Monday, October 31, 2016

Review: Marker of Hope by Nely Cab

The Creatura Series, Book Three
by Nely Cab
Clean Teen Publishing
YA/NA Paranormal
300 pages

Who will save her from herself?
Upon her return from Greece with three new friends and a broken heart, Isis' hunger for human flesh is stronger than ever. She's a miserable mess after losing David following her betrayal. Her mutation into Creatura is all but over when she receives the surprise of her life, compelling her to seek out David's family. Only, they've broken all ties with her, and she doesn't know how to reach them.
Turpis, the demonic beings that attacked Isis in Greece, have tracked her whereabouts. Now, in order to fend for her life, Isis must join forces with deities she doesn't trust.
Is Isis truly the Marker of Hope as she's believed to be, or will she lose the battle to her starving inner beast and demons, obliterating humankind from existence? Find out in the epic finale of the best-selling CREATURA SERIES.


First, I did not read the first two books in this series, but still, didn't find it hard to grab foot into the Creatura world. Of course, there's quite a bit of information concerning the plot and characters missing, but it's not difficult to reconstruct and fall into the story. Still, to get the whole experience, it would be better to start with book one.

This is a mixture of myth, demons and magic which sets in a very modern day world with characters, which feel as if they come from the 'every day' despite their powers. 

Isis, the main character, is trying to find foothold after breaking up with the love of her life, David. But her pregnancy and recognition of who she really is, only cause her world to flip upside down. She not only has to figure out how to handle her private life but finds herself at the brink of a war with gods and demons.

I liked Isis from the very first page. She's level-headed, down to earth but still, unsure. Her decisions and feelings hit home, making her have the feel of a best friend. She takes things in stride and even when she loses her temper, tries her best to remain planted. She's a true heroine to cheer for as all sorts of troubles on different levels hit her.

This isn't the fastest paced novel, although it does move along steadily. The personal and emotional tension between the characters remains at center stage until the action hits more toward the end of the story. There are moments of imminent danger, but usually the true darkness lurks in the background as a constant reminder of what Isis might be up against. Isis is on a journey of self-discovery, and this is done masterfully.

The plot itself is layered, allowing unexpected twists, turns and intrigue, although it never really becomes overly complex. The ending wasn't as tense or complete as I like (but then, I am an action girl), but it pulls in the ends and ends the story nicely.

Summed up, this is an entertaining read which does have a kick-butt heroine, hot guys and tons of wars and creatures, but still centers around the character's personal development and does a lovely job with emotional depth. 

Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly with Giveaway


by Lee Kelly

YA Historical/Fantasy

February 2nd, 2016!!!

THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.
Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.
It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.
Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.
Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.
A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.


Placed in the roaring twenties, this alternate historical story uses magic and intrigue to create a tense adventure.

In the 1920's, magic is illegal. Those who ignore the law are forced to hide their practices in so called 'Shine Rooms', where they put on small performances for audiences. Of course, crime bosses are more than ready to use this to their advantage. Joan, a teenage girl who recently lost her mother, helps her uncle to run one of the Shine Rooms. When a crime boss threatens to ruin her uncle's business, she agrees to go with him to save her uncle and sister, allowing her the magic she'd held back to come forth again. 

The first scene lured in right away. The characters, Joan and Alex, hit a nerve from the moment they're introduced. It was these two, which made the book hard to put down. Joan and Alex don't meet right away, but have their very own stories and problems. This gave the story nice twist, allowing each one to gain depth and personality before the romance began. The side characters, unfortunately, felt a bit two dimensional in comparison.

The magic world is amazingly well layered and laid out. The author makes sure that the explanations are clear, while covering a broad base. It gave this aspect of the story a world all of its own, one which feels grounded and pulled out of the air. By taking this and weaving it into the realm of organized crime, the story gained an intriguing flair. 

My only disappointment was in the world building. Although the time frame is mentioned, the culture from this period doesn't really come across well. Seeing that this is an alternate history, that isn't completely surprising. But it still would have been nice to see a bit more of the twenty's flair. Still, the scenes draw in, creating a lovely read to get lost in.

And here she is. . .
Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages. Visit her at


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sneak Peek: Wear White to Your Funeral by Lisa Acerbo with Giveaway

Wear White to Your Funeral 

by Lisa Acerbo

October 28th 2016
YA Mystery/ Romance

Rory is your average high school senior. Or she was, until her mother banishes her to hell, also known as Trumbull, Connecticut. The small suburb with only a mall and movie theater, sure feels like the netherworld until Rory’s first day at her new school. That’s the day she meets Bowen, who begs her to join him on a class project. But when Bowen drags her to a graveyard after dark for research purposes, Rory wants to fly back home to Atlanta, or at least return to her aunt’s house unharmed and unmolested.

Nothing could go wrong, right? They talk, they laugh, and they wander among the tombstones looking for information on the local ghostly legend known as the White Lady. Then they have to run, but they cannot outrun a ghost. In addition to the ghostly woman, a half buried dead body leads Rory and Bowen into a deadly game of cat and mouse, but who is the killer? Is it human or something long dead and otherworldly?
The police are of little help, Rory’s aunt just wants her to remain safe, and Bowen, who she can’t stay away from, keeps finding ways to get her into more trouble than she has ever known. Whether breaking into a suspected killer’s house, being followed by a menacing ghost, or being stalked at school, Rory hopes finding the killer will put an end to the supernatural haunting. Before Rory can discover the identity of the killer, she is drawn into the mystery of the White Lady, which opens the door for some very real danger.


Rory tried to pay attention until she heard a husky whisper.
“Hey, new girl.” Rory turned toward the low voice. The boy with piercing blue eyes stared at her. “I’m Bowen.”
“I caught that,” she whispered back.
“Want to work together on the assignment?”
“Is it a group project?” Rory was confused by the offer.
“It is if you want it to be. Watch and learn. But first, say ‘yes.’”
He was definitely bad-boy cute. Rory giggled. “Yes.” Maybe school wouldn’t be as horrible as she imagined. She felt optimistic for the first time that day.
“Mrs. Miller?” Bowen interrupted.
“Yes, Bowen.” Miller sounded slightly irritated, but not really. It was like she already knew what Bowen planned to ask.
“The new girl.” He looked at Rory expectantly.
“Rory.” She filled in her name for him.
“I think Rory needs help with the assignment, being new here and all,” Bowen said.
“Do you now?” Mrs. Miller looked at him over the top of her librarian glasses, not believing for a minute his intentions were pure. “Why would you say that? I’m sure she is a capable young lady.”
“You do have extremely high expectations,” Bowen replied, causing twitters of laughter to erupt from around the class. “And she has not been exposed to the inverted pyramid.”
Rory had no idea what that was, so maybe she did need Bowen’s help.
“So true. So true. You are a wise man Bowen Hesse. I believe it’s a good idea you pair up with Rory and demonstrate those high expectations.”
“Every time, Mrs. Miller.”
Mrs. Miller made a noise that did not sound at all teacher-like. “I expect a higher word count if you two are pairing up.”
“Really?” He smiled at Rory and she noticed a slightly crooked tooth in an otherwise perfect smile.
“Yes, really.” The teacher said through her own smile. He shrugged. “You got it. One hundred words at least.”
The class chortled in unison.
“You’re a jokester, Bowen. Class,” she addressed everyone now, “the minimum word count for this assignment is 750. Bowen, for you and Rory, it should be 1000 words.”
His blue eyes widened. Groans quickly replaced the recent giggles that had echoed through the room.
Class resumed, and Rory heard ideas for articles ranging from pumpkin carving to the best Halloween candy. With less than twenty minutes before the bell would ring, the class divided into groups based on the section of the newspaper or yearbook they wanted to write for. She was the exception. Rory watched as Bowen pulled his desk over to her. He stood two or three inches taller than her in his University of Connecticut basketball t-shirt and faded jeans.
“So you up for writing about the White Lady?”
“You don’t want to brainstorm other topics?” Rory was disappointed. She knew nothing of the local legend and hoped to do an article on something she had some background knowledge about.
“We can, but I have a great idea for a story on the ghost.”
“Really?” Rory didn’t want to lose the chance to work with Bowen and make a friend. “In that case, sure, but I don’t really know anything about her, being from the South.”
“Where from?”
The broken record began to play. “Atlanta.”
“I want to know more. I’d like to go South one day.”
“For college?”
Bowen gave a non-committal shrug. His shirt climbed up his shoulder. The last words of his tattoo peeking out of the sleeve.
“What are you doing tonight?”
“Why?” Rory asked quietly.
“I can give you a crash course on the White Lady.” He ran a hand through his short, spiky hair. Disheveled, he looked slightly dangerous but even more attractive.
“Really?” Rory didn’t know where Bowen’s interest stemmed from. Back in Atlanta men like him would have left her — the bookworm, Honor Society, AP classes kind of student — alone, very alone.
“Sure.” He gave her a devilish wink.
Her heart stuttered. Her words followed. “Weellll, I have to have dinner with my aunt, but after that, I’m sure it will be okay.” She took a calming breath.
“Excellent.” A smile formed on Bowen’s lips. “That’ll be perfect. It will be dark when we go to the graveyard.”

And here she is. . .

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.


Mommy Sunday: An Ache in My Veins by J.A. Howell

An Ache in my Veins
Love & Ink # 4
by J.A. Howell
Expected Publication Date- November 3rd

Darren never loved anyone like he did, Ash. But Ash was ancient history after she disappeared without a trace. At least that was what he thought until she shows up one day at The Knotted Kneedle.
Suddenly, those old feelings from before... before he was a Dom, before he was anything, come rushing back. The only problem. Ash is engaged and has no interest in rehashing their past and bringing up all the old, painful memories that come along with it.
Unfortunately for her, Darren has never been one to take no for an answer. Not when it comes to the only woman he ever saw a future with. He still loves her and wants her back despite the pain of the past and everything her disappearance caused.
But will Darren's persistence come with reward? a second chance at love? Or will it end the same way it did before... and leave him with an ache he can't ever fulfill?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Guest Post: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein Giveaway

banner audiobook for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy

This is my stop during the book blitz for the audiobook for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein. The audiobook is narrated by Allan Corduner. Allan Corduner has narrated multiple books, one of them being The Book Thief and he does the voice of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter videogames. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 24 till 30 October. Every day there will be a different guest post in which Paula talks about the process of making the audiobook. You can view the blitz schedule here.

audiobook cover Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy
Amanda Lester, Detective #1
 Written by Paula Berinstein Narrated by Allan Corduner Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins MG Mystery/ Detective 

September 27, 2016

A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and sugar? Amanda Lester wouldn't be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes's colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she's going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not. When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away - until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they're not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda's father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they're certain that crimes are taking place. Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes's nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn't like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads You can buy the audiobook of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here: - Audible - Amazon - iTunes Listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud

Get the e-copy for free! 

The e-copy of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is free now on all vendor sites! Grab your free copy here:

So You Want to Make an Audiobook, Post 6: Post-production
The Amanda Lester, Detective Odyssey with Paula Berinstein

Recording an audiobook doesn’t end on the last day in the studio. You have to edit and check listen, both detailed and time-consuming jobs.

In order to comply with ACX’s technical requirements, you must submit each chapter as a separate file. You also have to create files for the opening and closing credits and provide a sample of up to five minutes, all governed by requirements such as decibel range, compression, and so on. It’s fiddly stuff! Add to that the fact that it’s easy for the actor to misread something or the editor to forget to chop out a cough and there’s a lot to do.

As the team was going through the files, they discovered a few problems. Chris told me that Allan would have to come back into the studio and re-record some stuff. He was scheduled to return for another project in a few weeks. Did I want him to come in specially for my project or could I wait? I could wait.

About three weeks later Allan rerecorded the passages and David Griffiths, the editor (who did an amazing job!), took over. The next thing I knew I had thirty-something audio files (actually sixty-something if you count both the .wav and .mp3 files) in my Dropbox folder. I was scared to death. My shiny new audiobook was waiting for me and I was afraid to listen.

I needn’t have worried. Allan had worked such magic on Amanda that I barreled through the whole thing, stopping only to exclaim, “OMG, that is brilliant!” about a thousand times. I found only one problem: he had repeated a line. I asked Strathmore to fix it (easy peasy), and then it was time to upload my files to ACX, where I’d established a DIY account.  

I logged into my account and started the uploads. Ugh, what a dummy. I was in such a hurry I started the upload for every file at the same time! A few of them actually completed and then the whole thing froze. Well of course it did. I had overloaded the system. I cancelled everything that hadn’t completed and uploaded thirty-something files one by one. Then I uploaded the beautiful cover Anna Mogileva had completed a few months before and sat back to wait up to three week for a verdict.

I was lucky: I heard back in about a week. By that time the book was already listed on Audible. It popped up on Amazon and iTunes a couple of days later. There was a bit of an issue with the age range in the target audience categories, but we got that resolved quickly. (Audible had put it in the five- to seven-year-olds section. You can now find it in the 11-13-year-olds section, which they consider teens).

I just found out that you can also get the audio Whispersynced to your ebook (which means you can switch between the text and the audio without losing your place), and that that version of the audiobook costs waaaaaaay less than the standalone one. I mean like $3.47 as opposed to $24.95! You can get that on Audible and Amazon but not on iTunes. I guess that makes sense since Audible and Amazon are so well integrated.  

Please join me tomorrow for my thoughts on the audiobook as art.

And here she is. . .

Paula Berinstein

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one. You can find and contact Paula here:

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Paula's blog on Goodreads - The Writing Show podcasts - Newsletter


There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy. These are the prizes you can win: - 2 audiobook copies of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy - 2 amazon gift cards of 15$ For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter givea

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Skid by Tracey Martin

Sometimes when you lose control, you find yourself.
by Tracey Martin
Leap Books
YA Haunting, Romance
Release Date: October 24, 2016

While mourning the death of her sister and learning to live with chronic pain, a teen girl investigates a ghost story in a Connecticut orchard and finds unexpected love.

Sometimes when you lose control, you find yourself.
It took Gabrielle ten seconds to skid on black ice.
Ten seconds to wreck her car and her back.
Ten seconds to ruin her Olympic dreams.
Ten seconds to kill her younger sister.
Eight months later, Gabrielle's haunted by guilt, dependent on drugs to numb her pain and alcohol to numb her brain. Then Erik Tennyson crashes into her. Soon Gabrielle's immersed in the ghostly legend surrounding the Tennyson orchard, convinced that her sister is linked to its mysterious origins.
If she can just discover the truth, maybe she can put her sister's spirit to rest.
But as Gabrielle grows closer to Erik, her world skids out of control once more. Instead of appeasing the dead, she starts to do the thing she fears most: she remembers how to live.

"SKID is my favorite kind of story, one that acknowledges that life gives us pain and joy, love and sorrow in equal measure. I rooted for Ellie every step of the way!" -Jennifer Mason-Black

And here she is. . .
Tracey Martin!!!

Tracey Martin wanted to be an astronaut, a doctor, and an actor, possibly all at once. Instead, she studied psychology , and that led her to have an epiphany–imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she became a writer. Her books include Another Little Piece of my Heart, the Miss Misery series, and the RedZone dulogy.
She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.
Follow Tracey on Twitter and via her, @TA_Martin
Follow Tracey Martin:  Website | Twitter

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review: Stone Faces by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

An Alice and Friends Book
by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks
MuseItUp Publishing
Middle Grade Fiction
ages 8+
62 pages

STONE FACES is the story of a ten-year-old girl named Alice who notices one day that her parents' faces have turned to stone. Soon afterward, they tell her they are going to get divorced and, in reaction, she allows her own face to turn to stone because she doesn't want anyone to know how much this hurts her. It is easier to deal with her friends when her stone face is in place, but she also begins to find herself alone more and more. While on her summer vacation at her aunt's house on Cape Cod, she sees a stone on the beach in the shape of a laughing man's face (called Mr. Happy Man). She soon discovers that this stone can talk and that it has friends among the other beach stones, who play games in the sand when people aren't around. Together with Mr. Happy Man and his friends, Alice develops an ingenious scheme to help her parents resolve their differences. Their plans are thrown awry when a woman finds Mr. Happy Man in the sand and walks off with him. Alice decides to rescue the stone and sneaks into the woman's house where she learns that the woman is actually a witch.


Alice's parents have want the worst thing in the world--a divorce. Alice isn't happy about this, and before she realizes it, she's wearing the same stone face that her parents are. When Alice is sent off to her Aunt's house near a beach, things get worse. She finds herself acting meaner than she knows she should. One day, she hears thunder approaching, but there isn't a storm. Stranger yet, no one else on the beach hears it. When Alice discovers where the noise is coming from, she can hardly believe it.

This story takes the very difficult topic of divorce and does a terrific job addressing it in a way kids ages 8 to 10 years can understand. Readers will not only easily sympathize with Alice but are transported into a magical adventure.

Alice is a normal girl who isn't sure how to take the news of her parents' intended divorce. Her anger, disbelief and sadness are realistic and delivered in a way kids can relate to. She acts out, hurting others with words and actions she later regrets. Even when Alice turns 'mean', the reasoning behind her actions is clear and it's easy to feel for her situation.

This is a fast paced story, which quickly shifts from a very real life problem into a world of fantasy. While trying to save her new found friends, Alice learns how to deal with her own emotions. The message is clear, but hangs as nicely as a shadow on the otherwise exciting plot.

At sixty pages, the story is a short and easy read. The plot is a little too simple for kids over the age of ten, but the vocabulary is too difficult for younger readers under the age of eight. It especially makes a nice read-aloud, the short chapters leaving many opportunities to stop and pick up the tale later again.

Summed up, this is a wonderful book for young middle graders who are faced with an approaching parents' divorce. It brings across a lovely message while remaining entertaining. And Alice is a girl readers will love to see again.

All about the authors!!!

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been married for a little over forty years and have produced about twenty books and exactly three children in that time. Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where, in 1969, as the fabled Sixties were drawing to a close, she met a student at Haverford College named Ken. They don’t like to admit that they met at a college mixer, but there it is!

Anne and Ken’s most recent novels and stories are set in New York City, where they have lived for most of their married lives.

Their most recent books, STONE FACES and BROWNSTONE FACES, feature Alice, a 10 year old girl with a vivid imagination that gets her into and out of trouble in New York City and on Cape Cod, MA.

In Ken and Anne’s tween book, THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM, Jennifer and James find a pigeon in Central Park whose foot was caught in a bit of string attached to a fence.  Only this pigeon was actually a man before he was turned into a pigeon over a hundred years earlier. Now he needs some help to be turned back into a man before a certain hawk captures and eats him instead. At least that is what it seems.

Ken and Anne have a website with the address and a blog at If you visit, you will find reviews of their books, links to those books, and photographs that may be the inspiration for future efforts. In case you were wondering about the web site address, “R” is for Rothman, “H” is for Hicks, and 71 is the year of their marriage. No secret codes or numerology anywhere.

Barnes & Noble:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Ring Ghost by Jane George

The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere,
Book Two
by Jane George
Beeswax Books
YA Paranormal
322 pages

Wally never wanted to join an enchanted circus. Working as the cook was supposed to be temporary. He wants to form a band. He wants to find his mom. Except, thanks to a major, magical screw-up, he can never go home again.

Now the circus is cursed, haunted. The Ringmaster is in peril. Everything’s falling apart.
If there’s no more circus, Wally might be free. But Circus Lunastrata means everything to the beautiful, beguiling bareback rider—and his possible soul mate—Evangeline.

It’s a no win situation. Can Wally find a solution while there’s still a ghost of a chance?


This book switches gears, allowing Evan's boyfriend, Wally, to move into center ring. The circus is on the move as a new 'recruit' falls into the Ringmaster's sights. Unfortunately, bad luck clings to the circus like glue and the new recruit has a history which is going to bring them all into danger.

After enjoying Wally's character in the first book, it was refreshing to now continue the adventure more from his point of view. He carries many scars of his own, but has a heart true as can be. It's easy to sympathize with him as he faces his own demons and is forced into a role he doesn't really want. There's a lot to love about Wally, and this book gives even more reason to root for him and Evan as well as the rest of the circus.

The magic and the reasoning behind it deepen and become a bit more complicated. There's a definite shadow side to all the positive aspects of the circus, which add a perfect amount of tension. The evil aunt of the ringmaster is a delight to hate, although it would have been nice to have gotten to know her a little more personally. 

Like in the first book, there's never a dull moment as the characters land in one sticky situation after the other. The array of characters really shines in this second book, and several side ones become especially likable. The ending is packed with twists and turns, and although some explanations got a little foggy, the tension doesn't let up until the very end making it hard to put this book down.

Review: Ring Rider by Jane George

The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere
Book One
by Jane George
Beeswax Books
YA Paranormal
292 pages

A teenage, trailer-park runaway is offered a place to live and work in a struggling, one-ring circus. But nothing at Circus Lunastrata is what it seems, especially not the young circus cook, a guitar-playing, Edgar-Allan-Poe-quoting guy intriguing enough to be dangerous to her off-limits heart.

Soon, she’s risking not only her heart, but her life, as she dares to enter this magical and treacherous new world.

But it’s the only world she’s ever wanted to call home.

Warning: The book you will read is the product of many magical transformations. You may have seen it in its previous stages, most notably as The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. But while lovers of this book's former mysterious mayhem may recognize characters and scenes, Ring Rider most definitely contains enough new twists to keep magic circus lovers turning the pages. But those more faint at heart, who may cover their eyes at the sight of swearing, violence, and mild sexual situations, may want to find a tamer circus elsewhere.


Like a magical dream, this story draws in with calliopes, mystical ju-ju and never ending adventure.

Evan is a trailer-park teen on the run from abusive foster parents. When she runs into a clown, who offers her the perfect escape, it seems to good to be true. Soon Evan finds herself in a circus, where magic overshadows reality and danger lurks in the shadows.

First off, this book does include swearing, violence, and hits upon difficult topics such as child abuse and 'cutting'. Still, the material is not handled tastelessly, haphazardly or without care, but rather concentrates on the difficulties of dealing with and healing from such situations.  I'd recommend it for readers ages 14+. 

The first chapter dives  into Evans harsh life, making it impossible not to feel for her and immediately start rooting for her. Her past hangs like a dark fog much of the way through, but it's her determination which really makes her an inspiring character. The change from an abusive reality to the mystical magic of the circus allows uncertainty and doubt to keep the tension high. It's a lovely mix, which captures hope and dreams along with shadowy nightmares.

The characters in this are as colorful as the big top and have very distinct stories of their own. All are 'damaged' in their own way, making it difficult to discover with whom the real danger lies. There are layers of intrigue and treachery mixed in with the mystery of the magic, which is an intrigue all of its own. It's simply a delightful world to dive into.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sneak Peek: Bravo Blood Road by Summer Lane with Giveaway

by Summer Lane
Bravo Saga, #2
October 21st 2016
YA Post-Apocalyptic

Bravo and his beloved handler, Lieutenant Nathan Ingalls, are together again amidst the ashes of an apocalyptic California. Together, they are using their skills to help a rebel militia group seek out survivors in the desolation of Death Valley.

But when the Death Brigade – a vicious anarchist group arisen from the dust of a fallen society – rolls into town, tragedy strikes. Someone is taken. Neither Nathan nor Bravo will allow that. The hunt is on – Bravo will not fail in his task to protect his friends.
The Black Market.
Rescuing the people you love sometimes comes with a price. When Bravo and his friend, India, are taken to Blood Road, they are forced to fight for their lives in a terrifying and vicious society of gambling, deceit and violent entertainment.
Alone and afraid, Bravo is forced to fight for his life every day in an arena while cruel spectators make bets on the odds of his victory. His only allies in this dark place could perish as suddenly as he could.
The bonds of friendship are tested, and the agonizing teeth of loss sink their fangs deep.
Life or death. Fight or flight. Bravo must choose.
One mission, completed.
One duty, fulfilled.
And now, the Blood Road will wreak its vengeance.
This is the conclusion to Bravo the bomb dog’s thrilling and poignant tale of love, loss and ultimate sacrifice, a #1 bestselling phenomenon.


Bravo was there. He heard Danny scream, tasted the sharp jolt of terror heavy in the air. He came straight for him, sailing like a dark bullet through the night. The coyote did not see him coming. Bravo hit him like an arrow, rage pulsing through his body.
How dare this wolf-thing harm Danny! The fury was a tangible thing, flooding through his veins like a wildfire. He bit the coyote below the mouth, in the soft flesh of the neck, where the lifeblood was.
Take away lifeblood, take away life. That was the law of the fight. Bravo had learned that in the Arena, but it was an unspoken and silently understood fact of instinct. Blood contained life…remove blood, and the enemy would fall.
The coyote yelped and released its hold on Danny. The little boy stumbled backward, crying, while Bravo drug the dog-thing to the ground, holding it there, second by second, as the life drained from it and the hot, salty blood spilled onto his face and stained his fur.
Bravo felt nothing but the storming satisfaction of the bite and the devotion to the kill – the mission. This was his job, to protect Danny at all costs, because Nathan was not here, and because that is what Bravo was: a protector.

And here she is. . .

Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 14 novels, including books from the hit Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy and Bravo Saga. She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine devoted to the art of storytelling. Summer is also an accomplished creative writing teacher and experienced journalist.
She lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, Scott, where she spends her days writing, teaching and writing some more. Summer loves to visit the mountains (nature rocks!), the beach (Hawaii is heaven) and have hot cups of tea with good friends (tea is always a good idea). She also loves dogs and traveling!