ARC Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

the possiblity of somewhereGoodreads/Amazon/B&N

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Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

review

3.5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & St. Martin’s Griffin

I was torn on how to rate this story because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to get up early this morning and stayed up until 3AM to finish. If you’re a follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. Coming of age stories typically bore me to death and so when I found myself plowing through these pages, it was a shock to my system. What is it about this book that made me a contemporary convert? 

Eden is not always likable. She’s pushy, indignant, a snob, she pushes people away and has no room for anything but her dreams. She makes judgments as harsh as those hanging over her head and doesn’t think before she speaks…and yet, there’s something about her. She’s rude half the time, but patient, intelligent, kind, and thoughtful with some. She let’s public opinions tarnish her shine. Anyone who has ever felt like they had a past they couldn’t shake and that they are their parents’ mistakes (because no one can see past the prejudice and assumption), you’ll get Eden on a personal level. 

This is a modern Romeo & Juliet spin with Jane Austen odes. Class distinctions, racism, and Southern prejudice all combine to form a heartbreaking adversary for these young lovers. Everyone is against this match. He’s Indian, Hindu, rich, she’s white, on food stamps, lives in a trailer park, and Christian. Everyone in this small town sticks to their racial group cliques and stepping outside of the lines invites retaliation in the form of rumors, bullying, and even abuse.

Ash and Eden’s relationship is refreshing, you’ll hope against all odds that they can slay the prejudice and small-minded stereotypes and profiling of their town, but somehow are certain that it’s impossible. And that is the problem.

This is a story about recognizing that there are parts of everyone’s lives that will limit and diminish them; that there will always be someone who disapproves your choices, and that forces greater than you will always think they know better. So much in this world is working against you, but it takes perspective, fresh, creative, and honest to find what’s working FOR you. Opening your eyes, recognizing the hate, the prejudice, and those who only put you down when they should be lifting you up is half the battle.

The romance is fast. It happens late, really late in the story. The first half, maybe 3/4 of the book are pretty much everyday high school scenes with commentary on social class, didacticism, etc. I don’t know how she did it. Actually, that’s not true. Very much in the vein of Pride and Prejudice the explosive fighting, the nitpicking, the anger, through it all, only Ash and Eden have the ability to hurt each other because they care so deeply-you realize that the love has always been there. Always. It’s that sudden realization-that soft and comforting warmth like a ray of sunlight shining on your face right after a rainstorm-that fills you with certainty that Eden and Ash can do anything if they’re together. 

Autism also plays a part in this story. How some teachers can be dismissive of difference and push the child away as disruptive instead of making the effort to understand. While a little reductive, these scenes were poignant and memorable. 

The jealous popular girl was a familiar and disappointing aspect. Also the perverse and sexually aggressive jock who starts rumors. 

Ash has some serious swoon lines. He has a way with words that will have you dropping your defenses as quickly as Eden does. Holy sincerity and adoration. 

Mundy. Harsh. Crazy harsh and brutally honest. No filter on that girl and boy is it painful. Her words are like a slap to the face but a revelation. They force Eden to look at herself and be honest. It also bypasses on the awkward. There are no secrets and there is relief in that. Spontaneous, a little weird, Mundy is a unique bff. 

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

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Faithful by Michelle Hauck

Release Date: November 15, 2016

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Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series! 

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror had taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army. 

What they find instead is an old woman. 

But she’s not a random crone–she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice. 

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.  Excerpt

            Not for the first time, Claire reconsidered her decision to stay when Ramiro had asked her. She’d lingered out of curiosity—and truthfully because it felt good to be needed—but they didn’t need her now with the Northern army defeated. She could return to the swamp and away from so many people. Despite her hopes of friends and community, she felt awkward here. Reason said she’d get used to their ways, but being around so many folk made her want to hide. Everything pressed down. The walls of the tent shrunk, pinning her in, and smothering her. It became hard to breathe.
           She reached for a fresh strip of cloth, only to have her hand shake. She snatched the material and began to roll it, trying to shut out everything else, including her own doubts. 
           Before she could find a semblance of peace, though, someone shouted. Ladies screamed. Claire looked over her shoulder at the noise. A brown-bearded man in a poncho and a floppy hat ran in her direction. “My family is dead, because of the evacuations. Because of you.”
           Claire gasped. He seemed to be talking to Beatriz, then his gaze found Claire. 
           “Witch!” His outstretched hand suddenly held a long butcher knife. “Witch! Stay away from us! Murderer! Abomination! Die!”
           Fronilde dropped to the ground, but Claire couldn’t move. Surprise robbed her brain of a Song to stop him. Even the words of Hornet Tune, which she knew as well as her name, deserted her. The man closed as everyone scrambled out of his way. Then Beatriz sprang from her chair to stand over Claire, holding up her hand. The tall, black-lace mantilla atop her head waved like a flag. “Stop.”
           Something about the authority in the First Wife’s voice–or maybe her simple resistance instead of the cringing or scrambling away–brought the man up short, making him pause for a moment. Just the moment the bodyguard needed to crush the lunatic to the floor and overpower him, wrestling free the knife. More guards came running from outside. 
           Breath rushed back in Claire’s lungs. Beatriz sniffed and touched a spot on her chest over her heart and then her forehead and stomach areas. “Imbecile. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.”
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Website| Twitter | Facebook page| Tumblr | Goodreads

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge. She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

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2 winners will receive a signed of GRUDGING, US Only.

 

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Fantastic reading, 

Jordan

Promo: Smoke and Mirrors by Jess Haines

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A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.

ExcerptViper made a soft hissing sound of irritation between his teeth, pulling back from her. “Cormac has no vision. I know what I want and I’m prepared to offer anything to get it. You have but to ask.”

Well. There was one thing. Her cheeks flared crimson and she squirmed a bit before stuttering out another question, swallowing back her embarrassment.

“You keep a hoard like a dragon, right? I don’t suppose you would consider loaning me a little? I swear I’d pay it back.”

His head tipped to one side, and he looked her up and down anew. She suspected he was just noticing her frayed cuffs and cheap shoes. He’d been so intent on getting whatever it was he wanted out of her that he hadn’t paid attention to the package it came in until now. When she caught the very slight curl of his lip, there and gone in a flash, embarrassed heat filled her cheeks.

Feeling both dirty and humiliated, she ducked her head. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have asked. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do this.”

“Come now, I’m sure it’s not that hard. All it takes is a yes.”

“No,” she said, this time with a bit more vehemence. Cormac was right. There was something off about Viper, and never mind what a perfect ass she’d just made of herself. Worst of all, that flash of disgust showed he obviously had no respect for her. At least Cormac never made her feel tolerated. “Thank you for the offer, but I’ll find some other way of getting what I need.”

He slowly rose to stand, heaving a sigh as he settled back on his heels.

“That’s unfortunate. This would have been much easier if you had agreed.”

Kimberly would have asked what he meant by that, but the look in his eyes froze her in place.

His eyes burned a molten gold as he spread his arms, which were expanding and shifting at an alarming rate. Faster than she might have thought possible, he was growing, his clothing melting and skin disappearing under a layer of metallic scales. Nearby, people were noticing, shouting and screaming in fear as they stampeded in every direction to escape the shapechanging Other in their midst.

When he ceased growing, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, he was over thirty feet long, with a wingspan half again that size.

Kimberly sat immobile, unable to so much as squeak in terror as the beast before her lurched back to arch its neck and spread its wings, barbed tail lashing as it growled at her. One thick, talon-tipped paw lashed out, flattening her on the grass and squeezing the air out of her lungs. It gave an awkward, one-legged hop forward to catch its balance before clenching its claws to dig deep furrows in the grass and close around her waist and legs, pinning her.

Then those wide, ribbed wings began to flap, the sun playing off the tones of brass and copper and gold. The ground fell away, people scattering before the airborne monster.

And Kimberly could do nothing but pray, staring up at this great beast that had her in its claws.

She’d gotten what she’d asked for. Now she would have to pay the price.

authjess hainesWebsite/Amazon/Bookbub/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Tumblr/Goodreads

I’m a displaced New Yorker with a penchant for the silly, the obscure, and the fantastical. These days, you can find me in the Tampa area. I’m currently working on the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series and the Blackhollow Academy young adult/new adult contemporary fantasy series. Find out more about my books, drop me a line, or join my mailing list at http://www.jesshaines.com!

Magical reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Demon Dialysis by Jennifer Siddoway

Demon Dialysis - Book OneGoodreads/Amazon

synInspired by the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, Wynnona Hendricks finds herself caught between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth, fighting for her right to live.

The Demon Lord, Aidan, has activated her latent powers carefully hidden behind a mortal facade and now, she must conquer the Seven Deadly Sins or be sent to Hell herself as one of his minions. The only one who seems to believe in her is Caleb, the angel who chose to spare her life rather than risk the shedding of innocent blood, but by doing so, may have started a war between the factions, throwing the Mortal Realm into mayhem.

Follow Wynn as she fights to protect her family from being ripped apart, including her mother, who isn’t what she seems.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author  

Here’s What I Liked:

  • Flawed characters who struggle with temptation, morality, and recognize that good and evil reside in all of us. The fight against their inner demons against all-too-real demonic forces is an uphill battle. Wynn makes mistakes, she fights hard, and is not always successful, that makes her relatable and easy to sympathize with. 
  • The premise is tried and true, but has a special twist. It’s taken a step further than your traditional Heaven vs. Hell trope, adding on a whole world of other paranormal creatures and complexities that blend well in both the para and human worlds. 
  • Aidan is a brilliant take on Lucifer. He’s playful, seductive, and yet, surprisingly helpful. It almost seems like he has a heart buried somewhere deep and dark in his chest. The interactions with Wynn were dangerous, foreboding, and amusing, despite the sense that something terrible would happen. Aidan makes good on horrific threats one second and is sweet the next. You’ll never know if you can trust him. Delightfully complex. 
  • The ending. Epic, in your face, violent and sudden. Seriously brutal. You won’t see it coming and it’s so quick it hits harder. Emotional turmoil extreme. This made me, more than anything else, hunger for the next book. 
  • The deadly sin trials were creative and graphic. You’ll be able to picture everything and they really helped Wynn to grow. 
  • Cover love.

Here’s What I Disliked:

  • The pace. After the initial meeting with Caleb and Aidan, it’s achingly slow at times. The space between the first few chapters, the trials, and that explosive ending drag and you’ll wonder what actually happened in those pages. 
  • Instalove. Wynn’s attraction to Caleb is automatic and understandable. He’s super cute and a sweetheart. Plus, the way he vouches for her, serious knight in shining armor. After that scene and the verdict (purposely vaguebooking to prevent spoilers), they don’t have much interaction and what interaction they do have (up until almost the end of the book with the roof scene) feels like nostalgia or a flashback. It’s a lot of telling, not enough showing. I didn’t experience and live through Wynn’s character because there wasn’t the opportunity, at least romantically. There was more lead up to a romance with Aidan. On top of that, Wynn makes offhand comments about how close she and Caleb are that almost feel like a lie because their interactions weren’t that memorable, were far apart, and short. 
  • At the circle ruling where Wynn meets all the paranormal entities, it’s a rush of information that suckerpunches. All of these details at once were a little overwhelming. There’s one description after another of each of these people without names and then they come in and have names and it’s hard to keep track. The world building is also jam-packed in this tiny section. It would have functioned a bit better and been less intense if it had been more spaced out. 

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

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

Promo & Sale: Between Heaven and Earth by T.J. Rudolph

ON SALE THROUGH 8/28 FOR JUST $0.99 

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AmazonUK/Amazon/Smashwords/Goodreads

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Damascus Knowles knows that he is heading for trouble the day he falls in love with a human teenager, Amelia Donovan.

As an angel sent to earth as a watchman to protect it from fallen, evil angels; he had broken the most cardinal law – falling in love.

His failed attempts to stay away from her, leads to her finding out what he is, which puts Amelia’s life in danger.

After a brief time together, Damascus’s fears come to pass when higher ranking angels find out what he has done and remove him from the earth without so much as a goodbye; leaving Amelia distraught.

Months later Amelia is seized by one of the rebel angels, who also happen to be Damascus’s former brother Demetrius.

This is a deliberate move by Demetrius to draw Damascus out and he is forced to return to the earth.

When Damascus is back on earth he receives word from his brother who challenges him to a duel.

The stakes, being Amelia’s life, starts a great war between Heaven and Earth.
Damascus and Amelia’s story will continue in the second book of the series, titled Between Angels. Coming soon!

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Magical reading, 

Jordan

 

 

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Vrai Domicile by Courtney Ruggles

thevraidomicile2 copyVrai Domicile book 2 ebookAmazon

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Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre…

Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and quash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B’s and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

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Enter to win a swag pack from authors Courtney Ruggles, Heather Hildenbrand, & Jolene Buchheit! Enter before August 29!

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Epic reading, 

Jordan

Review: He Found Me by Whitney Barbetti

he found meGoodreads/Amazon

synWhen I was seventeen, I disappeared. I walked out the door of my apartment with a backpack and never looked back. I left the life of Cora Mitchell behind, seeking freedom from my real-life nightmare. But my freedom came with a cost.

I lived a fictitious life for the next six years, never letting anyone close enough to see underneath the facade that was Andra Walker. I was content with my simple little life.

Until I met Julian.

And the moment I started allowing myself to open up, allowing someone to see through the superficial, was the very same moment the Monster from my past would return to find me.

review

3/5 Stars

PROS:

  • The story starts off strong. It sucks you in and fills you with adrenaline. You are flooded with fear and hope that Andra (Cora) will escape her horrific life of abuse and terror. Each move you wait for the inevitable, the foreboding is INTENSE. I appreciated that the author did not get graphic in the abuse scenes. You know what happened, you live in that anxiety and terror right along with Andra, but without getting into too many details. 
  • Andra has built a new life for herself. She’s haunted by her past, afraid to let anyone in because of her huge secret, but incredibly strong. She’s confident, knows what she wants, and is content with her simple living. She has some truly profound lines that will stick with you: “Lies were not tangible things, but they still made an impact. Once they passed your lips, you couldn’t take them back. They settled in the space that trust was built on, rotting the foundation of the human connection. Stacking lies on top of each other meant adding more rot to what could be something good.” OR “There was a darkness in my soul, abused innocence. My darkness was mine alone to carry; I didn’t want to burden anyone else with it.” Andra appreciates things deeply and is incredibly moved by kindness. She’s got so much love inside her itching to be shared, but she’s scared and understandably so. You’ll cheer her on to a happy ending. 
  • Julian sees Andra as a puzzle he can’t help but want to solve. She’s irresistible, a mystery. She’s refreshing, beautiful, different, and takes everything to heart. The way Julian views Andra is stunning. He’s a great guy. Sweet, playful, and oh so sexy. Together Andra and Julian are HOT. There romantic scenes are full of lusty feelings and deep emotions. It’s about more, but the chemistry-sizzling. BUT seriously TAKES FOREVER. Lots of building.

CONS:

  • Six’s role is one of a fierce protector/occasional mobster. What I didn’t understand and wasn’t explained is if Six is such a grey area sort of guy with guns and networks and everything else, what made Andra’s abuser such a big threat? I mean, the guy didn’t seem super scary from an outsiders prospective. To Andra, who suffered as a young girl, he’s a monster, but why not search for other options besides constantly running?
  • The “twist” was definitely a shock, but Andra’s reaction to it was sort of unbelievable. The feeling of betrayal and pain were there and gone too quick to really even sink in.
  • The pacing was slow after that initial intro. The whole middle section fell into a little monotonous string of everyday life without much happening. The last 1/4 of the book was fast-almost rushed. 

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

Keep reading, 

Jordan