Friday, August 30, 2013

Persephone (Daughters of Zeus #1)

By Kaitlin Bevis

About Persephone (from Goodreads):
There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I received Persephone, I wasn't able to read it right away. Blog tours and life (ahem, a wreck that totaled my car), had kept me busy. When I was able to breathe again, I began Kaitlin Bevis' story and I was quickly drawn in. I regretted not starting it sooner, but was glad that I was able to give it the attention it deserves.

Basically, Persephone is a modern day twist on that Greek myth. The myth says that Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and forced to be his wife, thus becoming queen of the underworld. So of course you think, "Boo Hades! How dare you kidnap a girl and force her to be with you!" Kailin Bevis, however, took this story and flipped it on its head. Instead of making Hades out as the villan, he actually becomes the hero.

I absolutely love Hades' character. Forget everything you think Hades would and should be. Revis portrays him as a caring a nurturing god who honestly looks after his souls. He's not mad about being king of the underworld, but has embraced his role.

The world that Bevis creates is believable and well planned out. I could easily see the different sections of the underworld including the various rivers. The setting is where a fantasy writer can easily get it wrong and leave the story as a 2-D shell. Bevis got it right though! Her world was created in High-Def 3D.  I actually wanted to take a trip down and visit certain parts.

Although the book is geared to young adults and teens, adults who pick up the book will enjoy it as well.  It is very age appropriate. There isn't a lot of violence and not much romance--although Bevis does a great job of capturing the chemistry between Hades and Persephone. If you like any sort of mythology, then you should pick up this book!

About Persephone's world (quotes from the book):

"Oh, we're very good at misleading. We just can't speak words that aren't true. It could unravel all of creation." --Hades

"Just get him started on what he thinks is best for the souls. He's all about making everyone feel right at home. Oh gods! He reads these stupid psychology books and just spouts off random psych-babble. It's awful!" --Cassandra (talking about Hades)

I'd followed in the footsteps of the dead, befriended a prophet, been attacked by a snowstorm, married the King of the Underworld, found out I was a goddess, and stabbed a guy with a pen all in one afternoon. I was terrified of what tomorrow might bring.  --Persephone

"...Families think they know what's best for you. Your friends let you figure that out for yourself." --Hades

"I'm a god. I don't have to rule through fear or intimidation. That's a mortal weakness." --Hades

About author Kaitlin Bevis:
 I spent my childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with me, I rewrote it. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I spent high school and college learning everything I could so that one day I could achieve that goal. I graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and am pursuing my masters at the University of Georgia.

My young adult fiction novel “Persephone,” will be released this summer. I also write for Athens Parent Magazine, and I have also published several short stories, my latest, Siren Song, is available on

Want to find out more? Check out the Persephone book trailer!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


By Lauren McLaughlin

About Scored (from Goodreads):
Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future.


At first, I was so excited to get Scored, and initially I couldn't put it down. I absolutely love the YA dystopian genre, and most of the time the authors fully think through the storyline, but sadly this book let me down. McLaughlin creates a very possible future dystpoian reality with the score system. This is a system where teens are constantly monitored by video cameras. Their actions (or inactions) are put into a computer which analyzes their ability to succeed in life. Then each student is scored. The score determines what universities a teen can get into and their future job opportunities. As a side effect, the score also determines friendships and cliques.

Readers see both sides of how being scored can be a blessing and/or a curse. Imani struggles to stay loyal to her friends and not let the score system dictate who her friends should be. When she tries to go against the system, readers get to see the fallout. No, wait, I take that back. Readers don't get to see any of the fallout becase McLaughlin ended the book too soon. She created a realistic world, and built the story up to an interesting climax and then ends the story without a resolution. There were so many questions left unanswered and readers are left unsatisfied.

What happens from the outcome of Imani playing both sides? Was her final score improved or did it drop drastically, and how does that affect her future? How has Imani's deceit with Diego Landis play out in their possible future relationship? What about her dad? Imani tells him to wait wait for her so he can hear what she has done, but readers don't see his reaction. There are many other questions too, but I won't delve into those.

A true epilogue or second book would have been better than the letter that McLaughlin includes. This book had/has a lot of potential and is worth reading, but just know that you will be scratching your head at the end wondering what happend.

Has anyone else read this book?  What are your thoughts about it?

Book Trailer:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Excerpt from Stained by Elizabeth Marx

About Stained (from Goodreads)

What happens when your darkest truth is revealed to the world?

Scarlett Marbry was just sixteen when her mother, an acclaimed Sacred Harp singer, committed suicide in front of her, sending her running from rural Alabama and the darkness that pushed her mother over the edge. Now, after five years of building a fragile cage around her heart to protect herself, she must return to Crossroads for her grandparents’ funeral. There, she’ll not only be forced to deal with the reality of her deep Southern roots, but she’ll have to face the one she left behind.

Revell Marshall is used to working with fragile objects. He’s built a life and career around reassembling the delicate stained glass windows that have put Crossroads back on the map. He’s also been pining for Scarlett all these years . . . Determined to win her heart, he helps her piece together the facts of her mother’s past. Except these revelations, once exposed, could set Scarlett on the downward spiral she barely escaped the last time. Especially when the truth that stained the past may be the same one that shatters her faith in the one person she thought she could trust...

“Is that why you were living in the same city as me and you never came to see me?” I asked a little bit more accusatorially than I meant to. “Why didn’t Mandy call me or come to see me?”

His jaw seemed to harden as he looked over the top of his sunglasses. “Do you want to know about me or Mandy?”

I rolled my eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Maybe I was just admiring you from afar as I always have.” Revell merged onto the highway in the direction of Crossroads.

I snorted. “What’s Mandy’s excuse?”

Revell took one hand off the steering wheel and rubbed the back of his neck. “She took Daddy’s death hard and she’s been busy with school there.”

“So for some reason, which you won’t explain to me, one of few people I consider a true and loyal friend came to live in my home town and she didn’t even want to see me?”

Revell sighed. “Since you didn’t come here when Daddy died, maybe she thought your friendship was over.”

“Is that what you thought? That our friendship was over?”

“We weren’t friends, Scarlett, don’t fool yourself into believing that!”

“Then I’d like to know what we were?” I countered angrily.

He wouldn’t look at me, and his voice was rough and tense when he spoke. “You knew I’ve wanted you in every way a man can want a woman since you were fifteen.”

“Friendship is better than nothing, especially when what you wanted to happen between us was completely inappropriate.”
“It was only wrong if it was one sided or if I’d acted on it when you were under age.”

“The summer I was fifteen and Mamaw found us in the deer stand you came pretty close to you going to jail.”

“The age of consent in Alabama is bit lower than it is up North.”

“You were twenty, it was a crush on an older man on my part. What was it on your part?”

Revell paused, turned, and looked me up and down. “It was I’m going to rot in hell because I want a minor or I’m going to die a slow death because I don’t believe I can live without her.”

I grumbled in disbelief, “And yet here you are perfectly healthy and happy.”

“You were the one who just said that I don’t smile the way I used to.”

I moved away from his ire closer to the door. “Are you blaming me?”

“I’m not blaming anyone, I’m just trying to tell you how I feel because you wouldn’t let me tell you back then, and you never came back to let me explain how it was.” Revell sighed. “Why didn’t you come when I wrote you?”
“I couldn’t.”

“Couldn’t or wouldn’t?”

“Couldn’t, Revell, couldn’t.”

Pre-order Stained on SMASHWORDS.

Add Stained to your GOODREADS want to read list!

About the Author: Windy City writer, Elizabeth Marx, brings cosmopolitan life alive in her fiction—a blend of romance, fast-paced Chicago living, and a sprinkle of magical realism. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs. She grew up in the city, has traveled extensively, and still says there’s no town like Chi-Town.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Witchling (Curse of Kin #1)

About the book:
Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland-or so she thought. Her world is forever changed when she discovers that she is descended from a long line of witches. To her horror she finds she is the one that is supposed to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her. As if that isn't enough, she must learn to use magic and her trainer is a man named Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches, and a god. It is Bones that has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons. Can Nera learn what she needs while staying immune to the charms of the man that gets under her skin at every opportunity?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I've read stories about magic. I've read stories about witches. I've even read stories about curses. Ari Harper does a fantastic job mixing these elements to create a satisfying and very fulfilling story that will have readers eager to pick up the sequel, Changeling, whenever it is released.

I loved that Harper elaborated on the different aspects that Nera and her friends were trained in. Between swordplay, spells, telepathy, telekinesis, and healing powers, there was a lot for Nera (and readers) to learn about. Harper did a good job giving details about the different subjects and how they work. I especially enjoyed learning about the sword fighting.

One thing that makes this book stand out is the romance, or lack there of. There's definitely chemistry between Nera and Bones, but both characters seem to push the other one away.  Instead of a love/hate relationship, it is more of a put-up-with-each-other/hate relationship. I liked that Harper didn't rush this relationship, and I would like to see how the relationship unfolds in the next book.

The many details of the curse were a bit difficult to figure out because they were gradually introduced to Nera and the readers. Probably a good thing, because one of the final aspects of the curse that Nera learns about would have had her saying "Hell No" to helping out with breaking the curse. (And I wouldn't blame her!) Give it to Nera to be strong when she had to be, even though she constantly whined about the situation.

The only minor issue I had with the story is that everyone was "dear"--as in dear mom, girl dear, or dear dad. It might be an Irish thing, and I'm completely overreacting, but I could have made a drinking game out of it. That was the only repetitive word/aspect, and as I said, it was a minor thing.  Overall, the story was well thought out and written.

For readers who love a good paranormal adventure, Witchling is a must read. Perfect for teens or adults. Put it on your To Be Read list asap!

Find Witchling on Amazon

About author Ari Harper:
Ari Harper never wanted to grow up.

To offset the limitations of aging ungracefully, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she wants.

Gods, witches and demons surround Ari while she spins her magic, doing mainly what they tell her to do. Given a chance, she prefers to work amongst chaos, which is good because she is constantly surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her stories, some of them even get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm.

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Witchling and other swag.  Giveaway is open internationally!

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Adela Arthur and The Creator's Clock

By Judyann McCole

About the book:
Whom Ever This May Concern:

I wish I could tell you the contents of this book were purely fictional. That I, Adela Arthur, was just a normal sixteen year old from Portland and that dragons, giants, elves and mermaids were just myths. I wish these were legends shared from crazy old grandparents to crazy old grandparents around campfires. After all, that is what I used to believe.

I never would have thought they lived on the other side of our mirrors in a world called Cielieu. But they do…

I never would have thought there were humans, better known as Volsin that lived among them with the ability to create light from a single thought. But there are…

I never would have thought I was one of them… But I am…

I am the last Arthur and I was brought to the human world after a Volsin, filled with greed, began to strip the light from our kind.

The human world was supposed to be a safe haven… but he’s found us and the only way to stop him is to go back to Cielieu and begin training as a student in the Elpida Castle of Light.

Like I said I wish the contents of this book were purely fictional and not my life…


Release date: July 26th 2013
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book has gotten a lot of controversy.  People are upset because it has a lot of similarities with that of Harry Potter.  If you go into the story knowing that, then it is more enjoyable than if you are blindsided by it.

Some similarities in McCole's book:

Her World
There is a magical world, Cielieu, in addition to the real world. There's a school in the new world that teaches students how to use their light (It's not magic, but light. Light does the same thing that magic would do though.) At this school there are four houses. There are many mythical creatures that live in Cielieu. 

Her People
There's a bad guy in the world that is attacking and killing the people. Everyone is afraid of the bad guy and don't like to say his name. The bad guy can get into Adela's mind, so she must learn to block it. Adela is supposed to be one of the only people who can stop the him, so everyone in Cielieu is fascinated with her. 

See the connections? There are more similarities, but I'll let you discover those when you read the book. Now, some of the good differences.

I like the "light" concept instead of magic. The people use it casually-- to get around, to assist with needs, or just because they feel like it. There are so many possibilities that the characters can use this for.

Adela forms a love/hate relationship with a guy. He's a member of a different house than Adela. McCole creates good chemistry between them and Adela's interactions with him are enjoyable to read.

Adela was raised by her grandfather in a loving environment.  He's supposedly blind, but readers (and Adela) soon find out the truth of what he is. Nice twist!

The beginning of the book has a bit of action. It's where we see the first traces of magic in the real world and where we find out the background info of what happened to Adela's parents. Adela finds out a bit of her heritage and wants to know what they died to protect. It was a great start to the book.

After the dramatic opening chapter, the next chapter has the main character turning 16. She is given a car and drives herself to school-- no DMV trip to get her license or any adult supervision. In fact the DMV wasn't even mentioned in the days following Adela's birthday. Yes, this is a minor thing, but someone should have edited that or handled that detail. Luckily, when she enters Cielieu, that stops becoming an issue.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, this has Harry Potter similarities. Tweens, teens, and adults can enjoy it. If you enjoyed the concept of Harry Potter, then give Adlea Author and the Creator's Clock a try.

About author Judyann:
Judyann is a lover of Books, Florence + Machine, The color Teal, Asian Food, Chocolate, Pandas, and The Rain. She's also a fan of writing in odd places like in bathtubs, under staircases, in a tree, or maybe zoo.

Judyann was born in Montreal, Canada and a few years later her parents moved home to the States where she's currently attending College.

Find Judyann: Website  Twitter @judyannmccole

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Across the Universe

By Beth Revis

About Across the Universe (from Goodreads):
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Covers of books can quickly attract—or deter—readers to an author’s work. Across the Universe has an amazing cover that readers will gravitate toward.  And lucky for readers, Beth Revis backs up the beautiful cover with a brilliant story that will have readers glad they gave the book a chance.

In order to travel and awaken on a new planet 300+ years in the future, Amy Martin is frozen along with her parents, and loaded on the spaceship Godspeed. However, she is prematurely awakened decades before the ship is scheduled to land.  Now she and future ship leader, Elder, must figure out who “unplugged” her, and who keeps unplugging and killing other frozens before more end up dying. Together they will discover the many secrets the ship holds and make tough decisions that will affect their lives and the lives of everyone on board Godspeed.

Since the story is set on board a spaceship, the book made me very appreciative of the world around me. People on board Godspeed never experience the little things such as open blue skies, rain, stars, or a summer breeze.  As Amy realizes what she misses while trapped on the ship, readers can become thankful of the world around them.

Revis’ stream of consciousness style of writing takes a bit to get used to, but helps readers to better connect with Amy and Elder.  Readers fully understand what the duo feels and the reasoning behind most of their actions. You can feel their frustration at being lied to and the weight of their decisions to do the right thing. The style of prose fully complements the story and genre.

Revis does a good job giving readers the whole picture. Eldest tries to do what is best for the ship and its people—even if it means deceiving them.  Readers can see that Eldest’s intent is not evil, but only to maintain order.  But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The story is a pleasant mix of plot twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats.  With a setting built on lies, finding out what’s real and what’s not is part of the excitement.  Advanced readers might be able to guess who the real killer is, but Revis carefully crafts her story to hide that identity until everything comes to a head.

I am eager to pick up the second book, A Million Suns, to find out how Elder and Amy handle the fallout from this book, and what happens when the people of Godspeed discover the many lies they dealt with.

Readers who enjoy a serious toned story with a good mystery and hint of romance should give Across the Universe a chance.  After all, a cover like that deserves to be given a chance!

Want to know more? Check out the book trailer:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Vampire's Hourglass Cover Reveal

Today we're excited to reveal the cover of the newest book in the Of Light and Darkness series by bestselling author Shayne Leighton.  The Vampire's Hourglass is schedule to be published by Decadent publishing at the end of this year or beginning of next.

About the book:

After narrowly surviving a near-death experience in an effort to save Valek from yet another showdown with Aiden, Charlotte awakens inside the forsaken, crumbling walls of the Regime Palace. Though she finds herself surrounded by her closest friends, she is conflicted over her feelings of the sudden absence of her Vampire guardian from her life.

With Nikolai there to console her, Charlotte cannot shake the undeniable chemistry she feels for this familiar stranger. But they are running out of time. Charlotte’s peculiar ailment will return and Sarah, the witch, will sacrifice her youth and beauty in order to save her best friend, unless they find the secret, Dark City.

Charlotte, Nikolai, Sarah, and several other favored characters travel down to the underbellies of Prague to find Valek. But what they end up discovering are the dark and nasty secrets the elder Vampires have been hiding for centuries. Charlotte must overcome her mortal limitations to win back the heart of the one she truly loves and escape the gates of Abelim with her throat intact in this enthralling, highly-anticipated third installment of the Of Light and Darkness Series.
 Exclusive Excerpt:
           “Does it hurt? You know...when I’m around?”  

            He was talking about the scar that still thrived at the side of her throat. The one that appeared there after Valek left his first, initial bite months ago in Francis’ home. The one that had ailed her since and nearly killed her until she unwittingly saved herself by stabbing a hole in her own chest. Not her empty, openly bleeding heart and her feeling of abandonment and being alone, but a literal hole that she created herself some snowy weeks ago when she attempted to end it all to prove herself as something more than just an expendable mortal in this game of light and darkness. She wanted to finally be recognized as a hero, nearly having killed herself for the sake of saving her friends from Aiden. Knowing the tainted taste of the blood from her ruptured heart would drive him away.

            But what did she have to prove for it now? Another giant scar. And more than that, her nightmare came true. Valek was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard she looked. After everything he did, and everything that had happened because of his carelessness, she wasn’t sure how badly she wanted to find him. That thought made her heart constrict. But then again, Aiden had disappeared as well. At least there was that. 

       “Not really. Not as much as the emotional pain underneath it,” she finally answered Nikolai’s question honestly. “The heartbreak hurts worse than the scar ever could.”

About author Shayne Leighton:
In Shayne's first year out of high school she penned, co-directed, and starred in the feature film 'The Incubus', a paranormal romance, which  obtained distribution and screened in over fifteen theaters across South Florida among major theater chains such as Regal, AMC, and Cinemark. 'The Incubus' has also obtained a passionate fanbase of over 100,000 girls online and has garnered the attention of reporters from the Miami Herald, CBS News, and NPR Radio. Leighton also starred alongside Scream Queen, Tara Cardinal, in the film 'Legend of the Red Reaper' which made its world debut at the 2012 AFM in Los Angeles.

Twenty-Two-year-old Leighton is excited to release her debut young adult novel series, 'Of Light and Darkness', set in contemporary Prague, as well as developing the film adaptation of the novel series.

Recently released songs can now be heard on with a full-length album in the works. Leighton is currently named #35 on the pop charts in Miami, FL. Named #26 in Boca Magazine's "Top 100 'It' People" for 2011. Shayne Leighton lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband and key inspiration, Frank and travels back and forth to the Czech Republic often. Find out more about Shayne at:

Check out The Vampire's Daughter, the first book, for only .99 cents on Amazon!
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The Vampire's Daughter & The Vampire's Reflection by Shayne Leighton *signed*
Open Worldwide! Must be 13 or older to enter (with parental permission). Ends Aug. 8th, 2013

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