Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cover Reveal: In the Dying Light by Angela Carling

I'm pleased to share with you today the second book in the Secret Keeper series,  The Dying Light.

As some of you may remember I read and reviewed The Secret Keeper (see review HERE) and it was such a fun and different kind of read, I'm excited to get to book two and see what else is in store for Winter and her friends!



Book Description:


Winter Merrill knew it would be difficult when she took on an ancient curse to save her family, but couldn’t have imagined the isolated existence she would inherit.

When her long-time boyfriend’s demanding college schedule competes with her needs, Winter is left completely alone to fight the dark secrets she bares. At her breaking point a stranger enters Winter’s life, one who understands how she feels and more importantly knows how to eliminate the curse.  
Will his friendship be a new beginning for Winter or will it prove to be her demise? 
Get caught up! Grab The Secret Keeper, the first book in the series before In The Dying Light comes out in March.






Here’s a little excerpt from The Secret Keeper (book one in the series) to get you started:


Over and over in my head I repeated, “She can make my secret go
away.” I’m not sure if I was trying to convince myself, or trying to keep
myself from going nuts, but the phrase calmed me as I drove.

I found Lejo Street and began the steep climb to the top. The houses
in this neighborhood were small. Most were weathered if not
completely forgotten. Pines grew too close together. Piles of rusted tools
and long-forgotten bathroom fixtures littered the landscape, hidden
only by overgrown grasses and neglected Quakies. No wonder everyone
thought it was creepy.

My heart rate quickened with the ascent, and my palms left sticky
sweat on my steering wheel. I wiped them on my jeans only to have the
moisture build up again immediately. Soon there was nothing but dense
forest; a blur of green, broken only by the ashen skies above. The rain
came down in unyielding sheets and I turned up the windshield wipers.
Back and forth they went like a giant metronome, keeping in step with
my nervous heartbeat.

I strained to see out the windows until all at once there was nothing
in front me but a large rusted metal gate and a cracked wood sign, painted
long ago, that declared, “No trespassing.” Beyond the gate, through the
trees and the rain, I saw the pale blue house that the girl in the park had described.

One more time I said out loud, “She can make my secret disappear.”
I’d almost convinced myself now. I had to be convinced, what with the
dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere and the stormy weather.
Everything screamed “Don’t go in!” but I was driven to try something,
anything, not to lose my best friend and boyfriend.
I climbed from the car and ran until I reached the porch, slipping and
having to catch myself as I tried to take the stairs too fast. Light spilled
out through a crack in the curtains, letting me know someone was there.
I lifted my hand to knock on the old splintered door and froze. I didn’t
know the secret keeper’s name. How would I address her? Before I could
decide what to do, the heavily scratched door handle turned and the door
opened a crack. My mouth fell open. The eyes that peered through the
opening were surprisingly young.

My throat felt tight as I swallowed and it sounded loud to me. I
could turn and run. Everything in my gut told me to go, but I stood like
a marble statue frozen by my anguish.

Who are you looking for?” she asked.

Her melodic voice made me think of dozens of wind chimes all
tinkling at once. Still, I felt uneasy.

I made myself spit out the words. “The Secret Keeper.”
An excruciatingly long minute passed and I thought she might tell
me that I had the wrong house or that I should get off her property.
Finally, in a voice no louder than a whisper she said, “Come in. I’m the
Secret Keeper.”


About the Author:


Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines.  After years of denial she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic which led her to write her first Young Adult book Unbreakable Love. Since then she’s published three more books, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The Secret Keeper. Shackled won the silver IPGA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay. She always eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing in public bathrooms for the acoustics.  When she’s not writing YA novels, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order.  

Links to connect with Angela

Blog 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: Siren's Song by Mary Weber

Title: Siren's Song
Author: Mary Weber
Series: Book Three in the Storm Siren Trilogy
Published By: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!


Book Description:
Nym and Draewulf prepare to face off in a battle destined to destroy more lives than it saves.

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?

Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all.







Weber created a world completely futuristic, fantastic, and so out there that is was hard not to get swept up in the realism that  manages to both be believable and unbelievable at the same time.

With a cast of strong characters and a fast moving plot, this series is something to stand up and take notice of. 

This truly is one of those rare series that not only grabs you and holds you from the first page but each consecutive book, only gets better. 

And this last book truly was unbelievable and by far, my favorite of the series.

Fast paced, plot driven and with a swoon worthy romance that gets better with time, this was an outstanding conclusion to what has become a favorite series for me and one I won't be forgetting soon. 




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Title: Burning Glass
Author: Kathryn Purdie
Series: Book One in the Burning Glass Series
Published By: Katherine Tegen (March 1, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!


Book Description:
Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.










This was one of my most anticipated reads from Harper Teen for 2016. Between the gorgeous cover, the kick butt synopsis and the hopes that this would be something unique and fun, I was so excited to start it and hoped like crazy it would live up to all those pretty promises that both cover and synopsis claimed. 

I am thrilled to report that this was a nonstop, can't put down, page turner for me. Ms. Purdie's debut novel held  and captured my attention like only a well written fantasy novel can. 

It was unique, different, fun, and had a plot line that kept me guessing and turning the pages. With a protagonist that wasn't always likable but still easy to read about. 

With an almost old world historic feel and yet the thrill of a new magic filled fantasy land where anything can happen with it's unknown horrors, dangers and magic, this truly lived up to all my expectations and ended up being a read that was every bit as hard to put down as I was hoping it would be. 




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, February 5, 2016

Guest Post: The Changing Season by Steven Manchester



Today I'm pleased to have Steven Manchester here with a guest post excerpt  for his latest release, The Changing Season. It will be out February 22 so be on the lookout for it!



Brief Synopsis: 
This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy: one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy—his canine best buddy—going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left. But that was before the accident that shook the entire town. It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck. And it was before Vicki. This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn't truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple. 

An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, The Changing Season is an experience to savor—with special appeal to dog lover’s. 

Author Bio:   


Steven Manchester is the author of four #1 bestsellers: Twelve Months, The Rockin' Chair, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island. His long-anticipated novel, The Changing Season, is currently available for pre-order. Steve is also the author of the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian. He has written A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Wilbur Avenue (novelette), Just in Time (novelette) and The Thursday Night Club (novella), while his work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series and he is the produced playwright of Three Shoeboxes. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. 








The Changing Season excerpt


The beach was nearly deserted. After erecting their tent and establishing a cozy campsite, Jimmy trotted to the water. As Billy looked on, the silver-faced mutt walked in slowly—like an old man easing himself into a warm bath—the reckless abandon he’d once been known for completely gone.

Jimmy swam for a bit before sitting in the shallows with the water line at his chest.
Billy waded in and took a seat beside him where they sat for a long while, looking out onto the horizon. While the tide gently lapped at their chests, Billy wrapped his arm around Jimmy’s shoulder. “This is the life,” he whispered.

A seagull landed on the sand a few feet from them. Jimmy just sat there, watching the squawking bird with mild interest. “You must be tired, Jimmy. Back in the day, you would have chased that vulture until you collapsed.”

Jimmy stood and took chase, but it was a haphazard effort.

“Half-stepper,” Billy teased the dog and stood to go for a walk and dry off.
As they strolled along the coastline, Jimmy shook the salt water from his coat. He also took breaks, long breaks, acting like he was exploring.
“I know you’re stalling,” Billy told him, “and it’s okay.” At least your spirit’s still willing, Billy thought, getting choked up.

When Jimmy slowed even more, Billy headed for the campsite. The sea grasses had lost their summer hue and were now brittle, snapping in half as Billy and Jimmy walked through the abandoned dunes.

They reached camp and sat together again where Billy discovered that the pads on Jimmy’s paws were dry and cracked. One was even bleeding, which Jimmy licked for some time. Billy pulled the big moose into his lap. “Too many miles on those old tires, huh?” he whispered, before noticing the patch of missing fur on the mutt’s hind quarter—a souvenir from a vicious fight he’d won in his glory days. A mean stray had swaggered into the backyard looking for trouble. Unwilling to let it go, Jimmy gave the growling stranger all the trouble he could handle. That one battle scar had been rubbed and patted thousands of times throughout the years, the family being forever grateful for Jimmy’s sacrificial love and fearless devotion. As they sat side-by-side, Billy rubbed it again.
Resting his head in Billy’s lap, Jimmy’s eyes squinted while he enjoyed the heavy scratching.
Billy worked his hand up the old dog’s body, stroking Jimmy’s head and kneading the scruff of his neck. “I love you, buddy,” he said. “You know that, right?”
Jimmy licked Billy’s hand.

“And I need to go away pretty soon…to college.”
Jimmy licked him again.

“The last thing in the world I want is to leave you, but I…” Billy stopped from going any further. A wave of tears was waiting to break on the shore just behind his eyes.
As though Jimmy understood, he nestled deeper into Billy’s lap and began giving Billy’s hand a thorough bath.

With his free hand, Billy rubbed Jimmy’s chest up and down—fast and hard—exactly the way the old mutt liked it. As he did, he looked up and noticed a bank of even darker clouds had gathered above. “Looks like rain,” he told Jimmy. “Hopefully, there’s no thunder.”
They napped in the tent, Jimmy appearing much less worried about his nails on the air mattress than Billy. They curled up together, the rain pitter-pattering on the light canvas above. “It’s just a shower,” Billy told him. As good a guess as any meteorologist would make, Billy thought, though it doesn’t matter either way. As they began to nod off in each other’s arms, Jimmy snored peacefully. Billy stared at his best friend’s face, studying every nook and cranny—memorizing every crease and line. But it was silly. He knew Jimmy’s face better than his own. And I’m going to miss it something awful, he thought, swallowing back the lump in his throat. While the rain picked up and began thumping on the tent’s roof, Billy closed his eyes.

When they awoke from their afternoon siesta, Jimmy stood on the wobbly air mattress and yipped in pain. Once the sound of playful banter, Billy knew it was from pain now. “You okay?” he asked, massaging the dog’s haunches and working out the knots as he’d watched Arlene do many times. “Feel better now?” he asked, stopping.

Jimmy reached up with his right paw and scratched Billy’s hand, gesturing that he continue.

After a few more minutes, Billy stopped again. “Better?” he asked.
Jimmy licked Billy’s face once before slowly stepping off the jelly-like mattress.
Billy hurried to throw two baby aspirin into a glob of peanut butter and fed it to the mutt.
When they came out of hibernation, the air was cool and fresh. The trees glistened from the rain. Billy looked up. The clouds had dispersed, leaving behind the last of the day’s light.
The sunset was a palate of coral pinks and greens, with swirls of purple brushed in. The light softened—like the ambiance of an expensive romantic dinner, before fading into the distance and becoming twilight. There was a giant pause, as if the world collectively exhaled after filing another day into the history books. Billy and Jimmy sat together on a sturdy fold-out chair, silently sharing the magic. Billy took a deep breath and sighed.
Jimmy did the same.

Billy laughed. “Copycat,” he whispered.

The beach had always been the place where Jimmy was free to romp and roam—to explore. And each year he did just that. But not this year. Jimmy nuzzled into Billy’s lap again, where he awaited the attention Billy had always showered on him.

“You’re a good boy,” Billy whispered, as he scratched the gentle canine under his chin. He shook his head. “Although you haven’t been a boy for a long time.”
In what seemed like minutes, a million flickering stars covered the dark sky. Billy and Jimmy got up to take another stroll. They walked a few feet when they happened upon a giant puddle. Moonlight was trapped in the puddle, along with Billy and Jimmy’s reflections—the two of them standing knee to shoulder. While Billy smiled, Jimmy bent at the water’s edge and began to drink, sending ripples through the portrait. “Don’t drink that, Jimmy,” Billy scolded him. “You have fresh water back in the tent.”
Jimmy paid him no mind and kept lapping loudly, slobbering all over himself and depositing an equal amount of back wash.

Billy shook his head. “Whatever, it’s your stomach.”
They made it down to the water’s edge again and stood together in the silence for a long, long while. It was as though neither of them wanted the night to end, as though both of them needed more time together. Billy closed his eyes and listened to the tide. The ebb and flow was constant but random, like surround sound lapping the shore on the left, right and center.

The night grew cold, real cold for the time of year. Billy was surprised he and Jimmy couldn’t see their breath. The drop in temperature was significant, reminding Billy once again that summer was quickly coming to an end. It was a cold slap to the face—literally. I’m moving away in just a week, he thought. One week! He looked down at Jimmy, glad that his furry friend had no concept or fear of time.

Billy built a campfire, which wasn’t easy considering that everything was still damp from the rain shower. But sitting by a campfire had always been his and Jimmy’s thing, the perfect atmosphere to spend quality time together, so he worked hard to get the fire going.
They sat together in silence for a long time, hypnotized by the swaying flames and the rhythm of the rolling tide. When it was time to turn in for the night, Jimmy licked his paw, running it across his face for the day’s final bath. They both stood and stretched, leaving behind a handful of glowing embers and heading for the tent.

Kneeling beside the air mattress, Billy said his prayers. As he crawled in beside Jimmy, he left on the battery-operated lantern for his timid, four-legged friend, knowing that two D cell batteries would be killed in the process.

While Jimmy snored, Billy watched as their silhouettes moved randomly on the ceiling of the tent. He locked onto them, hypnotized by the shadows dancing above. His eyes grew heavy and he yawned. Within seconds, the shadows grew smaller until they disappeared.

Billy watched Jimmy—as a puppy—crying because the bedspread was covering his eyes. Jimmy’s claustrophobic, he realized. “It’s play time,” he told the dog, tricking Jimmy into thinking they were going to horse around. The garden hose and bottle of dog shampoo, however, made the smart dog whimper. Billy laughed. When he looked back, Jimmy was stretched out flat on his belly, all four legs pin straight like he’d been strapped to the torturer’s rack. Billy did a double-take and Jimmy was wearing the cone of shame so he didn’t bite at his stitches after being neutered. Poor guy, Billy thought, and then yelled at the dog after he’d torn a pillow to shreds. In the next scene, an older Jimmy chomped on ice cubes, spraying them everywhere like a broken snow cone machine. And then they were fishing, both of them young again. Jimmy whined as he watched the small perch swim in circles in the bucket. He placed his paw on the lip of the pail, pulling it to him and dumping the flopping fish into the grass—in some sad attempt at freeing the prisoners. Billy laughed again and a moment later, he was watching on in horror as Sophie dressed the poor dog in some ridiculous outfit for one of her lively tea parties. Sophie played with Jimmy’s ears, his paws, his tail; the mutt just lay there, as if he understood it was the price he had to pay for free meals. Jimmy’s the ultimate pilot fish. Billy shook his head, while a water sprinkler soaked the summer grass and Jimmy exhibited another example of his terrible drinking habits. Billy could see himself falling out the tree in the backyard and grabbing his arm; the pain was mind numbing. While he healed, Jimmy never left his side. Billy then looked down to find that his cast was gone. He looked up again and Jimmy was smiling at him, his teeth covered in tartar build-up. “Have you been kissing a skunk?” he teased the dog. “You have a bad case of gingivitis, buddy…or is it halitosis?” Billy passed the groomer’s window and noticed that he’d grown tall. Jimmy was beyond ecstatic to see him; his nails had been clipped, his fur trimmed but his eyes were as wide as two chocolate pies. “What did she do to you, boy?” Billy teased the frightened dog.

Billy awoke, panting like a dog himself. He looked over at his tent mate, who was still snoring peacefully on the air mattress. “Oh Jimmy,” he muttered and wrapped his arm around the drooling heap.

Billy shook the cobwebs from his head and tried to make sense of it all. It was just a dream, he realized. Fragmented and confused in time and context, he’d dreamed about Jimmy. There were glimpses of the past and present merged together, as though Jimmy’s life had been thrown into a blender and Billy was enjoying each experience with him a second time. He pushed himself closer to Jimmy until he could feel the rise and fall of the dog’s breathing. “I love you so much, buddy,” he whispered, before falling back to sleep.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Title: Hidden Bodies
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: Book Two in the You Duology
Published By: Atria (February 23, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher
(in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Rating: 4 Stars!


Book Description:
Charmingly murderous anti-hero Joe Goldberg continues his twisted quest for the perfect love in this thrilling follow-up to the “deeply dark yet mesmerizing” You. When Joe follows the woman he wants to marry to the West Coast, he never imagines that his obsession will lead him to such tragedy.








Disturbing, horrific, vengeful, psychotic, and foul are all words that not only describe this novel but Joe, the ultimate anti-hero, himself. And yet despite all his flaws, all of the horrors that he has done, we can't help but be fascinated by his story. By how his mind works, categories, justifies, and manipulates.

And no matter how dark a place that is, Joe's world, Joe's mind, he still manages to have some redeeming qualities and those qualities, are what keep us reading. Keep us hoping that maybe just maybe, this story, his story, will somehow be okay in the end. That there has to be some happily ever after, whether for him or for his victims. 

Without going into too much detail I will say that this isn't the same Joe from You, in fact, this is a whole new Joe, good and bad and this book, shed so much light, on so many things. Once again we are thrust into a dark mind, a dark place but also a place that does have some light. Small rays that slip through here and there, those redeeming qualities that we all hope are really there, that are in all of us, good bad, evil, what have you.

Kepnes once again wrote something much different from anything else I have ever dared to read. She puts us in a place most of us would never dream to go, would never want to go, and yet she keeps us reading, keeps us turning the pages. I have to hand it to her, this woman knows how to draw us in. She knows how to write and sick or not, she does it well.  




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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.

I can't even tell you how excited I am that this series is still going and book four is being released. I love this series so much and the author has been through a lot in the past couple of years and I really am thrilled she choose to write again. I'm so dang happy about it and again, this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. *does a happy dance* Can't wait!

If you haven't picked this series up yet, run and grab it. I don't think you will be disappointed with it in the least.




Book Description:

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm the Graveyard Queen.


Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. 
For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.



Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin. 











Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Title: Vision in Silver
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: Book Three in The Others Series
Published By: Penguin (March 3, 2015)
Source: Purchased
Genre: Adult Dystopain/Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!


Book Description:
The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…








It didn't take me long to fall in love with Simon, Sam, Henry, Tess, Vlad, Meg and okay, a ton more people that I won't name because the list is long. Because of that list though, this series truly is one of a kind.

So many different people, creatures, beings, in short, The Others, to love that it makes it so much fun, so interesting, and entertaining to read that before you know it, you are completely hooked. 

In fact a four hundred plus page book, goes by in the blink of an eye because you become so absorbed in it, it really is that good and that well written.

If I had to sum up this series is just a few adjectives these would be them, captivating, entertaining, original, fun, and unforgettable. I'm sure there are more that I could use but in short, those words are why I will continue to read this series and come back to it each time a new book comes out. There is just something about it that holds your interest and makes you think about it constantly, whether reading it or not.

The type that you hope gets picked up for a movie or tv series because you don't want it to end and you want to see all those beloved characters come to life so you can watch them and read about them because either way, you just can't get enough of them.