ARC Review: Going Down in Flames-Chris Cannon

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Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon


cooltext1712921505 copyIf her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

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After hearing a particularly gruesome news story about a young girl found dead in a dumpster, Bryn is on guard. Dodging through the streets on her way home from school, she locks eyes with a handsome, dark-haired stranger who greets her with a smirk. Bryn picks of speed, eager to get to her parents’ karate shop only to look back and find the stranger has picked up speed and is definitely stalking her like prey. Cornered and desperate, Bryn escapes into a coffee shop and calls her parents to come get her. Bryn though public space equaled safety, but she was wrong. The stalker followed her inside and greeted her by name. Terrified, Bryn knows she’s in danger but when she tries to leave, she finds she no longer has control of her body and is compelled to follow the stranger’s every whim.

When the guy holding her captive starts babbling about dragons and dictators, about making choices and breaking the rules, Bryn thinks the guy is more than deranged, he’s certifiably insane. Little did Bryn know that the stalker’s, Zavien’s, ravings were to become her new reality. Turns out, dragons are very real and she happens to be one of them.

Feeling betrayed and a little crazy herself, Bryn learns of her parents’ exile, their flee from the Directorate (the ruling body of dragons), and her “tainted” genes. Bryn is an abomination to their people, a mixed-blood impossibility that shouldn’t be allowed to exist.

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***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley, Entangled Teen, and in participation with this tour


  • The school is like Hogwarts for dragons. It’s a magical, mysterious, and inherently catty place. The social hierarchy is acutely developed into a blue blooded society life. Those who do not fit in are the subject of mockery and harassment. There’s a distinct, almost clique-like quality that makes it like any other high school. Each color of dragon sticks together and knows their place, those who don’t live up to those expectations are shunned and ridiculed. The internal battle between conformity and choice is waged daily, through each choice and interaction. Chris Cannon does a fabulous job capturing this duality of nature. Being held as prisoners to this lifestyle, some are unhappy and others are brainwashed into believing that there is no other option. Being forced to marry early and deal with infidelity is another subject that these students feel is inevitable. This whole world is insanely complex but doesn’t feel forced or like to much, it flows seamlessly. 
  • Bryn is a rebel with a cause. She loudly and clearly objects to this lifestyle thrust upon her just because she happens to be an anomaly. She dyes her hair and wears feisty clothes that make her as intriguing as she is unique. Her presence is huge and powerful, she wants to be heard and has a strong voice to make that happen. Bryn is not one to back down from a fight and loves a good challenge but she is almost courageous to a fault. She gets herself into sticky situations-granted, it’s not always her fault-and her life is constant chaos. As the story develops, Bryn evolves into something more than a sassy girl, she becomes an advocate for social change. Bryn takes the poor treatment by her peers in stride as she works to build a case for a new lifestyle, one that accepts difference as beautiful.
  • Bullying is instrumental to Bryn’s evolution but it’s also heartbreaking. Not only is Bryn thrown into this whole crazy world of paranormal creatures, she is viewed as an abomination, a being that should have been aborted or killed. The emotional trauma is staggering, it weasles its way into her heart and the anger builds. Her parents have lied to her, she has no one, and at school she’s a laughingstock subject to random attacks and viscious slurs. The bullying is sharp, harsh, and slams into Bryn, almost silencing her opinions, her voice but Bryn takes her pain and pushes, moulding it into an armor and a challenge.
  • Elemental magic. I LOVED that Chris Cannon added elemental magic to the dragons. It’s the perfect combination. The idea that dragons, color-coded, possess specific elemental powers seems natural and flows seamlessly. The lessons taught at the school are made of whimsy and awe-inspiring power. Everything is meticulously plotted, from the strengths and weaknesses of each color dragon to their general personality type and social stance. 
  • The dragon racing scene was exhilarating. The sheer power and grace of the dragon form is captured in an intoxicating flurry of description. You can picture and experience every moment as Bryn’s joy bursts from the pages and her thirst to prove herself forces her to take on substantial risks.
  • Zavien is an enigma. One moment he’s playful, bantering with and teasing Bryn, the next he’s deadly serious, especially about injustice. Zavien has a subtle depth that radiates throughout and grows into compassion. Zavien has many secrets, he’s very mysterious, and this only adds to his attractiveness.
  • Zavien and Bryn have chemistry galore. The heat is sweltering and only increases as the danger grows.


  • The climactic scenes were broken into parts, detracting from the overall suspense.
  • Some of the secondary characters were fleeting and ominous. You never get the full of picture and questions were left unanswered.

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Chris Twitter/Facebook Author/Facebook/Website/Goodreads/Tumblr 

Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shitzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon’s shape-shifting dragon series.

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Pleasant reading,

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Review & Excerpt: Bad Blood-Nicky Peacock


cooltext1602390596 copy“I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.”

A 500 year bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Bitter enemies, Britannia and Nicholas must work together to save un-infected humans, delivering them to a stronghold in Scotland.

Unable to drink the zombie blood, vampires need humans to stay alive. But will they tell the survivors who they are, and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the safe hold?

Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper.

cooltext1607795130 copy3.5/5 Stars

Nicky Peacock’s Bad Blood is the PERFECT Halloween read. Full of gore, a badass heroine, and tons of snark, this vampires vs. zombies dystopia is made for horror lovers and adrenaline junkies alike.


•For a topic so dark and dismal, the zombie/vampire apocalypse, Bad Blood is surprisingly light-hearted and a delightfully quick read. The playful banter between Nicholas and Britannia speeds the plot along and keeps the reader constantly entertained. They’re charming together, witty, and the simmering tension is enough to make anyone eager to see what happens next.

•Britannia is one fiercely independent lady with a grudge the size of a boulder resting on her shoulders. She has no filter, is prone to bouts of unmatched violence and carnage, and laughs hard at full on murder. While this may seem like a calculated and heartless killer, Britannia has lots of love to give and it is her love that preserves her humanity. Britannia is haunted by a romance from her past, a soul mate, that she can’t get over and it is his memory that dictates her life and fuels her vengeance. It’s this side of Britannia that wins you over and makes you hurt for her, the part of her that was robbed of her human life and never got a chance to live out her love. On a lighter note, Britannia is a Doctor Who junkie, loves rock bands, and has dazzling blue hair. She’s quite the eclectic, eccentric character.

•Britannia’s battle rage is epic. She becomes this demonic, bloodthirsty creature of doom. Quick on her feet and overly confident in her abilities, she rushes headfirst into hordes of zombies, jumping, kicking and severing limbs.

•The plot is clearly defined and doesn’t waver or leave any unanswered questions.

•The final showdown is like a rebirth for Britannia and it’s almost poetic, well as poetic as slaying zombies and defeating the bad guys while barely escaping by skin off her fangs.

•Scenes with Danny and the children are warm and compassionate. The way that children look at monsters with intrigue and clarity is unique and highlighted. While the parents are busy freaking out and complicating things, the children go with it and think it’s pretty cool.


•Some of the British references went over my head a little. The Doctor Who ones were priceless but some celebrities and terms took guesswork and a quick Google search.

•The action scenes blurred together. There was so much battle that it became almost monotonous and lacked detailed description. Cleaving off heads with a scythe is good and well, I want to envision it down to the blood spray and pulsing arteries. (That may be a personal preference, however, as the story went on there was a shift to more telling than showing during battle scenes).

•Love was a barely there thread of an idea. The relationship between Britannia and Josh was weak, sudden, and didn’t have time to evolve. Slight instalove.

cooltext1602387936 copyWe ran to the hospital. On the way, we encountered hardly anyone, alive or dead. Where were they all? When we arrived at the hospital car park, I understood. Zombies were pack animals. A massive crowd of them were crammed in and around the main building like they were waiting for a concert to start, all barely paying attention to their surroundings and seemingly swaying against the force of gravity. The other thing was the smell. When watching horror films filled with shuffling zombies, the horror came from their ghastly looks—the reminder that death has a tight grip on us all, well, most of us.

But what the filmmakers should focus on—if they could—was the acidic rank odor zombies gave off. They had been dead barely twenty-four hours. It took a normal human body at least thirty-six hours to really start to smell, and that was with a vampire’s heightened senses. These guys smelled like they’d been out in the sun for three weeks covered in rubbish and besieged by wily maggots. They were mostly intact, though. Maybe this hospital had been Zombie Ground Zero. Most had turned so quickly their comrades hadn’t had time to feed.

“Maybe we should try a less populated target.” Nicholas twitched his nose and turned away from me to dry retch.

“Maybe you should grow a pair.”

“Maybe you should act like a lady.” He now had his hands on his hips, squaring up for yet another argument.

“Acting like a lady isn’t going to help now, is it? What do you want me to do? Drop my handkerchief in front of the zombies and watch them fight one another to scoop it up for me? Moron!”

“Always to the ‘nth degree with you, isn’t it?”

“Shut up. Look, the doors are holding, and they’re outside, not inside, which means there must be some people left in there alive to have barricaded this place so tight.”

“Or maybe there are just more zombies in there.”

“Well, there’s definitely a blood bank in there, and that’ll help matters no end!”

Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea. “So, how do we get past them?”

I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.

“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.

“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.” And with that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.

Published by Evernight Teen

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I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?

Writing was really a natural progression. Right now I’m obsessed with writing: a YA Urban Fantasy novel, a Paranormal Romance novella series, and several short horror stories! So I’m currently living in a functional fiction coma – and loving it!

I’ve so far been published in 5 countries: USA, UK, Australia, Ireland and Canada and had short stories included in 40 anthologies with over 17 publishers.

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Happy reading, 

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Release Day Blitz: Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After-Various


cooltext1602390596 copyWhen it comes to fairy tales, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. Things so morbid and grotesque, so sinister and diabolical, they haunt your imagination; warnings from generations past that still manage to terrify.

In 2013, authors came together for the annual Project REUTSway writing competition, penning their own interpretive twists on stories we’re all familiar with. Seventeen were chosen, bringing twenty-five new versions to life. From The Brother’s Grimm, to Hans Christian Andersen and beyond, these tales are not the ones you grew up with. They are, however, Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After. Dare to find out what happens when “once upon a time” ends in the stuff of nightmares?

An exclusive hardcover will be available from REUTS Publications in the coming weeks, but you can devour these stories now for Kindle and Nook!

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This NaNoWriMo season, REUTS Publication is inviting you join us in creating the next talented collection. So brush up on your histories, legends, and cultural lore, because we’ll be looking for the most original, fantastic versions of tales that have braved the centuries. The globe-trotting of world mythology will make weekly theme stops to visit Egyptian, Celtic, and even more rich lore from other areas of the world. This all starts November 1st, so make sure to grab your pens and ready those typing muscles for the twists that will be revealed on the Project REUTSway on twitter, or on their website.

Spooky reading and Happy Halloween,

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Release Day Blitz & #Giveaway: Last Chance-T.G. Ayer

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The 3rd installment in the DarkWorld: SkinWalker series.

cooltext1544204149 copyWith the loss of her sister still weighing down both her conscience and her heart, Kailin Odel must take on the next part of her mission – find her mother and Anjelo and bring them back from Wrythiin.

Kailin uses her mother’s portal key and enters the Wraith world intent on saving the ones she loves, but from the moment she arrives her mission is fraught with peril.

Arriving in Wrythiin, Kai steps right into the middle of a Wraith rebellion. And only to find that though Anjelo is safe, her mother is held captive by a subversive faction of Wraiths once led by the Wraithlord that Kai had killed.

From Wraiths to Shapeshifters, rebel causes to fraying family ties, to inexplicable new powers, Kai must fight her darkest demons while entering the blackest pits of Wrythiin to save her mother.

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I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognize that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practice given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves – it works wonderfully…

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

I love talking to my readers so email me if you have any questions or even if you just want to chat…

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ARC Review, Interview, & Giveaway: Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland-Victoria L. James

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     Making it to seventeen in one piece isn’t usually a concern for your average teenager, but if there’s one thing Isabella Moffit has never been, it’s average. Dragged through life by parents who couldn’t care less and surrounded by violence on a daily basis, Izzy reaches that epic birthday milestone in her life with only one person to thank for getting her there: her best friend and soul sister, Paris Hemsworth.
     Vowing to stand side by side through thick and thin since they were four years old, the two of them have made it this far and are confident that now is their time to tackle the world head on, one shaky, naive little footstep at a time.
     Except they have no idea what awaits them both on the other side of adulthood, and before either one of them can strap on their hard hat, they’re taking so many knocks and bruises that Izzy’s childhood suddenly seems like a stroll in the park.
     Dodging as many bullets as they can along the way, Izzy tries to hold on to Paris’ hand for as long as possible without either one of them slipping away. But no-one ever told them how rough their journey would be. No-one told them that friends and family would change or leave along the way. And no-one told them that for every good intention they have, there’s a thousand people out there with bad ones, waiting to rip them apart.
     Follow Izzy’s journey in part one of the Road to Wonderland series – a coming of age novel with a difference, where you’ll face tears, tantrums, laughter and heartbreak, but above all else, hope. Hope that no matter what life throws your way, it’s all part of setting you on the right path to your very own Wonderland and that, more often than not, everything happens for a reason.
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***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour
***This is New Adult so 18+ and contains what could be triggers in terms of drug addiction and physical abuse.
  • The emotional depth is staggering and complex. Victoria L. James delves into the warring aspects of the psyche, stripping the characters bare and emphasizing their conflicted emotions in love, life, and friendship. Each character is full of confusion about what it means to love and be loved. The road to self discovery and learning to give and take is compelling to watch. As each character struggles to figure out their relationships it’s a seriously rocky road full of speed bumps and dangerous twists. 
  • Izzy’s life is devastating. More than anything in the world she wants to be accepted and loved as she is and she’s forced to contend with a home life that does nothing but challenge and attempt to break her. The scenes of abuse are not especially graphic, there’s blood and pain, and broken bodies but nothing prepares you for the emotional trauma. There’s scenes between mother and daughter that are so poignant and powerful, it brings tears and heartache. The tender way Izzy cares for her mother, how meticulous she is in checking her wounds and minimizing the pain highlights and reinforces Izzy’s endless compassion. 
  • Nothing is more heartbreaking than learning a truth that destroys your hopes. Izzy is slapped in the face by so many truths that you can’t help but hurt for her. The feelings are so raw and rough, they’re like open wounds and your heart bleeds for Izzy. 
  • Izzy is astoundingly courageous. She never will admit defeat, she is not broken, and though she does go into emotional downward spirals, she’s fiercely independent and works hard to make a life for herself. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such bursts of overwhelming pride for a character as she makes her moves towards recovery and rebuilding her life. 
  • Friendship is the main theme of this story. The unshakable bond of best friends. Paris and Izzy are complimentary, total opposites really. Izzy soothes and tames Paris while Paris helps Izzy work through her grief and psychological scarring. The Cooper family is made of angels, they’re Izzy’s saviors. 
  • Dandy is an amazing character. He’s a father figure that Izzy never had and has so much love in his heart that it makes you believe in the power of good, kind people. Their relationship is warm and full of these wonderfully insightful conversations about life. 
  • There are several relationships in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed that each was so different. Each experience changed Izzy and made her stronger. There are all sorts of relationships and many times, I think authors get stuck in a rut between the too kind guy, the jerk, and the sarcastic sexy playboy. Love can be toxic, it can be cruel, sometimes it’s laughable and demeaning, but the feelings are real and a whirlwind. Victoria did a fabulous job getting at the nuances of many different types of love.
  • Paris’ story is rough and sporadic. Though it’s not constantly a main arch, it’s always there because Paris is never far from Izzy’s thoughts. Though we might not know what’s going on with her precisely, like Izzy, you feel almost compelled to know. Paris’ story shows that though you might materially have everything all it takes is one life changing event to turn your world upside down. Paris doesn’t know how to deal with her sadness and has an addictive personality. This combination is pretty deadly. Her mood swings are intense and shift from one moment to the next without much warning. Seeing the toll getting in with the wrong crowd has on her is hard to read and made harder by Izzy’s thoughts when she finds her. 
  • There’s fear in abundance and after quite a few disappointments the foreboding is wicked strong. There’s tons of uncertainty about what will happen and where Izzy and Paris’ stories will lead. I loved that because it was authentic. Sure, we can guess where life will lead us and we can try to prepare but we never truly know.
  • Sometimes it was really frustrating watching Izzy slip into phases of pushing people away almost to the point of self-destruction. You kind of just want to shake some sense into her. 
  • Because this story is so expansive, a journey of nearly 15 years, some sections dragged a little midpoint where it was a bleak and lonely life for Izzy. She was in a cloud of repetition and routine as she tried to figure her life in the moments after university. 
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Jordan: Tell me about the Wonderland series.

Victoria: This whole series was an idea that was put together by a group of writers who each took on a character to write about along the way. So the entire series will eventually lead to the same place. It’s showing the characters journeys to finding one another in what they will eventually call their “wonderland”

The other authors that will be releasing along the way will be Francesca Marlow, L.J. Stock, H.A. Robinson and Charlie M. Matthews. Some of us will be writing about more than one character also, so we have the potential for a decent sized series here.

Moffy will have a follow on too at some point… Fingers crossed. I love Izzy too much to let her go just yet.

Jordan: Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland spans close to 15 years. What made you decide to write such an expansive story rather that focusing on a few short years or specific period of Izzy’s life?
Victoria: I think it’s mainly because I feel that Izzy has so much to give once she reaches her “Wonderland” that I wanted to do a really detailed explanation of what brought her to be this amazing woman. We were also aware that there wasn’t much out there like that. Most novels concentrate on the here and now. Or they give brief explanations of a person’s past, all of which is brilliant, but I fell in love with Izzy the moment she was created. Her history, her childhood, her mistakes, they were all what moulded her and I felt that she needed the world to see the life that made her the way she was. I wanted the reader to live it with her and, hopefully, watch her grow into something amazing. To scream when she messed up and sigh when things went right for her. I wanted it to be the reader’s journey as much as Izzy’s.
Jordan: Well, it definitely was a journey for me. As a 20 something year old girl, I can personally identify with many of her qualms about love and sex and the uncertainty of the future.
Victoria: The early twenties are as perilous as the teenage years. People expect a woman to turn 18 and have all the answers. The truth is… even women in their 30’s and beyond don’t have those. Just ask Izzy. Lol.
Jordan: What are some of the main themes of IMRtW? The role of friendship is powerful in this story, so much so that the greatest “romance” of all seems to be between Izzy and her best friend. What made this relationship the focus of the story, or more specifically, what made you choose to highlight friendship over the traditional ideas of romance?

Victoria: With Izzy’s life being completely chaotic, it would have been so easy to make it a traditional boy meets girl love story and have her fall into the arms of a man who promised to save her, but that wouldn’t have been true to who she was. Paris was the one soul who saved her during her childhood and, Izzy being Izzy, she was pretty adamant that Paris remain the focus throughout. I wanted her to learn to love herself before she gave herself over to anyone else. The friendship with Paris was such a huge part of who she was, it had to be the main focus because it was such a huge reason as to why she was so loving, giving and self-sacrificing throughout.

As a group of writers, too, it seemed right to all of us to try and do something a little different.

Jordan: What I loved about IMRtW was how authentic it felt. It’s an emotional overload complete with terrible choices and even worse consequences. I appreciated that Izzy and Paris were so real, that they were complex, and that they were far from perfect.
Victoria: I love that you picked that up about their characters. That’s exactly what we wanted to achieve with them and with all the characters in the series, actually. They have to connect and to feel like someone the reader has met before, or even someone like themselves. No human is perfect. Mistakes are what make us who we are. The girls stories hopefully show that not all bad decisions have to be as disastrous as they first seem… It’s all part of a greater plan, right?
Jordan: I hope so. 🙂 IMRtW deals with several serious issues like abuse, drug addiction, and self-esteem issues. Did you do a lot of research into the psychological and physical aspects of these issues and the steps to recovery?
Victoria: Bits of research were done here and there, but honestly, very little. As a woman in my thirties myself, I’ve lived a very colourful life and I’ve paid attention along the way. Haha. As have all the writers involved. There was generally one of us in the group who had quite a good grasp of the ins and outs of each issue covered, so we were our own research, so to speak. I think most writers pick things up from a lifetime of reading, too. The main concern for me when writing about all these subjects, was handling each issue as sensitively but as accurately as possible. Hopefully that came across 🙂
Jordan: Oh, yes it came across really well. Are you working on anything outside of the Wonderland series currently?
Victoria: Actually, I am, yes. I have another three novels in the works at the moment. One of which will hopefully be out sooner rather than later. *fingers crossed*
Jordan: Awesome. Can you talk a little about it or is it a surprise?
Victoria: It’s a little bit of a surprise, although I can tell you that it’s a co-write with another one of the Wonderland writers, L.J. Stock. It’s a little more adult than the RTW series, but you should definitely still check it out. I’d LOVE to come back and tell you all about it once we make the official announcement and do the reveal…
Jordan: Can’t wait. I’d love to have you back to talk about it. Thank you for the opportunity to interview you and for giving us a glimpse into the madness behind Izzy. 
Victoria L James is a teenage girl stuck in a thirty-something year-olds body. Living somewhere ‘oop north’ in England, she has had a strong passion for words and stories going as far back as she can remember, which she credits to her grandmother and her love of reading anything that was on sale and cheap from the local market stall. Never once did she think she would release a novel, though. At best, she thought her love of language and her ability to create stories in her mind would provide her with a ‘get out of jail free’ card whenever she messed up and her parents were mad at her during her teenage years… and when even that didn’t work out, she thought she was pretty much done for.
When an opportunity presented itself for her to take a back seat from paid working life for a few years, she knew straight away that she had to try and write about a few of these worlds she’d come up with along the way, and quieten all the voices in her head without racking up a heavy psychiatry bill for the pleasure.
Wearing her heart on her sleeve and trying to lighten her friends’ and family’s lives with naff, and more often than not, badly timed, nineties jokes, she has yet to learn the art of knowing when to shut up. Which is another reason writing became a passion of hers. With pen and paper, there are no limits.
A firm believer in never quitting, with a ridiculous obsession for all things Rocky, she hopes that one day she writes a story that will inspire at least one person out there to keep on going if theyre struggling. Other than that, she’s just a regular old converse wearing, corona sipping, English version of Chandler Bing, who loves and adores her family more than life itself. Oh, and she also has two cats. Every writer has to mention their cats, right?
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Enter for your chance to win one of EIGHT specified ebooks or a $20 Amazon giftcard

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
Chasing the Stars - AmazonProject Lexi - Cover2061940518851343

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Release Day Blitz: Blood Ring-Kailin Gow

Blood Ring (Pulse #9) by Kailin Gow


cooltext1544204149 copyA Ring that Controls the Immortality of Vampires!

The handsomely devilish vampire Jaegar Greystone, one of the Vampire Guardians of the beautiful mortal girl Kalina Calloway, a rare Life Blood carrier, has pursued the evil Vampire Queen, Neriti, to the End of the Earth, and is about to enter the realm of magic where the Queen will be renewed and re-born into the darkest evil of all the worlds. Jaegar, Octavius, Stuart and the other vampires from the Consortium of Vampires who keep the order so vampires can exist with humans have sacrificed much to prevent the Queen from true transformation. The Queen has already crossed into the realm, but her true transformation could not take place without a ring known as the Blood Ring…which only the true rare carrier of Life Blood can make.

Jaegar thought he would never see Kalina again. He thought she would finally give one of the other Vampire Guardians her gift of mortality, but when he meets her again…everything changes. When it comes to love, he can no longer be noble about what he wants…and he wants Kalina.

cooltext1543397102 copyHis broad shoulders and confident stature reminded her of Octavius, yet his kind eyes brought Stuart Greystone to mind. As he stepped forward past the border of the Ring of Ice protecting the portal between Feyland and the Land Beyond the Crystal River, his shape became more solid and his voice boomed loud enough to announce his entrance. “I am Logan, the Wolf Fey Prince, and guardian of these borders.”

Jaegar’s blue eyes nearly bulged out of his sockets. “Damn, what do they feed you over there, genetically-enhanced dog food?”

Logan took one look at Jaegar and smirked. “More like ground minotaurs and an occasional vampire or dark fey, as we call you guys, over there.

Haven’t started the Pulse Series yet? The first one is FREE!

17 year-old Kalina didn’t know her boyfriend was a vampire until the night he died of a freak accident. She didn’t know he came from a long line of vampires until the night she was visited by his half-brothers Jaegar and Stuart Greystone. There were a lot of secrets her boyfriend didn’t tell her. Now she must discover them in order to keep alive. But having two half-brothers vampires around had just gotten interesting.

Free on Amazon

The Pulse Series

PULSE – It’s Available for Free right now. Complete Novel.
Life’s Blood (PULSE #2) – Complete Novel.
Blood Burned (PULSE #3) – Complete Novel.
Blue Blood (PULSE #4) – Complete Novel.
The PULSE Papers (PULSE #4.5) – Novella
Blood Bond (PULSE #5) – Complete Novel.
Blood Legacy (PULSE #6) – Complete Novel.
Blood Rights (PULSE #7) – Complete Novel.
Blood Curse (PULSE #8) – Complete Novel.

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Kailin Gow’s life is sometimes more fascinating and stranger than fiction, which is being chronicled in a feature film based on a treatment optioned and in development for a release date of 2018. ( – The Colorful Worlds of Kailin Gow 2018). Her true life experiences as a world traveler where she has traveled to over 25 countries, logging hundreds of thousands of miles, absorbing the cultures and collecting stories relating to places and the romance of the land, and incidents in her personal life, has inspired her to write and publish over 170 books with over 30 series.

She is noted as an indie pioneer, as one of the first to publish in 2001. Breaking stereotypes, her books has crossed traditional and indie lines, gaining recognition in schools and libraries, as well as the indie community. Her action adventure young adult fantasy series, The Frost Series, an ALA YALSA Reader’s Choice Nominated book series – had been optioned by an international film company and is currently in development as a game and a film at Five of her fantasy/action adventure series have been optioned to be made into worldwide games.

Kailin Gow has been known in The World Journal, an international newspaper, to be a phenomenon. She was profiled on the homepage of as an Author Success Story who overcame personal obstacles to become a bestselling author, appeared as one of Amazon’s top authors for the Kindle Fire launch release, and is one of the earliest indie authors who have sold over a million books. She writes for Fast Company as a publishing expert, had appeared on a major network Television News as a bestselling author who writes fiction and non-fiction with a social conscious, and has made speeches and appearances across the U.S. and on top 15 national radio regarding self-esteem and issues relating to women.

Kailin Gow was an invited speaker and signing author at Book Expo America (BEA)2014.

Having experienced bullying firsthand and slander as a woman, Kailin Gow is an active advocate against bullying in the workplace and in schools. She has written Shy Girls Social Club Handbook Against Bullying and has helped launch Stories for Amanda where all proceeds go towards the Amanda Todd Foundation against bullying. She has written several books with the theme of abuse towards women and children, especially the steamy international bestselling The Protégé Series, which launched a book club initiative in battered women’s shelters and won The Indie Excellence Awards at NIEA for Erotica in 2014.

She holds a Masters Degree in Communications Management from The University of Southern California, and degrees in Drama and Social Ecology.

She resides in the American West with her husband and daughter, but had lived for a decade in Texas, and briefly in England. Besides being a full-time author, she volunteers for many organizations, is active in church helping build homes for the homeless and visit orphanages. A voracious reader, when she is not writing, she loves reading an entire series in one sitting! She spends way too much time on Facebook than she is supposed to at, but loves meeting new people from all walks of life.

She has over 30 Series, written under Kailin Gow, and more under her middle grade, women’s fiction, and mystery pen names:

***For 16 and up***

The Frost Series – COMPLETED. Bitter Frost Series Consists of 8 full-length novels.
The Wolf Fey Series – COMPLETED. Consists of 2 full-length novels and one novella.
Fairy Rose Chronicles – age 13 and up.
The PULSE Series – Next Book – Blood Ring (PULSE #9), releasing due to readers’ demand to continue the series. Consists of 9 full-length novels and one novella.
FADE Series – COMPLETED. ALL Full-length novels.
DESIRE Series – All Full-length novels. Last Book, FRENZY – 2015.
Fire Wars Series – All Full-length novels.
Alchemists Academy – All Full-length novels.
Wordwick Games – All Full-length novels.
Wicked Woods Series – COMPLETED. Consists of 5 full-length novels.
Steampunk Scarlett – All Full-length novels.
The Phantom Diaries – All Full-length novels. Last Book, DARK VICTORY – 2015.
Stoker Sisters – All Full-length novels. Last Book, SISTER OF THE STRIGOIS – 2015.

Beyond Crystal River – 2015 NEW SERIES.

SHADES – 2015 NEW SERIES. This is a high concept psychological thriller.

***For 18 and up (New Adult/Coming of Age)***

Loving Summer – All full-length novels.
The Donovan Brothers – All full-length novels.
Saving You Saving Me (You & Me Trilogy)- COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
Never Knights – COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
Rock Hard Love Hard – 1st book, Rock Hard Love Hard is now Available.

Sawyer House Chronicles (Spin-off of You & Me Trilogy) – Coming in 2015
Canvas – Coming in 2015

***For 18 and up (Adult/Steamy Romance)***

The Protege – COMPLETED. 3 Full-length novels.
Master Chefs – COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
The Blue Room (Spin-off of Never Knights Trilogy) – Romantic Suspense.
Barely Legal (Spin-off of The Protégé) – Romantic Suspense.
The Oyster House – Artistic Romantic Thriller set in Hong Kong and England.
– Coming in 2015.

For information on the series, new series and new book releases, contests, appearances, KG-Convergences, and more, sign up at

Happy reading,

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Book Blitz: My Secret Summer-Theresa Troutman

MY SECRET SUMMER by Theresa Troutman
Genre(s): Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance Novella
Published: October 26th 2013
Caitlin Conners is a loner; shy and artistic. Her only friend is her sister, Carly. When Carly dies in a car accident, Caitlin has never felt more alone. An overbearing mother makes her life impossible when she meets the boy next door, Dylan Rodgers. Dylan doesn’t fit in with the popular crowd either. He prefers skateboarding to football and is viewed by his fellow students as a pot head. 
Dylan helps Caitlin deal with her grief and awakens her sexuality. Somehow these two misfits strike up a friendship and fall in love, while trying to keep their relationship a secret from Caitlin’s parents. Caitlin resorts to various methods to sneak out of the house and be with Dylan. As the stakes increase, emotions run high and passion ignites. The thrill of ‘getting away with it’ is so addictive and makes Caitlin feel invincible. How long can she get away with the lies before she is found out?
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Scheduled for tomorrow 10/27. Please check back 🙂
 Theresa will be CELEBRATING her ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY during the BLITZ.
For FUN GAMES and a chance to WIN PRIZES join
—> HERE <—
A beautifully written insight into the development and challenges that confront love for young adults. I look forward to more. Perhaps a sequel.
-Young Love
The thorn of the delicate pink rose pricked my finger with a burst of pain. I watched with great fascination as the drop of crimson blood formed on my skin. It was so much easier to focus on this tiny detail than to look up and deal with reality. Mom pulled me forward and I had to look up. She was leading me toward a glossy white coffin hovering over six feet of freshly dug earth. The smell of moist dirt and cut grass filled my nostrils. Respectfully, I laid the single rose on the coffin. Fellow mourners followed my lead. The minister said a final prayer and then I watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground. My parents and I left before they poured the dirt back over my eighteen-year-old sister’s grave.
We rode to the luncheon in silence. My dad’s hand covered my mom’s hand as it trembled uncontrollably. I’d watched my dad cry for the first time in my life today. What the hell was wrong with me? I hadn’t shed a tear. I loved my older sister, Carly. I really did. She was the perfect daughter; straight-A student, athletic, popular. She was always there for me, giving me advice or introducing me to her friends so I could be popular too. I was never comfortable playing that part. I’m more of the loner type. I prefer painting gothic angels in the comfort of my room while listening to Muse. At least I didn’t have to listen to my mom complain that I was wearing black today. ‘You have such a pretty face. You should wear more color, honey,’ she would always say.
An endless line of well wishers passed by me at a mind numbing pace. I didn’t hear a thing they had to say. I simply nodded and said, “Thank you.” I felt bad for them, their sorry, grief-ridden faces desperately wanting to bring comfort. I don’t think there was any comfort to be had. Carly died in a car accident. Her drunk boyfriend was behind the wheel and they were coming home after a friend’s graduation party. So young, so tragic, her life was just beginning. I think those were some of the things that were said. Thankfully it was June. At least I didn’t have to go back to school the next day and be the topic of pity, gossip and grief counseling.
There were pictures of Carly on one of the tables at the luncheon. In one she was prom queen, dressed in a pale blue gown with her beautiful long blonde hair cascading over her shoulders, a small rhinestone tiara on top of her head. In another, she was in her lacrosse uniform posing for the team photo that was used in the yearbook. Everything about Carly was perfect; her skin, hair, body and teeth. 
I, on the other hand…I got the leftovers;  straight stringy brown hair, the occasional pimple and gap between my front teeth. My mom always encouraged me to let Carly give me a makeover. It had never happened. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore. Or would I? Would my mom try to make me more like Carly? My brain was about to explode and I just had to get outside and away from all these people.
Theresa Troutman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their crazy dog, Niko. She loves reading, theatre and traveling. 
Her books include: My Secret Summer, A Special Connection and the Love’s Great Adventure Series: Life’s What You Make It and Love This Life and London Loves. She is currently working on contemporary romance called, By My Side, which will be released in early 2015.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
Romantic reading,
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ARC Review: Wither-Amy Miles

wither timelineWither_Ebook Cover (1)Goodreads/B&N/Smashwords/iBooks/Website

Release Date: October 26, 2014

cooltext1544204149 copyI always thought when the apocalypse finally began I would be swinging my baseball bat with the best of them, in true zombie slayer fashion. I was prepped and ready to smash in some heads if the need ever arose.

The problem is…no one ever warned me that I would have to fear the humans instead. The ones who still remember their names and how to put a gun to your temple when they want something.

The others…well,they pretty much keep to themselves.

Wither is a psychological thriller that poses the question…what if the zombies aren’t the ones we should fear? What if it’s human nature instead?

How far would YOU go to survive just one more day?

Do not fear the Withered Ones. Fear the ones still human.

cooltext1681280251 copy4.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review

Wither is the perfect Halloween read. It’s graphic, full of wickedly grotesque imagery and enough suspense to make nail-biting a habit. Read this with the lights on.


  • What makes Wither such a stunning and compelling read is the take on zombies and the questions about the nature of humanity. Set in a dystopian world where everyone must fend for their lives against a vile infection that results in a zombie-like state (Withered One), Amy Miles forces the reader to question what people are willing to risk and how far they’ll go to save themselves. When chaos and apocalyptic horrors arise, how much of our humanity are we made to sacrifice to circumstance and how much do we choose to forsake?
  • The Withered are not the traditional brain-eating, bloody imbeciles with a hunger for human flesh, they’re largely peaceful and helpless, they walk into things, destroying their decaying flesh without a second thought and meander through the decimated city. They’re creepy, yes, and some of these gruesomely graphic images are truly terrifying but as a threat, they’re not the worst that can happen. I appreciated this off-beat spin. When it comes right down to it, who is the real monster, a Withered whose eye-socket is empty and flesh is shredded in ribbons, or the men who abduct and murder without conscience? 
  • The suspense is killer. Edge-of-your-seat, avert your eyes sort of uncertainty. Every scene is made of risk and recklessness, of fear and threats, and what’s more, of the bleak reality that safety is a thing of the past. There’s a powerful sense of foreboding that resonates throughout the story, you’ll be left in a dizzying state of constant tension and fear for the characters.
  • Suspicion is high and the military is painted in shadow. The rumors of their involvement and the mystery behind their seemingly random actions is a puzzle that grows and builds piece by piece adding to the big picture. 
  • The birthing scene will probably stay with me for life. 
  • Action is high. If you’re looking for explosions, hand-to-hand combat, guns, slaughter, and extremely detailed gore, this is your next favorite read.
  • The epilogue is a semi-cliffhanger with promise of redemption, revenge, and carnage. The paranoia and confusion over changes in the Withered is thought-provoking and the sense of a huge shift, a new threat is high.
  • Cable. Cable. CABLE. There’s something warm and cowboyish about Cable. He’s military but has a southern gentleman feel. He’s compassionate, a  big teddy bear of a man that’s all sex appeal and fierce protectiveness, the man is a total bad ass. He’s stabbing, kicking, throwing punches, and always putting his life on the line to save those he cares about. His interactions with Avery are playful and charming. He’s wise and brings a smile to the typically downtrodden Avery. The light he brings is pretty miraculous in such a dismal scenery.
  • Avery is a scared, traumatized girl who has a past that left deep emotional scars. It’s Avery’s past that has made her into a warrior, or at least gave her the tools to become one. At first she is paralyzed with fear, however, when the real horrors begin she learns fast how to adapt and fight for her life. Avery, at heart, is a wonderful person. She cares so much that it clouds her decisions and sometimes nearly kills her. She’s fiery, bold, blunt, and very outspoken. She wants to be heard and roars her opinions.
  • Does contain what could be considered triggers. Assault, violence, lots of blood and gore, abuse.


  • Avery makes some arguably stupid decisions. While she does have every right and instinct to withhold her trust and be leery of those willing to help her, it’s pretty clear that Cable is her best bet and a great guy right off the bat and yet, she’s like a panicked, caged animal desperate to flee into dangers far worse than she’s experienced. Avery doesn’t learn from her mistakes, she’s brave but stubborn, she leaps before she looks and ends up in horrendous situations because of her impatience. 
  • Alex’s backstory was pretty absent, as were the stories of some of the other secondary characters. I was dying to know how they got in their position, who they were before, and how the apocalypse changed them.

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beautiful red head woman with freckled face and blue eyesCharacter interview with Avery: THE WITHERED SERIES Character Interview Session 1.

Today we are sitting down with Avery Whitlock, our heroine from WITHER, book 1 of the WITHERED SERIES.

Interviewer: “Growing up on the streets is a hard way to live. Do you think learning to fend for yourself at a young age really helped prepare you for the apocalypse?”

Avery: “Sure. Not everyone grows up in a Leave it to Beaver sort of home. My mother wasn’t exactly the best role model. She worked a lot, had a thing for bad guys and drowned her sorrows in the bottom of a bottle after my dad skipped town. My brother left not long after we moved to St. Louis so I was on my own a lot.

You learn some valuable lessons when you have to take care of yourself. Sometimes you do things that other people would snub their noses at just to eat. Sometimes you trust the wrong people. You learn by trial and fire. I guess that made me tougher than most girls when facing our new world.”

Interviewer: “Why do you think you stuck by your mother’s side after the world started falling apart? In the beginning you could have escaped without much trouble, yet you remained.”

Avery: “I’ve asked myself that question more times than I can count. Obviously there was no love shared between my mother and I. She and I were pretty much strangers in the same home. I avoided her and she liked that. It wasn’t until her accident that left her in a coma that I actually spent any time with her.

Part of me thinks maybe I stayed for closure. Maybe I just wanted her to wake up and admit that she’d wronged me. I don’t know…it doesn’t make sense, but then again, when has bitterness ever done so?”

Interviewer: “You went through quite at lot those first few days. Can you tell us a little about what you were thinking?”

Avery: “Honestly, I was shitting my pants most of the time and praying no one noticed. I’m not so good at letting people in, or needing them for that matter. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I like my space. I like to be on my own. After Cable, the marine that saved my life at the hospital, got me back on my feet I was too stubborn to consider that he might actually be a good guy. So I did the idiotic thing and tried to make it on my own.”

Interviewer: “And how did that work out for you?”

Avery: “I got kidnapped, twice. Yeah, it could have gone better.”

Interviewer: “So then Cable saved you again?”

Avery: “Yeah. He’s got this really annoying hero complex but after a while you sort of get used to it. Actually, I guess that’s not really being fair. Cable’s a good guy and those are really rare in this world, especially now. I owe him a lot and that’s hard to admit.”

Interviewer: “So with the world changing rapidly around you, how did you decide what the best course of action might be to stay alive?”

Avery: “People.”

Interview: “Can you elaborate on that?”

Avery: “Look, when you’re out there and your ass is on the line, you need someone there to watch over it for you. You can’t do it on your own. Well, you probably could for a short time but eventually you’re going to slip up. I had to learn that even though I may not have wanted people in my life, I did need them.”

Interviewer: “So I’ve heard rumors about a possible budding relationship between Cable and yourself? Any truth to it?”

Avery: “No comment.”

Interviewer: “Interesting. One final question. After all that you’ve been through and seen, do you think the world has a chance of coming back from this apocalypse?”

Avery: “I really hope so…cause its freakin’ messed up out there right now.”

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

13450339Hollowland - Final187231717157310


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Promo & Giveaway: When Stars Die + The Stars Are Infinite-Amber Skye Forbes

When Stars Die CoverGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/Smashwords/iBooks

cooltext1712921505 copy“Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars. When people die, they leave the same impact with the footprints they leave on people’s hearts. Even the ones who feel insignificant go out, leaving behind dust that can nourish the world anew.”

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

The Stars Are Infinite Cover

cooltext1712921505 copyAlice Sheraton is slated to be executed for being a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound since birth with a terrible fate: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos.

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Where do I even begin? This book is fantastic, easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year (2013), and for those of you who haven’t checked out my Goodreads tally that’s close to 170 books. Let me start off by saying that going in, I had no idea what to expect, you think becoming a nun? Hmm? Perhaps not the traditional route for paranormal YA but honestly, this is such a creative, beautifully crafted concept that juxtaposes the traditional ideas of sin, fate, temptation, and damnation with redemption, choice, abstinence, and salvation, it’s got something for everyone.

If you are a fan of Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series, Amy Plum’s Revenants series, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series or even Cheri Lasota’s Artemis Rising add this to your TBR pile NOW! You won’t be disappointed.

For more of this review, see the original post here –> When Stars Die Review

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Enter for your chance to win a $20 Amazon giftcard 

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Amber Skye Forbes Author PhotoAmber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.

 Pleasant reading, 

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Review: Belzhar-Meg Wolitzer


cooltext1712921505 copyIf life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

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3.5/5 Stars

Belzhar is a book that lingers. It invades and settles deep within the subconscious, burrowing and waiting to make its move and when it does, it’s something profound. I picked up Belzhar, honestly, because I kept hearing about it. The hype was everywhere and though I had no clue what the book was about, I  remembered the name-it was imprinted on my mind. When I started this book, I knew absolutely nothing about it (I rarely read the synopsis before I pick up books, I’ll read just about anything) and was pleasantly surprised. I found myself puzzled, yet oddly curious about Jam’s story. Nothing was cut and dry, everything was a little mysterious, but one thing I knew for sure was that Jam was scarred and scared emotionally, to the point of losing herself. I wanted, no needed, to see her recover. Belzhar is a slow and steady story of discovery, of finding your inner voice and learning that you don’t need to shout to be heard, that sometimes a whisper, if you are firm in your convictions, is enough touch the universe. 


  • Belzhar is a little Dead Poets Society meets Catcher in the Rye. There’s a magic feeling of being part of something much bigger than yourself, something secret and wildly personal, something that connects the characters with each other that can’t be found anywhere else. 
  • Mrs. Q. was absent from the text. Her part, one extremely influential, the catalyst that connected and sparked these lucky English Special Topics students’ road to recovery and adulthood, was lax. She hardly appears in the story but even though her lessons are short they’re astronomically life-altering bits of wisdom that have a staggering impact on each character. Mrs. Q was so hands off that she became like a mythical, surreal entity, almost like a subconscious voice that aided the children. 
  • Jam was hard to like. She’s so self-involved that she can’t get past her own issues, everything in her life revolves around this horrible thing that happened to her that she neglects her brother, shrugs off her friends, and lets the world fate into oblivion. Jam collapsed in on herself and while the whole scenario is upsetting, delving into Jam’s true emotions was difficult at first. Jam was wrapped up in a fantasy world that at first, it’s the sort of rip your heart out of your chest and shun the world agony of loss. You couldn’t help but pity her, the injustice and cruelty of life is magnified as her heartbreak continues to reveal itself. Later, you’re presented with a conflict and it’s hard to decide which is more sad, the truth or the lie. Jam finds herself and as her compassion blossoms it’s like an awakening, Jam is reborn, stronger both emotionally and mentally.
  • An important element of this story that I think is looked over or maybe just not yet recognized by the reader is the view on trauma. More often than not, horrible life events are looked at comparatively, almost as if in a competition to see whose pain was worse, which incident the more haunting. Here, each story is unique, one is not worse than the other because emotionally, they were all traumatized and the scope of the trauma was unimportant. I appreciated that trauma was trauma, pain was pain, and that the scars were still there, one was the same as many and the depth of the cut was irrelevant.
  • Belzhar is a romance but not in the conventional sense. Belzhar is the tail-end, the romance that is liminal. It’s still present but realistically it’s over. It’s the memory of the romance that cannot be shaken or tucked away. It’s an ever-present, gaping wound that has festered and polluted. However, it almost seems symbiotic. Though Jam suffers, she receives pleasant relief and recalls the romance fondly. Romance, on one hand is the focus, the foundation of this book and yet, it’s not blatant, in your face, love. There’s no build up, it simply is. The results of the romance are what matters and how Jam chose to deal with it is of paramount importance. 
  • Love can be toxic, crippling, and can devastate in such a way that it’s too much to handle and it feels as though happiness will never come again. Meg Wolitzer captures the dark side of love, the consuming rawness of the emotions and the light, soul-searing side, that brings ecstasy to the couple. 


  • Sylvia Plath is dark, morose, beautifully emotional writing. As the plot evolved, I got it, it made sense that these teens would be the benefactors of Plath’s wisdom because in many ways, their sense of isolation, of bitter regret, and disconnect are what Plath channeled and understood, perhaps better than anything. What was missing from this story was the literature. Plath was mentioned, she was read and mulled over but the poems and The Bell Jar itself was neglected. It was almost as if the author expected the reader to be knowledgable of Plath’s works. At face value, these five teens are aspects of Plath but the reader doesn’t get that confirmation and the story might have been enhanced with Plath’s voice. For a book that is all about finding that voice within, the most important one felt stunted and forgotten.
  • Sierra (ish), Mark, Casey, and Griffin (not as much) each had their own unique story but after it was revealed, their characters fizzled out and lacked the presence they had in the beginning of the book. Their interactions were glossed over and didn’t capture the growth and change each of them was going through, it was more like a summary. Suddenly, the characters were ready to move on, they got over it, and what made that happen, apart from the journal incidents, was left in the dark.
  • Jam’s truth was not a surprise. In fact, it was inevitable and predictable.

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

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Happy reading,


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