Blog Tour: The Magistrate by Keira Michelle Telford: Excerpt

As part of the tour for THE MAGISTRATE by Keira Michelle Telford, I have an excerpt. The tour is hosted by Enchanted Book Promotions.

the magistrateInfo:
Title: The Magistrate
Author: Keira Michelle Telford
Release Date: June 10, 2013
Publisher: Venatic Press
Series? The Prisonworld Trilogy #1
Genre: Adult, Dystopian, LGBT, Science Fiction
Page Count: 404

Summary:

Poverty is rife in twenty-fourth century London, England. Crime rates are at an all-time high, and living conditions for many are bleak. Capital punishment and public hangings have been reinstated, and Magistrates, in their new role, are tasked with patrolling the streets to enforce arrest warrants and ‘terminate’ any civilians who attempt to evade justice — which isn’t always a noble pursuit.

The laws are strict, illiberal, and unsympathetic. If you can’t afford to feed and clothe yourself, you’ll be sent to the workhouse. If you fall behind on your rent, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison. If you’re gay, you’ll be hanged.

For Carmen Wild, the latter becomes a potentially deadly problem when the discovery of a murdered prostitute brings her back into the life of her first love — the Madam of an East End cathouse — and the illicit passions between them are swiftly reignited. (summary from goodreads)

Excerpt:
I picked this excerpt from Chapter One. It’s pretty early in the book, but does a good job describing the world of THE MAGISTRATE, and Carmen’s role in it.


“What happens now?” he asks, reaching for his bowler hat. “You take me in?”

“Something like that,” Carmen comments absently, messing with his file on her PDA.

She doesn’t even wait for him to put his hat on.

Barely affording him another glance, she aims and fires one shot — right between his eyes — and he falls to the floor with a heavy thud and eight minutes to spare, his hat circling its rim on the floor.

Holstering her gun, she changes his status in the CPS network from ‘Active – Under Warrant’ to ‘Terminated – Warrant Executed’, and sends an alert to BioClenz waste removal to request an immediate cadaver pick-up.

Just like that, John Logan’s biological record is erased. For all intents and purposes, he never existed at all.


About the author:
themagistrate-authorKeira Michelle Telford is the award winning author of a series of post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction books, The SILVER Series, featuring the character Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, and now also The Prisonworld Trilogy – a dystopian lesbian romance. She’s a British ex-pat, now living in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and 10 guinea pigs.

Yes, 10 guinea pigs :)

Fun fact: Her pet guinea pigs (all adopted from animal rescue shelters) were the inspiration for the monsters in The SILVER Series, the first one of which, SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain), was released in November 2011.
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– leeanna

Blog Tour: 15 Minutes by Jill Cooper: Excerpt and Giveaway

Today on the blog tour for 15 MINUTES by Jill Cooper, I have an excerpt and tour-wide giveaway. The tour is hosted by Itching for Books and you can visit the rest of the stops here.

15 minutesInfo:
Title: 15 Minutes
Author: Jill Cooper
Release Date: June 15, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Series? No
Genre: YA, Thriller
Page Count: 236

Summary:

I have 15 minutes to save my mother’s life….

15 minutes is all the Rewind Agency gives you in the past, but for Lara Crane it’s enough time to race through the city, find her mother, and stop her from being killed in a mugging that happened over ten years ago.

But that’s not how it happened. The story she’s been told all her life is a lie and when Lara takes a bullet meant for her mother, her future changes forever.

The love of her life acts like a stranger. Her simple life is replaced with a giant house, glamorous clothes and a new boyfriend.

Except someone knows her secret. And he will try to stop her at every turn as she races against the clock to unravel a dangerous conspiracy.

15 Minutes is an edgy high octane YA thriller that can be described as Back to the Future meets Inception where the people Lara trusts change in an instant. She is in a timeline she doesn’t understand, and is about to make one fatal mistake as she faces an enemy so familiar, he’s family. (summary from goodreads)

Excerpt:
I picked this excerpt from Chapter Three, right after Lara wakes up in another life. It throws you right into the action and mystery.


Groaning, I begin my search. I use WhitePages.com and find Rick easily. He hasn’t even moved, but the search for my dad proves futile. I can’t find anything on him. I bring up Google and type John Crane. There are so many references across the country I might as well be looking for a Smith or a John Doe. But then I see a news article for Cambridge, Massachusetts and I click on it. The screen flashes and redirects to another page.

Content blocked.

My jaw clenches. They have some sort of Net Nanny crap installed on my laptop. Dad never did this to me. He always trusted me. He knew what kind of girl I was.

Grabbing my sneakers from the bottom of the closet, I head back downstairs. My new dad is sitting on the sofa with the twins and they are going over their homework together. He throws a glance over his shoulder, and his eyebrows furor. “Going somewhere?”

“Yeah, to find my real dad.” My cheeks burn hot and my nose flares.

He stands and the air in the room tenses, contracting around us. The twins stop their homework and look over.

“Where. Is. He?” I cross my arms and stare him down, waiting for an answer.

His eyes are angry but not unkind. “We’ve been over this, Lara. A million times. I know you wish things were different. Why don’t we sit down in the kitchen? I’ll make you some tea and we’ll wait for your mother to come home.”

He reaches for my elbow. His face is soft and understanding, but I want to wretch all over his fine suit. I yank my arm away and run from the house. His footsteps rush behind me.

“Lara Montgomery, get back here!”

I never even look back.


Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:
15minutes-jillcooperJill loves to blend horror, comedy, the supernatural, and love, through her novels. A fan of genre blending, her work strives to cross boundaries, but most of all strives to entertain. She loves soft cuddly cats, warm blankets, and paranormal romances. Jill resides in Massachusetts, is constantly renovating her home that she shares with her husband, young daughter, and two skittish cats.
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– leeanna

Book Review: Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake

Book Review: Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare BlakeAntigoddess by Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War #1
Published by Tor Teen on September 10, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Pages: 333
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
2 Stars
Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

My Review:
ANTIGODDESS is a book I wanted to read ever since I heard about it. I love twists on Greek mythology, and I thought the gods dying would be a gigantic twist. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Fast forward to me actually starting the book. Within a few chapters, my excitement died down, much like Athena’s slow death from the feathers growing inside her lungs. The book started out with Athena and Hermes making a painful journey across the desert to find Demeter, and then getting in a fight with Poseidon’s minions. Good stuff, but … there was something off for me, and that off feeling only got worse the more I read.

In ANTIGODDESS, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. From Athena to Cassandra, they fell flat. Like they were two dimensional stereotypes instead of fleshed out and developed characters. I don’t have to care about every character when I read a book, but I want to get emotionally invested in at least one or two of them. Kendare Blake wasn’t afraid to hurt her characters (which was a plus), but when very bad stuff happened to them, it didn’t have any impact for me because I didn’t care about them.

ANTIGODDESS also crawled along at a snail’s pace for me. I really wanted to like this book, but I had to keep making myself pick it up. Every bookworm knows that magical feeling of wanting to read straight through until a book is done, but I never had it with ANTIGODDESS. I think the pace was slow for a couple of reasons. One, the book is written in third-person, mainly from the viewpoints of Athena and Cassandra. Athena would have an action scene, and then it would jump to Cassandra doing something super normal, like having lunch with her friends. It was disjointed for me. Two, in ANTIGODDESS, the events of the Trojan war are pretty important. I didn’t remember much about it, so that pulled me out of the story, trying to put connections together.

I know I’ve mentioned quite a few negatives, but there were a couple of things I liked about ANTIGODDESS. The relationship between Cassandra and Aidan was one of them. Aidan was a sweet guy, unlike a lot of the bad guy love interests you see in young adult books. There’s a big secret in their relationship, though, and I’m not going to spoil it — but I LOVED that the author went there. That was probably one of the highlights of the book for me.

Review on Amazon Vine.

Socialize with the author:
Kendare Blake:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

Book Review: The Weight of Souls by Bryony PearceThe Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce
Published by Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry on August 6, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 350
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
2 Stars
Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

My Review:
I was so excited to read THE WEIGHT OF SOULS. As soon as I saw the cover (go Strange Chemistry for being true to the protagonist and not whitewashing the cover!) and read the summary, I was in. Before starting the book, I’d also heard or read somewhere that there was an Egyptian mythology connection too, so that was another big plus for me.

Unfortunately, THE WEIGHT OF SOULS just wasn’t the book for me. The ingredients were there — such as Taylor’s curse of having to avenge murder victims — but the execution didn’t work for me. I keep saying “for me” because I think I’m in the minority on not liking this book.

I thought the book read like a contemporary high school novel with a touch of the paranormal. It even included the popular clique bullying the main character for no good reason. There’s a small paranormal connection — Taylor’s curse — but I wanted to see a lot more of that instead of her sitting in class. The paranormal aspect does come in more when one of the guys who bullies Taylor turns up dead. Justin gives her the mark before either of them realize he’s been murdered, and the two have to team up to find his killer.

Now, enter in a romance between Taylor and ghost boy, a crazy Truth or Dare club, and the diary of Taylor’s ancestor. The romance came out of nowhere, and I didn’t buy Justin’s reason for why he bullied Taylor for so long. As for the diary of Oh-Fa, Taylor’s ancestor and the reason she has the curse, the way the entries were written, and some of the word choices pulled me out of enjoying his story. I also wanted to see more of the Ancient Egyptian connection — there’s really only mentions of Anubis and that’s it.

I did finish reading THE WEIGHT OF SOULS, and even at the end I had questions. I am not sure if the book is the first in a series or a standalone (it’s not clear, and as of today, I can’t find an answer). Some of the story is concluded, but not all, which contributed to my general “meh” feeling for the book. I felt like there was a lot of potential for this book, but it just wasn’t delivered.

Let’s talk about it:
What mythology system would you like to see brought into books?

Socialize with the author:
Bryony Pearce:
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– leeanna

Blog Tour: Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe: Guest Post

Today on the tour for OVER THE RAINBOW by Brian Rowe, I have a guest post by the author on self-publishing. I agree with his stance, and the care he took in preparing the book is evident in reading it! The tour is hosted by Reading Addiction Book Tours, and you can check out all the other stops here.

I was supposed to review the book as well, but I’m having trouble putting down my thoughts for it. OVER THE RAINBOW has to be the craziest retelling of The Wizard of Oz that I’ve ever read. There’s everything from the Rapture to dinosaurs and sabertooth tigers. It’s crazy — in a good way. So for now, what I’ve done is included a short excerpt from the book, and someday soon I will get my thoughts organized on it to write a proper review.

over the rainbowInfo:
Title: Over the Rainbow
Author: Brian Rowe
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Series? No
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Fantasy
Page Count: 260

Summary:

A modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz!

Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population. (summary from goodreads)

Guest Post:
By author Brian Rowe.

OVER THE RAINBOW marks my ninth self-published novel. I love the control I have over my work in self-publishing, and no book I’ve ever written has needed as much control as OVER THE RAINBOW. This is a book that incorporates science fiction, fantasy, action adventure, and coming of age; it’s a book that deals with lesbianism, the rapture, The Wizard of Oz, and dinosaurs. I queried agents with this book between August 2012 and March 2013, and even those who liked it said that the book would never see the light of day without some of the creative elements being toned down a little, or eliminated completely. One agent, for example, told me I should cut out the dinosaurs. I knew from the beginning OVER THE RAINBOW was going to be a difficult book to sell to agents and publishers, and in the end, I decided it was best with this one, probably more than any book I’ve written, to ultimately go the self-publishing route.

I’ve self-published many young adult books before, including the Happy Birthday to Me trilogy, but I’ve never written a book I care about more than OVER THE RAINBOW, and this time, I really wanted to do it right. Not only have I pulled out all the stops with the marketing of the book, and worked hard to make sure the book had a beautiful cover, I’ve done all I can to ensure the manuscript is the best it can be. Many are wary of self-published books because they’ve been burned before, with so many typos and inconsistencies in the texts. But such is not the case with my new book. Not only have I done ten full drafts, twice the amount I usually do, but OVER THE RAINBOW has been professionally edited by a traditionally published author, and copyedited by two different professional copyeditors. I’ve worked tirelessly night and day for the last few months in making sure the book reads just as professionally as would a traditionally published novel. The reader, every time out, deserves only the best.

OVER THE RAINBOW is the first book I’ve self-published that will be appearing on five different platforms—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, and CreateSpace. For too long I stayed exclusive to Amazon, and this summer I decided to branch out to all the various platforms customers use to read their books. I’ve never been, and am still not, against traditional publishing, and will start querying my next young adult novel MAGIC HOUR later this year. But self-publishing should never be looked at as a last resort. It is a viable option for all authors, and can be loads of fun. And in the case of OVER THE RAINBOW, it proved to be the best route to go.

Excerpt:
The end was coming, faster and faster, as the plane plummeted. I peered into the carrier to see a little white terrier staring back at me.

When I closed my eyes for the final time I felt two ice-cold tears roll down my cheeks.

“Mira… I love you… I love you… I—”

The plane collided against the Earth, and I launched forward, struck my head against the cargo door, and blacked out.    

About the author:
Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He’s written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.
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– leeanna

Tackle Your TBR Readathon

As a way to jumpstart my activity on the blog, I’ve decided to participate in the Tackle Your TBR Readathon, hosted by Tressa’s Wishful Endings and Colorimetry. The readathon runs from September 8 to September 21, which is great because I like long events. I have more time to participate in challenges, visit other bloggers, and read, of course.

I’ll keep this post updated with my progress, and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and instagramming too.

Goals:
My main goal is to finish a review for any review book within a day of reading it. I really want to turn this into a habit.

Books To Pick From:

     

I think that’s a nicely random selection, both of non-review and review books. We’ll see what I actually end up reading, since whenever I try to plan I invariably read other books.

Day 1: September 8:
♥ Finished Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #2: Insurrection.

Day 2: September 9:
♥ Finished Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #3: Condemnation.

Day 3: September 10:
♥ Finished Star Wars: Kenobi.

Day 4: September 11:
♥ Started Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #4: Extinction.
♥ Started Becoming Marie Antoinette. Here’s my first deviation from my list of books I picked out :D
♥ I haven’t finished my review for Star Wars: Kenobi yet, but I did make a lot of notes. I should wrangle those into order by tomorrow night.
♥ I also need to finish my review for The Magistrate, which will be posted here on Friday.
♥ I visited and entered the challenge at Joana In The Sky With Books.

Day 5: September 12:
♥ I’m ~60% through Becoming Marie Antoinette. I stayed up reading until 4 am, so I slept in quite late. I won’t get much else done today, since it will be late by the time I get home and I have to work early. :|

Days 6 – 12; September 13 – September 19:
Good thing this is a long readathon! I had planned on being more active and actually updating, but I ended up taking a mini hiatus and not even opening my laptop for days. I did finish a few books, but didn’t write reviews, visit blogs, or do much of anything else.

I read and/or finished:
Marie Antoinette #1: Becoming Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette #2: Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow
Deceived
Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #5: Annihilation
Rose Under Fire — counting this because I have 5 pages left.

There’s only a few days left, but I’m going to do my best to be active for those last few days. I am also in the midst of starting rereads on Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow because I checked out mentally while reading and can’t write a review, and Rose Under Fire because I loved it so freaking much.

Wrap Up:
FINISHED:
Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe
Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #2: Insurrection by Thomas M. Reid
Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #3: Condemnation by Richard Baker
Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #4: Extinction by Lisa Smedman
Forgotten Realms: War of the Spider Queen #5: Annihilation by Philip Athans
Star Wars: Kenobi by
Marie Antoinette #1: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
Marie Antoinette #2: Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey
Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey
Nothing But Blue by Lisa Jahn-Clough

Total: 10. I have a few books I started but did not finish, so I won’t count those.

I didn’t achieve my main goal, which was to review a book within a day of finishing it. My review for Star Wars: Kenobi is sitting half-finished :( I might try doing a video review for it, but I don’t know how many people actually watch videos of book reviews?

Oh well. At least I read a fair amount and did visit a handful of blogs. I even read a couple of the books I picked out to read, which usually doesn’t happen.

– leeanna

Book Review: Elysian Fields (Sentinels of New Orleans #3) by Suzanne Johnson

Book Review: Elysian Fields (Sentinels of New Orleans #3) by Suzanne JohnsonElysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans #3
Published by Tor on August 13, 2013
Genres: Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Blog Tour, NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars
An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third installment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combatting an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

Today I’m on the blog tour for ELYSIAN FIELDS by Suzanne Johnson. The tour is hosted by Bewitching Book Tours, and you can check out the rest of the stops here. The Sentinels of New Orleans is one I’ve enjoyed, so I was excited to be part of the promotion for it. Read on for my review and a tour-wide giveaway.

My Review:
The third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, ELYSIAN FIELDS picks up the story of DJ weeks after the events in book two, RIVER ROAD. Although I’d advise reading the series in order for the best experience, I think there’s enough backstory explained that you wouldn’t be entirely lost if you started with this book.

I’ve read all of the books in the series, and so far, ELYSIAN FIELDS is my favorite. That might be because elves and vampires are some of my favorite supernatural creature types, and both are featured in this book. Don’t worry — the vampires aren’t sparkly, and the elves are much bigger players. The elves aren’t your typical fantasy elves, either. They’re quite devious, underhanded, and heavily into politics.

ELYSIAN FIELDS starts off with DJ and Alex investigating a serial killer who murders his victims with an axe. The case is notorious because there was a series of unsolved murders in the past, and though normal humans think it’s a copycat, DJ figures out the truth: it’s the real Axeman, back for a fresh round of mayhem. The reason he’s able to come back is one of the coolest things in this series. Famous historical figures, like the Axeman or Jean Lafitte, pirate extraordinaire, are immortal because they’re remembered and still talked about. They spend most of their time in the Beyond, a sort of shadowy New Orleans, but can gather up enough strength to return to the real world and meddle. Or kill, as the case may be.

Creative idea, right?

The Axeman case is really just a small part of the book. Before I knew it, DJ was in over her head. The book set a rapid pace from the start, and I really liked that. In the previous books, I thought there were a few too many slow chapters, and I think the author has done a good job of balancing action, worldbuilding, character development, and relationships. There’s so much going on — in a good way! — that I can’t summarize without spoiling everything. What I will say is that ELYSIAN FIELDS is a book I didn’t want to put down. There were several times I tried to read ahead, because I had to know what would happen, and let me tell you, that’s not easy on an e-reader!

Let’s talk about it:
Romance in urban fantasy. Yay or nay?

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:
suzanne johnsonOn Aug. 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Four years later, she began weaving her experiences and love for her city into the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, beginning with Royal Street (2012), continuing with River Road (2012), and now with Elysian Fields (August 2013).

She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years—which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

She can be found online at her website or her daily blog, Preternatura. As Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series and the recent standalone, Storm Force.
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– leeanna

Monthly Summary: August 2013

IN AUGUST 2013…

Look! I read a lot of books in August!

 

And that’s about all I accomplished. 19 books, which puts me at … I’m not sure for the year. I haven’t been updating my Goodreads lately. That’s just one thing on the to do list for September.

So, I had a sort of unexpected blogging hiatus in August. Almost the only posts that went up were scheduled tour reviews. If I have any readers anymore :D , let’s say that won’t be happening again. I have a post that I’m working on that will explain why I checked out, also with tips on how to keep blogging motivation, so look for that this weekend.

Otherwise, I’m happy August is over, even if that means summer is almost gone. I’m already dreading winter, since I spend October to April being cold. Maybe that’s a reason I like to read in bed so much — it’s always nice and warm!

Reviews Written:
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.
Love, Technically by Lynne Silver.
Roadkill by Alexandra Allred.
Unteachable by Leah Raeder.
The Outside by Laura Bickle.
Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson.
Eden’s Root by Rachel E. Fisher.
Seeds of War by Rachel E. Fisher.
Emergence by Rachel E. Fisher.
Asunder by Jodi Meadows.

Other Stuff:
Blog Tour: Blood Entangled by Amber Belldene: Character Spotlight.
Blog Tour: The Howling Heart by April Bostic: Excerpt and Giveaway!

Goal Progress:
How did I do on my Blogging Resolutions?

Not even going to think about that this month!

 

SEPTEMBER PLANS…

Get back on track! This includes:

Update Amazon
Update Goodreads
Update site
Too many other things to list. LOL.

– leeanna

Book Review: Asunder (Newsoul #2) by Jodi Meadows

Book Review: Asunder (Newsoul #2) by Jodi MeadowsAsunder by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #2
Published by HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books on January 29, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 406
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
5 Stars
DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

My Review:
To start out, this won’t be much of a review. I loved ASUNDER. No surprise there. INCARNATE, book one of the Newsoul Trilogy, was one of my favorite books of 2012. Right now, I’d do about anything to get my hands on book three. I’ll ferret sit, Jodi, if you let me read the manuscript!

I reread INCARNATE before reading ASUNDER, and I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed on my first read through: the author puts some thought into age differences. Can a relationship work when there are five thousand years between the two people? I was happy to see this, and also happy that the theme continued in ASUNDER. It reminds me of vampire novels — there’s usually at least a hundred years difference between the vampire and girl, yet the girl rarely thinks about that difference. Ana and Sam do think about it, and it brings up some valid questions about if such a relationship can succeed.

I really like Ana and Sam as a couple. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know that romance isn’t my favorite thing, but Sam is just so damn sweet and protective of Ana. In INCARNATE, I thought the romance came on a little early, but the author further develops their relationship in ASUNDER. I was definitely cheering for them by the end of the book, and they needed cheering. Some sad things happen between them.

I have never been an audiophile. I only listen to music when I’m driving or working out. However, I know music is important for many people, and I finally understood why because of ASUNDER. Music is incredibly important to both Ana and Sam. Music allows Ana to speak in a way that the citizens of Heart can understand, and also lets her leave a lasting legacy. Music is also something they turn to when emotionally distraught.

There are some great questions in ASUNDER, some that I doubt teens usually think about, such as “What happens after I die?” and “What does my life mean?” I know I didn’t, at least not when I was younger. Ana thinks about these questions because she is the only non-reincarnated soul (at the start, anyway). It’s pretty hard to be the only one who hasn’t already lived five thousand years.

The worldbuilding also continues in ASUNDER, with the blend of fantasy and high-tech that I liked from INCARNATE. The sylph are a very interesting creation of Jodi’s, and I liked how she slowly revealed more about them and their background in ASUNDER. Sadly, there are no dragons in this book, and though I missed them (sadface), the sylph and more on Janan made up for their absence.

By the way, ASUNDER doesn’t feel like a middle book. The story moves along rapidly, with lots of big events, and I loved that I had no clue what was going to happen at the end. And the ending left me wanting the last book of the trilogy RIGHT NOW, like I said at the start of this review.

Lastly, ASUNDER is a beautiful book. I HAVE to say how much I love the cover. All too often with YA, the pretty cover doesn’t correlate to the book, but that isn’t the case with the Newsoul Trilogy. Those roses you see around Ana’s eyes? They show up in the book, and they’re an important part of ASUNDER, just like the butterfly motif was in INCARNATE. I can’t wait to see what’s on deck for the last book of the trilogy.

Let’s talk about it:
Sci-fi and fantasy are usually shelved together, in libraries or bookstores, but they’re two very different genres. Do you like when authors blend the two?

Socialize with the author:
Jodi Meadows:
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– leeanna

Blog Tour Book Review: Emergence (Eden’s Root #3) by Rachel E. Fisher

Blog Tour Book Review: Emergence (Eden’s Root #3) by Rachel E. FisherEmergence by Rachel E. Fisher
Series: Eden's Root #3
Published by Self-Published on April 30, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Pages: 246
Format: eBook
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads
4 Stars
"I promise you, Sean. We're going to stop them."

The pieces on the board are in motion and with both sides gathering strength, each move will be critical. When the Truthers make a play for checkmate, the Seeders are forced to respond. Fi and her companions will face greater challenges and higher stakes than ever before, because this time if they fail, it's for keeps.

Today on the blog tour for EMERGENCE by Rachel E. Fisher, I have a review of the third book in the trilogy, EMERGENCE. The tour is hosted by Prism Book Tours, and you can visit the rest of the stops here. If you missed my review of EDEN’S ROOT or my review of SEEDS OF WAR, make sure to check those out. As part of the theme for the blog tour, which is aptly recpipes, I have a first on my blog: a recipe! Yep. If you know me and know that I’m pretty bad at cooking, don’t laugh! I’ve actually been doing some research into clean eating, so this tour and the ideas behind the trilogy are making me think about it even more.

Lastly, there’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of the trilogy, so make sure and enter that after my review of EMERGENCE.

My Review:
EMERGENCE is the epic, satisfying conclusion to the Eden’s Root trilogy. If you haven’t read book one, EDEN’S ROOT, or book two, SEEDS OF WAR, you’ll definitely want to pick those up first. This isn’t a series you can read out of order, nor should you. This review contains spoilers for the first two books, but I tried to avoid giving too much away about EMERGENCE.

EMERGENCE picks up right where SEEDS OF WAR left off. Fi, Asher, Sean, and Sara are on their way home from a summer Seeding trip when they discover that Eden, their safe haven, has gone completely quiet. No one knows what happened, so Fi and the others speed up their return trip … only to find the worst. The shock of seeing Eden attacked and empty is enough to send Fi into labor.

Needless to say, EMERGENCE starts off with a bang! I was quite pleased with the amount of action in this book, and due to the setup of the previous one, I knew just where it was going to end: war with the Truthers. We learn a lot more about the Truthers, and even get some passages from the perspective of their leader, Dr. Carter Lawson. He’s a pretty creepy guy, and I liked that we got a view into his head, because it a) gave the reader a more complete picture of both sides of the war, and b) showed what happens when you piss off a megalomaniac genius.

When the battle finally comes between the survivors of Eden and the Truthers, the author doesn’t skimp on the details or action. The last third or so of the book was my favorite, and I was satisfied with how it all went down. There was just the right mix of danger, suspense, and action to keep me flicking the pages to the end. I was hoping for a big fight, and I got one. Once you read EMERGENCE and find out what the Truthers do to Eden, you’ll want a big fight, too.

The other thing I really liked about EMERGENCE was Fi’s character development. Fi has come a very long way from the girl she was in EDEN’S ROOT. Though she’s been kick ass throughout the trilogy, I did have trouble believing adults would listen to a fourteen-year-old. In EMERGENCE, Fi questions that herself, something I appreciated it. But even better was watching her crack, the strain of losing Eden and her family too much to bear after all the other hardships she’s suffered. Fi emerged from the “nothingness” (her term for depression) an even stronger character, and I liked seeing her vulnerable, because that made her even more kick ass and realistic to me.

All in all, the Eden’s Root trilogy is a good one. I think the idea of apocalypse stemming from famine is a unique one, and that the author did a good job in bringing it to life. I recommend having all the books ready when you start the trilogy, because it’s one you’ll want to finish as quickly as possible.

Recipe: Chocolate Protein Mousse:

As I said at the start of this post, I’ve been thinking about trying to eat cleaner. I’m an incredibly picky eater, so I don’t know how well it’s going to work out if I try it, but I’m gathering together recipes to keep on hand for if I do. I also don’t know how much whey protein has been messed with, but I think it’s a staple of most muscle building diets. Full disclosure: I haven’t tried this, although it does look quite easy to make.

edensroot-recipe
image credit

Ingredients:
♥ 1 cup heavy whipping cream
♥ 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
♥ 2 teaspoons splenda sugar substitute
♥ 3 tablespoons unflavored 100% whey protein powder

Directions:
1. Stir dry ingredients together.
2. Add cream and blend on low for 2 minutes, then high for 2 minutes.
3. Refrigerate.

Source: Food.com.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:
rachel e. fisher I am a wife and entrepreneur living and working in Florida. I am also a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where I majored in Biology. It was always my assumption that I would end up making research my life. Though it did not work out that way in the end, my passion for Biology remains intact.
I have always loved biology-based science-fiction and the young adult genre. It is in this vein that I offer my work.
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– leeanna