Thursday, January 31, 2019

Happy Book Birthday, Still Alive? by Melissa Woods

New Release Today! For readers who enjoyed ALIVE?, a thrilling new action adventure apocalypse series by Melissa Woods, we're excited to announce the official release of the second novel in the series! STILL ALIVE? by Melissa Woods is an exciting continuation to a series that readers are calling "binge-worthy," and "thrilling." Don't like zombies? Maybe we can change your mind. Now's the time to check out this series if you haven't already. The first novel— ALIVE? —is currently available for FREE for a limited time!


Turns out being half-dead is only half the problem. 
Still Alive?
by Melissa Woods
The Alive Series, #2


*STILL ALIVE? is currently available on Amazon and will be available on all digital retailers this weekend. While you wait, now is the time to check out book 1 that's free on all retailers today!  



by Melissa Woods
The Alive Series, #1
Clean Teen Publishing 
YA Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction,  Zombies

Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten. Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either. Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too… Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams. New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.

And here she is...

 Writer, primary school teacher, zompocalyptic obsessive. Melissa Woods is the author of 'Alive?', a young adult zombie adventure story, set for release on October 30th 2018. When she's not writing or teaching, Melissa can usually be found walking her three dogs, playing video games, or, occasionally, spending time with her husband.

Review: Rhapsody by Heather McKenzie

The Nightmusic Trilogy, Book Three
by Heather McKenzie
Clean Teen Publishing
YA Thriller
382 pages

I am a survivor. A warrior facing battle.
I will protect those I love with my life...
and take back what's mine. 

Kaya has minutes to save the man she loves. Minutes.

Luke's life is hanging by a thread, and Kaya has to do the unthinkable―go back to her father. It's a worthy way to die, giving your life for the one you love. But not everyone feels that way―Thomas in particular. He'll do whatever it takes to keep her with him, even if it means stealing her precious minutes.

But there's more at stake than just her life.

The truth behind Henry's genetic research is shocking, and Kaya must stop him before he can release a weapon of mass destruction upon the world. But how do you stop a man with unlimited resources? Caught between dying to save the one she loves―or living to save millions―Kaya's heartbeat is her only bargaining power.

Time is ticking...

A spine-tingling thrill ride of unearthed secrets and true-love's capacity, Rhapsody is the final installment of the compelling Nightmusic Trilogy.


This is the third and last book in the Nightmusic Trilogy. The books build on each other, meaning this does not suit itself for a stand-alone but should be read as an entire series.

Kaya escaped her father's hands and has a chance to start a new life, but she can't. The love of her life and several other friends are being held captive in her father's prison. Even her imagination can't hold with the extent of torture they are enduring. Together, with her friends and a man she might also love, she's determined to find a way to save them all. But her father isn't only rich and clever, he's as evil as they get. It will take a miracle to save the others and not fall back into her father's clutches in the process.

Kaya has developed as a character, and we meet her as a strong woman who is not easily fooled or pushed around. However, she's not a full-hearted fighter either and still has a huge heart and a mild temper. She's not always sure of herself but has learned to swallow that down, trust her friends and keep a level head. In this book, she comes across a little naive but only on the surface. She's a force to be reckoned with. It makes for a great character and sets the stage for the amazing plot she faces.

A lot comes together in these pages. The author does a great job at bringing the various characters and their secret as well as not so secret intentions full-circle. Some endings are shocking, while others are definitely satisfying. But the last game with Kaya's father is by no means timid and creates an exciting and tense final battle of more wits than anything else. While there are some brutal moments, especially in the beginning prison scenes, it keeps rank with the rest of the series.

Romance is a major part of this book as well. Kaya now faces the decision of who she wants to give her heart too. The love triangle holds enough tension to keep it interesting, and there are many other emotions involved. As every other part of Kaya's life, it's not an easy path. The solution to this love triangle wasn't quite my thing, but most readers will probably find it satisfying and have their favorite to root for.

The end of this novel wraps up the problems with Kaya's father nicely, and includes some closure in the direction of her grandfather as well. While the ending did feel a bit hasted because some of it could have built its own novel, but the author reeled it in. In any case, the ending works and closes the trilogy nicely while leaving enough food for thought to keep the characters alive in the mind for several days after the book has been laid down. Fans of YA Thrillers and Romance are going to enjoy this series.

Cover Reveal: Lust by Karina Espinosa

by Karina Espinosa
YA Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Covers by Christian

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

When Max is approached by The Wanderer in regards to a mutual adversary, he will have to make a deal with the devil to save the only family he has left—even if it means infiltrating enemy territory without the aid of his friends. And leaving them in the hands of Sienna, the Nephilim of Lust.
Will this temporary truce with The Wanderer buy him more time, or speed up his prophesied demise? Can he trust Greed or Lust?
Alliances will be formed, teams will be chosen, and questions will be answered in the third installment of the Sins of the Fallen series.

Buy Links:
Sins of the Fallen:

Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Sins of the Fallen:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: Mirabel's Missing Valentines by Janet Lawler

by Janet Lawler
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book / Valentine's Day
32 pages
ages 3 and up

When Mirabel’s valentines fall out of her bag on the way to school, the shy little mouse panics. But those lost cards brighten some days . . . before making their way back to her. 

“Mirabel was very shy.
She’d always been that way.
She trembled at the thought of
giving Valentines away.”

Poor Mirabel! It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the shy little mouse trembles at the thought of giving cards away. Yet she carefully crafts her valentines, drawing a heart on every one. In the morning, Mirabel forces herself to hurry to school. But, in her nervousness, she doesn’t notice her bag becoming lighter and lighter: her valentines are falling out! By the time she realizes what’s happened, they’re all gone. It turns out, though, that these lost valentines bring joy into the lives of all who find them. Then, with her valentines back in her pack, and some newfound friends, she musters up the courage to celebrate the holiday after all! This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to the hearts of all young readers.


A little shy and super cute, this book spreads love in the most fantastic way.

Mirabel is excited about Valentine's Day and handing out cards at school, but she's a little nervous too. Still, she puts in her entire love as she creates each card. Keeping bravery strong, she heads off to school. But something terrible happens and the valentines fly from her bag, one by one. The result surprises not only Mirabel, but adds a twist which guarantees smiles.

Mirabel is a sweet character young listeners are sure to quickly embrace and connect with. It's not hard to relate to her—excited but uncertain how the others will react. This is something everyone, especially the intended age group, can understand. Yet, Mirabel gives her best. This alone is inspiring, but the story continues allowing reader to feel for Mirabel again as her Valentines are lost. The play on emotions keeps listeners glued to the pages, and yet is subtle and gentle. The author, however, makes sure the disappointment does not outweigh the positive aspects. With each loss, comes a happy surprise. And the ending wraps it up with a lovely message of warmth, friendship and love.

The illustrations carry a more traditional and very warming feel. It fits extremely well with the tale and gives Mirabel and her world just the right atmosphere. While the text rhymes away in an easy four or so lines, the illustrations add and bring out the more special moments to strengthen the situation. The details are lovingly done and encourage kids to take the book on their own and relive the story again and again. It's a wonderful, Valentine's Day read which fits to all times of the year.

And here they are...

The Author...
Janet Lawler is an award-winning author. Her first picture book, If Kisses Were Colors (Dial, 2003), has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, and Korean. Her most recent picture books include Ocean Counting (Nat'l. Geo., Fall 2013; NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book), Love Is Real (HarperCollins, 2014), and Rain Forest Colors (NAt'l. Geo., Fall 2014; starred Kirkus review).

Janet lives in Connecticut and is available for interview. Visit her at!

The Illustrator...
Olivia Chin Mueller attended the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives in Providence, RI. Learn more about Olivia at and follow her on Tiwtter and Instagram at @ocmillustration!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Review: The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Sam Abernathy, Book One
by Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Contemporary
272 pages

MARCH 26th, 2019!!!

A boy who spent three days trapped in a well tries to overcome his PTSD and claustrophobia so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a famous chef in this charming novel that is Andrew Smith’s first foray into middle grade storytelling.

When he was four years old, Sam Abernathy was trapped at the bottom of a well for three days, where he was teased by a smart-aleck armadillo named Bartleby. Since then, his parents plan every move he makes.

But Sam doesn’t like their plans. He doesn’t want to go to MIT. And he doesn’t want to skip two grades, being stuck in the eighth grade as an eleven-year-old with James Jenkins, the boy he’s sure pushed him into the well in the first place. He wants to be a chef. And he’s going to start by entering the first annual Blue Creek Days Colonel Jenkins Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off.

That is, if he can survive eighth grade, and figure out the size of the truth that has slipped Sam’s memory for seven years.


With a interesting mix between humor, imagination, and the harshness of fitting in, this is a read to surprise in so many ways.

Sam is sort of stuck in life, much in the same way he was once stuck in a well...but different too. His parents have everything planned out for him; he's going to MIT. They've even made sure he took the tests to skip from the 6th grade to the 8th. Sam, however, loves to cook and is really good at it. Someday, he wants to become a great chef, and that doesn't include the things his father likes to cook on their strange, annual survival outings. Someone once saved him from the well but he'll have to find his own way out of this hole.

This was not the read I expected it to be. Rather than following a more serious tone, it dances along an intriguing mix of quirkiness, bitter-sweet imagination and more serious battles of a middle grade kid. It makes for a quick read, which leaves smiles while still keeping the cloud of Sam's struggles hanging like a constant reminder. And it's this strange humor which makes it more appealing to reluctant readers.

Sam's story doesn't follow a normal timeline, but rather switches between his current life and memories of the hole. But the author does a good job at keeping it clear, which scene is which. This keeps confusion at bay. The author also does a wonderful job at bringing across the school scenes, by centering more on certain characters rather than the school classroom. This makes for a very personal touch which gives realistic depth, and makes the characters easy to relate to and understand. And especially considering Sam's strange life (thanks mostly to his father), this is exactly what the reader needs to pull the story down to a more normal level.

While the symbolism and bringing in of the well experience is a masterful weave along with the message of the book, it created a slightly strange atmosphere. Sam's memories of the well include a talking armadillo and takes on a bit of a hallucinating atmosphere...which could very well fit the situation. The armadillo, however, carries more mature jokes and actions with him, which wouldn't fit the imagination of a four-year old. But then, Sam doesn't behave like a four-year-old in those scenes completely either. Even Sam's father behaves in odd ways, especially the survival trips demonstrated a lack of knowledge on the father's part and, on top of that, a lack of concern for his son's safety. While funny, both of these left an odd twist which simply didn't sit quite right with me.

This is, however, an interesting read which brings across Sam's struggles in a humorous and meaningful way. Readers of the age group will relate to him much of the time and find moments to laugh as well. While it might not be a read for everyone, it will be enjoyed by the right audience.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Review: Out of Bounds by Elena Delle Donne

Hoops, Book Three
by Elena Delle Donne
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Middle Grade Sports/ Contemporary
176 pages

From WNBA MVP, Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the third novel in a middle grade series with as much heart as there is game.

Elle is finally finding her groove and is excited about how her year is turning out. But when her team loses a major game against their rivals, Elle doesn’t know if basketball is worth it anymore. It feels like she can’t win—even when she’s improving and doing well, everyone always expects more from her.

With her changing attitudes on basketball, will she let everyone she knows down if she decides to take a break?


This is the third book in the Hoops series. Since the story builds from one book to the next, it's best to read it as a series.

Elle is settling into the basketball swing of things again but is running into more and more troubles with one of her teammates, who wishes she had Elle's position. It doesn't help that Coach keeps singling Elle out. To make matters worse, Elle's best friend starts skipping out on her to visit this same teammate and might even be dating her soon. Being taunted from every direction is slowly more than Elle can handle, and she's not sure she wants to put up with any of it anymore.

Elle is easy to connect with and feel for. While she has a huge interest in basketball, she has other things going on in her life as well. The idea of a scheduling app, which shows up in this book, is something many kids will relate to. But what makes Elle special is that she is kind, loving and simply a good person. The problems she faces are very realistic and things the average reader can identify with. While the basketball and sports aspect is very strong, it's not enough to push away even those readers who don't necessarily play sports themselves. The problems Elle faces can be found in other areas of life too, making this a read for any middle school girl.

The writing flows very smoothly and does a nice, constant switch from basketball to a normal kid's life. Especially the younger end will enjoy the easy to read sentences. While the plot flows well, it does slow down at times during Elle's home scenes and allows the average life to come forward too. Unfortunately, this book ends without a resolution to Elle's problem, and instead leaves off for the next book to continue. It's a nice series, especially for sport minded girls.

Here she is...

Elena Delle Donne has been a professional women's basketball player since 2013, when she was selected by the Chicago Sky second overall in the WNBA draft. She was the 2015 WNBA MVP and won the gold medal with the USA's women's basketball team in the 2016 Olympics. She is the global ambassador for the Special Olympics and became the first national ambassador for the Lyme Research Alliance. Elena also plays host to Delle Donne Academy, a basketball camp that runs throughout the year, where she mentors and coaches girls ages seven to eighteen. She now plays for the Washington, DC, Mystics.

Review: Apocalypse Five by Stacey Rourke

Archive of the Fives
by Stacey Rourke
Black Spot Books
YA Science Fiction
250 pages

FEBRUARY 12th, 2019!!!

The end of the world is coming. How or when, scientists can't agree upon. For decades, Earth's best line of defense has been a team of young soldiers known as the Apocalypse Five, forced into virtual reality simulations to train for Doom's Day. But, this is no game. Death on the grid is brutally final and calls up the next in a long line of cadets. Stationed aboard the AT-1-NS Starship, the A5 are celebrities thrust into the limelight by a calling they didn't choose. All it takes is one unscheduled mission, showing seventeen-year-old team leader Detroit a harsh and unfathomable reality, to shake the A5's belief in all they thought they knew. After questioning people with the power to destroy them, the team is framed for a crime they didn't commit and marked for death. Now, the hunt is on. Can the Apocalypse Five expose the truth the starship would kill to keep hidden? Or, will their bravery end in a public execution?


Packed with action, intrigue and mounds of tension, this is an exciting mix of spaceship science fiction and a brutal dystopian.

The A5 consists of the most amazing heroes the starship has to offer. They are specially trained and ready to meet any obstacle that comes at them—all to ensure the survival of the human race. The extremely vivid and realistic training missions are viewed by everyone on board, making this group stars in their own right. The catch, however, is deadly. If they die on the virtual missions, they die in real life. This makes for quite the turnover in team members. Until the most recent group is formed. These five survive much longer than any others before. When they run across a strange scene in their mission, they realize that these virtual missions are more than they seem. And the truth will change existence as everyone knows it.

Tension and the brutality of the situation hit full force from the first chapter on. The author makes the circumstances these characters face clear, and this impact causes the story to grab right away. The characters are sympathetic, and it's hard not to feel for their situations even with their obvious personality flaws. Each one is very distinct, making it easy to keep them apart. Their interactions are believable, and their decisions are understandable. It's easy to cheer for them the entire way through.

While the story kept me in the pages until the very end, the first chapter or so did stumble. The author makes it clear from the beginning how harsh and dangerous the life of the A5s is, and the first round of characters is immediately hit hard. This caused for a little confusion as time jumped forward in the next chapter, and the empathy for characters had to be rebuilt. The world itself is well done, although there are more than a few holes in the background. Much of this seems to be waiting for resolution in the rest of the series, while some simply is a little light. Still, it's a fun read.

This is an exciting world to jump into, especially for fans of action, adventure, intrigue and simply harsh, violent moments. It grabs, it sits, and it ends on a cliffhanger. This book sets the stage for the rest of the series, one which promises to be exciting and full of surprises.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Review: Love, Z by Jessie Sims

by Jessie Sims
Simon & Schuster
Picture Books
48 pages

From the creator of Not Quite Narwhal comes the story of a young robot trying to find the meaning of “love.”

When a small robot named Z discovers a message in a bottle signed “Love, Beatrice,” they decide to find out what “love” means. Unable to get an answer from the other robots, they leave to embark on an adventure that will lead them to Beatrice—and back home again, where love was hiding all along.


Love and good feelings abound on every single page of this wonderfully cute and simply adorable read.

Z is a little robot, who lives with other robots who take care of it. One day, Z discovers a message in a bottle with only two words: Love, Beatrice. But what is love? Z asks his fellow robots, but they have no idea. So, Z decides to venture out into the world and find Beatrice in hopes she can explain the strange word. As the journey goes on, Z crosses paths with various people, none are Beatrice but each tries to explain what love means. However, their answers don't compute. It appears that Z will never learn the true meaning behind the strange word 'love', but then, something surprising happens.

The first pages had me wondering how this read would really be. The robots, especially Z, are kind and likable, but their metal and simple exterior comes across a bit cool. And this is perfect! As the story continues, Z's wondrous journey warms more and more with every person he meets. By the end, the at first cold exteriors, leave a super warm and cuddly feeling. In other words, it builds right with the story and ends in the way it should. Kudos just for that.

The meaning of this book is clear, and it is a message kids can never ever get enough of. It makes them consider what they might tell Z if the cute robot stopped and asked them to define love. The various answer make it clear how wonderful and the various ways in which love in shown. Throw in a cute little adventure as Z sails down the small stream to places the robot's never been before...and the slight tension which builds by the end when it doesn't appear the goal will be found...and it's an exciting read, which holds the attention until the last page. In other words, this book has everything a good story needs.

The illustrations are gentle, warm, encouraging, bright and allow the good feelings to flow. Each adventure gains more depth through the illustrations, and they carry just the right amount of details to invite readers to flip through them on their own. Especially Z...for all of it's simpleness... is as adorable as can be.

I highly recommend this book and believe hugs and cuddles will be expected at the end.

And here she is...

Jessie Sima is an author/illustrator living and working in New York City. She grew up in a small town in Southern New Jersey, unaware that she was a storyteller. Once she figured it out, she told her family and friends. They took it quite well. She is the author of Not Quite NArwhal, Harriet Gets Carried Away, and Love, Z. You can visit her at

Friday, January 25, 2019

Review: Blood Rebirth by Stevie McCoy

by S.M. McCoy
Broken Books
YA Fantasy
254 pages

JANUARY 31st!!!

A Blood War prophesy. A darkness growing inside her. Can she find the seven powers before the trial grounds are lost forever?

The Oracle’s powers need a new vessel and everyone wants the talisman that will give it to them instead of the prophesied successor. In a race against time, Crystal must train herself to survive the trial grounds deep within the Underrealm and find the seven powers to obtain the talisman before anyone else; or it won’t be just her soul at risk, but the whole supernatural realm as she knew it.

The war between good and evil rests in the hands of a novice all while she battles her inner demons confused between following her heart or her mind, saving herself or everyone else.

If you like hidden magical realms, fresh new takes on vampire lore, and heartfelt journeys of self-discovery, then you’ll love Stevie McCoy’s spellbinding coming-of-age tale.


A rich world accompanies fast-paced adventures as this story twists and turns in all sorts of wonderful ways.

Note: This is the second book in the series and cannot be read as a stand-alone, since everything builds and continues from book one.

After a dangerous decision, Crystal now finds herself at a school where those who are not human or demon, train their powers. But she's not sure what she is. She's not even sure she'll be alive much longer as the human part of her is dying and the snake venom is battling whatever divine blood she might have. Her new 'classmates' aren't only much more powerful and advanced than her, but many aren't ready to accept her in their midst. She's not sure who to trust as one of her few possible friends reveals the future which awaits Crystal, one that means her sacrifice. Yet, the Moon Goddess insists Crystal must find a way to survive. Too bad, Crystal is up against blood-thirsty, soul sucking demons and other creatures—all desiring to kill or possess her. She needs to figure out what she is, become capable and somehow, deal with a man who's convinced they are past and forever soul mates. Crystal is in way over her head.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first one in the series. While there was still holes and confusion, especially in the first chapters, concerning the magic and characters Crystal met, the story settled into an engaging read I couldn't put down. This is a complex world, one where its uncertain who is good and who is evil. And most characters probably fall somewhere in between. The range of creatures, magic and scenes explodes with colorful fantasy and promises all sorts of surprises. As a fantasy fan, it was a treat to experience the variety and vivid characters and descriptions. Yet, the author manages to keep it anchored down so that Crystal comes across fairly normal for an older teenager.

While there are fight scenes, some gore and evil twists which chill, Crystal herself is not the powerful, defeat-all fighter. She's unsure of her is everyone else...and has much to learn even at the end (which promises much to come in the next book). There are quite a few characters, each with a distinct personality and purpose. Most are a treat to follow and very intriguing (I have a few favorites), where a couple needed a little more purpose and depth. But I'm assuming this will be covered in the next book as well.

This was a quick paced read without a boring moment. The romance is different than the usual YA reads, and carries a little spark but is uncertain and unsure, making it slide nicely with the rest of the plot. In other words, it's as questionable (as is the hero) as everything else. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book to see where all of it will go because Crystal does have herself in quite the mess.

Happy Book Birthday, Dream Walker by Bridgett O'Hare

by Bridgette O’Hare
YA Paranormal Fantasy
Editor: Jennifer Green of Plot2Published Editing

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

To realize who you are, you must forget who they taught you to be
Darkness flows through Halle Michaels. Darkness suppressed by the expectations of being the ideal daughter, the perfect friend, and the stereotypical girl next door.
Now, her family’s past has caught up to her. When Halle discovers she was meant to follow in her father’s footsteps—footsteps she’s certain led to his untimely death—she must forget every lie she’s been taught about who she is.
Hunted by Hell’s elite and armed only with what she can decipher from her father’s cryptic journal, she turns to Aedan Jeremiah for answers, unsure she can trust him.
Halle wants the truth, but the longer truth is twisted in shadows, the harder it is to recognize in the light.
Can Halle move beyond the deceit, or will she be consumed by the darkness that stole her father from her?

Buy Links:

Bridgette O'Hare is a writerly life form surviving on high doses of chocolate, excessive episodes of Supernatural, and copious amounts of snark.
She spends her time in search of sleep, witty co-conspirators, the planet Gallifrey, and ways to unleash treachery upon her characters in interesting ways . . . or you may find her instigating shenanigans on Facebook.
She’s the proud Mum of two highly entertaining humans and she resides on the coast of North Carolina.
Bridgette is recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Number 5 was unavailable for comment.

Author Links:
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Buy Links:
Silent Night:
Dream Walker:

Matt had never been one to let a chance to provoke Jenna slip by. “I know what I’m getting you for Christmas,” he chided.
“Does it involve a trip to some tropical island and drinks with those tiny umbrellas in them?” Jenna quipped back.
“What makes you think I’d take you somewhere like that?” he retorted.
A sly smirk slinked up one corner of Jenna’s mouth. “What makes you think I was going to take you with me on my little island excursion? It’s my present.”
Matt shook his head. “A watch, Jenna. I’m getting you a watch. Not that you’d use it.”
He checked his mirrors and backed out of the driveway.
“Alright, children. Let’s play nice,” Halle interrupted before the back and forth really took off.
“That was nice,” Jenna mumbled.
“Yeah, about as nice as when you two ditched me at Levi’s Halloween party. Left me with a house full of masked marauders, and I don’t mean the interesting comic book kind.” Matt glared at Jenna in the rear-view mirror.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Halle bailed on you, too!”
“Hey now!” Halle piped in.
“She was hurt. She gets a pass. You could have found me, or called, or texted, or something.” His words came across with a little something Halle couldn’t help but be concerned about. For the past year, she had watched as Matt and Jenna bantered back and forth, always teetering on the edge of something more than friendship but never slipping over. Halle found herself glancing between the two, wondering if Jenna’s secret was why she had always kept Matt at arm’s length.
Jenna went silent for a moment. The countenance of her face saying more than words could. “I’m sorry, Matt. You’re right. I should have let you know. Forgive me?”
Matt’s eyes darted between the road and the rear view mirror several times before he blew out a heavy breath and his stare rested on the mirror for a long moment. “I forgave you the moment it happened. You know that,” he replied.
“Of course you did,” Jenna chimed. “You can’t stay mad at me. I won’t let you.” She stuck her tongue out at him.
Halle laughed at the exchange. “You two are something else.”
“Don’t know what you’re laughing at,” Matt remarked as he turned the Jeep into the school parking lot. “You’re friends with both of us. What does that say about you?”
“That I’m crazier than I thought,” Halle muttered. “But hey, at least y’all are entertaining.”
She adjusted her sunglasses and reached for her bag in the floorboard. “I’ll see you guys at lunch. I need to bolt. Have to try to get to Senior Mozingo’s class before homeroom to ask about some work I missed.”
“You sure you’re not just trying to avoid him?” Jenna asked as she nodded her head at the guy standing on the sidewalk straight ahead of the Jeep.
“Crap,” Halle mumbled.
“Want me to run him over?” Matt smiled. “I can say the gear slipped.”
Halle rolled her eyes, though her sunglasses hid the gesture. “No. I don’t want you to run him over. Geesh. But . . . you could run interference for me.”
“And you don’t think hitting him with a car would do that?” Matt grinned.
“Nevermind. I don’t want to deal with the police interrogation afterward. I’ll just do the best I can.” Halle made a face at Matt, slipped out of the Jeep, and eased toward the back of the car parked beside them.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Review: Awakening the Trinity by Brittany Elise

by Brittany Elise
Black Rose Writing
YA Paranormal

In the seventeenth-century, an all-powerful witch called Rionach the Dark ruled the Celtic nations with an army of enslaved werewolves. In order to restore balance between Light and Dark, the Trinity of Light was summoned to vanquish the Dark Witch and end the Battle of the Dark Ages.
Seventeen-year-old Quinn Callaghan lives in the small, rustic town of Silver Mountain. Its location may be rural, but it is home to an ancient pine forest that surrounds a supernatural hotspot–a nexus of raw and powerful energy.
When a charismatic witch from Ireland, and a mysterious guy with a secret of his own are drawn to the area, Quinn finds out that she inherited her rare abilities from a revered ancestor. Could it be that she shares a bloodline with the Original Trinity? Nearly 300 years later, the Darkness is returning to Silver Mountain, and the Trinity must stop it.

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With magical chills, thrills and mystery, this read pulls in and produces a solid adventure for fans of YA supernatural excitement.

Quinn is a witch, and the only supernatural in the small town. With the death of her mother, she has no one to look to for guidance but does pretty well on her own thanks to a loving father and a super best friend. All's normal in Quinn's long as she doesn't accidentally touch someone's blood and receive a vision about their future...until another supernatural walks into her favorite coffee shop. There's something strange about him, and she's determined to figure out what especially since he attends her high school and won't leave her alone. But the mystery surrounding him isn't her only problem. Thanks to her vision, she has to decide whether to hide and keep her powers at bay, or use them to help someone and risk more than she's ready to.

From the first page on, this story grabs and sits. Quinn is a lovely girl, who is unsure of herself yet very down-to-earth and likable. She's kind, not a complete push-over, and not a looser or misfit either. She's very easy to relate to and keeps a fairly level head. The characters surrounding her are supportive and have their own personalities, while others are cliche. But it works out wonderfully to bring across a pretty convincing high school social life.

There's a wonderful thread of mystery from the very beginning, and while some things are somewhat predictable, others weave through unexpected places. It's not action pure but still holds a great pace as the author allows the characters to develop while keeping the surrounding questions in a wonderful state of tension. While it take a bit for the 'evil' to appear and it was as intense as I expected, it was wonderfully paced and lays the ground well for the next book in the series.

Fans of witches, werewolves and things that go bump in the night mixed with teenage life in all of its drama and extremes will enjoy this read. And I can't wait to see where book two will take Quinn and her friends next.

And here she is...

My love for writing began at a very young age–way before I could even type on a keyboard. I was always writing short stories and poems with a fan club of one (my mom.) I never stopped writing, but I don’t think I believed in myself enough to actually pursue it as a career. When I enrolled in college, I took as many creative writing classes as they offered, and ended up graduating with a degree in photography and minoring in English. I enjoy art in all its forms, but writing has always been my first love. Even when I was pursuing other careers, writing was always my go-to comfort. I later became an animal obedience instructor and met a children’s author through my dog training. She helped me get my foot through the door, so to speak, and I haven’t turned back since. During the day, I manage an FBO at my local hometown airport, and by night, I dive into my writing with my husband and my four-legged children by my side.
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