Thursday, April 3, 2014

Obsidian Eyes by A.W. Exley

1836, a world of light and dark, noble and guild. The two spheres intersect when seventeen-year-old Allie Donovan is placed at the aristocratic St Matthews Academy. More at ease with a blade than a needle, she finds herself ostracized by the girls and stalked by a Scottish lord intent on learning why she is among them.
She begins to suspect the underlying reasons when soldiers arrive to see her friend, Zeb, a mechanical genius. On the hunt for answers she breaks into his underground laboratory. There, Allie discovers he is not just constructing sentient mechanical creatures, he is building a devastating new weapon for the military.
The guilds want the weapon and Allie is trapped by ties of blood. She must obey the overlord of the guild and deliver up her friend, unless she can rely on bonds of friendship, to save both their lives. Published by: Curiosity Quills Press  Publication date: March 2014  Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

 In Obsidian Eyes, you will find a great adventure story with a fun setting in St Matthews Academy. Allie is not much cared for with the other students and is mostly content with that. She doesn't like people asking many questions and manages to find a few quirky fun friends.

Allie's character is very strong, smart, and adventurous. She is a good fighter and a well rounded character with a lot of secrets. She finds an equal and romance in her love interest Jared. They worked very well together and the romance was very cute.  My absolute favorite character was Zeb, he makes gizmos out of spare mechanical parts and he is not only smart, but very creative. 

The storyline is varied and at times complex, but very entertaining. I always enjoy reading historical stories that have a strong female lead. This story was a very fast paced and entertaining read. The steam-punk and variation of characters with the slowly unraveling of secrets really kept me stuck to the pages. I recommend this one!

A.W. ExleyAbout the Author
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita’s life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
(photo from
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Convenience of Lies by Kimberly Castillo

“It doesn't matter if it's right or wrong. All that matters is if you can. If you can do something, what difference does it make?"

Based on a true story, The Convenience of Lies is a novel that keeps readers up past midnight with its story of friendship, mystery, crime, sex, and betrayal. Set in a suburban town, this story is told through the eyes of a high school junior, Mackenzie, who describes her crush on a "bad boy," Ramon and her relationship with her best friend, Kira. During the course of the story, Mackenzie does her best to attract the affections of Ramon while her friendship with Kira evolves. Eventually, the different characters' property starts getting vandalized and a mystery develops as Mackenzie and Kira try to get to the bottom of who is behind the vandalism.
Kindle Edition, 196 pages
Published October 15th 2013 
The Convenience of Lies is told from Mackenzie's perspective and really delves into the thoughts and feelings of a teen lost in love. Mackenzie's focused on getting the boy that she likes and that determination borders on obsession. (in my opinion) The idea that you are so lost in one idea that the world around you becomes unfocused and less important. Mackenzie's story soon develops into a little more than one romantic relationship. It involves friends and gangs, and even getting herself caught up in dealing with the police.

There were parts of the story that I was really hoping that Mckenzie would not be so single minded and naive when it came to decision making. And in that way it also reminded me a lot of my high school days and getting involved with groups I shouldn't have. I was also very selfish when it came to crushes on guys. At points in my life my friendships also became damaged because my focus was elsewhere. This perspective of the main character and her motives and actions at first seemed very unattractive to me, but upon consideration of my own past, I found I actually had a lot in common with her and that the author does a good job at portraying the teen voice through the story.

The main focus of the story is the slipperiness of abusive relationships. How hard it is being involved in the relationship to see the signs. Also being younger and not experienced, how easily it is to end up in one. The author even offers some advice/hints to watch for in a relationship at the back of the book. 

It was not a book that I become competely lost in, and found myself pretty upset at Mckenzie through most of the book for her decisions and only focus of a boy. But I remember those times and I think that with reflection the author did a good job of putting you into her head. One thing this story did get me to do was think. When having a crush or falling in love, that is one thing most of us don't do enough of. THINK!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blitz Burning Down the House by Allie Gail

Burning Down the House
Book & Author Details:
Burning Down the House by Allie Gail
Publication date: March 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

This book contains strong language and sexual content and is intended for ages 17+.

Rob Kensington is just your typical high school senior. Athletic, intelligent, handsome. Sees a therapist once a week. Because his parents just died in a house fire of questionable origin. And he doesn’t seem to care.
Maybe he isn’t so typical.

Sara Marsh had no clue when she returned to live with her divorced father that the bedroom down the hall would be occupied by a stray with a major attitude problem. The last time she saw Rob, he was a brooding goth who could have passed as Marilyn Manson’s love child. But at some point during her three years away, Creepy Kensington managed to evolve into a sizzling hot star running back with smoldering hazel eyes.

The attraction is undeniable. The temptation is irresistible. And soon they’re sharing more than just an address. But with another life lost in a deliberately set blaze, Sara’s trust is faltering. Has she lost her heart to a serial arsonist? He’s already shown her the allure of playing with fire.

And someone’s about to get burned.

Allie fell in love with the written word from the moment she was issued her very first Sally, Dick and Jane book. Born and raised in Alabama, she now resides in the panhandle of Florida with her own blue-eyed Prince Charming and three obnoxious cats. When she's not working on her latest literary project, she can usually be found watching B-movie horror (the cheesier, the better), reading or playing online computer games while indulging her unhealthy Pepsi addiction.
Blitz-wide giveaway
Prizes - Open INT
-25$ Amazon Gift Card + Signed copy of Burning Down the House

Or enter here:
“Hellooo, baaaa-by!
Startled, I floundered to cover my boobs while splashing water over the side of the tub and all across the floor in the process. “What the hell! What are you - get out of here!” I threw a loofah at him but in my haste I missed.
Ignoring my demand, Rob moseyed over to kneel beside the bathtub, propping his arms on the edge and smirking at my compromising position. There weren’t any bubbles left to hide under, so I quickly drew my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them. “What are you, deaf? I said get out!
“I heard what you said.” To my amazement, he dipped his fingers in the water and swirled them around. “Water’s getting cold.”
“Then take your hand out of it!” I snapped, my cheeks flushing pink.
“I think we should let it out.” He reached underwater for the drain stopper, and his grin slowly spread as my eyes widened.
“Don’t you dare.”
“See…payback’s a bitch, now isn’t it?”
“Don’t touch that drain. I mean it.” To my horror, I felt an overwhelming urge to laugh and I pressed my lips together to suppress a smile. For some idiotic reason, whenever I get nervous I start giggling like a deranged person. I have no idea why. It’s very annoying, especially because it happens at the most inopportune moments.
“I thought we were playing You-Show-Me-Yours-And-I’ll-Show-You-Mine.” He lifted the edge of the stopper just enough to tease me, allowing a small amount of water to escape. “Well, you had your go and now it’s my turn.”
“I think you’ve had one too many beers!” That probably wasn’t even far from the truth. After all, I’d never seen him acting this cheeky before.
“Whoops. Oh my goodness - what do we have here?” He plucked the stopper completely out and held it up, just out of my reach. The water began to rush down the drain. To me it seemed to be disappearing ten times faster than usual.
“It’s not funny!” I protested, even though I was struggling not to giggle at that point. My shoulders were shaking.
“I’m not the one laughing,” he reminded me.
“All right - fine, you got me back. Ha, ha, you’re so clever. At least hand me a towel.”
“Mm…I don’t think so.”
“Hand me a freaking towel!” The water was getting perilously low, and I shoved one foot over the drain to try and diminish the flow.
“You didn’t say please…” he sang softly.
“Rob…” I looked straight at him then, directly into those hazel eyes, and something I saw in them squashed my impulse to laugh. I don’t know what it was, but all of a sudden the only impulse I felt anymore was the overpowering urge to kiss him. And not only that. I had the craziest compulsion to wrap my arms around his neck and pull him on top of me and let him do me six ways to Sunday, right there in the bathtub.
My expression must have been transparent because his smile inexplicably faded. He hesitated for a moment, his eyes searching mine. For what, I can’t say. But I guess he didn’t find what he was looking for there. Straightening, he tossed me the drain stopper and walked out without a word.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunrise by Mike Mullin Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Blog Tour Info:
Buy Links for Sunrise:
About the author:
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out. Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association

Book Synopsis:
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions.
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever—and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.

This is one of the most powerful and emotional series I have read. It is a survival series 100% and Mike Mullin is not messing around when it comes to serious situations. In the series we have seen people die, raped, kidnapped, tortured and cannibals.

Things become very serious in this final novel of the Ashfall series, when their farm is put in serious danger by surrounding groups. Alex has to go through seeing people he cares for die, starve and pain. Without Darla by his side I am not sure how far he would have pushed to help those around him. He has a drive to help everybody, he is as honest as you can get in this situation and lives by a last resort motto when it comes to hurting others.

We got to see a lot of violence throughout the story, but this one really brings to a catastrophic head. The research into staying alive in such a situation is very well detailed throughout the book, but it's really the emotional ties to the characters that wins my heart. I felt all the emotions throughout the series, and this is the book that got me the most. I was devastated with the situations they had to endure and it's amazing that survival for anybody is possible.

This series has been one of my absolute favorites and they will stick with me forever. A series that I want to read again and again. Amazing writing and very strong memorable characters.

This giveaway is sponsored by Books With Bite. It is one complete set of The Ashfall Series (Ashfall, Ashen Winter & Sunrise) from The Book Depository. Please make sure they ship to your country. Open to everyone! It also includes a second prize of Sunrise Pendants. This is also open International.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Cellar (The Cellar, #1) by Natasha Preston

When sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson goes missing one night, her family, friends and boyfriend are devastated. Nothing ever happens in Long Thorpe, so the disappearance of a school girl shocks the whole community. The police waste no time in launching a search and investigation, but with nothing to go on and no trace of Summer, hopes of finding her quickly fade.

Colin Brown, is a thirty-year-old solicitor living alone after the death of his mother. He suffered a traumatic and abusive childhood, and is left with no sense of right or wrong. Desperate for the perfect family, Colin, referring to himself as Clover, turns to drastic measures to get what he wants.
Buy The Cellar: on Amazon

The Cellar is told from different perspectives. Varying from Summer herself, Clover the kidnapper, and the search party lead by Lewis, the boyfriend. Clover has a bit of a Norman Bates feel to his character. There is violence in this story, but handled with careful detail for teen readers. 

Against her family's warnings Summer decides to walk alone at night. She is picked up by Clover and taken to his cellar room where she is given a new name and introduced to the other girls that have already been living there. She must adapt to her new living situation immediately or face getting physically hurt for not obeying. Clover considers them his family and while he works, and searches for other girls. They are to stay home, take care of themselves and cook for him, among other things. 

The suspense in the writing is a constant. You are never sure of what is going to happen next, whether the girls will get hurt, Clover will explode or Lewis may find a clue.  Even though Summer is only home for a couple of pages in the book, we get to see how much her family and boyfriend mean to her through their, and her thoughts. 

The psychological affect on the characters in the book, no matter their position is the most poignant part of the novel. There is some great detail, and research that you can see went into the story to help the readers connect. 

I watch the crime shows on television all the time, it was really a fascinating thing to be put inside one of the stories and see the victims side a little closer. I really enjoyed the book and thought the story was heartbreaking and powerful.

                                                Author: Guest Post
Topic: What kind of research  did you do to give such a close perspective from Clover and how his focus on the "family unit" and his childhood, plays out in the story?

I didn’t really research anything for Clover’s childhood. That probably sounds bad, but I prefer to write things based on how I know my characters would react or think or feel. I don’t believe that there’s ever one set way to handle any situation so I felt that if I researched something similar Clover would be someone else. I hope that made sense.

I knew I wanted him to have a fairly normal early childhood with loving parents and then something big happened that changed not only his family life but also changed his mother completely. For Clover to be the way he is now something had to have changed him and the biggest influence on us is our parents.

From a young age Clover had his whole life turned upside down. His mother changed so much there was no part of her that was the woman he knew. He grew up having no real idea of what a family should be. His mother created what she wanted, did what she wanted and took what she wanted so when she died he had an opportunity to have the family he so desperately wanted, only now he didn’t know what a family was. So he created it himself and took it.

About the Author:

Twitter - natashavpreston

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living... To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.

Hardcover, 280 pages  Expected publication: March 11th 2014 by Soho Teen

Teens that enjoyed the movie Skulls starring Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker will enjoy this story.  
Secret Societies, a prestigious school, a series of disturbing deaths. Liv, Gabe and Malcolm investigate the true nature of the organization and the truth behind the several girl spirits that still haunt the campus. With the help of Gabe who can hear ghosts, Liv is able to connect to the real world and find answers of what Wickham Hall is really hiding.

Liv and Malcolm have a pretty quick romance happening in the first section of the book. The quick bond they need to develop to carry through the trust into the remainder of the story. Gabe and Liv's friendship is one that happens a little slower but is the core to the story.

There is very little down time in this story. A continuous mystery that spirals until the powerful ending. With the setting of a very prestigious school with hidden corridors, chambers and catacombs. The story has a very foreboding feeling to it. There are twists and even some rules that must be obeyed while searching for answers and the consequences for Liv and the other ghosts are high.

My favorite part of the story is the setting. The feel of this dark and secretive school with more than just brick and mortar hiding what's within. It was a highly enjoyable and addictive read.

Amy Talkington is an award-winning screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. Before all that she wrote about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen (mostly just as a way to get to hang out with rock stars). As a teenager in Dallas, Texas, Amy painted lots of angsty self-portraits, listened to The Velvet Underground and was difficult enough that her parents finally let her go to boarding school on the East Coast. Liv, Forever is her first novel.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ondine's Curse by Valentina Barbieri.

Title: Ondine’s Curse       Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance   Target audience: young adult Pages: 280  Price: £1.99 only available on amazon     Fantasy
La maledizione di OndineLa maledizione di Ondine by Valentina Barbieri

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was offered a free English translated book from the author for review.
There was a bit of similarity for this story with Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. If you enjoy that series you may want to give this one a read as well.
The world building is dark, imaginative and fun to read. Also the main character really fit the story well. Traveling between the real world and a dark misty demon world worked well in the story.
I didn't feel as connected to the story as I would have liked, but still found it an enjoyable read. the different mix of elements, from exorcism, science, spirit dimensions really makes the story enjoyable and adds levels to the story.
Although the main character is not quite teenage age I feel the story will be liked by teens as well as the new adults.

For a little more detail about the book I have posted below the press release information that was provided me through email.
Ondine is a young sensitive able to perceive a dimension in which spirits roam, looking for a way to come back to the world of the living.

Along with her friend Francesco, Ondine investigates paranormal events
in the search for a rational, scientific explanation. The truth starts to come out when she meets Benjamin Law in London. He’s a young and fascinating priest, also able to cross over to the other side. Thanks
to him, Ondine comes to meet about possessed subjects and assists in a
terrible exorcism.

News of an ancient Order of Guardians bring Ondine and Benjamin to Prague in the desperate search for Lysandra Novacek, the last descendent of the family at the head of the Order.

Amongst spirits and ancients buildings, Ondine travels through Europe confronting her greatest fears;

“When you go through the doors that separate the world of the living from that of the dead, you’ve

got to be sure you’ll be able to come back...”

Who are the Guardians of the Portals and why did the order dissappear after the second world war?

What’s hidden in the castle of Hasdeu, romanian philosopher and poet from the late 800s?

Some of the paranormal phenomena a real: metaphony (voices impressed in voice recorders or radios)

has been studied by scientists and researchers of the occult. Hasdeu’s Castle in Romania is a national

monument. According to documents of the time, it was built to Iulia Hasdeu’s wishes. The young girl

had died six months earlier but continued to comunicate with her father from the other side.

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