Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Eternal Sacrifice (Mortal Enchantment #3) by Stacey O'Neale Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)


Hey Readers! Ethan here with an exciting post for you today. I am so honored to be presenting this blog tour post to you all today. Why is this post so important? It's my review of the series finale to one of my all-time favorite series. It's such a bittersweet moment here at One Guy's Guide to Good Reads, but let's get started. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:


     

The explosive conclusion to Stacey O’Neale’s award-winning Mortal Enchantment series reveals the secrets of the fantasy world!

Valac has stolen two of the sacred objects. In a bid to rule all four courts, he has threatened to use Excalibur to cut the mist that protects Avalon—ultimately ending the lives of thousands of elementals. As the Akasha, Kalin has the power to stop him. And she refuses to lose anyone else she loves.

Will she have to sacrifice herself to save them?

Desperate to save Kalin’s life, Rowan searches for the long-lost creator of the mist. But what he finds is the very last thing he expected. Everything he thought he knew about his past is turned upside down, and he questions whether he’s meant to be the savior or the elemental that destroys them all.

Told from Kalin, Rowan, and Marcus’s perspective, the final installment to the series follows their journey of courage, duty, sacrifice, and love.

Stacey O'Neale

Stacey O'Neale 


Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter. Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing. Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at http://staceyoneale.com/.

*****
My Thoughts:

Series finales are always one of my favorite and least favorite reviews to post, at the same time. How can that be? While I'm so overjoyed to rave about an incredible finale (they are too few and far between), I hate juggling the bittersweet emotion of finality meaning I'm saying goodbye to another cast of characters that I've grown to love. I won't lie folks, as many series as I've read, this one will forever be a special one to me. The love and hard work that author Stacey O'Neale has poured into this series over the last two years is unquestionable. While I dreaded the final chapters, how did Eternal Sacrifice finish up? After three wildly successful stories, did O'Neale end the series on a great note?

Absolutely. Prepare for the feels, readers. Tissues are a must.

When it comes to the plot of this one, I have quite a bit to say, however I have to restrain myself here for two huge reasons that happen to be my only critiques of the novel. First, this one is super short. Way shorted than most finales I have read, however there is a plus side to this I'll get to in a bit. Second, the pacing of this novel is extremely quick. There is little-to-no downtime so if you aren't careful, you will miss something. So, sharing plot details is a little tricky. What I can tell you is that Eternal Sacrifice is probably one of the most unique novels I have ever read in one specific aspect: it's only the 'good parts'. Does that make sense?

Imagine reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows without the 350 page camping trip and only a book full of 'The Battle of Hogwarts'. That my friends, is Eternal Sacrifice. It's short, but that's because O'Neale ensures her readers are fully satisfied. There isn't anything standing in the way of Kalin, Rowan, and the Avalonian forces of good to finally put an end to Valac and his reign of terror. With knowledge and hope on their sides, our heroes must stop Valac at any and all costs. Every breathe is precious and the battles fought in this finale will determine the fates of both their world, and ours, forever.

The costs will bring you to tears. Over. And over.

With any great series finale, some characters must make the ultimate sacrifice for peace and safety for the ones they love. This novel is no exception. Again, I'm going to refrain from spoilers, but don't worry, O'Neale definitely teaches the reader to read on the very edge of their seat and always to expect the unexpected. With plot twist after plot twist, I was shaking with anticipation by the novel's final chapters.

In a unique twist, O'Neale introduces one major character in the finale to the story, however anyone who has followed the series closely may not be that surprised by their appearance. What I can definitely say about the characters in this one is that Stacey really changes the game, right from the very beginning. We see several characters in an entirely new light, casting doubt over any preconceived notions the reader may have. I loved the idea of waiting until the end to reveal the true dedication behind the actions of some characters in this series. On that same note, seeing into the psyche of some characters on a much more personal level really opens the reader's eyes to the 'full' story behind O'Neale's literary universe.

Speaking a bit more on the characters, this one take three different POVs into consideration and crafts them in the most delicate of ways. Kalin, Rowan, and Marcus all play pivotal roles in the finale, but for entirely different reasons. They each have their own trials to face before the final battle to save Avalon. Thankfully, O'Neale really satisfied me with her ability to craft such individual storylines within such a fast-paced story. Interweaving the three storylines within such a powerful conclusion is a true testament to the literary landmark that is Stacey O'Neale.

Love, forgiveness, sacrifice, brotherhood, family, responsibility: I could go on and on with the plethora of themes O'Neale has implemented within Eternal Sacrifice. Each is fully explored and written to perfection. I'm not even lying when I say this story brought me to literal tears on at least three occasions.

As a series finale, I was greatly impressed. While my thoughts and predictions did not come true, I was still genuinely pleased with the end result. It was an ending that 'made sense' for the series, even if it wasn't particularly the one I was most looking for. That being said, the series ends rather abruptly and doesn't exactly tie up every possible loose end (as it shouldn't), leaving the door open for potential novellas or spin-offs in the future. I know this reader would love more insight to this world and the future of these characters. It is my belief that all readers of this series will be greatly impressed by the honorable finale O'Neale has crafted, sending off her series with respect and memorable flair!

As if it isn't already obvious by the amount of raving I have done for this series over the past two years, I am absolutely enamored of Stacey O'Neale's Mortal Enchantment series. I absolutely cannot get enough of this incredible story, the unforgettable cast, and the truly deep emotions found within the pages of these four stories. While I may have had a few issues with the finale, I still was beyond thrilled with the end result as a whole. That being said, it is my honor to be granting Eternal Sacrifice a near-perfect 5-star review. I highly recommend this series to any fans of YA, paranornal. elemental fiction, romance, or adventure novels. You will not regret this read! 

*****

Also by Stacey O'Neale

*Click each cover to see my review*
      

The Shadow Prince is FREE click below for your copy!

      


Alright readers, that's all I have for you today on the topic of Eternal Sacrifice by the incredible Stacey O'Neale. As I said in the beginning, this is an incredible bittersweet moment for me as I've followed this series since the very beginning and consider myself one of its' biggest fans. I don't have words enough to describe how much this entire series has meant to me. Way to end it with a bang Stacey O'Neale! Be sure to add this series to your TBR today. Special thank to the author for allowing me to participate in this blog tour and for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Monday, June 27, 2016

Breathless (Heartless #3) by Kelly Martin Blog Tour (Excerpt + Review)


Title: Breathless (Heartless, Book Three)
Author: Kelly Martin
Genre: YA Paranormal
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR


There's good.
There's evil.
Then there's her.

When Gracen Sullivan stabbed Hart Blackwell, she thought it was over. She thought the world was safe-- safe from her. Stuck in the Abyss, watching as the evil inside her body takes over, she has to find some way to stop it.

Hart Blackwell expected to wake up in Hell. Instead, he woke up in his grave. With the world falling apart, he has to put the bad history with his brother in the past or there will be no future.

Armageddon has been set in motion. Enemies will have to work together or everything will end in fire and brimstone.

The Abomination is here. And she must be stopped no matter the consequences.


Buy Links:
#Free with #KindleUnlimited Heartless (Book One): http://amzn.to/1P8YzVI
Soulless (Book Two): http://amzn.to/1Uu1ijs
Breathless (Book Three): http://amzn.to/1Upr3Rd
Hart (Book Four): http://amzn.to/1V5TRvo



Kelly Martin writes paranormal, contemporary, historical, and YA fiction. She has been married for over ten years and has three rowdy, angelic daughters. When she's not writing, she loves taking picture of abandoned houses, watching horror gamers on YouTube-- even though she's a huge wimp-- and drinking decaf white chocolate mochas. She's a total fangirl, loves the 80s and 90s, and has a sad addiction to paranormal TV shows. {Basically, she likes creepy stuff.} Her favorite characters are the very flawed 'good guys'-- and 'bad guys' who don't know they are evil. She loves giving her readers books with unexpected twists and turns, but (here's a hint) most of her books have the ending spelled out in the first chapter. See if you can figure it out. If you ever have a question or comment, feel free to email her at kellymartin215 @ yahoo . com ♥ You can follow her writing adventure at www.kellymartinbooks.com.

Author Links: 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kellymartin215/
My "nerd" group on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1451773008377850/
Kelly's Heartbreakers (my official street team): https://www.facebook.com/groups/922087044551273/
Newsletter: http://kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com/p/subscribe-to- our-newsletter.html
Blog: www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBSQGJ5gViQ- 0ajHRvWUqaA
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1RiFqC4
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyMartinAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/martieKay
tumblr: martiekay.tumblr.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KMBooks


Hart:

"Lucien! Slow down! Wait for me!" The sounds all around us drown out my words. I can barely hear them, and I'm right there with me. I'm sure Lucien doesn't hear. I can't even see him anymore.

What I do see, through the wind whipping my hair in my eyes and squinting through the rain, is a dim light in the distance. I don't know if it’s a house or a barn or a serial killer's cabin. I don't know. I don't care. All I know is that I see it, and I want to be there. It has to be warmer and drier than out here in the middle of the woods.
Out here where any bear or wolf or fox could pounce on us and rip us to shreds.
Though I haven't heard any animal since we started into the woods.
I'm sure that's totally a great sign.

Could this get any worse?

A hand grasps my shoulder and pulls me back.

I’m pinned down on the ground before I can fully comprehend what’s going on. I can’t see what’s holding me down, but I know it can’t be my brother. I claw at its face to try to get up, but my hands are pinned down over my head, and I can’t make my legs move.
I’m trapped.

The lightning fills the sky.
For a split second, I can see.
For a split second, I wish I couldn’t.


*****
My Thoughts:

"Hope is a dangerous thing. The most dangerous thing on the planet. Hope kills more dreams than anything. Hope, if we aren't very careful, will kill the world." 

As I type this review, I just set my Nook down after finishing Breathless. My thoughts are wow. A lot to handle right now. I've caught all the feels. All. The. Feels. As you guys will well-remember, I just recently discovered Kelly Martin with this series earlier this year and it absolutely blew my mind. This series and I found one another at the perfect time in my life and for that I have been extremely grateful. For three full novels now, I have had my bookish world turned upside down. I can;t even begin to describe the emotional journey this series has led me on. After so many incredible novels, could Breathless live up to its' predecessors?

Yes. Oh hell yes. 

Readers of Heartless and Soulless will be extremely happy to know that Breathless is very much in the same vein. In fact, all of these stories could just be called episodes to one huge story as they are all very much dependent upon one another. Picking up shortly after Soulless left off, Breathless may be Martin's most spellbinding adventure to date!

When it comes to the plot of Breathless, be ready for an adventure. Literally. Through time and realms, Gracen is on a mission to stop the Abomination and save the world from its' bitter end. With the pieces of the machine already in motion, it's going to take the combined efforts of human, angel, and demon to save the world, but even that may not be enough.

This is a relatively short read so I really have to be careful of what I say to avoid any plot spoilers, but I can definitely tell you without hesitation that if you were a fan of books one and two, you will love book three. It's incredible to say the least. I will warn you though, it ends on Martin's most emotional cliffhanger yet. Bring the tissues folks. You've been warned.

Thankfully, Martin has already established all the groundwork in this world so there were no new characters to meet in Breathless. As a result, we really get some incredible insight to our existing characters and their stories. The character building was absolutely incredible and one of the most unique I have seen. Breathless is told from FOUR different character's POV. Yes, four. Don't worry, each narrative is necessary and doesn't repeat from the plot at all. In fact, I could have used a fifth at times!

One thing I really didn't expect out of this novel was the deep religious roots it shared at times. I've read several novels as of late with religious undertones, but this one is probably the one who has done it the best. Martin has delivered an incredible tale full of spirit without drowning her readers in scripture or history. She took her own unique twist on the scriptural tale and crafted a story that readers of all faiths and walks of life can enjoy.

Martin really hits home with some incredibly hard hitting themes in Brethless.  It's an extremely deep read that really resonated with me for many reasons. If you can read this series without catching all the feels, you've done something wrong. With reflections on topics such as: faith, family, love, forgiveness, acceptance, fate, destiny, and so many more, Martin opened the floodgates of emotion and really let them roar. It was a beautiful adventure in reading. 

As you guys can clearly see, I was a huge fan of Breathless. As far as the series goes, I'm going to be keeping a very close eye on Martin in the future and cannot wait until Reckless (book four) is released this fall. In the meantime, Martin has already released Hart, a novella chronicling the human life of Jessup Hart Blackwell, the male MC in the series. I'll be devouring it soon!

All-in-all, it should come as absolutely no surprise that I am granting Breathess by Kelly Martin a near-perfect 5-star review. I seriously couldn't rave any more if I tried. I can absolutely tell you that I'll be closely following this series until the very end.  A truly unique read, Martin ignites a flame with her elegant words, captivating settings, and enough psychological insight to keep even the most hesitant of readers satisfied. Don't miss your chance to add this one to your TBR today.

*****

There you have it, my stop on the blog tour for Breathless by the incredible Kelly Martin! You guys know how much I love this series so I can't tell you to go one-click fast enough! Go, go now! Thanks so much for stopping by and a huge thanks to the author and Lady Amber's PR for allowing me to participate. Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Monday, June 20, 2016

Skin and Bones by Susan Harris Blog Tour (Interview + Giveaway)


Crimson Tree Publishing is proud to present Skin And Bones, a new release from Susan Harris, author of Shattered Memories.


Teens are turning up dead, and it will take a special team to catch a killer.
Derek Doyle has been a member of the Paranormal Investigations Team since the monsters revealed themselves to the world. Considering that he thinks a monster is needed to catch a monster, he's definitely in the right place. As a lone wolf not used to letting many people in, neither man nor beast was prepared for the effect consultant Dr. Ever Chace has on them.
Growing up human in a world of supernatural creatures, Dr. Ever Chace has always felt a need to be special, to stand out. When asked to consult on a case where teens are being brutalized, she relishes the chance to make a difference and help stop a monster. But working alongside a wolf who she's so drawn to could be the beginning of something Ever might never have envisioned.
Fate and Destiny have a funny way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. With a murderer on the loose, Ever and Derek will have to put their attraction to one another aside while the hunt continues.
Easier said than done… right?


Buy Links:



amazon-button



Interview with the Warlock.

*May contain language not suitable for younger readers*

The time is currently 12.30pm and I’ve been waiting for the bones of a half hour for my interview subject to turn up. Since I started cataloguing the lives of the Paranormal Investigations Team from the side-lines, interviewing members of the team has scared me half to death. But, as I sit here awaiting the arrival of Richard, “Ricky” Moore, my nerves have doubled and I consider upping sticks and leaving.
Just as I have made the decision to leave, the door swings open and in strolls Ricky. Dressed in jeans, black boots and a short sleeved ACDC tee, Ricky looks the epitome of a grunge God- very Kurt Cobain. His shoulder length black hair is pulled back into a loose ponytail, with his eyes covered by sunglasses. I can’t help it, my heart skips a beat as Ricky removes his shades and I get the full Ricky Moore charm offensive.
Beautiful moss green eyes twinkle with mischief, the warlock grinning as he apologizes for being late. I tell him it’s grand and glance down at my notes, trying to be professional. When Ricky is relaxed, sitting cross legged in front of me, I begin my questioning.

ME: Hey Ricky, thanks so much for talking time out to chat with me.
RM: No problems darling. Anything for a pretty lady. (his smiles deepens, revealing almost too cute dimples.)

Me: Let’s start easy…What’s your full name? When were you born?
RM: Richard, Spencer, Ignatius, Moore. Born July 9th 1987. If you laugh, I’m gonna be pissed.)
Me: No laughing I swear. (while biting the inside of my mouth to supress a giggle as he pretends to glares at me.)

Me: What religion are you, Ricky?
RM: (With a snort of laughter) The bloody Irish and our religions. Did you get some of your questions from the census? Feel like I’ve answered these questions before. (he flashes me a teasing smile and I return it.) I don't really practice a set religion but if I had to label it, I guess I am kinda sorta wiccan. I definitely try and follow their rede .... I am just not always good at it lol ... sometimes things just need to get done - whatever the cost.

Me: What kind of car do you drive?
RM: Ford Focus RS. She’s a beaut.

Me: What do you most dislike about your appearance?
RM: (Ricky arches his eyebrow.) Nothing. I’m gorgeous. Next question please. (He waves his hand in the air and I can only obey. And agree with him)

Me: What is the quality you most like in a woman?
He scrubs his jaw with his knuckles while he contemplates my question.
RM: Loyalty. You need someone in your life that you can trust. Someone that won’t run out the door when shit gets tough and you know will be there at the end of day, no matter how late you come home.
I’m shocked to hear anger laced in his words. I might not be a profiler, but I pretty sure Ricky’s been hurt before.

Me: What do you most value in your friends?
RM: The same I suppose. You need to know your friends have your back, will be there to catch ya when you fall. I’m lucky to have that…but shh, don’t tell them I said that.

Me: Have you ever cheated on a partner?
RM: People who cheat on their significant other are just plain scum. Next question.

Yup, definitely think he’s had his heartbroken before.

Me: Who are your heroes in real life?
Leaning back in his chair, Ricky folds his arms across his chest and grins.
RM: My team are rock stars. We hunt and apprehend the worst of the worst. Those guys all have their own B.S to deal with, but we are the best at what we do.
Me: That’s very sweet.
RM: You’ll realize I said we right? I’m for sure my own hero.
(Then again maybe not.)


Me: What’s your greatest regret?
RM: I don’t have regrets. You make a mistake and you learn from it. People who live with regrets, always looking back, never experience this big ole world we live in. So nah, I’ve no regrets. I’ve had major fuck-ups, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot from them.

Me: Ricky, what sort of music do you enjoy? Favourite song?
Ricky takes the time to fold his right leg over his knee.
RM: I enjoy most genres of music unless the songs are just utter tripe. Lyrics in songs should have meaning, not just repeats of the same line over and over again. I mean c’mon, anything with the lyrics bitches and hoes, is not real music.
Fave song, easy… Foo Fighters, The Pretender.

Me: We should get to some of the more important questions, if that’s okay?
RM: Sure, I can’t wait to see what you think are more important questions.

Me: Marvel or DC? Fave comic book hero?
RM. (Chuckles) Sweetheart, you know exactly the right questions to ask. Marvel for sure and you just have to go with Captain America for that right? I mean, he is truth, justice and the American way.
Me: So no point asking if you were TeamCap or TeamIronMan for Civil War?
RM: #TeamCap for the win.

Me: (Continuing on with a little geeky smile on my face.) Have you ever been drunk? What are you like when you stay up all night?
RM: Haha…stupid question darling. Hell yeah, I’ve been drunk…you ever tried going for pints with a werewolf and trying to drink him under the table? No, those morning afters are not pretty let me tell ya.
I burst out laughing as the image of Ricky hungover pops into my head.
RM: So not funny like. To answer your question, after staying up all night, I look as handsome as always. You know people pay good money to have that ‘I just rolled outta bed and look sexy as fudge’ look. That’s me for damn sure.

Me: What do you wear to bed? Have you any tattoos or piercings?
RM: Is this for your personal files babe, or something? Shit just got personal.
Me: (Holding up my fingers in the girl guides salute.) I swear these are questions readers wanted to know! Don’t shoot the messenger.
Both his eyebrows go up, and his gaze is so intense I feel my cheeks redden.
RM: Sure babe, whatever you say. Answer to first part; sweet FA. And I sure do, but I ‘aint showing you.

Me: What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?
RM: Disney movies. That shits just heart-breaking. I’m still not over Mufasa’s death.

Me: What are you most afraid of?
RM: Oblivion.
Me: Pardon? (I’m unsure if I misheard or he just quoted one of my fave books.)
RM: Oblivion. And yes, I have read The Fault in Our Stars… don’t put that in the interview…you so will won’t you… Donnie’s gonna take the piss for months now.
Me: I think female readers of this interview will fall a teeny bit more in love with you after reading that.
RM:(He leans forward and winks.) Well, okay then.

Me: You work very closely with Agent Derek Doyle and have done so for many years. What’s it like to work with him, and what’s the worst thing ye’ve done together?
RM: D’s my boy. He’s lightened up so much over the years, but he’s solid. I couldn’t ask for a better person to watch my back. (He bounces his leg on his knee and a mischievous twinkle brightens his eyes.) So this one time, when we were in Clare- we were undercover and had to infiltrate a band of motorcycle criminals and D, he –
The door opens and the gorgeous Derek Doyle pops his head in.
DD: Finish that story Rick and I’ll tell them what happened with the stripper in Liverpool.
RM: Spoilsport.
DD: Sorry for the interruption Ms. Harris. Carry on.
It’s all I can do to nod, as I end up on the receiving end of a rare Derek Doyle smile.
Derek slaps Ricky on the back of the head and turns to leave.
RM: Loves you too honey!
He looks at me and shrugs.
Me: We could talk about what happened in Liverpool?
RM: (Chuckles) Nice try, next question…
In my defence, I tried.

I’m coming close to the end, time running out far too quickly. I’ve notice in my observation the way Ricky looks at the tech girl Melanie, but I’m subtle with my last few questions.

Me: Ricky, would you give a girl flowers or chocolate?
RM: Neither. Chocs and flowers are too obvious. I’d sing a song or go old school. Give a girl a mixtape. Be original; not predictable.

Me: Describe your ideal mate.
Ricky takes his time in answering, brushing a stray wisp of hair from his face. When he does answer though, I totally get the feeling he’s speaking of someone in particular.
RM: She’s gotta be smart and know her own mind. Fiery with a thirst for life. Loyal and trustworthy. Someone who sees me for who I am, and loves me regardless. It’s not about being the ideal person for me; it’s about me being worthy of them.

Me: Ricky, thanks for answering my questions today. I know they’re kind of personal, but that’s why I’m here; to get to know you better. One last question…What is your idea of perfect happiness?
RM: Perfect happiness? For me, I guess, good friends, good music, falling in love with someone who loves me back. Being left alone to be who I am without any inherited bullshit. To be good police and save some lives.

I thank him for his time, shivering as he lifts my outstretched hand and presses his lips to the back of my hand. Ricky lets go of my hand, covers those beautiful eyes with his dark shades and with a big grin strides from the room.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the enigma that is Ricky Moore. He is charming, romantic, and has all the right answers. And memorable, because after leaving the station, heading home and siting down to type up my interview, I’m still left feeling flushed by the charm. And those haunting moss green eyes.



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About the Author




Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn't a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.


Connect with Susan




The Color of Us (College Bound #2) by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari

Hey Readers! Ethan here with the first of several reviews I'll be sharing today. Best part about sharing this one first is that it's also RELEASE DAY! Woohoo! I am so excited to be sharing my thoughts on a NA novel that blew me away. This time on the chopping block? The Color of Us, the second installment in the College Bound series by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our authors:

Title: The Color of Us (College Bound #2)
Authors: Laura Ward & Christine Manzari
Release Date: June 20, 2016


Eighteen year old Alexis Sinclair is lost in the darkness of grief. Since the death of her sister in a car accident, she can’t find the will to get out and enjoy life again. When she’s forced to face her biggest fear and take a summer Driver’s Ed course, she’s surprised to find hope in the most unlikely person.

Liam O’Connell is trouble. He isn’t proud of his dark past, and he knows Alexis is the one girl he has no business pursuing. Doing the right thing has never been easy for him, but this time, it just might be impossible.

The perfect girl and troubled boy are all wrong for each other, but as Liam helps Alexis cope with her grief, they realize nothing has ever felt more right.

That is, until Alexis uncovers a secret about Liam that breaks her heart.

Liam knows he can’t allow the one good thing in his life to walk away without a fight, and he’s determined to convince Alexis they can find their way out of the darkness together.

Can he prove he’s worthy of her, or is some love too tainted to be saved?


     

About the Authors:

Laura Ward

Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.  

Find Laura Ward






Christine Manzari

The first thing Christine does when she's getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She's addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.  
Facebook Twitter Website Goodreads 


***
My Thoughts:

Last summer, I discovered that two of my favorite NA authors were teaming up to co-write a new NA series that was sure to impress. I anxiously awaited The Pledge and absolutely devoured it. While I had a few issues with their collaborative debut, I knew I saw a spark in this series that would only grow brighter with each passing chapter. By the end of book one, I was confident they had found their stride and was pumped about book two. Knowing the readers would get an incredible novel made this long wait almost unbearable.

I am so excited to say that the wait was well worth it. In fact, The Color of Us may have just become one of my favorite novels of the year! 

I will admit that much like The Pledge, it took me a few chapters to really get into the story on this one. Thankfully, it didn't take too long though before I was absolutely immersed in the story Ward and Manzari had crafted. It's their best collaborative work yet! 

I'll talk about this more a little later, but people. Be prepared for feels. I'll tell you, the plot for The Color of Us is an emotional roller coaster if I've ever seen one. You'll go from mad to happy to excruciating emotional pain over the span of this novel. The plot is so intimate and the settings and situations are so real, you can almost reach out and comfort the characters yourself in their time of need. It's truly an eye-opening novel and while I won't spoil any of the plot for anyone, I really didn't see most of it coming. I was a little iffy about one particular aspect of this story, but in the end I think it really helped pull the story together in the best of ways. Ward and Manzari make use of time jumps. The story isn't chronologically set in one time period, but rather jumps months or years into the future. It was very easy to follow, but I will admit there were times I would have like to see more in one time frame before jumping to the next. For a variety of reasons, this literary device worked extremely well in TCoU compared to other stories in which I have seen it attempted. My biggest input I can give on the plot of this one is to not give up, and certainly expect the unexpected. I won't say there are huge plot twists left and right, but there were several points in the story where I was genuinely surprised (and overtaken with emotion) with what I had read. It's truly a work of collaborative literary genius, 

When it comes to the characters in this one, I don't even know where to start. Both Liam and Alexis are written to perfection, but I have to be perfectly honest and say that Liam really stole the show for me in this one. Alexis was extremely well-written and we see some great scenes and quotes from her, but Liam's story really hit hard for this reader. It may just be me relating to the male character by default, but I found Liam's struggles to be so real and fitting to the story that I ended TCoU with massive amounts of respect for his trials. While the NA genre is really known for it's college-age character and campus settings, I really appreciated the path the authors took with Liam's character choosing an alternate path in life. It's important for young readers to realize that college is not the only path in life. I was extremely pleased by the authors presentation of Liam. The relationship that Alexis and Liam build is truly an unconventional one, but Ward and Manzari definitely did an incredible job crafting a respectable relationship and not falling to the trends of insta-love. The secondary characters in the story are numerous, but each play an important role in the story and build up the emotional plot that I fell in love with. 

While this novel is the second in a series, it has very little to do with The Pledge and each novel can be read as a standalone. I definitely recommend reading book one as well, but rest assured you won't be missing out on any part of the plot by starting with book two. 

In true Ward-Manzari fashion, you probably won't make it to the epilogue without drowning in feels. I know I sure couldn't. Right from the very first chapter we see the signs that TCoU is about to hit on some extremely hard hitting themes. Themes of maturity and forgiveness are huge in this story. Definitely themes that are very important to all New Adults. Other hard hitting themes include death, family, love, and overcoming uncertainty. It's truly a testament to the writing styles of Ward and Manzari that they can relate so fully to the trials of the NA generation. It's so refreshing to read an NA about true NAs. Honestly. Major kudos to them.   

As you guys can clearly see, I was a huge fan in the second installment of the College Bound series by Ward and Manzari. It impressed me beyond my wildest dreams and I am so glad to have gotten to read it. I can definitely say that I am more than excited about the future of this series. With the combined genius that is the Ward-Manzari team, I know this series will get better with each passing installment! That being said, it should come as no surprise that I am granting The Color of Us a near-perfect 5-star review. I highly recommend this read to all lovers of New Adult and romance series. Don't miss out on this read! 

**This can be read a a standalone**

***


Alright folks, there you have it. My thoughts on The Color of Us by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari. It's an absolutely incredible novel that I can't wait to devour again. Be sure to check this one out. Don't miss out on the release day sale 6/20 ONLY! Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dating an Alien Popstar by Kendra L. Saunders Book Blitz (Excerpt + Giveaway)



Dating an Alien Pop Star Kendra L. Saunders
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Daisy Kirkwood has only just escaped her small- town life and run away to New York City, the land of last-minute secret gigs at famous musical venues, when she’s kidnapped by aliens. Unfortunately, no one ever writes about how to handle alien abduction in those fancy NYC guidebooks.

Griffin and Dev are supermassively sexy aliens from a politically and environmentally troubled planet who arrive on Earth with very little knowledge about human ways other than what they learned from a wayward E! News signal. Their mission is to pretend to be the most influential people on the planet—English pop stars, of course!—and gain the help of a powerful secret society. Upon arriving, they abduct Daisy Kirkwood, a nerdy young woman who loves music but could seriously use a bit of help in the love-life department. Though Griffin and Daisy initially squabble, neither can deny the intergalactic sparks whenever they’re too close to each other. Together, they must face murderous aliens, cultural misunderstandings, bad backup musicians, and the dark side of fame and the media, all set against a tight deadline…

Part High Fidelity, part Bridget Jones’ Diary, part Doctor Who, Dating an Alien Pop Star is a sexy romantic comedy.




EXCERPT:

Griffin raises a dark eyebrow. “Are you afraid of me?”

“I didn’t say I’m afraid!”

“But are you?”

“No!”

“Good.” He kicks off his shoes. “This will be a nice period of bonding for us, Wanda.”

“Why are you here?” I demand, sitting on the edge of the bed and crossing my arms over my chest. “You say you want to become the most powerful being on the planet with your music and all of that, but why?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“It’s my planet, so it is my business. You’re not planning to brainwash all of us, and then harvest our organs or something, are you? Keep our livers in jars in a spaceship somewhere? Burn the planet and then plant your weird medicinal drugs here?”

Griffin stalks closer to me with every word, until he’s standing directly in front of me, the glowing light in his eyes showing through the lenses. “And if I am, do you think you’re going to stop me?”

A shudder traces through me. I’m not sure if it’s because of his words or because he’s standing so close. “I’ll have to stop you,” I say in a very brave tone. Okay, actually, it’s not brave at all. More like a wheezy whisper. But Bjork or Kim Gordon wouldn’t just bow down to an alien invasion without at least attempting to protect their planet, and neither will I.

Before I can fully process what’s happening, Griffin’s pinned me down, holding my wrists against the bed under his hands. His body, though slight, feels substantial and warm against mine—simultaneously threatening and a bit of a turn on. “You don’t know me very well at all, do you, Wanda?” he whispers, and I want to correct him about my name, but I find it hard to say anything at all. “I would never come all the way to your planet just to enjoy the food and then destroy it. I’m not cruel!”

“I don’t know anything about you, other than your bad taste in clothes,” I say, but his weight pressed against my pelvis has my body pulsing and warm all over. Bad, bad, bad.

“Then look into me, why don’t you? You could see anything you wanted, if you’d just look. I’d let you.”

When I shake my head, he releases me, climbing right over top of me to take his place on the bed. I can feel the mattress shaking a bit, and I gather my wits enough to sit up and glance at him. He’s maneuvered his way out of the rest of his clothes, leaving only the underwear.

Thank God. Especially since my close proximity reveals he’s not doing too bad in that department. Even under a layer of fabric.

****



Author Bio:

Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and- space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people, and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can't learn karate (or ballroom dancing).

She is the author of DATING AN ALIEN POP STAR, the magic realism novel INANIMATE OBJECTS, dark comedy DEATH AND MR. RIGHT, the upcoming romance THE UNLOVE SPELL, and has conducted interviews with NYT Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, goth rocker Aurelio Voltaire, and Project Runway winners Dmitry Sholokhov and Michelle Lesniak Franklin among many, many others.





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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Heroes of Arcania: SuperNova (HoA #1) by Liz Long Review

Hey readers! Ethan here on this very special Thursday with a review for you all. Today is the release day for the first novel in an incredible new series that's set to take Summer 2016 by storm. The latest release from one of my all time favorite authors. I'm so pumped to share my thoughts. On the chopping block today? Heroes of Arcania: SuperNova by Liz Long! Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and out author:

The streets of Arcania are overrun with crime, deteriorating as a madman named Fortune makes himself at home. He shows no mercy, striking down anyone in his path – including Nova Benson’s little sister. Devastated, Nova vows to seek justice for her family, but aside from her freak strength and impenetrable skin, how is she supposed to stop a monster like Fortune?

Cole Warner wants to help people. Entrusted to keep his family’s secret, he’s also frustrated at having to hide his gift. He knows he could do more to help in the fight against Fortune. If he could convince his sister Penelope to join him, they might even have a chance at beating him. When Cole meets Nova, he realizes his whole world is about to change. And he’s going to welcome it with open arms.

Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan.

Then again, neither was becoming a superhero.

     

About the Author:
Liz Long, indie authorLiz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media editor includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.

Her first book, Gifted, is the first book in the Donovan Circus series, where superpowers meets the circus. Burned is the second adventure. Her standalone book Witch Hearts, is a story about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. Her newest book A Reaper Made is an NA Paranormal tale of a Reaper using magic to save her family from demons. All titles are available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback, Barnes & Noble for Nook, and iBooks.


Find Liz Online


*****
My Thoughts:

With all the negatives we see in our world on a day to day basis, we're in desperate need of heroes. Be them on the big screen, in our books, or in real life, fighting crime to keep us safe, heroes are always needed in our world. I'm a huge superhero fan. I read comics, I've seen all the films, but I've never actually read about any in novel format. I've always been on the side of 'this medium works better visually than mentally'. As much as I love the works of Liz Long, I'll be honest and admit my hesitation in picking up HoA: SuperNova.

Thankfully with Long at the helm, I knew I would get a quality story. And did I ever!

In true superhero fashion, it takes an event to turn a 'super' into a 'hero'. Heroes aren't born, they're created. Sure Nova Benson has always had the Gift of super strength and impenetrable skin, but until her life is stopped in its' tracks, its never been more than a second thought to her. When Fortune arrives in her hometown of Arcania looking for nothing but trouble, Nova's life is forever changed after the death of her kid sister. With a broken heart and full of rage, Nova sets out for revenge. Vowing to stop Fortune before others suffer as she did. Along the way she discovers she may not be the only one hiding gifts. An entire new world opens for Nova, but will her new friends and their combined gifts be enough to stop Fortune and liberate Arcania from his clutches?

Sounds awesome, right? Where are the film rights?

While Liz has already created her entire Gifted universe with the Donovan Circus. She build on that world in some incredible ways with this new series. Fans of Long will recognize the Gifted terminology, while new readers will be excited to learn all about the world that Long has created. Sure our heroes have incredible gifts, but what's the best part about them? They're teenagers! High school-aged, curfew breaking, real-life teenagers! It's so refreshing as a reader to see YA characters actually acting YA age appropriate. Nova, Cole, and Penelope (our heroes) all face real-life challengers in their day-to-day lives and still fight crime by night. It's a testament to the writing talent of Liz Long that she can craft such a creative story, but still make it as realistic as she does. YA readers will strongly relate to these characters and will feel their pain as they journey through their story. 

The series has a rather large cast of characters so make sure you're paying attention. In the end, everyone has an important role to play, will you catch on? I also applaud Long for the vast diversity of her characters. We see various age groups, genders, races, ethnicities in this series and that's something to be proud of! Kudos to you Liz Long!

As any good YA series should, SuperNova is full of some extremely hard hitting themes that will leave the reader with a lot to reflect upon. Themes of love, family, loss, responsibility, good vs evil, and judgement are all present in this series. It's really an incredible story that will leave you with that satisfied feeling down in your bookish heart. And it only gets better with each installment!  

SuperNova ends on quite the cliffhanger that will leave readers begging for book two. Thankfully, we won't have to wait long as Long is rapid releasing the entire series this summer to make sure all her readers are satisfied! I know this series will be one that's discussed for many years to come. It's got everything you'd look for in a superhero series: heroes that slay, villains that are truly evil, and even a touch of that YA romance that readers love! Seriously folks, this series is off to an incredible start and it's only going to get better from here.

The perfect series for readers of all genres, HoA: SuperNova is sure to please. While the general tone is definitely YA, it is safe enough for younger readers while being satisfying to older readers of any age. Only mild language, no gore, and no sexual content, but there's all kind of action-packed awesome within these pages, plus some instances of teenagers being teenagers! 

As you can see, I was clearly a huge fan of Heroes of Arcania: SuperNova and I am so glad I have the opportunity to share these thoughts with you all. I am so excited to be granting HoA: SuperNova a well-deserved, near-perfect 5-star review. I highly recommend this series to all fans of sci-fi, paranormal, or superheros. Add this series to your TBR today!

*****


Alright readers, that's all I have for you today on the topic of Heroes of Arcania: SuperNova. This was just the first in an incredible that's being rapid released this summer so definitely be on the lookout for more info about the rest of the series. I've already read books two and three and can promise you that you're going to love them even more! Be sure to add this one to your TBR today. Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading! 

-Ethan