Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: This Side of Home by Renée Watson

Release date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything—friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.

In her inspired YA debut, Renée Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.

*Publisher approved me via Netgalley

It's been a while since I've read a book so peppered in culture and the highs and lows of racial differences, but I must say I truly liked this story for all it stood for and the way in which it was written. 

This Side of Home tells the story of Maya, and the tight bond she has with her twin sister, Nikki, and her best friend Essence. It's also about coping with changes, to oneself and to everything around you. Her whole life, Maya had everything mapped out, so it was understandable that she'd feel frustrated a bit by the fact that sometimes things don't always work out the way you planned. Aside from what was happening with her and her heart, Maya was also apprehensive about the changes taking place around her neighborhood. Her community was becoming more and more diverse but she felt it wasn't for the better, because there were still issues not being looked on. 

At first, Maya's character comes off a tad close-minded, and one might not warm up to her beliefs or some of the things she'd say. But then I remembered that there are plenty of people like Maya, including me, that want to celebrate culture and fight for it as much as we can. The only thing was, she wasn't all the way right at times. And I'm happy that Tony came into her life and made her see that change was okay. That it's alright to step out of the box and look at things in a new light. 

Once again, the writing was good. Fluid and fast-paced. The descriptions were great. I envisioned myself in the urban feel of the community and could experience the emotions of each character. My only issue was that I wanted to know who was the culprit behind the defacing of posters, and I wished that the principal would have somehow changed his views. But, you can't always get what you want. Regardless, it was a really good story and I recommend giving it a try if you'd like something more realistic and multicultural. 

About the Author
Renée Watson is the author of the children’s picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen (Random House, June 2010), which was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her middle grade novel, What Momma Left Me debuted as the New Voice for 2010 in middle grade fiction by The Independent Children's Booksellers Association.

When Renée isn't writing and performing, she is teaching. She has worked in public schools and community organizations as an artist in residence for several years, teaching poetry, fiction, and theater in Oregon, Louisiana, and New York City. She also facilitates professional development workshops for teachers and artists.

One of Renée’s passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma. She has facilitated poetry and theatre workshops with young girls coping with sexual and physical abuse, children who have witnessed violence, children coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and children who relocated to New York City after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Renée graduated from The New School, where she studied Creative Writing and earned a certificate in Drama Therapy.

Renée currently lives in New York City. |

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Spotlight: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

23309563Release date: June 9th 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Is there anything that electric chemistry can't overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends, until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decide to move away, she can't wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David's not quite ready to be left.

Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Gina CioccaAbout the Author
Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English. She lives in Georgia with her family. 
Gina is a member of the writing and blogging group YA Misfits and you can find her online at Last Year’s Mistake is her first novel. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: Silence by Natasha Preston

22221297Series: Silence #1
Release date: December 22nd 2013
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world. 

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer? 

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?

*Downloaded the kindle free on Amazon.

Silence is a bittersweet story depicting how a young girl tries hard to conceal a life-changing secret in order to keep her family together, while giving up something everyone wants so badly to hear again: her voice. 

I went into this story completely open minded. From the title, you could tell that something terrible happened to Oakley and she'd stopped speaking because of it. I had no idea she was "ordered" not to speak by someone in her life, someone she trusted. But when that started to come out as I read, I wanted to rip the guy apart for her. I was so sad for her and really wanted her to tell someone, especially Cole. 

Honestly, I think Oakley was really strong. I mean, she went through bullying and constantly having her mother try to fix her instead of just coming out and say what happened. It takes a lot of strength for someone to hang on as long as she did. But I think that was partly due to the love and support of the charming Cole. 

Cole was so sweet and protective. When he heard Oakley's voice for the first time, I believed his emotions in that moment. And even more when she confessed to him about what had happened to her. Like, the way he reacted, it was utterly real. The words, the description, everything felt real. 

I guess by now you've realized that I liked the story. It's not the average sweet and fluffy YA read, it conveys a heavy topic. And I think more people should read this book because this stuff happens in society, more often than we'd like to hear. It's very much a realistic fiction. I think the author did a good job writing it. The only reason that kept it from getting five stars is the ending. I felt like the entire story was written well and on a nice, steady pace, but when it got to the ending, it was so abrupt. That's my only issue with Silence. Otherwise, it's a good story depicting a sweet young love in spite of the pain. And that goes to show that no matter what you're going through, love will always prevail.

About the Author
My name is Natasha Preston, but most people call me Tash or Tasha. I don't mind either. I was born in England and have lived in small towns and villages out in the countryside ever since.
My husband, Joseph, is the most supportive person in my life. Without his love, help and patience I wouldn't be where I am today. And this website wouldn't exist! I'm a proud mummy to an amazing little boy who is my whole world.
At school I drifted through, achieving average grades. I fell into administration and receptionist jobs, thinking that I couldn't really do anything else.
In 2010 I stumbled into writing completely by accident. I was searching the 'app store' and came across Wattpad, an amateur writing site. For the first few months, I just read, but then decided to type up some of the ideas I had floating around in my head. I'm so glad I did because I absolutely love writing. 
Writing gave me an escape, and Wattpad gave me the self-confidence I lacked.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: Eternally by Rae Hachton

23253030Series: Eternally #1-Wasteland
Release date: October 21st 2014
Publisher: Teen Pulse
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

New Adult Horror Romance
h o r r o r o m a n c e or horromance

The Summer of 1998


He's just a drug addicted squatter, passing through town.


She's a lonely girl who spends all of her time investigating a haunting town legend. 

They are brought together at Withering House—a place harboring buried secrets and paranormal activity. 

Over the summer, they develop a friendship that turns into something more as she helps him through his addiction and he agrees to explore the legend with her. 

This summer, they're about to discover what it really feels like to find that one person you'd do anything for. 

Live Together.
Die Together.

17+ Upper/Mature YA. Zombies. Reapers. Horror. Romance.

*Purchased kindle book

I think it's safe to say that I will enjoy absolutely anything Rae Hachton writes. She has the ability to suck you in with her dark and hauntingly beautiful words, and Eternally was no exception. I loved it! My gosh, how do I review the story without giving too much away? Okay, here goes:

Eternally is told entirely from the POV of Heath. Loved that. I haven't read a book written with male narration in a while so that was a breath of fresh air. And I liked Heath's character, mostly because he was so flawed. As was Catherine, but I feel that it was good the book was in Heath's perceptive because he had so much more going on. Addiction being one of it. I must admit, it was weird at first to read about a character shooting up, but it was so believable. The escape that Heath got from drugs was convincing. That's how good the description was. 

Okay. That painful truth aside, his character was really interesting. Funny, sarcastic, straightforward, and even though he himself didn't realize it at times, he was kind and loyal. After everything with Catherine and how annoying she was to him at first, he still stuck with her and took care of her. That was the sweetest thing he did. No matter the other entity that tried to get in the way of them getting involved with each other, Heath still stayed with her and kept her safe. Until the end.

As for Catherine, she was a pain in the ass to Heath and to me at first. But then I liked how she wanted so badly to help him with his addiction, and the fact that she had so much hope in a guy she didn't know was commendable. A lot of people would have given up on Heath but not Catherine. She believed he would change. And with her help and support, he did. He let go of the pain brought on by so many things in his life and started to believe things would get better for him. Kudos to Catherine for helping him with that because in reality, many addicts don't have a single support left in their lives.

Overall, it was a really good story. If you're a fan of Gothic novels, like me, you will enjoy this one. The plot was intriguing. I liked the eerie setting and backstory, and of course Catherine's obsession with the history of the town and Withering House. There were times I was freaked out by all the spooky stuff that took place, but that made the story even more exciting. Their longing for each other was another major seller for this book too. Their feelings were intense and definitely believable. It would have to be, because their love is something that helps drive the turn of events towards the end. 

By the way, it was painful to read the ending. I was about to lose my mind because it'd hit me so hard. I really didn't want it to work out that way but there was so much build up to it that you knew things couldn't be so perfect. And this is a Rae Hachton book, so of course it would be about tortured love. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the second book and how Heath and Catherine's story will play out. I strongly hope their love will enable them to have another moment in time. 

Rae Hachton
Rae Hachton Writes Dark Romanticism--sometimes with gears and clockwork. Has cemetery obsession. Misses Victorian London and ancient Rome. Believes in vampires and magic. If imaginary, she would be an automaton fairy. Corvidophile. Content.
"My Primary goal is to Scare you/Haunt you, but make you fall in love at the same time. I'm a Monster Lover who writes Dark Fantasy and Gritty Contemporary. Also a believer in dark and twisted fairytales and Scarily-Ever Afters."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BOOK BLITZ~Unresisting by Shane Morgan

The Unresisting book blitz is now running. See details below:

15168751Series: The Unresisting #1
Release date: November 28th 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Seventeen year old Natasha Johnson is having a rough year. Her twin brother, Sean, died last spring after a car crash, and her parents decided to pack up and leave the only home she’d known all her life. It's a lot to take in, and Nat has decidedly given up on the world, until moving to Stetson Valley and meeting high school ‘outcast’, Chace Owens.

Chace's dark and mysterious aura is not exactly seen as 'normal', but Nat already knows that not a lot of things are of the norm when it comes to her life. She soon finds herself unable to resist Chace's strange pull on her heart, unleashing a sudden attraction to the unnatural forces that have always been burning within her. But with uncovering her true self brings forth great danger, as Nat learns that her brother's death had a lot more to do with the side she's unable to resist.

Can Natasha calm the blazing flames and withstand the threat of danger, or will this new found power destroy her?

Shane Morgan is a bestselling author of contemporary romance, suspense, and urban fantasy. She lives in the beautiful town of Narragansett, Rhode Island with her amazing husband, who doesn't mind being surrounded by books, or inspiring the male characters in her stories. Aside from writing, Shane enjoys blogging, reading, listening to indie music and watching movies.


After releasing a long breath, Chace pulled back on the road and continued driving in silence.
I wanted so badly to clear the air. “Chace,” I started. “I—Ah!”
Something ran into us. The tires screeched against the asphalt. Chace tried to regain control of his Mustang, but it was no use. We flipped over.
Luckily, we were both wearing seatbelts. Safety first! Dad would be proud. Was it really the seatbelts that saved us, or the fact that we were both abnormal?
Stars danced before my eyes. I could hear Chace trying to free himself to get us out of the car.
“Nat, are you okay? There’s something—” his voice trailed. A loud bang resounded above our heads. Something pounded on the bottom, which was now the top since we were upside down. Whatever it was relentlessly hammered on the car.
Chace pried himself from the seat and got me loose. We managed to climb out my window, only seconds before the car got flung over to the other side of the road.
Our mouths opened wide in shock; it stood before us, eyes blood red with scales all over its arms and legs. A beast you couldn’t even describe as being straight out of a storybook, because such an ugly thing had never been portrayed before.
The beast growled, foam dripping from the corners of its mouth. It was gigantic. I almost pissed myself at the sight.
“What the hell is that?” I managed to ask.
Chace gripped my hand tightly and yelled, “Run!”
We darted into the woods, the beast right at our backs. We managed to put some distance between us as it crashed into trees and jerked itself. Still, it wouldn’t let up. It just kept coming.
We ran deep into the forest. I started panting. My right ankle ached. I made it a few more feet when my knees buckled and I fell.
Chace dropped down fast and tried pulling me up. “C’mon, Nat, it’s getting closer. Get up!” he shouted.
I couldn’t move. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. My legs were cramping so much.
My throat felt parched and my voice came out rasped as I uttered, “I can’t.” I pushed him to go on. His grasp only tightened.
His eyes expanded. “Are you crazy? I’m not leaving you. Come on!” He pulled me up and I hopped with him over to a large redwood tree, nuzzling up to the crusty root as the beast drew close. I knew it was only a matter of time before it found us. My heart was beating so loud a deaf person could hear it.
I covered my mouth and pressed into Chace. We stood still as he wrapped his arms around my body in protective mode.
The beast stopped running and began searching the area, sniffing out our scents like a dog.
Great! It’s definitely going to find us now.
The grotesque-looking creature treaded up behind the tree where we hid. Chace and I crouched quietly, staring at each other, mystified.
Everything went really still, like the part of the movie where there was absolutely no music in the background, not even the sound of breathing, and you knew something was about to happen.
Unable to hear the beast at all, we gave each other a perplexed glance over. Then suddenly, it pushed its head around the tree and growled at us.
Instantly, Chace pushed me to the ground and flung himself over me. The beast raised a hand to stomp on him and I screamed, “No!”
Flames sprang out of my chest toward it. Its hand caught on fire and the beast backed away fast, snarling horridly and flashing its hand to put out the flames. I eased myself from beneath Chace and rose to my feet. He grabbed me.
“Nat, what are you doing?”
I brushed him off and edged closer to the beast. My insides filled with unbelievable power. It gave me such a rush. A desire I’d never felt before. I loved it. I yearned for more flames to appear, and obediently, my whole body lit up. This time it blazed more, so much more.
The beast spun around and made a low, guttural sound of anger at my presence. It charged at me, and I sent huge balls of fire from both my hands until its entire body was engulfed in flames. It groaned in agony and fell to the ground, creating an enormous tremor. Vibrations rushed the area, throwing me backwards. I tumbled to the ground as the beast exploded, showering the ground with burnt flesh.
When my flames finally cooled, my body was drenched in sweat. I stood, though I was exhausted.
Chace looked at me with amazement painted across his face. He started walking toward me. Before he could reach me, I became dizzy and collapsed right back to the ground.
Darkness awaited my return.


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*No post on Sunday.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cover & Trailer Reveal~The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan

Welcome to the Miriam Khan cover and trailer reveal for her YA Paranormal Romance The Lebrus Stone. Check out the awesome cover below and enter the giveaway:

Series: The Lebrus Stone #1
Release date: November 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:
When Eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed.

But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin who seems determined to keep his distance. The only bonus seems to be the Housekeeper and Gardener.

And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.


Miriam is from Cheshire, England and a family of six siblings. Her love for creativity led to acting at her local theatre before being a lead vocalist in rock bands. During those years, she often found solace penning her thoughts and feelings through lyrics or poetry. She chose not to continue singing in 2006, and two years later she woke up with the idea for The Lebrus Stone and began typing, revising and editing it for the next six years. She is now eager to see what readers will think.




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