Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: Tor Maddox Unleashed by Liz Coley with Giveaway

Tor Maddox Series
by Liz Coley
YA Thriller 
306 pages

When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.


This is a modern day, teenage mystery/thriller with a fantastic teen voice. Tor is exactly the kind of girl one would expect to run into in the high school hallways--a little mouthy, a little head-strong, but a big heart and ready to stick up for what she believes in. . .even if it means going what most people would consider a little over-board.

We start with her in a park walking her cute doggy (yep, one to fall in love with). The opening scene with the 'older' guy was simply fun and was a great way to start off the story, which although manages to keep a 'light' tone, still delves into some pretty serious areas. That was one of my favorite aspects of this book, the way it took a very serious situation and definitely hit the thriller end without having the overly dark, morbid feeling often found in YA literature. Tor finds herself in deep trouble, and she's up against a horrible threat, but her view of the world manages to stay hopeful.

The supporting characters in this story are lovely. There's a great relationship between Tor and her brother, and the parents manage the situation with parenting perfectness. I think any teen would love to jump into Tor's shoes. . .although maybe not have the evil men pursuing them.

The only thing that bothered me in this book is the pace. Although things are happening all of the time, for some reason the danger is simply lacking (despite the threat against Tor, I sometimes just didn't feel any tension). But that's not enough to ruin the story!

This is a wonderful mystery/thriller that especially girls ages 13+ up will enjoy. The situations are realistic, hide messages that will make the reader think, and still keep a wonderfully modern, true to life air.


It was spooky climbing down the slope under the dark trees. I bent low under the overhanging branches and walked east along the lowest part. Twigs tugged at my hair. Wisps of spider web caught my cheeks. Under cover of the slope, I dared to turn on the flashlight to scan the rocks underfoot. If I broke an ankle out here, I was nailed. Cocoa panted along beside me. I say panted, but there was a definite wheezy quality to it that made my own chest ache. We’d hardly gone any distance. He shouldn’t be tired yet.

When we were safely out of sight of houses and humanity, I found a less gravelly spot to collapse into at the base of a tree. Cocoa curled up against me, a nice warm body. Still, I put on a double layer of sweatshirts and opened up the mylar blanket to spread over both of us. I flipped the flashlight around in my hand, covering the clear plastic with my palm. The red glow was all the nightlight I thought safe.

Even with three layers of clothes and an insulating blanket, I shivered and shivered in the night. I was terrified that heat-seeking rattlesnakes would slither under the blanket with us. Terrified that spiders would drop out of the bushes. Terrified that Cocoa would take off after a wild rabbit. I was afraid of men in black suits. Afraid of men in white coats. And especially afraid of falling asleep. My eyes ached. Exhaustion battled with adrenaline.
At 5:15 a.m. all the batteries ran out, both mine and the flashlight’s. I slept, pursued in restless dreams by the vengeful spirits of barking dogs.
At 6:51 a warm, pink light penetrated the underbrush. A rising swell of birdsong served as alarm clock. At my stirring, Cocoa yawned and stretched. He lifted a leg against the tree I was leaning on and streamed against it.
“Hey, watch it,” I scolded. “I mean, good boy. Come, Cocoa. Lie down.”
Down? His puzzled eyes asked me. He knew it was time to stretch, time to play, time to go for his quick morning walk with Rody.
“Sorry, fuzzy face. We can’t. Have some breakfast.” I poured dog food into one bowl and water into the other, but Cocoa turned his head away, uninterested. “I guess you need a walk first. I’m sorry.” He whimpered softly.
“I hear you, bud. Me too.” I rolled my shoulders, stretched my legs out in front of me. Every square inch of my body hurt. The granola bars tempted me not.
What was going on at home this morning? By now, Rody would have discovered Cocoa was gone. Would he say anything?
Mom was probably wondering why she hadn’t heard the shower go on and off in my bathroom. Maybe she was knocking on my door right now, calling me to wake up. Maybe she was cracking open the door and walking over to the tousled lump of covers to run her hands softly through my hair and kiss me on the cheek. Maybe she was turning in horror from the empty bed, running through the house, calling to my Dad, crying, “She’s gone…she’s gone.”
My throat ached. I did that to her. A tear slipped out of the corner of my eye.
I pulled out my phone and sent her a text message: Mom I’m safe I’m fine don’t worry don’t search.
I hoped she could live with that. I doubted it.
I huddled with my dark thoughts as the sky brightened. In the distance, on the playground, toddlers laughed with their own mothers, enjoying their morning playtime before naps. A knife twisted in my heart. Life went on for the innocent as well as for the ignorant. But knowing what I knew, I could never be that carefree again.

And here she is. . .

In 2013, Liz Coley’s psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series: UNLEASHED, EMBEDDED, and MISTAKEN. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction, You’re not Alone, and Winter's Regret.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColey.com.

Author links:


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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blood and Scales Anthology

Blood and Scales: An Anthology
By- E.C. Hibbs, Jacinta Maree, Victoria Escobar, Susan Burdorf, Luke McCallin, C.L. Matthews, Ruthi Kight, J.K. Radalyac, Bobbie Palmer and Heather Clawson
Genre- Mature YA/NA Fantasy

Dragons are a race of mythical creatures shrouded in magic and mystery. Whether good or evil, countless stories have been written detailing their majesty. For centuries, mankind has searched for the facts regarding the true nature of these fantastic beasts.

Today, another quest for knowledge has struck our attention; a cure for diabetes. In this dragon themed anthology, ten authors have come together to create this collection of short stories to benefit the American Diabetes Association.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Review: Dragons of the Dark Rift by Kevin Gerard

Dragons of the Rift

Diego's Dragon, Book 2: Dragons of the Dark Rift
 by Kevin Gerard 
Crying Cougar Press
 214 pages
For ages 10+

 A Prophecy, an Ancient Calendar, and a Battle for Earth’s Survival The turning of the 26,000 year cycle is approaching. The fifth sun promises a time of peace for all creatures. Magnifico, Estrella, and the Sol Dragones eagerly await the new age. Vipero hopes to alter the ancientprophecy. He orders the Dragons of the Dark Rift to find and eliminate the Sol Dragones. If they succeed, nothing will stop him from destroying Diego’s world and claiming ownership of Sol, a star with unlimited spiritual power. Diego and Racquel travel with their dragons to the Dark Rift, the entrance to the magical realm known as the Xibalba. Together with the Sol Dragones, they battle Vipero’s immense army in a fight to save or shift the Mayan prediction. The fate of earth depends on victory or defeat, and Diego is the key. His choice – to betray Magnifico or stay true to the Sol Dragones – will determine the outcome of the conflict.  

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords * Goodreads


This is a gripping, fast-paced story, which slides in perfectly behind the first book in the series. The main focus here is dragons, powerful and majestic ones. The descriptions are lovely, allowing the reader to experience these wondrous beasts as if they were solid reality. The dragons are an intricate part of Earth's destiny, and in this book, have good vs. evil battling in the realm of the stars. 

Diego is a twelve-year-old, Hispanic boy, who generally doesn't cause trouble, but being a Guide, finds himself wrapped up in exciting adventures. However, this isn't only a story about him as much it is about the battle around him. The scenes shift from him, to Magnifico, to the other dragons, as a story enfolds, which holds enough tension and intrigue.

I love the dash of Spanish thrown into this book, and enjoy the well described scenes. The friendships and loyalties between characters are inspiring, and make it easy to cheer the main characters on. And there's a lot to cheer for. The danger and action hits from one page to the next, refusing to let go.

Others Buzz About the Series

"Diego’s Dragon: Spirits of the Sun is a gripping, intrigue-filled adventure featuring a young Hispanic boy as the main protagonist, a beautiful statue that transforms into a real dragon, and a cast of secondary characters who all play a role in helping Diego fulfill his destiny as the Guide who delivers his ancestors into the spirit world. Tweens and teens will enjoy this magical and mystical journey..." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"Kevin, you are an amazing writer. You have inspired me to make a book of my own. It is about a kid who can jump through space and time just by jumping. The next few paragraphs are what I have so far from the book. Please read them and give me feedback." ~ Your #1 fan - Ryan

"Another fun little book by Kevin Gerard in the Diego's Dragon series... My daughter (who is in the 4th grade, but reads at the middle school level) read this book right after she read the first in this series 'Diego's Dragon: Spirits of the Sun. She can't wait for the next one to come out." ~ Tjasinto, Amazon, 5 Stars

"I love your fantasy fiction books so much!" ~ Tanner - Palm Desert Charter School

And here he is. . .


Kevin Gerard

Kevin Gerard lives in San Diego, California, with two feline friends, Jesse the WonderCat and Little Man. When not writing or teaching statistics at Cal State San Marcos, he enjoys walking the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, hitting the waves at Cardiff State Beach, and hanging with his brother, nieces and nephews at the local Pizza Port. He also enjoys playing Halo on the internet; look for him in the rocket games as one of the characters from Diego’s Dragon or Conor and the Crossworlds.  

Book Website | Author Blog | Twitter

Facebook | Goodreads


Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Sammy Steals the Show by Emlyn Chand

Sammy Steals the Show by Emlyn Chand  
SAMMY STEALS THE SHOW  (a Bird Brain Book, #10) 
by Emlyn Chand 
Illustrated by Noelle Giffin 
 Evolved Publishing
 56 pages
For Ages 3 to 8

 Sammy is a talented young cockatiel who loves to sing out of his open apartment window for all of Australia to hear. One day, he watches a reality singing competition with his human friend, Lisa, and knows that if he could just audition, he would surely win. What follows is a masterful escape, an eventful journey to the Sydney Opera House, and an audition thecrew of "Sing Your Heart Out" will never forget. Will Sammy take home the title of Australia’s next rising star, or will he find something more important along the way? There’s only one way to find out: join Sammy in his humorous adventure of fame, friendship, and fun.

Amazon * Goodreads


Sammy is one determined cockatiel, who has a great singing voice. This book starts with this bird in his cage at home, a satisfied bird with a great singing voice. It's refreshing to have a character who is, in general, satisfied with life. Sure, not everything's perfect, but Sammy is wise and understands why some things have to be they way they are.

The writing is fitting for the intended age group, and just in case young readers find a few things they don't know (a cockatiel or the word mate), there's a short description in the back of the book to help them along. The illustrations are colorful, enjoyable and sure to draw kids in as they accompany Sammy on his journey, and the plot is simple but exciting enough to make readers want to find out what happens in the end.

There's some very obvious messages in this book, which kids can never hear enough about. I was a tiny bit irritated at how accepting Sammy was in the beginning--a bird who understands the world around him perhaps a little too well. And the ending hit me a little off-balance, not that it's bad--the message was great! But the message seemed a little too nicely packed in some ways.

Still, this is a cute story with a lot of good things, boys and girls are sure to enjoy.

And here she is. . .

Emlyn (4)

From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life: she has published fiction across multiple genres, oversees and contributes as both an editor and an author to the Novel Publicity Guides for Writing & Marketing Fiction series, and loves the written word so much, she even married author Falcon Storm! Don’t forget that she is the founder and president of Novel Publicity too.

The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it—a lesson she has never forgotten. Maybe that’s why she loves writing her Bird Brain Book series for children so much! Emlyn’s first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

by Jordan Elizabeth
Curiosity Quills Press
YA Fantasy
183 pages

Everyone in Arnn - a small farming town with more legends than residents - knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees. After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn. In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid. Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises. To save the citizens of Arnn from becoming the witch's next victims, she must find the truth behind the woman's madness. How deep into Witchwood Hollow does Honoria dare venture?


This is a short book packed with quite the story. Honoria is a city girl, whose life has been turned upside down. Her parents are dead (died in the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers), she's moved to a renovation needy stone house in small country town, and she's thrown in to a school where she doesn't really feel comfortable.

This book is written in three different time lines, told from three different characters' lives. At first, I found this a little jaunting but the dates at the beginning of each chapter help to keep track of which person's story is going to be told next. After this gets sorted out, the story is amazing.

Honoria has a rough go at things. She sort of tries to fit in but is still in mourning, and despite some new friends, can't really find solid footing. But she's sweet and caring, and it's exactly these true to life problems which make her so interesting. She's not a heroine up on a pedestal, but a girl teens will be able to understand and grasp.

There's a nice sense of family and friendship, and even a little bit of inspiration thrown in. The characters are not evil, but simply make wrong choices or are find themselves in difficult positions. Still, they find understanding and support from the people around them--even the witch has qualities which make her human and in some ways, likable. And there's nothing better than bad guys that one can slightly understand.

The ending to this story takes quite the twist and may not be satisfying to all readers. Still, it hits and leaves one thinking days after the book is closed. And, in my opinion, this lasting impression is exactly what makes a story good even if it might not be the kind of ending the reader would like to have.

And here she is. . .

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history behind her, she is now diving into the world of author. It happens to be her most favorite one yet. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club. She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. 

Website: JordanElizabethMierek.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Racing Hearts by Laura Lascarso

Book 2
by Laura Lascarso
YA Romance

See you at the finish line…

With the big race weeks away, eighteen-year-old Jesse Copeland struggles to keep his head in the game and his hands off his smoking hot competition. But when Brooke reveals a secret that could destroy Jesse’s family, it sends him into a tailspin of self-doubt.

Jesse must pull himself together if he hopes to have a shot at the prize money, save his home, and win the heart of the girl he loves.

Can these two competitors overcome the sins of their fathers or will a shadowed history destroy their dreams forever?


“There one goes.” She pointed to the sky. “You missed it, Jesse.”
A lazy, contented smile spread across his face. His whole body felt relaxed, his mind at peace.
“So many falling stars,” she said dreamily.   
He turned his head skyward. “It’s not a star, babe, it’s a meteor.”
“A meteor?”
“A big rock being burned up by the Earth’s atmosphere.”
“A ball of fire,” she mused. “You learn that in school?”
“My dad was a backyard astronomer. That’s what he called himself. He had a few telescopes. We used to camp out in the backyard and stargaze.”
“What about stars then? Do they ever fall?”
“Not unless they’re being pulled by something bigger, like a black hole. Those are like anti-stars. They suck in energy and matter, like a vacuum. Some can swallow whole other stars, as big as the sun. Nobody knows where it all goes.”
“So we could be swallowed up at any second?”
Jesse had never thought about it like that. “Yep.”
“Just laying here, touching, talking and then whoosh, it’s all gone.”
“All gone.” He realized then that he’d been able to talk about his father without feeling quite so empty. In her company he felt better, about everything. He felt…happy.
He propped himself up on one elbow to look at her, inching down the blanket to reveal more and more of her beautiful skin. He leaned down to kiss the tops of her breasts and she didn’t stop him. Her eyes were on far-off places, pondering black holes and dying stars and the infirmity of life.
“I love you,” he whispered.
She looked away, embarrassed, and smiled her little smile. He leaned in and kissed her lips, sweet and low. She was summertime and honeycomb and everything sticky and sweet. A heady perfume that he couldn’t get enough of. He smiled, like a fool, not even caring that she didn’t say it back to him. He loved her and she was his.

That was enough.

And here she is. . .

  Laura Lascarso is the author of RACING HEARTS, an e-novella series, which tells the story of two star-crossed lovers set in the world of competitive car racing. Her debut YA novel COUNTING BACKWARDS, which deals with mental illness, won the Florida Book Award gold medal for YA literature in 2012. Laura lives in North Florida with her two children, darling husband and a menagerie of animals. Follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Forget Me Knot by Ruth Silver

Forget Me Knot
Forget Me Knot (Royal Reaper 2)
by Ruth Silver
Publisher: Booktrope
Published: June 23, 2015

  Don’t mess with death. When Wynter explores his newly developed dark angel powers, regret soon fills his heart and mind. Saving a soul isn’t what he imagined it to be, and it puts the grim reaper he loves in grave danger. Obligated to take the throne as Queen, Mara must face the truth and unravel secrets she may not be ready to accept. The second book in the Royal Reaper saga takes you on a paranormal fantasy adventure into a world of grim reapers, dark angels, and undead trucidators.

Also available on Barnes & Noble and iBooks


I'm a fan of paranormal fantasy (yes, I'll admit it) and was pleasantly surprised to find one that has a knights and castle twist. Unlike many books like this I've read, this one has a more historical feel to the setting--paupers and queens, kings and swords, and a terrifying plague, which has killed many and is already on its second sweep. It was interesting to watch the young Queen Mara not only deal with all the mysteries in the paranormal world, but simply battle with her new royal position in a time where disease and fear is wide-spread, and hunger abounds. By placing her in this situation, it gave her a strength that I couldn't help but respect.

I'll admit, I didn't read the first book in this series (something I'm going to have to catch up on), and as such, I had a little trouble understanding what was going on in the first few chapters. There's enough information to get the story going and have a general idea of what's happening, but with the somewhat large variety of characters, each with their very own individual background, I would suggest reading book one first.

The writing is well done, and I had no trouble diving into the world or feeling as if I knew the characters personally. There's lots of little details, which make the story tangible, and the characters, in general, are down to earth making it easy to understand their actions. This isn't written from one character's point of view, but rather hops from one individuals scene to another. Although I felt a little jolted at times and would have liked to remain in a couple scenes longer (some were pretty short), this scene and point of view jumping allowed the story to take on a depth and complexity which otherwise, couldn't have been achieved. And it's exactly this complex weave which made the plot really enjoyable.

I can recommend this to all YA Paranormal fans, especially those who have a special love for castles, and kings and queens.


Death crept into the castle. Mara could feel its darkness pressing her down. As she walked to her father's bedchamber, the thought of marrying a man she did not love weighed heavily on her. All the invitations had been sent out months ago. Just as her life was beginning to almost feel normal, her father, King Philip, had fallen ill along with the court of Casmerelda and much of the kingdom. The second wave of the plague violently spread, leaving a trail of death and burning corpses for the living to clean up.
Her father had been bedridden for three days. His fever spiked and his skin glistened. He grew delirious, falling in and out of consciousness. As much as she despised him for what he’d done to her sister’s boyfriend, he was still her father. She didn’t want to be left alone.
“You must marry Astin at once.”
Mara cringed. “I can’t.” Her lips hidden as she wore a piece of ivory cloth against her nose and mouth, the slightest bit of protection from the disease that had taken over the kingdom. “I don’t love him. Please don’t do this to me.”
“Don’t be selfish.” The words struggled to reach his lips. He coughed and heaved, his chest rising and falling quickly as his pulse raced. “I’ll be with your mother soon…”
“You’ll be dead.”
Taking in several deep breaths, he opened his mouth, his words coming out as a whisper. “You will be reigning queen. Mara, you must act the part. Marry Astin and forge an alliance with the country of Morro, for the sake of Casmerelda. Your people need you.”
“I need you,” Mara said, gripping her father’s hand. She frowned, studying the tips of his fingers, a blackened hue lacing his skin.
“You shouldn’t touch me.” He tried to pull away, unsuccessfully. Her grip remained tight, but more significantly, he’d grown weak from the disease ravaging his body.
“I haven’t been infected, and I’ve been at your bedside every night.” Mara ordered the servants to bring more water and rags. It had done little good to break his fever or alleviate the discomfort he must have been experiencing, but it was all she could think of to help.
“Marry Astin.” His words were rough slipping past his lips. He wheezed, trying to speak, but Mara rested a hand upon his chest.
“Don’t.” She didn’t want to have this conversation again.
“For the sake of the kingdom,” he said, pleading with her.
Mara refused to answer. Marrying Astin wasn’t what she wanted. “I have no desire to be queen so young. You will pull through, do you hear me?”
He’d fallen into a deep slumber, unable to answer her.

And here she is. . . 

Ruth Silver

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. She also writes The Federal Agent Chronicles and Palace Secrets, both of which are adult romance under the name Ravyn Rayne for Blushing Books. Her interests include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

Blog- http://writeawaybliss.com
Facebook- http://facebook.com/writeawaybliss
Twitter- http://twitter.com/writeawaybliss

Looking for a steamier read? Check her out here:
 Blog- http://ravynrayne.com
 Facebook- http://facebook.com/ravynraynereads
 Twitter- http://twitter.com/blushingravyn

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Reality - The Arie Chronicles # 1 by Dani Hart @authordanihart @sparklebooktour

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Reality - The Arie Chronicles # 1
by Dani Hart

Audience: Young Adult  - Genre: Fantasy - Format: E-Book & Paperback - Publisher: Anchor Group - ASIN: B00ZM52PQU - Date Published: June 12, 2015

To be extraordinary was a fate Arie Belle had never imagined. Her days had been filled with naïve pleasures and promising love, but all that changed one tragic day when her mother was killed under mysterious circumstances, plunging Arie’s life into dark and hopeless times where her lifelong friend, River, was her only beacon of light.
After years of numbness, a beautiful stranger, Ashe, entered her world and took her soul to places it had never been, across realities trapped within the worlds of fairy tales. Could he be her savior, or would she find the strength within to be her own?
Along her journey, she quickly unraveled the secret behind her uncanny connection with nature and her mother's killer. But one mystery remained—one of scripted destiny and the pull of the dark forces of life. Could she find the answers she needed before the next full moon? Or would death claim her as it had been painted in the fate of the stars?


After hearing the blurb, I was really excited to get my hands on the ARC and take an early peek. Arie is a girl with a heavy past, one that she has trouble digesting--the death of her mother, and a father she never knew. Luckily, her mother's best friend and their family have supported her, and she's always had a very strong friendship (and more) with their son, who is about her age.

This is a first person narrative, which takes the reader deep into Arie's head and doesn't let go. Her thoughts, concerns, fears and desires penetrate every paragraph, giving an extreme personal relationship to her. Thank goodness, Arie is very level headed and her thoughts are understandable and easy to relate to. She has her quirks, but that makes her all the more human. She's the kind of person, one could imagine having as a good friend.

The first few chapters give a detailed review of her experiences surrounding her mother's death. And although these pages were a bit slow to go through, it's very clear what happened to Arie and why she feels the way she does. The rest of the book continues in this same set, mostly from Arie's mind with sparse dialogue. I personally would have liked to 'experience' the scenes a little more than being told them through Aries' thoughts, and although this would have been enough to make me put most books down, the plot still was engaging enough to keep me reading. I skipped a few paragraphs here and there (bad me, I know), but I still wanted to know what happened to her and learn the mysteries surrounding her special talents.

There's a sweet romance triangle, which kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know which side would win--both guys are swoon worthy. Again, I would have liked to have experienced this more outside of Arie's thoughts, but still, found myself invested in both relationships and had a certain guy I was cheering for the entire time. 

The plot itself is well woven with tons of mystery and surprises. It moved much faster during the last chapters, and although there were a couple things I didn't quite understand (the other reality and evil forces felt a bit fuzzy around the edges), I'm assuming these will be cleared up in book 2 (and I'm looking forward to reading book 2!). Especially some of the nature descriptions were amazing, drawing into Arie's world and making me wish I could experience it myself. And the friendships here are true blue! So much love and trust and hope.

Summed up, the writing style is not one of my favorite, but despite that, the story pulled me in not only to the point that I wanted to read to the ending, but that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on book 2. So yes, I do recommend this to YA Paranormal Romance fans - especially ones who love to dive into a character and get to know her better than a best friend.

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While some may speculate that we fell in love with each other at our first kiss, I knew better. We were soul mates from birth. We shared our first kiss in the meadow on the day of my sixteenth birthday before my mom died. We lay on the grass as we had done that first time the butterflies blessed us with their magnificence on my seventh birthday. We did this on my birthday every year in hopes they would return. My birthday not only signified being a year older, but it was also our day. Every year River and I shared a private ritual and a hidden connection, until that kiss when the secret was exposed and our hearts were bound beyond platonic feelings. My mom’s death broke this ritual and the dream of a perfectly unflawed life together.
“Sixteen is a big one, you know.” He smiled softly.
“I know.” I looked over at him as he lay there with his eyes closed. He was beautiful. I knew handsome was the preferred word when describing the male species, but not for him. His face looked like it was chiseled by the most talented of sculptors. His hair was a sandy blond, and while it wasn’t long, it definitely couldn’t be called short. It had soft waves that fell perfectly around his face. His eyes were as blue as the sky, and his skin was fair like mine. His lips were full and, as soft as they looked, I wished for the first time that I could feel how soft they were against my own lips. His body was perfect. For someone whose only workout consisted of running a few times a week, he had a flawless physique. The football team was always trying to recruit him because he fit the mold of a jock. I asked him once why he didn’t participate in sports, and he just responded that they didn’t hold his interest. He liked his freedom and independence.
My body began to tingle all over. A light breeze sent shivers down my spine. I wanted to touch him, but not in the playful way we touched when we horsed around. I wanted to embrace him. I reached out my hand to touch his when the fluttering of wings filled my ears. I pulled my hand away quickly.
He opened his eyes and stared at the return of the prodigal butterflies.
“Wow, they’re as beautiful as I remember them,” he whispered.
We sat up slowly and faced each other as we had done on my seventh birthday. Their return was a mystery. They circled around us, leaving us in the eye of the swarm. There were hundreds of them displaying every color imaginable on their wings. Some had stripes while others had splatters. Even the most talented artist could never capture the true brilliance of these magical creatures. They were flying so swiftly around us that the color of their wings looked like fresh paint being swirled in a can with a multitude of colors to make that perfect color combination.
I saw River staring at me as I watched the butterflies. I turned to him and got caught within the depths of his eyes. His stare bore deep into my soul. We sat like that for what seemed an eternity. My body burned from the inside out. My heart raced. My mind was anticipating what my body wanted. I couldn’t think. All I could do was stare into his eyes, begging for him to feel the same way. The butterflies continued to circle around us, but they seemed to be fluttering faster as if they were anticipating the moment, too. Right at the moment I thought my body was going to explode if something didn’t happen, he took his hand and grazed the side of my face. His touch sent electric shocks through my cheek and down my body. His hand followed my jawline, and his thumb outlined my lips on its way to my neck. He gripped the back of my neck gently and leaned into me as he pulled my face toward his. He paused and looked into my eyes as if waiting for me to say no. I didn’t think I could wait any longer. My heart was pounding so hard I could barely breathe. The eternal pause ended, and his lips brushed mine. I thought I was going to pass out as I inhaled him. How can one moment be so intense? He brushed his lips against mine for a few agonizing moments as if, again, waiting for me to protest. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I pressed my lips against his, and he responded. I felt like that kissed lasted for hours. It was soft and slow and perfect.
I wish I could say the moments after that kiss were just as perfect, but they weren’t. I thought that moment would change my life forever, but it was the moments after that would. I would never be the same. I would never be that innocent little girl in the meadow again.

about the author

I'm a...
Firefighter Wife
Multi-genre Writer
and so many other ordinary things.
I love my life and am so grateful for all of the support. I have the courage to live a dream. Xo

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