Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

22032788Release date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Purchase: Amazon 

Synopsis via Goodreads:
13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. 

Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. 

Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

*Approved by publisher on Netgalley





When Reason Breaks was an intense read for me. It had my emotions all over the place and that's one of the main things I liked about the story. It made me think. A lot. For instance, I was so sure about which girl would reach her breaking point and decide to end her life, but I certainly had a wake up when I realized that I was judging based on stereotypes. Sure, that character seemed the most likely to commit suicide, and with the way she dealt with her feelings of anger throughout the book, it seemed fitting. So that was a great twist by the author in order to let people know that you can't just make a decision about someone based on what you see on the outside. Sometimes it's the one that appears to be okay that is the most troubled. With that said, I should talk about the characters.

Emily seemed like the girl with everything, but once you develop an understanding of her family life and see how much pressure she was under to paint a perfect picture on a daily basis, then you could understand her inner suffering and even relate to her. In the beginning, I thought it wasn't as bad in comparison to what Elizabeth was going through. She had a violent outburst after witnessing something hurtful and basically skated down a painful path after that. Her relationship with her mother appeared dead, and it was as if her mother wasn't even trying to change things. She was so quick to scold Elizabeth and hardly ever listened to her daughter, so that along with other things were taking a toll on Elizabeth and I sympathized more with her in the first few chapters because her life just seemed so much more sad. But I was wrong. There's no weighing when it comes to someone's pain. No one feels it more than the other. The ending proved that to me. 

the-fragmentsofmymind.blogspot.com

Aside from the overall concept and the great way in which Rodriguez delivered such a moving story, I was intrigued by the Emily Dickinson poems she used and very impressed by how well the author intertwined Emily's words to her own. As you read, you can definitely see how each poem attributes to a character. To be honest, I've never delved that much into Dickinson's works but after reading When Reason Breaks, I'm fascinated enough to want to learn more. That's how good this book is. 

Back to the writing. Superb is the one word that keeps coming to me when I think of Rodriguez' writing style. It's lucid in the sense that it's easy to read and you'll absorb word after word without ever wanting to stop. I liked her descriptions and how I could see every scene and feel every emotion. I also liked that the story wasn't too fast or too slow. It was just right. There was never a moment that I felt bored or thought that it was dragging. Every detail mattered and every chapter pulled me in deeper. I wanted so badly to find out which one of the characters ended up in the woods after reaching her breaking point, and I wanted to know what would happen to her. If she would survive and if so, how she would face life afterwards. I can't say enough how much I liked When Reason Breaks, and I'm blown away by the fact that this is a debut. It's as if the author has been writing for ages. I highly recommend this one. It's such a good story and I look forward to reading Cindy Rodriguez' next book.



About the Author
Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Connecticut. When Reason Breaks is her debut novel.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Family Secrets by Kat Nichols

Check out the cover reveal for Kat Nichols' Family Secrets. This is the first in her YA Paranormal series. Continue below for the intriguing cover, teasers and giveaway.



Series: Secret Societies Collection
Release date: January 2015

SYNOPSIS VIA GOODREADS:
An orphan by the age of sixteen, Sophia Morganthal now lives with her best friend and struggles in a world with no relatives. Midway through her Senior year, Sophia finds herself flying across the country to live with a family she never knew existed. She ends up with more questions than answers when she discovers that not only does she come from a long line of witches but that she must be initiated within the year to prevent a battle for coven leadership. 

Feeling more alone than ever, Sophia finds her solace in books. The journals of past initiates provide her with more than she ever wanted to know and make her question the path she’s on. Amidst all of the upheaval in her life, Sophia also finds one source of happiness – Connor. The last thing she needs is more complications, but Connor is the only person who makes her feel wanted for herself and not for what she stands for. 

As Sophia learns more about herself, and what being initiated into Blackthorne coven really means, she must answer the ultimate question – would she give up everything for her family?



EXCERPT


   After watching Alexa blow up a precious stone, I was a little hesitant to try. She watched me, her foot tapping the floor repeatedly, until I picked out a pretty blue gemstone that matched my shirt. I held it in my right hand, placing my left hand over it just as Alexa had done. Here is where I thought my previous failed attempts would come in handy since I already knew what didn’t work. But it didn’t matter much after all. My magic, perhaps knowing it was about to be used for the first time, was waiting as impatient as a child kept inside on a rainy day. Unlike those previous attempts, I was finally able to find it, grasp a tendril and tug lightly. It, whatever it was, unspooled and began to move towards my hands. I looked up at Alexa, panic building in my chest, heart beating erratically as this energy moved through my body. It began to pool in my hands, where I should have been able to send it into the stone, but somehow it was blocked. My heart continued to race, getting faster and faster as the energy filled my hands. The pressure built until I was sure my hands would burst, when Alexa placed a hand on my wrist. 

   “Relax,” she said. “Let it flow.” 

  Something snapped in my brain, a mental block I had thrown up against magic being real, and finally, my power began to pour into the sapphire. It wasn’t long before I felt some resistance from the stone, as the energy flow slowed. I pulled back, somehow instinctively knowing how and my connection to the stone broke. In my hands, I held my very own power stone. Opening my hand, the gem sat on my palm, pulsing along with my heartbeat. I barked out a laugh, staring at the stone, then raised my head to look at Alexa. 
   It was real. It was all real. Everything they told me. I shook my head, still staring at the stone in my hand. The magic energy had retreated back into my body, but I could feel it pulsing inside my chest, refusing to be hidden again, at one time both foreign and completely natural.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kat Nichols was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. The youngest of four children, she'd been known to play for hours with only a cardboard box for entertainment. Her imaginary friends had friends... and family... and even little cities to play in. As she grew older, she began to put some of these stories down on paper, rather than keeping them in her head. Writing a novel had always been a dream for her, perhaps an item on her bucket list, but it wasn't until she joined a writing group with other aspiring writers that she finally got to work.When not writing, Kat is reading or driving her son to and from practices and wishing she was reading.It depends on the day. 
Kat still lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her wonderful husband, their hilarious son and their sometimes adorable and sometimes annoying cat, Ozzie.



GIVEAWAY




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

BOOK BLITZ~Coincidence by Danette J. Hansen



Check out the promo event for Danette J. Hansen's historical mystery debut, Coincidence. Continue below for an excerpt and giveaway:

23430353Release Date: November 20, 2014
Publisher: Silverlined Press

Genre: World War II Historical-genealogy Mystery
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
The lamp tumbled to the floor. 
“No!”
I threw my arms out to try to catch it, but I was too late. 
Glancing back at the mess on the floor, I noticed a strange doily was tucked inside the lip of the vase lid. I pulled it out gently. Ribbon, on a doily? 
The left corner was burned, and the thin ribbon was sewed on one side. I held the bumpy fabric in my hands. How odd. Why would anyone stuff this in the lid of a vase?

Annaliese VanLuyk soon discovers there's more than a hidden doily dating to World War II in this old Dutch house. It also contains a family mystery and she’s the only one who can solve it. Unfortunately this isn’t how her time in Netherlands is supposed to be spent. She’s here to be involved in the Plant Research Program at Wageningen University. With so much of her attention and energy being divided between her new friend, Nigel and solving this mystery, her stay in Holland could come to an end along with her career she’s always wanted.

Danette J. HansenAbout the Author
I wasn’t interested in writing until later in my life, but thinking back to my childhood I named everything I liked, so I guess it’s fitting that I now give names to characters in stories. The problem now is I have too many ideas and not enough time in the day. I’m a mother of four beautiful children, who are growing up much too fast. I’m married to the best guy in the world! We live in Northern Utah nestled in the mountain side. 
www.danettejhansen.com | FACEBOOK | TWITTER



EXCERPT

"Where's your bike?" he asked.
"I don't have one yet. But I know they are the main mode of transportation here."
He walked over to the rack and said mischievously, "Yeah, they are. Well, you can ride on my handlebars."
I laughed.
"Come on, it'll take too long to walk."
I ambled over to him as he unchained the sporty bike, trying to remember the last time I'd ridden on the handlebars. The space between them looked much too close of a squeeze and my mouth tightened.
"Oh come on, it'll be fun."
Seeing his enthusiasm fueled mine. "You think I'll fit?"
Markus's eyebrow lifted with a grin. "Turn around and I'll. . ."
"Never mind."
I straddled the front wheel and held onto the handlebars. "Okay." I lifted myself onto the bar. "Hold it steady." The cold bar made me laugh, hard. "Are you sure about this?"
Markus nodded and started pedaling while steadying our ride.


TOUR SCHEDULE

December 15th -

December 16th -

December 17th -

December 18th -

December 19th -


GIVEAWAY




Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: Maid for Love by Marie Force

11375634Series: The McCarthys of Gansett Island #1
Release date: April 28th 2011
Purchase: Amazon 

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Maddie Chester is determined to leave her hometown of Gansett Island, a place that has brought her only bad memories and ugly rumors. Then she's knocked off her bike on the way to her housekeeping job at McCarthy's Resort Hotel by Gansett's "favorite son," Mac McCarthy. He's back in town to help his father with preparations to sell the family resort and has no intention of staying long. When Mac accidentally sends Maddie flying over the handlebars, badly injuring her, he moves in to nurse her back to health and help care for her young son. He soon realizes his plans for a hit-and-run visit to the island are in serious jeopardy, and he just may be "maid" for love.

*Downloaded free kindle book




It's very rare for me to find an author from my hometown, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Marie Force's books on Goodreads. With that said, I enjoyed Maid for Love. The story does have its issues, but for the most part, it was really good. 

From jump I connected with the characters. Mac is this adorable (and hot) guy who had no intention on falling in love, but stumbled right into it when he first encountered Maddie. Now, their initial meeting was quite painful, being that they ended up bruised from it, but I liked how the story played out from there. 

I mentioned before that the story had a few issues, one being how fast their relationship progressed. I had to push that aspect of it aside and try to pretend that their feelings soared after a few weeks. But it wasn't a major problem and I didn't find it hard to accept how Mac quickly changed his views on love. Not only him, but Maddie's heart had some work to do as well. She was very closed off and as the story went on, you begin to understand why. When you're rumored to be a particular kind of woman in your hometown, chances are you wouldn't be so quick to trust either. I applaud her for her strength to stick around, because had that happened to me, I would have bolted. 

The side characters were nice additions as well. I liked Big Mac and loathed the mother when need be. Her personality was brought out greatly in various scenes and I think my reaction to her is what was intended by the author. Oh, can't forget baby Thomas. He was adorable. Whenever the author described him and his behavior it made me smile. Like seriously. I could envision him and everything else that was going on. Great writing and lovely descriptions.

If you're looking for a contemporary romance read to warm up your cold winter nights, then Maid for Love is the book for you. Guaranteed to make you swoon. And I cannot wait to see what happens between Janey and Joe in book two.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

BLOG TOUR~Since Inception by T.R. Graves


The blog tour for the first book in T.R. Graves new paranormal series has ended. See details below:

18683673Release date: December 9th 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
After discovering she has a problem worse than anything she could have ever imagined, Rainey Billows longs for the past—a time when she thought she was just a sadistic sleepwalker. Worse yet, this problem has been with her since inception.

Rainey, a woman who's suffered an entire lifetime of pain and humiliation because of her sleepwalking, is financially desperate when she takes in Carter Dodson as a boarder. With his presence in her house and her attraction to him, her internal conflicts, ones she's usually able to ignore, swim to the surface and take control. Before she knows it, her sleepwalking moves to a completely new level, and she's doing things she'd never thought possible.

In fear for Carter's life and without options, Rainey sentences herself to a nighttime ritual that would appear barbaric to others. In her mind, it's essential because, unlike anyone else, she knows firsthand the types of atrocities she's capable of in her sleep.

Carter, a man branded as unconditionally loyal by his friends, knows very little about Rainey but decides early on that she's a woman who has no one… a woman who needs someone. He commits himself to being that person for her. As soon as she makes her first request of him—to ignore her and her nighttime rituals no matter what she says or does—he reconsiders his pledge before quickly reminding himself he can't abandon her. She's had enough of that. 

Months later, study, research, and theories are not enough, and standing by is no longer an option. Carter suspects what's wrong with her. What she is. With his suspicions in tow, he searches out and enlists the help of Luke, a childhood friend who's fast-tracking his way to priesthood. After a series of unforeseen and life-threatening events, the two men learn that even the Almighty himself may not be able to help Rainey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T. R. Graves, the author of Warrior, Secrets, and Still Standing series—currently available—and Vanishing and Underwater series—to be released next year—is a 2012 & 2013 NaNoWriMo Winner.
She lives in Texas with her husband, their nineteen-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as an administrator and registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals among her most fulfilling accomplishments.



December 8th -
vivacious hobo *Guest Post
Mythical Books *Interview
The Book Lovers' Lounge *Review & Excerpt (blogger's choice)

December 9th -
Book Lovers Life *Guest Post
The Best Books Ever *Review & Favorite Quotes

December 10th -
Paperrdolls *Review

December 11th -
All in One Place *Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt *Spotlight

December 12th -
Fiction Dreams *Interview







Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: The Clique by Valerie Thomas

23306759Release date: October 31st 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
The Clique is the story of Audrey Hughes, and the attempt of a boy to win her over by bringing her down. Manipulating her friends, poisoning her relationships, and tearing at her family; Devon will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But Audrey isn’t so easily ruined. She fights for her friends, pulling closer even when they would push her away.

*Approved via Netgalley






The Clique was an okay read. The story depicts how friends cope with alleged betrayal among other things. But while it had great potential, I wasn't all the way there for me. 

Character-wise, I didn't really connect with anyone, and there were some things that kind of bugged me. For instance, I feel like their friendship wasn't all that great to begin with because of the stuff they'd think or say behind each other's backs. Audrey came off as the goody-goody but I honestly liked her character more. As for Katie, she was always trying to do what Audrey would do, or think like her friend. She was so quick to believe the lies and turn her back on her best friend. And I feel as if the animosity and jealousy was always there, so I wasn't all that surprised by her reaction.

In regards to Maggie, she was just the same. So easily manipulated, and her reasons for working with the enemy were just shallow and selfish. I couldn't sympathize with her at all. 

Overall, it was a good read with easy and fast-paced writing. However, I felt that the blurb shouldn't have made the story seem like it was all about Audrey and the guy that liked her, because the majority of the first half was about her friends and their individual issues. Regardless, I liked it for the most part. 


About the Author
Valerie Thomas is a twenty-one-year-old author of Young Adult fiction. She started writing immediately after high school, setting novels in the culture she was already familiar with. The Clique is her first novel, set in a fictionalized version of the city where she grew up.


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