Blog Tour and Release Blitz~ Evernight by Candace Knoebel~ Review (by Jaime) and Giveaway!

Title   Candace
*The book contains adult content and is appropriate for ages 17+*
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Review

I signed up for the Everlasting tour a couple of months ago with no idea what to expect. I had read the synopsis, but no reviews, so for me that is basically going in blind. For once, I can say that was a wonderful thing, Every page was another surprise, and I knew fairly early on that I had found a series that would easily be added to my favorites. When the opportunity arose to be a tour host for Evernight for Candace Knoebel, I knew there was no way in the world I could pass it up. It paid off in spades. Everlasting is a fantastic book, but Evernight takes the series to a completely different level!
Faye and her team are in Ethyreal City, being held separately, questioned and experimented on. Finally, they are released and are told they will be trained to be Elite's. Faye trusts someone she should not have, and is taken away from Jaxen and her friends, tortured in unimaginable ways. Their is a plan in place and she is the tool to be used to accomplish this plan. Faye almost loses herself in Evernight. She almost succumbs to becoming someone, something else, but thanks to the amazing people in her life, she is able to break away. She shows some amazing growth in this book, and it is a pure pleasure to see.
Every one of the characters in this story is spot on, whether it be the lovable jackass Wheldon, one of my personal favorites, or Jezi who is really trying to overcome her feelings and be a stronger person. Jaxen is also not the same boy he was in Everlasting. He has 100& given himself over to Faye, and is allowing himself to love and be loved in return.
Speaking of love, the relationship that was sweet, chaotic, frustrating in book 1 has become a full on romance. Full of tension! There are some seriously steamy moments in this book, and I loved it. I love watching Faye and Jaxen grow together as a couple, be protective of one another, but also allow each other to be exactly who they are. One of my favorite bookish relationships to date!
Wheldon is the comic relief in the story, but we also get to know Wheldon, who he truly is without the cover his humor provides. It only makes him more amazing.
Evernight is nonstop from beginning to end, with romance, tension, heartache, anger and action. Serious character growth, fantastic world-building! I don't want to give a single thing about this plot away, because it is so intensely good to read it and see it develop page by page. I honestly cannot think of one single negative thing to say about this book, other than THAT ENDING! There is a minor cliffhanger, but the story wraps up at a great place. It leaves you wanting more, but it doesn't make you want to throw the book because it "ended there? Are you kidding me?"... My issue with the end is that it ended, and now we have to wait for the next book and that hurts me! But wait I will, and I will be ready to pounce the day book 3 is released!
Candace Knoebel is a fantastic author. She knows how to give us characters that we can truly love and root for, and characters that we wish were real so we could punch them in the face. She knows how to write a story that makes you feel, and those are two things that are absolutely necessary to make me love a story. And I absolutely love this story! Highly recommended read!


5 Stars!

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BLOG TOUR: Operation Chimera




By Matthew S. Cox & Tony Healey
Published on October 20th 2014
Published by Curiosity Quills Press
Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N 

Generations of war with the savage Draxx have left humanity desperate for a way to gain the upper hand.

A chance to turn the tide in their favor is all legendary Captain Nicholas Driscoll needs to hear to lead an expedition behind enemy lines to the Chimera Nebula - a region of space so unstable it remains largely uncharted.

Lieutenant Michael Summers sees an opportunity to matter, a chance to let future generations exist in a universe without constant war. He and other brave young cadets join the Manhattan for its first dangerous mission - to penetrate the Chimera Nebula and discover what it is the Draxx are doing in there.

But first the ship and her crew will be tested by enemies both outside and within . . .

REVIEW

Operation Chimera is a fast moving sci-fi novel which follows a group of rookie pilots, fresh from the Academy, out on their first mission.  Most of the crew on the Manhattan are very new, and they all know it's potentially a suicide mission, pitching themselves into the middle of a war, on an untested ship, with an untested crew.  

We get to know our new pilots and the leaders of the Manhattan over the course of the book, as the story shifts POVs often to cover all of the plot lines.  There are a lot of characters to get to know, and it can be hard to remember who is who at first, but eventually the story narrows in on a core set of characters to follow. They somewhat follow stereotypes: the stoic captain with the haunted past, a collection of hot-shot rookies (one of whom is pretty grossly sexist but is also taken to task for it by his fellow pilots), the privileged pilot out to prove herself, a wacky droid, etc.  But they're still entertaining to read about, even though they're somewhat formulaic. 

I enjoyed the diversity of this book: there were a good number of women playing major roles, and what's a sci-fi story without plenty of fascinating types of aliens? I definitely found myself wanting to know more about the universe, and since it looks like this is the start of a series, I'm guessing there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to find out about the different cultures, traditions, etc., of the characters.

At times, the writing could be a bit dry, but overall I found it to be a very engaging read.  I could easily see this being turned into a TV show or movie, because some of those space fights would be really fun to watch.  Like I said, I'm curious to know more about the universe created in this book, so I definitely wouldn't mind picking up the next book in the future.



About the authors...


Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew Cox has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey. Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.
Find Matthew Cox Online:  Website | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads



Tony Healey is a best-selling independent author. Born in 1985, he has lived his entire life in the city of Brighton, UK.

In 2011, he found his fiction published alongside Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster. A year later, his sci-fi serial FAR FROM HOME became a best-selling sensation, followed by similarly successful sequels. Since then he has collaborated with authors Bernard Schaffer, Matthew Cox and William Vitka on various projects. He has also had work published by Curiosity Quills Press. He is married and has three daughters.

For the latest on Tony's various projects, visit his site www.tonyhealey.com
Find Tony Healey Online:  Website | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads

SPOTLIGHT: Enscrolled (The Division Chronicles: Book Three)

We're pleased to spotlight Enscrolled, the third book in The Division Chronicles series, by Connie L. Smith.  Keep reading to check out an excerpt from the book!  


By Connie L. Smith
Published on October 14th 2014
In the aftermath of the latest battle, the stakes are higher than ever before, time hardly an ally to Nicholai’s army of paranormal soldiers. The Tomes remain hidden, and the clock is ticking for the Essenced tainted with the demon’s incurable toxin. And beyond those worries, reason exists to suspect that magic might be vanishing, a twist that could insurmountably cripple the army’s capabilities prior to the war’s conclusion.

Never has the conflict felt quite as desperate, danger escalating and hope lessening with the slow drain of each issue’s hourglass.

Will the answers to these dilemmas surface in time, or will the efforts of the band of warriors fail to prevent the ruin of the world?


EXCERPT!

McKenna watched him leave before refocusing on Johnny, confused at the expression her boyfriend wore. “What are you smirking at?”

He shrugged. “I’m just not sure how this could be such a bad memory. My girl glued to my side.” Wiggling his eyebrows, he continued. “Playing nurse…”

“Well, you are poisoned,” she deadpanned. “That puts a damper on these types of situations for most people.”

“Oh, you’re serious again.” His smirk broadened. “Are you gonna yell at me like you did when my leg was broken? That was attractive…”

Though she fought against it, her smile emerged, spreading over her lips as she shook her head. “You’re impossible. You know that?”

“Nah. I just learned along the way how to make my girl smile.”

Her grin lingered until her attention descended to his leg, the spot of the poison’s initial contact. Then she frowned, her eyes filling with tears and her hands beginning to tremble. Just ten days, she thought.

“Hey.” Johnny cupped her face, gentling bringing her gaze to lock with his. “We’re not gonna think about that because that’s gonna get taken care of.” Tobias again entered the medical room, moving directly to the corner reserved for the cure’s research to recommence his work. “See?” Johnny nodded his head toward the angel. “Look how dedicated he is to finding this. Think of all the soldiers around us who are perfectly capable of getting whatever weird ingredients he comes up with. If you do, ten days will seem like a lifetime, because it’s plenty of time.”

And then she was the one smirking. “That’s quite optimistic.”

He laughed, shrugging. “I told you that you’re rubbing off on me.”

“And you’re trusting others. Like you finally flipped a switch.”

“It isn’t like flipping a switch.” He smiled, revisiting the lecture she’d given him while stranded on a cliff. “It’s like deciding not to be in the darkness anymore. You take steps, and the light comes a little at a time until the darkness is gone.”

She quirked an eyebrow, chuckling. “That seems vaguely familiar.”

“Someone really smart once told me that.” Pulling her closer, he tapped the tip of her nose with his finger. “She was really hot, too.”



About the author...


Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

Connect with the author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | PinterestGoodreads | Readwave

SPOTLIGHT: C. Desir's Bleed Like Me

By C. Desir
Published on October 7th 2014
Published by Simon Pulse

From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just "Gannon" to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she's standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She's given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.
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Q&A with C. Desir!

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

Well, first, my agent at the time asked Twitter if someone would write a YA Sid & Nancy and I thought I was probably the right person for that. J And second, I happened to be reading a lot of romance novels when I first conceived of the idea (hazard of the day job) and kept seeing all these stories where messed-up guys and messed-up girls got together and their love made them so much better. And I thought, “Gosh, that never worked that way for me.” So I wanted to tell a more honesty story about how we sometimes need to figure out how to love ourselves and be worthy of that before we can start messing with loving other people. 

Does music play any type of role in your writing?

When I’m walking my dog and trying to figure out something in my plot, I often listen to music and it ends up being really important because I think music can capture really raw emotions in a way that almost no other medium can. With BLEED, I listened to Sia’s “Breathe Me” and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” a lot. 

What books have influenced your life most?

Sylvia Plath’s THE BELL JAR, Joan Didion’s PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, Margaret Atwood’s THE BLIND ASSASSIN, Camus’s THE STRANGER, the complete works of Shakespeare, and there are too many YA titles to list. J

Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?

Yes, I love Carrie Mesrobian’s writing (SEX & VIOLENCE, PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY). It is fierce and fearless. I also adore Sarah McCarry and think everyone should read her books, they are lyrical and super smart and dig deep (ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS, DIRTY WINGS). Both Steph Kuehn and Brandy Colbert wrote astounding debut novels (CHARM & STRANGE, POINTE). And Stephanie Oakes’ forthcoming THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY is unforgettable.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started to do it every day, when I couldn’t stop, when I ignored my friends and family because I had to get something down, then I felt like a real writer. So basically, when I became sort of sub-human. LOL.

List three books you have recently read and would recommend.

Carrie Mesrobian’s PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY
Andrew Smiths’ 100 SIDEWAYS MILES
Benjamin Alire Saenz’s ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE

Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.

I skate roller derby. I love it, even though I end up really bruised quite often. 


About the author...


I’m Christa Desir and I write young adult novels. I am an avid reader and have been in love with YA books ever since reading Judy Blume’s FOREVER (while hiding between the stacks in the library).

My first success with writing came at the age of five when I wrote a story about my sister and our neighbor Andy “kissing in the dushes.” My parents were so proud of this work, they framed it and showed it to every visitor who came to our house. My sister still has not forgiven me.

I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband, Julio, and our three children. When I'm not writing, I am an editor of romance novels. I am also a feminist, former rape victim advocate, lover of coffee and chocolate, and head of the PTA. It is a rare day when I don’t humiliate myself somehow, and I frequently blog about my embarrassing life moments.

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog | Tumblr


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The Good Sister

By Jamie Kain
Published on October 7 2014
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Net Galley 
The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there
The Good Sister is not the kind of novel I usually read, but I'm so glad I found it. Through the alternating voices of all three sisters, Kain creates a family where not everything is as it seems. It's a complex novel about the complexities of life, written in a style you might associate with novels written for adults, but accessible to older teens as well.

This novel is jam-packed with real life issues that teens face. Among them: Cancer, suicide, drugs and alcohol, divorce, questioning religion, sex, romantic love, and complex family dynamics. You might think that a novel full of so many heavy topics might feel unrealistic and weighed down by drama, but Kain does an excellent job of making them all relevant and real for the Kinsey sisters.

The Good Sister had me hooked from page one. I spent much of the novel on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what was going to happen next. As secrets unfolded and the sisters' lives unraveled, I found myself reader faster and faster, until I had devoured the last half in about two days.

It's really hard for me to explain how I feel about this book. In fact, it's really hard for me to explain what this book is about. Even the blurb provided by the publisher doesn't do it justice. Be prepared to cringe, cry, and laugh a lot.

Be aware that although younger teens may not be prepared for the amount of swearing, alcohol, drugs, and sex in this book, none of it is gratuitous and all if it helps develop the characters as three sisters with very unique personalities. High school-aged teens who want to read about something other than vampires, cheerleaders, and mushy romance should love this one.


Jaime's Top Ten Tuesday!




                1. Dark Caravan Cycle  by Heather Demetrios
                             

                2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
                              

                3. Bloody Mary by Hillary Monahan
                              

                4. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
                              

                5. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
                           

                6. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
                              

                7. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
                              

                8. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
                           

                9. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

                
              10. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


        This list is FAR from being a complete list of the series that I would love to start, but it is a list of 10 of the series I am definitely                         looking forward to! I hope you enjoy!


Puckster's Christmas Hockey Tournament

By Lorna Schultz Nicholson and Kelly Findley
Published on October 14th 2014
Published by Tundra Books
Source: Publisher
In Puckster's Christmas Hockey Tournament, it is Christmas Eve and Puckster is nervously watching the heavy snowfall gather on the ground and in the trees. It is his first Christmas away from home and though he is excited to be with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Tournament, he is afraid that the winter storm will prevent his family and friends from travelling to the remote arena and arrive in time for Christmas morning.

But there is another traveler that Puckster and the players are excited to see this Christmas. Santa! When the heavy snow forces the closure of the roads, only Santa and his team of reindeer can help. Will everyone be together for Christmas? In this magical story of friendship, young hockey fans learn the true meaning of the holidays. Puckster's Christmas Hockey Tournament is destined to be a holiday classic.
Here's another adorable children's book that would be a good read for the young sports lover in your life.  I think even kids who aren't into hockey could enjoy reading this one. It's got a great, positive message and whimsical, colorful art.

As with the previous Puckster book, one of my favorite things was how inclusive the cast of characters was.  Taking aside the fact that half of them are animals, it was cool to see that there's a girl on Puckster's team, as well as a disabled character.  Pictures of the Canadian team included characters of color, as well as shots of the crowd.  Hockey is, by and large, a very white sport, so representation definitely matters in a book like this.

This is a great holiday-time read for your little ones to reinforce the (secular) meaning of the Christmas holiday, the importance of friends and family, and having a positive attitude.



Crystalee reviews Kitty and Me

By Sharon Smith Kane
Published on October 7 2014
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Publisher
I love Kitty and Kitty loves me. He comes when I call him . . . usually. We play fun games around this house, Like "Jump" and "Pounce" and "Catch the Mouse."

Playing, chasing, scratching, purring. Kitty and Me is a charming rhyming story of best friendship between a girl and her growing kitten, by Sharon Kane, acclaimed author-illustrator of many beloved Little Golden Book Classics.


This is a very old fashioned picture book, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Author-illustrator Sharon Smith Kane is known for her Little Golden Books, so I guess it makes sense that this book follows that form.

What I liked about Kitty and Me: It is written in a fun rhyme that kids will love to read, and about a topic that a lot of kids will enjoy. What I didn't like: I'm just not a big fan of the old-fashioned illustrations, like the ones often seen in Little Golden Books, even though I grew up with them. One of the things I love most about picture books these days is that they use a variety of art techniques that kids may not get to see in art elsewhere. This book just wasn't my cup of tea.



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