Review: Miss Mabel’s School for Girls-Katie Cross

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cooltext1889161239 copyNever underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

***I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Antebellum Publishing.

PROS:

  • Bianca is crafty, determined, and clever. She’s seriously ballsy. Bianca has everything on the line and she’s not afraid to go for it, no matter how crazy it makes her look. Bianca is strong, she puts up with everything, every ounce of abuse thrown at her and carefully weighs when to react. Bianca’s love for her family is powerful, she puts herself through hell for them, more than herself. Bianca can come off as selfish because she is so focused and neglectful but she’s a source of inspiration and a lesson in bravery.
  • The small scope of the school allows for a mix of legend and mischief. Letum Wood is a magical, mysterious place where anything can happen. There’s a whimsical danger that goes with it much like the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter.  The school itself combines a sort of Tri-wizard competition with 19th century camaraderie much like in Gillian Shields’ Immortal series. There’s a sense of being transported to another time where technology is absent and magic reigns. 
  • Mystery drives the plot. How the curse was earned, what Bianca must do to stop it, and the role of Bianca’s father all fuel a compelling story full of burning questions. 

CONS:

  • Bianca’s character dominates the story, so much so that secondary characters fall flat and feel like intrusions. They are memorable, each has a significant personality, but Bianca is so caught up in her own world that interactions are spaced out and brief, no much happens, and it’s hard to establish a connection with them. 
  • Miss Mabel is far from the terrifying, fierce beast she’s made out to be. Yes, she’s intense, incredibly vindictive, and mighty heartless but the fear at her presence, the sense of foreboding is not there. 
  • The Network, the government system, and expectations for witches and mages was not clear. More of a background of how the system works, the divisions between sections of the world, the animosity, etc., would have helped to get a firm grip on this world and how people relate to non-magical folk. Additionally, the risk Miss Mabel poses is diminished because of this gap in knowledge. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Review: Sunset Rising-S.M. McEachern

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cooltext1889161239 copyDesperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground. They are grudgingly permitted entry, but the price of admission is high. Two hundred and eighty-three years later…

Life as a slave in the Pit had never been easy, but for seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell it was quickly falling apart. Her mother had been killed in the annual spring Cull, leaving her alone with a father who was no longer interested in living the short time he had left. Not that she blamed him for mourning. Her own heart was aching with overwhelming grief. But if they didn’t earn enough credits to keep their place inside the Pit, they would be kicked out into a world still teeming with radiation. That left her to earn the credits for both of them, and it didn’t help that her boyfriend, Reyes Crowe, was pressuring her to marry him and abandon her father.

Sunny didn’t think life could get any worse until a chance encounter with Leisel Holt, the president’s daughter, and her fiancé, Jack Kenner, leaves her accused of treason. Slated for execution, she escapes with a man she considers an enemy and discovers she not only has to work with him to survive, but also to lead the revolution.

Sunset Rising is Book One of a trilogy. The next two books are: Worlds Collide (Book Two) published March 2014; and New World Order (Book Three) published January 2015.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Clownfish Publishing.

Sunset Rising is a gripping, dystopian adventure. With just the right blend of thrills, chills (the sexy kind) and courage, Sunset Rising is a tantalizing thrill ride. 

PROS:

  • Sunny O’Donnell is an accidental badass. She’s fierce without even knowing it. She is incredibly brave, she takes risks, and fights for what she believes is right. Sunny can’t stand the injustice in the world and goes out of her way to help those in need, no matter their social standing. Though not without prejudice, Sunny has the fire to spark a revolution and the friends to do it. Sunny is honest, quick-witted, a thinker who plots ingenious meetings to help her people escape the Pit. Her loyalty and compassion are compelling, you can’t help but adore her and hope for her success. Plus, the girl can throw a mean punch. 
  • The Cull, the division between classes, the slavery and total control by the elite screams injustice. You’ll be angry, sickened, and pity these unfortunate souls whose lives are taken from them by a hideous ultimatum made hundreds of years ago. The world is elaborate, creative, well-plotted and distinct. You can picture everything and the abusive nature of the guards is especially graphic. 
  • An unexpected twist that will leave you reeling. Did not expect that.
  • Leisel is evil, manipulative, sadistic. A disgusting, perfect actress and that makes her a wonderful villain. It’s easy to loathe her, but her character is fantastic.
  • Jack Kenner is a snob but a sexy one. Jack is hard to love, at first, but grows on you. He’s patriotic, driven, smart, and crazy hot. Between his martial arts skills and his passion for the cause, he’s sort of addictive. Jack is also a sweetheart, he grows and learns, and with the help of Sunny, opens his heart and eyes to reality. 

CONS:

  • The ease in which Sunny and Jack avoid repercussions was far-fetched and stretching. While the aura of risk is still there, the adrenaline rush of fear is strangely absent. 
  • Some secondary characters were forgettable and a little cliché. Sunny’s boyfriend Reyes and his sidekicks were a big example. His jealousy and anger were a distraction and took away from Sunny’s character. It was hard to see why she chose him other than out of necessity.
  • The ending was abrupt and resolved too quickly.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

10212034Branded91s8OxfEOIL._SL1500_under the never sky series

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#Sale: Discovering April-Sheena Hutchinson

For a limited time only, head over to Amazon and grab your copy of Discovering April… Completely Free!!!
 

Title: Discovering April

Author: Sheena Hutchinson

Author Email: AuthorSheena@gmail.com

Publisher: SL Hutchinson Publishing

Release Date: 4/27/2015

Genre: New Adult Romance

Cover Art: www.CoverMeDarling.com

cooltext1889161239 copyApril Landau thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted. Her high school sweetheart, a house she can’t afford, her bipolar tabby cat, and she’s all set to begin her Junior year of college. Just when she least expects it, her life gets thrown for a loop. When things between her and her long time boyfriend unravel, she becomes stuck in a downward spiral of emotion. Finally, opening her eyes to the fact that she may have given up more than she ever could have imagined in this relationship. She finds herself struggling to keep her head above water.

Enter April’s next door neighbor— Jared Hoffman. He’s her complete opposite. A high school drop out who was forced to take over his parent’s business after their untimely death. It’s no surprise this tragedy affected him greatly, causing him to recede almost completely from society.

But he has one secret. A secret he’s been carrying around for years.

What happens when their worlds collide? Can an old friendship be the one thing that brings these two back to life?

A new adult love story filled with drama, sex, death, and the complications of all of the above. 

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cooltext1921345213 copyMy head is still pounding when my eyes flutter open the next day. My brain is throbbing inside my skull and I punch the pillow underneath me, scaring Jinx out of his slumber. He meows in protest before hopping off the bed. Looking around, I’m in my bed. How did I get here? I groan in pain as I prop my pillows up and lean my head back against them.
It’s then that I feel the eyes on me. Tilting my head straight again, I glance out my window. My eyes lock with those big brown eyes of Jared’s across the way. He looks down to his phone and back up again. My phone chimes with an incoming text.

“UGHHH!” I moan, blindly reaching for it. It slips a few times before I grasp it between my fingers and look down to read.

How are you feeling?

Closing one eye, I text back, Like someone ran over me with a truck, then backed up and ran me over again.

Lowering my phone, I watch as he smiles from my text and disappears from view. I’m trying to piece last night back together; it’s like a fragmented mirror that has shattered all over the corners of my mind. I
remember laughing with Ro about her sexual conquests and then I remember red and blue lights and… Jared. Starting to feel hot, I throw the covers off of me and lay like a starfish, trying to get my mind to focus.

Glancing down, I notice I’m wearing my pajamas. Before I can process any further, the door to my
room creaks open. Jared walks in with a cup of water and a closed fist.

“How did you get in?!” I yelp, trying to sit up in bed, and pulling the covers back over my braless tank top.

“I left the back door open when I left last night,” he informs me as he opens his fist to show me he brought a hand full of Advil.

“You brought me home last night?” I rub my head before reaching for the pills and water.

“Yup, after you called me to pick you up from the police station.”

“I WAS WHERE?!” I scream as water comes spraying out of my mouth.

“Police station. Apparently, you popped a guy in the face.” He smirks.

I squint my eyes, vaguely remembering the heavyset guy that tried grabbing my ass in front of the bar.

“Whoa!” I have to lean my head back against my pillows when the information begins to become too much for me. “If you took me home, how did I get into pajamas?!”

The smile that crosses Jared’s face is a mixture of a blush and a sly smirk that makes my insides twist with anticipation and excitement.

“Jared…”

“That… you did on your own. I had nothing to do with that!” He holds his hands up in surrender.

“What? I just stripped in front of you!”

“Well, once you got your shirt off, there was really no stopping you…” he teases and my eyes widen in embarrassment.

“Oh my God!” I slump down, pulling the covers back up to my face. “Did we… ya know…” I mutter, completely mortified now.

“Uh, that would be a no.”

“Oh, thank God!” I sigh.

“Thanks a lot!” He comes to his feet now, turning to look out the window.

“Not like that, it’s just … I don’t like to do things I’m not conscious for.”

“Yea, completely plastered girls that get arrested and throw up in bushes are really sexy!” His voice drips with sarcasm.

“I threw up?!” This just gets better and better.

“Twice.”

“Twice?” I’m mortified, staring at his amused face.

“Well, after the first time I thought maybe you needed something to eat.”

“Oh no…”

“Yeah… I’ve never seen someone eat a Big Mac that fast before…” He stares at the wall as if remembering my weak moment.

“Oh my God!” I groan, throwing the covers over my entire body. I curl up in a fetal position, planning to never come out again. The room grows silent. It’s starting to get hard to breathe under the sheets when I feel the mattress by my feet cave slightly.

“Come on, it’s not that bad. We all have our moments.” He pats my feet through the sheets. 

“Just when I think I’ve reached rock bottom, things just seem to drops out from under me and I’m at an all new low!” I roll over, trying to pull the covers with me, but Jared’s weight prevents it. My head comes peeking out as I roll over, facing away from him.

“April, I think I just determined your major.”

“What?” I curiously twist to look at him again.

“Drama. You’re such an actress. Now, put your big girl panties on and get up!”

I stare at him for a second; did he just say what I think he said? He waits about two seconds before getting up and opening a drawer to my dresser.

“Are they in here? Nope!” He closes it and opens another.

“STOP!” I scream, stumbling out of bed, horrified.

“How ‘bout this one?”

“Okay! Okay! I’m up!” I slam the drawer closed just in time to save myself further embarrassment when Jared eyes my plain old undergarments. I sigh when the pounding in my head launches my stomach into
action and I collapse onto the corner of the bed.

“You okay?”

“I refuse to puke again!” I respond, taking another deep breath. “Jared…”

“Yea…”

“I could use some donuts.”

“Okay.” He pauses for a few seconds, looking down at his feet before adding, “I’ll be outside then.”

And he leaves me in my room, alone.

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Sheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can’t hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny lead her to writing again. She constantly strives to be a positive role model and write stories that empower and inspire. 

Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after. While God is currently writing her love story she continues to put all her time into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.
 
For more on Sheena and her books visit her website www.SheenaHutchinson.com.
Organized and Hosted by Dowie’s Place Events
Happy reading, 
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Promo: Scintillate-Karen Tjebben

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cooltext1889161239 copyKate Archer is instantly drawn to Nick. He’s handsome, smart, and interested in her – perhaps a little too interested according to Kate’s brother. And it’s a good thing Nick is interested, or Kate would have died the night of the football game. Sure, Nick rescued Kate, but he can’t stop the inevitable. Kate is changing; she just doesn’t know it. She can’t explain the visions and sensations affecting her body, but she can enjoy the pleasure of Nick’s kiss – that is, until she learns the real reason he is with her.

Betrayed by her genetics, Kate begins a metamorphosis that forces her to confront an unseen reality and claim her true destiny.

cooltext1921345213 copyNick picked up my brown leather coat. “May I,” he said. He gently raised the coat into place, slipped his hand along the back of my neck, and lifted my hair so it hung over the coat instead of uncomfortably down inside of it. “You were fabulous tonight, and you haven’t even begun to reach your potential.”

I chuckled as his breath and lips tickled my neck. “Nick, not here. We’re in church.” I turned and promptly ended his kisses.

“I’m sorry. You’re right. You just have this aura about you that gets me going. I can’t help myself. When you smile, laugh, or get excited, you scintillate.”

“I scintillate!” I burst out laughing. “That’s ridiculous.”          

“You see. You’re doing it now.” He stared at me. It felt like he was looking into me, examining my soul. “Your face is radiant. I wish you could see it.”

“We should get going before I literally grow wings and become your personal angel,” I said sarcastically. I picked up my bouquet of flowers and deeply inhaled their floral scent. “Having you for a boyfriend would either help a girl’s self-concept or make her really self-conscious.” I playfully touched the bouquet to his chest.

“Huh,” Nick looked at me incredulously. “Did you just refer to me as your ‘boyfriend’ and not as your ‘really good, special, guy friend’?” he asked as we entered the crowded hallway and headed towards the exit.

“Pfft, don’t let it go to your head.”

“Wow, I’m moving up in the world,” he said. “I guess that necklace is working its magic already.”

I slipped my hand under my leather coat to search for the ornate chain and butterfly. It was still there, resting against my sweater. “Thanks again for the necklace. It’s beautiful.” I looked at him as we stepped into the cold night. Stars twinkled, and his warm hand took mine.

“I’m honored that you’d wear it.” We stopped under the portico, oblivious to those around us.

“Please wear it at all times,” he urged. “The lady who designed and forged this necklace is very… how can I put it? Religious.” I raised an eyebrow and gave him a crooked smile. “Bear with me,” he said as he ran his fingers through the loose ends of my hair. “She put an enchantment on it. That necklace will help protect whoever is wearing it.”

“I’m religious, not superstitious.”

“That doesn’t matter. Your beliefs are inconsequential. The miraculous in this world is not dependent on us. Humans, we, are too weak to control such power. Besides, sometimes faith gives people great comfort. In ancient Greece, they believed that butterflies were the souls of their loved ones. So you can see why the butterfly is important to Greeks.”

“Since it is from you, I will never take it off.” I rose up on my tiptoes, placed my hands on his face, and pulled his lips to mine. We kissed a simple kiss in the lights under the portico.

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Story time always captivated Karen. As a child, she fell in love with books that transported her to different worlds and introduced her to new creatures. As a teacher, she encouraged her students to explore different times and new worlds through literature. Now, when Karen isn’t living in reality with her husband and daughters, she can be found creating an alternate reality filled with creatures and worlds that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers.

Pleasant reading, 

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Cover Reveal: Home-Melissa Pearl

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cooltext1889161239 copyRachel Myers never meant to stay in Payton. Her eyes were set on bigger things than waitressing at Clark’s Bar. She wants to perform on a stage of her own with bright lights, fame, and fortune. But something got in the way—Joshua Clark. He’s a good man who loves her, a solid rock she can depend on. She wants that to be enough, but it hasn’t quelled her yearning for the big city.

Josh knows Rachel wants more out of life and might leave one day. Yet so far, she hasn’t gone anywhere. Deep down, he believes his love is enough to keep her…or at least he hopes so. Until one night, a city boy from Hollywood promises Rachel a record deal and destroys everything.

Jumping at a chance she never thought she’d have, Rachel leaves Payton. And Josh. But the sparkle of Los Angeles is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Rachel quickly figures out that some sacrifices are not worth the risk. Is she too late? Will Josh forgive her, or has her desire for fame ruined the best thing she’s ever had?

Sometimes you have to say goodbye before you can say forever.

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Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has continued to produce a steady stream of books, ranging in genres from Fantasy to Contemporary Romance. She loves the variety and is excited about the books she has coming up in 2015.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

Happy reading,

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Cover Reveal: The Space In Between-Melyssa Winchester

The Space In Between by Melyssa Winchester
 
Expected Publication Date: July 26, 2015
 
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
cooltext1889161239 copyWell here we are. Senior Year. A year that by definition means I’ll be one of about 300 other kids running my school. Greenville High. I know what you’re all thinking. “Oh no, here comes the book about the virgin wallflower who the popular guy meets and instantly falls for.”
Wrong.
I’m not an ugly duckling that the cool cats use to make themselves look like even bigger jerks, and I’m definitely not a wallflower, though that whole virginal thing, well that’s really none of your business.  I’m just the girl more interested in taking pictures and playing on her acoustic
than getting caught up in the petty drama that four years of high school is guaranteed to create.
Until Christian.
I know, I know. It’s always a guy isn’t it? Girl on the fast track to any college she chooses, always seems to get tripped up by the guy. But hear me out! This guy…he’s different. You see, Christian Cayne isn’t just some guy I almost ran down on my first day here and later fell in love with.  I wish it were that simple.  It would make what’s gotta happen now easier.  Christian was a lot of things to a lot of people since he landed here with his dad at the end of the summer, but in a couple of weeks, he’s going to have to be one thing only to me.
 
My step-brother.
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Melyssa is a mother of four from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Previously spending her daylight hours freelance editing for friends and family, she happily traded in her gig for a rewarding career writing young adult novels. The best part being that in working from home, she gets to spend more time with her own set of real life angels, and maybe a demon or two as well.

When she’s not writing, you can find her buried under the covers with her portable DVD player, watching marathons of Supernatural and Veronica Mars. When those aren’t available, she can be found curled up in a corner with her e-reader and a plethora of books, falling in love with characters written so well she deems them her book boyfriends and girlfriends. If you want to find her, check Facebook or Twitter (@WinchesterBooks) as she may just have an addiction to both. If those don’t work you can always keep up with her progress on her personal site.

 
Keep reading,
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Spotlight & Giveaway: On the Accidental Wings of Dragons-Julie Wetzel

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Title:  On the Accidental Wings of Dragons 
Series:  The Dragons of Eternity #1
Author:   Julie Wetzel
Published:  June 9th, 2015
Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre:  NA Romantic Fantasy
Content Warning:  Violence, language, sexual content
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When Michael Duncan is sent to investigate the disappearance of several dragon subjects, he finds himself in a bind. Locked in a dungeon, his only hope lies wrapped in a bundle of cloth tossed at his feet. One kiss and his life is changed forever. Hunted by his own people for crimes he didn’t commit, Michael has to learn a whole new life at the hands of a beautiful woman. Can she help him clear his name, or will just being in her presence get him sentenced to death?
Carissa Markel doesn’t know who this man chained to the wall is, but he’s her only chance for escape. She has power, but, born without a voice, she lacks the means to wield it. One choice, made in desperation, sends them running for his life. Does she have the strength to help him clear his name? And what will her brother, the King of Dragons, do if he finds out what she’s done? That’s immaterial, the real question is… can she keep her hands off him long enough to find out?

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Originally from Ohio, Julie always dreamed of a job in science. Either shooting for the stars or delving into the mysteries of volcanoes. But, life never leads where you expect. In 2007, she moved to Mississippi to be with her significant other.

Now a mother of a hyperactive red headed boy, what time she’s not chasing down dirty socks and unsticking toys from the ceiling is spent crafting worlds readers can get lost it. Julie is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and lover of big words. She likes hiking, frogs, interesting earrings, and a plethora of other fun things.


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Crimson Tree Publishing Links:
(An adult division of Clean Teen)
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There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following: A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Giveaway is International.
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Keep reading,
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