Cover Reveal: The Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

violet-grenade-coverGoodreads

syn

DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

Fierce reading,

Jordan

(Proud member of the #VMafia)

Review Tour: Something More Series Box Set by Danielle Pearl

reviewtour_banner

This box set is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and contains three amazing new adult books that you need to read NOW!

somethingmore-box

Amazon US | Amazon UK

something-more-teaser-2

It’s the kind of situation most people would dread. Starting at a new high school, in the middle of my senior year, in a new town, in a new state. I know no one. No one knows me. That’s what I’m counting on.

A year ago, Aurora “Rory” Pine was just a normal teenage girl – just as sweet and naive as the fairy tale princess she was named after.

But this isn’t a year ago.

Rory is broken, and suffering from a new debilitating anxiety disorder, wrought with precarious triggers, she moves across the country to escape the source of her troubles. Her plan is anonymity, but that’s easier said than achieved for the new girl having a panic episode outside of calculus. The worst part? There’s a witness – and a gorgeous one at that.

Sam is a walking trigger for Rory. Incredibly handsome, built like the star athlete he obviously is, and undoubtedly popular, Sam outwardly represents everything Rory despises about high school. But as the fates keep throwing them together, a connection sparks that neither ever expected, and certainly can’t ignore.

But Sam has issues too, and Rory’s past won’t just stay in the damned past. When friendship evolves into something deeper, can a girl utterly destroyed by the worst kind of betrayal and a boy battling demons of his own ever have a normal relationship? Is that even what they want? Find out in NORMAL, a gritty story of trust and abuse, heartbreak and salvation, and if they’re lucky – love. This is not a flowery romance – not for the faint of heart.

review

5/5 Stars 

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via the author

+++This book does contain triggers- sexual, physical, and psychological abuse as well as MATURE content

Normal is the kind of book that opens your heart, examines its parts and then stomps all over it only to put it back together again, better than before. It’s feels overload. The flashback scenes are gut-wrenching, horrifying, the sort of paralyzing trauma that leaves you breathless in sheer fear and trembling with tears. Rory’s suffering is incredibly moving and heartbreaking. Every remembered incident is an open wound and your heart will bleed right along with her. Grab your tissues. Lots of them. 

The violence is graphic and brutal. The details physically are coupled with Rory’s internal dialogue. Her thoughts are she was in the moment are scattered and conflicted as she tries to process the reality of her situation and to understand how something so horrific can happen. Some scenes may have you averting your eyes or skimming. It’s hard to read because it is emotional chaos. The scenes in the car, omg, and the locker room. I’d never been so scared for a character in my life. The terror will consume you and open doors to understanding.

When you get to the back of the book, there’s an explanation of the inspiration behind this novel. Danielle Pearl said she wanted to write a book about abuse that is not black and white but the perfect shade of gray. Pearl exceeded by expectations. There are times when you want to be mad at Rory, that you want to shake her and scream for her to get out of there but her thought process will have you pausing, rethinking. Rory’s mentality, her youth and inexperience are highlighted and very believable. For a girl who was just coming into her sexuality and unsure of what it means to have a boyfriend let alone a sexual relationship, her innocence and confusion really challenge the notion that everything is black and white. Rory doesn’t know, she feels alone, diminished, and broken with no one to talk to because she has been taught to feel shame. My heart broke for Rory and the rage was intense. Every time I hear the justification for assault as someone was asking for it incites my fury. It’s ridiculous and Rory epitomizes how this notion sinks under the skin, making girl question whether or not rape is their fault. Also, the excuse for cheating as “I have needs.” UGHHHHH.

Rory’s anxiety, her triggers, her life-preserver of just knowing her pills are there if she needs help are accurate and insightful portrayals of PTSD. That Rory should have to feel paralyzed to be alone in a room with a male, that she has to constantly adjust her life so as to not aggravate her triggers is unfair and honest. Every ounce of uncertainty and how it comes over her in sudden waves of fear granted more psychological understanding of a character than I’ve experienced.

Rory is brave. Her courage is an inspiration and made of awe. That she, knowing the possible consequences and the Golden status of her abuser, had it in her to make a report is powerful to read. Despite everything she’s suffered and her severe psychological and physical scars, she took a stand to save herself. Rory is that character that forces you to think, to feel, and experience. She’s the kind of character that will leave you all over the place, bogged down with emotion. Rory is a tiny broken bird, thirsting to disappear into the background but when she shines, she’s a phoenix. Rory is resilient in body and spirit, she’s an example of hope that everyone should read.

Sam is a lesson in patience and compassion. He cradles and soothes Rory. He understands her on a deep level that transcends his years and his playboy attitude. He gets it. His own story is sad and violent, he struggles with control but realizes that he is a better person, that overcoming is an everyday challenge. 

Sam and Rory together are therapeutic. They’re a wonder couple. They have their challenges, every day is a little better when their together and in each other’s arms they can move on from the past that haunts them. They’re playful and real, they share their secrets and feel safe with each other. It’s beautiful and a little tragic but the kind of love that speaks of forever.

teaser-normal

Rory and Sam fell in love in NORMAL, and we all fell in love right along with them. Now see it all unfold through Sam’s eyes, and learn just how the new girl with anxiety issues stole the heart of the gorgeous heartthrob, and turned his world upside down.

You already heard the story. The one of how Rory and I fell in love, supposedly, even if she couldn’t handle it in the end. You know how it all went.

Or you think you do.

You only know her side. But I have my own point of view, and even Rory couldn’t know my thoughts in those few months it took for her to go from being a stranger to my whole entire world.

Every moment is permanently ingrained in my memory. In my goddamned soul. From the moment I stumbled upon the girl panicking outside of calculus – the one with the tight little body, the angelic face, and the fierce attitude – to the night she abandoned me in Miami. It was the sum of those moments that changed me irrevocably.

Our story isn’t over. I won’t let it be. But this, this is what happened so far, the way I saw it.

I’m Cap. Or Sam, to Rory. And this is my story.

review

4/5 Stars

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

From the first page of this series, I’ve been hooked. I love everything about Rory and Sam, their complex relationship, the past trauma, how they heal each other’s wounds and see how strong they truly are just by being loved. It’s beautiful, uplifting, heartbreaking, everything you could ever want in a story and so so so important. The Something More series deals with crucial issues that are not voiced enough, that people look away from rather than take action against like domestic abuse and rape. In many ways, when we do hear these stories, they’re from one side, or maybe two, the victim and the attacker, but what about the people who are there after, those who love and cherish those who have been hurt so deeply? ReCap is that other story. The powerful and life-changing POV of those who fall madly in love with someone who has been abused and the everyday struggles that come up.

Sam is…I mean, he’s amazing. That word somehow seems less. Sam is empathetic, strong, fierce, protective, and soul-crushingly, swoon-inducing, devoted to Rory. He sees her scars and worships at the altar of her strength. Rory is something holy and angelic to him. No matter how broken she sees herself, she’s the epitome of perfect to Sam because she has overcome so much.

It’s intense reading Sam’s emotions as he watches Rory fight for control of her PTSD. The thoughts that race through his mind, his struggle to understand, and the way he beats himself up when he makes mistakes are incredibly raw and honest. The fine line between treating her like she’s fragile and comforting her is hard to master and Sam makes tons of mistakes. 

It’s all the things you don’t think about that are brought to your attention in this book. The way we take things for granted, like casual touching, or grabbing someone when you want to get their attention. It’s eye-opening to witness how things we brush off can trigger someone who has been through trauma. 

How Sam sees Rory. It’s like seeing the sun for the first time. That bright, almost startling brightness, the magic of its beauty, the way it warms and occasionally burns, but brings so much comfort. That is what Sam feels every time he looks at Rory, like he’s awake for the first time. The emotions are off the charts, almost too much. I might be a little in love with Sam. 

teaser-okay

After the horrors she’s survived over the past year, Rory never expected to find the one thing she certainly wasn’t looking for – love. But after the painful realization that her past has left her a dangerous liability to the person she cares for the most, she finally understands that for her and Sam, love means letting go.

Can two people hopelessly in love with one another ever revert back into just friends? Neither Rory nor Sam know for sure. But the one thing they do know – it’s the only choice they have.

As Rory recovers from a devastating assault, Sam will do anything to make sure it never happens again. But how far will he go to keep her safe? Their choices will change everything, and they will either bring them back together, or destroy them irrevocably.

review

5/5 Stars

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

+++A few words about genre and context: Okay can be classified as Mature YA or early New Adult. In both cases it is a drama, romance, and contemporary. It does contain mature themes that are better suited for older YA so 18ish+. The content deals with issues of domestic and sexual abuse.Contains triggers. 

It’s taken me a while to write this review not because I was busy or lazy but because I had so much to say and this review was harder to write than others. When I first read NORMAL, I was absolutely stunned and impressed with Danielle Pearl’s voice. The way she captured the anxiety, the terror, and just how debilitating living with PTSD is on a daily basis was precise, accurate and showcased a substantial amount of research and understanding. Generally when people think of PTSD, I think they assume soldiers. PTSD has many faces and many levels of distress. Danielle Pearl does an amazing job informing the reader of the little things, the tiny day-to-day activities that those who do not suffer from PTSD don’t think about and sheds light on the strength it takes to endure when anxiety and memory strike. OKAY is a continuation of Rory and Sam’s romance and hones in more on self acceptance, learning to love in the face of a traumatic series of sexual abuse, and discovering that no matter how dark and horrendous the past can be, hope is as resilient as the human spirit. 

I appreciate so many things about what Danielle Pearl has done with this series: her endeavour to write about sexual assault from a gray area, to address ignorant assumptions about sexual violence and whether or not it can be okay. It’s never okay and no girl is “asking for it” despite what she wears or how beautiful she is. I think it’s crucial to address this mentality that is somehow drilled into people from a young age. The idea of dressing promiscuously as a gateway or okay for sexual assault. Where did this concept come from? Asking for it? The guilt, the questioning, the deliberation that women have to go through before throwing on clothes. Every aspect of care and thought so that she not look too tempting, that she not tease the men with too much cleavage or leg because they have no restraint. How is that acceptable or okay? OKAY made me question how I view sexual assault and the grounds on which abuse is determined. The argument that short skirts and flirting is justification is weak at best but even Rory questioned whether she was at fault, if she was indeed asking for it? How many girls go through this after assault? How many don’t report it because they believe they did something wrong? Danielle Pearl asks hard questions that we as humans need to address and ask more of.

Rory’s insecurities are real and relatable. Having never been in a non-abusive relationship, she doesn’t know what is expected or how she should behave, she also doesn’t feel worthy of love and it is devastating. Rory’s emotions are a chaotic mess of longing and memory, she’s haunted and doesn’t know if she’s capable of love after her abuse. Sometimes Rory makes decisions and interprets things in ways that seem foreign or strange to me but Danielle Pearl clearly outlines Rory’s thought process so that you see where she’s coming from. Rory is terrified of a future where she’s have to open her heart and share her body and because of this fear she pushes Sam away. I think what makes Rory so compelling is that she’s a survivor. It’s not that she’s super confident or smart, she’s not perfect, she’s scarred and weighed down by her past but she’s REAL. Her beauty shines through her brokeness and though occasionally emotionally fragile because of her PTSD she has a lot of fight in her when she lets it show.

Secondary relationships became a major plot element this time around. In the first book, one of my critiques was that friendships were almost an afterthought. In OKAY relationships between the main characters and their parents and the protagonists and their friends were complex and grew as the story progressed. Sam’s relationship with his father was gripping. All of Sam’s animosity, his violence and anger stems from his horrendous feelings towards his father. The therapeutic interactions between them allowed for Sam to understand, to open his mind, and forgive, not fully but he’s on his way. 

Sam’s feelings for Rory are transcendent, pure, heavenly. You feel every ounce of his attraction and respect towards her. From the way she looks, to her tiny mannerisms, and even when she’s throwing him off, he knows when to give her space. Sam’s anger is explosive, deep-seeded, and volatile, but the memory of his father’s actions ground him. Knowing that he is just as vulnerable and attached as Rory added another level to their relationship. 

The romantic scenes between Sam and Rory are molten hot bouts of ecstasy and carnal heat one moment and perfect love and mutual understanding the next. They care about each other’s happiness and that attentiveness intensifies their already steamy romance. 

The off and on, push and shove of Sam and Rory’s romance/friendship was infuriating. I understood Rory’s interpretation but I couldn’t get past the fact that out of everything Sam had done for her, the adoration and comfort he had shown her that she would believe she was better off without him or that he didn’t love her. It just didn’t make sense. 

author1177095_origDanielle Pearl is the Amazon and iBooks best-selling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who–luckily–doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult Contemporary Romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Instagram

Life changing reading, 

Jordan

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

the-devil-you-knowiBooks/B&N/Amazon/Goodreads

syn

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

review

2.5/5 Stars 

+++Parts of this story are MATURE

The Devil You Know was not at all what I expected it to be. You know those horror films that start out with a bunch of kids partying and end up with someone winding up dead? This is exactly like that, I can easily see it as a film. The familiar tropes were there: restless heroine looking to escape, love triangle with two hot out of towners, a series of semi-sinister but not entirely scary incidents. It all feels so familiar and more than a little predictable. 

The premise didn’t sit right with me. I don’t care how tired of her situation the main character is (it’s stressed repeatedly), she’s responsible, smart, and known for making rational choices, so when she makes the decision to ride off into the sunset…or in this case a canoe, with complete strangers it made zero sense. Everything felt super fast in terms of development-so much so that it was jarring. The insta-attraction was fierce, the meet and run away happened within hours. What kind of crazy person hops in a car with two random guys she met the night before? It wasn’t exactly believable for modern times…maybe if it was set in the 70s or even the 80s. 

The story was enjoyable though. It felt like a romance with just the right amount of angst and drama. The chemistry was hot. The boys were both contenders and had a lot going for them. A clean-cut, pretty boy, his rough cousin, tatted and with a record. There’s something for the good girl with a reckless streak in all of us. 

Scenery was spot on and engaging. The trip to Casadaga was especially interesting because I’ve been there and it’s a creepy, yet fascinating place that anyone should check out given the opportunity.

Secondary characters were memorable, if a little cliché. The ex boyfriend’s brother was much-needed comic relief and pretty gross, but in a lovable, perverse way. 

The twist had so many tells and clues that it came as no surprise to me, however this did not detract from the suspense-filled, adrenaline rush of a finale. 

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

Exciting reading, 

Jordan

Review: Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

tell-me-something-real-9781481461153_hrGoodreads/B&N/Amazon/iBooks

syn

Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

review

3/5 Stars

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for a coming of age drama with a twist you won’t see coming
  • You like books that are NOT romance driven
  • Sisterhood is everything

Tell Me Something Real is unexpected and eye-opening. At first, it reads like your typical coming of age drama and then, the truth. It took a good 10 minutes for me to process and as the story continued to unravel, the severity of the “real” had a subtle punch that built into a nightmare. The damage that can come from a single choice made by someone you love can be life long and brutal. The aftershock is hard to escape. 

Tell Me Something Real is set in the 1970s. Sometimes it feels that way and others it feels more like contemporary day-to-day life. The setting was inconsistent. While there were a handful of historical references and music preferences, it didn’t feel like a big deal. I wasn’t transported or invested in the time period. Perhaps the time choice was for the particular type of experimental cancer drug, but it wasn’t explained. 

Sisterhood is everything in this story. Each Babcock girl is so different, but their bond is undeniable and transcendent. They love each other. It’s in everything they do. The way they tease each other, they way they comfort and ease each other’s fears. They’re going through something horrific, extremely traumatic and life-altering. It’s a slow and hallow experience, that helplessness that overwhelms when you watch a loved one succumb to their sickness. There’s nothing you can do but wait. That feeling, the raw and painful truth of it is well written and on point. It’s not in your face emotional. It captures the little, everyday things that change when something like this happens. The way people start to push you away, look at you differently, the excessive sympathy, the way people step aside because they don’t know how to react and how much that hurts. Your life becomes about the sickness and the care. Everything else loses its sway and you’d give anything to feel normal again. As someone who recently lost a family member to cancer, this was cathartic and therapeutic for me-I felt like someone understood and that mutual understanding is everything.

The story is broken into 3 sections, that are like 3 phases of processing and coming to terms with what happened. The first section of the book is slow. It drags quite a bit and I had to push through. Yes, I sympathized with the characters, it’s hard not to, but there wasn’t anything really exciting going on.

 Adrienne was a loud presence in the background but didn’t have a huge function in the story. Later in the book she becomes more present, but for the most part, she shouts some obscenities, insults people, lashes out, and does her own thing. I didn’t really like her much. Some of the things she off-handedly says rubbed me the wrong way. 

The romance is there. It doesn’t feel like instalove or a build up, it suddenly exists and somehow feels like it has always been there. There’s not fire or lust really, just shared understanding and seeing into each other’s deepest fears and desires and accepting them without question. 

The twist is sickening and shocking. The lengths, the lies, the pain that comes from something like this that can go one for ages before anyone notices…wow. 

What killed me, broke my heart into pieces and set them on fire, was little Marie. Her way of dealing with her mother’s sickness is to become obsessed with religious martyrs. It becomes her truth, her way of life, their prayers and actions are in everything she does and it makes her life hard. None of her peers understand her and despite having her sisters, she’s so alone. To think that she believes she could have changed things, it breaks me up inside. 

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

Emotional reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Forget Me Always by Sara Wolf

forget-me-always-500x700-1Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

syn

All warfare is deception. Even in high school.

It’s been nineteen days since Isis Blake forgot about him. The boy she can’t quite remember. She’s stuck in the hospital with a turban-size bandage on her head, more Jell-o than a human being should ever face, and a tiny bit of localized amnesia. Her only goal? To get out of this place before she becomes a complete nutjob herself.

But as Isis’s memories start to return, she realizes there’s something important there at the edges of her mind. Something that may mean the difference between life and death. Something about Sophia, Jack’s girlfriend.

Jack Hunter—the “Ice Prince”—remembers everything. Remembers Isis’s purple hair and her smart-ass mouth. Remembers that for a little while, Isis made him feel human. She made him feel. She burned a hole in the ice…and it’s time to freeze back up. Boys like him don’t deserve girls like her. Because Jack is dangerous. And that danger might be the only thing protecting her from something far more threatening.

Her past.

Previously published as Savage Delight, this fully revised and updated edition is full of hilarity, drama, and heartbreak.

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled and NetGalley

Forget Me Always is a weird little book. Let me preface this review by saying that I did not read book 1 in this series. I went in blind. I had no knowledge whatsoever of the craziness that happened in book 1, so to me this probably read like more of a mystery than it actually was.

I don’t think I’ve ever read more unlikable characters. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. You probably should dislike them. Not everyone is perfect. Sometimes people are broken and in pain and don’t know how to cope. That’s a truth that is evident in this book.They’re a messy bunch of angst-riddled, spastic people harboring wounds so deep and tragic that it’s jarring even reading them. Jack is a masochistic jerk. He’s hurtful, lashes out, lives on sarcasm and self-loathing. His darkness is internalized until it becomes a physically painful truth to whoever he’s projecting his pain on. He’s twisted, complex, and has so much on his shoulders but his personality is just so negative that you kind of hate him. And yet…he’s like a brooding, tragic hero that you want to see through to the end-to see if he self destructs or comes to terms with his demons.

Isis seems way, way younger than her age. She evades and forces happiness to shield herself from past trauma-but because of that doesn’t really experience strong character growth. Some readers might appreciate her unique brand of quirky, she definitely has a strong voice, but for me it was too potent. At the same time, she certainly makes things interesting and her spirit rubs off on people, making them open up and care again. She’s devoted, a great friend.

Sophia is a nightmare, but I liked her. She vicious and cruel and borderline evil half the time, but the other times she’s bizarre and wounded, and dare I say sweet. She’s that character that you love to hate. 

There’s so much going on this book. Things coming from all directions. There was a lot left unresolved; the ending was bleak and twisted. 

The story has many components that are so relevant to teen life-sex, drugs, depression, abuse, making unsavory choices to provide for those you love, bullying, manipulation. Borderline Pretty Little Liars scale crazy with coercion, lies, and so many secrets.

Intriguing reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review & Giveaway: The Butterfly and the Moonbeam by Kim Streible

BT BANNER.pngthebutterflyandthemoonbeamAMAZON | PAPERBACK | iTUNES | KOBO

 syn

“The journey to womanhood is different for every girl.”

In this diverse and heart-wrenching debut novel that begins in the rural country of Kentucky in 1978, two sisters create a childhood for themselves among a dark reality they cannot escape. It’s a sweeping journey of two lives forever entwined in common experience and love.

Kathleen spent the first nine years of her life lost, when the death of her infant brother led her parents into a spiraling void of grief. When Lucy was born, she was life itself. For Kathleen, Lucy was more of a child, than a younger sister. Caring for her gave Kathleen’s life meaning, opening her to a new world of love and trust. When a series of tragic events separates them, each embark on their own path. Kathleen desperate to find her sister, and Lucy learning to exist in an unforgiving world without her sister to protect her.

Author Kim Streible crafts a moving coming-of-age journey about sisterhood, the tribulations of relationships and lasting love.

Excerpt
“Kathleen had wished for a different mother and father so many times. She’d even prayed for them to come and take her away, but instead, she got Lucy. She’d never even imagined having a sister. As it turned out, it was better than having new parents.”
Lucy turned away from the window and came to the edge of Kathleen’s bed. “Did Grandma Janie go to heaven?”

“I don’t know,” Kathleen said. “Probably.”

Lucy furrowed her eyebrows. “How do you know if you were good enough to go to heaven and not hell?”

“I don’t think there is a hell.” People seemed so much better at punishing themselves. Kathleen couldn’t figure a reason for a hell.

“Where do bad people go then?”

Kathleen shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe they just die. They lie in the dark, worms all around them and they decay and just, don’t exist anymore.”

“Don’t scare me,” Lucy said.

“I’m not.”

“Kathleen, please don’t lie.”

She shut her book. “I’m not. I’m not really sure. Some people believe in heaven, some people believe in nothing. Some people believe that you live on, that you are like energy and the energy just travels on to somewhere else, like maybe to the sea, or a flower. And some people think that they just linger around.”

“Their souls?” Lucy asked.

“Yeah, their spirits, like shadows behind a curtain. They are faint, but they’re still there.”

“Oh.” Lucy curled her fingers around the edge of the bed frame. “What do you believe?”

“I hope that we get to come back and be something wonderful.”

Lucy twisted her feet. “I’d be a butterfly.”

Kathleen smiled. “Yeah? They are pretty.”

“And they can fly.” Lucy walked around the bedpost and pulled herself onto the end of Kathleen’s bed. “What would you be?”

“Something eternal.”

“What’s internal mean?”

Kathleen laughed. “Not internal, eternal. It means something that goes on forever.” Kathleen crossed her legs, sitting Indian style on the bed, holding the book in her lap. “I know what I’d be,” she added, “a moonbeam.”

“A moonbeam? Would that be good?” Lucy asked.

“Sure,” Kathleen replied. “You cast down every night all over the world, people stand and look up at you from every point of the Earth. They dream of your mysteries, they tell you all of their wishes. They think you’re beautiful.” She looked at Lucy. “And you’d be part of the constellations.”

“What’s constetrations?”

“Stars.”

“Oh,” Lucy said. “Kathleen?”

“Yeah?”

Lucy looked at her. “If I’m a butterfly and you’re a moonbeam, then we get to see each other every night right?”

She smiled. “We sure would.”

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour

The Butterfly and the Moonbeam is a bittersweet coming of age story that celebrates the bond of sisterhood and the unconditional love that comes with growing up, confiding in each other, and learning to find beauty in life despite all the ugliness the world can throw at you. 

Kathleen and Lucy are surrounded by a cloud of grief, abuse, and depression, and yet, their love for each other allows them to find magic and happiness despite everything working against them. Their bond is beautiful, strong, and potent. Their love and adoration oozes off the pages and will fill you with such warmth.

Lucy is a curious little girl. She questions everything and is enchanted by everyday simplicity. Her wide-eyed wonder is contagious and will make you want to look at the world with new eyes. When everything starts to fall apart and she begins to see the darkness, it’s like being gutted, watching some of that light fade from such a sweet child. Lucy’s sections have a consistent and playful voice, full of curiosity. You can tell her age and it’s adorable. 

Kathleen has an unfortunate amount of pressure and responsibility on her shoulders, but she never once looks at Lucy as a burden,her love trumps that. This unfaltering care for her sister will earn your respect and root for her happily ever after. 

There are a ton of serious and common issues that are done so well and should be talked about-alcoholism, depression, loss of a child, mental, illness, and domestic abuse all feature in this story. Kim Streible does an amazing job at showing depression as if it were another person in the room, a living and breathing entity whose presence takes over like a toxic, dark sickness. 

The setting is in the 70s and the references to the time period are pretty spot on. You’ll feel transported.

If you’re not into coming of age stories or slower, everyday life drama, this may not be for you. The pacing was so slow for me. I really had to push. The story was griping, but I guess because it was a slower time, some sections really dragged and I got distracted. 

auth
Kim Streible grew up with a healthy love of books, music and movies. The telling of stories fascinated her. She has a current obsession with the band, The Pretty Reckless and has become increasingly nervous at the happenings on the Walking Dead. When she isn’t writing, you might find her pinning Batman and other goodies on Pinterest. She has authored over eight novels, including the steamy romance series Desert Pleasures, just published under the pseudonym, Zoe Blackwood.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | PINTEREST

giveaway
Enter to win a SIGNED PAPERBACK of THE BUTTERFLY AND THE MOONBEAM!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Happy reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review, Exclusive & Giveaway: Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

BlackFlowersWhiteLies_Tour copyBlackFlowersWhiteLies_coverGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound   

Release Date: October 4, 2016

syn

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

guestOscar in laundry

Ella’s cat was always named Oscar throughout various revisions. While writing Black Flowers, White Lies, Yvonne learned that an author friend, Jennifer Murgia, had a real-life Oscar. Jennifer shared some photos of her Oscar, which Yvonne used to better describe the fictional cat. A cute photo of Oscar in a laundry basket prompted Yvonne to include a mention of that in the story (page 114).

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour

Black Flowers, White Lies is a subtle psychological thriller that builds up to a startling twist. At first, the story is relatively slow. Everything is there, cute boy, possible paranormal encounter, and a quirky female lead. It feels like an everyday, fairly tame, contemporary coming of age. It takes a bit, but when it picks up, it’s fast and you’ll start to question everything. 

Ella is well developed and interesting. Her love for her deceased father is in everything she does. She holds him up like a mythical hero and it influences all aspects of her life-from her clever cat shirts to her volunteer work to her beliefs in the paranormal. Her voice is steady and consistent. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and gets easily overwhelmed. She’s flawed, a  little weird, but relatable. What bothered me was her naive infatuation with males. From Blake to Gavin, the instalust/love is strong. She barely thinks before swoony, make out scenes. It takes her forever to question a certain someone’s motives, even though it’s SUPER COINCIDENTAL and creepy. 

Grace is a sneaky little character. I loathed her. She’s a self-absorbed, judgmental best friend and I seriously thought Ella deserved better, someone a little more understanding and not so snotty. Thankfully, her parts were brief. How Ella is so oblivious is beyond me. 

The story is short. Almost too short. Some sections could have been a more developed, layering the odd events.

There’s a ton of skillful misdirection. Everyone is a suspect and despite any misgivings, the uncertainty almost pushes you to believe in the paranormal. When the truth starts to come out, the scramble to see through all the lies is fierce. 

authYvonne Ventresca photo for download

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES will be published by Sky Pony Press in October 2016.

Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In PANDEMIC, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Ventresca’s other works include the short story “Escape to Orange Blossom,” which was selected for the dystopian anthology PREP FOR DOOM, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News).

giveawayVentresca BFWL prize
Prize pack includes a three panel rustic chalkboard with a $25 Amex gift card, a $25 Sephora gift card, and a signed copy of Black Flowers, White Lies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Thrilling reading, 

Jordan