in months before this.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


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Using Audio for Editing with Melissa Crispin

When I go into editing mode, I try to find ways to distance myself from my words. I search for methods that will allow me to assess my work-in-progress in an impartial way. One of my favorite tools for this is the text-to-speech function on my kindle. I find it useful for different stages of editing.

Some of the issues it helps me to catch are:

  • Pacing – There may be certain spots I’ve read over and over again, causing my eyes to skim over the content. When the automated voice is reading for me, I can’t speed it up or slow it down. This highlights places that drag, as well as places that are missing an extra something.
  • Stilted dialog – If the robotic voice is reading a character’s dialog and it sounds like a robot, I know it’s worth revisiting.
  • Misplaced or missing words – When I’m proofreading a manuscript, I find the text-to-speech invaluable for finding these problems. An extra “the” or “a” in a weird spot, or a word that is absent from a sentence won’t get picked up by spellcheck.

I’ve heard of other people using a speech function in Microsoft Word for editing. I plan to try this out someday too. What about you? Do you have any editing tricks that may seem unusual or uncommon?

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Jennifer!


TheCrimsonCurse_Cover Cursed and disfigured, Calliope must find true love before the final leaf falls from the Enchanted Tree. Being bound to her mansion on the outskirts of town leaves her with little hope.

Abandoned by his wife for a wealthy man, Bastian only needs one female in his life, his five-year-old daughter, Yareena. When she goes missing during a raging fire, fate brings him to a strange place where he encounters a woman wearing a golden mask.

An attack by rogues puts Bastian in Calliope’s care. As he struggles against pride and prejudice, Bastian can’t ignore his growing attraction to the kind soul behind the mask.

Yareena and the mansion staff do their best at matchmaking, but Calliope can’t reveal her darkest secret. Will Bastian discover her true beauty before it’s too late?


Sasser, Melissa 02 color low resMelissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.

From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it’s almost always about the romance.

Facebook: Melissa J. Crispin – author Twitter: @MelissaJCrispin Instagram: @MelissaJCrispin Website:www.melissajcrispin.com