Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

My Rating

My Review

 Ever since reading and reviewing The Fear Trials I have been eagerly awaiting The Murder Complex. After all, I liked Meadow, I loved the world that Cummings built, and the novel promised to be deliciously dark. I can't say I was disappointed. The Murder Complex is a killer debut that looks to be the start of an excellent series.

When most novels say they are action-packed, it means that you get a fantastic exciting scene in between a couple of tension builders. When this novel says it is action-packed, that's exactly what it means. There was plenty going on, and with the fast pacing and exciting plot, I wasn't bored for a second. The book has an excellent way of keeping the pages turning without allowing the reader to lose interest or get too confused.

The dystopian world of The Murder Complex is built nicely and creates a very distinct mood that isn't found in many other novels. Always having this presence of danger keeps the reader on edge, with a desire to learn more about what is going on. I loved the book's concept. The entire idea of the Murder Complex and how it effected both Meadow and Zephyr is absolutely chilling.

Characters of The Murder Complex were well-developed. Meadow, like many female dystopian leads, has her badassery levels skyrocketing, but it makes sense in this case, as she was trained her entire life. (I was getting a bit sick of characters who try everything for the first time and are near masters. It was nice to see a girl who had to work hard to achieve what she can do!) Zephyr's character in the beginning wasn't all that great, as his fascination with his "moonlit girl" grew sort of old, but he developed strongly through the novel. His transition into a pawn for the Murder Complex gave me chills, and provided the kind of darkness that I crave to read about in characters. I would love to see more of Meadow's siblings in the future. Koi is one of the most complex characters written, while Peri never really had the chance to show she can do much more than care about her sister.

The only thing that really didn't do it for me was the romance between Meadow and Zephyr. It isn't that I don't like the fact that they're together, I just didn't like the way it happened. The idea of 'insta-love' doesn't always bother me, it was more so that it felt unnatural. Especially on Meadow's side, the feelings felt so back-and-forth between like and hate (with an external emphasis on the latter) that one could get whiplash from standing too close. Then, suddenly it seemed, they love each other? I know that when you're life is on the line, taking it slow is not exactly a priority, but it still felt a bit too fast and disconnected, especially for someone as distrusting as Meadow. Regardless, I enjoyed the scenes they had together and am curious to see how the relationship will progress.

Despite the few faults, I really enjoyed reading The Murder Complex. The writing and description were both phenomenal - all the way to the cliffhanger ending (and I mean cliffhanger). The Murder Complex brings something new to dystopia, and overall, readers should definitely enjoy the ride. I can't wait to read more of Cummings' work. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

My Rating


My Review

YA paranormal is a genre that seems to get a lot of crap about being overdone and having a load of cliches. Well, clearly, people who think that haven't read Arden's stunning debut, which tells a paranormal story like no other. Delightfully dark and unique, fans of the strange and abnormal will absolutely devour The Casquette Girls, and end up hungry for more.

Despite it's fictional classification, the novel begins with a very real event - showing the consequences and devastation carried in the strong winds of natural disaster. Of what it is like to return to your home and find parts of it completely destroyed. On the resulting crime that plagues the town and the overbooked police. On the death. The scenes appear to mirror those of some apocalyptic films when they show something startlingly real. But more important than the destruction and darkness of The Storm is what else comes with it - rebuilding the city and a sense of unity and hope that gradually progresses throughout the novel.

Arden transitions cleanly from what could easily pass as realistic fiction to something a bit more supernatural. Through the use of myths and small but shattering glimpses of the abnormal, readers are eased into the change without the pace slowing. The truth behind the myths then felt more welcome and intriguing and not too much like a Band-Aid being ripped off.

For a novel with this kind of lore and magic, what better setting than the great city of New Orleans? Not only does The Casquette Girls capture some of the city's history, but shows just how unique and wonderful New Orleans is. I felt like I was learning more about the city and walking on the tour right alongside Isaac (as he's a Northerner). Now, after reading, I want to get my Yankee butt down to Louisiana more than ever.

Speaking of Isaac, I really did enjoy the characters of The Casquette Girls, whether they be lead or supporting. Initially, it did seem like the number of attractive men around Adele's age was exceptionally high (is it something in the water? If so, can we bottle it?). But, even if it didn't more naturally progress into a love V and make a lot more sense through circumstance, I suppose that's not a bad problem to have. I liked Adele as a protagonist as she's smart, creative and very authentic as a teenage character. She's open without completely accepting everything. Even more impressive was Adele's father, 'Mac;. In so many YA novels, the parents are looked over or forgotten. Not only is this not the case in The Casquette Girls, but Mac manages to have such a great involvement that his character quickly becomes a favorite. Even Adeline was interesting, and I absolutely loved the journal entries that gave a new voice, a historical background, and an adventurous narrative all rolled into one.

The Casquette Girls takes superstition, magic, and lore and incorporates them into reality, resulting in a plot that is dark, dangerous and exciting. It was a hard-to-put-down novel that had me changing my predictions and opinions more often than not. Although I was left with some unanswered questions and cliffhanging lines (of which I will not go into but may or may not involve a certain Italian Stallion character who has the attractive bad boy image down pat) that have me itching for book two. The Casquette Girls is definitely a novel to check out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Straight Stalk by Tera Lynn Childs

Every Girl Deserves A Little Revenge…

Southern bell turned city girl shop owner, Bethany Lange knows a thing or two about gay men. She’s dated five of them. On top of her failed dating life, she’s trying to keep her SoHo boutique ahead of the creditors and on top of the trends. When a friend offers her a consulting job on a new gay makeover show, she snatches up the golden opportunity faster than you can say, “Never wear stripes with paisley.”

Color her déjà blue when one of the cast members turns out to be her latest ex. She doesn’t believe for a second that he’s gay and she’s going to prove it, even if she has to stalk him to get the proof. In the meantime, she’s battling a growing attraction to Chris, the show’s kitchen god. He’s sweet, sexy, and funny. The perfect guy… if only he weren‘t gay.

As the stalking and her attraction to Chris escalate, can Bethany prove to herself, once and for all, that she’s not the closet cleaner she fears she’s become? Can she stop falling for unavailable guys and find one that’s a lifetime keeper? Only time—and stalking—will tell.
My Rating
My Review
 After reading Eye Candy, I was definitely eager to take a look at Straight Stalk - a romance that is just as sweet as the first book in the series, but manages to be a completely unique stand-alone. I was thrilled to discover that the protagonist was Bethany. In Eye Candy, we didn't see much of her except being the sweet Southern Belle with a boutique in a scene or two. I loved learning more about her through the story, as she has a lot more to her character than initially expected.

Straight Stalk is a perfect romantic comedy that manages to capture it's own attention in a genre littered with cliches. Of course, there were things that were predictable, but the delivery of those plot lines were still fantastic, so the lack of twists can easily be forgiven. Not to mention, having everyone (including the reader) know something that the main character can't seem to accept, adds to the dramatic irony, as well as the humor. Plus, it gives some extra charm to Bethany's character.

There were plenty of things that I adored in Straight Stalk, even aside from the fact that it gave me much needed smiles and laughs. The romance came a lot more naturally. It wasn't a first-sight I'm in love, kind of deal, but grew from a friendship, which was incredibly sweet. For a romantic comedy type novel, the entire story doesn't focus on the romance, which I loved. There's a lot more going on in Bethany's world, which makes the read more realistic and more enjoyable. Aside from having a romantic aspect, the story deeply involves family, friendship, and self-discovery.

Childs continues to craft excellent characters in this City Girls novel. Aside from Bethany, there were plenty of characters that were well-developed and fun to read about. Kat is smart, funny and makes for an excellent friend; I loved seeing that relationship grow between the two women. All five guys from the show differed in personality, which made them more intriguing. From the ones we saw a lot of, to the ones that hardly made an appearance, they all left their mark.
Although, initially, the story may seem like it portrays homosexual men in a stereotypical way, the true case is actually quite the opposite. By the end of the novel, Straight Stalk practically tears down the cliches and stereotypes, showing that your sexual preference doesn't make you a certain type of person with specific interests.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Straight Stalk, a fun novel and a perfect summer read. The big city setting is perfect for these kinds of romances, and the writing is wonderful - with fantastic dialogue from sure-to-be interesting characters. I cannot wait to read more. (Perhaps from Fiona's point of view?)


Review: Eye Candy by Tera Lynn Childs

Every Girl Deserves Something Sweet…

Lydia Vanderwalk has an obsession with candy, so when she invents an NEB (non-existent boyfriend) who turns out to be the male hire-a-date equivalent of a jumbo box of Hot Tamales she knows she’s in trouble.

Lydia has worked hard to have the right job, the right wardrobe, and the right everything else, in the quest for the appearance of perfection. When she needs her NEB for a golden career opportunity, she enlists a talent agent friend’s help to produce perfect date Phelps. He was supposed to be pure eye candy, but there’s more going on beneath the surface than Red Hots looks and Pop Rocks spontaneity.

Throw in a banking wunderkind ex-fiancé, a trio of cutthroat couture-climbers, and a designer of questionable orientation and origin, and Lydia soon learns that what you see is often much less than what you get when it comes to people and not everything in life can be solved by a Jolly Rancher and a shopping spree.

My Rating
My Review
Eye Candy is a romance that's just as sweet and addicting as candy, without the high sugar content and probability of leading to a stomach ache with large doses. I was able to devour this novel in one sitting, falling in love with the fun, witty dialogue and steamy romance.

The writing of Eye Candy is fun and light, and very easy to enjoy. Although the amount of candy references and puns seemed a bit cheesy at times, I really enjoyed what this addiction added to Lydia's character and how she grows throughout the duration of the story.

I loved the settings of the story. Whether it be New York, Milan or SoHo, the bloodthirsty glamor of the high fashion industry was ever present, and made for excellent reading. The independent woman trying to make her way up a career ladder can be a cliche in romance novels and movies alike, but the characterization and  use of fashion industry didn't seem stale in this read.

Although the plot was fun, a lot of it was a bit predictable. I can't really complain, because I wanted it to end the way it did, and sometimes - as a reader, I can use a good happy ending. 

Still, like most romances, my favorite part of the novel were the characters. I could go on and on about how Franco's artiste-ness made me smile, or how I loved Fiona as a friend, but given that I like to keep my reviews under the length of a short story, I'll only talk about two of the characters.

First of all, Lydia is a great protagonist. She's likeable, funny, and sweet as the candy she enjoys. As a reader, I couldn't help but want her to find that happily ever after romance novels tend to promise. Although, for a bit, she fell into the love V trap, she released how unfair she's being, instead of simply cursing the heavens that she has two wonderful guys into her. It makes the situation feel a lot more natural, and didn't have me getting annoyed with her.

But, speaking of hot Tamales, Phelps is that summer book boyfriend that you're looking for. Not only is he a male model who's fun, spontaneous and confident (you know you love the adorably cocky type) but he has a great heart. Just about everything you could ask for in a romantic lead.

Eye Candy is fun, flirty and absolutely delicious. It is a perfect light summer read to bring along on the beach, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane (Tour Stop)

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.

But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

My Rating


My Review

Ex-Factor didn't take me very long to finish, but by no means is it a light read. There are an array of important issues that are addressed in the novel, and excellent themes sprout from each of them. A large number of car accidents occur every day, and a frightening amount are due to drunk driving. It's no secret that plenty of underage drinking happens, but it is hard for teenagers to get a true glimpse of how dangerous driving under the influence can be. Ex-Factor not only brings up this danger and shows how an awful accident can happen to anyone, but also shows how the survivors are affected by losing someone they love in a way that could have been prevented.

Both Bodie and Nev made mistakes in the past that changed their lives forever, and neither are eager to forgive themselves. Both of them had a loved one killed because of an accident caused by a drunk driver. The way that they were able to heal each other was beautiful, and I loved watching the relationship grow between the two of them. Together, they show that second chances are possible, and inspire the reader through something that can easily be translated from fiction to reality: hope.

I really enjoyed reading from Nev's point of view. Sometimes, her thoughts and dialogue could get a little repetitive, but seeing her go through the process of beginning again is an incredible addition to the story that a different perspective could not have brought. Despite the fact that I've never experienced heartbreak like she has, I was able to really connect with her as a character, which I always find to be very important.

Before reading Ex-Factor, I knew next to nothing about competitive cheerleading. I mean, I've seen a couple scenes from the Bring it On movies, but that's about it. Initially, especially given the title, I was worried that the cheerleading would just distract from all the important issues, themes and swoon-worthy romance I was looking forward to. However, Nev's solace in rekindling her love for the sport complimented the story, and really added something to her character. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into this world that I would not experience myself, and loved the strong sense of teamwork and sisterhood that came with it.

Ex-Factor is an excellent read that combines the strength and emotion of the issues that demand to be read with the heartwarming relationships between friends, family, and romantic interests. Although portions of it could get a bit cliche, the novel was still a very compelling contemporary read.   


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Lost in Starlight by Sherry Soule

Release Date: June 26th, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692224427
GENRE: Upper YA / SyFy Romance
Release date: June 26, 2014
Available in both paperback and eBook formats
Rated: PG-13
Please add to your TBR on Goodreads:


High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.
They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life...

My Rating


My Review

Lost in Starlight is a highly entertaining and very swoon-worthy romance that brings the intrigue of science fiction into a forbidden romance - which, in all honesty, never gets old. I enjoyed reading Lost in Starlight, and think that is an excellent choice of book to look into, whether one normally reads sci-fi romances or not.

I love the voice of Slone. She's not the typical YA heroine (I mean, she actually eats, which is exciting on it's own) but her humor and charm will instantly appeal to readers. Being a horror junkie and aspiring screenwriter myself, I was easily able to connect with her as a character, and thought that she had a great perspective. The writing style never lost sight of her voice, which was refreshingly unique. Her commentary on the cliches of horror films were perhaps the single most wonderful fictional blog/print posts in all of my reading experience.

Although plot-lines incorporating both 'aliens' and 'forbidden romance' can be overdone, I enjoy them both to such an extent that it really doesn't bother me either way. Of course, Lost in Starlight brings a new spin to each of these concepts. Yes, we see aliens all the time in literature, and yes, we even see them pretty ingrained in the human race. However, I have never seen it quite like this, and the result was definitely exciting. In addition, there have been stories were the forbidden part of the romance is a direct effect of the two parts of the relationship being of different species, but I feel that the dangerous part normally lies within that of the non-human. I didn't need another love interest spewing the whole I love you but my instinct makes me want to kill you, yet I promise I'll try to protect you...from myself. It's more refreshing to see an outside threat, which not only allows Hayden's want to protect Slone to run deeper, but can more easily transition to real world problems that people actually experience.

As awesome as the science fiction portions were, Lost in Starlight still is a romance, and what is a romance without a strong love interest? Luckily for all the readers who enjoy their heart melting, Hayden - the tall, dark and handsome sex bomb of a nonhuman - has nothing if not all the lines. The things that boy says seems reason enough to risk a lot for the sake of love. And there aren't enough superhuman bad-boy hunks in fiction who still want to be scientists. I mean, come on.

Despite the awesome addition of aliens to a romance, and the super steamy make out sessions, some aspects of the plot just seemed so predictable. There were some twists, but I saw them coming, and they just didn't do it for me. The plot did not keep rolling in a way that made it unable to quit. I couldn't put the book down, but that was because I liked the characters and the language, not because I was hanging at the edge of my seat. This isn't necessary a bad thing, but I believed it could have taken the book from really good to freaking unbelievably great.

Nonetheless, the ending will still leave readers heartbroken eager to find out what happens next, and I'm excited to continue with the series. I definitely can recommend the book, as whether or not you agree with my statements previously, it should be a very enjoyable read. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Dark Days by Kate Ormand (Tour Stop)

Dark Days
by Kate Ormand
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: June 3rd 2014


The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. 
Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.


Amazon Paperback
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Barnes & Noble (B&N)



Dark Days is a unique YA dystopian that follows the story of Sia, who only has fifteen days left to live. It's not only her who has to live with the countdown, but all of the people still left in her city, deemed "unnecessary" for the New World, and for survival. It's hard to imagine what it would be like to know that the world around you will soon come to a destructive end. We can hypothesize all we like, but I don't think you can really know what you would do until the time comes. However, Ormand seems to give an accurate account of how the event would play out, showing different reactions from different people. Some simply cannot handle the idea, and torture themselves with the future until they waste away in the present. Some just want to hide and let the entire thing blow over. Some resort to crime, looting stores and stealing from others.

And some refuse to go down without a fight.

One of my favorite aspects of Dark Days were all the individual personalities, and how they worked together to create this end of days mood and build the world of the sector. Sia was a great protagonist, but Ormand does not fall into the trap that plenty of others do - focus so intently on developing the main characters that all of the supporting characters are left behind. In Dark Days, the supporting characters are necessary, and it is their actions and reactions that make the story enjoyable to read. It isn't a glimpse of a teenage girl's life, it's a glimpse of a world - and the shattering of it - through the eyes of a teenage girl.

The world that was built beautifully, through the characters and the events. Ormand has excellent imagery, as I really found myself envisioning the sector, and how harshly it contrasted with the New World. Even through the whole walls surrounding this small portion of city that makes up life as we know it can be overused in YA (especially dystopia), it felt fresh in this novel. And my favorite part of all was the clock tower, always looming behind every scene and counting down the days until the sector's fall...

I can see the tower now, and the thought of it gives me the happy kind of shivers, because it's so wonderfully dark and fitting.

I liked the pacing of Dark Days for the most part. The beginning, to me, seemed a bit slow and didn't capture my attention as much as I would have liked it to. However, I'm glad I kept reading. Once I got to a certain point around thirteen or fourteen days left, it felt like a switch was flipped, and suddenly, I was trapped in the whirlwind of the novel, unable to stop until the last page (in fact, it grew so bad that when my ereader died from lack of battery, I crouched by the nearest wall socket so I could continue the action-packed ending immediately).

Despite the fact that it should be unrealistic to fall for someone in a matter of days, the relationship development between Sia and Mace felt natural, like they just fit well together. Many times, I end up hating the fictional couples once they get together, but I loved the romance between Sia and Mace, and both of their characters are very strong on their own. Maybe with his inked skin, want to protect, and rebellious attitude does not make for the most common love interest, but it allowed me to fall for him in a matter of pages, so I can't really blame Sia.

In general, the detail was done well, but the detail of the cyborgs was beautiful. They were different from the normal machines that one reads about, as they were so much more deadly and horrific (and therefore, pretty awesome). This brings me back to being able to envision the story, as I can clearly see battle with the cyborgs play out in a maelstrom of destruction. (Does that mean Dark Days would fantastically transition to the silver screen? In case any producers are reading this: yes, I believe so.)

I enjoyed reading Dark Days, and have the utmost respect for any novel of a dystopian feel that can still manage to stand out to a reader. Definitely a darker read to check out.

KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. 

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website ( or on Twitter (@kateormand).

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Love Edy by Shewanda Pugh

Release Date: June 24th, 2014


When Edy Phelps falls hard for her best friend, she knows nothing can come from it. Forget actual chemistry, or the fact that she cherishes his mother more than her own; centuries of tradition say that Hassan will grow up, marry the girl his parents pick, and forget his best friend: the dancer with the bursting smile. Except he can't. In a world erupting with possibilities for the boy with a body of steel and dreams of the NFL, everything seems promised while nothing at all is; when he's denied the girl he wants most.
Two hearts. Two families devoted through generations of friendship. Could Edy and Hassan really risk all that? And yet ... how could they not?

Shewanda Pugh
Author of the Crimson Footprints Series
"Romance at its best..." The Kindle Book Review
"A sophisticated read." U.S.A. Today
My Rating
My Review
Love Edy is heartwarming, exciting, intimate, beautiful, and everything that one could possibly want in a romance. From the very first page, the novel will captivate readers and keep them along for the ride. I could not put down the book until I reached the final page (and even then, I didn't want to, there was just nothing left to read). 
There are plenty of traps to fall into with romances, but Pugh manages to avoid all of them. The plot never gets boring, and I always found myself needing to read more. First, I wanted Edy and Hassan together almost as much as they did. I loved the relationship between them, and thought that they worked so well together. As a highly invested reader, I was practically pulling hair out for every moment they didn't admit their true feelings for each other. Even outside of their relationship, there was enough going on to keep the story interesting. Wyatt had a past that I wanted to learn more about, and the ending grew absolutely explosive. (I definitely didn't see it coming, but it was fantastic.)

Characters don't need to be likable for a story to be well-written, but all of the characters in Love Edy were likable to me, and I definitely cannot complain. Edy and Hassan, both coming from extremely wealthy backgrounds, were both 'spoiled' in a sense, but it didn't take away from their characters at all. They both are strong and witty in their unique ways, and I loved reading each of their perspectives. Being as wonderful of a relationship as they have, I probably should not be fond of Wyatt. But I was. I loved his character. Not only does he have a shady past and seems to get the short stick in life, but he's a wild never quite know what to expect. Aside from the three perspectives the story took, all of the secondary and minor characters were interesting to read about. The Dyson twins were funny, and it was great to see the girls like Alyssa and Chloe show that they have substance (and even serve as a wake up call to Edy).

Books like Love Edy make me incredibly happy in the way that they bring diversity into YA. Not everyone in the world is one race, one socioeconomic classification and one religion, and blending cultures to more accurately mirror reality is wonderful. It also shows the conflicts that still exist between cultures and beliefs. Edy and Hassan are perfect for each other, but they have to face a difference in religions, and the tradition of arranged marriages that exists in Hassan's culture. These are real-world issues, and it is nice to see them tastefully done in a YA fiction.

Love Edy is a beautifully written novel with wonderful description and incredible dialogue. I loved every second of it, from the lighthearted scenes of friendship and the swoon-worthy romance to the portions that got darker. I can easily recommend this novel, although I would put aside some time to begin - once you do, you'll have trouble stopping. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next installment.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review - Lies: Ann Putnam Jr.'s Recounting of the Salem Witch Trials by Oliver Dahl


A modernized and historically accurate spin of the bewitching true events that inspired The Crucible
Salem Massachusetts, 1692: Tituba curses two young girls, but Ann Putnam Jr. isn't one of them. In order to help save her friends, Ann develops a plan to accuse the remaining supposed witches of Salem. As the death count rises, each lie buries her deeper and deeper under a curse of her own doing. This tragic experience of guilt, abuse, power, and love gives a first-person view into the spine-chilling months of the Salem Witch Trials when neighbor turned on neighbor at the word of a little girl.

My Rating


My Review

Most of us have heard of the Salem Witch Trials, but don't know more than maybe a short sentence or two about the actual event. Many people were falsely accused of witchcraft and burned alive, or were hanged...maybe thrown into a river or something? That's about the extent of the knowledge I had on the subject.  Lies presents a first-account view of the events of the Salem Witch Trials in the best way possible for a literary escapist like myself - historical fiction. Based in accuracy and reality, but still fictional, Dahl was able to share knowledge about a historical event through a medium that can appeal to both those who find the past riveting and those who've never opened a history textbook in their life. He created an engaging story and a fine would of Young Adult historical fiction.
Lies takes the reader back in time to 1692, in a small and superstitious town that will go down in history. The feel of the book was very authentic, as it acts as a successful transporter to connect the reader to this new world, which was reality once but seems to mirror little of our lives today. However, there is a thin line between being able to world-build a time in the past and just trying to show off historical knowledge and overplay the differences. Luckily, Dahl does not cross this line. The dialogue is completely understandable, which allows readers to connect to characters, regardless of the years that fall between them.

Ann is an interesting character to read about, and I loved seeing the internal conflict that she held throughout the story. She falls deeply into a web of lies, that results in the harm of others, and instead of the expected O, pity me regretful behavior, a part of her really starts to enjoy the damage that her actions cause. It's a glimpse into her dark side, the shadow that all of us have within, and one of my favorite things to see in a character. Not all of Ann's actions and decisions were admirable or respectable, but that only adds to her intrigue and likability as a character.

Despite this, Ann's voice was the one thing that really bothered me about the novel. It wasn't that authentic, and seemed a bit dull at times. Reading from her perspective was not a deep and unique enough experience for me to enjoy, and felt a bit forced. I would have liked to see that darkness in her relayed more in her thoughts, as well as more of the conflict in her mind shown. With the way that her telling went, it seemed more like the story could have been told in a restricted third person POV, and readers would get just about the same experience.

The pacing of Lies was quick and easy to plow through, even though the material itself was not light. It is the kind of read that will not take much time to complete, but may stick with the reader for a while after. The plot did not have too many slow points, and I was able to keep turning pages without break. Lies is an enjoyable and intriguing read that will appeal to a range of historical fiction fans - whether they currently realize they are a historical fiction fan or not.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest Post: Claribel Ortega - Pubslush Campaign

Today I'm thrilled to host Claribel Ortega (author of The Skinwalker's Apprentice, which I reviewed here ). She wanted to share with you a little but about her Pubslush Campaign (think literary Kickstarter). So, without further ado...

Help Me Get To NY Comic Con!

Please help me bring my book Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper to NY Comic Con this year! I am running a Pubslush campaign and need YOUR help to fund the booth space! A portion of the money will also go towards two charities, one for children’s literacy and the other for cancer research in honor of my late brother Pablo Ortega. Click on the link below and pledge as little as $5, any bit helps, PLUS you get rewards for your pledges! Visit the page and help out an indie author!!

Some of the rewards include:

Signed paperbacks of Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper

Bookmarks with exclusive artwork

A role in my next book trailer

The chance to create and name a character in my next book, and more!

Please consider donating, and click the link below to read more about the campaign. Thank you so much!

Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper

When her family and friends begin to disappear, Emerald Kipp is thrown head first into the witching world she was never allowed to be a part of. Her only clue into their disappearance comes from a small black box with a message from the past: find the The Timekeeper, solve the riddle.

The teenaged witch must now rely on Dr. Toad, a rotund witch doctor who had already almost killed her once, her finicky cat Cashmere who she’s just learned could talk, and an underground network of witches throughout New York City who made a vow years before to help her on her journey.

As if the treacherous riddle wasn’t enough, along the way Emerald learns the people she’s trusted her whole life aren’t who they seem to be, and what’s worse, a fearsome enemy is hunting for a witch who can control time. Unfortunately for Emerald, she has just discovered that she can do just that.

Emerald’s never been good at anything except getting into trouble, but now it’s up to her to solve the riddle and uncover a mystery that goes farther back than she’d ever imagined. And she might just find, that she’s a lot more than the troubled loser she thought she was.

Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper is Harry Potter meets The Goonies, with a rebellious pink haired, music aficionado as the main character.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Post: Author Julian Rosado-Machain (Tour Stop)

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

For More Information
-Guardians, Inc. is available at Amazon.
-Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
-Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
-Watch the trailer at YouTube.
-Read Chapter One here.

Julian Rosado-Machain
Author of Guardians Inc.

Pervagus Mansion
Guardians Inc. Command and Control Center. (My office)
76th Region, Seat 39 17:34 hours CMT
The most pervasive sound on the most advanced observation and reconnaissance center of the world is the sound of keystrokes as thousands of techs, agents and observers, check, co-relate and assess threats to Guardians Inc. 
Seat 39 is the most important because it is the one from which everything comes forth, every mission, every order and appointment for the corporation…. and… I AM SO BLOCKED!....
“Whatcha doing, Boss?”  My assistant Tamara asks, as she leans from over my right shoulder.
“What do you mean?" I feign stupidity I have asked her to search for information that makes my brain slowly disgest itself and I really want to avoid that.  “Don’t you like what I’m writing?” I deflect instead.  I am the Boss and that should count for something; Even in an office of TWO people, there are hierarchies…  
“What is it for?” she asks, twitching her eyes… She has read all that is on my screen and now she comes to realize that she is in the story herself.
“A guest post on how to break writer’s block…” I say as the keystrokes come fast and furious and the lines in the screen on the right side extend with each keystroke, as if pressing the keys make lines of text in the screen.
“Well, they do…” Tamara tells me interrupting my train of thought.
“They do what? “ I counter and she makes a face of distaste before going back to her desk. It doesn’t matter to me because I just broke the minimum Three hundred words of a guest post.
And I did it all just by writing about what was happening in my office and describing mundane things and events as if I was really writing.
I believe that this is the way to break through writer’s block…
JUST KEEP WRITING!  Inspiration will catch up eventually.
Cheers and thank you for letting me be in your blog!
Julian Rosado-Machain

About the Author

Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, worked in graphic design, armored vehicles, built computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.
He lives in San Diego, California. And enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.
His latest book is the YA fantasy adventure, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher.
For More Information
-Visit Julian Rosado-Machain’s website.
-Connect with Julian on Facebook and Goodreads.
-More books by Julian Rosado-Machain.
-Contact the author here.

A big thanks to Julian for being on my blog! The Guardians Inc. series definitely looks like something to check out, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the tour!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Sleepy Hollow by Dax Varley

Katrina’s still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman - the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits. Now it’s up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow
My Rating
My Review
The small town of Sleepy Hollow has always interested me. As both a writer and a reader, "the darker the better" is a motto of mine. A headless rider of a mighty horse that rises in the night, separating victims' heads from their bodies with a long scythe? Now, that's what I'm talking about. Dax Varley takes this well known horror tale, and spins a beautifully dark retelling that will drag readers along for the ride. 

Sleepy Hollow takes readers back in time to the eighteenth century, and the transition is easily made. I immediately felt the world of this small, superstitious town build around me, and I could not get enough of it. The setting really influenced the mood of the story - which is the same kind of emotion one would feel being alone outside in the middle of the night, watching mist swirl around them. The tension and fear caused by the Headless Horseman acts as a through line throughout the novel - always in the background.

The characters of Sleepy Hollow were fantastically crafted and brought to life, even if they were not initially of Valley's creation. Katrina is a strong-willed, intelligent young woman, with more bravery than most of the other characters can claim. Although by no means do characters have to always be likable, it is a treat to have a voice that I can relate to and respect as a reader, and this was definitely the case for Katrina. I also loved this characterization of Ichabod Crane, and not just because he was known for his ravishingly good looks, wit, and willingness to push the social barriers (A handsome, intelligent, somewhat rebellious writer? Swoon). He fit as a good counter to Katrina, and I loved watching the romance develop between the two of them. I mean, talk about delicious.

The pacing of Sleepy Hollow works well with the plot. I could not put the book down for a second, too eager to know what would happen next. Although certain portions of the book seemed slightly obvious, there were still enough twists and turns to keep me at the edge of my seat. Whether it be from action or the anticipation of action, there were not many slow parts at all.

The language of this novel was beautiful, and had great imagery that built up every individual scene for the reader to vividly envision. This was fantastic both in the romantic scenes with Ichabod, as well as the brutal decapitation. After all, the tale of the Headless Horseman is still one of horror.

I loved reading Sleepy Hollow,and definitely would recommend the novel to others - whether you are a fan of romance or horror and whether you have never heard of the Headless Horseman or binge watch  the TV show 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: The Fear Trials by Lindsey Cummings (Tour Stop)

The Fear Trials (The Murder Complex 0.5)
Publisher: HarperTeen Impulse
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Rate: 4


Meadow Woodson has been trained to survive. This is a prequel to The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings, and it is set in a blood-soaked world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson's father calls it The Fear Trials, and it is a rite of passage in their family. Meadow is up against her brother Koi. The Fear Trials will both harden her and make her brave. If Meadow wins, she will get a weapon of her own and the right to leave the Woodsons' houseboat without her father or mother at her side. Set in the violent, complex, and mysterious world of The Murder Complex, and introducing Meadow Woodson—a teenage girl trained to survive no matter what the cost—and her family, who are together for the last time on their houseboat in the Florida Everglades.

I have only just finished reading The Fear Trials and I'm already eager to join fanclubs, buy t-shirts, and completely fangirl over everything relating to that series.
Yeah, it's that exciting.
The Fear Trials is a prequel novella to The Murder Complex series, which sets up the dark and dangerous world of Meadow Woodsen (which, I must point out, is a name that I absolutely love). In the Shallow, murder is as common as shaking hands, and "kill or be killed" isn't just a motto - it's life. Living in a place like this, the only way to survive is choke some moral senses down and fight, not allowing yourself to be controlled by fear.
This novella allows us to first get inside Meadow's head, and see the struggle that she faces with controlling her fear. Not only must she train until makes herself a monster, she must also accept herself when realizing that the monster may have already been there.
I feel that so many novels today focus on the relationships between friends or lovers, and not as many really keep a strong grounding in family. It was so refreshing to see a character whose family matters more to them than just about anyone else. I loved the relationship between Meadow and her sister - as it was so honest and realistic. No matter what words may be exchanged, at the end of the day, most of us would do just about anything for our families. All of the characters were strong, even the few introduced that were outside of the family, and had their own unique personalities that made them seem more real.
The Fear Trials is absolutely riveting from the start to the finish. With a strong voice, beautiful imagery, and a pace that just won't let readers go, you will be thrust into this world of danger and taken for a wild ride. I reveled in the dark tone while reading, and loved all of the nonstop action. After devouring this novella like I needed to for survival, I cannot wait to get my hands on The Murder Complex and continue the story. I have no doubt that this will shape into one of the best YA series I've read.


Follow the FFBC The Murder Complex + Fear Trials blog tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Lindsay Cummings is the 20-year-old author of THE MURDER COMPLEX, as well as its sequel, coming 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and the MG trilogy THE BALANCE KEEPERS, coming Fall 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.

Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, can’t get enough of her two pesky German Shepherds, wolf cub, and two horses. She's still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts--it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on twitter @lindsaycwrites

Win (1) of (3) signed hardback of The Murder Complex + swag pack (US Only)

Tour organized by The Fantastic Flying Book Club (FFBC):