Monday, April 29, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Follow the White Rabbit by Kellie Sheridan

Follow the White Rabbit 
by Kellie Sheridan
Series: Beautiful Madness, #1
Publication date: May 21, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy

For centuries, Wonderland thrived as the domain of beautiful bedlam and unapologetic madness. It was a place like no other. All it took was one girl slipping in through the cracks of the universe to start chaos spiraling toward order. In the 150 years since Alice’s visit, the realm has become tainted—almost normal. Rabbits in waistcoats and playing card minions are little more than creatures of myth, and Wonderland is literally falling to pieces.

For Gwen, Rose, and Lucky, Wonderland is home, and yet they know little of its former glory. When the Alice prophecy resurfaces, they’ll have one chance to use Wonderland’s own legends to bring a little mayhem back into their reality. For she who controls Alice controls the fate of Wonderland.

Kellie Sheridan is a Canadian author and book blogger. When not reading books or writing, she also works with books. She is currently working with two small publishers on the marketing/publicity side of things, and is also Joan of ARCs at Spencer Hill Press. In her spare time Kellie watches way too much television and travels whenever she has the opportunity.

Kellie’s first YA novel, Mortality was released in March, and she is currently hard at work on future writing projects.

Author links:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore

Empyreal Illusions
Book One of The Inferno Unleashed Series
by Jake Bonsignore

Genre: YA Fantasy / Dystopian
Release: May 2013 (e-book); July 2013 (paperback)
Book Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography


Fourteen-year-old Breena Taljain’s dreary existence in the slums of Purgaire comes to a sudden end when a chance encounter with a criminal mastermind known as the Patriarch goes horridly wrong. His assault on her for refusing to pay for her mother’s addiction leaves her comatose and teetering on the edge of life and death.

Galbrecht Atalir is a washed-up doctor struggling to overcome his inner demons through alcohol and aggression. He never quite recovered from the unsolved murder of his family seven years prior. When he discovers Breena as his newest patient, he knows at once that the Patriarch is the one who eluded him for almost a decade.

The medicine Galbrecht gives Breena draws her into a heavenly paradise. When it ebbs away, though, the recurring trauma plunges her into treacherous hinterlands. There, Breena must learn to find power in courage, hope, and love to overcome fiends of hatred bent on permanently ending her existence.

With justice burning in his heart, Galbrecht begins a race against time to seek out the Patriarch in the underworld before Breena loses her struggle against the ever-darkening terrors of her mind….

I have been writing since I was in grade school and had my first novel, Descendant of Strife, published in 2007. It is about an orphaned sorcerer who learns dark secrets of his past that end up entangling him in a secret war between heaven and hell that spans nearly half a millennium.

Becoming an author always been a dream of mine since as far back as I can remember. I think it started, though, with a brief writing exercise I was given in kindergarten. We were supposed to write a two to three sentence story (or maybe a paragraph) to do with Easter. I ended up writing a little over a page. Yep…go figure.
I ended up graduating high school when I was 16 years old and attending St. John’s University in New York for a while. Then I moved to Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida with Magna Cum Laude honors and a BS degree in Business AdministratioN.

I’ve recently completed my 2nd and 3rd novels, Empyreal Illusions and Awakening the Fire (YA fantasy). They are part of The Inferno Unleashed series.
“It takes courage to live, yes, but it takes true bravery to stand your ground in a world aligned against you.”

At one point or another, everybody inevitably feels that they are bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders and their back is giving in. For Breena Taljain, the central protagonist of Empyreal Illusions, it’s as commonplace of a feeling as breathing. Surprisingly enough, the idea for it came to me while I was sitting in the university library before a final exam. I remember writing the first five pages instead of studying but somehow managed to pull off a good grade anyway!

Now I am getting ready to begin my fourth novel, which will be set in an entirely different universe than Empyreal Illusions. It will be a YA romance with a tinge of fantasy. Stay tuned

Of course, I love reading as much as I do writing. Outside of my literary pursuits, though, I enjoy playing sports and I’m a fitness enthusiast. There’s nothing that a good workout can’t help solve!

Thanks for your support and for being part of the adventure (and what a one it is and will be)!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Echo by Alicia Wright Brewster

by Alicia Wright Brewster  
Publication: April 25th 2013
by Dragonfairy Press
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The countdown clock reads ten days until the end of the world. The citizens are organized. Everyone's been notified and assigned a duty. The problem is . . . no one knows for sure how it will end.

Energy-hungry Mages are the most likely culprit. They travel toward a single location from every corner of the continent. Fueled by the two suns, each Mage holds the power of an element: air, earth, fire, metal, water, or ether. They harness their powers to draw energy from the most readily available resource: humans.

Ashara has been assigned to the Ethereal task force, made up of human ether manipulators and directed by Loken, a young man with whom she has a complicated past. Loken and Ashara bond over a common goal: to stop the Mages from occupying their home and gaining more energy than they can contain. But soon, they begin to suspect that the future of the world may depend on Ashara's death.

I have read so many great SF books this year, especially in the young adult market, that sometimes I worry that I’m being biased… unfortunately, I won’t be able to disprove that today, because this was yet another fantastic YA SF adventure that I just loved. :)

First of all, I loved our main heroine’s name - Ashara.  That is so beautiful, and her nicknames, Asha and Ash, both adorable.  Loken, her on again off again BF in this book, is also original and strong.  They made a very nice couple and Loken’s concern for Ashara was touching from start to finish.

This book is cool is so many ways, but the main one for me was the whole rewinding time thing.  The world is about to end, but the world has been about to end for a while now, it’s just some paranormal beings in this futuristic “second Earth planet” can rewind time.  Each timeline is ten days and in that ten days they have people with special elemental powers do things to change the outcome, which is the end of the world.

In the middle of this is a sort of political/religious “disagreement” of how people view the end of the world.  One faction thinks this is just destiny.  If it ends, well, that’s how it was supposed to go.  The other faction, the one Ashara and Loken are part of, believe it’s their responsibility to change things.

Pretty heavy!  But also pretty cool, because it sets up a nice message for how people of different belief systems can work together for a common goal.

The people in charge, The Council, are the ones who can turn back time, and they seem to have an unlimited number of times to be able to do this, but really, that’s not the case.  Once they get far enough along in the timeline that they know they will fail, they can rewind and start again but it takes a certain skill set to do this.

Only certain people retain the memories of the past timelines, and when we start the story, we’re on the fifth timeline and Ashara wasn’t even aware that the rewinds had even started yet.  She soon learns that this time, for the first time, she is to play an important role in thwarting the end of the world.  She’s done something in the last timeline that may save everyone...or may kill everyone.

Ashara was a great character because she was imperfect, and not in a stupid way either. She makes mistakes, she pays for these mistakes, and yet, she is still willing to do the big deed to make sure she plays out her role in a way that she wants to, not how others want her to.  She is a strong, smart, female character who has lots of cool power, and just the right amount of confidence.

I also loved the romance, which was not a lot, but I the relationship between Ashara and Loken was sweet and believable. He was the perfect counter balance to Ashara when she was weak, when she was powerful, and when she was vulnerable.

Sometimes time travel in books can be overwhelming.  A lot of times actually, because it’s hard on the brain to get this stuff down in your mind.  In addition, sometimes authors can really get a lot of stuff wrong.  They don’t think it through properly, or they don’t understand what is and isn’t possible, and they wing it. But this was not the case with Echo, the time stuff is very simple, yet also plays a major role in the major reveal about how and why Ashara is different.  It was written very well and explained clearly and I can’t wait to read more of Alicia Wright Brewster’s stories.  She delivers an exciting adventure, with no swearing, no sex, and filled with positive messages for teens who like futuristic SF.

Alicia Wright Brewster is a mild-mannered lady of average height and above average paranormal obsession. By day, she works in an office. At night she is an author, an electronics junkie, and a secret superhero.

In her virtually non-existent free time, she loves to read, watch movies, and eat food. She is particularly fond of the food-eating and makes a point to perform this task at least three times per day, usually more. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Top Ten with January Black Author Wendy S. Russo

This is not the first time I've had January Black on this blog, nor the second actually - but the third time.  I loved this book, it's a great read for teens and it has a complicated and satisfying mystery, mixed in with a sweet romance.  I hope to re-read this book again soon, because it has all sorts of cools stuff that I'm sure I missed the first time through.

January Black
Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.

Wendy S. Russo's Top Ten Characters in Books!
YAY!  Wndy agreed to give me her top ten favorite characters in books!  And WOW - SO many good ones on this list!  I especially like The Imp, Tyrion Lannister!  :)  I can't even tell you how many times I LOL'd at Tyrion's antics!  Check them all out below!

WENDY says: Ooh, tough. So many good books, with too many great characters. How about I go with a few "stand outs."

1. Mara Jade, creation of author Timothy Zahn for the Expanded Star Wars Universe. Before I talk about her, a show of hands, please. Who didn't want smack Luke Skywalker at some point during the original trilogy? Yeah, there aren't many who loved him so much they'd ignore all of his annoying traits. So, in Specter of the Past, in walks Mara Jade, former Imperial assassin turned a bounty hunter. She's supermodel beautiful, has a heart of stone, and who's the unlucky rebel hero under her cross-hair? That's right. Luke Skywalker. They end up married years later, which makes perfect sense. Anyhow, characters with baggage are usually interesting, and Mara packs like the Kardashian sisters.

2. Tyrion Lannister. For such a diminutive man, he looms large in the Song of Ice and Fire, doesn't he? George R.R. Martin's "half-man" has twice the brains and twice the soul of all the rest of the characters, and in THAT series, it's impressive that any one character can manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Tyrion somehow manages.

3. Pollyanna. I'll always come back to that little girl in lists of favorite books and characters. She believed that there was nothing so ugly that she couldn't find a bright side. Of course, there are such things, as Pollyanna herself learns, but by then her brilliant spirit had infected the entire community around her and they were able to return the kindness that she paid forward. She's a great character. I think everyone should read that book at least once.

4. Alice Cullen. I will admit, I never struggled to pick a side between Team Edward and Team Jacob. I'm an Alice fan, straight up. I would LOVE to see a spin-off series for Alice and Jasper. Prequel years, when Alice and Jasper meet and through conversion to vampire vegetarian, maybe ending with meeting Belle. Think about it. Alice has no memory of her life before becoming a vampire, no humanity to reign her in, and that without Carlisle she'd have been a beast. That's what Edward told Belle about her. So, we have hints that the father/daughter relationship between Alice and Carlisle may be different than the other "kids." We know that she's close to Edward. She's stylish. She's funny. And then you have the romance with Jasper, who's already book boyfriend material. I'll be disappointed if an Alice/Jasper spin-off doesn't happen. There's just so much material for Stephanie Meyer to play with, it would be a shame if she didn't.

5. Silas, the albino Opus Dei brother from The Da Vinci Code. He was a pure soul. A believer. A man who had nothing to give God but his blood and willingness to kill to protect "The Church." Though he's a murderer, it is difficult not to pity him in the moment he realizes that he was betrayed. He took lives, he believed, to serve God, but his actions had only implicated the Opus Dei sect in a crime his "teacher" had orchestrated to cast suspicion away from himself. For the man who was seeking absolution from the sins of his youth, the moment he sees the big picture bears a crushing weight. I really wanted to hug the poor guy.

6. Chester, the cat, from Bunnicula. I remember that I loved the book but not much else, EXCEPT that the cat tried to kill the "vampire" bunny addition to his human's family with a steak to the heart. That's not a misspelling. The cat's attempt at bunny-cide was closer to performing chest compressions through a New York Strip than a murder attempt. However the paranoid kitty tried to off Bunnicula, he was unsuccessful. If you haven't read this book it's narrated by the family dog, who is not concerned by the baby bunny's "strange" eating habits.

7. Enoch Root, from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. He's a reoccurring person in Stephenson's universe, more plot device than character, and he turn the storylines this way and that as he deems necessary. He doesn't age, Stephenson doesn't explain why, giving the character a mystique that allows him to sparkle while occupying a minimal word count. And Stephenson named him "Root," in a book that's heavily laden with techno-babble. He is the base of all things cool about that book.

8. Steerpike, from Mervin Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. Steerpike is as bright as he is underprivileged, and when the opportunity arises to rise within the ranks of the massive earldom's aristocracy, he snatches it. He spends years ingratiating himself to the creepy twin aunts of earling Titus Groan. But Gormenghast is a city ruled as much by rituals that never change, and Steerpike, despite his efforts to steal the respect he so desperately wants from his peers, is never truly accepted by Titus' mother, close allies of the late-earl (whom Steerpike killed), or Titus. Steerpike, however noble his wardrobe, whatever insignias he stitches onto them, he never becomes more than a serving boy except in his own mind. In the moment, when reality breaks through and he becomes aware that he's accomplished very little in all of his years of scheming, he snaps, and he goes to his death believing himself to be a victim to the cruelty of Gormenghast. Mervin Peake is a long-winded but gifted author. Steerpike make my skin craw in every scene.

9. Xylia Morana, from Avery Olive's "A Stiff Kiss." This novel is a stand alone, Young Adult paranormal, that reminded me a bit of the movie Big. Xylia is a strange girl who is obsessed with death. She attends funerals of strangers, sleeps in empty graves, and dresses in all black most of the time, trying to understand death, to make peace with it. One day, while volunteering at the hospital where her father works, Xylia kisses the still warm corpse of a classmate who fell dead on the soccer field. In doing so, she interrupted death and Landon wakes up. At first freaked out, she comes to enjoy Landon's attention as he hounds her for answers, until it becomes clear that his being alive could have devastating consequences. Xylia is a smart, interesting, and also, a very lost teenager. I wasn't into death at her age, but as a teenager I sometimes felt alone, and so I could relate to her.

10. Luka, from Kate Evangelista's Taste. In this underground kingdom of beautiful flesh-eaters (who've been on a special, non-flesh diet for centuries), there are two young men that Phoenix, the main character, meets after having fallen asleep in the library and missing the buss. Demetri, who inspires awe and commands respect from everyone around him, and Luka, who is a casual flirt on one hand and unkempt on the other, can put even Demetri on his knees with a word. Though maddeningly gorgeous, Demetri is heir to the throne, overly concerned with duty, and as such comes stick-in-the-muddish. Luka is carefree and adventurous, and he's very interested in Phoenix. He seems, at first, to be the antagonist of the story. In truth, he's merely an antagonist for Demetri, but when the Luka finally tucks his shirt in and exercises the power he has, he's breathtaking. I found myself hoping that he would steal Phoenix away from Demetri, but as much as he wanted to love her, it's not Luka's style, which I also love about him.

Book Trailer

Author Wendy S. Russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.

BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/5/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013


Domination (C.H.A.O.S. #3)
Release Date: 04/16/13
288 pages
With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.
And now their invasion of Earth has begun.

Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.

A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.

Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.
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Alienation (C.H.A.O.S. #2)

Earth's last line of defense against the coming alien invasion is 16-year-old surfer Colt McAlister.

But before he can save the world, he has to survive the day.

All Colt wants to do is return to his old life . . . where aliens don't exist . . . where mankind hasn't been targeted for destruction . . . and where his parents are still alive. Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

The United States government believes Colt holds the key to our survival, so they're sending him to the CHAOS Military Academy along with his best friends Oz and Danielle. There they'll be trained to defend Earth against a swarm of alien shape shifters known as the Thule. But someone is trying to eliminate Colt before he can lead that charge. Shocked to learn about key events in his past and unsure who he can trust, he is alienated and on the run.

In a world of high-tech gear, shape-shifting aliens, simulated reality, and hover boards, Colt must step into his true destiny before our world falls into chaos.
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Invasion (C.H.A.O.S. #1)

He didn't ask for the job, but now all that stands between us and chaos... is Colt

Colt McAlister was having the summer of his life. He spent his days surfing and his nights playing guitar on the beach with friends. He even met a girl and got his first car. But everything changes when his parents are killed in a freak accident.

He's forced to leave his old life behind and move to Arizona with his grandfather. The only person he knows at the new high school is a childhood friend named Dani. And Oz, a guy he's sure he's never met but who is strangely familiar.

But what if his parents' death wasn't an accident? His mother, an investigative reporter, was going to expose a secret mind-control program run by one of the world's largest companies. Before she could release the story, what if agents from Trident Biotech made sure she couldn't go public?

Vowing to uncover the truth, Colt gets drawn into a secret world of aliens, shapeshifters, flying motorcycles, and invisible gateways.

The Invasion has begun.
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This was a very cool SF adventure/dystopian series that follows Colt McAlister (and his friends) from high school to hero as he deals with the truth about aliens among us.  Colt is a strong character and throughout the series he shows just what he's made of.

In the final installment fo the C.H.A.O.S. series, Colt is the worlds last hope to stop the inevitable takeover of Earth by the evil Thule aliens.  In addition, he's being presented with some unique challenges, challenges that make him question just who is is and what he might become.  

Colt has been changed by his own government. They are looking to fulfill a prophecy that will help bring down the Thule.  Along the way Colt not only has to deal with changes in himself, but also changes in his friends.
He struggles with these changes, he worries that he's scaring his friends, he's worried that he might hurt someone with his new strength, and he even offers himself up to captivity to prevent it.  All these things show Colt's willingness to put the good of others before himself.
This series also presents Colt as a high moral character, even though he makes mistakes, he always strives to be good.  In addition, he relies on his faith in God, using a favorite psalm to help him through the rough times.

This is a good series. It's exciting, it's clean, it has a lot of adventure, and it's fun. The aliens remind me a little too much of Ender's Game, and the biggest problem I always had with Ender's Game were the aliens.  So their physical descriptions were just so-so for me. 

This is a good book for early to mid teens and teaches good lessons as it presents a compelling conclusion to the series.

Grand prize: All 3 print books in the C.H.A.O.S. series (US only)
Second Place: 5 print books, winner’s choice of book 1, 2 or 3 (US only)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BLAST GIVEAWAY: Moonlit by Jadie Jones

Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. 

Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods. When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. 

Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t. But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself? 


"Virginia's trees look like they're burning. Most of them blaze crimson or gold, but some still have a chokehold on their green. I wish they'd give it up already.
Leaves are more beautiful when they're dying." 

And so Moonlit begins. 

From here the story rolls from one twist to another with many vivid characters whose motives are hard to predict. I found myself being suspicious of everyone, wanting to tell Tanzy to be very careful. The deeper I fell into the plot, the more questions kept rising to the surface. But not to worry, all of my questions were answered. Appropriate for all ages, if you love paranormal fantasy mixed with suspense, mystery and other-worldly romance, you'll love this novel! ~Author Julie Ford   

The first anniversary of my father’s death was even harder on my mother.
Back then, I thought she was haunted most by what she didn’t know. I refused to blame her when she raged above me on our staircase that night, drunk and sad and angry. 

When she made me promise I’d never ride again. When she hurled a half-full bottle of vodka at my face and it exploded on the wooden stairs at my feet. I hadn’t tried to get out of the way. 

She had just missed. 

I wanted to tell her that knowledge was no solace, that what you know can burn inside you until there’s nothing left but guilt and ash. I also wanted to protect her from losing the only piece of him she had left. So I didn’t say a word.   

Georgia native Jadie Jones first began working for a horse farm at twelve years old, her love of horses matched only by her love of books. She went on to acquire a B.A. in equine business management, and worked for competitive horse farms along the east coast. The need to write followed wherever she went. She currently coaches a hunt seat equitation team that competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, and lives with her family in the foothills of north Georgia. When she's not working on the next installment of the Moonlit series, she is either in the saddle or exploring the great outdoors with her daughter. Moonlit is her first book. 


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Monday, April 15, 2013

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Shadow of Wrath by L.W. Patricks

Shadow of Wrath
L.W. Patricks
Series: Sins of the 7, #1
Publication: March 13, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
In the Arena, you're either a killer or a victim.

If survival meant murdering an innocent person in cold blood every week, could you do it? Are you able to stick the knife into your opponent's heart while they look at you with fear in their eyes? Life in the Arena turns everyone into sinners.

A homeless boy is kidnapped from the streets and finds himself imprisoned in a far more horrifying place: The Arena, a place where teenage boys fight to the death for the pleasure of various lowlifes.

The Arena is the brainchild of Ryker, an ex-convict addicted to alcohol, gladiatorial-esque combats, and money. When not devising new ways for boys to kill each other, he’s ruling his small empire with a ruthless fist, rewarding his guards with sex slaves and punishing those who oppose him with barbaric executions.

Renamed Dog, the boy from the street proves to be an excellent fighter and finds himself surviving week after week, but as he leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, the ghosts of slain boys haunt him and the violence threatens to wake a beast inside him.

Allegra, a slave girl in the Arena and a victim of Ryker's constant abuse, is his only key to salvation. She has lost everything already -- her family, her innocence, and her dignity -- while her will to live hangs on by a thin thread. Can she save Dog's humanity before she too succumbs to the horrors of the Arena?
Seeking to defy Ryker as Dog rises to power as his champion, the stage is set for something to give in this murderous world of young combatants.  A tale about survival, tragedy, and human perseverance, the Complete SHADOW OF WRATH is the first book in the Sins of the 7 series.

I’m a fan of fight books so I was very excited to get a chance to be on the Shadow of Wrath blog tour.  This book is gritty, violent, and has a lot of twists to it.  It’s definitely not any genre I can easily identify, which means it’s hard to rate and review.  It’s got a romance in it, sort of.  But it’s definitely not a romance.  It’s got some science in it, but it’s not really a SF novel.  It’s got kids in it…but it’s not a young adult novel either, in my opinion.

So I’m at a loss for how to review this book. I think it was mis-categorized. I read the whole book, and the plot is definitely up there as far as interesting books go, but the characterization wasn’t enough to make me care about any of these people.  Dog, the boy being groomed to be champion has almost no emotion.  And since this is a third person POV, it was really hard to connect with him.

I might’ve liked Allegra, the main love interest, but she was not really on Dog’s side.  In fact, she states several times that his lack of emotion, the same problem I had with him, turned her off.  Plus, these kids were very young.  The book spans two years, and Allegra is just fourteen when we meet her. This makes me cringe.

The other issue I had was a decision made by Dog just when things started to look up. I can’t say any more because it’s a spoiler, but I felt that was either the most selfish thing a person could do, or the most stupid.

I tried to picture my almost sixteen year old son reading this and honestly, he might not have an issue with the lack of emotion or the brutal fighting, or swearing, or the twists, which were also brutal and horrifying…but I can tell you right now, my son would not want to read about how these adult men treated this girl (child) Allegra, or any of the women for that matter.  They were basically sex slaves and Allegra worried about her virtue throughout the entire book.  (But to be clear, there is no sex in this book, just talk of it in terms of abuse and making the women comply with the rules.)

I can’t recommend this for young adults, but I did enjoy it as an adult novel.  Again, the only thing that put me off in that regard, was the lack of emotion in the characters. And I realize that was the point the author was trying to make, that these people were animals and they turned the kids into animals by making them fight or die. But I think a little more personal interaction between the characters would’ve made it a much stronger book.

L.W. Patricks is the author of SHADOW OF WRATH and the literary architect behind the upcoming Sins of the 7 series with his second book: AWAKE THE GHOSTS to be published late 2013.

His short fiction works has been published by Crow Toes Quarterly Magazine, Fiction and Verse literary magazine, and upcoming Denizens of the Dark. He enjoys writing contemporary fantasy with an emphasis on creating urban mythology for his stories.

Though he calls Toronto his home, L.W. Patricks has a passion for exploration and has travelled all over the world including Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, United Kingdom, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia just to name a few. His diverse experience amongst other cultures provides inspiration for his stories.

He currently lives in Toronto with his wife where he enjoys the scorching summer days and the icy winter nights while masquerading as a Word Samurai. He claims to be the offspring of a typewriting chimp and a literary ninja.

You can visit him at his website at

Author Links:

Friday, April 12, 2013

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Tour Schedule

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.

I read very little young adult these days, but when I do it’s almost always science fiction.  Blue Hearts of Mars had an interesting premise: what if a human fell in love with an android?  There are laws in this fiction world that Nicole Grotepas created, laws that say such a thing is illegal.  But that does not deter Retta Heikkinen, the human who happened to do just that.

Blue Hearts of Mars takes place on Mars, some time in the far future, after a lengthy and brutal war with Earth, Mars has become independent.  But only with the help of the early android population, because it was the androids who colonized the Red Planet in the first place. 

Retta goes to a huge school, thousands and thousands of kids, and some of them are androids.  You can sometimes “tell” a person is an android by special marks which are called “tells”.  The thing that separates them from humans, says that they were made by humans hands instead of, well, whatever it is people think made humans.

She manages to meet Hemingway, another kid form her school, who she recognizes almost immediately to be an android by his “tell” something that reminds Retta of swirling galaxies in his eyes. 

They fall in love, they break up, they fall back together…

But in between Retta wants to learn more about the androids because Hemingway has made it painfully clear that he thinks she should not be with him – it would make her life too difficult.

Retta rises to the challenge, in fact she exceeds the challenge.  She is a remarkable character – very quiet, humble, smart, hard-working, logical, and sweet.  She’s not the leader of a political movement!  Or is she? 

I loved Retta, I loved Hemingway too, but Retta makes this whole book.  I read and review a lot of books and sometimes I find myself wandering.  Maybe the book is not really my thing, or maybe I lose interest and skim a little.

This did not happen in Blue Hearts of Mars.  I read every word, sometimes twice.  I loved the thoughts of Retta, she’s so cool and quirky in her own way.  Not snarky, or silly, or anything like that.  In fact, she’s quite serious.

I know it’s not really set up for a sequel because it has a proper ending with no cliffhanger, but if there is one, one that has tiny little half human half android babies, I’d be ecstatic!  I highly recommend this book if you like a thoughtful narrative from the perspective of a far future girl who lives on Mars and falls for a hot android.

“What would you do if there weren’t all the rules? The law? Your father?” he pulled me close.

“I don’t know,” I said, trying to think about it more, but I felt like I was fighting against a current, trying to swim upstream, like at the indoor water park with the lazy river. I went there a lot when I was a kid because there were only a few places where we could see that much water all at once. I learned to swim there, which was scary, because most of my experience with water was in a shower, and that only lasts two minutes.

Hemingway rested his hands on my hips. I could feel his fingers pressing against me through my shirt—they were hot.

“Is it the rules that make you do something? Or is it yourself?” he asked. His breath was warm on my face and it smelled like closeness. Like being inside someone. Like I could smell the scent of his heart. The walls of his lungs. It was intoxicating.

“I—I don’t know,” I whispered.

“Would you kiss an android? Or would the rules stop you?”

His eyes were alight. I felt like I was staring at the heart of a galaxy and I remembered the first time I stared into his eyes. I didn’t have an answer to what he asked. At least, I didn’t know how to speak. I closed my eyes and let myself fall into his lips.


"Nothing like I've read before. A true original story! Everything is so well described. Now if they could make a follow up book and movie, that would be great!" ~Mrs. Z (Amazon)

"I was addicted to this book from the beginning. Life on Mars was very real and not at all a sci fi world I didn't understand . . . I found myself rooting for Retta and Hemingway from the very beginning. Easy reading, couldn't put it down and had it read in a weekend. Waiting for a sequel!" ~TNielsen (Amazon)

"The ending of this book is exceptional. While it was different from what I imagined, the way the author brought in a shocking revelation was amazing. I probably reread the last chapter 3 times letting it sink in and the meaning behind it. It was truly beautiful . . . I would love to see more of Retta and Hemingway!" ~Kat Meyer, (Goodreads)

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." ~Megan (Amazon)

"I had been in the worst reading slump ever and came across this on Goodreads and thought I'd give it a try. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how funny and exciting and mysterious it was . . . Mei, Retta's bff, had me laughing out loud quite a bit as well as Retta herself. I'd definitely hang out with those two." ~Deanneluvbooks (Goodreads)

Blue Hearts of Mars has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Readers are invited to download the excerpts (here) and rate and comment on the entries. So please, if you want to contribute, download and rate Blue Hearts! Your support is incredibly appreciated!

Or purchase the full version of the book here: Amazon

Author Nicole Grotepas

Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. 

After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash (Internationally)
Signed Copy of Cinder & Blue Hearts of Mars (US only)
Ends 4/19/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.