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Young Adult Book Review – Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.

A contemporary YA romantic mystery for ages 16 and up.

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My Review
Valley of the Moon is a young adult page-turning thriller/mystery with a healthy dose of romance and a huge twist I never saw coming. Author Bronwyn Archer creates a stunning tale of a girl caught in the middle of the Russian mafia and a mystery surrounding her mother. There is a thread of the supernatural, but it may not be supernatural at all, that’s part of the mystery. Lana lives with her father, the owner of an exotic car dealership with financial difficulties. She meets and begins dating a hot guy who seems almost too perfect to be true. When her ex-stepmother starts meddling in her life, Lana is sure she’s up to something, but even she couldn’t anticipate how bad that something is.

Plot
The story is well-plotted with lots of suspense. There’s a particularly dark event I never saw coming and couldn’t believe at first, but the more I examined the story in retrospect, the more I realize it’s part of the longer plot, as this is the first book in the series. The author weaves an intricate tale of loss, fear, longing, and revenge with fascinating characters and mind-numbing twists.

The Writing
The writing is fluid and poetic at times. The author does a great job of building tension and interspersing it with lighter moments, allowing the reader to breathe, before building back up again to a breathless conclusion.

The Characters
Lana is one of my favorite young adult heroines. She’s brash, tough, smart, but is still vulnerable enough to make her sympathetic. She’s got a smart mouth and sometimes overuses it, but that’s one of my favorite things about her. The other characters are equally interesting, especially because we never get to really know them except through Lana’s eyes, making them all enigmas that I can’t wait to find out more about in the next book.

What Didn’t Work for Me
1. There’s only one thing that rubbed me the wrong way and that’s the ending. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, it just…ended. It was odd and it left me unsettled rather than satisfied or dying to read more. This was the only thing that kept this from being a perfect five stars for me.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Valley of the Moon
1. Lana. She’s an amazing heroine with just enough grit and softness to make her kickass and belivable.

2. Lana’s dad. He’s troubled, but I like him. He puts his daughter’s safety and interests first.

3. The mystery. Trying to figure out what’s going on is half the fun with this gripping tale.

4. The twists. So many things I didn’t see coming kept me turning the page to find out what the heck happened.

5. The cars. Lana has an amazing collection of awesome cars at her disposal. If only the Russian mafia weren’t trying to kill her, she could have really enjoyed them.

Bottom Line
Valley of the Moon is a fast-paced young adult mystery thriller with enough romance and suspense to please nearly any audience.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Publisher: Bronarch Books
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Pages: 285
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance/Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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Author Bronwyn Archer

Author Bronwyn Archer

About the Author
Bronwyn Archer is a young-adult author, digital media copywriter, and mother to several children, last time she counted.

At her all-girls high school, Bronwyn discovered a love of writing and the importance of a good fake ID. The only sport she was good at was boogie-boarding, but she decided to hang up her board after a terrifying close encounter with a seven-foot blue shark in the Santa Monica Bay.

She still gets nervous in black-bottomed swimming pools.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English and Art History, she moved to Paris, where she edited a magazine for expatriates. After failing to become the next Hemingway—despite putting in many hours at the Ritz Hotel’s Hemingway Bar—she moved back to the States, where she developed a semi-successful career in New York and Los Angeles as a copywriter for ad agencies and companies like HBO and Disney.

Now Bronwyn writes fiction and raises children. She’s up to two rescue mutts and four kids, which makes her a semi-freak in this neck of the woods, but she’s learned that once you decide to live your life your way, everything else gets a little easier.

Besides writing and expertly avoiding baskets of laundry that need folding, Bronwyn loves movies from the 80s, comedy, Disneyland (sorry WDW), the paintings of Winslow Homer and Maxfield Parrish, coffee, Paris, Oscar Wilde, hot sauce, the Christmas season, Thai street food, making things with felt, and the smell of freshly printed books.

She is still searching for her own “signature fragrance,” which she’ll know when she finds it. .

Where to Find Bronwyn Archer
Goodreads | Website  | Twitter
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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – How to Keep Rolling After the Fall by Karole Cozzo

How to Keep Rolling After the Fall Blog Tour

How to Keep Rolling After the Fall by Karole Cozzo

How to Keep Rolling After the Fall by Karole Cozzo

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.

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My Review
This is such a sweet, moving story. Nikki made one bad choice that seriously damaged the life of another girl, and she’s paying the price. It’s hard to feel sorry for her at first. Until you find out she didn’t act alone, but she’s the only one who’s life has been turned upside down. Nikki accepts her punishment but feels it’s unfair that her co-conspirators basically got off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. She spends a short amount of time feeling sorry for herself before she picks herself up and tries to make the best of her situation.

Part of her sentence includes volunteering at a community rehabilitation center where she meets hot, but wheelchair bound Pax. The two strike up an unlikely friendship that turns into something more. But both have big issues to deal with and a romantic relationship will test them both in different ways. These two teens have a lot to offer each other and the world, so when the going gets tough, the tough find a way to do the right thing.

Plot
Once again, author Karole Cozzo brings us a romance wrapped in deeper issues of cyber bullying, teen driving, life changing moments, and discovering who you are underneath it all. Nikki needs to examine her part in what happened and Pax needs to learn how to let someone into what he views as his personal nightmare of being a paraplegic. Neither has an easy path and Cozzo doesn’t gloss over any of it, giving neither character an easy out.

Characters
I love the characters. Nikki goes from difficult to like to someone I root for, even eliciting a few tears from me, and I’m not much of a crier. Pax is stubborn, loyal, and thoughtful, but he’s got his own baggage that he’s forced to overcome, which he does in an authentic way.

Writing
I love Cozzo’s writing. It’s fresh and youthful, and her characters are vivid and real.

Ending
The ending was well done. It’s not an easy path, but a natural culmination of the events and the characters’ journeys, and left me completely satisfied.

Top Five Things I Loved about How to Keep Rolling After the Fall
1. Nikki’s acceptance of her role in everything. She doesn’t try to deflect the guilt onto others, but owns her part in what happened.
2. Pax’s loyalty. His acceptance of Nikki even after she confesses what she’s done is inspiring.
3. Cyberbullying. Shown both through the eyes of the bully and the bullied (separate incidents), the author brings this issue to center stage in a way that make it impossible to ignore.
4. Natural consequences. Both Nikki and Pax must face the natural consequences of their actions. Both of their lives are forever changed in very different ways.
5. The epilogue. Super cute and sweet.

Bottom Line
How to Keep Rolling After the Fall is a story of self-reflection and redemption.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: How to Keep Rolling After the Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Pages: 272
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Karole Cozzo

Author Karole Cozzo

About the Author
KAROLE COZZO is a school psychologist by day, a wife and mother of two by night, and a writer of YA romance in the wee hours of the morning. She loves camping out at Starbucks, breakfast cereal at all hours, and watching every movie made from her favorite YA books. How to Say I Love You Out Loud is her debut novel.

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Where to find Karole Cozzo
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Book Review –Live Wire (Titan Series) by Cristin Harber

Live Wire Blog Tour

Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber

Live Wire (Titan #7.5) by Cristin Harber

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Where Are They Now? on iBooks!

Titan Group is expanding! New recruits mean Jared Westin has potential new hires to scrutinize. What he didn’t expect was his very pregnant wife Sugar to finagle her way onto the surveillance team as the prospects were assessed.

Her involvement in the simple observation goes dangerously wrong. She and best friend Lexi Black stumble into a problem with Russian mobsters. Sugar is forced to draw on her old ATF tricks, but weeks from her due date, she has no choice but to team up with Bishop O’Kane, a potential-new recruit and Parker Black, Lexi’s hacker husband, who must go undercover.

This is special ops novella is packed with high-stakes crime and intrigue, a baby story for Boss Man, and two steamy romances for two of Titan’s favorite couples!

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My Review
As a dedicated member of #TeamTitan, I was excited to get my hands on the latest book in the series. My only disappointment is that it’s only a novella, which means I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with my favorite badass characters as I wanted to. This installment brings us a very (very) pregnant Sugar, a nervous Jared, Lexie in her first field assignment, and an unsure Parker, who’s none too thrilled his wife is doing field work.

It was fun to see these four characters in a different situation than we’re used to. There’s plenty of suspense and romance, and because it’s a Titan novel, there’s some action. And if I have any complaints at all it’s that the action didn’t last long enough. The situation Sugar and Lexie get themselves into is over too fast for me and was wrapped up without enough butt kicking, shooting, and other action I’ve come to expect from a Cristin Harber novel. But, as I said, it’s a novella, so with limited pages, the author needed to reserve some room for the interpersonal stuff and boy does she deliver!

Plot
As her due date looms, Sugar is antsy to get out and do something and decides some reconnaissance of a potential new hire is something she can get Jared to agree to. She takes new BFF Lexie along for company and backup. Because they’re just doing surveillance. What could possible go wrong? But this is Titan, so of course it goes wrong in the worst possible way, showing us a side of Sugar we rarely see and a side of Jared we’ve never seen.

Characters
I love seeing Sugar and Jared out of their element. They stay true to character, but it’s more that we get to see some serious growth within both of them as they become parents for the second time and the first time to a newborn. Once again, Cristin Harber creates strong female characters that are easy to admire and tough male characters with a soft underbelly when it comes to the women they love.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Live Wire
1. Jared and Sugar. They’re one of the more intriguing couples in Titan, but we got to see a different side to them this time around, and I loved it.
2. Parker and Lexie. The two computer nerds are as cute as ever.
3. Bishop O’Kane. He’s awesome. I can’t wait to read his story next!
4. The romance. There were some pretty hot as well as sweet moments.
5. Pink camo. Because how is that not the cutest thing ever?

Bottom Line
Live Wire is fast-paced with lots of heat, action, and romance.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: Live Wire
Series: Titan #7.5
Author: Cristin Harber
Publisher: Mill Creek Press
Pages: 107
Category: Contemporary Romantic Suspense/Military Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | iBooks

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Author Cristin Harber

Author Cristin Harber

About the Author
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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Where to Find Cristin Harber
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Titan Team
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Guest Post + Giveaway – Summer Lane, Author of State of Fear (Collapse Series)

State of Fear Book Blitz

A special thank you to author Summer Lane for today’s guest post on the fear in State of Fear. To find out more about Summer and her book, State of Fear, the eighth book in the new adult dystopian series, Collapse, including buy links and details on her giveaway, please see below.

This is the 8th book in the Collapse Series. How do you keep the storyline and world going this far into the series?
The issue with Cassidy Hart is not running out of stories – it’s containing them! Cassidy’s world is monstrously huge and the options for story pathways are endless, so I really had to zero in on what I wanted the eighth book to be. In terms of technicality and research, this was a challenging book – but it was also exciting to write. I was able to utilize some elements that I have wanted to use for a long time, like submarines and ice…trust me, it’ll make sense when you read the book!

Do you find it difficult to write about one set of characters for ten books?
No, I don’t. The longer you’re with your characters, the better you get to know them. In this case, I have had the opportunity to get familiar with my characters to such a level that their development and characteristics are incredibly organic. It’s a real blast!

Are you Team Uriah or Team Chris?
A lot of people like to think that Uriah is the perfect guy for Cassidy – while some much prefer Chris, since he is the original male lead (and he’s pretty awesome, in all honesty!). I have my own secret thoughts on this subject, and I don’t like to project my opinions on such an emotional element of the series. I leave that to my readers. But I will say that, in the end, Cassidy is a strong woman who doesn’t need anybody. She’s one of those kickass characters that can survive no matter what – and anyone she falls in love with is just a bonus.  I don’t say to belittle the importance of the male leads, but to stress that Cassidy is just that kind of character at this point in the series.

What’s with the title? Why ‘fear?’ What’s there to fear in this book?
The title is really a projection of the underlying theme of this book. My characters are thrust into a type of warfare that’s really unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They go to the barren wilds of Alaska, where the icy glaciers surround them and the dark winter solstice blots out the sun. Omega could kill them all – so many terrible things have happened, and could continue to happen. Cassidy is doubting herself and her relationships. This book is about exploring all of those fears, and then figuring out if our heroes are going to succumb to the darkness or stand up and kick its butt. It’s gritty, it’s dark and it’s intense. It’s my kind of story, and that’s why I wrote it.

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State of Fear (Collapse Series #8) by Summer Lane

State of Fear (Collapse Series #8) by Summer Lane

About the Book
Title:
 State of Fear
Series: Collapse #8
Author: Summer Lane
Publisher: WB Publishing
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Genre: New Adult Dystopian
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis
The world has gone nuclear, and the militias have met their first major defeat. 

Torn and desperate, Cassidy Hart and her team make a difficult decision to relocate their forces to the cold, barren wilderness of Alaska. Yukon City has become a stronghold for survivors of the apocalypse. 

Or has it?

Cassidy is on her own. Commander Chris Young remains in California to combat the shadowy forces of Omega, while Cassidy attempts to rebuild the militia’s strength at Yukon City. Uriah True has ideas of his own when it comes to surviving, and the militias are splitting apart. 

Veronica Klaus is unleashing hell upon the west coast. The true, terrifying nature of Omega is revealed at last. A dangerous, desperate move is made to find reinforcements and seize a weapon that could give the militias an upper hand. 

The downside? It just might kill everyone on planet earth. Cassidy, Chris and their friends have made it this far.  How much longer can they survive? How much longer can the world survive?.

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Author Summer Lane

Author Summer Lane

About the Author
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of The Collapse Series, The Zero Trilogy and The Bravo Saga. She is also the author of Collapse: The Illustrated Guide, a #1 bestselling graphic companion to the phenomenal original series. 

She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine where she has worked with countless authors from around the globe. Summer is also an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher. 

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her days writing, collecting tea, and writing some more.

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Where to Find Summer Lane
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Blog Tour – Playlist + Giveaway – The Compendium (The Variant Conspiracy) by Christine Hart

The Compendium Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for The Compendium, the second book in the paranormal science fiction romance trilogy, The Variant Conspiracy, by Christine Hart. See below for information on the book, buy links, a playlist, and details on her giveaway.

The Compendium (The Variant Conspiracy #2) by Christine Hart

The Compendium (The Variant Conspiracy #2) by Christine Hart

About the Book
Title: The Compendium
Series: The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy #2
Author: Christine Hart
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: July 13, 2016
Genre:
 New Adult Paranormal Science Fiction/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.

Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.

Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.

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Playlist
The Compendium is Book 2 of The Variant Conspiracy trilogy. Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Ivan could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.

Renegades – X Ambassadors
Passive – A Perfect Circle
The World Is Over – Bif Naked
Bad Reputation – Thin Lizzy
Locked In The Trunk Of A Car – Tragically Hip
Weapon – Matthew Good
Sail – AWOLNATION
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
Heaven Knows – The Pretty Reckless
Come With Me Now – KONGOS
Uprising – Muse

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In Irina’s Cards (The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy #1) by Christine Hart

In Irina’s Cards (The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy #1) by Christine Hart

About Book 1
Title: In Irina’s Cards
Series: The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy #1
Author: Christine Hart
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: May 4, 2016
Genre:
 New Adult Paranormal Science Fiction/Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis
Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery.

Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip.

Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
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Author Christine Hart

Author Christine Hart

About the Author
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

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Where to Find Christine Hart
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – Rising Tides by Katy Haye

Rising Tides Blog Tour

Rising Tides by Katy Haye

Rising Tides by Katy Haye

4.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
The truth won’t stay submerged forever

City is the last civilised place left on a drowned Earth, a floating town built from metal and plastic from the Time Before. It’s the only home doctor’s daughter Libby Marchmont has ever known or wanted – until her father helps the wrong patient and she’s forced to flee.

Cosimo came to City for one reason. Then he should have vanished back to his people on the Wastes. But what about his promise to Libby’s father?

Stranded in the middle of the sea, can the two enemies learn to trust each other? And can they survive long enough to uncover the truth: City isn’t the safe haven Libby always believed it to be …

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My Review
Like Waterworld with teens, Rising Tides is a fascinating dystopian tale of life on earth after the rising seas all but obliterate life on earth. A small floating city survives along with an island that grows all of their food. Liberty, daughter of the most respected doctor on all of City, and Cosimo, a reamer and nautilus man, someone with surgically implanted gills, form an unlikely partnership when circumstances force them together.

It takes a little bit to understand the vocabulary of this future world, but once I did, I was as submerged as the houses from the Time Before. After Liberty’s father is killed, she flees with Cosimo, a person of lower class and suspect morals. The two deal with massive trust issues, secrets, and more than a few mysteries. After a storm destroys the boat they’re fleeing in, they wash ashore only to be faced with more distrust and prejudices. But if they’re ever going to find out the truth, they need to trust each other first.

Plot
The plotting is really well done, moving at a consistent pace with lots of action, suspense and drama. It primarily centers around the secrets that City and the others harbor from Liberty. She spends most of the book trying to figure out what’s true and what’s not. But it’s also about seeking a sense of belonging. She never felt as if she fit in at home and now she’s wondering if she can make a life for herself elsewhere, but the more she’s with others, the more she feels like an outcast no matter where she goes.

Characters
Liberty and Cosimo are both well-developed, deep, flawed, and in need of some personal growth, which they both get. Haye does an excellent job of differentiating her characters, and the supporting cast on City, New Eden and elsewhere are more than just background noise and round out the cast of characters nicely.

The Writing
The writing is a little stiff for a first-person teen narrative. The author is Australian, though, and I’ve noticed this is more common in Australian young adult fiction. Still, having taking in two Aussie teens through an exchange program, I know they are just as goofy and full of teen lingo as their American peers, and I would have liked to have seen more of that in the dialogue and interior monologue of the younger characters. What the dialogue lacks, though, the descriptions more than make up for. Katy Haye paints vibrant canvases full details of her bleak future world, drawing me right in.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Rising Tides:
1. World building. Katy Haye’s world building is flawless. It’s easy to understand how her world came to be and the details she feeds us, are always the right thing at the right time.

2. Cosimo. He’s abrasive and arrogant, but loyal and nearly impossible not to love.

3. Libby. She’s abrasive in her own way, and at times grates on my nerves, but I always pulled for her, rooted for her to keep digging and get at the truth.

4. The pacing. It was nearly perfect.

5. Technology. Although technically part of world building, it deserves it’s own shout-out because it was so creative. Everything from the implanted gills of the nautilus men to the technology that allows humans to create and inhabit City were inventive and added to the readability and enjoyability of the story.

Bottom Line
Rising Tides is a fascinating young adult dystopian tale with a dousing of adventure and a splash of romance.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: Rising Tides
Author: Katy Haye
Publisher: Plumshine Books
Release Date: June 24, 2016
Pages: 264
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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Author Katy Haye

Author Katy Haye

About the Author
Katy Haye spends as much time as possible in either her own or someone else’s imaginary worlds. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

When not lost in a good book, Katy may be found on her allotment growing veg and keeping hens in order to maximise her chances of survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse or similar catastrophe (admittedly, this would not help if the entire country flooded…).

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Where to Find Katy Haye
Goodreads | Website  | Facebook Twitter

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Giveaway
Win a book-lover’s survival kit.

Your survival kit is as follows:
1. An Amazon voucher for £10/$15US/$20CAN, AUS, NZ. Load up your Kindle with books to read, while shops remain.
2. A solar charger so when the national grid fails you can still read your books.
3. A mirror. When you are stranded in the open sea you can signal for help by reflecting the sun’s light. Alternatively, if you have no wish to be rescued because you still have reading to do, flip the mirror over to depict the slogan, “Go away I’m reading.”
4. Ribbon bookmark. If all your books have been washed away by the rising seas, this can be rolled up and packed into the neck of a cut-open bottle and will double-up as a water filter. Note: this will not desalinate salt water, sorry.
5. A bag to put the last of your belongings into. DO NOT LEAVE THIS BEHIND.

Check out the ways to win with Rafflecopter.

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Book Review + Giveaway – Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

Seared on My Soul Blog Tour

Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
She’s so young, so full of life…

I couldn’t let her die…

Even if she made the world’s worst coffee.

Emily Garret never asked to be rescued, let alone by a walking JCrew ad whose idea of fun is probably managing his stock portfolio and watching the nightly news. Then again, she never thought she would wind upside-down in a ditch after a night having a little too much fun.

Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone’s hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there’s more to Emily than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.

And he’s not sure she’s ready for that battlefield.

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My Review
I thoroughly enjoyed Seared on My Soul. This is the story of Emily, the BFF of Ashlyn and sister of Lane, whom we met in Written on My Heart. The things I found lacking in Ashlyn and Lane’s story just weren’t a factor here. I fell in love with Emily in the previous book so there was no need for the author to endear her to me. But Reece was new and he took a little bit for me to warm up to, not much though. Straight-laced Reece clashes with Emily’s free-spiritedness, and should have made these two a match made in hell, but instead opposites attract and sparks fly.

Plot
Emily is a party girl with an attitude. Reece is a teacher with PTSD. Emily is tattoos and bandanas, Reece is elbow patches and button-ups. These two have nothing in common except the coffee shop where Emily works and Reece buys his morning cup of joe. Neither is what the other normally considers date material, but when they fake a date to get Lane off of Emily’s back, they end up with far more than they bargained for. Both have a lot to overcome before they can find their HEA and character development is what Cole Gibsen does best.

Characters
Emily and Reece are both deeply wounded, but by very different events — Reece by war, Emily by the loss of a beloved parent when she was still young. These events have shaped them in ways they’ll need to conquer if they have any hope at happiness, much less a future together. The author excels at this area of her writing, creating complex, well-developed characters who grow and change with the story, and Reece and Emily are no exception.

The Writing
I love Gibsen’s writing and her edgy, compelling voice. She brings a grittiness to both characters that is believable, but also unique to each one of them.

The Ending
The ending was a satisfying conclusion that wrapped things up nicely. I love the way the author set up the ending without needlessly dragging it out.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Seared on My Soul:
1. Emily. I fell in love with her in the first book and love her even more now that I understand her. She’s a well-crafted character with lots of sharp edges, but a surprisingly soft underbelly.

2. Reece. A reluctant hero, he’s everything you want in your male lead.

3. Lane. I still love his devotion to his family.

4. Honesty. Tough issues of substance abuse and PTSD are at play and are neither sugar-coated nor overly-dramatized. They are a part of the story, honestly portrayed, rather than being the story.

5. Baked goods. Who doesn’t love a good bacon bun?

Bottom Line
Seared on my Soul is a dark, edgy romance with lots of heat and heart.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: Seared on <y Soul
Author: Cole Gibsen
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Pages: 230
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CABarnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Cole Gibsen

Author Cole Gibsen

About the Author
At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

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Where to Find Cole Gibsen
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter.

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Giveaway
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Book Review – The Early To Rise Experience – Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days by Andy Traub

The Early To Rise Experience - Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days by Andy Traub

The Early To Rise Experience – Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days by Andy Traub

2 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
love being up early. If you’re willing to take one minute a day to change your life then you can become an early riser. I wrote this book because as a father of three kids under five I needed time to work on myself and my business without neglecting my family. I found that time in the morning and it has changed my life forever.

You need more than a book to build a habit

Inside the book are instructions to sign up for 30 days of emails from me. Each day I’ll email you that day’s passage as well as the audio of the same passage. You need encouragement every day for this challenge and we use multiple ways to help you build your habit.

Daily emails
Facebook group – Search for EarlyToRiseBook
Twitter connection using the hashtag #EarlyToRise
Updated resources at our EarlyToRiseBook website.

You can change your life if you’re willing to change what time you wake up in the morning. This book helps you achieve building that habit.

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My Review
I really hate leaving bad reviews, but this book just didn’t do it for me. That doesn’t mean it’s not the book for you, though. I originally started reading Early to Rise two years ago when I was looking for more time in my day. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. seemed like the perfect solution, and all I needed was the right motivation. Hence, I bought this book. The first portion delves into the various reasons someone wants to rise early. Since I picked up a copy of the book, I already had a good reason and other people’s reasons weren’t really of interest to me so I ended up skimming the beginning.

The next few sections focused on various exercises to help me rise a little earlier each day, such as going to bed 15 minutes earlier the night before and setting my alarm an equal number of minutes earlier for the morning. This progress is then repeated until I was able to get up at my desired hour. This approach was just a little too basic for me. Sure, there’s more to the book than that, but not much I personally found useful.

In the end, it boils down to whether or not getting up earlier in the morning is productive for you. I didn’t find that extra hour productive at all. Mostly I was fuzzy-headed, trying to find two brain cells to rub together. After six months of my new routine, it finally hit me that I’m my most productive in the early afternoon. No matter what time I get up or go to bed, that’s my sweet spot. I’ve adjusted my schedule to make the most of my productive time. This is what I needed, and what I ultimately took from the book, but I think another book would have gotten me to that point a lot faster.

Bottom Line
A lot of people have found this book useful. I’m not one of them, but it might just be exactly what you need.

Title: The Early To Rise Experience: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days
Author: Andy Traub
Publisher: Take Permission Media Press
Publication Date: January 25, 2013
Pages: 140
Category: Self Help/Productivity
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble

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Author Andy Traub

Author Andy Traub

About the Author
Andy Traub is a creator. Whether it’s a podcast, book, blog post or speech, his message is the same. You must take permission if you want to live a great life, create great art, and positively impact the world.

In 2010 Seth Godin gave him permission to produce The Unofficial Linchpin Podcast. In that same year he partnered with Cliff Ravenscraft, the world’s most popular podcast consultant, to create a technology show called Business Tech Weekly. He has worked with or been a guest on shows with thought leaders like Michael Hyatt, Todd Henry, Chris LoCurto, Jeff Goins, Jon Acuff, Dan Miller and Andy Andrews.

In early 2013 Andy self-published his first book The Early To Rise Experience: Learn To Rise Early in 30 Days. His book was a tremendous success and in late 2013 he published two follow up books to the Early To Rise Experience, both written by and for moms who want to learn to rise early. In mid-2013 he created The Self-Publishing System to teach other authors how to market and sell more digital copies of their books.

Where to find Andy Traub
Goodreads Website | FacebookTwitter
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Blog Tour – Playlist + Giveaway and Sale – Beast by Alana Albertson

Beast Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Beast, a contemporary military romance by multi-award-winning author, Alana Albertson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive playlist for the book, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99, or read on Kindle Unlimited for free.

Beast by Alana Albertson

Beast by Alana Albertson

About the Book
Title
: Beast
Author: Alana Albertson
Publisher: Bolero Books
Category: Contemporary Military Romance
Release Date: June 14, 2016
LinksGoodreads | Amazon

Synopsis
 Love doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be true.

Isabella—Grady Williams is a national treasure, the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, America’s scarred superhero. With tattooed arms sculpted from carrying M-16s, this bad boy has girls begging from sea to shining sea to get a piece of his action.

When my father squanders away my college fund, I make a deal with this dirty-talking Devil Dog—I will pretend to be Grady’s girlfriend for the Marine Corps Ball, and my dad will write Grady’s war memoir.

Grady is fearless. Hell, this badass jumped on a grenade to save his fellow Marines! As much as I crave him, I refuse to allow myself to become addicted to a dangerous man who will detonate my heart.

Grady—Isabella Cuesta is an angel who can see beyond my mangled skin, a pawn used to repay her father’s debt, a woman who makes me feel like a man instead of a monster.

But I no longer believe in fairy tales.

She’s mine until our contract ends. I’ll take her hard and rough, listen to all her hopes and fears, lay down my life to protect her.

This beauty will never let herself love a dangerous man like me—a man who has killed, a man who runs towards gunfire, a man who never backs down from a fight.

But without her love, I’m not a man—I’ll remain forever a beast.

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Beast Teaser 1

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BEAST MUSIC PLAYLIST

Grenade by Bruno Mars
One by Metallica
I’m Not Giving You Up by Gloria Estefan
Tale as old as Time – by Beauty & the Beast Soundtrack
One Hell of an Amen by Brantley Gilbert
BEAST Kindle Graphic

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Author Alana Albertson

Author Alana Albertson

About the Author
Alana Albertson is a multi-award winning author, current President of Romance Writers of America’s Contemporary Romance Chapter and the former President of both Romance Writers of America’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University.

A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance, new adult and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time playing with her sons, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of Homeland, Devious Maids, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

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Where to Find Alana Albertson
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon

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Giveaway
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