Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Grift by Jason Mosberg

Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

My Rating


My Review

If anyone talks to me about books for more than thirty or so seconds, they'll learn that I appreciate the dark stuff in the way that people appreciate warm weather or fine wines. (Alright, maybe it's a little bit creepier than those examples.) I like a novel that isn't afraid to get down and dirty, and the promise of that is what drew me to Grift in the first place. In reality, plenty of teenagers are put in "adult" situations, so why shouldn't that be reflected in YA?

Well, I was not disappointed in Grift, which was a wild ride that got realistically and deliciously gritty. Piper was a great voice, in the fact that she felt like an actual teenager. Not because her way of speaking and thinking was dumbed down, but because it wasn't. She was intelligent and had personality, and enough sense she gathered from all the situations she had been in. A little something like a YA antihero (which, by the way, I'd love to see more of), I thoroughly enjoyed reading from her perspective.

A reason why the characterization of Grift was so good is because the characters all had flaws. They acted like humans instead of some kind of superhuman literary images of perfection (who may even go on and on about how "bad" they are though they do nothing wrong). These characters don't always do the right thing. They can be selfish and greedy and make bad decisions and it's so wonderfully wrong and so wonderfully human.

Despite the fact that this is contemporary, a whole new world is created in the novel. Because it gives a believable account of what it would be like for teenage grifters in Las Vegas. It almost comes out as heightened reality, and will suck readers right into the story. Not to mention high stakes that would have my acting teach salivating. Although the idea of teenagers racking up six-digits in a short amount of time to spend on a poker game seems ridiculous when looking at my college tuition rates, it definitely makes for some heart-pounding action.

Because the suspense is great, the action doesn't stop, and readers will probably be holding their breath for a couple of pages as they wait to see what happens next. I have very few complaints, and would definitely recommend the novel to those who enjoy high-stakes and taking a walk on the darker side. Grift has a very cinematic quality that makes for an enjoyable an relatively quick read. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Blast: Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz

She doesn’t just play, she kills it.

Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good. 

Then she's accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they're also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who's so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who's trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

Title: Until Beth
Author: Lisa Amowtiz
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Expected Publication Date: September 29 2015

Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot.
Lisa has been a professor of graphic design at  Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly eighteen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.
BREAKING GLASS which was released July 9, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first book in the Finder Series, released September 9, 2014 and its unnamed sequel will release winter, 2016. UNTIL BETH, a YA urban fantasy, will release September 2015.
So stay tuned because Lisa is very hyper and has to create stuff to stay alive.
Lisa is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cover Reveal: Jin in Time (Part One) by Karin De Havin

Title: Jin In Time (Part One)
Author: Karin De Havin
Release Date: March 14 2015
Publisher: 9 Yards Publishing

Spending senior year with the father who abandoned her is the last thing seventeen-year-old Esme wanted. But when her guardian grandmother dies, she has no choice. The only thing she has left of her once happy life is her grandmother’s antique vase—until she discovers it comes with a bowler-hatted genie. Jin guarantees he’ll do whatever it takes to make her happy again. 

Esme soon realizes hiding a genie isn’t easy, so she gives Jin a modern makeover and stashes him in the school library. One tiny hiccupher dad’s the principal. When word spreads that Esme is spending all her free time with a cute British guy, she’s busted, and her dad uses his all-powerful parental authority to ground her. If that's not enough, she learns her father plans to marry a woman who could win evil-stepmother-of-the-year, and her daughter is the top mean girl at Esme's new high school. 

Esme hopes to turn her luck around now that she has a genie to help her deal with her problems. But she realizes ten wishes aren’t so awesome after all, when she finds out they are powered by Victorian-era magic. And she thought having a genie would be fun. 

About The Author:

Karin De Havin is a historian, turned writer. Karin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as New Adult contemporary stories from her timber frame home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that like to help her write by jumping on the keyboard, and her pianist husband who occasionally is known to wear a tuxedo and tinker with the keyboard too.

Follow the latest news about new releases at:
Karin De Havin website:

Karin loves to hear from her readers.
Contact her on her Facebook Fan Page:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Release Date: April 21st, 2015
(You'll be wanting to count down the days, trust me.)

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. 

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. 

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

My Rating


My Review

If you are searching for a unique and delicious YA novel that will have you neglecting little aspects of your life because you just need to read that next page, then look no further. Becoming Jinn has a fantastical situation with realistic characters and a contemporary setting. It is a nonstop ride with everything from moments that will make you laugh out loud in a quiet, public area to moments that will have your heart melting (or something equally swoon-y). I could not put down Becoming Jinn, and even though I know the book didn't even release yet, I can't help but really, really, really want the second book.

From the very first chapter, I found that I was able to connect to Azra and really get into her head. Aside from being smart and funny, she felt like a person. An actual teenager. That voice made it so much easier to stay in the world of the novel. As the novel progressed, I found that all of her actions and decisions were realistic and understandable for her character. Without it being forced onto me, I was really able to root for Azra throughout the story.

If there is anything better about Becoming Jinn than Azra's character, it is the relationship she has with other characters. I loved the friendship and sisterhood that went along with her Zar, especially because it wasn't perfect. Azra, at times, felt like an outsider, even in a place where she really is supposed to belong (and does, even if it is harder to see) and that's something most everyone can relate to. The relationships between the "sisters" were dynamic, as every character had their unique personality, and a different relationship with everyone else. It wasn't all bright and sunny, and to me, that made it all the more believable.

I like to tell myself that I'm sick of love triangles (V's) in YA, and then I continuously find ones that are done beautifully and can't get enough of it. The love triangle in Becoming Jinn was definitely one of those cases. It was difficult, because I liked both options. But I definitely feel that one of the two characters was all the more better, and am one hundred percent on that team. I'm not going to say who it is, but... cough-I-love-the-whole-"boy-next-door"-trope-oh-so-much-cough.

Not only are the characters amazing and the writing breathtaking, but the concept is incredibly cool. And the plot doesn't disappoint. I loved the Jinn and learning about their history and origin (man, do I adore a good backstory!). Everything about the rules of wish-granting and the Afrit made it feel all the more real, and added a whole lot of stakes that kept the pages turning.

Becoming Jinn is a hilarious, heart-wrenching, striking start to a promising series. It's difficult to say anything negative about it at all, other than how it might keep you up way later than you wanted on a work/school night. A definite must-read that will have readers wishing for more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd - Release Day Blitz

I am so excited that A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an excerpt from the book!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Megan Shepherd, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and swag courtesy of Megan and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Author: Megan Shepherd
Pub. Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 


Montgomery stopped the horses outside a tavern. He came to the carriage door, opening it just a crack to keep the rain from drenching us. “I’m going to ask directions. We can’t be far now.”

We watched him saunter over the muddy street as though he didn’t even feel the bite of freezing rain. A face appeared in the tavern window. The door opened and he spoke to a woman in a wool dress for a few moments, then stomped back through the mud. “This village is called Quick,” he told us. “The manor’s only five miles from here.”

“Did you hear that?” Lucy murmured to Edward, still stroking his hair. “We’re almost there. Just hold on. Everything will be all right once we arrive.”

Montgomery’s eyes shifted to me. Neither of us wanted to remind Lucy that the prospect of Edward’s fever breaking—and the Beast’s reappearance—was almost more frightening than the fever itself. Delirious, he was less of a threat.

“Let’s go then,” I whispered to Montgomery. “And quickly.”

He closed the door and in another moment we were moving again, passing through the rest of Quick. Then all too soon the village was nothing but fading lights. The storm grew and the road became rougher, and all the while Edward’s eyes rolled back and forth beneath shuttered lids.

Thunder struck close by, and Lucy shrieked. Montgomery whipped the horses harder, pulling us along the uneven road impossibly fast, trying to outrun the storm. I twisted in the seat to look out the back window at the pelting rain. A stone fence ran alongside us.

“We must be getting close,” I said.

“Not soon enough,” Lucy breathed. “We’re going to crash if he keeps driving like this!”

The road widened, straightening, letting us travel even faster. Lightning struck close by, blinding me. The horses bolted. Lucy screamed and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t tear mine away. The lightning had struck an enormous oak tree, twisted from centuries of wind. The oak took flame, blazing despite the rain. A smoking gash ran down the trunk—the lightning’s death mark. I watched until the rain put out most of the flames, but it still smoldered, billowing hot ash into the night.

The horses pawed the earth, and I grabbed the window to steady myself. At this wild speed, just hitting a single rock at the wrong angle would send the carriage shattering to the ground. It was madness to go so fast. Couldn’t Montgomery calm the horses?

Just when I feared the carriage would careen out of control, it stopped short, throwing me against the opposite wall. I tangled in Lucy’s limbs as the chains around Edward’s body clinked. Balthazar grunted, jerking awake at last. We scrambled in the bottom of the carriage until the door flew open.
Montgomery stood in the pelting rain. I feared he’d say we’d broken another strut or the horses had gone lame or we’d have to spend the night in the harsh storm.

But then I saw the lights behind him, and the night took shape into a turreted stone manor with bright lamps blazing and gargoyles on the roof vomiting rain into a stone courtyard.

Montgomery’s eyes met mine beneath the low brim of his hat.

“We’ve arrived,” he said.

About Megan:


I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer.

I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German, and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, here are the dirty details

It wasn't until a chance aquaintance read something I wrote and said, "have you ever considered being a writer?" that something clicked and I realized it was possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love with writing and children's literature in particular. I started out writing articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing.

When I'm not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear from readers, so please drop me a line!

I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.
Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed copy of A COLD LEGACY and swag! US Only.
Ends on February 6th at Midnight EST!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cover Reveal: Never, Never by Brianna Shrum

Title: Never Never
Author: Brianna Shrum
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.       
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

About the Author

Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, two boys, and two big, floppy hound dogs. She thinks chai tea is proof of magic in the world, and loves all things kissy, magical, and strange. She'd totally love to connect with you. You can find her saying ridiculous things on Twitter,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review: Redemption by Sara Furlong Burr

Ten years ago, her family was murdered. 

One year ago, she left her life behind for a chance to avenge their deaths. 

Twenty-four hours ago, her defiance sealed her fate. 

With her suspicions mounting and her loyalty to The Epicenter tested, Celaine Stevens makes the decision to fight for a cause she believes in and aligns herself with the rebellion. Joined by Ian Grant, the pair escape from The Epicenter and travel to the Capitol, where they find Marshall Leitner and his followers. While inside the rebellion, Celaine and Ian learn that the rebels are planning a final uprising against President Brooks, one in which they hope will sway the rest of the country’s opinion in their favor. 

However, loyalties are soon tested. The rebels are finding it hard to trust them, so when a bounty is issued on Celaine and Ian by President Brooks, it may be too good for some of them to resist. 

As the nation goes to war, Celaine finds herself in the fight of her life. Vendettas will become personal, lives will be lost, and the world will never be the same again.

My Rating


My Review

I fell in love with this trilogy from the first couple of pages of Enigma Black, and that was able to carry all the way through the final pages of this novel. Redemption is a thrilling and chilling conclusion to an unforgettable and action-packed trilogy. 

I was unable to put down this book once I started it. There was plenty of suspense and revelations carrying the reader to the end. Although I'm not always a fan of changing between more than two POVs, I thought it worked incredibly well with this series, Redemption especially. The voices are all unique enough for clear distinction between the characters, and I felt that the changes in perspective allowed for a faster pacing (with few exceptions in which I almost wanted to rush past a scene to get back to a different plot line I was dying to read more of) and an altogether more enjoyable read.

One thing I love about series is that they really allow the readers to grow with a character and see them develop. This was definitely the case with Celaine. She already had been a strong character from the beginning, but she continues to grow, discovering more about who she is and exactly what she is capable of. I loved seeing more of Ian, who I would never tire of. I also enjoyed the depth that went into Cameron's character. Although those in the book may not have all seen it, he became so much more than a horny computer geek, and my heart really broke for him. But even the more minor characters make a lasting impact, including those in the rebellion who were just introduced in this book.

The introduction to the rebellion made for an interesting development that added to the world that was built throughout the series. The fight scenes had me at the edge of my seat, heart-racing.

The plot kept me guessing, and held me captive for the entire read. Although the ending, as a reader, made me incredibly angry (I'm talking forgetting there are people around and shouting WHY?! at your e-reader screen until you get enough freaked out looks to worry yourself kind of angry). However, I can't complain. It wasn't a bad ending, it just wasn't what I wanted. Of course, that's probably more realistic than any other outcome.

Redemption is an explosive conclusion, and I couldn't have asked for a more impressive ending to this series I've been so glad to follow. I'll definitely miss Celaine, but the reading experience was an emotional thrill ride with everything from deliciously dry humor to steamy and heart-melting romance. (So, really, everything you need in a novel?) This trilogy is not one to forget.