Monday, September 30, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Accidental Marriage by Annette Haws

Publication Date: December 10, 2013
ISBN: 9781462113743
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing

Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

Buy links:

“A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”
--Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”
--Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy

“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”
--Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over

Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.
Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.
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Annette on Goodreads:

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Review: Rae of Hope by W.J. May

How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth of the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan has never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is a very unique, gifted school.

Rae has no idea what she is getting herself into or that her family’s past is going to come back and taunt her. She learns she is part of an unparalleled group of individuals who become marked with a unique tattoo (tatù) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatù enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their marking.

Both her parents were marked though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young and never told her. Learning about her family’s past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope for her own life.

My Rating: 5

My Review:
Sometimes, I know exactly what I am looking for in a book. I can think to myself and say, hmm, I could go for a Victorian-style ghost story right about now... I get an idea, and the yearning is there until I can fulfill it. Other times, I will come across a book, not entirely sure what to expect, but upon reading, I realize that this is exactly what I have been looking for. Whatever that was, this is it.
Rae of Hope was one of those books for me. Okay, okay, it wasn't a total surprise. First of all, it has a unique plot, which is not as easy to find in YA fantasy. Not to mention, I have a little bit of a thing for boarding school stories. Especially when they involve something supernatural. But these vague characteristics alone do not automatically craft an amazing story. No, May manages to do that all on her own.

There were so many things that I loved about Rae of Hope that it is a little ridiculous. First, the idea of the tatùs. Absolutely beautiful, and exciting. The description of the markings and the power behind them is nothing short of enchanting. All the different abilities shown really added to the story, and gave a true feeling of a whole community throughout the school.

Second, the plot. Folks, this one is a wild ride. An absolutely brilliant back story (if you read my reviews a lot, you should know how I feel about a good back story) created a great foundation for the novel. There were many twists and turns. Even in scenes that were relatively normal days, I felt incredibly excited reading. Certain parts toward the end? A complete surprise! It definitely kept me on my toes.

Third, Rae herself. I feel like I mention if a novel has a great voice a lot, but character is such an important part of narrative that I can't overlook it. Especially when there is a great female character, and Rae is definitely one of them. She is the kind of person that I could see myself hanging out with and really talking to, which allowed me to feel closer to her during the actual read. I think that is very powerful.

Might I add, I would absolutely love to go to Guilder. Okay, maybe it is a little much that I nearly fell in love with every single male student that was introduced, but I can't exactly complain. They just all had there own thing going on, and it works so well. Maybe the high amount of swoon-worthy males is not entirely realistic, but a girl can dream, right?

On that topic, I would like to add that the romance in Rae of Hope is tastefully done, and unique from a lot of other stories, which is very refreshing to read. My inner romantic definitely approves.

All in all, Rae of Hope is a brilliant start to a series. With everything from casual fun teenage exchanges to incredible supernatural abilities to dark secrets from a darker past, this novel really does have it all. I can highly recommend this book and not even feel guilty if that means I'm asking people to spend money. (It's kinda worth it.) It's the kind of book that sticks with you, so you can make guesses and think about it afterward, and I can't wait to read more.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Review: The Tempering by Adrianne James


The Mythology department at prestigious Harvard University is tiny—and Mackenzie Duncan has just been selected as one of the lucky few. Her love for myths and legends is deep, but she never thought any of it could be real.

After being attacked by a large wolf while walking home alone, Mackenzie realizes something is not right. She heals quickly, has suddenly become super strong, and is experiencing mood swings that can't possibly be normal. The myths she's studying aren't myths at all. Werewolves are real, and she's one of them. Fear of what she is, and who she might hurt sends Mackenzie running from the life she’s worked hard to build–and straight into the arms of a handsome Were named Geoff and into the home of his pack. Living with her new pack takes the edge off her confusion and self-loathing, but the arrival of new pack members changes the dynamic, and tests Geoff and Mackenzie’s growing relationship.

The hardest part of being a werewolf is to have no control and no memory of her time as a bloodthirsty beast. When a moon cycle passes, and she is actually able to remember bits and pieces of the night, she starts to ask questions, and the more questions she asks, the more she realizes she doesn’t like the answers. Can she set aside her own sense of morals to belong to a pack that is like a family or will she leave everything behind yet again in search of a life she can be proud of?

My Rating: 5

My Review: 

There are so many books out there that involve werewolves, and since most of them follow the lore, it is hard to create a werewolf novel that is unique. But, oh my, was James able to put together a great one. I faced The Tempering head on, and I am not too proud to admit that I was bitten. 

Mackenzie is a great protagonist. She is strong, funny, and completely kills the annoying whiny in-love female character stereotype. She has a temper, but this just adds to her likeability, as no one wants a character who is completely perfect in every way. Mackenzie is much more easy to connect to, as well is a great role model.

Normally, I am not a fan of love triangles (V's. Unless we are talking Twelfth Night, it's more of a V.) but I actually didn't mind it in The Tempering. Both Geoff and Liam are excellent characters. Geoff has that mysterious, forbidden kind of heat that grows from the beginning. Liam is funny and sweet, and I absolutely loved the growth of his relationship with Mackenzie. I found myself unable to completely choose between the two of them, and really got tied into the romance. (I do have a favorite, but I am going to avoid being biased here.)

The Tempering uses a lot of lore, which adds to the plot of werewolves in a way that many other books cannot. The background and history of the werewolves that was included definitely was a bonus - as I love learning more about that. The story itself is suspenseful, with a lot of action that keeps the pages constantly turning.

From the very first page, The Tempering is captivating, and will hold that intrigue until the very ending. I am very excited to read more of the series, especially with the fast-paced, exciting cliff-hanger of an ending. I highly recommend The Tempering, especially to fans of paranormal. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: The Final Descent (The Monstrumologist #4) by Rick Yancey


Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have encountered many horrors together—but can Will endure a monstrumological terror without his mentor?

Will Henry has been through more that seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, he has gazed into hell—and hell has stared back at him, and known his face. But through it all, Dr. Warthrop has been at his side.

When Dr. Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career—and he must face it alone.

Over the course of one day, Will’s life—and Pellinor Warthrop’s destiny—will lie in balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrumarium, they will face a monster more terrible than any they could have imagined—and their fates will be decided.

My Review:

If you tend to scan the lines of my little reviews, you probably know that I normally rate a book on a scale of 1 to 5. Reading this, you may have noticed that I did not post a rating for this novel. I could not bring myself to do so. For I have given the highest rating of 5 before, and I still thoroughly stand by my decision to do so. But this? This is so much more.

I should begin by saying that I have spent a lot of time with this series. I picked up the first book, intrigued by the title, and immediately was I thrown into this new world. All this time later, I have never left.

As a reader or a writer, I am sure that you know what I mean when I say it is hard to end a series. It is especially hard to end a series when you can honestly say the books within these series are the greatest books you have ever come across in your life. And, yes, it was hard, but I found that I have made peace. For this is not a fleeting series. Will Henry and Pellinore Warthrop may not be creations of my own imagination, but, oh, will they stay with me. I may have turned the final page, but how can I ever forget the times I have spent with the Monstrumologist and his "apprentice"? No, a part of me is in that book. I don't want it back.

The Final Descent is an excellent conclusion to the series. Dark and suspenseful, the novel dives deeper into the characters than ever before. The writing is beautiful and the quotes are absolutely heart-stopping. I definitely got tears at multiple moments, and I can admit that. The Final Descent is just as brilliant as the first three, and readers will not be disappointed.

Mr. Yancey, thank you for writing this wonderfully dark series. Truly, nothing else can compare.

I would say that I am at a loss for words, but I cannot do so, as even when I have trouble explaining something, I continue to flow out a variety of phrases to try and make sense of mess of thoughts with only 26 letters. But I will try to close my review with this: I am a writer. If I can ever scrawl out something that affects a reader a fraction of the amount that this series has affected me, I can happily make my own final descent.

There is a chance that you have not read any of the Monstrumologist series, although I cannot imagine why and I highly recommend that you do so as soon as humanly possible. To make that 'asap' a bit more 'p', here are some links for the previous books in the series:

The Monstrumologist (Book One)

The Curse of the Wendigo (Book Two)

The Isle of Blood (Book Three)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Blitz: Embrace by Cherie Colyer

Embrace (The Embrace Series #1)
by Cherie Colyer
Release Date: 12/20/11
Omnific Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.
Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

Hold Tight (The Embrace Series #2)
by Cherie Colyer
Release Date: 08/20/13
Omnific Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
What’s one little spell?

When you’re new to magic, one spell can be the difference between getting what you want...and ruining the lives of everyone you love.

Sixteen-year-old Madison has just embraced her magical powers. The trick now is learning how to control them. She and her boyfriend -and fellow witch- can’t even enjoy a simple kiss without getting shocked when their powers collide. Instead of mastering her new skills, though, Madison is stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores.

But being a witch does have its benefits. With a simple spell, Madison instantly conjures the help she needs around the house. Or so she thinks. Her idea of “help” invites trouble of its own as a pair of dangerous yet enticing beings enter her life. When a classmate disappears soon afterwards, Madison discovers she's the next victim of a threat she's powerless to resist...and there’s nothing it won’t kill to make her surrender.

Caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures, Madison must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other—before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.

Excerpt from Embrace:

There was something in the way he’d said it that sent an elated shiver through me. Not because I was nervous to be alone with him, but because I had a sudden urge to cover his mouth with mine. That would be so unlike me, but at that moment I wanted to grab the front of his shirt and pull him closer. It took me a second to compose myself, and I had to focus on my words to get them out in something that resembled a calm tone.

“Oh, really?” I glanced around his dungeon-like room. I’d happily be his prisoner.

“Really.” Isaac crouched down, one hand resting on the floor on either side of me, his smile devious. “Aren’t you in the least bit curious why?”

My pulse raced in a mix of excitement and longing. His cologne combined with the scents of his room and made my head spin. My reply came out weaker than I meant it to.


“First, it gave me an excuse to get you down here.” He ran his hand over my ponytail, giving it a gentle tug before placing his hand back on the floor next to me. He was enjoying himself. “And second, now I can do this.”

About the Author
A little about myself: I write young adult and middle grade novels. I love finding new stories that keep me up late reading. While my favorite genre is fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive I’m all over it.
My debut novel EMBRACE is now available from Omnific Publishing.

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