Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Beat The Backlist Reading Challenge

I don't normally participate in too many reading challenges since my schedule is already so full of what and when to read a certain book, but the Beat the Backlist Challenge hosted by Austine over at NovelKnight was just the prompting I needed to hopefully start cleaning out some of the older titles on my To-Read Shelf. I just checked my Goodreads To-Read Shelf (feel free to stop by and check out my list) and was overwhelmed by the shear number of books I have added since I first joined Goodreads in 2012- there are now a whopping 2717 titles on my To-Read list going into 2018, and most of those are title that released 2017 and earlier. So, that is a pretty terrifying number of books, if I am being honest.

For the Beat the Backlist challenge, I have set a goal of 25 books, a very reasonable number I feel, especially since my reading goal for 2018 is 150 books- 25 out of 150 is totally an achievable goal (the best way to accomplish a goal is to make it reasonable and achievable so you don't get discouraged!). That's like 2ish books per month, easy peasy (I hope)! I don't have a list of specific books to read, but I will select books from my Goodreads shelf to knock out.

Feel free to join me on my challenge journey (I am on team Story Sorcerers!) and sign up to create one for yourself by visiting Austine at NovelKnight HERE

To start the BTB Challenge off with a bang, I picked a book I have been wanting to read for years but keep putting off for no specific reason, but now after reading Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake this year, I know I need more from her in my life. So with no further ado, my first BLB choice:

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Book Blurb:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

Review: A Dangerous Year (Riley Collins #1) by Kes Trester

Book Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.

After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.

Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.

Find out more about the book on Goodreads

My Review:

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Teen--

Riley has spent her 17 years bouncing from one embassy to another, being raised by her ambassador father and Benson, the head of security. To say she has not lead a typical girl's life is an understatement. When she helps a girl get free from oppression, Riley gets a target on her back which leads to an offer from the United States government- act as an under cover body guard for a spoiled little rich girl at an elite school in the States and doors for Riley's future will open. Riley agrees to her new challenge, hoping that all the training she grew up on is enough, while at the same time doubting everything she knows.

Yes, everything about this book is a yes! I loved this book so, so much and ended up blowing through it in a single afternoon. Ok so the premise is slightly unrealistic, with a untested girl assigned such an important task, but with that little bit of reality thrown out, this was just about perfect. The story had such a nice blend of basic teen life and top secret spy stuff mixed together to create a fast paced story that kept me highly entertained and on the edge of my seat.

Riley has never experienced what being a regular girl is like- instead she has extensive martial arts training, handgun and weapon skills, mastery of multiple languages, foreign relations and customs, negotiation skills and can best most players at chess. But put her in a room with your average teenager and she is in over her head. I loved watching Riley try and conquer they dynamics that are regular relationships- be it romantic or friendship, since both are new to her. The clothing styles were also a huge shock- her full covered baggy clothes to the fashion forward, expensive and trendy tiny outfits she was forced into to fit her role. The best parts of the book were when Riley was able to be herself, be it an honest conversation with her harsh but interesting history teacher or beating the boys at a double game of chess. I liked that when Riley wasn't sure or had doubts, she sought out help instead of just bumbling through. The side characters were all really fleshed out and interesting, flaws and all, and I enjoyed meeting everyone (especially Benson and Mr. Bracken). Oh and ps, there is a sort-of love triangle (even though the focus of the book was not on romance, just a side note) and I have no idea which guy I want to root for, both were great characters.

In case you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed this story. If there is any complaint that I have, it would be that the big reveal/action scene wrapped up too quickly for my liking but that being said, it perfectly set up the next book in what I hope is a long entertaining series. This was a perfect read for anyone who likes a cute teen story with a nice blend of action and mystery to keep you guessing. I am seriously conting down the days until I can get my hands on the next book! Kes is for sure an author to watch.

I received this title for reviewing purposes.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Book Tour & Giveaway: Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2) by Erica Cameron

Book Blurb:

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)

Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

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My Review:

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Another-World, Mystery, Supernatural, Survival, Suspense--

Khya is disappointed in herself for not saving her beloved brother Yorri, but instead barely escaping her beloved city with just a few of her trusted comrades. Khya now knows that everything she was taught and believed in is a lie, making her question her purpose and abilities. But she must put aside her doubts and failure to prepare for the bigger threat- a war that nobody saw coming.

I found myself enjoying book 2 more than book one, and I think that was due to the fact the world building was already established and the plot of this book was forever moving, no time for the self-reflection and doubt that plagued Khya the first book (sure there was some here, but not nearly as much- she was more reasonable to her limits here). There were still a LOT of words that I had not previously been exposed to before the first book (because they are made up) but I was way more comfortable with the use of them and the glossary was extremely helpful. Also, I liked that there was a small cast of characters here for me to get to know and understand, where as before I was overwhelmed by all the people, details, ect. Book 1 is 100% necessary to read before picking up Sea of Strangers for world and character building, and book 2 picks up just a few days after the events of book 1.

I believe that the word epic is ideal to summarize this leg of the adventure that Khya is on. Seriously, this was an incredible action filled journey, going from the sea to the land, all completely unknown, dangerous, treacherous, magical and mysterious. I loved how much action the small band of misfits encountered, where survival was questionable and death potentially eminent (this was one ring to rule them all level adventuring!). The new inventive uses for magic was fun to discover and very complicated.

This series is listed as YA but I would not call it YA at all, it fits more into fantasy in general. The characters are teens (at least most of the main characters) but they are independent people who care for and make decisions for themselves. The content is pretty adults as well, with sexuality being the norm (not that that is a bad thing per se for older teens to be familiar but I would not suggest for a younger teen) and there is so much death and struggle. Survival may not be an option for the characters I have grown to love, and they too have made peace with their possible future outcome.

Based on the ending, this series is at least a trilogy (maybe more!) because there is so much more to come. I feel like leg of the story was very much so needed to the plot overall, that the books are an extension of each other, one every so gently filling the gaps the other has, like puzzle pieces. I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the story took, something I could never predict, and I am really excited to see how Khya and company handles what appears to be an intense battle (most likely to the death). The author has created such a detailed, lush world with unique magic and cultures I could never have even dreamed up, completely brought to life. If you are looking for a fantastical journey I highly recommend pick up this series.

I received this title for reviewing purposes.

Catch up on the series with Book 1 Island of Exiles:

Read my review of Island of Exiles HERE

Author Bio:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

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Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Tainted Lies: A Dream Walker Division Novel by Leona Nation

Tainted Lies
Leona Nation
(Dream Walker Division Novel)
Publication date: December 22nd 2017
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller

When you’re a spy with special abilities, you do what you must to save the ones you love—even if that means killing. Jade didn’t choose this life, it chose her.

Twelve years ago, Assassins forever changed Jade Saito’s world with flames and bullets. She was saved by the Dream Walker Division, a covert branch of the CIA consisting of people like her—agents with the ability to dream themselves into another’sreality as unseen observers. They also happen to be stronger, faster, and have photographic memories, making them optimal spies.

Now Jade is a field agent for the DWD where she and her unit use their abilities to take down criminal organizations. When DWD leaders start turning up dead, the compound is shaken to its core. If the leaders of the DWD aren’t safe from Assassins, no one is. But the deeper Jade digs the more she realizes not everything is as it seems.Will Jade stop the Assassins before it’s too late? Or will they they murder everyone she loves—again?

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You can request a review copy here!

EXCERPT:

When fighting, I think about nothing but the moment. There’s no room for obsessing over the Assassins, being depressed over Brooks, or mad at Shea for wanting to leave. There’s only my opponent and me. Defeat or be defeated. I want to drag out the fight, use it as an escape. Some people revert to alcohol and drugs for escape, I use ass-kicking.

“I’ll take you down even with my gimp arm and without using pressure points,” I say.

Shawn’s smile spreads. “Ooohh, them’s fightin’ words. That’s a lot of talk for a buck-ten shorty.”

As I re-wrap my gloves, I gaze at Shawn with a wicked grin. “You forget who you’re talking to.” Shawn might have more muscle in his one bicep than I do in both of mine combined, but I can still beat him. It’s all about physics, about knowing how to use one’sweight to one’s own advantage. This is going to be fun.

I finish strapping on my gear and join Shawn in the ring. Paramore blares through the speakers and the recruits shout encouragement at us. We meet in the center and tap knuckles. Shawn gives me a wink. I laugh.

We dance around each other––backs rounded, chins down, guards up––waiting for the other to strike. Shawn is skilled and with his strength, he could knock me out with one good strike. He’s also much slower than I and tends to tire out faster. Even with working myself harder in warm-up, I have better stamina than him.

He throws a right jab. I easily dodge out of the way, light on my toes. Next he throwsa combo: right jab, left hook and round house. I sidestep the jab, knock the hook away and duck under the roundhouse. I take advantage of him being on one leg and sweep his stationary leg out from under him. Shawn falls to his back with a thud, his eyes wide.I let him jump back to his feet. Although I could have, I’m not ready to end it.

Ten minutes later, Shawn’s breathing is labored. We’ve both gotten some hits in, but nothing either of us can’t recover from quickly. I see my next opening when he throws a hook followed with a spinning back kick. Not the smartest move when you’re already winded, so really, he deserves what’s coming.

As soon as Shawn’s back is to me I throw a hard kick to the back of his knee sending him to the floor in mid-kick. I jump on his back and initiate a rear naked choke hold. My arm is wrapped around his neck, under his chin, and secured into place with the other one so I don’t slip off from the sweat. My wound burns like hell, but I refuse to give up. I have him. I push his head into the crook of my arm and squeeze tighter. My arms look like a milky cobra against his dark skin.

“You better tap,” I say, out of breath. “I have no problem putting you to sleep, big guy.”

Shawn grunts, struggling to get free. I add more pressure until he finally taps. I release him and collapse on my back next to him.

“Good workout,” I say, and slap him on the shoulder. “I told you that you had no chance today.”

“Damn, girl,” Shawn says between breaths. “I feel sorry for whoever pissed you off. By the way, you’re bleeding through.”

I look at the bandage on my arm. A red blotch is staining the white cloth.

“Great, probably busted a stitch.”

“I’m trying not to gain any satisfaction from it.” He rubs his head. “If I have to lose, atleast I know it’s hard on you.”

My music suddenly stops in the middle of a song. I lift my head to see Shea standing at the radio. Shea and I glare at each other for a moment. Ugh, why can’t she just follow the rules? Yeah it sucks sometimes. Brooks’s hurt eyes flash in my mind and pain explodes in my heart again. Really sucks. But that’s how it is in our world. Breakingthe gaze, I get up and peel off my sparring gear.

Shawn whistles a long note, looking from Shea to me and back again. “Now that’s a fight I wouldn’t mind seein’. You all are pissed.” He chuckles. “Chick fights are hot. Can we throw in some mud? Or oil?” He nods his head. “Definitely oil.”

“Shut up, Shawn!” Shea says, rolling her eyes.

“I’m just sayin’. It would make you feel better if you hashed it out.” He spreads his hands and shrugs his large shoulders. “Well, at least it would make me feel better.”

“Shawn,” I warn.

“Can’t blame a brother for tryin’.”

As I grab a bottled water from the gym fridge, Shea and I continue to ignore one another. I head for the door, glancing down at my bleeding arm. After my shower, I’ll need to make a stop at the infirmary. I step out the door and almost run smack into Carol Breakenridge, head of the Europe DWD. She brushes off her jacket like I ruined it.Her blond hair is pulled away from her face, accentuating her angular features and largeblue eyes.

I back away from her. “Sorry, ma’am.”

She crosses her arms across her chest. “Yes, you should be,” she says in a clipped tone heavy with a French accent.

“It was an accident,” I reply in a less friendly way. “I didn’t see you.” Head or not, between being ignored earlier and my all-around crappy day, I’m about out of patience.

“I was referring to that display in there,” she says raising her chin at the gym. “Why did you not finish him when you had the chance?” She apparently watched the fight andmust have seen when I let Shawn get up. “You should never hold back your strengths. Ifyou do, you may die.”

We were just training, working out. It’s not like we were in a real fight. Even though I’m annoyed with her overreaction, I nod and give her the respect I should. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I would have done better had I known you were watching.”

She drops her voice to a whisper, and raises a perfectly waxed brow, “Dear Jade, you are always being watched,” she smiles slyly. “Analyzed. Your actions may affect more than just you.” She turns and walks away, leaving me with an uneasy feeling. I’ll be more than glad when the Heads leave.

Author Bio:

Leona Nation lives in Chandler, Arizona, with her husband, four kids, cat and dog. Her imagination often got her into trouble in her school years, but she finally realized she could put her imagination to good use by creating worlds of her own. She loves to write, read, travel, bake, binge-watch shows, and anything else she can do to avoid her true nemesis: house cleaning. When she’s not writing, she’s taking kids to football, volleyball, dance, horseback riding, helping with homework assignments (unless it’s math, then she’s useless), and saying the word no way too often—as is the job of a parent. She loves that her husband of seventeen years can still make her heart skip with just a kiss.

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Review: Lifeblood (Everlife #2) by Gena Showalter

Book Blurb:

My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

My Review:

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Another-World, Ghosts, Mystery, Romance, Supernatural, Suspense, Teen--

Tenley experienced an unexpected betrayal at the end of the first book, causing her first-death and her choice to enter the Light seeking realm of Troika. Which meant leaving behind her love Killian, a Myriad through and through. Troika believes that Ten is one of their prized conduits, a powerful soldier needed to end the war between the realms. Ten is not convinced she is who they believe she is, but she will give it her all to try and make them believe she fits in and deserves to be there. But this was never an easy battle, and Ten's war is just beginning.

Disclaimer- This is not a standalone, but the second in a complicated series. Lifeblood picks up almost exactly where book 1, Firstlife ends, so I highly recommend that the series be read in order. I really enjoyed Lifeblood. I was a little leery when I started the book since it had been a year and some change since I had read the first book and I was not positive that I would be able to remember all the world and character details I needed to fully enjoy this chapter of the story. But I was pleased that within a chapter or two I was caught up (but not in an info dumping kind of way, more like the backstory came back to me as the small details were discussed) and ready to face another battle.

I love that Ten still had her obsessive compulsion for numbers and relating them to the world around her to help her make sense of things (and I am glad her random burst of poetry were kept to a minimum because they just made me feel awkward for her). It is an endearing quirk that made her an interesting character. Let's also mention how much freaking character development she endures in this sequel- she evolved so much as a person, becoming a true Troiken, using the ideals of her people to help guide her actions. The selfish needy girl of the past has gone, and in her place is a warrior of the light and I so wanted to cheer! I also really liked how she gave her trust to the person she loved the most (aka a certain Irish reformed bad boy) and she stayed true to her word- there was no angst over his actions or affections, she took his word, gave her trust and was resilient. Her forgiveness was sweet, even to those who she had every right to hate, and her heartbreaks were almost non-stop. Gah, my little Ten is all grown up!

Holy Batman, I flew through this 450ish pages book in just a few days- there was so much going on I didn't want to put it down and miss out! I was really into the level of action that Lifeblood had-never a dull moment, seriously. We went from one battle to the next, to training, secret missions, stolen moments, betrayals, crazy court system, deaths, rebirths... well, pretty much all kinds of activities and I loved every minute of it. Oh an ps, there was some intense (yet still pretty pg) stolen romance moments that made me want to swoon.

I have no idea what will happen next to Ten or the realms but I very much so look forward to the adventure.

** Read my review of Afterlife HERE**

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: Handler by Tish Thawer

Handler
Tish Thawer
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: December 19th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Our world was perfect––until we broke the law: Don’t go out at night.

Utopian by day, dystopian by night; this is the world I recently discovered. I now struggle with the fact that our whole society has been based on a lie. There’s only one way to change it––conquer the darkness we’ve all been raised to fear.

Live the lie; fight to the death; become a Handler. It’s the only way.

A sci-fi/dystopian novel.

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Author Bio:

2017 - #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2017 - Top 100 Bestselling in Paid Kindle Store (Witches of Blackbrook)
2015 - Best Cover - Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 - Readers Choice Award - My New Favorite Book Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)

Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.

Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has receiveda RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).

Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

You can find Tish on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTishThawer

A common FAQ: "How do you pronounce her last name?"

Answer: Think "Bower" or "Thow-er". It's Persian!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Don't Rush Me by Jackie May

Don’t Rush Me
Jackie May
Publication date: January 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Most humans have no idea that a dark and deadly underworld, filled with magic and monsters, exists. They wander through life blissfully ignorant of the supernatural world around them. Nora Jacobs is different. Nora knows exactly what kinds of hellish creatures haunt the streets of Detroit.

Thanks to a unique set of psychic abilities, Nora has managed to steer clear of the underworld most of her life. But all that changes the night the most powerful vampire in the city discovers her gifts and decides to use her as a tool to find one of his missing clan members.

As if that’s not bad enough, Nora believes she’s cursed. All her life, people, especially men, have been drawn to her—some to the point of obsession and violence. Underworlders, it seems, are not immune to this curse, and now she’s caught the attention of some of the most dangerous monsters in the city.

Neck deep in an investigation only she can solve, Nora quickly makes as many newallies as she does enemies. Her biggest problem is staying alive long enough to decide which is which.

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Author Bio:

Jackie May is a pseudonym for a husband and wife writing team. Josh and Kelly livein Phoenix, Arizona with their four children and their cat, Mr. Darcy. Jackie May is their only daughter. (And she keeps asking for her cut of the profits since we’re using her name.)

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: HeartBREAKER by Lila Felix

HeartBREAKER
Lila Felix
(AnguiSH, #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: December 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Breaker James is no longer the boy locked in a prison of his own making. He’s not afraid to leave his house, and he doesn’t need Ash twenty-four hours a day, just to function—just to breathe.

Hell, lately it feels like he might not need her much at all anymore.

He’s a heart breaker, pure and simple. Turns out love is easy when you’re secluded from the outside world. Maybe Ashis the one who is afraid now…afraid she’s done her job a little too well. Can she learn how to let Breaker love her, now that he doesn’t need her to be his crutch?

HeartBREAKER is the endearing companion story to Lila Felix’s best-selling AnguiSH novel. Fall in love with Breaker James all over again!

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Get book 1 – Anguish –for 99¢ for a limited time!
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EXCERPT:

In most instances, I was strong—I could handle anything. But something about Breaker James—well, broke me. I guess that’s the other tough thing about love—it exposes your weaknesses and shines a spotlight on them.
Apparently one of my weaknesses was feeling like Breaker didn’t need me anymore.
That his need for me in his life had come and gone.
Expired.
Fizzled to nothing.

Breaker was breaking me again.
God, it felt beautiful to be broken.


Author Bio:

Lila Felix is full of antics and stories. She refused to go to Kindergarten after the teacher made her take a nap on the first day of school. She staged her first protest in middle school. She almost flunked out of her first semester at Pepperdine University because she was enthralled with their library and frequently was locked in. Now her husband and three children have to put up with her rebel nature in Louisiana where her days are filled with cypress trees, crawfish, and of course her books and writing. She writes about the ordinary people who fall extraordinarily in wild, true love.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Debut Author Bash & Giveaway: Kate Watson

Today I have the pleasure of hosting author Kate Watson for the Debut Author Bash. Kate is the author of the Seeking Mansfield series, with book 1 Seeking Mansfield coming out in 2017 and the next book Shoot the moon releasing February 2018. Her books are contemporary, with great characters, and have the ability to speak to everyone. Kate also happens to be one of the amazing authors that I have had the pleasure of meeting at a book event here in Utah. Music is very important to me, especially when I read, so Kate was kind enough to provide us with a music playlist for both books, Make sure to leave a comment on this post and include your email address for a chance to win both books in the series!

Book Blurb:

Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield #1)

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Book Blurb:

Shoot the Moon (Seeking Mansfield #2)

Despite what his brother—and sponsor—thinks, nineteen year-old Tate Bertram isn’t an addict. He has the 30-day chip to prove it. But when his father learns Tate’s been running an illegal card room out of a friend’s dorm to pay off old gambling debts, Tate is cut off. With his family no longer talking to him, his aunt Nora offers him a chance to intern for her political campaign. Juggling school with the intense internship, Tate finds himself buying scratch-off lottery tickets to take the edge off.

Tate is surprised to find the beautiful and calculating Alex Wolf—his first crush and the girl who taught him how to gamble—volunteering with Nora’s campaign, too. Soon, Tate is more drawn to Alex than ever. Her mind games stick in his head, but her vulnerable, softer side gets into his heart. But as tensions rise along the campaign trail, Tate is forced to question whether he’s really addiction-free, after all.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS meets ROUNDERS in this high stakes tale of the cost of winning and the price of redemption.

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I always write to music, but it’s typically to movie scores or to bands like Radiohead where the voice feels more like an instrument than something distinct and meant to draw its own attention. However, when I’m outlining and revising, I find that most of my chapters end up having a song that just feels like the chapter or scene I’m working on. So I’ve broken my playlists down by chapter and hope that the emotion in these songs can help connect readers even more to my books.

Finley would no doubt feel that the choices for SEEKING MANSFIELD are a bit melodramatic, while Tate would feel the SHOOT THE MOON playlist could use more swagger. They may be right. Who am I to say?

SEEKING MANSFIELD Playlist

1. Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg

2. The Fear – Martin Hall

3. Criminal – Fiona Apple

4. Oceans - Seafret

5. All We Do – Oh Wonder

6. I Can’t Make You Love Me / Nick of Time – Bon Iver

7. Take a Walk – Passion Pit

8. We’re Going to be Friends – The White Stripes

9. On My Own – Les Miserables soundtrack

10. Bad Girls – M.I.A.

11. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

12. I Just Don’t Know What to do With Myself – The White Stripes

13. She’s My Best Friend – Velvet Underground

14. Riptide – Vance Joy

15. I Dare You – The xx

16. Television Romance – Pale Waves (???)

17. Ways to Go - Grouplove

18. Something About Us – Daft Punk

19. Is There a Ghost – Band of Horses

20. Dr. Baker – Beta Band

21. She’s Got You High – Mumm-Ra

22. Us – Regina Spektor

23. 3:14 Every Night – The Social Network (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

24. Two Against One – Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi ft. Jack White

25. A Woman’s Worth – Alicia Keys

26. Clair de Lune - Debussy

27. Burn – Hamilton

28. Defying Gravity - Wicked

29. I Still Remember – Bloc Party

SHOOT THE MOON Playlist

1. Six Underground – Sneaker Pimps

2. Tennis Court - Lorde

3. On We March - The Social Network (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

4. Everything in its Right Place – Radiohead

5. Firestarter – The Prodigy

6. Bad Habit – The Kooks

7. Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High – Arctic Monkeys

8. Love is Blindness – Jack White

9. I’ll Follow You Into the Dark – Deathcab for Cutie

10. Because I’m Me – The Avalanches

11. Weapon of Choice – Fatboy Slim

12. Just - Radiohead

13. Karma Police - Radiohead

14. The Prayer – Bloc Party

15. Human – Rag’n’Bone Man

16. Float On – Modest Mouse

17. Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood

18. Would You Fight For My Love? – Jack White

19. You Don’t Own Me – Grace feat. G-Eazy

20. Believer – Imagine Dragons

21. Where Is My Mind - Pixies

22. Heathens – twenty one pilots

23. We Will Walk Through Walls – Electric President

24. The Pretender – Foo Fighters

25. Not an Addict – K’s Choice

26. Dr. Baker – Beta Band

27. Hurt – Johnny Cash

28. No Distraction - Beck

29. All the Bones – Electric President

30. Hand Covers Bruise – The Social Network (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

31. Come Down – Anderson .Paak feat. T.I.

32. In Motion – The Social Network (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

33. Two Against One – Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi feat. Jack White

34. Mr. Gone – Electric President

35. Turn Away - Beck

36. Safe and Sound – Electric President

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Author Bio:

I'm the tenth of thirteen children, with eight of my nine older siblings being brothers. You can imagine how hard that made dating in high school. Born in a village in Alberta, Canada, I've also lived in Israel, Brazil, Utah, South Carolina, and I now call Arizona home.

I have a BA in Philosophy from BYU and worked for several years as a senior director of student services at a private university.

I love travel and good food (and trying gross food in the name of adventure--I've eaten haggis, for heaven's sake). I view speaking in accents as a natural part of life (and, yes, my husband adores me in spite of that. Or because of that, probably, because it's awesome). I believe my soul is composed of the words of Jane Austen and the music of Jack White. I think most people are wonderful, but bookish people are best.

My husband and two children are the absolute loves of my life and my favorite people in the multiverse.

I'm represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary.

My debut novel, SEEKING MANSFIELD, comes out May 16th, 2017, with the companion novel to come in 2018. I'm also a contributor to Eric Smith's WELCOME HOME anthology.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: The Rising Series Box Set by Holly Kelly

The Rising Series Box Set
Holly Kelly
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: December 12th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

A magical underwater realm awaits! Own books 1-3 of the Best-Selling Rising seriesby acclaimed author Holly Kelly.

This value-priced boxed set includes the first three novels in the best-selling Rising series: Rising (with an exclusive bonus scene), Descending, and Avenging. Beautifully packaged with brilliant new cover art, this set is perfect for any fan of Greek Mythology and Mermaid Romance stories. Order the Rising series today and submerge yourself in an underwater world full of passion, romance, intrigue and adventure.

Rising: Contains a newly released scene! In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea—humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou—the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean—is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. There’s just one thing standing in his way: the life of a beautiful young woman…

Descending: When Xanthus cashes in a long-standing favor, Kyros is faced with doing two things he thought he’d never do—protect a mermaid and live on land.
Avenging: Two thousand years ago, King Triton witnessed the slaughter and total annihilation of his merchildren. Devastated by the loss, he vowed to never again father a child. Powerful, handsome, and eternally youthful, Triton was no stranger to seduction—yet his resolve was unwavering…until he met Nicole.

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EXCERPT:

He knew what he had to do, what he’d done countless times before. As a trained soldier, he had a sacred duty to protect his people, guard their secret, and uphold the law. This female’s presence here was not only a criminal act, but it also presented an imminent threat. And because of that, his course was clear.

He had to kill her.

His plan lay clearly before him. Blanketed in the shadows, he’d enter her apartment window. Moving silently, he’d strike fast. Before she could cry out for help, he’d have her throat slit wide open. With her blood flowing swiftly, she’d be dead in mere seconds.The fact that she bathed at this time added to the ease of the execution. Clean up wouldbe simple. Before the night ended, it would be as if she’d never existed. The Dagonian threat of exposure would be wiped clean from the human world.

Xanthus stood, his feet rooted in place under her window. Her sweet scent surrounded him as he listened to her pitiful sobs. Then, in that moment, he did the most shameful thing he’d ever done in his life.

He hesitated.

No, he didn’t merely hesitate. He halted. Fingering his blade in his holster, he willed his feet to move, but they seemed unwilling to obey. Then his mind latched onto a thought. It was no crime to wait for a more opportune time or a more secluded place to strike. He didn’t need to act rashly. True, finding her here in the human world shocked him, but he needed to be clear-headed and sure when he killed her.

He made his way back to his vehicle and climbed behind the wheel. He leaned his head back against the seat, closed his eyes, and attempted to clear his head.

He’d be back and she would die. She deserved to die. She may have the voice of an angel, but that was a lie. She was a traitor, a threat to their people. No other explanation made sense.

Xanthus looked toward the little female’s apartment building across the street. Couldshe have found a more dangerous place to live? This Dagonian female probably felt at home with these bottom-feeders.

Probably? Aw Hades. He cursed himself and the doubt in his mind. He doubly cursed that he couldn’t seem to stop himself from caring about her welfare. He’d be killing her himself, after all. The traitor had to die, regardless of his feelings and no matter how appealing she was. Of course, if she died by a human’s hands then he wouldn’t…

No.

He shook his head at his own idiotic thoughts. If a human killed her, then her body would be taken to the morgue, for the humans to see. He couldn’t let that happen. He had to be the one to kill her and carefully dispose of her body. And he would, soon.

Just not tonight.


Author Bio:

Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--she hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. She was born in Utah but moved around a bit, living in Kansas, Texas, and Hawaii where she studied marine biology. She's now back in Utah--"happy valley". She's married to a wonderful husband, James, and they are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, creating Halloween props, and spending time with family.

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