Announcements

This week's Novel Newcomer features Di from Book Reviews by Di and Mia from Pen and Parchment. Check out their interview, because we talk about pie!

Started book blogging in 2016 but missed sign ups? No worries! We have you covered.
Check out the details on the original post.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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Blog Tour: Neverland by Anna Katmore - Review

Neverland by Anna Katmore

Adventures in Neverland #1
Author:
Anna Katmore
Publication Date: April 11, 2014
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

Although Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales, she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. But that’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.

Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless fa├žade.

As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.

Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?

Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…
Review copy provided by the author for review during the blog tour

Just like for Camelot Burning, I have never read the original story of Peter Pan (Kathryn Rose's debut novel is based on King Arthur, not Peter Pan). I could have watched the musical on NBC on December 4, but I wasn't able to (okay, I did. But 10-15 minutes even count?), thus resulting in me walking into Anna Katmore's Neverland with very little knowledge about the original story (I know Hook is bad and Peter is the boy who never grow up and who the Lost Boys are... don't make fun of me!).

Regardless of my teeny little knowledge, Neverland is a delightful read. From early on in the book, Angelina (Angel) McFarland goes from a very normal life with two Disney-obsessed little sisters to falling off the balcony in her London home and straight into the land of Never. We meet quite a few characters in the beginnings of Neverland – Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, the infamously ruthless Captain Hook and his pirates, and Tameeka, the pixie who may or may not be Tinker Bell (Is Tinker in Peter Pan?).

Katmore definitely takes on an entirely different twist from the original story though. Even those who haven't read Peter Pan will be able to tell there's something different as Angel gets kidnapped by Hook. As Angel learns more about this so called ruthless pirate and gets closer to him, she finds out that Hook may not be so ruthless after all and that he's more human than what others believe him to be.
“Cap’n!” Fin Flannigan shouts out. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Saving the girl.”
Smee squats beside me. His voice is low and anxious. “There’s nothing there to hold on to, James. If you slip, you’ll fall to your death.”
I consider his concern for a second then nod. “That’s exactly why someone has to get her out of there.”
With the major role Hook plays in the book – we get a few chapters from his view! – and with Peter Pan's early actions, it's almost as though the pirate is the good guy compared to the joking Peter Pan. Very much similar to what the producers of Once Upon a Time is doing to the Captain Hook there. That, the characteristics from Emma that Angel seems to have, and the developing romance (I don't know what's going on between Emma and Hook now).

The way Katmore gives the pirate a human side also seems to balance the subtle plot – Angel is having a normal life with her two little sisters, she falls off the balcony of her London home, and she falls into Neverland. Throughout the rest of the story, Angel and the other characters are focused on trying to get her home before Angel forgets about her life in London. In midst of all that, Hook and Peter are pretty much at each other's throats in trying to get to a treasure.

Katmore also leaves us at a cliffhanger – a note from Hook or Peter, several months after Angel first fell into Neverland. It doesn't feel like a cliffhanger, but it does seem pretty appropriate according the synopsis of the sequel, Pan's Revenge. Don't you just love the title to the sequel? It sounds so ominous! *happy squeal*

4 Owls

Author Bio

Anna Katmore grew up in Vienna. After she graduated from school at the age of 18, she moved to Austria’s country side.

Apart from traveling around the world, her one big passion is writing. She says about herself that she has been a storyteller all her life. Already in kindergarten, she came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. Her teacher used to call her a liar. Anna calls it the cornerstone of her writing career.

Inspired by authors such as Lisa Jane Smith, Stepheny Meyer, and Becca Fitzpatrick, she started writing her first novel in 2009. Excessive reading and analyzing the structure and characters of her favorite books helped her develop the necessary skills and her very own voice. Because of her love for the language, she writes stories in English first, and when she finds a few weeks to squeeze into her tight writing schedule, she translates them into German later.

Her preferred genres are YA and fantasy romance.

In late 2012, Anna debuted with her novella PLAY WITH ME and later made this the first book of a series called Grover Beach Team. PLAY WITH ME was a finalist in its category for the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) Awards, hosted by the InD’Tale magazine at the Romance Novel Convention 2013 in Las Vegas.

One funny fact: People always told Anna that she can’t make a living with being a writer. So when PLAY WITH ME came out and sold more than 500 units every day during the first four weeks, she was thunderstruck. It took her a few days to realize what was going on.

Anna is married and has a 12-year-old son. She loves her two cats, Lily and Emma, as much as she loves her family, tries to stay fit with ZUMBA dancing twice a week, and usually spends 86% of her day writing. The remaining time is used up for food and inevitable sleep.
Author Links: Website | Facebook
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

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Best of 2014: October-December

The last three months must have been the months of grumpy.

Seriously. No 5 Owl reads? I'm a sad book blogger. It's why I've taken off and left Ella to her own devices since December 20. I shall not return until January 5.

I'm kidding. I'm pretty much internet-less throughout winter break, so I'm letting scheduling do its fantastic work (and leaving Ella to her own devices, which I probably feel a bit guilty about). Oh, and Big Brother is watching ya'll. O_O

'Twas an awfully awkward book.

Welcome to the near end of December, where I shall now present the grumpiest fantastic reads of 2014. Well, October through December. If you really want to know what the best reads for the entire year of 2014, it's pretty much all of the 5 Owl reviews of this year.

The negative side of me that developed a few months ago says some of those books *whispers* don't really deserve to be on that list, though most are... *whispers*

  1. Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter - I'm sadly one of the peeps who are conflicted about reading the last book. I do know I want to read the spin -off because Della is my favorite character. It's the attitude and sass. ;)
  2. Discern by Andrea Pearson - A lot of books that have magical powers in regards to children almost always have something to do with the number 7. In Discern though... it's the fourth kid.
  3. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - Despite the fact This Shattered World has a few similar concepts to its predecessor, These Broken Stars, the sequel certainly meets up to expectations. I secretly prefer Jubilee and Flynn over Lilac and Tarver (Yes, they make an appearance!). ;)
  4. Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison - The world of Itlantis sounds so imaginative. *happy sigh* Okay, there were some character history and development problems... but I'm a little lenient towards the first book in a series. A LITTLE. Not so much in the second and further on.
  5. Anomaly by Tonya Kuper - I fully admit I had a brain fart earlier this month and mistook December 3 for December 5. I obviously have numerical problems. But just so you know... "may the mass x acceleration be with you" when you read this book, because us wooden slabs are made to sound worse than the mundanes.
  6. Silvern by Christina Farley - A little too focused on romance, but most YA books tend to do that and I probably need to wrap my "pringly" little brain around this fact soon or I'm doomed. I still enjoyed the exotic world of Korea. Surprisingly, it's also the only Asian cultural food I've never eaten. O_O
  7. Neverland by Anna Katmore - Awww, lookie here! It's a sneak peek into the review - isn't that fantastic? Here's something you should know about Neverland: Katmore gives Captain Hook a twist from the scary, ruthless pirate of the original. It's almost like he's the good guy.... To read the review (because that statement may be rephrased), stop by on Tuesday for the blog tour!
  8. Eon by Alison Goodman - Mr. Pokey may be happy to find out Eon managed to stick its claws in at the last minute on this list, but the middle drags. A LOT. And it is a HUGE reason why I didn't give it a fantastically fantastic rating that I probably would have given (because it's the best dragon book in the history of dragon books!). If it makes anyone feel better, Eona is longer. 600+ pages? If the middle drags again, expect a crabby Sophia in the review.
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

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Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan (Junk Food for the Brain)

The 100 (The Hundred #1)
Author:
Kass Morgan
Links: The Book Depository
Publication Date: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reviewer: Ella

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.
Review copy provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for review via Netgalley – thanks!

The 100, is one of those books where you're either going to a), be totally in love with it, b), want to roast it slowly over a hot spit. or c), end up doing both a) and b). 

Can you guess what little bookwyrm got c)???!!!!! OH WHAT A CLEVER LITTLE WYRMY YOU ARE!

There are four POVs in this book. I don't know about you, but nothing makes me more crotchety then to many POVs, and while it did get frustrating whenever we got to an interesting bit in say, Clarke's chapter, THE CHAPTER WOULD END AND WE'D HAVE TO READ THROUGH 3 OTHER PEOPLES CHAPTERS BEFORE WE FINALLY GOT BACK TO CLARKE. 

I honestly didn't feel for any of the main characters much, except for Clarke to feel sorry for her, because WELLS YOUR PATHETIC STALKING OF CLARKE IS JUST GETTING CREEPY NOW AND COULD YOU PLEASE JUST STOP, and Glass, who is pretty much as fragile as glass. No kidding. I pitied her for her lack of backbone and the grief she's going to get hurled at her in the second book. Also her tastes in 'true love' which I didn't agree with. Luke is an idiot and I wouldn't mind seeing him drop dead of something horrid in the next book. Bellemy suffers from plonker syndrome in which he can't do ANYTHING AT ALL except be an idiot, fight with Wells and chase Clarke, and Wells, well, you already know what I think about him. His obsession with trying to make Clarke love him again was not only pathetic but realllllly creepy. As in run awaaaaaay, run FAAAAAR away, little Clarke, before Big Wells eats you up.

So after all my scathing and whining, did I actually enjoy The 100? 

Yes! I actually did! The 100 had many, many, MANY things that bugged the hell out of me, but the thing is...I was to busy enjoying myself throughout the book to care MUCH (big emphasis on much).

So yes, I half loved this book and half wanted to roast it's brains out for it's stupidity. 

 I can definitely see WHY people despise The 100, it's not exactly award-winning writing, the plot is basically ROMANCE, and the characters actions throughout the book don't exactly hit the wow-factor. But basically: This is book that's great to get you out of a reading slump.


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Review: Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison (No Mermaids)

Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison

Secrets of Itlantis #1
Author:
Kate Avery Ellison
Publication Date: February 2, 2014
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.

Desperate to be free, Aemi plots her escape, even going so far as to work with Nol. But the sea holds more secrets than she realizes, and escape might not be as simple as leaving...
Review copy provided by the author via Xpresso Book Tours

When I first read the synopsis and title, I thought the book would be about mermaids and sirens. I'm disappointed it's not.

Just kidding.

Of Sea and Stone is a delightfully pretty read – literally – and the pretty cover doesn't lie (though the synopsis partially lies). The underwater world of Itlantis is certainly a place I would love to see in person had it actually existed – it sounds so exotic and pretty from the way Ellison describes it.
The city of Celestrus was a collection of massive needle-like structures—gold and silver and transparent—that hovered in the middle of the dark blue water in a spiral, like a necklace around a floating woman’s throat, the points stretching down into the darkness below. Above the highest spindles of the city, sunlight danced in the water, making patterns atop of the city that flashed and glittered.
*happy sigh* Despite the fact this sounds like something straight out of Stargate Atlantis, I just love how imaginative Celestrus sounds.

Most of the names are beautiful too, especially the ones for females: Mella, Aemi, Lyssia, etc. Or maybe I just have a thing for names ending with i and a. That probably sounds really weird.

Ellison also writes the story from a very interesting perspective: Aemi, a slave in the Village of the Rocks. There's not many books out there written from a slave's view out there aside from perhaps historical fiction, and I found it intriguing to know what type of character Aemi would be, seeing as she would have much limitations compared to the usual characters I typically encounter in books.

I'm not terribly impressed with Aemi, of course. She's a great friend with the way she's willing to take the risk for Kit just so he doesn't get punished (and gets the punishment herself as a result). However, she seems very judgmental, especially when it comes to Nol.
This was all Nol’s doing; it had to be. I scanned the room but didn’t see him. How could he want me gone so badly that he was willing to go this far? Had he told Crakea to search my bunk?
Every bad thing that happens to Aemi after she is captured and placed yet again into servitude as an Indentured, Aemi thinks it's Nol's doing. I don't know what their history is, but I would love to know about their past and Aemi's past. Ellison vaguely mentions a scene with Aemi's mother as a child, but there's nothing much afterward. While the lack of Aemi's history doesn't impact the rest of the story or plot as a whole, I think I'll understand Aemi's seemingly irrational hatred for Nol much better. Plus, it makes Aemi more of a round character rather than a flat character.

I do love Aemi's relationships and interactions with the other characters, especially with Tob – they just click well together straight from the start and Aemi's interactions with the others go smoothly... for the most part.
“I’m a food scholar, studying the three D’s of food. And you like teaching people, don’t you? Well, teach me.”
“The three D’s?”
“Delectability, delightfulness, and danger. Right now, my hunch is that these tarts need more danger. I’m thinking a drop of venom from the scorpionfish to give them a little sting.”
I grimaced. “Remind me to never eat anything you cook once you’re a kill cook.”
“Shock cook!” Tob said. “No one gets killed. Except the fish.”
The book, however, doesn't exactly go in tune with the synopsis. Not really.

Let me rephrase that before anyone gets an aneurysm: The book goes in tune with the synopsis. However, the part where Nol and Aemi work together to escape from the hands of the Itlanteans doesn't seem to be emphasized as much. There's this entire chunk of the book from Aemi's capture to Nol finding out her plan that Aemi isn't working with anyone – she's working on her own.
“I know you want to escape.”
“What?” I said, halting with one hand on the door.
“I know you want to,” he repeated. “You study the maps. You ask questions about ships, about the surface. You want to go back.” He paused. “I believe you’ll do it. You’re clever and you always seem to get what you want. Well, when you go, I want to go with you.”
She gets captured at Chapter 7, approximately 18% of the book. Nol doesn't find out – or rather, become suspicious and decides to confront her – about her plan until 65% of the book and literally tells her, "So... you're going to escape, huh? Take me with you!"
“Careful,” he said softly. “Don’t get trampled. I need you if we’re going to escape.”
Pfft. It sounds like he's taking advantage of the situation. Smart and sly there little guy, but taking advantage of the situation and helping out a teeny weeny bit – "Hey! Are you sure going to this place is a good idea?" and "Here's a suit that will protect you when you actually escape." – wasn't exactly part of the description. View Spoiler »

Character problems and lack of character history – notice I said character history and not Itlantis history – aside, Ellison's first book in her newest series is a book that shows plenty of promise, although the perspective may be a little different in the sequel. It'll be interesting to see precisely how the rest of the series will play out and what other secrets Itlantis holds under the sea.

4.5 Owls

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Friday, December 19, 2014

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Blog Tour - Chandrea: The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn - Review + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Chandrea: The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

Averill #1
Author:
Marlene Wynn
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Publication Date: September 22, 2014
Publisher: Self Published
Reviewer: Sophia

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.

Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue, Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?
Review copy provided by author for the blog tour

I was overly excited to review Marlene Wynn's The Return of the Avatar Queen when I heard what genre it fell in the New Adult world: fantasy. NOT Contemporary or Romance (or both!) like most seem to be these days. Really, the only New Adult book I've come across that's something other than Contemporary is the Everlast Trilogy by Juliana Haygert (among a few others).
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Blog Tour: Pieces of Revenge - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Pieces of Revenge (Titanium #1)
Author: Valia Lind
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A weapon. A broken life. A humanity lost.

That is all Anastasia knows, that is all that she is. As an eleven-year-old, she witnessed her family's brutal murder and she's been on the run ever since. She's spent her life training and planning for the day when she can take her revenge.

Kallos Enterprises is a well respected corporation, set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows, first hand, what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of those skyscrapers. Armed with combat skills and a beyond perfect memory, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her for years.

After arriving in the city, she meets Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn't remember him, but he remembers her. His position at Kallos Enterprises is useful, his presence is unnerving, and he makes her question everything she knows about herself to be true. If her perfect memory can't remember Logan, what else about her past is wrong?

Time is running out. Anastasia has nowhere to turn, but to trust the one person who's a memory she should have, but doesn't. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must uncover the truths behind Kallos experiments and hope that the answers they find won't destroy the world forever.

Top Five Books Read This Year
by Valia Lind

Pieces of Revenge is a YA (light Sci Fi) Thriller and it’s a book that I wrote because I have a particular love for kick butt heroines and thrilling adventures. So, in honor of my book, I decided to share some others who really made a dent in my reading pile this year.

Top 5 books read this year (in no particular order):
  1. The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel - loved this book so much. It had just the right amount of tension to keep my hooked. The writing is great and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
  2. The World Without a Future by Nazarea Andrews - this is book one in probably my top zombie series. Every book exciting and fast paced and the writing is awesome. It’s like watching a TV show in your head.
  3. Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott - This book really hit the spot for me. It had the adventure aspect, coupled with awesome writing and frustrating characters. That’s what makes for a great read, right?
  4. Reboot by Amy Tintera - I’m definitely a huge fan of Ms Tintera’s writing. I read this book in one sitting because I just had to know what happened next. The characters were dynamic and the story was unique.
  5. Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell - this book is the beginning of the Conquered Earth trilogy and what an awesome read it is. It’s full of thrills and battles, bringing the world to life in a splash of color.
I, among most writers, believe that to be a better writer you must read. I try to read in the genre I’m reading, or at least in something similar, to better my storytelling skills. Sometimes, I have to read in a completely different genre. It all depends. But these five books have made an impression on me and I wanted to share that with the world.

Any books stuck out in your brain this year?

Author Bio


Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. Falling by Design is her debut young adult novel. You can visit her online at www.valialind.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Books Sophia Hopes to Read Next Year (Ahem... Next Year's TBR List)

It's surprising how the year manages to slip by (I also feel old compared to some of the other bloggers I know). In this year's (2014) TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Adam @ Roof Beam Reader, I successfully wiped out all 12 books AND the alternates. Well, except for one. That one I pretty much gave up on the series after reading the second one.

Okay, I completely forgot about one of the alternates. It was conveniently a book club read. *coughs* It's easy to forget about European Chicks. Crazy ones at that. *coughs*

I am yet taking another stab at the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge next year, once again hosted by Adam @ Roof Beam Reader. Oh, and it might be my last one for quite a while... if I'm not busy running around with medical stuff in college (Shhh! Soon-to-be Seniority!).

Then again, I'm already running around with medical and legal stuff this year.

2015 TBR Pile Challenge Guinea Pigs Books

  1. Croak by Gina Damico - Book Club read this back in September, but I wasn't able to read the book because a) I had a lot on my plate and b) Mr. Pokey offered to ease my burden a little (he reads fast) and review a book for the blog tour (I own the copy, so I CAN loan it out through Amazon), but then the little dude forgot about it. The peeps who read it told me it was awesome. The idea sounds awesome. I'm bound to love it... right???
  2. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas - I've heard lots of raving reviews, especially from the international crowd. And the title? YEP. (Half the time it IS the title. I have one called A Fairy's Guide to Disaster. I had to pick it up.)
  3. Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon - Books involving hackers are always interesting. So far in the books I've read that have hackers (usually the main character)? They've been fantastic. I've also been eyeballing this for quite awhile and have been trying to persuade book club to read it. It's not because it's a Gateway Readers Award Nominee like Croak is (though it's part of the reasons).
  4. The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp - There aren't many books based on a game. Fairies and a game - this could be interesting. So long as the things that bother me aren't involved. Then again, that reasoning applies to every book I read.
  5. Treason by S.M. Boyce - Sound familiar to a book from my list for last year? I enjoyed Lichgates, so I'm giving the sequel a whirl and hope the book is as great as the first or better.
  6. Insanity by Cameron Jace - Let me put this as delicately as possible: Ella is going through hell and high water to make me read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Does a retelling count? I promise the word "frabjous" is in there (as I hope the book will be)!
  7. The Night Has Teeth by Kat Kruger - Gods help us if the night really does have teeth. Oh wait... nightmares DO have teeth. Usually. The cover is creeptabulous - this may be a great Halloween read. Since the book won a writing competition, I expect it to be just as good or almost as good as one from a traditional publisher. Otherwise, I may have a few choice words.
  8. The Star Dwellers by David Estes - Hmm... see my reasoning for Treason.
  9. Stitch by Samantha Durante - I've also seen quite a few praising reviews and word of mouth, especially when it first came out and there was the blog tour... it's been pretty quiet for the first novel in the Stitch Trilogy lately though.
  10. Summer Demons by Mia Hoddell - I'm normally not a contemporary girl, but I'm currently in need of a good contemporary novel. Sort of a reason why I threw in Dangerous Girls as well.
  11. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - Let's see... this is the one with an assassin as the main character, yes?
  12. Touch by Jennifer Snyder - Oh, yay! More Reapish novels. I must be feeling quite... Grimm.

The Unfortunate Two Known As Alternates

  1. Embrace by Stacey Rourke - I had a bit of a hard time trying to decide who between Rourke, Estes, and Boyce I would keep in the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge (all three are great). I later decided that since all three have been on my list for 2014... I was going to kick one off and let other authors shine. That doesn't mean Stacey isn't awesome in general though, so don't take it personally. ^_^
  2. Ink by Amanda Sun - No matter how many times I write it, I always write Amazon Sun. WHYYY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO ME. I'm a fan of mythology. Asian mythology in particular (okay, only because I'm Asian, but I do love me some Greek and Roman and the Commonlies), and with books such as this one and the Gilded series by Christina Farley lately, it might be the next big thing in the mythology department. It's certainly a nice change from all the Commonlies (Greek, Roman, Egyptian).

Thus ends the list of twelve guinea pigs plus two. Read any of the books I'm planning to read next year? Do feel free to tell me your thoughts and whether or not I'm insane for thinking the positive of the book. I know it's extremely early, but any recommendations you would like me to consider for next year, should I join again?
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

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ARC Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman + Meagan Spooner (Hope. Is Not Lost For Sophia)

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Starbound #2
Author:
Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Reviewer: Sophia

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war. 
Advanced review copy provided by Disney Hyperion via Netgalley for review – thanks!

In completion to reading This Shattered World, the second book in the Starbound trilogy, I actually thought These Broken Stars had a solid ending for Tarver and Lilac, and adding more to their story would have felt forced. If you ask me, forcing almost never ends well. With how I enjoyed the first book, it's no doubt I would be walking into the sequel with high expectations.

This latest installment to the Starbound trilogy has a new couple set roughly a year after the events of These Broken Stars – Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac. Jubilee is a captain in the military in Avon* while Flynn is a rebel, the younger brother of a rebel who tried to start up a rebellion on Avon years ago and got executed as a result.

*Avon was mentioned a few times in These Broken Stars, but the first book was NOT set on Avon. This Shattered World seems to give an inside look from the people living there and how the conditions are, thus confirming Tarver's brief explanations about Avon.

In a standalone series, I often look for similarities from the current book to the prior books, and if there are similarities, if the book distinguishes itself apart to make it unique.

This Shattered World has a few similar concepts when compared to These Broken Stars: First, Jubilee and Flynn meet in a bar, though this bar is in – you never would have guessed – Avon and not on a ship by the name of the Spacey Titanic Icarus, where Tarver and Lilac met. Second, as mentioned in the synopsis and earlier, Jubilee is from the military... and if I remember correctly, Tarver was in the military as well. The only difference between the two are the ranks – Tarver was a Major at the time and Jubilee is a Captain.

Oh, and the whispers from book one – they're back as well. Though their end did disappoint me a little....
Our keeper’s mistake was in creating a prison powered by our own energy. We are a part of it. Destroy the machinery holding this place together and you will destroy us with it.
Despite the similarities – of course there's going to be some similarities since this IS the same overall storyline in the long run – This Shattered World certainly distinguishes itself to make the book an enjoyable read overall. Unlike in the first book, the format here is in flashbacks instead of an interview. While I loved the interview format, I loved the format Kaufman and Spooner used here as well. It was intriguing to learn about Jubilee's past – a young girl before her parents death, the "November Ghost," a few of her times in the military throughout This Shattered World – and how the flashbacks eventually connected together seamlessly with the story in the end.

This Shattered World won't be a disappointment to the fans of These Broken Stars – the elements used here certainly sets the sequel apart from the prequel, and it'll be exciting to see how Kaufman and Spooner wrap up the trilogy.

4.5 Owls


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Friday, December 12, 2014

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Blog Tour: Walled - Playlist + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: Walled (The Line #2)
Author: Anne Tibbets
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press (HQN)

Freedom means making brutal choices.

Rebel lovers Naya and Ric have survived one year in hiding, raising Naya’s twins from infants to toddlers in the shadow of the brutal Auberge dictatorship. They’re alive, and they’re together, but the city is crumbling around them and the haunting memory of Naya’s dark days on The Line have never fully left them. Living in isolation won’t be an option forever.

When a mysterious revolutionary seeks their help to infiltrate Auberge’s electronic heart and shut it down, it’s an opportunity—it’s risky, yes, but if it works they’ll get out of the city and taste freedom for the first time. Naya needs this. They need this.

Beyond the broken walls of Auberge, Naya and Ric find the paradise they’ve always longed for. But with anarchy reigning and Naya’s children lost amidst the chaos, they’ll need to forfeit their post-apocalyptic Eden…or commit an unspeakable act.

Book two of two.

Walled Playlist
Arranged by Anne Tibbets
  1. Hardest of Hearts – Florence and the Machine
  2. Run – Snow Patrol
  3. Archangel - Two Steps from Hell
  4. And So it Goes – Billy Joel
  5. Believe – The Bravery
  6. Daisy – Switchfoot
  7. Hey Jupiter – Tori Amos Cover
  8. Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
  9. Mad World – Cover Jules [Something?]
  10. Put Your Lights On – Santana & Everlast
  11. Do You Have to Do – Sarah McLachlan
On YouTube...

Author Bio

Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Smashwords.com Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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Review: Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter

Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter

Shadow Falls #4
Author:
C.C. Hunter
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Reviewer: Sophia

Shadow Falls Camp is back in session with the most explosive installment yet.  A shocking new threat will rock Shadow Falls—changing it forever and altering Kylie’s journey in ways she never imagined.

Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal. Not only can she see ghosts, but she doesn’t seem to belong to any one species—she exhibits traits from them all. As Kylie struggles to unlock the secrets of her identity, she begins to worry that Lucas will never be able to accept her for what she is, and what she isn’t…a werewolf.  With his pack standing in their way, Kylie finds herself turning more and more to Derek, the only person in her life who’s willing to accept the impossible.

As if life isn’t hard enough, she starts getting visits from the ghost of Holiday, her closest confidante.  Trouble is, Holiday isn’t dead…not yet anyway.  Now Kylie must race to save one of her own from an unseen danger before it’s too late—all while trying to stop her relationship with Lucas from slipping away forever.   In a world of constant confusion, there’s only one thing Kylie knows for sure.  Change is inevitable and all things must come to an end…maybe even her time at Shadow Falls.

The breathtaking fourth installment of the New York Times bestselling Shadow Falls series from author C. C. Hunter...Whispers at Moonrise.

I'm pretty sure I've read this when it first came out in 2012. Problem is, I don't remember much from it and well... I don't remember much from the prior books as well, which probably says I should go back and read the other books in the series before even bothering with the second to last book.

I only read the second to last book because I remember more from those books than Whispers at Moonrise, which I may or may not have read before. I figured I would play it safe and go from there instead of dropping the series and feeling the woes of not accomplishing a series, especially when I'm only one book away from the last book.

Not that anyone would actually do anything to me... I hope.

IF I remember correctly, Taken at Dusk ended with Kylie finding out from her real father what she really is – she has a bit of all the Supernaturals in her. In this latest installment, Kylie is trying to find out why her latest ghost looks like a splitting image of her camp leader Holiday and why Lucas seems to be giving her the cold shoulder every so often.

I have no right to judge which book in the series is my favorite – after all, it's been a few years and I don't remember too much. I can say that Della is my favorite character – I just love her attitude and how loyal she is to Miranda and Kylie despite the fact she and Miranda argue a lot – and can't wait to read her story in the spin-off. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy reading Della's story more than Kylie's story – Della's attitude just sets her apart and makes her different that it's really odd when Kylie decides to channel her inner Della.

I was considering reading the last two books in the series, not review it and then read the spin-off and review that instead.

I can also say Lucas is not exactly my favorite character because he's overly protective of Kylie and no matter how adorable that is of him, I just think he tends to be a bit of an obstacle and doesn't really bring out the best in Kylie.

I feel like I'm reading about Kylie playing a game of ping pong in the romance department – she is obviously going to choose Lucas, there's not a single drop of doubt about that. She has such conflicting feelings when it comes to Derek, it's frustrating to read about her going, "I like you, but I love Lucas, so we can't do this." SPARE US THE PAIN AND MAKE UP YOUR MIND, KYLIE. Please. With cherries on top of the pretty.

It's always the characters that fray my nerves. I wonder why?

I did enjoy the novel overall though – Hunter incorporates quite a bit of humor, and the plot isn't entirely predictable. Oh, and there's Della. Without Della and her snarkiness, I might have subconsciously dropped the series (like I have with quite a few others – a friend of mine is horrified I didn't continue The Maze Runner or Gone). The fourth novel in the Shadow Falls series is full of drama, romance, and humor, but I may only read the last book just to feel as though I accomplished something (and to enjoy more of Della's snark).

4.5 Owls

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

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Book Blast + Giveaway: The Awakening by Dorine White


Title: The Awakening
Author: Dorine White
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters.

Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.


Praise:

"Dorine White delivers twists and turns to the plot that will keep you turning the pages." ~ Melanie Mason, author of the YA historical, The Line That Divides

"The Awakening is a clever blend of folklore and fantasy, perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. A furiously fun read!" ~ Laurisa Reyes, author of the YA thriller, Contact

Author Bio


My name is Dorine White. I am a children's fantasy author and a book reviewer. I grew up back East in Maryland and attended BYU in Utah. I have a BA in Humanities with an interest in Art History and French. Currently I live in the beautiful, yet rainy Northwest with my husband and 6 children. My first novel was published in 2012 and is the beginning of the Cleopatra's Legacy series. The first two books are out, The Emerald Ring and The Ruby Pendant. Look for the third book, The Diamond Looking Glass in the summer of 2015.

Author Links:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
  • Ends December 29, 2014
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

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Blog Tour: The Messenger - Guest Post + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Title: The Messenger (Mortal Beloved #1)
Author: Pamela DuMond
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Publication Date: December 26, 2013

“All the excitement of OUTLANDER if it was a YA series.”

THE MESSENGER is optioned for film/TV.


Sixteen-year-old Madeline’s meant to fall in love with Samuel in every lifetime. But she meets him for the first time when she accidentally time travels into the past—hundreds of years before she’s even born.

Their relationship is forbidden—Samuel’s half Native, Madeline’s white. Every rendezvous they share must be secret. Each moment they spend together tempts the odds that they’ll be discovered and brutally punished. But their love is fated—and they musk risk it all.

Danger intensifies when Madeline learns she’s in the past not only to fall in love, but also to claim her birth right as a Messenger—a soul who can slip through time’s fabric at will. She can bring messages that change one life or even save many.

Deadly Hunters, dark-souled time travelers, crave Madeline’s powers and seek to seduce or kill her. Can Madeline find her way back to the future in time to save herself and Samuel?

Continue reading Madeline and Samuel’s romantic saga in…
The Assassin (Mortal Beloved, Book 2) — publishing early 2015.
The Seeker (Mortal Beloved, Book 3) — publishing fall 2015.

A Day in the Life of a Messenger
by Pamela DuMond

     Messengers are a breed of humans who are gifted/cursed with the ability to time travel. It’s genetic, it’s passed down, and it fully activates when a Messenger reaches a specific birthday. For Madeline Blackford in The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, Book One)—that age is sixteen.
     A day in the life of a Messenger can be as boring as a day at high school in present day. Perhaps you’re dreading a world history test, but afterward you get to hang out with your friends, listen to some music, hit a fun party where you might meet some new cute guys, or….
     …maybe you’re tearing through a cold, thick woods in the year 1675, during a war between the Natives and the colonists while a brutal, lethal Hunter chases after you, trying to kill you. And you know he’s going to kill you because he just butchered the guy who was assigned to protect you.
     You can pretend to be a colonial girl living in the rough world of that time: braving the elements, performing common chores. You could also be falling in love with the one person you’re not supposed to even be seen with—Samuel—the smart, gorgeous, half-native and half white young man who seems to be falling for you, as well. But don’t get caught together—in 1675 it’s a crime with harsh punishments.
     So—what do you do?
     Besides trying your best to stay alive, you seek mentors who help you learn how to be a more skillful Messenger.
     Messengers aren’t super heroes. They aren’t born knowing where to time travel, nor do they immediately figure out what their message is, and to whom they need to deliver it. They are tasked with learning about their abilities, and if they’re smart, they’ll try and get a little savvier with each travel.
     It’s a little like learning how to drive a car. You get behind the wheel of a powerful machine and hopefully you have a decent teacher in the seat next to you. You learn how to turn the car on, look in the mirrors, and use a turn signal. But, if you were at all like me, you hit the gas and the brakes too quickly, making for a jerky ride, as well as scaring your teacher.
     In The Assassin (Mortal Beloved, Book Two), Madeline trains with a new Messenger mentor in present day Chicago. Her after school activities turn from hanging out with her friends to learning how to defend herself, how to throw a punch, ride a horse, and read people to see who is a friend and who is an enemy. She trains to learn how to time travel with volition and intention, instead of simply by accident. And just as importantly—how will she recognize her message when she lands in another time period. Who is she there to help?
     Eventually Madeline’s given the choice to travel to a time period and deliver a message that can help save someone’s life—and she is pulled to the year and dramatic conflict where she will once again be with Samuel.
     She travels to medieval Europe, to a conflict that in real life inspired a King’s insanity, plotting, assassinations, intrigue and buckets of action-adventure. But in this year that Madeline has time travelled to, Samuel is very different than the young man she fell in love with back in 1675…
Because when you’re a Messenger—you need to be careful what you wish for…

Author Bio

Pamela DuMond is the author who discovered Erin Brockovich’s life story, thought it would make a great movie and pitched it to ‘Hollywood’.

She writes romantic comedic mysteries, romantic YA time travel and New Adult romance.

Her book The Story of You and Me was a Quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakout Novel Award (ABNA) 2014 in Romance.

Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys was a Quarterfinalist in ABNA 2013 in Mystery .

She’s addicted to TV shows — The Voice and Reign. The movies Love Actually and The Bourne trilogy (with Matt Damon — not that other actor guy,) make her cry ever time she watches them. (Like — a thousand.)

When she’s not writing Pamela’s also a chiropractor and cat wrangler. She loves reading, the beach, working out, movies, TV, animals, her family and friends. She lives in Venice, California with her fur-babies.

She likes her coffee strong, her cabernet hearty, her chocolate dark, her foods non-GMO and she lives for a good giggle.
Author Links:
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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Blog Tour: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper - ARC Review + Giveaway

Tour Schedule
Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Schrodinger's Consortium #1
Author:
Tonya Kuper
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: EntangledTeen
Reviewer: Sophia

Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.

My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.

When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…
Review copy provided by EntangledTeen for review during the blog tour

BREAKING NEWS: Sophia is finally coming across some good books.
UNBREAKING THE NEWS: Sophia is probably going to find something bad about said book. She wonders why Optimistically Lol Lupe is still friends with her.
Should you find this review on Amazon – haha, I'm behind on Goodreads reviews since July! – those above two sentences will not be found

I loved Anomaly. But I also don't love it. Is it possible to feel both?

The idea behind Anomaly is amazing, despite the names, to which Sarcastic Sophia will be rearing her head (especially at one name...) and Lupe will be shaking her head at Sarcastic Sophia.
  • Occuli – I thought this was "occult." Whoops. Technically, it IS a group of people relating to the supernatural...
  • Planck – I could have sworn I saw the word "Plancks" as planks. Funny thing about the name "Planck?" It's literally pronounced "plank." Oh, and there's a physicist named that. Thus, all us humans, because the Occuli call humans "Plancks," are planks. We're all wood. Why am I writing this review again?
But really, that's only a minor thing. Sort of.

I really feel like the process of using two POVs went well – that Reid's version has a purpose to the entire story rather than just seeing things from Josie's view. He seems to fill in the blanks in her past that readers normally wouldn't find out from Josie alone, ones that even she doesn't know the truth about until later, such as her dead older brother. Nick would have just been a mysterious person if it were only Josie, because we don't actually find out the full story until later in the book, dropped like a bomb instead bits and pieces of little information.

I loved Josie as a character – she's a lot different from other characters I usually come across in books. I love how, despite the fact her world is turned upside down, she actually subconsciously knows about the Oculi world and how it works – she just didn't know about it and thought it's physics. I love her reaction to the entire the situation – it's really nothing I've seen before. Most of the time it's either no panic (99.9% of the time) or panic (even THAT'S rare). Josie reacts by mumbling random facts and trying to make it all rational. She even thinks of the most random facts at the brink of death. It's adorable if you ask me.

I didn't really like the ending though. There's a bit of a moment where I'm understanding everything going on and then one sentence throws me off completely and I'm not sure I'm able to backtrack – I sort of gave up trying to understand what's going on at the particular scene.
“I had to make it look like it was me. Needed to be a decoy. I can take it now,” she whispered.
The ending also felt like a Hunger Games Arena, only it's "CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE." Sadly, I can't be the main character and choose my fate. It's already written out. Ah, Goosebumps: Choose Your Own Adventure books. Good times, good times.

I feel like Anomaly was more focused on Josie's training to get a serum to the hands of a Vice President at an awards ceremony than much of anything else aside from learning a bit of Nick's past, which I still think I need more information about.

I also want to know more about the Consortium and Resistance and their backgrounds. It seems to be a bit close minded – "The Consortium is bad! The Resistance is good!" It's all based on information from years ago, from Josie's parents, and it seems to be implied that her father is now a part of the Consortium despite the fact we are told Josie's parents are one of the founders of the Resistance. I want to know more about both – is the Resistance who they say they are? Are they really wanting what's best for humankind (us flat wooden boards) AND all Occuli, or is this just a ploy?

With the way the storyline seems to be going in the next book, I'm hoping Kuper will tell us more about the Resistance and Consortium – you can't go wrong with the main character getting a view of one of the Resistance's places, or perhaps the Resistance's base, or can you? Otherwise, Anomaly is a great start to a (hopefully) great series!

4.5 Owls

Author Bio

Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

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FTC Disclaimer

All reviewed books posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts are purchased/gifted, loaned or provided by the author/publisher for free in exchange for a honest review. There is no compensation in any way or form aside from a complimentary copy of the book, and it does not influence the review.