ARC Review: Defects-Sarah Noffke

Ebook-Defects-book-1-in-the-seriesGoodreads/Amazon

cooltext1889161239 copyIn the happy, clean community of Austin Valley, everything appears to be perfect. Seventeen-year-old Em Fuller, however, fears something is askew. Em is one of the new generation of Dream Travelers. For some reason, the gods have not seen fit to gift all of them with their expected special abilities.

Em is a Defect—one of the unfortunate Dream Travelers not gifted with a psychic power. Desperate to do whatever it takes to earn her gift, she endures painful daily injections along with commands from her overbearing, loveless father. One of the few bright spots in her life is the return of a friend she had thought dead—but with his return comes the knowledge of a shocking, unforgivable truth. The society Em thought was protecting her has actually been betraying her, but she has no idea how to break away from its authority without hurting everyone she loves.

cooltext1889171582 copy4.5/5 Stars

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

I’ve been a big fan of Sarah Noffke’s books since I devoured the Lucidites series. When I picked this book up, I was crazy excited to go back into the dream travel world and OMG was I shocked. I instantly fell in love with these new characters and can honestly say, I ADORE this series even more than the Lucidites. 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for a new spin on dream travel, cult-like communities, and medical experiments.
  • You like strong, developed characters, wicked villians, and wonderful dialogue.
  • You want to LAUGH and be completely engrossed in the story.

PROS:

  • Em is an unconventional, inspiring lead. She knows exactly who she is, what she wants, and isn’t afraid to do what others turn their nose up at. Em is thoughtful, passionate, she doesn’t let her defect status break her and hangs out with the humans, neck deep in dirt and farm life. A regular sleuth, Em is a little rebel mixed with a klutz. There are tons of hilarious moments. Em is all personality.
  • REN. If you’ve read the Lucidites series, you’ll remember his character, if you’re anything like me, fondly. Sarcastic, dominant, a little viscious, he’s unforgetable. Get him in a room with his sister, Em’s mother and it’s just about the best thing I’ve read in a while. The taunting, sibling rivalry and harassment is laugh out loud funny. 
  • Rogue is my new book boyfriend. Not only is he delciously sexy but he has a quirky, rebellious personality that just oozes sex appeal. The attraction between Em and Rogue is easy, natural, and they fit so well. Every moment is a new discovery and rediscovery of their childhood friendship. Seriously, swoons. Rogue has some of the best lines. He’s blunt, flirty, adorable and more than anything else, devoted to his cause. The scenes where he’s suffering ripped my heart out.
  • Every secondary character is memorable and has a clearly defined storyline.
  • PLOT TWIST CENTRAL. The clues are there but it still took me by surprise. The sheer evil, sadistc lack of morality and concern for humankind is despicable.
  • Austin Valley has that creepy cult vibe. It’s inclusive, full of brainwashing and elitism based on religious zealots. Humans are basically menial slaves that don’t know any better. The outside world is the enemy. It’s insane and terrifying when you really think about it. 
  • The supernatural abilities are even more elaborate and awesome than before.

CONS:

  • When the truth is revealed, it’s a punch to the stomach without much examination of the wound. The findings are presented like facts and not expanded upon like they could have been to get the true horror of what is going on. The realization is powerful and leaves an impact but it would have been even stronger had it been thoroughly and psychologically explored by the characters. 

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Review & Giveaway: Destined for Dreams-Ginna Moran

new-478_zpsjx8lxbdnDestined for Dreams eBook edition cover small for websitesGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/Kobo/Smashwords/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copySeventeen-year-old Nadia Petrov is an outcast in her tight-knit community of people with special abilities. Nadia must invade people’s dreams to survive. She sneaks into sleeping victims’ rooms, slips into their heads, and then turns their dreams into horrifying nightmares.

When a new girl arrives at her compound, Nadia can’t resist giving the girl a nightmare. In the dream world, Nadia discovers Hunter Sullivan, a soul trapped in the girl’s mind. Intrigued by Hunter, Nadia secretly builds a relationship with him in the dream world, and they find solace through each other.

Unable to accept a love fated for dreams, Nadia must risk losing the safety of her community to help Hunter get back to his body before he’s lost forever.

cooltext1889171582 copy+++I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review and in correlation with this tour.

PROS:

  • Nadia is complex. Her ability is simultaneously terrifying and wicked cool. When Nadia shifts into nightmare mode, the scenes are gripping, horrific pieces of loss. Beautiful dreams are tainted by her mere presence as objects explode into clouds of black. Nadia is conflicted, she’s upset with the pain that she’s forced to cause others by her mere existence and yet, she realizes that in order to survive, she must. Unable to interact in the real world and closed off, Nadia doesn’t have much of a social life. You immediately feel compassion towards her, you sympathize with her unique situation because she’s a sweetheart and all she wants is to have normal relationships. Haunted by a traumatic past of death and fear, her terror is as real and gritty as what she makes others experience in their nightmares. 
  • Hunter is a gorgeous mystery. His predicament is inventive and precarious. Trapped in another body, his lack of control is like chains weighing him down. Hunter wants nothing more than to escape but with so much time alone in the void, his anger and resentment builds. All of his emotions are a furious storm. Hunter, despite his horrendous imprisonment never gives up, in fact, he grows stronger as his love for Nadia blossoms. Hunter finds something to fight for and it’s lovely getting his perspective on Nadia. He sees what everyone else dismisses, her beauty, her light and her passion.  
  • Together, Nadia and Hunter are bashful and shy. They’re curious about each other and undeniably attracted. They’re pulled to each other like a powerful magnet. The chemistry is soft and sweet, it builds naturally.
  • Jackie is the character you love to hate. She’s self-absorbed, dangerous, and cunning. She’s pretty sassy. Her interactions with Hunter are made of playful banter and torment. Jackie is not what she seems. Forced into a bad situation, Jackie is a survivor above all else. Regardless, her one-track mind makes her easy to despise. Jackie will surprise you. Underneath is all there’s a scared little girl who just wants to be free. 

CONS:

  • The world of the compound and the HPA (Human Preservation Agency) was thrust upon the reader immediately with Hunter’s section and felt like an overload of information. The setting, one where humans and supernatural live side-by-side with knowledge of each other wasn’t explained clearly and it took a while for the pieces to fall into place. 
  • Chapters were short, particularly Hunter’s sections and cut off quickly. I thirsted for more of his internal dialogue. 
  • Parts of the story that could have been expanded upon were left with little explanation and a lot of questions. Scenes in the Haven were short-lived but intriguing. There sheer variety of supernaturals and the potential for new characters was there but undeveloped. The supernaturals at the compound were merely mentioned and for the most part, forgotten. The magical necklaces, the wood nymph, all of these small pieces that made the compound what it was were pushed to the background and only surfaced occasionally. 

cooltext1921345213 copyHe steps closer and stares down at me. He tucks my hair behind my ear.   “Don’t feel bad, Nadia.”

I pucker my lips. It’s easier said than done. Jacqueline hasn’t done anything wrong to me and even if Hunter thinks she deserves the fate we’re forcing on her, I don’t. “This is why I’m a monster.”

His brows furrow. “You’re not though. You’re only coming here because of me. If I weren’t here, you’d never invade Jacqueline’s dreams.”

Tears blur my vision. “I hate this.”

He looks into my eyes for a few moments before leaning closer and kissing my cheek. “I don’t want you to feel this way. It was never my intention for you to feel guilty or hateful. I want you to be happy just like you were when we first met.”

I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him softly on the lips. “I don’t think I can.”

cooltext1889178114 copyGinnaMoranWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Blog/Instagram

Ginna Moran is a writer living in Austin, Texas but originally from Southern California. She started writing poetry as a teenager in a spiral notebook that she still has tucked away on her desk today. Her love of writing grew after she graduated high school and she completed her first unpublished manuscript at age eighteen.

When she realized her love of writing was her life’s passion, she studied literature at Mira Costa College in Northern San Diego. Besides writing novels, she was senior editor, content manager, and image coordinator for Crescent House Publishing Inc. for four years.

Aside from Ginna’s professional life, she enjoys binge watching television shows, playing pretend with her daughter, and cuddling with her dogs. Some of her favorite things include chocolate, anything that glitters, cheesy jokes, and organizing her bookshelf. Ginna is currently hard at work on her next novel.

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ARC Review & Interview: Awoken-Sarah Noffke

JPG e-book Awoken by Sarah Noffke Goodreads/Amazon

“My dark secret is I’ve always wished I was Gatsby. As heartbroken as he was and as horrible a fate as he endured, I admired that he loved. It’s a difficult thing to do.”

cooltext1790897456 copyAround the world humans are hallucinating after sleepless nights.

In a sterile, underground institute the forecasters keep reporting the same events.

And in the backwoods of Texas, a sixteen-year-old girl is about to be caught up in a fierce, ethereal battle.

Meet Roya Stark. She drowns every night in her dreams, spends her hours reading classic literature to avoid her family’s ridicule, and is prone to premonitions—which are becoming more frequent. And now her dreams are filled with strangers offering to reveal what she has always wanted to know: Who is she? That’s the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. But will Roya live to regret learning the truth?

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  1. In Awoken, the world suffers from vivid dreams (or should I say nightmares) and hallucinations. This sounds like the makings of a dystopia but Awoken is something a little different. What inspired this story?

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and sleep. Not just sleeping, but dreaming, is vital to our survival. If we don’t dream then the human brain deteriorates. REM sleep deprivation in rats has shown to cause a loss of survival behaviors, decrease of pain threshold and depression. In humans sleep deprivation causes hallucinations because it is so crucial to brain function. All this kept me thinking about the power stored in dreams and dreaming abilities. I spun these ideas around in my head until I concocted a villain (Zhuang) who stole human’s abilities to achieve REM rendering them hallucinating zombies. And maybe also I was inspired by my own sleep deprivation at the time. My daughter was six months old and not sleeping through the night. I’m fairly certain I shouldn’t have been operating a motor vehicle.

  1. Do you believe in premonitions?

Absolutely. In my own life I’ve experienced them many times. Some instances were powerful like when I knew my brother was going to die or I was going to have a car accident. Other times have been mundane and most akin to a déjà vu moment. And I’ve also heard countless reports from others who have had similar experiences. I’m not sure why we have premonitions. Maybe some people have a gift and maybe some are just attuned at the moment. Whatever the reason I find them fascinating.

  1. Is a phenomenon like mass hallucinations /nightmares possible, in your opinion? That’s a terrifying thought.

That is a terrifying thought. And I’m not sure why mass nightmares couldn’t happen. We are all connected. Not only that but nightmares are usually caused by real fears. Since we tend to spread our fears like germs among our society the idea of it happening on a mass scale seems very real to me. Media exacerbates this reality. We are very susceptible to subliminal input from our visual and auditory sources. Now hallucinations are a little different in my opinion. Something would have to happen to cause that: a drug, chemical in the air, electrical current or ancient villain with REM syphoning abilities.

  1. Roya feels like an outsider in her own family and kind of keeps to herself. What challenges did you have in crafting Roya’s character? What was your process?

That’s a great question. One challenge I had with crafting her character was developing the underlining trauma that being an outcast caused her. She can be emotionally numb, but none of us are robots. At some level we are all affected by rejection or a sense of not belonging. I wanted Roya to be strong, but not fully detached. Furthermore, I wanted Roya to be different from most heroines: small, unassuming, introverted, reluctant, and pessimistic. I love heroines who are strong and brave and stand right up to a challenge. But let’s face reality, most of us can’t relate to that. If a madman challenged me to a fight I’d totally kick some dust in his face and run the other way. I wanted Roya to be more like the average person. I wanted her to be someone who had to go through an evolution to face her greatest challenges. And more than anything I wanted her to be someone people could relate to.

  1. The Lucidites are evolutionary. How would you classify the series? Science fiction, fantasy, romance?

The Lucidites are an extremely evolved society with a higher emotional intelligence than most, not to mention they are all gifted with different powers. To me the series has components that make it science fiction, fantasy and especially later on romance. The time travel and technology give it the science fiction feel, the ancient villain and paranormal abilities contribute to the fantasy aspect, and the love triangle makes it romantic. There’s bound to be something to satisfy different tastes for different readers.

  1. Roya travels in her dreams. What made you pick the locations she visited?

Some of the locations were places I’ve visited like Buckingham Palace, Redwood Forest and Dealey Plaza. This gave me the details I needed to make these scenes real. However, there were many locations I used which I’ve never visited. Luckily the internet and other people’s accounts helped with this. Some of these locations were chosen because I really want to see these places with my own eyes like, Sydney Opera House for instance. And some of the locations were chosen because they were perfect for the scene: Red Square and Graceland.

  1. What are some things that you want readers to know about Awoken or the series as a whole?

One thing I keep hearing from readers who have finished the series is that the story is unique and unpredictable. I’m honored to hear these things. Honestly, the story surprised me when I was writing it. Common phrases that came out of my mouth while writing the series were: “He said what?”, “I didn’t see that coming!” and “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I felt like The Lucidites invaded my brain, told me their story and then left when it was complete. There are semblances in this series that relate to my own life, but there’s a lot of stuff that I have no idea where it came from. I love that and I do agree with readers that it’s unique.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Every writer has advice on this topic and it’s all worthy. It’s advice from other writers that’s made me who I am. With that being said, I don’t want to repeat what most say, but I’m going to anyway. My promise is that I’ll try to say something new too.

So most will tell an aspiring writer (and they’re correct) to read as much as possible, write every day, and read books on how to write.

Alright, now here’s my something new that I give to only you: Become intimately acquainted with the writer inside you. This is not a person the world outside will know. This is the part inside you that only you know, that tells stories inside your head, and imagines fantastic things when the normal day-to-day is going on around you. You’re the only one who knows this person and the only one who can interpret their stories. Make a habit of closing your eyes once a day and meditating with this person. In time you will be so connected to them that their words will flow from you effortlessly. Most writers I know will agree that their books do not come from them, but rather through them. This happens when you open up this channel.

And if that sounds too metaphysical for you, well then just check out Stephen King’s autobiography, On Writing. He’s a genius.

  1. Awoken illustrates that there are all sorts of evils in the world but also the potential to find magic and beauty in the universe. What do you think we could learn from Roya’s journey?

Another fantastic question. Roya isn’t who she appears, even to herself. Her journey is all about opening herself up so she can experience a richer, happier life. Much of this comes from exploring her potential. Maybe Roya’s journey will encourage readers to seek out the talents in themselves and use them. And also, throughout the series many of the characters have their own unique journeys separate from Roya’s. I’m hoping that readers find inspiration from those stories as well, but I can’t elaborate on those without giving major spoilers, which isn’t going to happen.

 

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the books and my writing process. It’s hard to express how amazing it is to be able to finally share my books. I wrote alone for so many years and went through many periods of doubt. I had someone tell me the other day, “I bet you’re getting tired of hearing feedback on your books.” Are you insane?! For the rest of my life I won’t get tired of it. I created this story for the world to read and I’m pretty darn interested in knowing what they think about it.

Thanks Jordan for the review, fantastic questions and all the support you give to the indie author community.

cooltext1790896132 copy3.5 Stars

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

PROS:

  • The concept of this story is as fascinating and it is terrifying. The idea that a mass psychosis that literally severs people from their ability to hit a REM state is something that can inspire nightmares. The human mind is our most powerful and innovative asset and when that is savagely ripped from our control and abused for a terrorist style attack on the world, it’s ingenious but a stark, cold, prospect. 
  • The Lucidite Institute is very X-Men meets Hogwarts. A competition for challenger, methods to harness mental powers, and hone in on physical prowess. The techniques and classroom assignments are thought-provoking, whimsical and kind of badass. They mesh martial arts with telekinesis and mind-reading. The sheer variety of mental talents is exhilarating to watch. How they can be used together to bring together a team of outcasts is pretty inspirational and creates an air of hope, that we have magic within ourselves if we’d just let it blossom.
  • George is a marvelous present wrapped in cheap, tattered newspaper. He’s a hidden gem. On the outside, he’s enraged, cold, and avoids Roya like the plague but when the mysteries unravel, he’s a sweetheart. There’s so much bravery and resilience packed into his character, I found myself wishing for more of his unique brand of antagonizing quips and honesty. 
  • Aiden and Roya have amazing chemistry. It’s comprised of lingering gazes, soft touches, and agonizing of over another. Aiden is a brilliant, scatterbrained scientist who gets lost in his work and when he does, he’s semi-robotic. It’s difficult to get a read off of him but his playful banter and wit draw Roya in like a magnetic along with the reader. 
  • This is a love triangle that I can get behind. It’s a real decision. So often love triangles turned into squares or octagons and it just cheapens the protagonist. Roya’s choice is painful. Both of her love interests give her something that makes her better and grow into a fierce warrior. Yes, she still has doubts but her wingmen give her the courage to be bold. There’s no bad boy, that makes all the difference. 
  • The Lucidite world is elaborate, full of advanced technology, government secrets, and experiments. There’s a sense of foreboding and corruption, like we’re missing something that will lead to a horrendous truth.
  • A twist of epic proportions.
  • Roya grows on you. At first (see cons) she’s up in the air. It’s uncertain whether or not she’ll find a place in your heart but once you get to the root of her trauma, it’s hard not to be sympathetic. Roya is unsure of herself, she sees herself as weak and nothing special, as someone to be walked on so she builds walls and sets up defenses in the form of bad attitude and insults. Roya’s struggle is unexpected in terms of a protagonist. We’re used to the shy, nerdy girl who has a small group of friends and gets harassed but Roya has no one. There’s not squad of cheerleaders or BFF to calm her, she’s lost in her solitude. Roya is a challenge, you have to dive into her psyche to piece her true personality together.

CONS:

  • Roya’s harsh past is suggested but there’s not really any substantial evidence other than her feelings. Her resentment and hurt, the treatment that made her push people away and hide within herself were neglected. I would have like to have seen (an horrible as it sounds) some scenes of her with her family and how poorly they treated her just to understand where she’s coming from. For a large chunk of the book, Roya is off-putting and sort of unlikable. She’s rude, disrespectful and even her internal dialogue is a conflicted mass of hatred and fear of interacting with others. Her defense mechanism is not pretty and I had a hard time connecting with her on a deep level. 
  • There were several scenes I found myself searching for that never happened. Zhuang. I had so many questions about him that were left unresolved and about his impact. It’s one thing to say that he invades consciences and cuts off REM sleep until human bodies fail and it’s another to actually see it and get those emotions and full-scale horror. There was a disconnect that almost made Zhuang’s larger effects feel like a nightmare and less like reality.
  • Secondary characters-some were vibrant slices of life that woke Roya’s confidence and self-worth and others were some of the most intriguing and written off. They were shadows lurking in the background, every so often you’d get a glimpse of their secret lives and then back into the dark. Ren, toxic, sarcastic, and blunt, Ren was one of my favorite characters. He’s an enigma, made of depth and secrets buried beneath his mean exterior and there was a scene where it seemed that this other side of Ren would be revealed but in lieu of the impending attack, fizzled out. Give me Ren. Give me Shuman. For characters that have a huge impact of Roya’s perception of herself and with the most detailed personalities, there were more questions than answers. Additionally, Whitney, Samara, even Goat Girl were similarly left out so that an emotional connection or even an opinion about them couldn’t really be formed. 

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cooltext1790891890 copy5th fixed bwWebsite/Goodreads/Facebook/Amazon

Sarah Noffke is the author of The Lucidite Series. She’s been everything from a corporate manager to a hippie. Her taste for adventure has taken her all over the world. If you can’t find her at the gym, then she’s probably at the frozen yogurt shop. If you can’t find her there then she probably doesn’t want to be found. She is a self-proclaimed hermit, with spontaneous urges to socialize during full moons and when Mercury is in retrograde. Sarah lives in Southern California with her family.

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ARC Review & Giveaway: Creatura-Nely Cab

NelyCabMediaKit_html_m20fd1dd9NelyCabMediaKit_html_50a909c-2Amazon // iTunes // Barnes & Noble

***I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Nely Cab and participation in this blog tour. 

TITLE: Creatura

AUTHOR: Nely Cab
RELEASED: August 6, 2013
LANGUAGE: English
PAGES: 346
“I was so stupid to think she would have me. I loathed her with a passion, yet my heart yearned for her a million times more. Her wicked emerald stare bewitched me every time; I held no cure to her curse. She was the most incomprehensible human being I had ever met. I didn’t understand her quick to change moods, or why she gazed at me in a way that made me think she held feelings for me.
She must see me as a fool, and a fool I must certainly be to continue with this obsession. I can’t endure her apathy for me any longer. A dying leper would be more likely than me to receive pity from her. And yet, with all of her coldness, she pulses through my veins like wildfire.”

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Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream.
A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are.
Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?
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                        Isis is suffering from severe insomnia, the kind that is an all-consuming battle waged between sickness and health. Isis would kill to sleep but it haunted by the shadowed creature that plagues her nightmares, growing ever closer, eager to devour her. She’s so sick and extremely tired of what the insomnia is doing to her life, she decides to confront the demon lurking in the shadows and conquer her fears. What she finds there is not at all what she expected. In place of what she could only assume was a snarling monster is a beautiful, winged creature that appears to be about her age. The creature insists that Isis has done something nefarious, that she has crossed the line in her dreams to a forbidden realm and threatens her life is she refuses to leave. Isis can’t believe the boy, that would be crazy so they strike a wager. If the boy can prove to Isis that he’s real, she will never return to that magical place in her dreamworld, the one that sparks her insomnia. With that, the deal is sealed and Isis can only hope that her sleepless nights are over.
                      Isis finds that her dreams are far more real than she ever could have imagined when the boy from her nightmares enrolls in her school. Unsettled and scared out of her mind, Isis is forced to accept the truth, the boy, David, is real and he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Isis is swept up into a world of myth and magic as she and David grow closer and secrets are revealed. A crazy ex-boyfriend, ill-fated love, and a mystery you’ll never see coming, Creatura is a mythological adventure. 
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3.5/5 Stars
PROS:
  • The mythology is beautifully written, almost like a whimsical bedtime story. Full of wonder, love, enchantment, and breathtaking imagery.  The story of the star and Deus is sigh-out-loud, giddy romantic and so passionate. ❤
  • Galen and Eryk are hilarious troublemakers. They are feisty, composed of so much life and vivacity that they’re irresistible. They’re complex and completely different despite their role as inseparable twins. My only critique is that  I would have loved to see more of them.
  • The violence is terrifying, superbly written, and the sort of heart-racing hysteria and uncertainty that accompanies a great suspense. 
  • David and Isis are adorable together. As much Isis tries to push David away, his persistence counters it ten-fold. They fit so well together, they compliment and calm each other but their emotions are so volatile that everything is in big gestures of heat and longing or vehement resistance. 
  • The overall storyline is wickedly creative and well beyond simply reimagining mythology. Little tidbits and magical powers about each character brings them to life in a very real, contemporary way that almost transports them through time. 
  • What really struck me about Creatura is that there was not a single perfect character, every one had their faults and made mistakes that brough the godly down a notch. 
  • Isis’ journal entries are compelling and a powerful insight into her emotions, ones that she doesn’t want to admit even to herself.
  • A twist you won’t see coming and a mystery that will have you yearning for the next book in the series. 
CONS:
  • David’s poetry is sickly sweet and so cheesy. All of his little notes to Isis, while romantic are a bit much and detract from David’s overall mystique. On one hand, David is possessive, courteous, an absolute gentleman, but on the other he’s overwhelmed by emotion to the point that he’s reckless and says things that will make even the sappy cringe. 
  • The secondary plot shifted the focus from the main story, the mythological aspect to something that really didn’t seem to fit except in regards to much later in the story. 
  • Isis makes some of the stupidest decisions EVER. For a girl who is so smart, she seems to forget all the drama that happened and makes idiotic choices that result in devastating consequences. 
  • There were a couple typos here and there. 
 
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Website//Facebook Book Page//Facebook Author Page//Twitter//Goodreads//Blog//Google+//Instagram//Tumblr//Amazon

Nely Cab has lived and resided in a small, quiet South Texas town most of her life. She worked in banking for several years, before she relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 2001, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting. After her return to the U.S., Nely resumed her employment in banking and later transitioned to the field of Social Work.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home, where she lives with her husband and son. Her life goal is to check-off Bucket List Item No. 95,623,351: To Conquer the World. While she aspires world domination, Nely can be found lost in other fantasy worlds in front of her computer, sipping coffee.

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Review: Dream On-M. Kircher

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Book Title: Dream On

Author Pen Name: M. Kircher

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Publish Date: April 22, 2014

Cover by Amanda L. Matthews, Am Design Studios

Publisher: Astraea Press

Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Smashwords | Kobo

cooltext1544204149 copyLove is dangerous for Emily, even in her dreams.

Seventeen-year-old dreamwalker, Em, might have to choose—leave her mother forever in the dreamworld or save the life of hot, rebel Gabe.

Emily Dal Monte and her mother, Lily, are special. They’re humans with a glitch in their genetic code that allows them to explore the fantastic, and often terrifying, world of their dreams for as long as they choose to remain asleep. But when Em’s father is killed in a tragic accident and her distraught mother loses herself more and more in the dreams of her crumbling mind, Em is forced to support the two of them the only way she knows how, by writing down her mother’s amazing dreams and selling them as books. Enter Gabriel Sobel, the handsome punk newcomer at Em’s high school who realizes Em is the daughter of his favorite, reclusive author. Gabe can’t figure out why Em keeps brushing him off and makes it his mission to find out what’s really going at the Dal Monte household. He stumbles upon their shocking family secret just as Lily takes a turn for the worse. It’s up to Em, Gabe, and one very nosy book editor to hop from one extraordinary dream to the next to find Lily and convince her to wake up before she loses her mind…and before Em loses her first chance at love.

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4/5 Stars

Dream On invites you into a surrealist dreamscape, exploring the deepest facets of the human psyche through the fascinating stories crafted in dreams. Each dream is like a different world, unique, vibrant, and full of psychedelic imagery and twisted nightmares that bring darkest fears to life. At its heart, Dream On is about a mother-daughter relationship that is falling apart at the seams and the lengths we will go to for love. 

PROS:

  • Dream On is a love story tha transcends reality and gains beautiful life in dreams. What is so compelling about this story is that it’s an unconventional love story and is a multifaceted one at that. There are many forms of love within the story, love between a mother and daughter, love between a husband and wife, and the budding romance between two teenagers.
  • Dream On is a whirlwind journey into the purest form of imagination, where mystery, fantasy, and fear collide, and where fairy tales truly exist. Emily, Gabe, and Evan embark on a rescue mission of epic proportions, navigating through the unpredictable and dangerous confines of dreams. The dreams are colorful, inventive, and fantastical presenting a gripping beauty that speaks of whimsy and magic. Even the most intoxicating visions are shadowed by a sense of urgent desperation and disquieting uncertainty. There’s little to no control and time is very limited, increasing the anxiety and thrill of their quest. 
  • There is an element of fear that’s haunting and targeted. The hellish landscapes of some of the dreams tackle phobias and force the characters to face their fears and their demons, growing stronger and more confident as characters. The bloody, disturbing sections are chilling, nightmares are brought to life and add a twisted and sinister vibe to the plot. The idea of being trapped, of dying within a dream is particularly scary.
  • Gabe is an odd character. He’s pushy, honest, and far too inquisitive for his own good. His presence is loud, he firmly inserts himself into Emily’s life and will not back down. His confidence and fascination with story and Emily’s power is kind of adorable. 
  • Gabe and Emily’s interactions are laced with sarcasm and underlying tension. They tease and taunt each other, Gabe is highly amused with Emily is angered by his audacity. They’re both sort of odd, anti-social and independent protagonists that butt heads but complete each other.
  • Emily’s story is fused with resentment and pain. Her loss is twofold, not only did she lose her father physically but lost her mother mentally. She had to make huge sacrifices, shying away from friends to keep her secret, always protecting her mother and never really having a childhood. Emily is crazy strong, she’s focused and determined to succeed and get through life caring for her mother. Because Emily is so steady and solid, when she breaks down it’s emotionally cutting. Her relationship with her mother is so contaminated by the lifestyle she was forced into and how much she’s had to give up but her love for her mother is fierce and worth risking her life for. 

CONS:

  • Lily is an iffy character. She’s so consumed by her grief that she’s willing to sacrifice her relationship with her daughter and her life as she knows it to live in a fantasy realm where her dead husband is alive in her mind. Lily is blinded, completely and utterly driven by the need to be in the dream world. She ignores everything else, she won’t hear reason, and even when Emily is pouring her heart out, confessing the hurt and betrayal she feels by her mother’s abandonment, she zones out, uncaring and oblivious. Because the story is through Emily’s eyes, her pain is so achingly real and raw that Lily’s actions are infuriating, thoughtless, and make you hate her a little. At the same time, Lily is almost child-like in her grief. She’s fragile and broken, her heart’s shattered and she doesn’t know how to cope or move on with her life because her love was so passionate. It’s heartbreaking. The love she felt was so woven into who she was as a person that when it was lost, she started to unravel mentally and emotionally. Lily inspires compassion and envy simultaneously. That kind of love is part of the soul and without it, you can hardly blame her for being unable to function. But this does not make her neglect anywhere near okay.
  • The insertion of the lit agent/editor as a threat and major character felt a bit random. The scenes at the school were also kind of unnecessary, especially the role of the popular, snobby girl. It felt a little like filler.

 

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Tiny shafts of sunlight stream down from the treetops above us, forming small rings that illuminate the red pine-covered ground below. It’s weird how quiet it is here. There are none of the sounds you’d normally associate with a forest, like the scurrying tread of small animals or the soft breeze rustling through the trees. Everything is completely still.

I rest my forehead against the warm bark of the tree and try to calm my racing thoughts. How do I get us out of this mess? Mom and Evan aren’t here with Gabe and me. At least, as far as I can tell, they aren’t here, and we don’t have any time to find them. Evan and Gabe need to wake up now, or they could die. It’s so simple, yet so complicated. Do I save Gabe’s life? Or do I continue to risk killing him and try to save everyone? If I pull Gabe out, I could risk losing both Mom and Evan inside this dream. I have no idea if Mom’s recognition of me was a moment’s clarity, or something more lasting. I might never be able to locate her and Evan again.

A sob rises in my throat. I can’t help it. I’m so tired and overwhelmed, and we’re all so deeply in trouble. Despite my best efforts, the sob escapes, and then I can’t seem to stop another one from bursting out of my mouth. And then another one. Huge, wrenching cries tear through me, and I double over, my face in my hands, as the tears stream through my fingertips.

It’s all just too much.

I hear Gabe come to stand beside me, and before I can protest, he draws me back into his arms. I can’t seem to stop crying. I’m so embarrassed, but I just can’t stop.

His rough fingers catch the bottom of my chin, and slowly he tilts my face up toward his, so we’re gazing into each other’s eyes. My breath hitches, and it’s not just from all the crying.

“I’m sorry, Em,” Gabe whispers, his soft words loud in the silence surrounding us. “But there’s no one I’d rather be with right now than you.”

Guest Post # 3: 5 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer 

  1. Be ready to learn – Every writer wants a long and successful career, and one of the key components to longevity is the ability to take in constructive criticism. Don’t hold your work too dearly; figure out ways to improve it and try out different techniques in order to grow your talent. Listen to your beta readers when they give you feedback. Listen to those readers who post reviews, both good and bad—sometimes bad reviews can teach you the most!
  2. Treat people with respect – When receiving any kind of feedback or dealing with other writers and readers, make sure you treat them with kindness and respect. You might be bristling from a nasty comment, but nothing is classier than a proper, “Thank you so much for your opinion. I really value your input.” Readers and bloggers really care about their fiction and it behooves you as a writer to listen to them with grace and aplomb.
  3. Always read the guidelines– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the “submit” button and then realized I formatted a query exactly how an agent or publisher requested not to! So now I’m a complete fiend about reading submission guidelines thoroughly. It just makes sense to follow an agent’s rules when asking them to read your work.
  4. Meet your deadlines – If a blogger asks you for your press kit by Friday at noon, make sure it’s in their Inbox by Friday at noon. This is so simple, but I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten simply because I turn my work in on time.
  5. Marketing is the other part of the writing gig – Whether you sign with a huge publishing house, an indie, or you decide to self-publish, consider marketing something you must address every work day. Keep up on your social media accounts, continue making new review requests for at least a year after your book is released, try purchasing ads through different sites, and listing your book in as many places as you can.

Guest Post # 6: Five Words to describe Dream On

  1. FantasticalEm and her mother Lily are dreamwalkers, people with a glitch in their DNA who have the power to control their dreams and stay asleep for as long as they desire. Em, Lily, Gabe, and Evan (the main characters in the story) spend a good deal of their time hopping from one fantastical dream to the next. They explore worlds that are completely white, with ghost-filled castles and curious owls, desert marketplaces run by monsters, rooms that explode into swarms of bees, deep caves made entirely of diamonds and abandoned tunnels with giant snakes. Some of the dreams are fantasies and some are nightmares…now all they have to do is figure a way out!
  1. FragileTo the rest of the world, Emily Dal Monte appears to be a strong teenage girl. After all, she’s had to take care of herself and half-insane mother since she was twelve years old. It isn’t until Gabe comes into Em’s life, and discovers that she’s a dreamwalker, that Em begins to realize how hurt and angry she really is. Gabe helps Em to let her guard down and begin to repair her relationship with her even more fragile mother, Lily. But will Lily find the strength to put herself back together and save them all?
  1. Passion Em and Gabe start out having a tempestuous relationship. He invades her privacy and learns her closely guarded secret and she can’t stand how arrogant he is—and how much his good looks make her go all fluttery inside. But as a serious of dangerous events unfold; Em and Gabe discover a fiery love that only death has the power to quench.
  1. TerrorA nightmare is something most of us of try to forget, but for Em, nightmares are a way of life. Sure, she can control how long she stays in the dreamworld, but she must first complete whatever dream she’s in so that she can leave. So if Em falls asleep and finds herself face-to-face with her dead father and a mother who’s trying to drown her, she must suffer through every terrifying second until it’s time to wake up.
  1. VibrantThe dreamworld enhances a person’s senses. Food tastes richer, smells are more intoxicating, colors are so bright that they sometimes hurt your eyes. Dreams can be so sharply beautiful you almost want to stay in them forever, but what if their vibrancy made you forget about your life out in the real world?

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M. KIRCHER graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gordon College. She devours YA, science fiction, fantasy, and romance on a regular basis and is immensely happy to pour her time and energy into creating stories for other people to enjoy. Bob Ross and J.R.R. Tolkien tie for her two favorite people of all time.

M. Kircher lives in Connecticut with her husband, energetic son, and new baby girl.

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