Book Review of Abney Kelly and the Yuletide Shenanigans by SamiJo McQuiston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Abney Kelly and the Yuletide Shenanigans

Series: Abney Kelly Series

Author: Samijo McQuiston

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating:5/5

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Back cover:

Abney Kelly seems like your typical thirteen-year-old trying to find her place in the world. She’s shy, awkward, has no friends, and is bullied constantly. However things are not always as they appear, after being pushed into a clover patch, a creature who says he’s her assigned guardian whisks her off to a school in Tìr na nÓg, called Yule.

Turns out she’s a Changeling, and it’s time she learns what that means. Between making new friends, discovering that all the monsters in her nightmares are real, and starting at a new school, Abney didn’t think life could get any harder as she splits her time between the human and Fae realms.

That is until her house matron warns them about Nicholas Kringle. He is stalking his prey throughout realms and collecting the hearts of those on his so-called nice list. At a New Year’s Eve party, Abney and her new gang use an Ouija board and discover that one of their friends is on Kringle’s list.

Determined to stop their friend’s death, Abney and company set off on a chilly adventure, to try to change fate, but only one thing is for certain… This year they’ll end up on the naughty list or die trying.

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*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

This was an amazing novel! I loved how McQuiston spun together Celtic, and other regions, myths together and created a world much like Hogwarts, if not better. I found it to be refreshingly original, yet still have that feel we are used to in magical schools. I really loved her take on the Santa, or St Nicolas, myth and how it played part in this story. 

Abney was a really nice character. It was great having a heroine one could relate to, and wasn’t boy crazy. I don’t mind having lots of love in stories, but having it not be the focus at all was very refreshing. I also loved the lgbtq representation in this book and her take on the two fairy queens. 

All in all, if you love a book with twists and turns, based off of mythology, has the feel of Harry Potter except with a girl MC and lgbt representation, this is definitely the book for you! Read an excerpt below!

~Dani

 

Enter the giveaway!

 

About the author:

SamiJo is a first-class shenanigator, decorated coddiwompler, narrator, and author of, The Abney Kelly series. She lives in Wyoming with her dog, two cats, and four chickens. She participates in tomfoolery frequently and plans to get into waggishness in the future. Vive La Pete! 

Website: https://www.vivelapete.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SJMcQuiston

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ViveLaPete/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.j.mcquiston/?hl=en

 

Excerpt:

Chapter 6 The Story of Nicholas Kringle 

  

    A thick, stew-like fog encircled Oberon House. Th e Pucas were supposed
to be taking them to see the enormous Christmas tree in
the square, but there was no way to go out safely. If you stuck your
hand into the mist, it disappeared before your eyes, and in general, had
a strange-uneasy feel to it. Everyone was very content to stay in and help
decorate the house Christmas tree in the Ocean Room.
   The decorations were colorful and random; Agatha didn’t do
themes for her tree like Abney’s family did, but it was still fun, and everyone
chipped in. Blythe taught them to string popcorn, and Wilbur
and Snozbert were taking colored glass beads and morphing them into
different shapes and figures by request. It was like watching master glassblowers at work, but they never heated the marbles. Th ey were able to

manipulate them with their bare hands.
   “I love Christmas trees,” Abney said as she looked transfixed at the
glowing masterpiece.
   “It’s a Yule tree,” Feo said as she came in with a tray of sweet orange
tea and began pouring cups.
   “Is there a difference?” Abney asked curiously.
   “Oh, most definitely. Christmas trees are a pagan tradition you know,
taught to Fleetlings by the Fae,” Feo said carefully. “Anyway, the most important
difference is that a Yule tree is always a live tree. Fleetlings use
fake trees and all sorts of nonsense these days. They’ve forgotten the traditions
of old, but a Yule tree must be alive.”
   “I think it’s time for a story,” Agatha said from her armchair by the
fire. She took a deep drag from her hookah pipe through the black hole
in her neck. “Come closer, sugars, closer,” she bid them, and they all sat
on the floor near her feet. “You are all aware of the legend of The Santa
Claus?”
   “Everyone knows that one,” Zoey replied.
   “Ya, ya,” Domino agreed. “The dude who knows if you’re naughty or
nice. We all know how it goes.” Abney wasn’t sure why but she suddenly
felt edgy, and goosebumps rose on her arms.
   “That’s the one, honey,” Agatha agreed. “I suppose you know him as
a fat, jolly, man who passes out gifts?”
   “Every December the 25th,” Domino smiled.
   “That’s the version known to most Fleetlings,” Agatha continued.
   “But I’m going to tell you the real story. Heed my words. They are much
more paramount now than they have been in many years.” The teenagers
and Pucas moved closer to the fire, unconsciously wanting to chase away
the dark and its accompanying shadows.
   “This story starts out as all good tales do. Once upon a time, in a
faraway land, there lived a lonely king. Not just any king though, The
Winter King, Jack Frost, himself. Blythe, a little help please?” Agatha
breathed out. Blythe whispered a few words and blew them into
Agatha’s smoke. A sad man appeared in the escaping vapor, and the
story took to life as Agatha started to speak again, “He longed for a child
to love and fill his days with joy, but no maid could carry the child of the
frozen monarch. Frustrated and grief-stricken, he sought out the great
witch, Baba Yaga.
   “‘Grandmother,’ he begged. ‘I am alone and childless. Is there anything
you can do to help me? Is there a way for me to have a child?’ Baba
Yaga thought for a moment, looked deep into his heart, and knew he
was sincere. She decided to help The Winter King, but he must bring
her three things: Snow, from the coldest peak, coal from the deepest
mine, and a feather from the brightest Phoenix.
   “So The Winter King scoured the Earth until he had everything the
witch had asked for. First, Baba Yaga took the snow and patted it into
the shape of a girl, then she picked up the coal and wrapped the phoenix
feather around it, the coal ignited melting the feather into it. Finally, she
forced the coal into the snow girl where her heart would have been. The
winds picked up and whirled violently around them, but The Winter
King and Baba Yaga stood fast, and when the snow settled again, a small
pale girl stood before them. Her skin was blue, like a frozen glacier, and
her hair white as snow, with a hint of the Northern Lights about it. The
King loved her instantly, but as he reached for her, Baba Yaga stepped
between them.
   “‘Nothing is free, Winter King,’ she said. ‘A time will come when I
will ask you for a favor, and you must agree to do as I ask.’ The King,
being so close to his heart’s desire could do nothing but agree. Baba Yaga
released the girl to him with a warning.
   “‘She is snow and ice, but her heart is fire. She must never lose control
of her emotions. You must teach her to remain calm in even the
worst of storms. If she loses control, your daughter will melt and return
to the water from whence she came.’

Book Review of Birthspell by Miriam Khan

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Title: Birthspell

Series: A Lebrus Stone Series

Author: Miriam Khan

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 4/5

Amazon

Back cover:

He’s bad news.

Full of himself, brutally honest and arrogant.

Under that gorgeous mask is something dark and twisted, and he’s claimed me as his victim.

When orphan Crystal visits a great aunt she’s just met in Blacksville, West Virginia, she sets some rules for herself:

#1 – Don’t get too close to anyone.

#2 – Don’t expect too much.

#3 – Don’t fall for the town’s bad boy like everyone else.

While she finds the last one frustrating, Crystal has no intention of giving into any weaknesses. That is until she’s told there’s a curse that’s been running through her family for generations, and it seems the one she needs to avoid is the key to bringing it to an end.
Now all bets are off. Only a single line separates her from the side of magical beings, and she’s crossing it.

But she learns rules are in place for a reason. The hidden world in the seemingly small and innocent town goes far beyond the one she knows and understands.

It’s a world where humans once visited and have been warned not to return.


Ever.

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for my honest review*

The premise of this book was really interesting and I enjoyed the world-building and mystery of it all. It gave off The Covenant vibes, if anyone remembers that movies, mixed with Sabrina. I really enjoyed the build-up and am interested in learning more of what happens to Crystal and this town.

The only problem I had with the book was that it was sort of your typical, he’s a bad-boy and treats me like dirt, but I love him anyway type story. While I agree that does happen, so I’m not saying it’s realistic, I felt it was a little forced on the character and didn’t quite make sense with everything she had been through.

All in all, if you like mystery, YA, supernatural, and paranormal fantasy, I definitely recommend this book. I read it all in one sitting as I kept wanting to learn more!

~Dani

Book Review of The Sparks by Kyle Prue

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Title: The Sparks

Author: Kyle Prue

Genre: YA Fantasy

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Purchase Links
The Sparks (FREE through the 20th):

The Flames (On sale for $0.99 through the 20th):

The Ashes ($2.99 this week!):

 

One teen assassin-in-training must unite three warring supernatural dynasties before death comes to them all…

Find out why USA Today calls The Sparks “a crackling read” that “builds a vivid world (both) otherworldly and relatable.”

Neil Vapros just wants to make his father proud. The sixteen-year-old aspires to serve his family as an assassin, but he nearly dies in the process. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Neil’s family, as well as two rival dynasties, have abandoned an ancient promise to protect their city. An unknown evil has begun hunting all three houses from the shadows…

As Neil’s relatives fall one-by-one, he attempts to unite the three supernatural families against a common enemy. But earning trust after years of assassination attempts could prove impossible. Neil’s fight may involve more than a bloodthirsty empire, as betrayal rears its ugly head…

The Sparks is the first book in the award-winning Epic Feud trilogy of young adult fantasy novels. If you like captivating characters, inventive world building, and supernatural battles, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s action-packed coming-of-age tale.

Buy The Sparks today to ignite your thirst for adventure!

“Slid the knife between the third and fourth rib” was the first line of this book, and I knew it was going to be a blast. It has to be one of my favorite opening lines. This book is jam-packed with action, adventure, fantasy, and mystery. It is a great tale about three families who have different powers that help the city, and after an attack, they have to work together to figure it out.

Lots of family drama ensues.

They are led to believe they are better than the others, which makes it difficult to solve the mystery of the attack. This is a gripping tale that will leave you reading until you find yourself done with the novel. It is now a complete trilogy that is on sale this week! Be sure to check it out! I recommend it to anyone who loves YA Fantasy and the Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Korra.

 

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The Ashes (The Feud Trilogy #3)
by Kyle Prue
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 18th 2020
Cartwright Publishing

Summary:
His fate has been foretold. Unless he can accept his destiny, the nation will fall to its doom.
Teenage warrior Neil Vapros has been captured. Imprisoned at the hands of the Empire, he’s forced to stage a daring breakout to return to his loved ones. But as he smashes the chains, he uncovers a shocking truth…
On the run and desperate to escape his fate, every attempt to resist the prophecy leads to more death and chaos.
And now Neil understands that the only way anyone will live is if he embraces his own demise.
Will Neil pay the ultimate price to ensure freedom for all?
The Ashes is the thrilling conclusion to the award-winning Epic Feud Trilogy. If you like edge-of-your-seat action, gripping suspense, and explosive battles, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s riveting finale.

Buy The Ashes to join the revolution today!
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The Sparks (The Feud Trilogy #1) on Goodreads
The Flames (The Feud Trilogy #2) on Goodreads

About the Author
Kyle Prue is an award winning author, actor and comedian. Kyle wrote The Sparks: Book One of the Feud Trilogy when he was just 16 years old. Kyle spent a gap year before college on a national book tour visiting over 100 middle and high schools and meeting over 80,000 students. Kyle is now a student at the University of Michigan, studying acting and creative writing. He still visits schools and is a keynote speaker for conferences.
Kyle is the founder of Sparking Literacy, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the high school dropout rate by inspiring teens to read, write and follow their dreams. An actor and comedian, Kyle trained at Second City Comedy Club in Chicago, where a number of SNL actors have gotten their start.

The Sparks has won numerous national awards including Best Book and Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015. The Sparks was runner up for Best Young Adult Fiction at the Florida Book Festival and won Honorable Mentions at the New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, the International London Book Festival and won a prestigious Indie Fab award. Kyle also won an International Moonbeam Award for Best Young Author. The Flames won the FAPA Presidentiial Gold Medais for Best Fiction and Best Fantasy 2017.

Learn more at http://www.kyleprue.com and http://www.sparkingliteracy.org.

Follow Kyle:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KylePrue
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@KylePrue
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/KylePrue

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Book Review of Roaring by Lindsey Duga

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Title: Roaring

Author: Lindsey Duga

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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Back cover:

Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division within the Bureau of Investigation—one that hunts down not just mobsters, but also monsters.

For reasons that are kept top secret, Colt is the only person who can resist a siren’s voice. But he’s never had a chance to test this ability. The last siren left in the world mysteriously disappeared years ago.

Then one night, with a single word, she reveals herself. It seems too good to be true.

And it is. Because nothing about this siren—her past, her powers, or her purpose—is what it seems…

*I received this book from YA Bound Tours for an honest review*

I could not put this book down! This is a great historical fantasy that is set in the 1930s with flappers, speakeasies, and monsters! What more could you want? It felt like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them mixed with Percy Jackson. There were a lot of twists and turns and I found it to be paced perfectly and had the right amount of information that kept me interested.

The main character, a siren, is on the radar of more than one agency. The government wants her, the people who have been hiding her don’t want anyone to know what she is, and her original creator wants her back. Little does she know that her gifts are actually supernatural powers that have been forced upon her at a young age.

That is, until Colt comes in. He throws her life for a loop as he wants to take her back to the US government headquarters. Never did he realize what other mysteries were surrounding her and the other monsters in the dark. A great spin on the genre that kept me wanting more. I hope there are more books in this series, as I want to know what else is in store for them.

I highly recommend for fans of the 1930s and fantasy!

~Dani

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE

Excerpt:

Still with Madame Maldu’s gaze at my back, I slipped around the bar and headed for the young man sitting by himself, his fedora pulled low over his eyes. His sleeves had been rolled up to his elbows, showing off pale, but muscular, hands, wrists, and arms. It was a warm autumn for Boston, so his lack of coat wasn’t odd, but it stood out. In fact, he was the kind of fella who seemed like he could do whatever he wanted. If his goal was to blend in and not be seen, he could throw on his coat and sit with a drink and not talk to anyone, becoming one with the furniture. If he preferred to stand out, he could tip his hat back, and lift his face and smile, but if he wanted just the right kind of attention, all he needed to do was roll up his sleeves.

I shook my head. How could I have gotten all that from his exposed forearms?

Walking up to his table, I pulled out my waitressing tools and poised my pencil on my pad of paper, awaiting his order.

It was then that he looked up and I got a peak at the face below the hat.

His eyes were dark. It was the first thing I noticed. Eyes where you could barely tell if there were pupils at all.

It was clear he was attractive, but not in a pretty, hotsy-totsy sort of way. His face was geometric. Perfect, square jaw, a straight plane nose, triangular, high cheekbones, and a rectangle forehead. His light brown hair, practically blond, was swept to the side under his hat. But, like Madame Maldu, he was not handsome solely because of his looks, it was his air. His…competence.

A strange way to describe a stranger, perhaps, but it seemed to me that this was a fella who knew his place in life. His past. His present. Maybe even his future.

It wasn’t until he cleared his throat that I realized I was staring. Redirecting my gaze to the pad of paper, I waited for his order, heat creeping up my neck and into my cheeks, and a small shiver going down my spine.

He said nothing.

Glancing up from my pad, I caught him staring as well.

Oh. He’s waiting for me. Now even my ears growing hot, I tapped my pad with my pencil, and gestured it toward him, showing him what I couldn’t say in words.

His brow furrowed, and for a worrisome moment, I wondered if he didn’t talk either.

After a few long, silent, and awkward seconds, he asked, “You want to take my order?”

Relieved, I nodded vigorously.

His rectangular brow dented deeper, more into a right angle. “Do you not speak?”

I couldn’t help but admire the quality of his voice. It was a low timbre, a combination of the strings of a cello, the pluck of a bass, and the lingering bottom note of a sax.

Again, I nodded.

The stranger’s brow now seemed to be a straight V, as if this angered or frustrated him somehow. An aura of hostility exuded from him.

Tentatively, I took a step back.

At my retreat, his face cleared and he gave me an easy smile, completely changing the lines of his face into something real handsome.

I’d been right. This man was a chameleon. He wore a rugged grin that would make most gals swoon. Maybe me included, if I hadn’t felt that anger coming off him like heat from a radiator in the dead of winter.

“Not a chatter, eh? That’s all right. I can talk enough for the two of us.” He leaned forward, folding his arms and resting his elbows on the table as his grin widened. I noticed his feet shift, hooking his ankles around the legs of the spindle chair. “If you don’t speak, I guess you can’t tell me your name,” the stranger said, his head cocking in a way that made him look contemplative. “Which is a pity. Lovely dame like you, I bet you’ve got a name to match. Do you mind if I take a few guesses?”

He wanted to guess my name? I merely stared at him. Not sure how to handle this one. Maybe I should back away and let Stanley take his order.

But I had to admit, the stranger intrigued me. It was a scary, thrilling sort of intrigue. Like hearing a scary story. Nerves heightened, bated breath, terrified and yet captivated, thrilled and yet wary.

He was the kind of thrilling a person would want to be brave for.

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About the Author

Lindsey Duga developed a deep love for courageous heroes, dastardly villains, and enchanting worlds from the cartoon shows, books, and graphic novels she read as a kid. Drawing inspiration from these fantastical works of fiction, she wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. By day, Lindsey is an account manager at a digital marketing agency based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By night, and the wee hours of the morning, she writes both middle grade and young adult. She has a weakness for magic, anything classical, all kinds of mythology, and falls in love with tragic heroes. Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show, practicing yoga, and listening (and belting) to her favorite music artists and show tunes. KISS OF THE ROYAL is her YA debut novel.

Author Links:

Website: https://lindseyduga.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lindseyduga
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/linzduga/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lduga
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15853318.Lindsey_Duga
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lindsey-Duga/e/B07BJNMRHX/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524077289&sr=1-1

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Book Review of Zon by Maureen A. Miller

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Title: Zon (Beyond #5)

Author: Maureen A. Miller

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 4/5

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34UCfAE

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zon-maureen-a-miller/1136887607

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/zon-5

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/zon/id1509072890

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1016392

Back cover:

From USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller, comes this young adult cosmic adventure.

With a father from the planet, Ziratak, and a mother from Earth, Zon’s challenges are galactic. Zon doesn’t possess superpowers, though. If anything, he’s a bit of a klutz.

In Ziratakian folklore, the tale of the Temple of the Monarch has been passed down for generations. As legend has it, a series of miniature globes lead to the temple’s gate.

Folklore…nothing more.

Except, Zon knows of a cave with small globes in it. And with one clumsy mishap, he triggers the gate–opening a portal to other worlds.

A trip through this vortex transports him to Earth, where the first human he encounters is a young woman with challenges of her own.

This is a brand new saga, and a new generation. There is no need to read the BEYOND series. However, for readers of the series, you will enjoy this continuation of the epic science fiction adventure.

*I received a copy from YA Bound Book Tours for my honest opinion*

This was a nice lighthearted YA Sci-Fi novel that is quick to read. I read it all in one sitting and found it to be delightful. It follows Zon as he is transported to Earth and becomes friends with a human girl who he later must save. At the same time, he is supposed to be practicing and getting ready for a big test that is coming up. Will Zon pass this test or will he sacrifice it to help his new friend?

I haven’t read the rest of the series, which is more about Zon’s mother and father, but I wasn’t confused at all. This definitely can be read as a standalone. The only problem I had with it was that I felt it could use more description and sometimes I was confused as to where exactly he was until another character came into the picture.

All in all, this was a nice read for those who like light-hearted YA Sci-Fi. If you need something to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I definitely recommend this book!

~Dani

Enter the Giveaway below to win a $10 gift card to Amazon!:

 

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MaureenAMillerAuthor

About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!

Find more about Maureen at http://www.maureenamiller.com

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Book Review of Zero by Tom Leveen

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Title: Zero

Author: Tom Leveen

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

BACK THE KICKSTARTER HERE

Back cover:

After missing her best opportunity to attend a prestigious art school, 17-year-old Salvador Dali devotee Amanda Walsh (nicknamed Zero) begins dating Mike, a drummer in an up-and-coming punk band. As their tentative relationship blooms, Zero confronts a ton of baggage holding her back from her art career: the majorly awkward drama with her former best friend, Jenn; her dad’s excessive drinking and parents’ ongoing fights; and one formerly successful art teacher who might just hold the keys to her future . . . or smash Z’s hopes forever.

When Mike’s band gets a chance of lifetime to bust out of the black hole that is metro Phoenix, Zero must make a life-altering decision and answer the one question we all face at some point in our lives:

Follow your heart, or the heart of the one you love?

ZERO is a completed, award-winning young adult novel originally published by Random House Children’s Books in 2012.

Review:

I could not put this book down! I read it all in one sitting as I kept having to turn the page to know what happens next. Tom does a great job creating a voice that anyone can connect to. I felt for Zero and everything she went through, whether I had gone through the same things or not (of which some I have…).

Zero is an artist, and as any artist knows (whether they paint, draw, write, perform, etc) you want to succeed and create the things you love, but can those two things be the same thing? You can create what you love, but will anyone want it? That is a question Zero has to face, at the same time she is 17 and going through changes, new love, friendship problems, home problems, and not getting the scholarship she wanted. So much is going on in Zero’s life that you really feel for her and connect to the times when the whole world changed for you, whether you wanted it to or not.

I recommend this to anyone who loves YA and coming of age stories. It is something we all can connect to. It is set in ’92, which is the best year if we are honest. 90s were great. I miss the 90s…

Check out below about the Kickstarter Tom Leveen is doing for his book! I highly recommend backing and making this story and even bigger success! There will be notes, afterwards, and some other awesome perks! If we can reach the extended goals, we will know exactly what happens after the last page. Who doesn’t want that from a book they love? I know I want it, so go back it for me!

FROM KICKSTARTER PAGE:

Story

Where were you in ’92?

The Cold War was over! WE WON! The Berlin Wall had fallen, and David Hasselhoff was really lit about that! (Anyone? Anyone? Lit? The lightbulb jacket…?) Glam rock was dead, flannels suddenly cost $90, punk rock was transforming right before our eyes.

It was the best of times to be 17. As much as being 17 can be the best of times…

ZERO is a completed, award-winning young adult novel originally published by Random House Children’s Books in 2012. I recently got the rights to this story returned to me, and because of its fan base, I want to re-release it with never-before-seen notes, annotations, and an afterword. And maybe more…

This campaign will also introduce new readers to the snarky, sympathetic struggles of a young artist navigating the turmoil of love and art!

 

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

 

“This book will appeal to teens who enjoy romance with a bit of an edge.” ~ Voice Of Youth Advocates, Feb. 2012

ZERO is about a young artist and a young musician, high on their arts, each other, and nothing else. It’s the thrill of a first kiss, the anxiety of putting yourself out there, and all the excitement of being this age at this time — whether you were there or not.

The original hardcover jacket.

After missing her best opportunity to attend a prestigious art school, 17-year-old Salvador Dali devotee Amanda Walsh (nicknamed Zero) begins dating Mike, a drummer in an up-and-coming punk band. As their tentative relationship blooms, Zero confronts a ton of baggage holding her back from her art career: the majorly awkward drama with her former best friend, Jenn; her dad’s excessive drinking and parents’ ongoing fights; and one formerly successful art teacher who might just hold the keys to her future . . . or smash Z’s hopes forever.

When Mike’s band gets a chance of lifetime to bust out of the black hole that is metro Phoenix, Zero must make a life-altering decision and answer the one question we all face at some point in our lives:

Follow your heart, or the heart of the one you love?

“I don’t know how Tom Leveen did it, but ZERO (the book and the character) feels 100% authentic.” ~ Goodreads review

“Amanda’s snappy, consistent voice displays the tension between her conviction that she’s got what it takes to be an artist and her feelings of low self-worth. Artful.” Kirkus Reviews, April 24, 2012
What makes ZERO so special is its brutal authenticity. It perfectly captures the energy and fear and excitement and dread of being freshly graduated and experiencing what seems to be your life falling apart, whether that’s between you and your parents, or your best friend, or the boy or girl you really want to date. It doesn’t shy away from the complexity of sex and love or art and business. The book deals with these topics with a smile and a sigh, because Zero (the novel) knows you are not alone, which is one of the things Zero (the character) is still learning.

 

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

I’m bringing this second edition of Zero to Kickstarter because I have learned from nine books and ten years that Story is best in community. In fact it can only exist in community. There are people I’ve met by chance as a result of my novels who I now consider good friends. Some of them I’ve never met in person, some I see frequently, but the depth of the community that has organically developed around my novels and stories is what keeps me going, and I want to share that with more people, just like I know my fans want to share with others, too.

Zero is a note; a reminder that while we are constantly faced with hard choices (particularly when we are young), it’s going to work out. It’s going to be okay.Its a note that says you’re not alone; to follow your instincts and believe that anything is possible. I don’t know about you, but I need that reminder constantly.

So let’s ramp up that good karma! Everyone who pledges above the first level will receive an e-book of the second edition, and everyone will receive a mention and Thank You in the new edition’s Acknowledgements.

Thank you so much for your encouragement, whether you’re a new reader or an old fan ready for more about Zero, Mike, and the band. 

Share your art!

BACK THIS KICKSTARTER BY CLICKING HERE

 

~Dani

 

 

Book Review of More Than Alive by Fernando Torres

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Title: More Than Alive

Author: Fernando Torres

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Fantasy

Release Date: June 22nd 2020

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

MORE THAN ALIVE: Death of an Idol, is a literary response to the growing interest in anime, manga, and Japanese culture. Told via alternating storylines MORE THAN ALIVE is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud, sci-fi/paranormal novel set in Japan in the year 2042. Complete at 103,000 words, it takes advantage of my experiences living in Kyoto and lessons acquired concerning story and character development while working at ABC/Disney.

Alice Suzuki (16) has recently passed away, making her eligible to be a harvester, a transporter of souls. For her first thread, she finds herself investigating the death of Akari, a Japanese idol who died playing a VR game while on enhancer, a drug that turns off the suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, the shadow demon Solak, who was formerly constrained to killing people in their dreams, has learned that enhancer allows him to get around the limitations imposed by free will. Alice must join the Japanese idol group, of which Akari was a member. Her journey is one of learning the true nature of attachment, particularly in regards to love.

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*I received an ARC from YA Bound Tours for my unbiased opinion*

The concept of More Than Alive was quite interesting. It mixed futuristic elements with fantasy having to do with grim reapers (although he doesn’t like to be called that), mystery, yakuza, and pop idols. Having read and watched a lot of Japanese manga and anime with similar themes, I didn’t hesitate to join this blog tour to see what it would be like to have those themes all wrapped together. I really felt it was original and an interesting concept and really liked the characters. It was full of suspense and I kept wanting to read more to know what happens.

One of the things I disliked about this book was the POV. It moved around from POV, sort of like omniscient POV, but not quite. It jumped around character too often and I didn’t feel grounded in any POV. It made me confused a lot of the time, but the story was still interesting enough where I kept on reading. I think this story would have done better if it didn’t switch, but that is my personal preference.

I also really liked the glossary in the back and now want to know why the author can’t open soy packets around shoji.

~Dani

 

About the Author

Fernando Torres is the best-selling author of “A Habit of Resistance,” “The Shadow That Endures,” and the soon to be released sci-fi novel “More Than Alive: Death of an Idol.” Fast-paced, humorous stories that poke fun at genre tropes and explore moral dilemmas are what define this author’s mission. Early in his media career, Fernando A. Torres created the definitive definition of media interactivity. At ABC/Disney, Inc., he worked behind the scenes on such shows as Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Grace Under Fire, Home Improvement, My Wife and Kids, and the Power Rangers. Influenced by many of his generation’s most talented writers and producers, Fernando Torres’ style developed a light, humorous edge that continues to influence his writing to this day. During his time at ABC/Disney, Inc., he contributed to the Writer’s Development program, which inspired additional contributions in education. Many of his stories are inspired by his travels, though he has more permanent roots in the United States and Japan. An instrument-rated pilot, he also enjoys writing music and photography.

“I write because the written word is a powerful ally in conveying truth.” – Fernando Torres

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Blog Tour Organized By: YA Bound Book Tours

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Book Review of Join or Die by J. Adrian Ruth

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Title: Join or Die

Series: Heir to the Scion

Author: J. Adrian Ruth

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Amazon

Back cover:

A group of outcasts, struggling to survive in a school filled with monsters.

An average kid, growing up in Las Vegas, Alex Ayers life skids off the rails when a dragon shifter comes for him. Alex is a Creature, monsters from myths and legends. And he’s in line to lead all the Creatures in the world, if he doesn’t get killed first.

Now forced to attend a school filled with every horror he’s ever imagined, Alex draws together a group of friends to become his own mini-army.

A depressed vampire facing an identity crisis.

A class gossip with white hair and a frosty outlook.

A werewolf who plays with magic.

A Valkyrie straining against her berserker’s rage.

Can Alex keep his friends safe, fight for his own life, and catch a killer, all while keeping his grades up? And what will his future hold, as he begins his change into a Creature he knows nothing about?

*I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review*

This is a really cool mixture of Rosario+Vampire and Harry Potter. Alex’s life is thrown for a loop when he finds out he is halfbreed—half human, half creature. I won’t spoil what he is, as that is a big mystery he has to discover, but it is a really cool twist. He is mad his father left him and never told him the truth, and that resentment plays a big part on what he need to do to accept his fate.

I liked the other characters as well, especially Elvey, the half vampire-half elf roommate. That is, actually, one of my favorite mixtures and one that I think would be cool to read more about. Both a creature of life and death—a cool dynamic that hasn’t been touched on. I also like Yoshi and how he is a Japanese creature. The author did a great job of mixing a few different creature myths from different parts of the world.

All in all, if you like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter or Rosario+Vampire, I think you will like this series! The story is a little on the shorter side, but to me that is nice as it is a relaxing read.

~Dani

Book Review of Girl on the Run by Abigail Johnson

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Title: Girl on the Run

Author: Abigail Johnson

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Release date: 10/6/20

PREORDER HERE

Back cover:

A fast-paced original paperback thriller about a girl who discovers that her mother might not be who she says she is . . . and now someone is hunting them both.

Katelyn wants the best for her widowed mom. Surprising her with an online dating profile seems like a good idea.

It isn’t. Katelyn’s mom hasn’t just been acting overprotective all these years–she’s been hiding something. And now that anyone can find them online , Katelyn is in a desperate race against time to uncover the secrets of the past–not only her mom’s, but also her own.

As Katelyn’s world unravels, she begins to trust the guy who brought this nightmare to her door and to doubt the one person she never thought she would. Because her mom has been hiding for a reason: she’s been waiting.

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.

*I received an ARC for my honest opinion*

This novel had me hooked from beginning to end! From chapter one, we are on the run and we don’t stop until the end. Everything is fast-paced and you can feel the adrenaline dripping from the page. This novel is filled with suspense, mystery, heartache, and you can’t put it down! The pacing was perfect and information was given to the character and reader in a believable amount and at a believable time frame. Johnson does a great job of showing us the emotions and action instead of telling. No wording felt awkward and the series of events flowed naturally together.

The characters were very believable as well. You get the right info about them at the right times to make you wonder what is really going on. I loved the mystery behind it and how our main character had to figure out what really happened. Katelyn was a believable teen going through this madness and her actions never felt contradictory. While reading, I could tell Johnson did a lot of research to make this story unique and believable, which is something I really like in a book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves YA or thrillers. You won’t be disappointed!

~Dani

 

If you preorder from Changing Hands, you can get a preorder special! For details, CLICK HERE.

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Book Review of The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

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Title: The Damned

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Back cover:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.

But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

The Damned, Renée’s latest installment in The Beautiful series is just as decadent, thrilling, and mysterious as her last, as she continues her most potent fantasy series yet.

This book was nonstop magical! From page one I was hooked! I finished the first book a couple of months ago (see book 1 review here) and I enjoyed it a lot, but this one was all that and more!

*Warning, Book 1 spoilers below*

Book 1 leaves off with Celine having her memories of Bastien wiped and Bastien having been turned into a vampire. Instead of starting off with Celine, whom was the main character for the first book, this story mostly takes place from Bastien’s POV and other vampires in his group. I loved this duality, so we finally see what is going one behind the series. The first book was a little slow, although there is something to be said about slow paced books to really set the mood, but this one is nonstop. We learn a lot more about the folklore behind vampires and the werewolves. I won’t spoil any more, but this a mythology that is well weaved together and left me wanting more. I really want to read book 3 right now!

If you didn’t care for book 1, I highly recommend still picking this book up to read. You will not be disappointed!

~Dani