Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Proof of Angels by Mary Curran Hackett (4 stars)

About Proof of Angels

• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (November 4, 2014)

From the critically acclaimed author of Proof of Heaven comes an unforgettable tale that asks the question “Are there angels among us?”

Sean Magee is a firefighter—a hero who risks his own life to save others, running into dangerous situations few have the courage to dare. While fighting a horrific blaze, Sean becomes trapped by flames and is nearly overcome by smoke. Just when it seems that all is lost, he’s led to a window, by what he swears is divine intervention. And then he jumps . . .

. . . into a new life. For years, Sean has shut down his feelings, existing in a state of emotional numbness. Coming through that fire, he knows he can no longer be that man whose heart is closed to the world. But before he can face his future, he must confront his past and everyone in it: the family, the friends, the woman—and the love—he carelessly left behind.

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Review

Sean Magee survives a near-death experience thanks to an angel's guidance. After, he's determined to right the wrongs of his past and overcome his demons and drug and alcohol abuse. 

To fix his future he must face his past and the people he hurt along the way, especially a former love. Can a broken man find his way to healing?

There are so many moments in this book that hit me in the gut. We've all made promises to be a better person (e.g., just let me live through this pain, and I'll make changes) after a painful event; Sean actually follows through. Horrible injuries--he's a firefighter who had to just life by jumping three stories from an exploding building--create a man who recognizes he's broken and the only way to heal is to seek out those who suffered because of it.

I loved his journey, especially his dealings with friends and his sister--her pain was a very touching part of Sean's past pains. I wished more had been done with the angel story line and how angels affect us all, and I thought the reunion with his past love--a driving force of the story--was rushed in the end. I wanted to savor more Sean's incredible journey and renewed belief in something bigger than himself.

Overall, I recommend this book. It's a heartwarming, and heartbreaking, journey of a man. One that reminds us there really are angels out there.

Rating: 4 stars
Mary Curran Hackett
About Mary Curran Hackett

Mary Curran Hackett lives with her husband and children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Find out more about Mary on her website, like her onFacebook, and connect with her on Twitter.


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Proof of Angels blog tour page

Friday, November 7, 2014

Renaria: Into the Adyton by J.L. Wilson Release Day Blitz


About Renaria: In the Adyton

A small memento, a universal power...

It’s the year 2126, post-World War V. Leda, age seventeen, bounds through the lush forested region of the Desintor Foothills as a regal, bow-wielding, High-Elf Scout. That is, when she’s logged into her favorite MMO game: Renaria. 

One crisp fall afternoon, an unseasonal storm fractures the sky of Trinton, New Texas with splinters of emerald lightning and otherworldly songs. Oddly, no one sees the storm except her brother and their guild mate Travis.

She brushes off the event as a fluke, but she can’t seem to get the song out of her mind. Suddenly, a new quest appears in her game directing her to the blue sand dunes of the Sinare Desert to meet Caleb, a legendary Elf Diviner. 

Now she has a choice: Ignore the quest and turn off the game, or dive in and risk everything for a shot at an adventure.


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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Obsession by Lisa Helen Gray Spotlight


Title: Obsession
Author: Lisa Helen Gray
Release date: 28th October 
Editor: Lori Ross
Cover designs: Pink Ink Designs 


From Amazon's best selling novel Better Left Forgotten, Lisa brings you the second book in the Forgotten series, Obsession. 

Danni Carter has had an obsession with Nate Mathews ever since she could remember. But then one dreadful, drunken night, her obsession turned into rejection. She has spent years distancing herself from Nate, the one person she always wanted, and who never wanted her in return. 

After Danni finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman, her life has turned upside down…. 

Now a stalker is obsessed with her … 

He’s always watching, never showing himself, and never talks to her. The only thing he has done is make her life a living hell. 

When her stalker takes his fixation to the next level by vandalizing her apartment, Nate is there to pick up the pieces and offers Danni somewhere to stay. 

How can she live with a man who rejected her all those years ago, and not be able to feel anything towards him? As the heat sizzles between the two, someone else’s blood is boiling into a rage. 

His obsession will lead to a death, but whose death will it be? ….. 

Read obsession, second installment of the Forgotten series to find out …. 

AUTHORS NOTE: Novel can be read as a stand alone, but recommends to be read in order.






How far would you go to protect the ones you love? 

Some things are better left forgotten, but for Caitlyn Michelson forgetting is not something that she can do. After the brutal death of her sister, she packs up her four year old daughter Carrie and moves across the country, all in an attempt to get away from her sister’s killer, Robin Quinton. 

After blackmailing Robin she believes that she will finally be free to live her life. However Caitlyn was naive to think her threats would work against the man who brutally murdered her sister. It’s only when she meets gorgeous bad boy biker Cage Carter that she finally begins to feel like she is living again. Will lady luck finally be on her side? 

Or will everything she has be torn away from her? 

Due to strong content, sexual scenes and violence, only suitable for 18+


Monday, November 3, 2014

Promises by Amber Garr (4 stars)

About Promises
Book One of the Syrenka Series
(from Goodreads)

Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiance, would make a wonderful husband except that she's been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan's life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life she so adamantly tried to escape.


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Review

Eviana knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to do what's necessary to get it. She's in love, but it's not the guy--or the species for that matter--her parents have chosen. Eviana makes decisions based on love, but she doesn't have all the information. Will she really have to choose between her love and her family?

This was my first foray into the mermaid universe, and I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I loved the mermaid folklore and idea of selkies (I'd never heard of them before this book). Thankfully, this is a series, because I'm totally invested.

First, Eviana is a great character, flawed but full of heart. She struggles with her decision to leave her family, and her arranged marriage, knowing it will hurt those she leaves behind. But she truly believes she should follow her heart. It's a struggle she has throughout the book, and one without an easy answer. At times, she seems a bit whiny, but she has a lot to process. Who among us never whined as a teenager? But it never felt overdone or annoying. 

I have to admit... I am Team Kain. Since the book starts with Eviana already madly in love with her selkie, Brendan, I took it as fact; however, I didn't feel the connection between them. Granted, problems for them quickly arise, so it might not be a fair assessment. 

What I found most fascinating were all the creatures and clan politics. Some first books suffer from laying the groundwork, but this one was a fast read full of tantalizing information. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, exciting, and intriguing read, look no further. 

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of the bestselling The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, The Water Crisis Chronicles, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. 

For even more fun facts, visit her Website About page

Connect with Amber

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cover Reveal of Fractured Glass: A Novel Anthology

I'm so excited to reveal the cover for Fractured Glass, a novel anthology. It was such an amazing experience writing a story with four other authors. 

Expected Release Date: Late December, 2014
Pre-orders: Late November, 2014
Title: Fractured Glass
Author(s): Tia Silverthorne Bach, Jo Michaels, Casey L. Bond, Kelly Risser, and N. L. Greene
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction with five sub-genres (paranormal, horror, fantasy, magic, and romance)
Length: ~100k words

About Fractured Glass


What if other worlds existed alongside your own? What if you could travel through them and truly escape reality?

Sloan and Harley Glass were born moments apart; but, despite their differences, the sixteen-year-old twins couldn’t be closer. They’ve held their tongues each and every time their mother has uprooted them—often moving across the country with little notice. They’ve learned to accept change. But what is Mom running from?

They discover they’re travelers—half-descendants of those who can traverse an entire universe of parallel worlds known as fractals. When the past catches up, Harley is kidnapped and taken to one of those distant worlds. Now, Sloan must garner her courage and find a way to rescue her sister. Traversing the worlds isn’t the hard part; it’s surviving the elements and the creatures lying in wait to destroy everything in their path.
Will the Glass sisters be able to save the fractal worlds from the kidnapper, or will everything fracture and crumble around them?


*****

Why is this novel different? Well, because it’s a novel anthology. Each of the authors endeavored to use the same characters and to guide those characters through five sub-genres of 20k words each in the same storyline. You’ve never read anything quite like it, and we do hope you enjoy the Glass sisters’ adventures.

Now we’ll get to the good stuff! First, the digital cover:



And the full wrap...



We can’t wait to release this puppy out into the world for all to read and be entertained. Thanks so much for stopping by to check out our cover. We’ll have some giveaways when the book goes live, so be looking for that post, too!

If you’d like to visit the authors, you may do so via the links below:

Tia Silverthorne Bach
Jo Michaels
Casey L. Bond
Kelly Risser
N. L. Greene

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ghost Horse by Thomas McNeely (3.5 stars)

About Ghost Horse

Publisher: Gival Press

Set amidst the social tensions of 1970’s Houston, Ghost Horse tells the story of eleven-year-old Buddy Turner’s shifting alliances within his fragmented family and with two other boys—one Anglo, one Latino—in their quest to make a Super-8 animated movie. As his father’s many secrets begin to unravel, Buddy discovers the real movie: the intersection between life as he sees it and the truth of his own past. In a vivid story of love, friendship, and betrayal, Ghost Horse explores a boy’s swiftly changing awareness of himself and the world through the lens of imagination.

Praise for Ghost Horse

“An elegy for a lost father, an unforgettable fable of the power of art, Ghost Horse weaves a singular spell, captivating the reader and never letting go.”—Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

“In Ghost Horse, his excellent debut novel, Thomas McNeely skillfully offers up the dark mysteries of the adult world through the eyes of a child. Wise, insightful, and exquisitely written, it lays bare the heartbreak of family life and lost friendship against the back drop of class and racial difference. Ghost Horse is that rare fictional rendering that truly illuminates real life.” —Rishi Reddi, author of Karma and Other Stories, winner of the L. L. Winship / PEN New England Award

“Thomas McNeely is a beautiful writer. I’ve read drafts of this book over the last ten years and I’ve been waiting all that time for the finished product. This is an incredible book about love and family and growing up. But mostly it’s about the mysteries of the human heart.” —Stephen Elliott, editor of The Rumpus; author of Happy Baby and The Adderall Diaries

“Thomas H. McNeely’s moving, darkly beautiful debut novel, Ghost Horse, turns the emotional messiness of family life into something gripping and mysterious. One boy’s coming-of-age in 1970s Texas becomes the deeply compelling story of all who have ever shouldered an unwanted secret. McNeely is an astoundingly gifted writer exploring—to great effect—the vagaries and surprises of desire.” —Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter and Sight Reading

“In this dark, swirling, atmospheric novel Thomas McNeely brings to life the world of Buddy Turner and his deeply troubled parents and grandparents during a few desperate months in the mid-70s. Even as Buddy struggles to keep faith with his film about the ghost horse and his collaborator, Alex, the adults around him keep changing shape, keep lying. I know of few other novels that so powerfully evoke the chaos and powerlessness of childhood, even fewer that do so with such power and brilliance. Ghost Horse is a wonderful and compulsively readable debut.”—Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The House on Fortune Street, winner of the L.L. Winship / PEN New England Award for Fiction

“As if Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson teamed up to write a 1970’s Texas YA novel that went off the rails somewhere – in a very, very good way.” —Lisa Peet, LibraryJournal

Review

Buddy is a boy torn between two parents and all their issues. His escape is focusing on a movie project with one of his friends. But creative endeavors can't hold back the troubles in his family and society in general. 

So much is right about this novel. For instance, Buddy is an intricate character who will find his way into the reader's heart. He is struggling, and his pain jumps off the pages. Then, there are his interactions with kids his own age, which showcases both society at the time and general coming-of-age woes. All of this is told in heartbreaking detail. It's dark in a way that rings true and pulls the reader in.

But I also must say, I found myself struggling to read it. Not just because of the raw honesty, but the author's style in presenting it. There's not enough dialogue and too many rushed scenes (and overheard conversations) which took away from some of the emotional punch, although there's still plenty.

To be fair, it's not meant to be an easy read. While I felt connected to Buddy and his struggles, I felt somehow removed from both of his parents and their real stories. I especially wanted more background and character transparency for the involved grandparents.

Still, I would recommend to readers who love literary fiction and all that entails--dark, intense story; heartbreaking revelations; emotional connection to struggling characters; and thought-provoking, underlying themes and symbolism. It's the kind of a book an English class or scholarly book club would have a field day with.

Note: I love literary fiction, but it relies heavily on connection. For some reason, I was having a hard time staying connected to the story. Connection is highly subjective.

Rating: 3.5 stars

About Thomas McNeely

A native of Houston, Texas, Thomas H. McNeely has received fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University, the Dobie Paisano Program at the University of Texas at Austin, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Epoch, and has been anthologized in Algonquin Books’ Best of the South and What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. His non-fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter and The Rumpus. Ghost Horse, winner of the 2013 Gival Press Novel Award, is his first book. He teaches in the Emerson College Honors Program and the Stanford Online Writing Studio, and lives with his wife and daughter in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Thomas at his website.


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Ghost Horse blog tour page

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Less Than Nothing by R.E. Blake (4 stars)

About Less Than Nothing
(from GoodReads)

Sage’s life as a teenage runaway in San Francisco is simple: Snatch a few hours of sleep on park benches and bus stops; dodge perverts, predators, and cops; and make enough as a street musician to eat. But her world flips upside down when she meets Derek – hot, tattooed, and charming, a singer from Seattle whose looks and talent take her breath away.

What begins as a reluctant partnership quickly develops into a cross-country race against time - and awakens a hunger in Sage that’s unfamiliar and exciting.

As they travel from coast to coast, Sage and Derek pursue their dream, only to discover that they can never run far enough to escape the demons from their pasts.

Less Than Nothing is the breakout debut NA novel from USA Today bestseller R.E. Blake that critics are buzzing about and readers can’t put down. Sage & Derek's story continues in More Than Anything (book 2) and Best of Everything (book 3).


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Review

Sage is facing a struggle few teens experience: life on the streets. Derek is in the same predicament. All they have is whatever their voices can earn. Sage inherited a good corner, and her voice has managed to keep some food in her belly. 

When Derek proposes they work together, she's dubious at first but gives in. Then, he reveals his dreams are even bigger. Suddenly, they are heading cross-country for a one in a million chance. 

Sage quickly won my heart. She's alone at a very young age, but she's a fighter. As if it wasn't enough what she'd been through with an addict mom, absent father, and abusive stepfather, she had to navigate the dangers of life on the streets. Then, Derek came along. No longer alone, she opened herself up to the pain of finally letting someone in.

What an interesting spin on young love, too. Most of us don't think of two teenagers falling in love on the streets and finding a way to follow their dreams. It's an interesting journey, and I found myself quite caught up in it. As a first of a series, it's a strong start, and I'm eager to see what happens with these characters. 

If you want to invest in great characters for a series, take a chance on Less than Nothing

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

R.E. Blake is the pseudonym of the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over 30 novels, featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Chicago Tribune.

Find out more at his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.