Tuesday, December 31, 2013

ARC Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Title: Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Action
Medium: ARC Paperback via Random House Publishers

Dualed by Elsie Chapman was a spectacular novel with pages packed with the best nail-biting action and suspense ever. It's a classic representation of a post-apocalyptic dystopian society, similar to Hunger Games in the way that it is action-packed and fierce, with a leading female protagonist, and a mix of endearing romance.

The plot was exceptional, original and interesting. You are instantly captivated by West's unique voice as she struggles to understand Kersh's system of murdering her twin, and as she struggles to find out if she really is the stronger, better twin (and if she deserves to live.) you are thrown into the unbelievable dystopian society in which you have one month to either kill your twin or be killed. For that month, you are in the life of tough West, who not only has to fight to survive, but also continue killing, as she takes the job of a striker, an assassin who tricks the system. Among risking her life, she must come to terms with the deaths of her entire family due to the system, and has to figure out her feelings for Chord, her brother's old friend.

The writing was great. It was simple and flowed flawlessly, full of several plot twists and unexpected turns. You are captured by a writing that refuses to let you go until the end. The mixture of an original, almost believable dystopian society and an unexpected romance makes for one of the most adventurous and action-packed models I have read this year. This novel quickly became a favorite of mine, and is definitely a series I will continue reading. I also need to touch on the fact that the last few chapters (especially the very last one) made for one of the absolute BEST endings ever. I was literally on the edge of my seat, flipping through the pages like wildfire. I swear, I was actually scared to finish reading, because I was scared what was going to happen to our main characters. Talk about suspenseful. Five stars.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

Title: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
Genres: Sci-fi, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Medium: Hardback, Won Via Giveaway

Amidst the shadow of the end of the world, due to an incoming asteroid named Persephone, several teens are forced to step back and take a look at their lives and decide what they will do before the end of the world. Faced with decisions of apologizing, making up, severing all connectionsq, last minute bonding, and repenting all their bad decisions, several friendships and romances blossom as their last days dwindle down.

This book gives me such conflicting emotions. On one hand, I loved the sweet end-of-the-world romances and dramatic family problems. On the other hand, I hated the vague characters, the confusing flipping back-and-forth of the POV, and the boring writing. Really, this novel was mediocre at best, and definitely a book I wish I could have liked better. I had high expectations for this novel, and it fell through within the first few pages.

First of all, the plot was dragging and quite slow and boring. To be honest, the first half of the novel wasn't up to par and was seriously lacking. The plot also lacked definition. It was all very expectable and uninteresting. And another thing that made my reading experience less than enjoyable was the POV's and chapter. There was so much put into flipping into the POV's of every single main character that you never felt like you were spending enough time with one character, let alone enough time to get to know them. This constant flipping back and forth of POV's left you slightly confused and disinterested at times and didn't really "work" until the last few pages of he novel, when the characters all came together to meet for the (literal) end. I understand what the author was trying to do, but it just did not work out for this novel. It was a definite flop for the publishing company.

Onto the characters, I thought a few of these characters were almost interested. A few of them seemed to pull at my emotions, tugging at something resembling compassion. But most of the time, it was pure annoyance, and I couldn't get into the characters' voices much. They all seemed very two dimensional and flat. Very little character development also happens in this novel, and that was very sad to see, especially with such a dynamic plot line (that could have still been better researched and more defined.)

Onto a happier tone of my review, there was one romance in the novel that I felt was really in tune. It is a main focal point of the plot, and features the tragic love story of a girl and her deceased boyfriend who leaves her, amidst the apocalypse, with a mystery to be solved alongside his best friend. New friendships and romances blossom in this story, sometimes a little too "out-of-the-blue" and making you think it's all a little fake. But then, it was still nice. The more I think of it, this story is an interesting and quite different take on the end of the world. Instead of chaos and fear, there is instead a central bonding of humans as we all await the end together. Although it is nice, I found it lacking, and wish I could have enjoyed it so much more, because it really did have an interesting premise. A classic case of a beautiful cover masking mediocre writing, all ruining a plot with possibilities? Maybe. Though I didn't enjoy it as much as I wish I could, several others online sing their praises of this book, so you could definitely check this novel out anyway. Maybe you will have a different reading experience than I. 2.5 stars.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Holidays! (Update)

Happy holidays everyone! I know this comes as a late post, but I just wanted to tell everyone I hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you an even happier New Year! May the year 2014 bring us all great adventure and excitement :)

Well, for Christmas, I didn't receive any books sadly :( I know, I know, hard to contemplate, isn't it? My family claims they don't know what books to get me, and are afraid that I would already have them anyway (my library is happily full.) 

So instead, I got a 42' LED Smart TV, and Xbox and some games (I'm always late on the bandwagon,) a limited edition candy apple red Randy Jackson electric guitar and amp, a Daryl Dixon/Walking Dead plush throw, and those are just the big items. It was an amazing Christmas, let's just say that.

Buuuuutt, I've also gotten 20 books in the mail over the course of the month. So, maybe that counts as my Christmas books. ;) So expect a huge Stacking The Shelves post at the end of the month. 

Also be expecting a review of Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts and Dualed by Elsie Chapman within the next few days. And maybe a review of Tandem by Anna Jarzab too, if I can hurry and finish it. I got a lot of reading done while I was in the hospital with my mom, but it still put a hurt on my blog. So sorry there hasn't been many posts this week! 

But expect two reviews and an STS post within the week, maybe a few surprises too ;)

Let's all end 2013 with a bang!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Review: Every Day by David Levithan


Title: Every Day by David Levithan
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Romance 
Medium: Paperback, Bought

The first book I ever read by David Levithan was Two Boys Kissing. The novel was great and I was instantly in love with his writing. The emotional depth he puts into his novels, as if he puts full emotional capability behind each word, as if each word was personally chosen to go in that exact place. It makes you feel as if you are reading something deep and personal, intimate because it is so heartfelt and realistic. This novel does not differ from his others. His honest, raw way of writing is still present and is as gripping and heartbreaking as ever.

In this novel, A, basically defined as a human since s/he doesn't specifically have a gender. Every day, A wakes in the body of another person, male or female. A lives through birthdays and anniversaries, deaths and births, relationships and family problems, all belonging to someone else. A must experience these things and use the person's memories to make sure s/he doesn't alter that life. When A goes to sleep each night, s/he faces the reality that s/he will never be in that body again, and will be in a new one come morning. This has always been the same until one day, A is dropped into a life connected to Rhiannon, a girl A ultimately falls in love with. As A is passed around into several lifes, s/he always comes back to find Rhiannon. But when one of the bodies A woke up in realizes what has happened and tries to get answers from A, A must figure out if a relationship with Rhiannon is possible or if he should just move on to the next life.

The plot of this story is pure genious. This story is so in depth and emotionally, and really makes you think. You see how A changes as the novel goes on, and begin to see things differently than before. As usual, David Levithan's writing shows you that love cannot always be characterized as a girl and a boy or a couple with a happy ending. In the words of Aristotle, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." That's it. One soul, two bodies. No further explanation, but David sure strives to explain it himself. And he does it well. And as usual, David Levithan's work showcases a subject normally seen in black and white, but delves deeper into what we would see as the grayscale area. Nothing is black and white, and this story shows this perfectly. David writes of love in many forms and ways, and each time, he leaves your heart feeling lighter and your eyes brighter (and maybe even a little wetter.)

If you are looking for a novel that pushes the limits and challenges you to think, than this is what you need. I know that as a great fan of John Green and David Levithan, their writing can create quite the obsession. So go ahead and grab a copy of Every Day. And after that, read Two Boys Kissing. And after that, read another. And another, and another... Five stars.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Movie Poster Revealed for The Fault In Our Stars (I'm Freaking Out!)

Okay blogglings, I am officially freaking out! Thanks to a post from the Notebook Sisters Cait & Mime, I just found out that the first movie poster for the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars has been released! Ahhhh!!!

Ahem. Since the movie does not come out until June 2014 (I'm going to die of anticipation!) this movie poster will have to suffice for my needs of TFIOS movie right away. Anyway, you have suffered through these few lines long enough. I know what you are really here for. So tada!

I give you the first movie poster of TFIOS.

It's freaking amazing isn't it?!

I happen to love every bit of it. I have spent countless minutes flipping it upside down and right side up and staring intently. I. Love. It. 

I cannot wait until June. What's your opinion of the poster? Do you like it? Do you like the cast? Do you agree with the quote "One sick love story?"

Have a great Sunday guys! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Title: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Genres: Action, Horror
Medium: Hardcover, Bought

I Hunt Killers
is one of the first horror novels I have read in a long time. Taking that even further, I Hunt Killers is one of the best horror novels I have read in my life. It was that good.

This novel features the life of Jasper "Jazz" Dent, son of the world's most infamous serial killer. Now, with his dad caught and in prison, a new serial killer has just arrived in Jazz's small town- and seems to be copying all of his dad's murders, starting with murder #1 of 124. Murder after murder happens, and soon, the police realize that Jazz is the only one who can figure out the mystery and help them atch this copycat killer before he disappears. Teeming with pure horror and action in it's most realistic form, this novel is sure to keep you hanging on to your seat, and afraid to turn out the lights...

Honestly, I have said this before. I think it was the last horror novel I reviewed when I told you guys that I typically do not read horror novels based on the fact that they usually aren't scary. I mean, what's scary about reading about ghosts and vampires? What really is scary is watching a movie, with the lights turned low, the sound bar on, hearing the dramatic music and darkening screen, hearing the pounding of the heroine's heart, and then- BAM! Her scream as the killer thrusts a knife through her. Ahem. That is what is scary. Novels are not typically scary enough to interest me, considering how much I enjoy horror movies. (Is it weird that instead of flinching and cowering in fear during horror movies, I instead laugh? Well, it's true. Because it is all so typical and expected.

But with this novel, I was pleasantly terrified. I believe it is the realisticness of this novel, the believability, the raw, honest fear of knowing that everything in those pages could possibly happen. Because serial killers are real and they are around you, and you don't even know. That's what makes this story scary. And at times, it does have the same instances of a classic horror movie, and a few scenes really did make me sort of "scared." I am not embarassed to tell you that yes, this novel did scare me. The author should be proud.
Now, speaking of the author, his writing is great. It's descriptive, horrific, gripping, and downright creepy. I wonder if he wrote this novel with the intentions that everyone would believe that he himself was a serial killer! He must have put alot of time into researching this novel, otherwise I don't see how he could have known everything in this novel (except maybe the fact that he is a serial killer himself...)

Anyway, this novel is definitely one of my favorites of all time and I cannot wait to read the sequel. Kudos to the author for actually frightening me a little, and not boring me. I love this novel and all of it's creepiness, and I recommend it to any fan of horror and action-packed thrillers. Five stars.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Title: Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight #1.5)
Publisher: **Stephanie Meyer
Release Date: **Released In 2008
Genres: Romance, Drama, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror
Medium: **PDF Released Via Author's Website

**First of all, I must state that I read and reviewed the unedited partial draft of Midnight Sun, that was illegally leaked onto the internet in 2008. Soon after, Stephanie Meyer released a legal PDF draft of the unfinished novel so that readers could obtain it with her permission. She has put the project on indefinite hold. You can find her statement and read the novel for yourself here.

Second of all, I must state that I beg for Stephanie Meyer to take this novel off hold and finish it immediately. Us readers are dying for the end of this novel.

And now, I must explain this novel. It is basically Twilight, written from the point of view of Edward. Through this unique perspective, we get to relive Twilight in a completely different way that is interesting, thought-provoking, and richly written. That being said, I enjoy Edward's perspective way more interesting and exciting to read. With Bella's point of view, everything was a little gloomy and boring, but with Edward's, you get to finally get inside of his head (similar to the way he gets into everyone else's) and get to see his insight and opinion on things. With this POV, you get to experience his emotions throughout all the situations we were met with in Twilight. We witness his guilt, his sadness, his horror, his falling head-over-heels for Bella- all through the eyes of a handsome vampire with conflicting thoughts that war between good and bad. Edward sees most everything in a grayscale, no black and white. He sees how certain situations lean from morally right and wrong, yet infuses his personal choice in with his decisions. The highlight of this novel is his emotional take on his life, and most of all, Bella.

The writing was still as delicious as the original Twilight series was. It brings you back to the setting of the first novel and begins to lead you into the unique world that is Edward's. Of course, we don't get to find out his reaction about everything, because, as it was leaked as a partial draft, the released version stops just after 12 chapters, a measly 264 pages that majorly leave you with a book hangover and a roaring hunger for the rest. The writing in this novel was as educated and spell binding as the rest of her works, including descriptive scenes, emotional reactions including the addicting internal voice of the character, and the everpresent setting of Forks, Washington. It so similar to Twilight, as it is almost identically the same story line, yet so different at the same time. This is why I recommend that all Twilight fans read this one, as it immerses you in the addicting series once again.

I personally enjoyed Edward's point of view more than Bella's, although I probably wouldn't recommend new readers to start with Midnight Sun over Twilight. If you are new to the world of Twilight, you need to start with Twilight, because it sets up the rest of the series. Midnight Sun makes a great prequel to read that gives you all the special little extras that were missing from Twilight. It's almost a behind the scenes version of Twilight, as it tells you things that will surprise the most dedicated Twilight reader.

Overall, the addicting storyline is still present, along with an interesting new point of view and mesmerizing new insight into the background characters. A definite must-read for all Twilight fans and even those who are new to the series (and let's just say, who has never heard of Twilight??) and even if you never have, you still need to read the Twilight series first. Make Midnight Sun a little dessert piece for you- delicious and leaving you wanting more.

*To whoever leaked this draft onto the internet, I both love and hate this. I hate that you illegally released her masterpiece onto the internet when she wasn't even finished with it (I mean, come on, even I could have waited until she finished and published it) and I love Stephanie Meyer for being such a good sport about the whole situation and kindly posting it to her website so all of us good (mostly) law-abiding fans could read it with her permission. So kudos to her.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ARC Review: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

Title: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: September 24th, 2013 
Genres: Action, Romance, Drama, Comic Book
Medium: ARC Paperback, Received For Review

Chasing Shadows was an unbelievably refreshing read. It tells the story of two best friends Savi and Holly who lose their close friend Corey (Holly is his sister and Savi is his girlfriend.) He is murdered on the street while with his sister, who is seriously injured, and are both rescued by Savi. Corey dies but Holly miraculously recovers, but now hears a voice in her head, convincing her she is her favorite comic book's heroine. And with this voice, she strives to avenge her brother and searches for his killer. The action in this story was page-turning and nail-biting-inducing. It was edgy, emotional, and raw, and I loved every bit of it.

The book is perfect for those who love novels written in different kinds of prose. This novel is creatively written with sections of comic book between every few chapters. These magnificent artist drawings give insight into what Holly is going through and thinking. They are majestic and very insightful, and were a delight to read; so much, that I looked forward to them. They were great little breaks to stop at and perfect for building action and very perfectly align with the theme of comic books in the novel. Another theme in this novel was that of free running, which I had heard of but had never read a book about. It was a very interesting topic to explore and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The writing was great. Detailed and thought provoking, it features the themes of murder, coping, death, relationships, friendships, and the wonderful maze that is the human mind. Not only does she write with enchanted voices of characters you wish to know, but also that of creepy nonexistent third person characters, that portray the emotions of a guilt-ridden, angry, grieving girl.

Although the ending with both the writing and the comic part left you wanting more and even left you with an ending that didn't seem acceptable to end with, it was still a terrific read. I definitely recommend this novel to lovers of graphic novels and comic books, as well as anyone interested in an emotion-packed action-thriller that makes you think. A great novel for boys and girls alike. Four stars.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Action
Medium: Hardcover, Bought

Shatter Me was a delicious almost fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian read. It was addicting, edgy, and sexy. A new favorite series for me, since I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel; Unravel Me!

The plot was undeniably addicting, fresh, and original. I have to admit that I was behind on reading this series (which I usually am) and for no real reason why, I just never did make a move to read this one. Then I saw it as a bargain buy on Books-A-Million, and I thought "heck, why not?" And let me say, what a good buy it was! This novel had a great plot line. Set in the dystopian future, Juliette is girl with an extreme ability to kill people with her touch, and starts out locked up in an asylum, only to become a powerful pawn in a dystopian war-ravaged world named The Reestablishment. I saw another review who described it as "paranormal romance disguised as dystopian." This is a perfect interpretation. It is a killer plot line starting out as paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi romance, all under a dystopian main agenda. I really enjoyed this book, from the action-packed scenes to the super-steamy romance, it was one hard to put down.

Now, so far, it's been a good review. This next paragraph will maybe make you question my overall opinion of this novel. The writing of this novel... Very different, I will say. Original, but odd. First of all, there is a constant rambling of subconscious thoughts from Juliette, mostly in the first half of the novel. In the first few chapters, she also has a thing with numbers. Her thoughts are very weird to read... Kind of creepy. I mean, she's already in an asylum, and these thoughts are just giving more proof as to why she was in there. Mafi's writing also seems to intentionally leave out punctuation and use many unnecessary metaphors. This made it slightly hard to read because there were so many run-on sentences desperately in need of a comma or period break. Even so, the metaphors were over used and simply unneeded. A few could even be deemed as childish metaphors. Juliette's infatuation and overall obsession with Adam was slightly hormone-fueled. Their relationship started out as sweet and emotional, but slowly turned into a completely sex-driven declaration; not love. I know the characters are 17+, yet we are talking about life in a dystopia. 

Furthermore, I will touch on something else very controversial in this novel; the overuse of the cross-out tool. At first, it was sort of neat, getting to read these thoughts she tried to deny. Then it got irritating, especially when one whole page looked like this:

 I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane
I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane
I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane
I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane
I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane
I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane I am not insane

Most of all, this odd writing style of crossing out everything, using no punctuation, and using odd metaphors slowly began to disappear as the novel went on. Halfway through, it was nonexistent (except for the weird metaphors) and was instead replaced my Juliette's incoherent ramblings about how sexy Adam was. I mean, I do not need to read about how sculpted his abs are on every. Single. Page. 

Aside from these few weird tendencies that made it hard for me to read this novel at times, I loved it, and I cannot wait to grab ahold of the sequel. The plot is ferocious and sexy, and although kind of odd at points, it makes for a great read. I am flipping between 3.5 and 4 stars. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Drama
Medium: Hardcover, Received for Review (Thanks Bauer Teen!)

This novel was great. It started out slow, but once you really got into it, it became emotional, dramatic, and poignant. Perfect for any lover of contemporary, especially those who enjoy stories of normal teens exceeding expectations and overcoming bullying. It is very thoughtful and deeply written, creating a twisting plot. This novel features a girl who is constantly bullied and made into an outcast after she attempts suicide, but soon finds out she has a hidden talent as an underground DJ. Her love and passion for music creates a road to self-discovery and make herself into what she has always wished for: to be wanted. 

The characters in this story were defined and complicated. They each had great backstories and changes within themselves happening with each word. Dynamic and weaved into a web of emotional ties and acts of betrayal, these characters hooked you from the moment you met them. The reader is instantly grabbed by Elise's life and story. She starts out as a lonely friendless person, but soon becomes so much more. Her love interest has a history and her two best friends have complicated back stories, and all of these relations have an impact on her. Acts of betrayal, friendship, romance, and standing up for yourself all come together in this novel of a girl's firsts in life.

The writing was spot on. It matched the tone of the novel perfectly, and flowed with such ease, you found yourself flying through the pages. It caught you off guard and made it impossible to stop reading. Sales wrote such a complicated novel with dynamic characters into a simple and easy to read way, it's hard to believe how she did it. Aside from the slow beginning as you built up to the real story, it was flawless. The subject of outcast-loner-girl-turned-DJ is an interesting topic to explore, and was thoroughly done in this work of fiction. I have never read or even seen a novel focused around a DJ, so this was a great first for me as well. It's creative and fun, while serious at the same time. I definitely enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys John Green-esqe novels of dramatic contemporary. Amazing.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Movie Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)

Movie review: Catching Fire (Watched Opening Night)
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Production Company: Lionsgate
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Action, Romance, Thriller
Seen: Opening Night, In Theater

One of the most anticipated movies of this year, Catching Fire is the electrifying sequel to The Hunger Games, a 2012 dystopian flick based off of the popular Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

Catching Fire was so great, so many words cannot describe. For example, if. I say the movie is amazing, that doesn't cover it. But if I say it's amazing, awesome, incredible, brilliant, unforgettable, spectacular, amazeballs, then there's a very small chance that it covers it.

Catching Fire was ten times better than it's prequel film adaptation, The Hunger Games. Compared to it, The Hunger Games was boring and eventless, whereas Catching Fire was electrifying and exciting. The plot was a million times better and more interesting, and there was many instances of humor and sadness equally balanced, and well placed throughout the film. It was polished and had great dialogue, very emotional and sensual, and was a great movie for the ages.

Now for a technical side. Where I enjoy video editing, film music, filming, special effects, and directing, I will give you a quick review in the standpoint of someone experienced and familiar with the art of film. The graphics were breathtaking, proving that Lionsgate has definitely upped their game. The actors were emotional and spellbinding, and also believable. The special effects were perfectly places, all set in great locations with great theatrical twists thrown in. The camera angles were great, wobbly and purposely amateur, in the good way that adds to that style of movie. It was a great job. A definite money maker (as we have seen in recent weeks.)

Now, I'm going to break away from my serious review and I'm going to give my consumer, slightly fangirl review.

Truth be told, I was freaking out the majority of the movie.  I was literally up on top of the people in the next row half of the movie, hands over my mouth, eyes wide. And yes, at a few points, the sheer emotional capacity of the moment brought tears to my eyes. Actually, one of my friends was balling at one part of the movie. And then, when the entire audience gasped, my same friend screamed bloody murder and elicited a flurry of laughter and pointed looks in my general area.

Overall, the movie was absolutely perfect. The actors were great and the plot was awesome. Even people who have read the series and have poured over the pages (like myself) will be surprised when they watch this movie. It's a tear jerked, laugh out loud, nail biter dystopian thriller.

By the way, Team Peeta all the way ;)

Secrets Kept Blog Tour! (& Giveaway!)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Secrets Kept Tour!

This tour will explore the World of Nälu:
Where a story with adventure, action, love, betrayal, and a quest takes place.
We will get to visit sites, learn more about the cuisine, and be introduced to some elves, dwarves, and shape-shifters, at the least.

Secrets KeptSecrets Kept 
by JL Mbewe
YA Fantasy
October 30th 2013 by AltWit Press

With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.

Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.

Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.

GoodreadsAmazon * iTunes * Barnes and Noble

This book is amazing! It's a gorgeous fantasy with lots of action-packed scenes and spellbinding
paranormal and fantasy elements. It's a quick read (I need more!!) and is a definite page turner. It's unique, original, and gorgeously written, perfectly for any lover of good, descriptive fantasy.

And would you look at that cover?! If the plot doesn't get you, then the cover surely should! The beautiful girl, the gorgeous wolf, all surrounded by lush green forests.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Liam. The silver wolf was a gift from Ayianna’s brother when they had first moved to the plains. Since then, she’s been Ayianna’s faithful companion.

FREE right now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!
Desert Rose
(A Tale of Nälu #1)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00013]

NOW AVAILABLE: Tales of  Nälu (all three short stories in paperback) on Amazon!

Living life balanced between reality and dreams.

JL Mbewe - AuthorWriting as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She has two short stories published in The Clockwork Dragon anthology, and is busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. Her debut novel Secrets Kept and her short stories set in the world of Nälu: Desert Rose, Dragon Thief, and Indestructible are now available. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things.

For more information about her journey as a writer mama and all things creative please visit her at:

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Kindle Fire Prize Pack (US/CAN ONLY), which includes:
- Kindle Fire
- Chocolate truffles
- Paper backs of Secrets Kept and Tales of Nälu
- Awesome swag (key chain, bookmark, and poster)
Ends January 7, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour!

12/9: Launch on Colorimetry and Tressa's Wishful Endings
12/12: The Real Deal
12/12: fundinmental
12/15: Colorimetry
12/23: alwaysjoart
12/29: Fictionally
12/31: Grand Finale

Are you a blogger and want to receive information about new tours? Go HERE.
Are you an author or publisher and would like to have us organize a tour? Go HERE.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Silent Words Book Tour!


Welcome to Novel Publicity's Review Only Tour for Silent Words by Chantal Fournier (Author) and Nicolas Lajeunesse (Illustrator). Read the reviews and win some great prizes for following along as we introduce you to Zelda and her world of words.

This is an amazing novel about a very special girl and her super story. It is a moving story about a talkative girl who goes in search of her parents and her voice. Emotional and beautiful written and even more gorgeously illustrated, I loved this book. Perfect for any age, and the illustrations are sure to captivate.

Available NOW on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel

ABOUT THE BOOK: Zelda loves to talk. She always asks a million questions and her head is full of words like apple, bunny, cartwheel and dwizzledoodle. But when a sudden storm turns Zelda’s world upside down, all her words go silent. Zelda must embark on a quest across mountains, forests and oceans to find her parents—and her voice. This moving tale about loss and hope will tug at your heartstrings. Author Chantal Fournier’s poetic storytelling style and illustrator Nicolas Lajeunesse’s evocative artwork combine to create a poignant story in which a child discovers comfort in the power of words.




Chantal Fournier (Author) Originally from a small-ish city not too far from Montreal, I now live in Toronto, Canada, after a long stint on the beautiful Canadian West Coast, where I taught French to university students. Silent Words, the story of a girl floating on a peculiar cloud, is my debut book. It is the fruit of a long collaboration with my artistic husband, Nicolas. Nicolas Lajeunesse (Illustrator) As the son of a sculptor and the grandson of a painter, art has always been a part of my life. After studying filmmaking in Montreal and working with my father for a few years, I left my French-Canadian roots and headed for the West Coast, where I discovered digital arts. I live in Toronto, Canada, with my wife and family.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Shifting Fate Book Blast!

To post this Book Blast (html) and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, email Tressa at wishfulendings(at)outlook.com with "Shifting Fate Book Blast" in the subject line!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Shifting Fate Book Blast!!
Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card prize pack below.

Shifting Fate (Descendants Series, #2)Shifting Fate
(Descendants #2)
by Melissa Wright
YA/NA Paranormal Romance


According to prophecy, Brianna Drake was born to save the world. The trouble is, she doesn't have the slightest idea how. Her visions should have given her the answer, but they’re beginning to shift, making the danger too unpredictable, even for a prophet.

If she can just help her sister restore their hidden powers, she might be able to stop what’s coming. But an old enemy returns, and he’s got plans for Brianna and her visions.

What neither of them knows is that fate has given a stranger one chance to find her. He was trained to protect the chosen—but if he fails, the future will crumble.

Shifting Fate is the second book in the Descendants Series (following Bound by Prophecy) and focuses on Brianna and Logan.

There is a teaser posted here and the first chapter posted here, but beware, it's full of spoilers from the first book.

Purchase from Amazon. Will soon be release to to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and most other eBook vendors.


     I stayed there for a long while, staring at the dark marble countertop, the tiles inlaid with gold, until all of the voices quieted. When I finally came out, Brendan was waiting for me in the bedroom.
     “I’m sorry about this,” he said, indicating the windowless walls around us. “As soon as the security updates are finished, we’ll be moving you to Council.” I could see the idea bothered him more than it should, and the rest of his explanation seemed to be more to convince himself than me. “It’s the best place for you. To keep you safe.”
     I nodded.
     “I had them bring up some lunch. It’s in the sitting room.”
     My stomach turned. “Thanks. I’m not really hungry.”
     He didn’t shift; he hadn’t taken his eyes off me at all. “If you’d like to sleep for a—”
     “No,” I interrupted. “No, I’m not tired.” I was exhausted—my muscles ached, and my hands still shook—but I didn’t want to be alone.
     He held out a hand. “Sit with me then?”
     I walked past him toward the sitting room, and his hand fell to the small of my back. I could have sat in the reading chair, but I didn’t. Instead, I took the center of a small sofa where Brendan could settle beside me. His arm came around me, and I curled my legs up, letting him tuck my back against his side.
     I shouldn’t have. I knew that. But Brendan cared about me, and it felt good to have someone there.
     I stared at the wall across from us, a beautiful Wyeth painting centered over a narrow table. It was probably an original. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate it. They had been attacking Council ever since Morgan was taken. We had thought it was in retaliation. We had thought they meant to rescue Morgan. But we were wrong ... because they were after me.
     I closed my eyes, trying to force a vision to come. It didn’t work that way, but I wanted so badly to finally have this over with, to save my sister and myself. To save everyone. I just needed a clue. One small indicator of how, of what I was searching for in Emily, of what to do.
     Brendan’s hand slid down my arm, and I became suddenly aware I’d sunk into him. My elbow rested on his leg, my back against his chest. His cheek brushed my hair, and I went rigid.
     “Brianna,” he started, and I was on my feet, nowhere to go but the table across from us.
     I could almost feel his presence behind me. I picked up a vase, examining the etched glass, and internally cringed. Nice, Brianna, run over to look at glass.
     “Brianna,” he said again, and the hurt in his tone was clear. I had to say something. Do something.
I turned to face him. “I’m sorry.” He was too close. I sat the vase back on the table, stepped one leg behind me. Two would have been too much. Two would have injured him more. I looked into his eyes, so dark they were nearly black, and said, “I like you, Brendan. I do.” Before I could finish, before I could add, “but …” his phone rang.
     He answered it. In the middle of our conversation.
     After a brief exchange, he slid the cell phone back into his pocket. His gaze found me. “I’m sorry, Brianna, but I have to take care of something.” He glanced at his watch. “I hate to leave you alone, but Aern will be here shortly. There are two men at the door, and the alarms are always on.” He reached up to touch my shoulder. “We will talk soon.”
     And then he smiled, clearly only taking the “I like you” from our conversation, before walking out the door.
     I stared at it for several minutes, open as it was, before finally falling onto the couch and throwing an arm over my eyes.
     I had bigger problems, I knew, so I started populating a list in my head for when Aern arrived. I would do everything I could to resolve our issue. I had a lot of work to do before I could figure out where to start.
~Melissa Wright. Shifting Fate (from Chapter 2, Kindle Locations 204-245).

Bound by Prophecy
(Descendants #1)
by Melissa Wright
YA/NA Paranormal Romance
April 15th 2013


Twenty-two-year-old Aern is done watching his brother destroy the only thing that matters. He never wanted to take Morgan’s place among council, never wanted to rule their hidden world. But when the key to the prophecy is found, a young girl named Brianna whom Morgan will destroy, Aern knows he has to take action.

What he really wants, is for things to go back to normal. But now he’s kidnapped a girl, and his brother’s men are after him. His only hope is to join with the Division, but they have plans of their own, and it’s the last thing Aern is willing to do.

Emily just wants her sister back. She doesn't care about the prophecy, or realize what’s at stake. But when she goes after Aern, the truth of the matter uncoils, and Brianna isn't the only one who’s in danger.

Suddenly, they’re at the center of a secret war, and unless they can work together, they’ll both have a sacrifice too big to make.

You can read an excerpt of Bound by Prophecy here.

Purchase ebook for FREE on Nook and Kindle. Can also purchase from the Book Depository, and in audio at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com.

About the Author

Melissa Wright is the author of the Frey Saga and the new Descendants series. Melissa spends her time working on novels, but when not writing she can be found on Goodreads and Pinterest.


1 - $50 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook of Shifting Fate (US & INT)
2 - Paperback copies of Bound by Prophecy and Shifting Fate (US ONLY)
3 - ebook of Shifting Fate (US & INT)
Ends December 15th. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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There is currently a giveaway going on on Goodreads as well.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shifting Fate by Melissa Wright

Shifting Fate

by Melissa Wright

Giveaway ends January 07, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Title: Before I Die by Jenny Donham
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Romance, Inspirational
Medium: Paperback, Bought

Before I Die was a concise, simple, realistic contemporary novel with a feeling plot centered a girl with cancer and the things she wants to do before she dies. 

The novel was simple, peaceful, and sweet, yet heartbreaking and sad at the same time. It is so very realistic, believable, and saddeningly lifelike. The themes are that of "you only live once" and "live like you're dying." Reading this novel teaches you to live life to the fullest and never have any regrets. The character in this novel knows she is dying and has a list of things she wants to do before the cancer kills her. At the top of the list is sex, and she starts out on an adventure to complete everything on the list with her friend and maybe the lonely hunk next door. The plot is riveting and it's very hard to stop reading. It hooks you in and won't let you go, and commands you to live like you are dying.

The writing is great and goes perfectly with the tone of the novel. It is perfectly natural and flows great, building tension and romance in all the right places. Instead of focussing on the bad parts of cancer, it instead brings out all the good and bits of happiness you can find in life. It also highlights the parts in normal teenage life of fighting with parents, wanting to rebel a little, all sorts of things. The writing is vibrant and descriptive with great dialogue and is very descriptive. This author has a lot of potential and this novel has the capabilities to be a classic. This novel is perfect for anyone who loves "My Sister's Keeper" and "The Fault In Our Stars." 4 stars.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Is Officially Over!

NaNoWriMo 2013 is officially over! (And has been for a week, I know, I'm late.)

But I won NaNoWriMo! I managed to rewrite my entire book Others (The Falling) in one month, exceeding the goal of 50,000 words! I finished my dark angel novel with the following stats:

390,630 characters 72,435 words, 4,884 sentences, 2,289 paragraphs, 15 avg sentence length

Whoopee! I am so happy to have finished my novel! :) This month, I will vigorously be editing the novel, getting it perfect before querying and sending it out to agents in January! Eek! I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm excited :)

So thanks to everyone has read every weekly update of my NaNoWriMo 2013 experience, and to everyone who reads my blog at all! (And sorry for the excess of smiley faces and exclamation points)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (ARC)

Title: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: August 27th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, LGBT
Medium: ARC Paperback, Received For Review

I have been avoiding writing the review for several days. Not that I have anything bad to say or that I didn't like the book, but because it was so good, I can't really think of a way to put it into the correct words. I will try to do it justice.

I had heard such good reviews of this book that even the (new-to-me) genre of LGBT couldn't scare me away. I had heard so many people say that it touched them in so many ways, straight or gay. Personally, I am a straight heterosexual female, attracted to men, and though my personal beliefs stance on marriage does not matter, some people think so anyway. If so, they would really hate this book. They wouldn't hate the writing, the author, the characters, the plot, or anything of that nature, but they would hate the book for what it stood for. Complete equality, marriage rights, all of that. Clearly, they have not read this novel and seen its true meaning.

Big un-spoiler here: This novel does NOT focus completely on gay men. It is not some gay-pride flaunty novel. It is so much more than that. This novel is narrated by a Greek Chorus of gay men who have died of AIDS, fighting for love, justice, and a cure. The focus of this story is on several gay teenage couples, and at the center are two guys who are best friends, and who are also competing to win the Guinness Book Record for world's longest kiss. A 32 hour marathon of kissing! Not only does this novel feature friendship, love, relationships, break ups, betrayal, bullying, self realization, and more, but it also shows how much love can really mean to two people. It shows you that even though the love stories may be different than yours, they still have the core element of loving one person no matter what the obstacles are. 

This novel also honors those who have perished due to AIDS, the cost of loving someone that is so very unfair. It begs for people to understand and realize what people around them are going through, that not only is "coming out" hard for them, but what lies ahead. Just for being who they are, who they truly are, makes them a target for bullying and so many more pains. But to them, love is worth anything. Love is the greatest sacrifice.

The writing in this novel was beautiful. Just simply stunning. It was beautifully simple and easy to fly through, yet pristine and emotional. The writing was clear and yet complex in the best of ways. A gorgeous Tour de force. It strikes you to your very core and opens your mind up to changes. Like I said, I'm straight, and have never read a LGBT novel before, and I must tell you I am pleasantly surprised. This novel was a suspenseful, poignant, emotional, frank, optimistic read, perfect for anyone who loves contemporary, drama, or anyone who is looking to have a thought provoking read. 4.5 stars. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book & Writing Insanity Linkup!

I am happy to participate in the Book and Writing Insanity Linkup hosted by notebook sisters.com. Yay! So let's begin! 

1. What was your overall favourite book this year? (Yes. Pick one.)  Wow. Gonna start with the impossible, hard questions first, aren't we? Weeeell, since you made me pick, I'm going to have to say The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. A close second up would be Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay. I loved them both.

2. Favourite debut(s)? (Author must have been first published in 2013.) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. It was so heartwarming and just amazing... (And it had zombies, which I have an undeniable obsession with.)

3. Which books did you reread this year? I didn't reread any! I've had soooo many new books to start, that I never did reread any! (In my defense, I've only reread one book ever, and that was Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. I reread it not long after the first time because I was excited for the movie getting ready to come out.)

4. Favourite cover(s) this year! These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufmen. Eek!

5. Worst cover(s)? The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky... Just... Go look at it, that's all I can say. A great book masked by a terrible cover.

6. What self-published books did you read this year? I read Confessions of A Fast Food Worker by George Dwight and Raven by Suzy Turner. Both were great.

7. Which book(s) gave you a massive hangover? Shatter me by Taraheh Mafi. It was so good. I wish I had started the series earlier.

8. Best standalone you read? The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. He's one of the best authors I've read, and this book is his best. Now I just need to watch the movie!

9. Biggest book(s) you've read this year? The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman at 1,088 pages! Took just a few days and I loved it!

10. Book(s) you followed the hype for and then loved! Looking For Alaska by John Green, Wake by Amanda Hocking, and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I loved all of these so much.

11. Most disappointing book(s) you read this year? City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It was terrible. And Promises To Keep by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Yikes.

12. Favourite leading-female character? Juliet from Juliet Immortal By Stacey Jay. Or Nora from Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, but I can't remember if I read any of that series this year...

13. Favourite leading-male character? August Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. So sweet and so sad.

14. Best romance(s)? Hazel and August from TFIOS by John Green (you can tell I love this book), R and Julie from Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, and Echo and Noah from Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry.

15. What book(s) hit the DNF list? (Did not finish.) Night of The Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury... Too boring, fake, and middle grade. Other than that, I haven't finished The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan. I got halfway through it and stopped! This was one year ago and I still haven't finished it...

16. What book(s) did you read out of your comfort-zone? Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. It was definitely out of my comfort zone (since I'm straight) but I loved this books. Definitely. Must read for gays and straight people alike.

17. Which author did you read the most from? Probably P.C. Cast. Or John green. Not sure.

18. Top 5 books you'd recommend from all the books you've read this year? In order: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry, The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, and The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton.

19. How many books did you read this year all up? I haven't kept up with the entire year (boo hoo for me) but I have kept up with it since May. According to Goodreads, since May, I have read 45+ books

20. What's a book you're hugely excited for coming out in 2014?!  Ignite Me by Tareheh Mafi! Yeah!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (#6) November

Stacking The Shelves (#6) November!
Stacking The Shelves (Hosted by Tynga's Reviews) is a monthly blog meme where I post about all the books I have bought, won, received for review, etc.)
So I had a big haul this month! Yay! Kind of like my big birthday present from everyone around the blogosphere (Sorry it's a late post!)

Here are the books I received for review!
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
The Living by Matt de La Pena
Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi
The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler
The Beautiful & The Damned by Jessica Verday

Signed Books!
I won a signed copy of Purple Moon inside of a swag pack via a giveaway. HOWEVER, the signed, first-edition hardcover of Dark Talisman by Steven M. Booth was sent to me from Scott, thanking me for my ecstatic review of the ARC of the same novel found here. Thanks Scott!
Purple Moon by Tessa Emily Hall (signed!)
Dark Talisman by Steven M. Booth (signed first-edition hardcover!)

Only bought one book this month. I was so busy I didn't have time to make it to book stores!
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I won all of the Purple Moon items inside of a giant swag pack (Thank you Tessa!)
Confessions of The Private School Murders by James Patterson

Purple Moon Swag Pack-
Signed copy of the book
Ribbon bookmark
Sleeping mask
Mocha Starbucks Insta-coffee (Yum!!)
Signed coffee mug

I also won this awesome matching T-Shirt along with a hardcover edition of the book!

Promotional Swag!
(2) Eye of Minds jumbo buttons
Mister Max jumbo button
(5) bookmarks
(2) Regular postcards
(1) signed postcard from Jessica!
A zombie-relocation letter for The World Without A Future!
(2) Business cards for TWWAF
(1) other business card

-All of these were gifted by my wonderful grandmother, who I adore!-
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Her Cinderella Heart by Ruth Scotfield

So, a recap on all the books I got! Eep!
12 Total!
(5 ARCs, 2 Signed, 2 reg. Hardcovers, and 3 reg. Paperbacks)

November Stacking The Shelves Stockpile!!
This everything total I received this month!

So it was a great month :) And I wanna know! What did you get?