Friday, January 24, 2014

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Elevated by Elana Johnson

Hi guys! This Friday, I have a cover reveal for you. An author who has been dabbling in science fiction is now crossing over to another genre. I'm introducing you to Elana Johnson and her YA contemporary, Elevated. Read on and check out the giveaway!

Book Description:

Kindle Edition, 300 pages
February 18th 2014

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

Links: Kobo | Goodreads

Praise for ELEVATED:

"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

About Elana Johnson:

Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Website | Facebook | Tumblr | League of Extraordinary Writers | Goodreads

You can win $15 Paypal cash by helping to spread the word about ELEVATED.

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Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source:Megan + Harper Collins International (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Warning: If you have not read The Madman's Daughter, skip paragraph 3-5.

Her Dark Curiosity had a mystery edge along with jarring waves of violence this time around. It was more pronounced, more raw and more heart-wrecking. And I thought I loved the first book. I am absolutely in love with the sequel. Her Dark Curiosity's London was a social minefield, very perilous, filled with secrets and dangers in hidden corners and dark alleys, stalked by a monster and manipulated by the powers in their seats. I loved the ambiance.

Juliet was back in London, safe and sound. After months of sailing on sea, alone and broken after Montgomery's betrayal, she was back with Profesor von Stein. He was the same angel sent from heaven who helped her get a job at the university. Although she now enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, the Juliet nurtured in the island remained strong. She slipped into her secret hideaway, trying to develop a cure for her sickness. She was an intriguing character for sure. Her musings were so fun to read. She was a ball of curiosity, loneliness, longing and spunk.

To be honest, I expected some sort of "comeback," given that this was a trilogy. I was not disappointed. The boy that I was so eager to understand, Edward Prince, came back. Everything I wanted to read about him in The Madman's Daughter was served to me in Her Dark Curiosity. His two sides warred for dominance: the helpless, kind and gentle Edward and the twisted, dangerous and mysterious Beast. They were two sides of a coin, both having feelings towards Juliet and expressing it in their own ways. It was perfectly carried out, this different and quite so literal depiction of two personalities in one body. As Juliet found out more about the beast, she discovered more about Edward, the more she knew about the Beast. Her protectiveness and longing to save Edward warmed my heart. There was just something sizzling between them.

I'm one of the readers who loved the love triangle. After everything that Julie has been through, I can positively say that she was not normal. At all. She was eccentric, special in more ways than one. There was a darkness in her that makes her do crazy things and enabled her to connect with beings like her. Although Edward's alter ego, the Beast lurked beneath the surface, he still remained Edward. He was in love with Juliet and I believe a little part of Juliet cared for him and loved him back, too. Moving on to Montgomery: the knight in shining armor; the typical choice. He was sweet through and through, protective, and a true gentleman. But there would always be a part of him that could never understand Juliet the same way Edward did. Juliet's own self was torn into two: Pre-island and post-island; human and other. The same way, she was torn between two boys: Edward and Montgomery.

The sequel was a good canvas for showing the consequences of breakthrough science. As the work of Juliet's father spread its roots into London's soil, the level of danger and suspense increased. Juliet was adamant to stop Dr. Moreau's work no matter what it took. When something much more sinister that the Beast stood on the brink of success, Juliet would realize that there was more to her father's experiments than what she left behind on the island.

Her Dark Curiosity was unputdownable, deliciously dark and heart-pounding. The ending wrecked my heart and left me with hope (false hope)? I highly recommend this to readers of dark fiction who likes romance and is open to alternative old science [Frankenstein, experiments and the like]. I keep on repeating that this might not be a book for everybody but it is certainly a gem.

5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Savor by Kate Evangelista

Book Description:

Published 2013 by Crescent Moon Press

Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you've got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.

Reviewer's Copy: Ebook

Source: Kate + Iris from Paranormal Cravings (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Contrary to my usual review format I'm not starting with the main character nor the summary. My delicious confusion can be summed up in one word: Luka. What? When? How? Why? Kate's enlightening revelation wiped away my doubts: Savor is set in an alternate universe from Taste. Luka, the blue-eyed, curly blond boy, had become a magnetic and mysterious rockstar. He was a complex character, equally charming and frustrating at the same time. Half the time I wanted to understand him and give him a hug. Other times, I just wanted to give him a slap so he would wake to reality.

Dakota was unlike any other heroine I've met. She wore an eye-patch and not just for fun. She had the appreciative perception of a photographer. That was what interested me the most. Aside from that, she was a real person, not afraid to address her wants and needs in life. In her one-month stay at the Lunar Manor, she wound her roots around Vicious - the members, their lives and their secrets. It had been a long time since I read about something band-related. I was so delighted to have the familiar elements of band-in-a-story, their background, their music and their lives. Vicious was unlike any other band I ever encountered.

Dakota and Luka's push-and-pull dynamic really got to me, in a good way. I was just as eager as Luka and just as frustrated as Dakota. There was an undeniable zing between these two, so palpable that it could be cut with scissors. They were strangers attracted towards one another. It was like looking across the street and meeting someone's eyes and feeling this spark. You are interested and intrigued and yet you are afraid to cross that street, afraid to break the modicum of "no talking to strangers." Nevertheless, I loved them together. I wish there was more time for their bond to develop into something more definite. I'm looking forward to that in the sequel.

Kate's writing was just as superfluous as I remember it. Honest, funny and colorful, giving life to every bit of her fictional world and characters. The photography and music involved made Savor worth reading for me. I am a frustrated photographer, so Dakota's hobby and future career appealed to me. Aside from these things, the plot unraveled smoothly. The entire stay in Lunar Manor felt like a mini-vacation for me. I wanted to extend. 80% of my questions were answered by the end. But that killer cliffhanger definitely zombified a few of the answered questions in my head, mutated them into complex musings and predictions. To be honest, the shift from through and through contemporary romance to slight paranormal jolted me out of my seat. There was a spark of what-the-heck-is-happening?? but at the same time, there was a part of me that guessed this paranormal element. I liked how something so small in Savor had suddenly roared to life at the end. You'll find out when you read it.

Savor is sizzling, picturesque and sensually tantalizing. I recommend this for readers of Kate Evangelista's awesomeness, contemporary readers and paranormal romance readers. Suitable for older teens.

4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love.
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!

Prize: 5 - E-copies of TASTE by Kate Evangelista (International Giveaway) running from Jan 1 till Feb 7, 2014.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Book Description:

Paperback, 420 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Reviewer's Copy: Paperback

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

Upon starting The Madman's Daughter, I had no idea what to expect. The London ambiance was a familiar YA setting for me, so was encountering an impoverished young heroine. But Juliet was unlike any other English heroine I have ever encountered. With a fierce survival instinct and a little bit of darkness in her, she had me hooked to her story. With no parents at a young age, she worked at the college as part of the cleaning crew. A trace of her estranged father drifted to the streets of London. Juliet, always the curious one, went to investigate. The rest was history. Juliet's character was thoroughly dissected and explored. The author did an amazing job with this.

Vivisection, the dissection of living animals, was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Henri Moreau's mad science. It was all thrilling, horrfying and hardcore-genius to m. In this light, The Madman's Daughter was steampunk-ish, an advanced science in the old world. The products of her father's madness were both horrible and intriguing. Balthazar, one of the creatures, was one of the sweetest characters I've ever encountered. He was like a giant teddybear, gentle and thoughtful. Although he was one of the doctor's experiments, he was as human as any other human could be. I couldn't quite classify him as an animal. He was too innocent.

When it comes to love, Juliet was much more complex. Montgomery, the servant boy that she idolized when she was a little girl, had become an Adonis. With a kind heart and gentleness, he stole Juliet's heart. On the other side of the triangle was Edward Prince, the mysterious and captivating survivor. He was the broken boy that readers loved to understand, pine for and cheer on. To be honest, I was as torn as Juliet. Montgomery was the typical choice but there was something magnetic about Edward that I just couldn't ignore. I wanted to protect him and fix him. I could feel the tug-and-war of their affections and appeal. This would be something that romance readers will look forward to.

The Madman's Daughter was strongly atmospheric with a palpable emotional and sexual tension and a generous amount of suspense, mystery and terror. From character building to the plot, everything was stitched together perfectly. Shepherd blew me away with this hauntingly beautiful debut. I highly recommend this to readers of historical and old science fiction (aka dark science) and romance. If you liked The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I think this is right up your alley. This is not for the faint of heart.

5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler

I love featuring Ann Stampler so this is the second time that you will be seeing these deets here. I will be reviewing this book within the month or the next. If you're interested in YA Contemporary centering on relationships, particularly friendship stories, then this will work for you.


A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother—whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma isn’t.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, a bash where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop...

Buy Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Indiebound

About the Author:

Ann Stampler was the mild mannered author of literary picture books when she broke out, tore off her tasteful string of pearls, and started writing edgy, contemporary young adult novels set in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and writer’s-helper rescue dog – without whose compelling distraction she would have no doubt penned dozens of novels by now.

Follow Ann: Twitter | Facebook | Website : Blog | Goodreads


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