In the Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach Book Blitz by Jaime!

By Ingrid Jonach
Published on April 28, 2015
What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that plague fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages. 

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.

This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds.

Excerpt from Chapter One

I WAKE TO the sound of sirens and a bedroom lit up, as if by fireworks on the Fourth of July.
I blink owlishly at the ceiling for a moment or two, before I throw back the covers and crawl across my bed to peer through my window at the blue and red flashing lights of a police car and a fire engine. They’re followed moments later by an ambulance and two more police cars.
The five vehicles careen around the corner, like clown cars off to throw confetti on a fake fire, and I realize that they’re headed in the direction of the Lab.
The American Laboratory for Particle Physics—as it’s officially called—is located on the outskirts of our small town and employs at least a third of the population, including my dad.
The Lab has also put our town on the map as the least visited town in the country, unless you count the protesters that camp on the outskirts of Albert Falls. No one else wants to be within a hundred mile radius of the largest particle accelerator in the United States.
I watch through my window as the surrounding houses light up one by one, like fireflies at dusk. It’s more like dawn though. I glance over at the digital clock that sits on my chest of drawers. Yep. 3.46am.
I open the sash and a warm breeze ruffles my curtains as I strain to hear the now distant sirens, which intermingle with the sound of screen doors slamming and neighbors yelling at barking dogs.
I’m suddenly blinded by the bedroom light above my head.
“Pack your bags, Abbey.”
“What?” I ask, turning and rubbing one of my eyes with the heel of my hand.
“Now,” my dad says. I hear his shoes clomp down the hallway and it registers that he’s already dressed.

About the Author

Ingrid Jonach writes books for kids and teens. 

Her young adult sci fi romance novels When the World was Flat (and we were in love) and In The Beginning There Was Us are available now. 

She is also the author of the picture book A Lot of Things and the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Ingrid has worked as a journalist and public relations consultant, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with Honors in Communications.

She lives down under - in Canberra, Australia - with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.


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Siren's Fury by Mary Weber ~ Tour Review & Giveaway by Jaime!

Siren's Fury (The Storm Siren Trilogy #2)
by Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson / HarperCollins
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rate: 3 1/2


"I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it's no use. The curse I've spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists."

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along?

I am so glad that I didn't have to wait long to read Siren's Fury after the cliffhanger ending of Storm Siren. Otherwise, cue the crazy. As it happened, I got to enjoy both of these books back to back and that was awesome. 

Siren's Fury was an action packed sequel, and I enjoyed it for the most part. While it didn't pack the same punch as the first book, it was still full of magical moments. There were some new characters that were great additions to the story. I missed some of the romance of Storm Siren. I am not a huge romance person, on its own, but I do like romance in my books, and miss it when it isn't there. I know... contradictions. 

I am seriously looking forward to the next book in the series. Storm Fury sets it up to be a pretty great, intense read. Nym is a character that I absolutely get behind, and root for. All in all, this series is a great read. It is an awesome escape from reality, with adventure, magic, emotions.... I would recommend this to absolutely anyone, who is looking forward to a great read. 

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Follow the Siren's Fury by Mary Weber Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. Her debut YA fantasy novel, STORM SIREN, is available now in bookstores and online, and SIREN'S FURY (book 2 in the trilogy) will be out June, 2015 from TN HarperCollins.

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The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader ~ Tour Review & Giveaway by Jaime!

By Nadia Nader
Published on January 14, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…

Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself. 

Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?

My Thoughts

 The Enchanted Rose was a fun, fast-paced story about a girl named Vivian whose world is turned upside down after her mothers death. Her father decides he can't handle her alone and sends her to live with her moms sisters, whom she never knew existed. That isn't the only secret that will be revealed, and the more she learns about her mom, the more she wonders if she ever really knew her. 

The Enchanted Rose is about magic, a curse, and the secrets that people keep. Vivian was an alright MC. She was a little too wishy-washy for me, going back and forth on things, and some of her reactions made no sense to me,  but overall she was smart and fun, and determined. She continued searching for answers, no matter the roadblocks she faced. Her aunts were polar opposites of each other, one loving and gentle, the other cold and distant. Vivian meets a few new friends, Skylar and Declan. They were good friends, but we didn't learn too much about them. They both seem like they may have interesting histories, and I am hoping for more in the next book. It looks like there is the possibility of a love triangle blooming for the next book, but as far as romance in this one, there isn't one. Vivian has a crush on the intriguing Hunter, and blushes a little about the rescuer Jackson. We will see where it goes in book 2. 

There were some editing issues throughout the book, but nothing that deterred from the story. I feel like there could have been some more development of the characters, and the history of the town, Misty Falls. Finally, the ending was incredibly abrupt, and took me totally off guard. We were right in the middle of a scene, and then it was over. 

All in all, The Enchanted Rose was a cute story. I think it would be a great mystery/paranormal story for the younger YA crowd. With magic and curses, a mysterious town, and mentions of shapeshifters and vamps, this first book leads into what could turn into a really good series. 

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me the chance to read this book for the tour! 

About the Author

Nadia Nader was born and raised in Kuwait.

You can find Nadia on her website:

In addition to writing, Nadia’s interests include traveling around the world.

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Jaime's Thoughts on... The Artisans by Julie Reece!

By Julie Reece
Published on May 12, 2015
Published by Month9Books, LLC
Source: Publisher
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

My Thoughts! 

  The very first thing that attracted me to The Artisans is the simple, yet stunning cover. I love the fonts and the color is perfect. The second thing that attracted me? Raven, the Goth Steampunk loving main character, as we jump right into the hell that has become her life since her mother passed away. Her stepfathers best friend brings him "home", to the back of the store they own, passed out from drinking. After getting Ben settled on his pallet on the floor, Raven is handed a letter from the Maddox family requesting Ben's presence that very afternoon to settle his debts, and she knows that her already crappy life is about to drastically change.

 Raven, from the beginning, has spunk. She is a fighter, and she fights for the people that she loves. Ben may be a drunk now, but he is the only dad she has ever known and she is willing to do anything to make sure she doesn't lose him. She goes to the meeting intended for Ben, and offers herself up to Gideon Maddox, in exchange for her father. From this point on, her life will never be the same. For better of worse?

 Like I said, I adored Raven. She is smart, funny and loyal to a fault. She loves her father, and her two best friends more than anything. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for each of them. She doesn't just take crap from Gideon, who pushes her from the beginning. He is a jerk, who knows how to push her buttons, and stubborn as it gets. Raven isn't a stranger to stubborn either, and gives as good as she takes. Their relationship goes through so many ups and downs, it will give you whiplash, but I loved every minute of it. It took me a while to warm up to Gideon, but as he let down his guard, my heart thawed. After said thawing, I loved how their relationship developed, and it was a great part of the story. On a side note, I had no idea going into this that Beauty and the Beast played a role in the story, but after seeing that referenced somewhere after I finished it makes a whole lot of sense, and I love the book even more!

 Another favorite character was Cole. I can't say too much about him though. He is a part of the mystery. Who are the Artisans? Who are the ghosts hellbent on destroying Raven? Why is Raven seeing ghosts when she never has before? And what is the real truth behind Ravens past, and her sleepwalking? Who is Gideon, underneath the anger? There are so many questions throughout the book, and the mystery continues until the end. I loved the ghost aspect of the story, and the intrigue surrounding the Maddox family.

 One of the best aspects of the story were the relationships. They make The Artisans stand out from the crowd for me. Ravens two best friends, Maggie and Dean, were amazing friends to have. Their interactions with each other, and Raven, were some of my favorite parts of the story. Jenny, the cook of the Maddox household was like a grandmother to all of them, and I loved her to pieces. Edgar, Raven's cat, played a big role in the story. Animals always make me happy! Finally, Raven and Ben's relationship was not always easy, but the love they have for each other and the things they faced together shaped Raven so much. To sum up: The Artisan's relationships category = PERFECT!

 Finally, I love that Julie Reece had her Faith play a role in her story. Faith is a huge part of my life, and my relationship with God shapes me. I loved that she used her Faith in this story in such a way that it shines. She isn't preachy with it, she is honest with it, and it was refreshing and added a great depth to the story. I love The Artisans. It is easily one of my favorite books of 2015. I am happy and sad all at the same time, that it is a standalone! I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

 Thank you to Month9Books for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this ARC copy!

5 Stars! 

One Prince, Two Kingdoms | Review & Blog Tour


One Prince, Two Kingdoms

Name of Editor - Tate Publishing LLC
Name of cover designer - Tate Publishing LLC
Page # - 324 pages
Official genre of book - YA Paranormal Fantasy

One Prince, Two Kingdoms ARC - Jana Grissom
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My forehead’s throbbing. One minute this girl is yelling at me for giving up and the next, she’s laughing. Whiplash.

I squint my eyes at Danielle and whisper with my lips firmly in place, “I will never give up.”

Her voice is high and cheerful, “So what’s your plan?”

Johnny Boggs is a teen with trouble to spare who has learned one thing in life - trust no one. Paranoia befriends him as he moves into his fifth foster home and discovers no one appears as they are, his dreams are not just dreams, and he is supposedly the Prince of Shamayim.

On Johnny’s sixteenth birthday, fate requires him to leave the protection of this world but allows for him to choose to reign over the light or turn to the darkness. A vicious competition begins as two kingdoms fight for his loyalty while two beautiful girls, Danielle and Shay, fight for his attention. Time is running out; a decision must be made. Johnny finds it impossible to resist the beauty of his dreams, nor can he turn away from the one who has his heart.

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Footsteps enter my bedroom and approach my bunk. Not. Right. Now. I pretend to be asleep. A cold chill covers my body, making every hair stand on end. Then the bedroom door slams shut. I’m not in the freaking mood! Expecting to see one of my annoying foster brothers, I jerk my head toward the door and punch my fist into the mattress. “What!” I yell out, but no one’s there. 

My eyes dart all around the room. Maybe there’s a draft, or someone shut another door causing this one to slam. Doubt it. I’m sure it’s just JC and Miguel trying to get even. “Hilarious, guys, I’m so scared. Now get the hell outta here.” I throw my pillow at the door and myself back on my bed.

An abnormal silence plays with my mind. I decide to reach for my headphones, but I can’t move. My heart jumps. No matter how hard I flex, my arm is stuck to the mattress. My lungs suck in air while every other organ aches under the pressure. An uncontrollable trembling takes over. What. The. Heck. Is. Going. On. My eyes blink over a hundred miles per hour. I can’t move, I can’t speak, I can’t, and then I realize I only have one ability left—sight.

Next to my bed stands a huge man with solid black corneas full of swirling dark fog in his vacant orbs, the Hollow Man. He’s staring me down again, but this time we’re the only ones in the room—no queen, no Camaro, no Mom. This can’t be real. It’s just another one of my crazy dreams. I go along for the ride, like I have a choice. The Hollow Man stands there clenching his fists, causing his abnormally large pecs to flex. My heart races, and my stomach threatens to return my lunch. An intense pain surges as he’s controlling every cell in my body without touching me.

The Hollow Man speaks, “Prince, why are you lying here as if you are a helpless child?” He turns off his death stare, and I feel an instant release followed by the familiar ache of a four-hour football workout in the Texas heat. Is this guy serious? Prince? And how am I supposed to fight something that isn’t really there? My chest tightens, and I try to wake up.

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Jana Grissom is a middle school teacher, an advocate for foster children and at-risk teens, a mom of two amazing teens, and married to Roy, her high-school sweetheart. Jana holds a Master of Education in Administration and Policy Studies and offers professional development in bullying identification, prevention, and intervention. She is available to speak to students at secondary schools about the writing process or bring a message that challenges them to S.T.O.P. bullying and suicide. Jana is a Texas girl who loves the outdoors, flip-flops, chocolate, and sweet tea. In her spare time, she loves escaping to imaginary worlds through the magic of books.

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LinkedIn ~ Blog

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I am the debut author of a YA Urban Fantasy, One Prince; Two Kingdoms. Also, I am a middle school teacher and advocate for foster children and at-risk teens. My novel was written in response to disturbing nightmares my two foster children at the time were experiencing. After several nights of being awakened by their screams and running to comfort them, I had an idea – write a story and let their imaginations defeat their fears. The children were excited to hear stories of magical worlds and powerful celestials sent to guard them. Each night before bed, I would add new scenes and more adventures. After a few weeks, the nightmares were replaced with excitement to hear the next chapter read. The children are now living with their grandparents, but their pictures remain on my walls. “One Prince; Two Kingdoms” is dedicated to them and all the foster children who have been in my care, as well as my past and present students; my family, my two amazing teens, Kaylee and Cody, and my husband and best friend, Roy. I hope “One Prince; Two Kingdoms” will encourage children in a place of transition to have hope and never give up.

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Reg's Review
One Prince, Two Kingdoms is a fantastical journey of one boy choosing his own destiny. I found it a refreshing change of pace that in the case of this book, the MC seems to know from the get go that he's The Chosen One and so the story can bypass the old "Yer a wizard, Harry," and "Anakin will bring balance to the force!" tropes right off. Instead it deals with a battle between good and evil and while the choices in the story are specific to the setting the themes are not too far off from what people in general have to deal with and the all important idea that while people can definitely try to sway you one way or another, ultimately the decision about who you'll become is yours and no one else's. This is very clearly embodied at the end of the book where not the character, but the reader takes a quiz to decide which path the MC chooses and should then be reading that corresponding sequel. Also hats off to the author for writing two sequels at once instead of doing some convaluted voting system that would probably end up killing Jason Todd again (what? No DC comics, I'm not still bitter about that.) Good chunks of the story focus on the MCs experiences in our flawed foster care system. Now, I've never experienced the system first hand, but I've known people who have and it seems doubly important that kids in that position should have a hero who at least have some agency over their lives especially when so many decisions are being made for them. I don't think this is the next breakout hit in YA lit, but I do think it was a pretty good book. There were places where the writing was a little clunky, the prose somewhat purple, and it took me a little bit to get into this world, but again that's mostly due to the general expectation that the MC finds out he's someone special and doesn't just jump right in media res. I enjoyed reading it and I think some of you might too.


Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Here at The Best Books Ever, we're helping to celebrate the publication anniversary of Yvonne Ventresca's contemporary disaster novel, PANDEMIC! Check out the book below and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway!

Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

 Excerpt from PANDEMIC

Note from the author: This excerpt is from the opening of Pandemic. The main character, Lil, is going through a difficult time even before the bird flu strikes her town. In this first scene, I wanted to hint at some of her troubles during her interaction with Jay.

I stood on the smoking corner behind school reveling in my aloneness. Not many smokers had the same schedule, which made the corner the perfect place for solitude. We always stayed a foot off the high school property, near the big oak tree, and since we were allowed to leave during last period study hall, we weren’t technically breaking any rules.

As if rules mattered.

“Hey, got a light?” Jay Martinez asked, interrupting the quiet. In the fall, he’d moved from Arizona to live with his aunt down the block from my house.

I handed him my half-smoked cigarette. Cupping the burning ember, he used it to light his own. He didn’t fit in with the other smokers, but then neither did I. My black clothes, basic ponytail, and minimal makeup placed me in my own category. Maybe Lazy Goth. But the nice thing about smokers was that they didn’t exclude anyone.

“Thanks.” Jay passed my cigarette back to me. “Is New Jersey always this cold in April?”

Being the new guy at school made Jay the flavor of the month with the other sophomore girls. They craved him in a nauseating kind of way. He was dark, tall, and lanky, and tended to over-communicate. Totally not my type. Now he ruined my aloneness with weather chatter. I shrugged so he’d get the idea that I wasn’t in a talking mood.

“Ethan was hoping to run into you,” he said.

Another shrug. I’d managed to avoid my ex for months. No reason to change the pattern now.

“So . . . do you have Robertson for bio?” he asked.

I nodded. Jay definitely wasn’t taking the hint.

“What are you doing your report on?”

“Emerging diseases,” I said, finally giving up on staying silent.

“Cheerful stuff.”

The school projects I chose did favor the dark this semester. American history report? The decision to drop the bomb. English book talk? A collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. Thematically, Ebola hemorrhagic fever fit right in.

“What are you writing about?” I flicked the accumulated ashes. “Lung cancer?”

He smiled. “The biology of taste. I write restaurant reviews on my blog and that was the closest topic I could think of. Do you like eating at restaurants?”

Leaning slightly forward, he held eye contact a little too long for me. Was he flirting? Nervous, I pulled my sweater tighter around me and crossed my arms. A flirtatious guy was the absolute last thing I needed in my life. No boyfriends, no coy conversations for me. Not anymore.

Jay’s unanswered question stayed suspended in the air along with the smoke ring I blew.

“Dinner? I don’t get out much,” I said, stubbing my cigarette into a sand-filled can another smoker had left behind. “I have to go.”

“See you around.”

Maybe I read too much into the conversation, but his eyes seemed to question: You need to leave so soon?

It was all I could do to keep myself from breaking into a run.

Pandemic teaser

About the Author

Yvonne Ventresca is the author of PANDEMIC (Sky Pony Press, 2014), a young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a deadly bird flu outbreak. School Library Journal called PANDEMIC "an engrossing apocalyptic story” and Kirkus Reviews said “this realistic page-turner will keep most readers enthralled.” Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for teens, AVRIL LAVIGNE (a biography of the singer) and PUBLISHING (about careers in the field).


Winner will receive a signed hard cover of PANDEMIC, a $75 VISA gift card, and a limited edition necklace (mentioned in the story!).

***Any entrants using fake or contest only social profiles to enter will be disqualified.***