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.

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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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

B&N

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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:

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Amy A. Bartol’s Newest Book in the Kricket Series and Giveaway

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This is a spoiler free review. If ever a series needed a book four, it is the Kricket series. It takes an incredibly talented author to woo her readers into loving the hero AND the villain, and Amy A. Bartol has done it! Bartol has weaved a story that creates a conflict of the heart so intense that the reader is left bereft and wanting more. Be prepared, the ending of this book will rip your heart out, but I believe there is so much more to the story and lovers of this series should demand to hear the end of Kricket’s story!

The Kricket Hollowell character is everything I love in a female protagonist. She kicks butt without sacrificing her femininity. She is loving without being naïve. She’s tenacious and a survivor.

Without giving spoilers, Kricket makes a hard decision, essentially sacrificing herself for others. Stuck in an impossible situation, the world of Black and White morphs into various shades of gray. She is forced to navigate alone in a world where the enemy isn’t necessarily who she thought it would be. In the end, she does what she’s always done—what her time on Earth taught her to do: she survives.

Other characters, too, inadvertently find themselves trapped into making heartbreaking decisions that have devastating consequences. In the end, we find that these characters we’ve come to love have not betrayed one another, but have given up what they most wanted—have sacrificed themselves for others.

It’s refreshing to see a character who discovers that there is no white knight—that if she wants to be saved, she will have to save herself. Bartol breaks from the cliché and it elicits a raw, emotional response from her reader. Thankfully, she leaves her ending so ripe for a fourth book, that we only need hope (and campaign hard!) that her publishers give her the green light. So here’s to Kricket #4!

BAWDABAW!

 

Like and Share this giveaway post on Facebook! Winner drawn September 30th!

 

To buy the first two books in the Kricket series: Under different Stars, Sea of Stars

To buy Darken the Stars

 

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

CJ Redwine’s Defiance

 

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**I purchased a signed copy of this book from the author at UtopYa Con 2015***
Let me preface this by saying that I have pretty much stopped reading novels of the Dystopian/Post-Apocalypse variety. Not that I haven’t enjoyed them in the past–I’m just kind of over them. That being said, I heard this author speak at a a recent writers conference and enjoyed her wit, humor,and overall voice so much that I decided I’d like to read her work.
I’m so glad that I did.
Defiance is well written. The tension is immediately present from the first few sentences when we discover that her father hasn’t yet returned and is heightened in each subsequent chapter. Redwine then takes you on hair bending curves–abusing her characters a bit, before giving the reader a brief romantic respite. Then the action explodes once again.
The female protagonist, Rachel, is fiesty, bad-a$$, and as stubborn as hell. She begins her journey as a head strong girl, whose arrogance in her abilities almost gets her killed. She’s at times unreasonable, impulsive, and sometimes waspish.
I loved her.
I loved that she was hurting and couldn’t see through the red haze at times. I loved how easily she moved from anger to contrition when she realized she was wrong. I loved that her character has room to grow in the next books (which I have yet to read.) In fact, by the end of Defiance, she sees the consequences of her rashness and mourns them to the point of self-loathing.

Logan is an introspective “tech” guy. Violently losing his mother and then being branded as an outcast, he was apprenticed out to Rachel’s father as child. Logan’s character develops as he takes on the role of Protector over Rachel. He moves from quiet observer to action hero–from silent usurper to leader of a movement. And in the process, he allows himself to love even though everyone he’s ever loved has been ripped from his life.

This post apocalyptic society fascinated me. In a world where modern governments have fallen and basic human rights fell with them, we have Baalboden: a misogynistic society that in some ways parallel modern extremist muslim cultures (in their views of women.) Women are only taught housekeeping skills, how to entertain, etc. Men are given SIX more years of education. Women can not go out in public without their Protector and have no say in whom they will marry. When of age, they are CLAIMED. Like property.

But Rachel’s father raised her differently. He taught her to read and write. He taught her how to use a sword and to defend herself. He taught her how to survive in the Wasteland.

Great book.
I’m ready for the next.

 

Purchase Defiance