Mercy by Misty Provencher

This book intrigued me from its very first lines. The opening sequence has a dream like quality and is beautifully written, simply poetic in form. Death pervades the pages of this book, in one form or another, and yet Madeline’s journey seems to be an unconscious, and sometimes unwilling, struggle toward hope.
Provencher gambles with this book and its subject matter. Not only does she weave fantastical elements in with highly sensitive contempora6a015390e082b4970b019affb7d6e5970d-600wiry issues, she challenges the usual stereotypes and clichés that one normally finds in dark urban fantasy (or fiction in general.) And for the most part (a little on this further on,) I feel she succeeds.
There are moments in Mercy that are so poignant, so universal, that my breath was literally taken away. In my opinion, an underlying theme of this book is maternal guilt and the journey to absolution. It is not blatant, and some may disagree, but as a mother, it was so clear to me. I wept so many times, the images painted so vividly. They called to me on a visceral level. What mother does not have some kind of guilt? But at the same time, Provencher hits on other dark issues that would speak to a wide audience and perhaps it’s not just maternal guilt, but guilt in general that the characters strive to escape.
Negatives that I can touch on, but shouldn’t be a deal breaker, are the idea of gargoyles. It took me some time to suspend my disbelief, mostly because I was confused as to what was happening to Madeline –still, I’m not exactly sure why her transformation happened the way it did or why it was significant. As I read on, however, I soon forgot those issues.
Also, something that bothered me to a degree was the lack of setting. Most of the book is set in a central location or one kind of central location. I found myself wishing she would go somewhere else, or get away.
Over all, Provencher was incredibly brave to write this book. Her insight to the human state is profound and her ability to delineate our experiences in such a vibrant and insightful way deserves praise.

The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan

y648Donovan’s homage to LA is smart and at times funny. A literary romance, he avoids the usual clichés while enticing his readers–investing them in the character’s growth and progression and keeping them hoping for the HEA.

His male protagonist is not the stereotypical alpha male. Rather, Richard Baumbach is a metrosexual twenty-nine year old who seems to teeter back and forth between a sweet and clueless hunk to your best girlfriend. It’s a tad disorienting at times when, as a reader, you wonder if the big moment of the book turns out to be that he finally realizes he is gay and has feelings for his gay business partner. His character grows and fills out by the end, however, which is a good thing since otherwise his pairing with the female protagonist, Elizabeth Santiago, would seem unlikely.

Elizabeth is a voluptuous Mexican American lawyer, type A personality, who is lonely in the orderly world she has created for herself. Her own description of herself “a poor Chicana version of Hermione Granger. I did everything right and I always followed the rules” is one of my favorite descriptions in the book.

Speaking of descriptions, Donovan’s depictions of everything LA are beautifully written–borderline poetic. These moments showcase his talent and are what separate him from other writers. Also, they’re what I mean when I say that The Decent Proposal is a smart novel. I could see how the literary style might be difficult for some people to wade through, particularly in this day and age of the status update–the small, digestible snippet of information. People are developing shorter attention spans and are losing their ability to consume/appreciate writing like what is found in The Decent Proposal.

Donovan spends more time on his character sketches and his landscape of LA (through the eyes of his characters) than he does on the actual love story. It’s almost like the characters are involved in the secondary love affair, the true love affair being the author’s affection for the city. It works though. He keeps their relationship’s development simple and concise, and yet gives us just enough information to make the progression of their affection seem plausible.

Overall, a very well written book. I look forward to more from Kemper Donovan.

The Decent Proposal will be released on April 5, 2016. Preorder your copy today!

 

 

About the Author:

Kemper Donovan has lived in Los Angeles for the past eleven years. He attesquarended Stanford University and Harvard Law School before working for a decade at the boutique literary management company Circle of Confusion, representing graphic novels and screenwriters. His first client wrote the feature film Hanna, released by Focus Features. When he isn’t writing or reading he’s probably running on the beach or endeavoring to play the violin, which he picked up as an adult. He is also a member of the New York Bar

 

Review of The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance that will take your breath away. The images that she paints of a post-Katrina New Orleans break your heart while keeping you on the edge of your seat.cropped-1379804_364670740332733_1548094926_n.jpegA destination novel, you feel almost as if you are actually in the city itself–she writes it that well.  Our protagonist, Adele Le Moyne, is most definitely an anti-bella which I loved. Her 511OakHSwnL._UY250_voice from the beginning is strong and likable. The book itself is full of strong female characters. The novel does contain a love triangle, which I know turns some readers off, but it is well written and draws one in. This pager turner has white knuckle moments that will have your heart pounding. One of the best books I’ve read this year. Well written, it consumed me and left my mouth watering for more! Can’t wait for the second book in the series, The Romeo Catchers!

811koHvRLVL._UX250_Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy colored. One dreary day in London, she missed home and started writing The Casquette Girls.

Her debut novel garnered over one million reads online before it was acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal. Her second book is due out winter 2016.

Alys is represented by ICM. And she still plans to run away with the circus one star swept night.

To purchase The Casquette Girls:

Amazon

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The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

 

 

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After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.

Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.cropped-13496099.png

 

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden re-releases in SEVEN days and all I will say about this book is that it is DELICIOUS! To get an idea of what I mean, watch this


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This last summer at  Utopia, I had the privilege of seeing Arden on a panel about book trailers and I have to say, after watching the trailer for The Casquette Girls, I couldn’t NOT get my hands on this book! I have SO much to say about this book, and I promise you, you’ll get it all next week when it releases. Until then, watch this teaser and read about the author down below. And for the love of Pete, don’t forget to preorder it today!

Amazon

 

Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittedownload (4)ring drag queens of the New Orleans, French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy-colored. Rep’d by ICM. Follow her adventures on Twitter or Instagram @AlysArden

 

 

Aileen Erin’s Becoming Alpha

Lindsey says:

S18242939ometimes a book with fantastical elements will take a while to ease you into the parts that may come as a shock or the parts that need to be learned. Other times, you get thrown in the deep end and you either sink or swim. In Aileen Erin’s Becoming Alpha, you’re thrown in, but thanks to Erin, you have plenty of life preservers to keep you afloat.

A book jam packed with the supernatural—witches and werewolves and vampires, oh my!—and seasoned heavily with emotional turmoil and sexual tension, this is on you’ll pick up and not want to put down until the very end.

Tessa, our protag, is just a normal, high school aged girl from a normal family, except for the fact that every time her skin comes in contact with something, she sees visions. Dastien is just a normal college aged guy, working as a martial arts teacher at a local high school, except this high school caters to a very specific, very furry crowd.

If you’re looking for a fast paced novel with lots of action, electric romance, and interesting characters that make you love them, and sometimes hate them, with passion, look no further. And lucky for us, Erin has written four other books in this Alpha Girl series, with the fifth having been released just this past September. Go check it out!

To purchase Becoming Alpha

The author

Iniquity by Amy A. Bartol COVER REVEAL

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The much anticipated final installment of Amy A. Bartol’s Premonition Series is due to release on December 8, 2015. Today, however, Bartol fangirls are all aflutter over the cover reveal which was exclusively released by USA today this morning.

Fans of Bartol’s Premonition Series have waited three years for Iniquity. Amy Bartol has the unique talent of writing villains that seduce her readers (see her Kricket Series and just try not to be seduced by Kyon!) We just can’t wait to discover just how this series ends.

Amy’s Facebook page

Amy’s webpage

Life and Death, Twilight Reimagined–Is this for real?

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So today, this appeared in my Facebook news feed. The post read that for Twilight‘s tenth anniversary, Stephenie Meyer is releasing a new book. It goes on to say that Life and Death, Twilight Reimagined is a gender swapped retelling of Twilight. My first thought was, “Is this for real?”  After a quick search on Amazon, I quickly came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, for real. You can see for yourself right here.

Immediately, I messaged several of my friends who were Twilight fans. The reception was the same across the board: this is either going to be awesome or completely awful. No one felt there was going to be an in between.

My feelings? I’m hesitant to read it (but I know I will.) I’m still a little touchy over Stephenie’s betrayal over the whole Midnight Sun thingy. (Yes, yes I know. She was the one who was actually betrayed when a fan leaked her beta copy. But she punished ALL of us!) We were all dying to see Midnight Sun completed, but Stephenie (and this is her prerogative, of course) couldn’t bring herself to finish, the joy having been all sucked out. However, she started a trend, whether she wanted to or not, of rewriting books from the male protagonists POV. Just look at E.L. James’ Grey. And so my second thought is that perhaps this is her way of getting Edward’s POV out there again, but this time in a gender swapped role.

Also, I’m a little confused over the lack of promotion of this new novel (hence my doubt that it was legitimate.)

Having said all that, I am intrigued. According to some spoilers, the ballet studio scene ends very differently from what we know from the original Twilight and apparently Meyer was able to clean up some of the things that have bothered her about her original book.

What say you? Do you think you are going to read this new book in the Twilight franchise?

Quanta by Lola Dodge Review & GIVEAWAY!!!

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The Blurb:

Just because Quanta can see the future doesn’t mean she can change it. She’s spent most of her life imprisoned, feeding her captors information to keep herself alive, but she’s finally reached the endgame and her death creeps closer by the moment.

The son of two senators, Altair Orpheus leads a life of privilege that provides the perfect cover for his side job: working with the rebel Shadow Ravens to undermine the ruling Seligo government. Everything is running like clockwork until he crosses paths with Quanta. As he watches her deftly maneuver through life in a perverse prison, his plastic heart melts. A jailbreak would be suicide, but Tair is willing to sacrifice everything to give her a chance at happiness.

Now Quanta senses a terrifying new future brewing. She and Tair are bound together, but every image of them kissing, snuggling, and acting knee-weakeningly happy is balanced by a much darker possibility. They’ll be picture perfect together, but only until time rips them apart. How can she follow her heart when she’s seen how their love plays out?

 

My Review:

I LOVED this book and fully expect to see it one day in film! Quanta is the second book in The Shadow Ravens series– a series written by three different authors and set in a futuristic world run by a genetically modified caste system.  Much like the Hunger Games, it opens with a palpable tension that never lets up and keeps you on edge until the very end.

I just couldn’t put this book down.

Reminiscent of the movie Edge of Tomorrow (which was originally the Japanese military sci/fi novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka,) it amps up the time travel genre and keeps the reader gasping, “No Way!”

The love story meshes perfectly with the action. Lola Dodge knows how to marry romance and action so seamlessly that the reader isn’t jarred between the two, but keeps turning pages to see how the two characters (Quanta and Altair) can possibly survive long enough to begin their love story–the love story that we’ve been watching through Quanta’s time visions from the moment we first see Altair.

Overall, exciting read and well written. Though it is the second book in the series, it could easily be stand alone. If you are the kind of reader that HAS to read your series in order (that would be me!) then click here to read our review of Cipher by Aileen Erin.  I can’t wait for book three in the series!

Click the links to purchase and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the page!

Goodreads

Amazon

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AUTHOR BIO:
Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University–and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.
Author links:

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Shadow Ravens Series, Cipher by Aileen Erin

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Guest Post by author Lindsey S. Frantz

In expectation of the release of Quanta by Lola Dodge, the second book in The Shadow Raven’s series, author Lindsey S. Frantz has given a fabulous review of the the first book in the series, Cipher by Aileen Erin.

The Blurb:

Alone and on the run, Cipher doesn’t talk about her secrets, her powers, o23249649 (1)r the people chasing her. She can’t let anyone get that close. At least, she shouldn’t.

Knight is working undercover for the bad guys. He’s done things that have marked his soul, but it’ll all be worth it if he can save the girl who means everything to him—the girl who saved his life by putting herself in danger. It’s been twelve years, but Knight knows she’s still alive, and he’s made it his mission to find her and keep her safe.

When Knight finally catches up to Cipher, electricity sparks. He’s crazy gorgeous, stupid brilliant, and begging to lift the burden from Cipher’s shoulders. Can she really trust him with her secrets? With her life?

She doesn’t have long to decide, because Knight isn’t the only who’s been looking for her. Now Cipher can’t run without leaving him behind. What good is being together if they’re both dead?

To save Knight, Cipher will finally stop running…one way or another.

Lindsey’s Review:

Computer hackers, the power to manipulate electricity, and different genetic modifications that make people faster, stronger, smarter, and sometimes immortal. Cipher by Aileen Erin has all of these things and more. Not to mention a love story that catches you and carries you along like you’re riding a raft through the rapids.

Ciper—a Red Helix, one of the children born with an ability that gets them killed at birth—is the kind of female character that is strong, independent, and doesn’t need any man. To take it a step further, when she’s given the opportunity to fall for a man, she fights it with everything in her to maintain her independence, even though she’s drawn to him in a way she can’t explain.

Knight—a double Helix, both Green and Black—is the kind of male character that makes you want to fall in love with him and hold on tight. Strong, modified for both strength (black helix) and intelligence/technology (green helix), and totally dedicated to finding the little girl who saved him as a child by electrocuting his abusive father with a touch of her finger.

Following Cipher and Knight across the country as they learn to trust each other is a whirlwind of emotion, sexual tension, and mystery. This book is a very quick read—mostly because you can’t put it down—and will leave you wanting so much more from this world.

Cipher is part of a book series, written by three different authors, set in this world filled with people with different genetic mods. The second book, Quanta, is set to release on October 13th. It will follow a different Red Helix, and after reading book one, I cannot wait for book two to be out.

 

To buy on your nook or kindle

 

 

Kismet by AE Woodward

 

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Woodward does a fantastic job of painting a picture of what it can feel like to suffer with emotional trauma. When the heroine, who has suffered from trauma in the past has the unspeakable happen to her–something no mother would want to live through, she has a breakdown. Essentially suffering from PTSD, she shuts down to the point where she can no longer take care of herself and has to live with her parents and brother.  In the process of recovery, she rediscovers herself and a lost love that she never thought she could ever deserve.
This book has some intensely dark, emotionally charged moments.  Katie’s journey from the abyss of grief back to the land of the living is shown in a believable progression. Anyone with children can understand the depths of her grief–and yet there is more to Katie’s story.

Parker, her brother’s best friend, and the man she’s always loved is the perfectly flawed book boyfriend. He is real with insecurities and regrets of his own.  I loved the way he was written.

The end surprised me, though it was still  satisfying
Overall, Kismet was well written and emotionally riveting.

Click here to purchase Kismet