Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guardian by Courtney Cole Release Day Launch and Review + GIVEAWAY

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We are absolutely over the moon excited about the Release Day Launch for Courtney Cole's GUARDIAN!!! GUARDIAN is a YA Paranormal Romance, and a book close to Courtney’s heart. Not only is this fabulous book back in a big way, it's Courtney's birthday! To celebrate all of the awesome she is making a few select titles only .99 TODAY ONLY! Grab them all and thank us later.


  Barnes and Noble ** Amazon ** iBooks

GUARDIAN Synopsis: Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real. My name is Whitney Lane. I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy. I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there. Until one day, there was. Our world isn’t what we think. There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things. Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are. They’re very real, and they’re terrifying. I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true. There’s only one thing I know for sure. Nothing is what it seems.

Guardian Available now  

Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real.
Happy birthday to me. I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life. It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want. I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me. I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket. Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window. My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion. 3:00 a.m. As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room. In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary. I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain. As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning. Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. Nothing can reach it. And there are no trees near enough to brush against it. It was just a dream. It was only a dream. I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream. But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again. A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature. I notice because I can see my breath. Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air. Holy crap. Oh my God. What the hell? The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear. Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall. They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move. My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move. I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it. Something terrifying. With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed. The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow. I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat. Because that’s the only explanation. I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down. But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction. 74 degrees. It must be broken. It has to be broken. My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants. My fear isn’t logical. I know there’s nothing here. I’m the only one in this room. Or am I? The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real. Something unseen. My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight. I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor. I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down. The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance. I struggle to focus, to see what it is. But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20. Twenty degrees? The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe. All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me. It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules. It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black. Something is here. With me. “Dad?” I whisper in a white puff. Because what else could it be? I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision. The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain. Then there’s nothing.

To celebrate the release of GUARDIAN and Courtney's birthday the following books are on sale for .99, today only!

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ABOUT COURTNEY COLE: Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people. Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.    

My Thoughts:

I was approached by Inkslinger PR about reviewing this read by Courtney Cole a month or so ago and was a little confused, I had definitely heard of this book before. Oh hey, guess what? It was already on my TBR. It was a win-win all around. This book was Courtney’s debut novel several years back and this is promo is to celebrate its rerelease now that it’s publishing contract has expired. Glad I was able to straighten that up! 

I will say that although this book came to me highly recommended by several friends, I was still a little leery about starting it. I don’t know why, but I am thinking it may have been because since it was YA, I immediately assumed it would be a lower YA kind of thing. I love the angel/demon paranormal genre, but I really haven’t had much luck with it in the YA sector to be honest. Guardian definitely changed my views on that! I started this book last night and read the entire thing in one sitting. Seriously. I couldn’t put it down. Any of my regular readers will tell you that is quite a compliment, coming from me! 

From page one we are drawn into this extremely emotional story that Cole has created that sets the tone from the start. After 2 paragraphs you realize this isn’t going to be your average YA. This isn’t a happy story. It may have a happy ending (eventually) but the journey from cover to cover is as heartbreaking as it is redeeming. Cole has a beautiful writing style that allows us to really feel the plight of Whitney and Ellie. 

Whitney (our MC) is a strong willed 16 year old who is wise beyond her years. She faces demons (literally) in her everyday life (literally). Following the death of her father, Whitney’s life changes drastically when she is left to care for both her much younger sister and her grieving mother. While this book touches on the very important subject of grief and the importance of healthy grieving and learning to overcome that grief, I believe Cole also grants many other life lessons along the way. The forward speaks of Cole writing this novel after the passing of her own father, and I believe any father would be proud of this beautiful piece of literature Cole has crafted. I honestly don’t know why this sat in my TBR for so long. I absolutely loved every second of it.

This book did remind me of a few others I have read, but it really was unique in its own way. Unlike other YA’s the romance element wasn’t overbearing, nor did it leave a sour taste in your mouth. There were a couple of “jaw dropping” moments where I literally couldn’t believe that a character had acted the way that they had, but it eventually added to the huge plot twist ending that I did not see coming. Which again, is saying something, because I usually have the endings figured out quick? Not this time! 

The paranormal element of this novel was SPOT on! This is the second “guardian angel” type book I have read just this week and I was pleasantly surprised by Guardian. There are angels, demons, and huge elaborate back-stories given to each, which really helped to set the mood and plant out storyline. I really enjoyed this novel, immensely. There wasn’t any “over the top” antics, and everything was completely believable, even throughout the deep paranormal undertones. I would like to note, that unlike other Angel/Demon paranormals I have read, this novel actually addressed the existence/story of God vs. Satan (Lucifer/Helele) and Heaven/Hell. I think that was a very nice touch. Oftentimes in these novels the authors have to “tone it down” or make it more “uniform” so as not to offend others of varying religions. I liked that Cole was able to freely write about the spirituality she has chosen and still found a way to make it enjoyable for any audience, religious or not. Although, it will definitely scare the fear of God in you in a few parts! 

I really can’t say too much more without giving away specific plotlines, but I will just say that I seriously loved this book. It was a relatively easy read with great characters, an amazing storyline, and feels to boot. Cole has crafted a beautifully written paranormal novel with a great message for any readers. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 65, I strongly believe this novel will speak to audiences across the board. All in all, I am giving Guardian by Courtney Cole a perfect 5 stars! I couldn’t have asked for any more. Generally I would even ask for a sequel here, not this time. Cole wrapped up this story PERFECTLY. I see that Cole has numerous other paranormal series out and after devouring Guardian, I will be adding them all to my TBR as well! This was all a really long way of saying two things, one READ THIS NOVEL!! And two, Happy Birthday Mrs. Courtney Cole! My wish for you is that your re-release of Guardian is all that you hoped it would be, you most definitely deserve it! 

Huge thanks to KP, Courtney Cole, and the amazing team over at Inkslinger PR for allowing me to participate! Until next time, Happy Reading!
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