Friday, July 31, 2015

Feature and Follow Friday



It's Feature and Follow Friday again!! It is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.  


Question of the Week:   If you could get an ARC of any book, already published, or not yet, what would it be?

Oh wow... this is another doozy.  How do I pick just one??? It's impossible!  Impossible, I tell you!!! Here's a short list of some:


  • C.L. Stone's new Academy book, The Healing Power of Sugar
  • Kimberly P. Chase's Airborne (Apollo Academy #2)
  • The next Linda Kage book.  I don't care what's it about.
  • Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
  • Tessa Elwood's Inherit The Stars
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers
  • The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian


That's a very short list, and those are all set to come out in the future.  Sigh! Swoon!!


To follow The Tale Temptress blog, there are several methods:


1. I still love GFC follow... makes it easier to keep track. My favorite follow method.  See the right panel of my blog.
2. You can also follow via the Networked Blogs option on the right panel.
3. Folow via email option on the right panel
3. Follow me on Twitter
4. Follow my Facebook Page
5. Follow by Goodreads
6. Follow me on Google +
7. Follow via RSS

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I would love to feature another blog or a guest post on my blog.  Please email me, or fill out the form on my Be a Featured Blog page, from the blog's main menu.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Genre: New Adult Contemporary/Slightly Paranormal

Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life's great joys. But what if you could actually see your child's imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child's imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust.


When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  I thought it would be too different for me.  It didn't take long, however, before I was completely sucked into this book and enjoying every page of it.  I loved the grandparents so much!!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At first, I thought it would be hard to relate to Anna in the sense that, although I'm a mother, my children never had any imaginary friends, and neither did I.  That disconnect was something I thought would put me off and keep me from fully investing in the character, but the author did such an amazing job with Anna's characterization, that I had no trouble sympathizing with, and feeling very strongly for her.  As a mother, I can't imagine what it must be like watching your child not only have an imaginary friend, but for that imagination to come to life.

That may not sound like a bad thing, and at first it isn't.  Later, however, a darker undertone begins to hit, and there were a couple moments that I felt the hair raise up on my arms.  I don't want to give anything away, but David's little imaginings did get a bit freaky at times, and I felt so bad for the mother trying to make sense of what she was seeing, and wondering if she was going nuts.

I really enjoyed the introduction of Jamie Presswood into the story as a love interest.  Although the romance took a backseat to the main part of the story, I was okay with that.  In fact, Jamie was an old friend, so I'm glad that I wasn't distracted from the main story line by having to watch a meet-and-greet-turned-love-affair.

I really don't want to say more because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but suffice it to say, this story definitely had me engaged, on the edge of my seat at times, and really rooting for Anna to figure out the mystery of her son's imagination and its manifestation.  It had suspense, great characterization, and a very unique plot that held my interest.  Great book!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!





Aberdeen is drowning. Keeley Hewitt always has a joke to crack. Except there is nothing funny about her life right now. Her hometown of Aberdeen has always been known for flooding, but after one last terrible storm, the entire town has been told they must evacuate by the end of the summer for good. How will she say goodbye to everything and everyone she has ever known?

Most of the Aberdeen residents happily take the generous payout and look forward to starting over someplace new. But Keeley's dad isn't swayed by the overtures of officials or the sheriff's threats. He refuses to evacuate their family, and Keeley goes from being the funny girl in school, to the last girl in Aberdeen.

As the town empties out, two boys compete for her heart. One is a boy she's had a crush on forever, and the other is one she thinks she could fall in love with. But the water is rising higher and higher, and Keeley is faced with losing everything she's ever known, and the promise of things she's only ever wished for.


Release Date: April 26, 2016

Why I'm excited about it:
Does that summary not make
you want to read this RIGHT
NOW??  Can't wait!!!




Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West




I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Melissa West's No Kissing Allowed. See the exciting book details below.


No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: New Adult Contemporary

No kissing. No touching. And definitely no falling in love... Armed with her besties, an embarrassing number of shots, and her list of 10 Wild Things To Do Before Adulthood, recent grad Cameron Lawson is partying it up before she starts her dream job at New York's biggest ad agency. Her last task? Hook up with a random guy. And while it's so not her style, the super-sexy guy sitting next to her is definitely game. No names. No details. At least, that was the plan.

On her first day of work, Cameron discovers her hook-up is none other than Aidan Truitt—her new boss's boss. Talk about failing the “no fraternizing with coworkers” policy on an epic level. Especially when Aidan makes it clear their one night was only the beginning. Falling for him could cost her everything, but sometimes the only way to get what you want is by breaking a few rules...

Sometimes it's just really nice to pick up a book that takes you back to the basics.  A book that's about relationships, love, and romance.  No Kissing Allowed delivered that for me.

This is a simple story, but I love those kinds of stories where the character does something out of character, like a one-night stand, and then goes into her new job Monday morning to find out that the hot guy she spent the night with is her boss. What intrigue!!  That's exactly what happens in this book, and I just adore the conflict such a situation creates. Melissa West tells it so well, and brings something new and different to the mix.

I tend to jump to conclusions about the guy characters that participate in a one-night stand.  Oh, he's a player.  He'll never want a relationship because he just likes to slut around.  These characters surprised me though.  I loved Cameron from the beginning. She is a new graduate, is starting a brand new job in advertising, and is driven and excited by her new career.  That fresh outlook really came out in her narrative, and it reminded me so much of myself when I was first starting out in my own career.  So I was able to relate to her very well.  And then there was her boss, or should I say her boss's boss, Aidan.

Aidan is the other side to this one-night stand coin, and I loved him too.  He's not just a player not wanting a relationship, although he is afraid to commit... but there are reasons.  I loved how the author peeled those reasons back for us and allowed us to get to know him.  I also loved watching him try to fight what is obviously more than just an attraction to Cameron.

The author did really well with the characterization here... even with the friends. I loved Cameron's friends so much.  They were vivid and alive, and their interactions with her were so fun to read.  There was one character in the story who was a bit cliche, but I didn't really let it bother me because I was enjoying the rest of the story and enjoying just being entertained.  Before I knew it, I looked up and I had finished the book.  It was very fast-paced, and had the perfect ending.  A very good read that will leave me checking out other books by this author.


Buy Links

__________________________________________________________________



About the Author

Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and teen sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing.
Because who doesn't like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction. Connect with Melissa at www.melissawestauthor.com or on Twitter @MB_West.







Author Links


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: The Extraction List by Renee Meland

The Extraction List by Renee N. Meland
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Genre: YA Dystopian

When fifteen-year-old Riley Crane figures out her best friend Olivia is being abused at home, she knows just who to turn to: her mother Claire, writer and spokesperson of President Gray's Parental Morality Law. Under this law, Taskforce Officers remove children from their homes if their parents do not meet certain guidelines, taking them to government-run boarding schools where supervisors rehabilitate them, turning them into productive members of society. Or at least that is how it was supposed to work...

Now, after a government official threatens to make Riley the law's latest victim, Riley and Claire must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer with a tongue as sharp as the knives he carries, to get them out of America alive. Though he slices through men's necks as if they are warm butter, Riley can't seem to keep her cheeks from flushing every time he speaks. But when they stumble upon a deserted boarding school, Riley sees that escaping the country is only part of their problem. Together, Riley and Cain figure out that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation.


As soon as I read the summary for this book, I knew I wanted to read the book.  I love dystopians, and I love the idea of someone's good intentions going wrong and creating something that they never intended to create.  That is the case with Riley's mother.  Acting out of a desire to protect kids, she wrote a law that was meant to save kids in bad parental situations, but as is the case with a lot of well-intentioned ideas, the government took things too far...extracting kids from good families because of small, silly things like unpaid parking tickets or other nonsense.  And then Riley herself, the daughter of the law's creator, suddenly finds herself on the list.

I loved the concept behind this story, and really enjoyed the suspense of their chase to leave town and get Riley to safety by hiring Cain Foley, a young man gifted in getting the extracted and their families out of town and to a safe zone.  The book takes Riley, her mom and quasi boyfriend on the run from beginning to end.  I love quest or journey type books, especially ones like this where there are people chasing and they have to run fast to stay ahead.  Naturally, there were some near misses, some fights, and lots of danger.  This was definitely a fast paced story that kept you reading and very interested.

I liked the characters in this book.  I had a special feeling for Riley's mother because you could clearly see the struggle she's going through to know that, no manner how good her intentions were, she is the cause of all this.  I felt a deep sympathy for her.  I liked Riley as well, but there were times that I had to stop and remind myself that she was 15.  She acted much, much younger through most of the book, to the point where I actually had to flip back to the beginning to find out how old she was because her actions, reactions, and just the way she presented herself was much younger than a fifteen year old girl.

My favorite part of the story was Cain, though.  This was a truly interesting and dynamic character who leaped off the page from the moment you meet him.  He's strong, a fighter (woah, is he a fighter), but sensitive at the same time.  In one moment, he could fight off half a dozen dangerous men, and in the next, he could turn around and show such a depth of sweetness in nature that he was truly compelling.

My favorite part of the story is when Cain begins to teach Riley how to take care of herself.  These parts of the story, the friendship that develops, was very interesting to read.  At this point, Riley begins to show a little more of a grown up version of herself, and I began to like her a lot more.

This book, especially toward the end, was filled with some twists and turns... one I kind of saw coming, the others, however, were shocking.  The author did a very good job with this and it definitely left me wanting to read more.  Although there was no romance in this book, I am really eager to check out book two to find out if something might develop.  The book definitely held my interest, though, and I'll be looking for book two.  A good read with suspense and intrigue.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Discussion Post: How do you decide whether to accept an indie author's review request?



My Discussion Topic This Week - How do you decide whether to accept an indie author's review request?

This one's been on my mind a bit lately because for some reason I've had a large influx of independent author review requests in the last few months.  I don't mean enormous or anything, but much more than I used to get.


I've always been a big supporter of indie authors... just because a publisher didn't like their book doesn't mean I, or others, won't love it.  However, that being said, I'm also cautious.  I've said yes a few times in the past and gotten stuck reading some books that were clearly not ready for publication, as it was quite obvious the author wasn't ready yet, hadn't honed craft, etc....  Then I'm stuck in the position of writing a review for it.

I know some blogs just make it a matter of practice not to accept indie requests at all, but I just can't see myself doing that, because I want to support good indie authors as much as I can, and I have actually found quite a few extraordinary gems I might never have known about otherwise.  So, I'm not going to stop accepting them.  However, I have gotten more selective.  Some things I do:


  • I'll do an internet search for the author and see if they have a website where sample pages might be posted
  • I also look to see if they've been mentioned in any publications... if they're featured in a publication of some sort, that's a good recommendation that they're being taken seriously
  • I look to see if they're part of any writer's organizations.  If they are, I know they're serious about their craft and have had to work on honing it.
  • I check Goodreads or Amazon to see if others have read any of the author's books and what sort of ratings they've received.

Not ALL of these things must be present, but if I can find one or two, or at least see decent review ratings, I'll usually say yes.  It's gotten to the point though where I've had to be more selective, not only for the reasons I mentioned above, but also because I get so many requests, I can't possibly take them all.

So how do you handle it? Do you accept all requests? No requests? Do you do any research first? 


Let's discuss...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tempting New Tales



Better late than never.  Sorry I'm a little late posting this today, but I'm fighting off a cold right now and slept all day.  Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week.  Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

So here's what happened last week:


  • Discussion Post: Do you think publishers correctly interpret what we want to read? Post here.
  • Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango.  Post here.
  • Blog Tour & Review: Shadow of Deception by Sophia L. Johnson.  Post here.
  • Review: The Tunnel (Time of Death #1) by Josh Anderson. Post here.
  • Review: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel. Post here.


Here's what to look forward to next week:


  • Discussion Post: How do you decide whether to accept an indie author's review request?
  • Review: The Extraction List by Renee Meland.
  • Blog Tour & Review: No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West.
  • Review: Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen.
  • Tempting Future YA Releases: August 2015


Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!


















Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.


I love a good summer read, and one of self-discovery too.  They seem to go well together, and this book was no exception. I fell in love with the characters in this story from the very beginning.  Sarah, or "Bean" as her family calls her, was such an interesting character, and in many ways, unlike any I've read before. This is an ultra-smart and motivated girl who has a future already planned out when she's only fifteen.  She's an astronomer, and she is motivated enough to be tracking a comet, making calculations, knowing its trajectory, etc.  She devotes all her time and energy into it, and the rest into getting her college application prepared.  Her family pushes her to do these things too, but at the same time, both the character, and I, wondered if anyone ever saw her as anything else.

This summer is her chance to break out, to discover if she's anything other than what everyone expects her to be.  So she decides to use her older, popular sister as a model.  I loved how she did this too... she calculated in her mind like it was an experiment.  It was such an interesting character to read that I just loved her right off.

Then there's the guy she meets.  I loved him.  He was different than his friends.  He was sweet, caring, sensitive, but also hot.  He was the perfect person to introduce her into a world other than science, and the progression of their romance was sweet, gentle and perfect.

This story had a twist or two in it that I wasn't expecting.  I really thought the older sister would be cliche, because I've read similar books before and that's how it turned out.  But she wasn't.  That's all I will say there.

The story zipped along for me, and I pretty much devoured it very quickly.  It had a nice summer romance, a lot of self-discovery which made the book have a lot more depth than I was expecting, and a surprising ending.  Very good read.

Feature and Follow Friday



It's Feature and Follow Friday again!! It is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.  


Question of the Week:   What's your favorite movie?

OMG, you guys are killing me.  This is an incredibly difficult question to answer.  I love a wide variety of movies, and they're all different, in different genres, etc... so picking one over the others would be like comparing apples to oranges.  I have more of a top 50 favorite movies. LOL.

Some of my favorites are:


  • Moonstruck
  • The Star Wars Trilogy
  • Gladiator
  • Braveheart
  • Pride and Prejudice - the AMC version with Colin Firth!
  • Pay It Forward
  • Field of Dreams


And that's just to name a small few.  I love movies almost as much as I love books.



Of course, there would need to be some very cozy seating areas too.  Hehehe.


To follow The Tale Temptress blog, there are several methods:


1. I still love GFC follow... makes it easier to keep track. My favorite follow method.  See the right panel of my blog.
2. You can also follow via the Networked Blogs option on the right panel.
3. Folow via email option on the right panel
3. Follow me on Twitter
4. Follow my Facebook Page
5. Follow by Goodreads
6. Follow me on Google +
7. Follow via RSS

Then finally....
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I would love to feature another blog or a guest post on my blog.  Please email me, or fill out the form on my Be a Featured Blog page, from the blog's main menu.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: The Tunnel by Josh Anderson

The Tunnel (Time of Death #1) by Josh Anderson
Release Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Epic Press
Genre: Young Adult Time Travel


What if you could go back and change the past? Kyle Cash made the biggest mistake of his life on March 13, 2014, when he crashed his friend's Audi into a school bus full of children. The accident haunts him every day, until the sister of one of the kids killed in the crash comes to visit Kyle at Stevenson Youth Correctional Facility and offers him the opportunity to travel back in time. Kyle learns, though, that time weaving is more complicated and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. 


I've always been a big fan of time travel books, all the way back since when Doc Brown told Marty McFly about gigawatts.  (If you're too young to get that reference, well, bless your heart and go watch Back to the Future.) So this story, given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review (thank you, Josh!) was the perfect type of read for me.

Told in Kyle Cash's perspective, we get a look at what it might be like if you could try to go back and correct a terrible mistake you had committed.  To some of us, mistakes we make may not be all that profound, but to Kyle, they were horrific. Driving under the influence caused a bus crash that killed numerous children,put him in jail, and destroyed so many lives, including that of his mother, the only parent he's had in his life.  When he's offered the chance to go back and potentially correct this mistake, who wouldn't say yes?

What I loved about Kyle was that, sitting in jail, his mistake was always with him.  Not that I wanted him to torture himself, but it was an effective bit of characterization for the reader to see the extent of Kyle's regrets.  He has a list of names at his cell bed of all those who died because of him. Although we might be inclined not to like him for his mistake, his obvious regret and self-guilt made me sympathize immediately. When offered this chance to travel in time to correct the mistake, he's determined to do so. As with all time travels, however, it obviously isn't going to be as simple as that.

The book has a very small cast of characters, but the author did a fantastic job allowing the reader to get to know his characters, in the midst of action sequences and unfolding mystery. All the elements I love in a good time travel were present. There's mystery to it, science that we may understand in theory but can't yet prove. A lot of time travel novels don't pay attention to the details and come out seeming unrealistic to where I can't suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy it.  This one was right on the money, paying careful attention to the detail of the science, and even giving us a couple new ways to look at time travel that I haven't seen in other books.

If I had any complaints at all, it might be that the romance seemed a little too insta-love, especially on the girl's side, although for some reason it didn't bother me that much.  There were too many other aspects of the story that were holding my attention to where the romance was rather secondary.

This was a very fast-reading book.  Although it was a tad short, I finished it quickly not only due to the length but also because the pacing was very quick and the story itself had me engrossed.  I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to give anything away.  I will only say that I loved some of the twists and turns in the book, and some unexpected relationships that cropped up and proved essential to the story.  

The author was able to convey a lot of characterization with little space required, and the writing was tight and suspenseful.  This is the first in a series, and now I'm dying to read the next one because this one ended with a quite the agonizing cliffhanger. Definitely give this series a try!

Buy Links

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!





As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...


Release Date: October 27, 2015

Why I'm excited about it:
Loved the first book so much.
Then I just love Jennifer Estep
all the way around!! Can't miss this.




Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Deception by Sophia L. Johnson



It's so exciting to be a part of the blog tour for Shadow of Deception by Sophia L. Johnson.  Check out the details below!!


Shadow of Deception (The Kazumi Chronicles #1) by Sophia L. Johnson
Release Date: April 9, 2015
Publisher: Outskirts Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

A horrific plane crash kills all five hundred and forty-two passengers except one. Kazumi emerges from the wreckage physically unscathed but has lost all her memories. Her miraculous survival has the whole city buzzing but all she wants is to go home, wherever home is.

After waiting a month in the hospital with no one to claim her, Kazumi is deemed homeless. She is about to be sent to a nearby teenage shelter when the nurse she grew to trust ushers her down a mysterious path, one that promises safety and maybe even the chance to recover her memories. With no better options available, Kazumi takes her chance and finds herself in the headquarters of the Sarcomeres, a secret society of genetically advanced humans hidden deep inside the Rocky Mountains. The Sarc’s heightened physical abilities and high-tech gadgets are not the only things that fascinate Kazumi. Finnegan O’Riley, a fellow Sarc she meets along the way also gets her heart racing. When Kazumi discovers that she possesses the genetic potential of a Sarcomere, she jumps at the chance to train with them, not knowing the death defying tests that are involved.

Meanwhile, a centuries-old nemesis of the Sarcomeres begins to stir in the dark, setting their dark plans in motion. Just when Kazumi thinks she can help protect her new found home, past memories surface to threaten her new identity. She soon realizes that layers of deception run deep and everyone has a secret agenda, including herself. Who can she trust when she can’t even trust herself? One wrong decision could bring forth consequences worse than death.


This was such an inventive and unique story from the very beginning.  It was a little different from the types of books I usually read, but I actually really enjoyed it.  This is a setting where there are supernatural people who can get in your mind, read your thoughts, manipulate what you see and experience, and a whole lot more.  Then you have another group who supposedly protects the human race from them.  Both sides think they're right, and both sides will do what they have to do in order to accomplish their goals.

Into this steps Kazumi.  Of course, after the plane crash, she doesn't remember who she is, and is called Gabi for a time until slowly, enough memories return to let her know her true name, if not many other details.  I'll have to admit, at first, I struggled with liking this character, or should I say that I had some trouble liking Gabi.  Without know herself and who she was, she came across a bit weak, a lot annoying and a lot whiny half the time.  She makes several really stupid choices that come with some pretty bad consequences, and there were times that I just wanted to shake her.  As her memories resurface, however, she became a LOT more interesting!  The true her, Kazumi, was an amazing character.  Strong, sure of herself, not whiny at all, but full of confidence and purpose.  I loved this side of her and forgot all about first impressions.  In retrospect, I believe she was actually written that way deliberately.

Then there was Finn.  Wow, what a badass.  He was amazing, both as a leader, a fighter, and in personality as well because he was brave, selfless and strong, so in control.  At first, when I was struggling liking Kazumi, I kept thinking she didn't deserve him anyway, but then later, I realized they were a great match together, because once she recovers full memories, she becomes a powerhouse! I wouldn't say there was any insta-love here... more like insta-lust on Kazumi's side, which I can live with.  And let's face it, when it comes to Finn, who wouldn't feel exactly like Kazumi did.

All in all, I think the author did an amazing job with the world-building.  I loved the characterization, and the struggle portrayed between both the characters, and their conflicting sides.  There were twists and turns and unexpected events in this story that I never saw coming. So kudos to the author for flipping me on my back about three times in this book.  I was left with a wow factor at the end of this story that has me already clamoring for book two.  Really wonderful first installment to what I'm sure will be a great series.

Buy Links

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About the Author

With a degree in International Business Management, Sophia has worked in a major marketing firm
where she realized the corporate world isn’t one she wants to be in.  She then made the switch into the healthcare industry as a Registered Massage Therapist by day and a writer by night.  She is now a Massage Therapy instructor and a published author living with her husband and daughter in Toronto.  Her go-to genres are science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian; or anything that sweeps her away into a foreign world that promises adventure.









Author Links



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Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

The Leveller by Julia Durango
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA, sort of futuristic but not quite dystopian

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?


Wow!  I really was not expecting to love this book as much as I did.  I knew next to nothing about it when I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.  Let's just say that I was more than pleasantly surprised.

This has to be one of the most inventive things I've read in a while.  The idea of a society that has a virtual gaming world where the player can be an active participant in the game, mold it, shape it, customize it, and interact inside it, is an amazing concept.  Fans of gaming would LOVE this book... if they can get off their game controllers long enough to read it that is, because that's probably what they're doing right now.

But the story concept is so interesting.  People get sucked into XBOX and Playstation games as it is. They can spend hours at their tv with controllers in hand.  Why would this virtual reality world be any different.  So that's what the heroine, Nixy does... she pulls people out of the virtual game who have been in too long, usually at the request of the parents.  I can picture parents telling their kids to get off their Playstation all the time, so the idea that they would hire what's called a Leveller, like Nixy, to pull their child out of this interactive game, is not far-fetched at all.

I became a fan of Nixy from the moment she was introduced. She is smart, intuitive, and powerful inside that game. She knows exactly how to get in and what to do to pull her target out.  She's a master of the game and knows how to use it to her advantage...but this also means she has to be an amazing player herself in order to get herself through obstacles.  And she has to pull out all her tips and tricks to go after Wyn, who has been inside the game way too long and happens to be the son of the inventor.  In the process of tracking him down in the game world, we get to see those amazing skills, and I was just blown away by her.

I loved Wyn as soon as I met him too.  He's gentle, open, and sweet... in many ways a perfect foil for Nixy.  Their romance was slow-building and I loved it.  I don't want to say too much more or I might ruin something for anyone who hasn't read it.

The author did a fantastic job with world-building, describing the game to make you feel like you're there too, and with characterization.  I flew through this book because it just pulled me along so well. It was action packed and exciting.  I can't wait for the next installment!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Discussion Post: Do you think publishers correctly interpret what we want to read?



My Discussion Topic This Week - Do you think publishers correctly interpret what we want to read?

As an aspiring writer, I've been told by writers and publishers alike that when you're writing, don't write to the current trends because they'll be over before you know it and publishers will stop buying them.  I've followed that rule religiously, and just concentrated on writing what came to me... or "the book of my heart" so to speak.  However, I'v noticed that the publishers don't exactly practice what they preach there.


Notice that when a great book comes out in a particular sub-genre, say YA Dystopian, next thing you know the market is glutted with them and they keep publishing them.  Over the last several years, I've read nearly every type, form, or variation of dystopian there could possibly be and there's no end in sight.  Not that I'm complaining!  I love dystopians.  I do, however, know quite a few people who are growing weary of them.

Then take the vampire phenomenon.  There have always been a few vampire stories out there, but with the onsite of the Twilight saga, the book world went crazy with vampires books, tv shows, movies, etc.  And this is one that I'm actually very tired of.  To me, there have just been too many of them.  They've boiled us to death in them, and yet they're still publishing them.

So do they really know what we want?  Do they know if their target audience is getting tired of a certain concept or sub-genre?  You'd think they would because I know they do market research based on sales of book types, but yet they keep publishing them.  Do you think they pay attention to their own research?  Do they try to keep trends alive longer than they should?  Do they really know what we want to read?

Let's discuss...


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tempting New Tales



Better late than never.  Sorry I'm a little late posting this today, but I'm fighting off a cold right now and slept all day.  Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week.  Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

So here's what happened last week:


  • Discussion Post: Have you discovered the fun and benefit of Pinterest?  Post here.
  • Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi.  Post here.
  • Blog Tour & Review: Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner.  Post here.
  • Blog Tour & Review: All I've Never Wanted by Ana Huang. Post here.
  • Blog Tour & Review: Naked by Stacey Trombley. Post here.



Here's what to look forward to next week:


  • Discussion Post: Do you think publishers correctly interpret what we want to read?
  • Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango. (This was supposed to be last week but I couldn't fit it.
  • Blog Tour & Review: Shadow of Deception by Sophia L. Johnson.
  • Review: The Tunnel (Time of Death #1) by Josh Anderson.
  • Review: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel


Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!























Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!
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