Cover Reveal: The Girl Who Ruled the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

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Release Date: September 5, 2018

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I know exactly what I am. A weapon. 
Tharos and his army of Shadows have infiltrated every corner of the galaxy—including my new home. They don’t want war; they want our total annihilation. And if I’m not ready, the ones I love most will be the first to fall. 
My people think the light inside me will be enough to save us. They don’t understand how big it is. How uncontrollable it feels when I let go.
But my enemies have left me no choice. I’ll unleash my power and burn down every star in the sky to kill the Shadows.
The only question is: will my people still be standing in the ash of my aftermath?
Happy reading,
Jordan
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ARC Review: The Girl Who Called the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

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“…but you don’t deal in death and escape the feel of it afterward.”

synvia Goodreads

Be very afraid of the Shadows.

I know what I’m not. Human.

I can’t remember my life before Earth, but I’ve grown up hearing the stories of a planet ravaged by war and a people in need of a leader who will bring them out of the darkness. I’m supposed to be their light.

My future terrifies me.

But I’m done waiting to have a real life. If I ever want a chance to live free of the Shadows, I’ll need to fight for it because freedom is never free. No matter what galaxy you call home.

(This is book 1 in The Girl From The Stars Duology. Previously published as Across the Galaxy, now revised & rewritten with brand new content.)

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review3 Stars 

PROS:

  • Heather Hildenbrand is the angst master. I swear, every single time I read her books there’s always some super swoonworthy, colossal build up of steam and languishing right off the bat. Then it grows and before you know it, you’re flipping through the pages on the prowl for a happily ever after…or at least one measly kiss. Jeez. But that tension is what makes the reader keep reading. 
  • The premise of this book is awesome. I loved the fast-paced tragedy and adventure, and also those horrifying Dementor-style demons. The mix of elemental-style powers with alien made this way different from your average space drama. Kingdoms in the space. I’m all for that. Also vicious wolf guardians? What’s not to love?
  • That explosive ending. I should have known. It was right there and somehow it went right over my head. Facepalm. 
  • Instead of being thrust into the typical long lost princess/heir trope, Alina has always known her purpose, she just doesn’t have the memories to back her up. Alina is focused, determined, and pushes through her fear for the future of her people. Plus she’s obsessed with coffee 😉 

CONS:

  • The plot didn’t feel cohesive. There was a quick jump into space that kind of slowed the pacing and then politics meets black magic. It didn’t feel like it fit together. 
  • Most of the secondary characters were so-so. Alina’s former best friend would have been stronger had there been more interactions. Also the catty, occasionally elitist arguments between some of the characters made a lot of the young people unlikable. 
  • Peter was supposed to be a sort of protector and father figure for Alina, but I feel like there wasn’t enough of that relationship built in the text-it was just there. I couldn’t establish an emotional connection that made me care either way about what happened to him. The issue with that is, the main character cares so much that it made it more difficult to connect with her. 
  • The book feels so short. A little more foundation here and there could have helped really build the emotions between all characters, not just the leads. 

Read and read some more, 

Jordan

 

Review: Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart

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Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the our radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invites him to play beer pong. And things…progress from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all—marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. Jenny is The One.

But Jenny has other plans, and they may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her—even soliciting advice from the alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem. But is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? And just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe—and love?

review1/5 Stars 

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Candlewick Press

I read this book in June of 2017 and it has taken me this long to write the review because I thought I’d DNF and try again, but after a second foray into this story…I just can’t. I made it a full 25% before I had to back away or risk throwing my Kindle. 

Of Jenny and the Aliens is the worst parts of The Catcher in the Rye meets Bright Lights Big City. It’s full of crude and sometimes downright repulsive and exploitative depictions of women from the mind of a sexually frustrated teenage boy. Maybe it’s honest. Maybe it’s accurate, but as a female reader, I was more than a little creeped out by it. I understand angst. I understand finding people attractive but for the love of all that is holy, did it have to be worded in such a gross way?

But I kept going…at least for a while anyway. 

First, let me say this: I would not put this on a shelf for 13 year olds. Upper YA-if that. Between the language usage and fantasizing and the weird locker room talk objectification. 

The story itself would have been interesting if the characters weren’t so unlikable…for the most part. Jenny is unique. She has depth and a past. There’s mystery and a genuine urge to solve the puzzle of her character, but it is quashed by the love interest. He’s stereotypical. Obsessive in an unhealthy and weird way. The plot is bizarre but intriguing. Except, you don’t know if it’s real or some random, hallucinogenic episode while the character was stoned out of his mind. 

What I liked about this book was THE COVER. It’s what attracted me to the book. That, and the fact that it featured aliens. I was desperate for a new alien book, a little Jennifer Armentrout meets The X-Files, but sadly, this was more teenage male fantasy than sci-fi. 

Desperately searching for alien YA, 

Jordan

Promo: The Realmers Series by William Collins

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The lonely and grieving Evan Umbra is the newest Venator to enter Veneseron, the school for demon hunters.

A Venator is a wizard, a spy and a demon hunter rolled into one. They’re taught how to wield their sorcery and enchanted weaponry by orcs, elfpires and aliens alike.

Their missions range from battling monsters and saving countless lives in the multiple worlds, to the more peculiar, like wrangling killer unicorns and calming down drunken yetis. In their free time Venators enjoy goblin soap-operas and underwater bubble travel, but they also understand that every new mission they’re given could be their last.

Whilst learning how to manipulate the elements, summon creatures to fight for him and shoot Spellzookas, Evan encounters a dangerous rival and meets a girl who makes him feel nauseous; but in a good way. He makes the first friends he’s ever had in the carefree Jed and the reckless Brooke. Whilst Jed gets on the wrong side of a rival Venator, Brooke finds herself falling for the enigmatic demon hunter who brought her to Veneseron, not knowing he isn’t quite human. But it soon becomes apparent that Evan is more than just a Venator. Everyone wants to kill or capture him, from demons to Dark-Venators and even people he’s supposed to be able to trust.

Evan reckons he probably won’t survive his first year at Veneseron.

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After the catastrophic events of book 1, Evan and Brooke are trying to come to terms with recent revelations. However, it isn’t long before their duties as Venators throw them back into action.

Whilst Evan faces a deathly trial to advance further in his training, Brooke embarks on her very first mission, which sees her embroiled in a war between the vampires and werewolves of London. If the werewolves and shifters baying for her blood wasn’t enough, Brooke also has to face a starkly changed Arantay.

Meanwhile the Dark-Venator forces are rising, whilst Evan and his friends contend with the mysterious disappearances of several Venators. Could they have been kidnapped? Evan also faces backlash from many of his fellow trainees, who hate or fear him. Evan thinks their reactions are bad now, but it would be nothing if they discovered his secret. His peers may even try to kill him if they learned the truth.

Evan knows he has to pass his trial to gain his first mission as a Venator, but he may never make it that far if his hidden powers aren’t controlled. Across the realms, a terribly malignant force has learned of Evan and Brooke, and plans to strike.

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Brooke has learned who engineered the war between werewolves and vampires in London, and if she and Arantay can’t stop it, not only will the city be destroyed, but everyone will know the Moonlight races exist.

Jed has discovered why Venators are being kidnapped from Veneseron, but now he’s trapped inside the captor’s lair himself, perhaps never to return.

Evan has set off on his own first mission, where he must travel through multiple bizarre worlds, attempting to stop a demonic cult. Unfortunately, two of Evan’s companions are two of his biggest rivals. His mission is thrown into further jeopardy when Evan learns he is being hunted by a force more powerful than anything he’s faced before.

Jed suffers a grisly injury. An enemy discovers Brooke’s biggest secret. Evan is marked by a wound magic can never heal, and not everyone survives.

Due to Moonlight War growing so long, it was split into two acts. As such, this novel continues directly from where Act I finished.

Excellent reading, 

Jordan

 

Promo & Giveaway: Storm of Arranon by R.E. Sheahan

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A forbidden birth. A remarkable young woman. A marauding alien society. The battle begins.

A brutal alien society invades Korin and Arranon, intent on destroying the two worlds that make up Cadet Erynn Yager’s home. Forced to expose her strange abilities and reveal her forbidden birth, a guarded web of secrets unravels.

Stranded on an unfamiliar planet of eternal winter and predatory wildlife, the mysterious living consciousness of Arranon intervenes, leading Erynn on a mystical journey.

Aware of Erynn’s potential, the alien enemy pursues her. She struggles to gain control of her growing powers while in a constant race to elude the invaders, and join the forces preparing to fight a mounting occupation.

Erynn’s secret may be her worlds’ only hope, but at the cost of her life. Swept up in a chain reaction of events, Erynn’s dedication extends far beyond service and duty. She learns the true meaning of sacrifice.

Along with courage and hope, Erynn finds something unexpected on her journey of awareness and growth.

Love.

Excerpt

Jaer sighed. “I will get you there, Erynn.” His hand stroked her hair.

I’m Erynn again. She angled her face to see him. “Why do you do that?”

He tipped his head. His hand stopped its soft movement and dropped. “I am sorry. I will not do it again.” His arms stiffened.

“No. I mean sometimes you call me Lieutenant, or Lieutenant Yager, but rarely Erynn. Why?”

“I guess the same reason you call me, sir, and not Jaer.”

She stared at the dark outline of his face, quiet for a long moment. “So if I call you Jaer, you’ll stop calling me Lieutenant?”

He laughed quietly. “Yes, Erynn.” His hand moved back to her hair, sliding around to hold her face. His lips brushed hers, tentative at first, then with more pressure, but still gentle.

Erynn put one arm around him and the other up to his jacket, grasping the collar and pulling him, returning the kiss. Electric blue tendrils wove around, slow and graceful, encompassing them in a soft light.

authorI have always been a reader. I’d come home from grade school with stacks of books every week, and during the summer, I’d get my fix from the library. I love books. Later, while working every day outside at the ranch, I’d listen to audio books on cassette with one of those Sportswalk players I’d hook to my belt. I could go through three or four books a week.

I started writing while working as a Paramedic/Firefighter in Northern California.
Trust me, it’s not always like it appears on TV. There was plenty of time for reading.

Writing got serious for me when I moved to my ranch in Oregon. While waiting for lambs to be born in the middle of the night, I would head back to the house for an hour or two and sit down at the computer. Before I knew it, I had a manuscript. One hundred and twenty-two thousand words that desperately needed help, but it was a start.

The characters demanded their story be told, so I joined critique groups and attended writer’s conferences. I was on the fast track to learning what I needed to know to write well, and tell, show, an engaging story.

In 2013, I received an honorable mention in Writer’s Digest’s Self Published book awards for MG/YA, so I guess I had learned something! BTW, I’m still learning.

Ideas from dreams follow me into warm sunny days or the quiet of falling snow. “What ifs” feed a vivid imagination. Even mistyped phrases may lead to an “aha” moment. Brain storming sessions standing in dark, windy parking lots with fellow writers release thoughts that pry at the corners of my mind, grasping for purchase. Sometimes the ideas pursue me, with persistence.

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

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Enter for your chance to win Storm of Arranon Fire and Ice and Storm of Arranon Allies and Enemies

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Enchanting reading, 

Jordan

 

Review: Hatred Day by T.S. Pettibone

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In the year 2052, it’s not love but hate that unites the world.

Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis.

Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid Yagami reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.

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3.5/5 Stars

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

The world building is fantastic. It’s rich and complex, a wonderful blending of gritty and dark dystopia with a magical alien twist. There are many layers with epic technology and hierarchies. There are slums, and gangs, and shady traffickers, and all sorts of twisted, despicable characters that will haunt your nightmares. The price of magic is grotesque and horrifying. Seriously. This imagery will chill and sicken you. Graphic murders, gore, mutilation. It’s all there in its horrific splendor. 

Like with any extensive world building, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and a little lost as story takes over. The story of the extraterrestrials before Hatred Day is barely there. There are so many questions about the before that are never answered. Why the Inborns are so loathed and must keep hidden is another thing. There’s more back story in the blurb it feels like than the actual novel. There wasn’t enough for me to feel confident in the politics and to firmly state why the prejudice and anger were so strong. 

The introduction to characters is epic and strong. Immediately you’re drawn into this world. An urgent quest to find a love one who may or may not have been tortured, held captive, and potential sold into slavery? Is your heart pounding just thinking about it? A thrilling adrenaline rush from the first page. 

Some characters who seemed as though they should or would have a huge part fell out of the plot. Their parts were memorable while they lasted but fleeting and nowhere near enough. It came as a shock to the system and in some instances didn’t make sense. A big section of Snofrid’s past had to deal with the gangs from the slums and her particular relationship with one of the leaders. There’s a major threat. Terrifying, gruesome, bloody, the type of queasy anticipation that transcends foreboding. You can feel the nightmare becoming reality as one psychotic thing happens right after the other. AND THE NOTHING. POOF GONE. I feel like there should have been some sort of final confrontation or something.

Snofrid’s missing memory is another blank space that didn’t have enough back up.

Snofrid is likable and a little badass. She’s had a life full of pain, heartache, and all sorts of trials that no one should have to suffer through. She has prevailed and adapted well to every situation. Snofrid embraces her fears, so lets them consume her and then works through them. She makes hard choices, takes risks, and the past she’s forgotten only enhances the woman she’s become without it. 

The romance. When those memories come back. Holy emotional turmoil. Be still my heart. Those memories. A huge contrast from the current situation but the LOVE. When it hits, it’s like a tsunami. It knocks you off your feet. 

Secondary stories are just as interesting. Snofrid’s brother. WOW. What drama and heart. 

Some subplots I wish there was more of: Hadrian and his minions, the monster and why it is being hunted (the past, the creation, the vile woman…read and you’ll see) and the brutally militaristic way that Lycidius was trained as a child. GIVE ME MORE PLEASE. 

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

Epic reading, 

Jordan

 

Guest Post: The Indie Author Journey by Sherry Soule

THE INDIE AUTHOR JOURNEY ~ #StarlightSaga

Guest post by Amazon Bestselling Author Sherry Soule

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Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She has recently published the next book in her popular Starlight Saga series, a humorous paranormal romance. Today, Sherry is doing this fun guest post to share the book love with fellow readers.

Be warned, these books have scorching-hot romance!

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When I was growing up, the only thing I ever dreamed about was being a professional writer. Today Amazon sent me an email inviting me to create an author page. This probably sounds lame to some people, but it’s an exciting step to me. My own official author page! I realize for self-published and indie authors that it’s an on-going struggle to get your books out into the world, and hopefully make some money in the process.

Like every writer, I am incredibly passionate about my work. The main reason I write is because I love to do it. Not for the money. No, because I love creating characters. I love crafting suspense. And I love telling stories—my kind of stories.

Writing has always been my true passion. This was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to publish novels. I dreamed of being a professional author since I was seven years old, and I enjoy writing both adult and young adult tales.

Best-selling author, Tracy Hickman was quoted as saying, “Don’t seek to be published, seek to be read.”

Simple words. Great advice. It made so much sense. Write for your readers. Write what you love. Write every day and don’t give up.

Our dreams should give us wings. Let us fly. Soar above the clouds. And we should never, ever have to look down. Right?

Being a voracious reader all of my life, I believe my writing style differs from the other young adult paranormals being published; because my stories tend to have elements of chilling suspense weaved into the plot. Nor are my stories always focused primarily on “love.” But there is a lot of kissing!

Yet I do write about people who fall in love under unusual circumstances. Not because I like a conventional happy ending—no, I write about love because I believe it’s the strongest human emotion we possess. And sometimes my character’s choices don’t get them a happy ending. Sometimes the endings are surprising. Sometimes bittersweet. Sometimes they end with a cliffhanger. But I hope they are never boring or too predictable.

How did I start?

Well, like I said, I’ve been writing since I was seven. I’ve written a lot of books over the years. Yeah, a lot of bad books, too. I went to college, but mostly took creative writing and English classes. I couldn’t go full-time because I had a family to look after, but I did take various writing courses for the past ten years.

To be honest, I’ve tried three times in my life to find a literary agent, aka the gatekeepers to the publishing world, without success. I’ve even had a few prominent agencies request my work. Looking back, I know what I did wrong. I didn’t have any critique partners. The manuscript wasn’t tightened up and polished. I didn’t hire a freelance editor. I thought it was good. Well, it sucked. Hence, the multiple rejections. Which also sucked.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot since then. I hope I have.

The turning point in my life came when, like so many people across the United States, I lost my job. I feel into a deep, dark depression. To escape my utter hopelessness and to be productive, I decided to try writing again. I rewrote an old story that I still believed in, but knew it still needed some major revision. Maybe this was a sign from God to try to get published after all these years. I wrote every day for months, then started query agents and editors again. No luck. More rejections.

I worked part-time and kept writing. I started editing a manuscript that I wrote about nine years ago called, “IMMORTAL ECLIPSE.” I did some freelance developmental editing to pay the rent. Then I was laid off again and after a few months, my unemployment ended. I was scared. No job. No money in my checking account and my savings account had been closed by my bank. Zero funds.

Time to freak out. I was a single mother with two young children to support. But no way to support them. Then I discovered that my seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a severe and very rare disease. The medical bills began to mount up. I needed money.

In my heart, I still didn’t want to give up on my dream. It was all I had left to encourage me…

Once I gave up the idea of a book deal with a New York publishing house and finding an über agent that loved my work, I decided to look into indie publishers. Then I read about Amanda Hocking’s success story on her blog. I was impressed and awed. She had taken a chance, so I decided to self-publish one of my early novels. Why not? I talked it over with my family—who agreed. I had nothing to lose. And since I was out of a job, I had time to promote my work.

Then some of my family members announced that they wanted to start an online publishing company. And guess what? I was the first to sign with them. Sure, they’re small but everyone has to start somewhere. So, they didn’t mind when I wanted to hire my own cover artist. (Do not be naïve—book covers sell books. Well, that and good writing.)

Going Indie is a scary endeavor. On occasion things don’t work out. Books don’t sell. The genre dead ends. Bad timing. Worse luck.

But indie authors can find a small amount of success due to the book blogging community, which is so incredibly supportive. And I sincerely thank the book reviewers who have embraced and heartily praised my novels.

Although, I may never reach the success of other self-published or indie authors, I won’t look back at my life someday with regret. At least I’ll know I tried, and that’s something, right? You only fail if you never try…

“If you’re waiting for the universe to provide for you, I’ve got a feeling you’re going to wait a long time. If you know what you want, then my advice is to confidently take the necessary steps and go get it.” – Bryan Hutchinson

So, now I need to get back to editing and writing new stories. No reason to let these manuscripts sit on my hard-drive. Maybe someone will enjoy reading them. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll keep dreaming and hoping, and someday those hopes and dreams will come true. Maybe not.

But what good are dreams if you don’t try to make them come true? What good is trying to follow your heart if those aspirations can’t be turned into reality?

Never let someone else put limits on your goals or hinder your own personal dreams. I know, I won’t…

UNDER SUNLESS SKIES - book 2 - science fiction paranormal romance - book cover

Amazon Author Page/Lost in Starlight/Under Sunless Skies/Series Blog/Goodreads

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Sherry Soule is an Amazon bestselling author, who lives in the SF Bay Area with her family and one very spoiled black cat.

Many of her books have spent time on the Kindle bestseller lists and have been nominated as top picks in the “Paranormal Romance” categories by sites such as The Romance Reviews, Night Owl Reviews, and the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Sherry mainly writes urban fantasy, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance in young adult, new adult, and adult genres set in fictional places within Northern California that feature independent females and sexy alpha males.

While Sherry doesn’t consider herself a fashionista, she does like to express herself through her stylish apparel, and her heroines do, too.

Amazon/Blog/Twitter/Goodreads/Facebook

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan