Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Review Blitz: THE MASKS SERIES by MELISSA PEARL


BOOK ONE
Title: True Colors
Author: Melissa Pearl
Series: Masks #1
Release Date: February 16th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance


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BLURB
Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama. That is, until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.
Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people's masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and high school is filled with secrets...some very sinister ones.
Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends suddenly appears terrified, but masks her fear with a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn's new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends' true colors?
Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.
At Palisades High School every face tells a story...

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo

Review
Who expects to help a homeless person on the street and expect to be left with a supernatural power? Certainly not me, but in True Colors this is exactly what happens to Caitlyn. 
Before this main event occurs, Melissa Pearl gives us time to become acquainted with her main character. We know that she is the youngest of her family by a long way and that despite being eighteen, her parents are protective of her. Caitlyn is also influenced by her friends, but from the story's beginning the reader has the strong impression that Caitlyn is not being honest to herself. Caitlyn's new power is unexpected and she struggles with seeing the truth behind the false masks those around her use to hide behind. With the help of her hot neighbour, Eric, she learns to control her ability. 
Caitlyn has an inherent need to help and 'fix' people's problems but after noticing a veiled fear amongst her classmates, she becomes involved to a dangerous extent. 
Melissa Pearl' s story is exciting and tangled, with added elements of romance and unpredictability. She closely links Caitlyn' s gift to empathy, which means the story is more believable. 
True Colors is not an entirely original story, though still enjoyable and I look forward to reading its sequel, Two Faced. 
Rating: 


BOOK TWO
Title: Two Faced
Author: Melissa Pearl
Series: Masks #2
Release Date: October 12th 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance



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BLURB
Caitlyn Davis has an unusual gift. She knows exactly how people feel. Everyone wears a mask, but she sees the hidden truth. This ability has changed her life, both for the better and worse. She can choose to ignore what she sees...but what happens when it involves the guy she loves?
Eric Shore knew getting involved with a girl who could read people was risky, but he couldn't help himself. Caitlyn is gorgeous and he loves being with her. Their relationship is going great...until she tells him that his step-brother and star basketball player, Connor, is doing drugs. Having looked up to the guy for years, Eric just can't buy it. Things only get worse when Caitlyn questions the true nature of Eric's favorite teacher.
The first year at college is supposed to be amazing, but theirs is off to a rocky start. As masks are peeled away, secrets will be exposed, dangers will be revealed, and both must decide out of the people closest to them, who is telling the truth...and who is being two-faced.

Purchase: Amazon | Smashwords | iBooks 

Review
TO FOLLOW

About the Author


Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan... not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. "Best. Year. Ever!!" She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has continued to produce a steady stream of books. Recently she signed with Evatopia Press and her first Evatopia book was released in February 2014 - True Colors, The Masks Series #1. She is very excited to be trying out new things this year while continuing to publish under her own name as well. She has six books releasing in 2014 and is excited about writing each and every one of them.
"I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love."

Links: Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads




Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blitz with Giveaway: THE BEGINNING IS THE END by CARA DAVIS


Title: The Beginning is the End
Author: Cara Davis
Series: Reset #1
Release Date: October 20th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy


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Jack Sunshine’s life is chaos. She’s seventeen and the head of her household following the death of her mother and the disappearance of her stepfather. Having to balance work and home at her age gets further complicated with her forays into dating. And to top it all off, the dead are returning to life. 
Jack now has the added responsibility of ensuring her family and friends are safe and sound during this outbreak. It’s almost doable until the tiny enigma of a girl named O comes along. It becomes a question of whether the sick will kill them or they’ll kill each other.

Purchase: Amazon


EXCERPT
Frances Hopkins, who lived across the street from the DeCoudreauxes, stood in the doorway of the library with heaving shoulders and some kind of internalized grudge against every one of us. Her low growl reverberated, and none of us moved a millimeter as we debated the next move. Frances seemed to be calculating her next move as well, and I couldn’t help but hear Old West showdown music in my head.
“Shoot. Her.” Alexandria gritted her teeth.
“She isn’t doing anything,” Miles argued.
“Let’s just try and skirt past her,” I suggested. It couldn’t have been too difficult; she wasn’t taking up too much room in the rather large doorway.
An argument from Alexandria later and we found ourselves trying to walk past Frances without alerting her. Since it was my idea, Alexandria insisted I go first. I took Lucy’s hand and held her close to me, starting to side-step Frances while holding my breath. I covered Lucy’s eyes with one hand, her mouth with the other; she was starting to cry, and I didn’t want her to get too loud.
I tried to think of everything I possibly could aside from the situation right in front of me. It would only take about five seconds to get past her, I knew, but they would be appallingly long seconds. My grip on Lucy tightened once we found ourselves inches from Frances. I scooted as quickly as I could and was relieved that we made it out into the hallway without incident.
Summer, O and the others followed suit, each without incident, until only Alexandria remained inside the library. She locked eyes with me and I contemplated leaving her behind, given how rude she’d been to Aylen. Instead, I gave her my most reassuring smile and nod, gesturing for her to join us. Miles whispered a few words of encouragement as well, and after a few false starts, Alexandria made her move to shimmy past Frances.
She hugged the wall, her back to Frances and eyes shut tightly. Her spiked heels made the faintest scritching sounds as she shuffled. My sigh of relief at all of us passing by Frances unharmed was interrupted, as Frances whipped around with alarming speed to once again grab hold of Alexandria’s hair.
Before any of us could get close enough, Alexandria was heels over head and slammed against the ground, Frances on top of her and shredding her clothes. There was no way Miles could’ve gotten in a clear shot, both women’s limbs intertwining as Alexandria tried to fight her way out. Miles screamed to me, gesturing for me to kick while he aimed. I looked back to Frances and hesitated before steeling myself and slamming my foot as hard as I could into her face.
About the Author
Cara Davis is a weirdo. She has lots of partially-written stories that one day will become actual stories. A northern-born southerner, she has the most eclectic tastes you can imagine. Most of her writing is within the paranormal realm, but occasionally she dabbles in fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis that’s going unused.

Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram 







Monday, 20 October 2014

Review: MY MR ROCHESTER, THE COMPLETE BOX SET by L K RIGEL


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Title: My Mr Rochester
Author: L K Rigel
Series: Jane Eyre Retold #1-5
Release Date: March 9th 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Retelling/Romance

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All five episodes in one box set ~ 
The classic Gothic tale set in a future utopia, retold in five episodes.
After the Second War Between the States, the New Patriots broke away to form New Judah, a country founded on biblical principals and rejection of high technology. My Mr. Rochester takes place two generations after the Great Secession.
Episode 1: Orphan Jane Eyre survives a loveless childhood and harsh boarding school education to become a governess at a remote and beautiful estate.
Though plain and poor and without connections, Jane finds contentment in her new position ~ but a rough, mysterious stranger threatens the tranquility of mind she's fought so hard to achieve.
Episode 2: Jane has no intention of falling in love with Mr. Rochester, but as he draws her out, her attachment to him deepens. Still it's obvious Mr. Rochester prefers the company of a senator's daughter, the beautiful and accomplished Blanche Ingram ~ who seems determined to have Rochester for herself.
Jane tries to avoid Mr. Rochester, but when she saves him from an attack by a crazed servant, she comes perilously close to losing her heart to a man she can never have.
Episode 3: Things get steamy in Episode 3! A gypsy's visit brings out Mr. Rochester's trickster side. The fortune-teller has no charms for Blanche Ingram, but for Jane it's a different story altogether.
After a terrible night when Jane again comes to Rochester's aid, she finds solace and delight in his arms. She's called away to Gateshead where she makes a shocking discovery, but nothing is more astonishing than her homecoming to Thornfield.
Episode 4: Mr. Rochester draws Jane closer, using physical intimacy to strip away her defenses. She finds herself more dependent on him every day ~ but is it love or mere desire that binds them?
Jane feels increasingly overpowered by Rochester's personality and will. When the devastating secret of Thornfield Hall is exposed, she may not be able to save herself.
Episode 5: After Mr. Rochester's ghastly betrayal, Jane flees Thornfield and finds a home, career, family, and independence she's always wanted. But when a handsome and righteous young man offers a respectable but loveless marriage, Jane can't forget her former master.
Jane's dreams of Rochester invade her waking hours and drive her back to Thornfield where she finds more than the Hall in ruins. To reclaim the man she loves, she'll have to risk everything she's fought so hard to win.

Purchase: Amazon

Review
Jane Eyre is one of my best-loved stories and perhaps the one I have returned to read most frequently.
I began My Mr Rochester with some scepticism and honestly, having only read a few chapters, I couldn't help but wonder how L K Rigel's story did not have a huge 'plagiarism' sticker on it! Despite the fact that a few obvious changes have been made to Charlotte Bronte's story, chunks of the narrative seem to have been copied and pasted straight from the original text.
My Mr Rochester is set in a futuristic society I never wish to be a part of. In this version it is the late 21st Century; Jane's New Judah governed by religious bigots, where the term 'feminism' has never been heard or is just ignored. These changes in society have no real bearing on Jane or her relationship with Rochester and I couldn't help but wonder if L K Rigel is deliberately trying to shock her reader!
At 67% of the way through the story I gave up struggling and decided to stop reading, although I admit to skimming pages up until the end, hoping that L K Rigel would twist the plot in some way to surprise me.
My Mr Rochester disappointed me, but I think less hardcore fans of Jane Eyre, or even new readers to the story, will enjoy it for its unusual setting and underlying messages.
Rating: DNF




Review: WINTER ANGEL by MIA HODDELL


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Title: Winter Angel
Author: Mia Hoddell
Series: Seasons of Change #2
Release Date: June 25th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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She was on holiday. He was tricked into returning.
Neither of them wanted to be there, but neither could avoid it. 

Amy wants to be back under the sun in Portugal. However, when her suggestion is overruled in favour of a skiing holiday, even she can’t turn it down. What she couldn’t have predicted is that the holiday could make her break the one, and only, rule she has: not to get into a serious relationship again.
When Amy first sees Luke, she knows something is wrong. He’s struggling to cope with everything and her need to help people makes him the perfect distraction from the cold. He hasn’t been to the Alps in five years and he swore to never ski again. But as his defences are broken by Amy’s persistence, the winter paradise begins to reawaken his desires.
However, with constant flashbacks triggering his anxiety, he’s torn, battling conflicting emotions as he becomes increasingly captivated by Amy. She has a rule though. She didn’t go on holiday to fall for someone and the last thing she needs is to ignore her own advice. Whether or not she can move past her insecurities will depend on whether Luke can face his biggest fear.

Winter Angel is a standalone novella, but is the second book in the Seasons of Change series. 

Purchase: Amazon

Review
There are few authors able to write convincingly in the viewpoint of their opposite gender, yet that is exactly what Mia Hoddell does in Winter Angel, the second installment of her Seasons of Change series.
I was surprised by how she allows this story to develop, simply because I had assumed that Amy would be the protagonist.  However, Winter Angel is primarily about Luke, who has embarked on a surprise holiday with his sister, only to be made angry and anxious when he discovers their destination is a ski resort. Just like Mia Hoddell was able to do in Summer Demons, she ensures we are able to empathise with Luke's mixed emotions, because we share his traumatic flashbacks. Luke feels alone, until Amy offers him a listening ear. I loved the fact that they begin tentatively, building trust and a comfortable companionship, as Amy helps Luke confront his fears. Although a romance between them is obvious, Mia Hoddell does not rush the process, instead taking time to develop her characters. 
Winter Angel is another beautiful and moving novella, which carried me away to the snow covered mountains for the short time I was reading. I can't wait for Ellie' s story next! 
Rating:
 

Friday, 17 October 2014

WIN A ICE HOCKEY SHIRT!!!: ALEX by SAWYER BENNETT


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Title: Alex
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #1
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports


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Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy fa├žade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.

Purchase: AmazonBarnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks



About the Author


USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter




Thursday, 16 October 2014

ARC Review: CREED by TRISHA LEAVER and LINDSAY CURRIE


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Title: Creed
Authors: Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Release Date: November 8th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller

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Three went in. Three came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.
When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby town called Purity Springs. When they arrive, the emergency sirens are blaring and the small farming town seems abandoned. With no other shelter, they spend the night in an empty house.
But they soon discover that not everything in Purity Springs is as it seems. When the town's inhabitants suddenly appear the next morning, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves at the mercy of the charismatic leader, Elijah Hawkins, who plans to make Dee his new wife. Elijah's son, Joseph, offers to help them escape . . . but the price of his help may be more than Dee and her friends can bear.

Pre-Order: Amazon

Review
Whether Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie wrote Creed with the intentions of scaring their readers or offering a commentary on religious fanatics, the fact remains that this book disturbed me. This was not because of the eerie setting or the atmosphere of fear, but the unnecessary blood and gore.
Creed starts promisingly, but the story is slow and missing the punch I had hoped for. For me, the characters also lacked substance and motive. The authors spend time acclimatising the reader with the town, its strange traditions and the main characters, particularly Dee, but still I felt detached from the events which ensued.
There are definitely some moments which caused me to sit back, but this was not because I was scared, but nauseous! Creed ended too abruptly for me and the vague conclusion left me frustrated.
Although I found Creed unsatisfying I am sure there will be many Young Adult readers who will enjoy the suspense Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie attempt to create.
Rating:

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Blog Tour: HIDDEN SINS BY KARICE BOLTON


Title: Hidden Sins 
Author: Karice Bolton 
Series: Luke Fletcher #1 
Publication date: June 10th 2014 
Age Group: New Adult
Genres: Romance, Suspense


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BLURB
Luke Fletcher asks himself one simple question. Is she worth dying for?
His answer is yes.
When Hannah Walker rolls into her new town on fumes, she doesn’t expect her past to catch up to her so quickly. But the moment her card is declined for a lousy cup of coffee, she realizes nowhere is safe, and her life on the run has just gotten more complex.
Luke Fletcher has made it his mission in life to protect. When he meets Hannah Walker, she makes it clear that his services aren’t needed and neither is he, but there’s something in her eyes that tells another story. Once he begins investigating the woman with many names, he realizes one thing is clear. Whoever, she’s running from won’t stop until she’s dead.
Determined to gain Hannah’s trust and break down her walls, Luke begins to share his own history, but where that leads could cost them more than their hearts as the sins of others threatens to destroy them both.

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Review
Karice Bolton is an author I have admired for some time because of her ability to write a great story in a variety of genres. I was really excited about reading Hidden Sins after being involved in its cover reveal and following the book's promising first chapter, I was looking forward to the suspense being continued.
Unfortunately for me, Hidden Sins was not the story I hoped for. Although Karice Bolton delivers some dramatic moments I felt that they were overshadowed by the relationship between Luke and Hannah. Admittedly I would probably think any man who bought me coffee was Prince Charming, but in my opinion the situation was just too perfect and Hannah's inexperience is not reflected in the way she pursues him.
Hannah is gutsy, but blonde and beautiful (*SIGH*) and happens to meet security company owner Luke, within her first 30 minutes of arriving in California. There is an immediate spark between them and with his intuition he guesses that she is hiding something painful. Luke uses his knowledge of surveillance methods to uncover her story . . . . does no one else find this creepy?!
I enjoyed the way Karice Bolton unravels Hannah's secrets, peeling back the layers, even when we presume the mystery is solved. It was these complexities which saved Hidden Sins from the Did Not Finish pile.
I think Hidden Sins will be enjoyed by fans of New Adult romances,especially as it is the beginning of Karice Bolton's new series.
Rating:


About the Author


Karice received an MFA in Creative Writing from the U of W. She has written fifteen novels and has several exciting projects in the works. Karice lives with her husband and two English Bulldogs in rainy Washington.

Books currently available:
Luke Fletcher Series: Hidden Sins (Book 1), Buried Sins (Book 2) – coming soon
Beyond Love Series: Beyond Control (Book 1) Beyond Doubt (Book 2) Beyond Reason (Book 3) Beyond Intent (Book 4) Beyond Chance, Beyond Promise, and Beyond the Mistletoe coming soon
Afterworld Series: RecruitZ (Book 1) AlibiZ (Book 2) – October 2014
The Witch Avenue Series: Lonely Souls (Book 1), Altered Souls (Book 2), Released Souls (Book 3) Shattered Souls (Book 4)
The Watchers Trilogy: Awakening (Book 1), Legions (Book 2), Cataclysm (Book 3), Taken Novella (Watchers Prequel)
The Camp