Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Book One in the Snow and Ashes Series
Published By: Baltzer & Bray (October 14, 2014)
Source: Purchased
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.







I am always amazed when a new author can waltz into the YA genre and put froth a book that would make any seasoned veteran envy and that is exactly what Raasch has manged to do with Snow Like Ashes. 

I was completely blown away by how well put together this novel is. How well the storyline flowed, how lovable the characters were and how even something as simple as the dreaded love triangle, just worked and worked well. 

I really don't even know what else to say about this other than, once again, I am in love with this genre and all that it has to offer. 

Meira is everything I like in a heroine. Strong, fierce, brave, and she loves fiercely. She is a fighter in every sense of the word and I just connected with her from the beginning. 

Mather and Theron were both wonderful in their own separate ways and yes, I did say there was a love triangle, and let me tell you, both boys are equally fabulous. It will be hard in the end when one gets hurt but I also have to admit, that instead of being irritated by it and rolling my eyes at the tangled web of love, it just worked and was believable. Miera isn't wishy washy like most heroines in her place and her love for the two, are different and both have their advantages over the other. Both would be great for her. Both would let her grow and both have my admiration for different reasons.

This book really did have the right amount of secondary characters, villains and of course main characters. The right amount of romance, action, mystery, and of the paranormal. It truly gave me every single thing I was hoping it would and left me wanting more by the end. I loved the world Raasch created. It was detailed and explained without once feeling like overload of info being dumped on you having it affect the pacing of the story. 


I am so excited I took a chance and read this and not just liked it, but loved it. I love when hype pays off and books really come through and shine.





Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Venom by Jennifer Estep

Title: Venom
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Book Three in the Elemental Assassin Series
Published By: Pocket Books (September 28, 2010)
Source: Purchased
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!


Book Description:
What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. 

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. 

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life. 











Can this series get any better?

I swear each book is taken to a new level and I fall harder for Gin, Finn, Sophia, Jo-Jo, Owen (oh my hotness Owen!), and all the others that have made appearances in this book and series.

The action is better, the romance steamier, the friendship more solid, the kick butt-ness more kick butt and...you get the idea. Just when I think I couldn't love this series more Estep ups the anty and it is. 

This really is a series that is just getting better with time and one of the biggest appeals to it, at least for me, is the friendship. Gin and her gang are just amazing and I love their closeness. They truly are family in every sense of the word and I adore it. I adore them. 

Things are heating up and I don't just mean between Gin and Owen. The stakes are getting higher, the danger more evident and consequences for past actions are about to be called forward and revenge taken. 

I am so excited the direction this series is going and I can't wait to read more. I have a feeling this is one of those series that will be in my top ten this year and for always for sure. Estep certainly knows how to write 'em!






Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Sophie's Fate by C.S. Minsky

Today I am pleased to give you the cover reveal for  Sophie's Fate by C.S. Minsky and also a excerpt of the book.





Book Description:

Soon to be eighteen-year-old Sophie Benedetto lives a privileged quiet life, but her peaceful existence is about to be disrupted. When Sophie meets Nick there is something deeply familiar about him. Ruggedly handsome, it is his divine-like presence that draws her in. As they become close, Sophie's world changes in unimaginable ways. Sophie learns she lived another life and died tragically in the summer of her eighteenth birthday, the very summer she is presently living. If Sophie doesn't unravel the events of that life, she will encounter the same fate.

Set against the backdrop of beautiful and tranquil Sonoma, California, Sophie's journey moves her in and out of the present forcing her to confront the ghost that haunts her. Through it all, Sophie discovers her own resilience, a secret about her mother and the hidden truth about Nick.

Sophie's Fate is a young adult contemporary read with a paranormal twist. It is for ages 14+. It is book one of a two-book series. Sophie's Time, book two, will be coming soon!


Backcover:
Sometimes the past follows us into the present.

Soon to be eighteen-year-old Sophie lives a privileged quiet life, but her peaceful existence is about to be disrupted. When Sophie meets Nick there is something deeply familiar about him. Ruggedly handsome, it is his divine-like presence that draws her in. As they become close, Sophie’s world changes in unimaginable ways. Sophie learns she lived another life and died tragically in the summer of her eighteenth birthday, the very summer she is presently living. If Sophie doesn’t unravel the events of that life she will encounter the same fate. 

Sophie’s journey moves her in and out of the present forcing her to confront the ghost that haunts her. Through it all, Sophie discovers her own resilience, a secret about her mother and the hidden truth about Nick.





About the Author:




C.S. Minsky is a former award-winning California high school teacher and mentor for at-risk students. She is bilingual, has traveled throughout Europe and has lived abroad. She supports sustainable and organic farming, enjoys cooking, hiking and is a lover of dogs. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is out having fun.




Excerpt:

We were stuck in traffic in the sprawling city of Los Angeles. Knowing this is the state of affairson a daily basis my stepfather, Tom, left the house early offering us more than enough time to
get to the airport. It was a warm overcast June day. I was dressed for summer, but I carried my
sweatshirt. Two packed suitcases occupied the trunk. I left my books in my bedroom of his house
as there were far too many, but I grabbed a few favorites to take with me.
Summer in San Francisco is not hot like the rest of the country. The average temperature is
sixty-two degrees and fog hovers like a doting mother. I would need that sweatshirt once I
departed the airport. I lived there until I was twelve years old when my parents divorced, and my
mother decided to move to Los Angeles taking me with her. Two years later she married Tom.
My father kept the house in San Francisco. I visited him several times over the years and
spent four weeks of each summer at his summer place in Sonoma. I was moving in with him
until I began college in September. He flew down for my high school graduation one week
earlier, but I wasn’t ready to leave at that time.
My mother died in the middle of my junior year. She didn’t get to see me graduate. Cancer
stole her life. I miss her. I miss her soft hair, the smell of her perfume, her loving voice and her
cooking. I even miss her crazy ideas about angels and destiny. My dad called it her spiritual
voodoo. He drove down and rented an apartment the last month of her illness. Even though their
marriage didn’t last, they still loved each other. I saw the way they looked at one another the
several times they met over the years. I never understood why they couldn’t stay together, and I
didn’t ask.
On her last day of life she went in and out of consciousness. I stayed by her bedside, but I left
the room before she died. My father was the last person she spoke to before permanently closing
her eyes. She was on morphine to help with the pain. I held her hand and at one point she held
mine back. I bent over her to speak into her ear. “I love you, Mom.”
She opened her eyes and held onto my hand as she tugged for me to come down closer to her
mouth. She whispered, “You are stronger than she is. He will find you. He carries the truth.”
I looked up at Dad and Tom. They were talking to one another. I didn’t understand, and they
didn’t hear. The words made no sense to me, so I let it go. I assumed it was one of her
hallucinations. I would soon discover it wasn’t.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Author Interview and Guest Post: Golden by Melinda Michaels

I am so excited to have author Melinda Michaels here today to tell us a little about her new debut series that released just this week, Golden

Not only do I have an author interview but a guest post as well! 

Thank you so much Melinda for being here today!!




Release Date: March 24, 2015 
Published By: REUTS Publications
Series: Book One in the series of the same name





Author Bio:



Melinda Michaels is the author of Golden and currently lives in Milford, Pennsylvania. A self-proclaimed historian with a rare sense of humor, Melinda finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of coffee. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her own amusement or refurbishing old furniture.
Melinda loves Philadelphia and visits often to enjoy the city with her husband Andrew. Together they have three rambunctious pets. Archie the Beagle, Winston the Boston Terrier and Beatrice the cat.
Golden is the first in a Young Adult magic realism series.





Author Interview: 

MGO: Tell us a little about your book.

Melinda: High school senior Hanna Loch just suffered a blackout in front of her entire homeroom class. She hasn’t had one in over ten years, and she’s terrified—the last time she blacked out, she woke up with no memory of her life before. To make matters worse, no one can explain why it happens. For Hanna, bad things tend to come in threes.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .

When she learns she could be a descendant of someone who lived /once upon a time/, Hanna must put her trust in William Vann, a descendant of one of the most hated villains ever known. Their histories are intertwined in more ways than she expected, and he has answers about her past, answers even her family won’t share.

But is it safe to put her trust in someone who appears to be danger reincarnate, while trying to escape the darkness that tried to kill her ten years ago?

A loose fairytale retelling, GOLDEN is a story that’s just right, weaving together lost secrets, vengeful enemies, and what happens when fiction becomes reality.

MGO: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?


Melinda: I have always wanted to tell stories. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be an actress, until I discovered there were directors. After that, I was committed to being a director, until I realized there were writers. I wasn’t an avid reader until I realized most of my favorite movies were books. After that I was hooked and I knew that was my dream.

MGO: Where did your inspiration come to start your book? Was there any research involved to create it?

Melinda: I remember that I was at work when I had the idea, but I don’t recall what I was doing. I remember e-mailing my sister almost immediately explaining the story in a few short sentences. I did a lot of research on fairytales, folklore and the origin of those stories. Research is one of my favorite parts of the writing process!


MGO: I really love the cover for Golden, how involved were you in the process of choosing and/or designing it?


Melinda: I love the cover too! It was created by the talented Ashley Ruggirello at Reuts Publications! I fell in love with it from first sketch.

 MGO: What do you have planned next? 

Melinda: There will be five books in the Golden series. The sequel, Roses is already finished and the third book, Glass, is what I’m working on currently.




Guest Post: 

INSPIRATION FOR GOLDEN
Like most people I know, the story of Goldilocks is imbedded in my mind. In fact, a few dozen fairytales linger in my memory, some of which I’ve never actually read before writing Golden. Fairytales are such a large part of the beginning of our lives and the lessons speak to our morality, even shaping it. I was always partial to Goldilocks because she wasn’t the hero or even the victim. She was villain. She broke into a house, ate their food, slept in their beds and ran away without any consequence. I wanted to know more about her, the girl brave enough to enter a bear’s house.

I researched Goldilocks and discovered a dozen different versions from a dozen different countries, the most notably, Robert Southey from England. I read hundreds Greek mythologies and Russian fairytales. I read biographies of those early authors who gathered these tales and found that while I was writing notes, I had begun to create a girl in my head. To me, she was the original Goldilocks, the girl that inspired the legend, but her tale didn’t end with the story.

I started think about what happened after she ran away from the bears and for that matter, what happened to all the princesses at the end of Happily Ever After? Before I knew it I was emailing my sister an idea for a story. Then I emailed her four more times, about four more fairytales. What if they were real people? What if they had descendants?

I started writing like crazy trying to keep up with my thoughts. I wrote out a synopsis first, to see if I had a story. Then a chapter outline, breaking down the tale. Once I wrote the character analysis I knew I had it. I wrote the first draft in two months. It was as if Golden had a life of its own and I was just there to put it to paper.
Golden is a retelling of Goldilocks. I believe that every mythology, legend and fairytale is based off of a true story that inspired a writer to create. I wanted to write a story that explained how they came to be, what happens after happily ever and how the beloved characters of our fairytales aren’t always what they seem to be.




WoW Pick of the Week



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a chance to share those new releases were are super anxious to get our hands on and read.

Okay even though the cover is just.. okay, I am so intrigued by the premises of this weeks choice so I couldn't resist adding it as my WoW choice.




Release Date: June 9, 2015 (Knopf Books For Young Readers)

Book Description:
At seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute's elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient's traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain's superiors warn her to stay away. Steven's scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven's memories, it becomes clear that he's connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn't want the world to discover.


Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn't plan on falling in love with a boy she's been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Verum by Courtney Cole

Title: Verum
Author: Courtney Cole
Series: Book Two in the Nocte Series
Published By: Lakehouse Press (February 2, 2015)
Source: Purchased
Genre: NA Mystery/Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars


Book Description:
The truth shall set you free.

My name is Calla Price and I’m drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I’m being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don’t know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I’m entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It’s just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.







Courtney Cole is seriously messing with me. And while I did predict much more in this than I did the first, I am still dying with anticipation with what exactly will be and will happen in book three.

Once again this was a crazy messed up ride and I loved every single minute of it, even the predictable parts and even the parts the contradicted each other, however frustrating it was at times.

I don't know how she does it, but she manages to suck me right into the story and I have to read it. I. Have. To. 

In one sitting no less. Goodbye all those others things I needed to get done today.
None of it matters but this story and finally, finally learning the truth. Learning all the secrets and lies and horribleness. 

And I did learn them. Most of them. Okay, not even close to all of them. 

And now I want more. I want ALL of them. And I might go crazy because that ending about killed me. I won't accept anything less than a happy ending and now I fear I won't get it. Not at all. And I just might hate Cole for that. Just a little. And I might love her too, just a little. 

So why the only 3.5 star rating? Because as much as I loved this, some of it was predictable and not a lot actually happened. Sure a lot was revealed but action wise, not so much. The hot and coldness of Calla towards Dare bothered me, a lot, and I am hoping everything with them will finally come to light in the last book, at least it better Ms. Cole, it better. 






Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Perfect Timing by Robin Mellom

Title: Perfect Timing
Author: Robin Mellom
Series: Stand Alone 
Published: March 1, 2015
Source: Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
After a break-up with her boyfriend, Tori Wright decides to get her mind off the guy and takes a job running errands for an eccentric couple. Suddenly she finds herself involved in the crazy world of LA nightlife--nightclubs, palm readers, movie stars, and a roving pack of paparazzi. After a misunderstanding lands her in jail, she has one night to clear her name, help a movie starlet avoid the paparazzi, and find Adam...the coworker who is quickly stealing her heart.
As she makes decisions that can change the course of her life, Tori discovers just how far she'll go to set the record straight.
But is she too late?
Perfect Timing is a charming romantic comedy that will have you wondering if true love can be found at the wrong time. It's a teen romance that will appeal to readers of New Adult contemporary romance and romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Jenny B. Jones, Rainbow Rowell, and Sophie Kinsella.





I adored Robin's debut novel Ditched, it had me laughing constantly and then in tears the next moment but always, with a smile on my face. It had such a retro 80's John Hughes vibe to it that I couldn't help but love it. 

With a new novel coming out, I just knew it was something I needed to try. I promised myself I would read all of her YA books because I just had so much darn fun with the first one.

I am so excited to say that her second novel, Perfect Timing, did not disappoint. IT was every bit as fun, laugh inducing, heart melting, and smiling making, as the first. 

I immediately liked Tori and as soon as Adam was introduced, fell in love with his geeky shyness as well. I have said this before and I will say it every single time, it is so hard to not fall for the shy, nerdy type with a heart as sweet as can be.

 This was such a fun, quirky read that kept me turning the pages from the first to the last, satisfied with the way it all came about and ended. I am so very glad I found this author, she really does know how to write and she does it well with hijinks around every corner and a romance that is always sweet but subtle in it's own right and characters that are every bit as lovable as the plot is. 



*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by an outside source. I was not compensated for this review.