Saturday, August 23, 2014

Feral Blog Tour: Review, Playlist + Giveaway

Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 26th 2014
Rate: 4 Stars


The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
Feral is a gripping young adult thriller that tells the story of two girls who are linked by horrible circumstances. Claire Cain is the main character of the book. She begins the book by living in Chicago with a good life - a super close best friend, awards for her journalism articles, and even a small piece of fame after exposing and busting a drug ring that infiltrated her private school. Claire's life is going according to her plan - which all leads to becoming an important journalist one day. One day during an ice storm, her entire world is turned upside down when she gets attacked and almost beaten to death by the drug gang she got arrested. After her physical injuries finally heal, life doesn't feel the same for Claire, so she agrees to go to the small town of Peculiar, Missouri with her father. On the day that Claire arrives in Peculiar, an ice storm is hitting the town - and the fate of another teen girl who wants to be a journalist is being decided. Only this girl, Serena, isn't as lucky as Claire - she is killed and her body stashed in the woods outside the school. Things go from bad to worse when Claire discovers Serena's body and begins to "see" the truth behind Peculiar. But what exactly is truth and what is in Claire's mind? She needs to find out what really happened to Serena before she becomes the next victim.
I absolutely love thrillers, so after reading the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. The concept of the book was a great one - part mystery, part thriller, and part paranormal/ghost story - with the main character having to determine what's real and what's in her head before it's too late. The characters were all well written, especially the lead character - Claire. She's strong and smart, but she's also suffering from some PTSD after her brutal attack. She has some trouble recovering emotionally from the incident and the terrible situation in Peculiar only makes things worse. I really liked getting to know all the sides of Claire's character - to watch her piece together the mystery of Peculiar, of the horrible things that happened to her in Chicago, and just how much damage it has caused her. The other characters were well written - the author did a great job of making some characters red herrings before throwing huge twists and turns into the plot. I always love trying to figure out what's really going on or what happened before the main character does, but I kept come up short with this book. I would think I had things figured out, but then a bit twist in the plot pops up and I'm stuck again. I was definitely reading as fast as I could to finally see the truth and what actually happened. The plot was very intriguing and blended several genres together to create an original story that will appeal to a lot of readers. Along with the plot twists and the unique story line, the author uses fantastic descriptions and vivid imagery to make the reader feel like they are right beside Claire in Peculiar, trying to figure out what's going on. I found this to be a wonderful thriller that fans of the genre will definitely want to get their hands on. I also recommend it to those who enjoy lots of other genres as well - there's a bit of something for everyone. I'm definitely going to keep my eye on the author to see what she comes out with next!
“Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A Blue So Dark…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“From the opening pages readers will be immediately immersed in this dark story…[which] has echoes of classic Hitchcock. Issues of cliques, peer pressure, bullying, self-esteem, post-traumatic stress syndrome, teacher-student relationships, and pet abandonment will provide substance for discussion.” – School Library Journal
Here's my playlist for the book:
1. Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
2. Demons - Imagine Dragons
3. Coming Down - Five Finger Death Punch
4. My Immortal - Evanescence
5. Savin' Me - Nickelback
6. All Around Me - Flyleaf
7. Ocean Breathes Salty - Modest Mouse
8. Fear - Sarah McLachlan
9. Red Sam - Flyleaf
10.  Frontier City - Kings of Leon
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Follow the FFBC Feral Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs). 

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” Bloggers also quickly fell for the book; Susan at Bloggin’ ‘bout Books said of THE JUNCTION, “Triumphant and compelling, this is one of those books that will make you cheer. And look a little bit closer for the unique beauty in all of us.” 

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first mystery / thriller. She encourages readers to get in touch, and can be found at,, @holly_schindler,, and

Giveaway is open to US/CAN Only | Must be 13 or older to enter 

Win (1) signed hardcover of FERAL (US/CAN)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Ultra Thin Man Blog Tour: Guest Post

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Ultra Thin Man by Peter Swenson! Today I have a great guest post written by the author to share with you - and don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a hardcover copy of your own! You can find the link to the giveaway in my right sidebar.

The Ultra Thin Man

Author: Peter Swenson
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books


In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences. Crowell’s and Brindos’s investigation plunges them neck-deep into a conspiracy much more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.

The two detectives soon find themselves separated, chasing opposite leads: Brindos has to hunt down the massive Helk alien Terl Plenko, shadow leader of the terrorist Movement of Worlds. Crowell, meanwhile, runs into something far more sinister—an elaborate frame job that puts our heroes on the hook for treason.

Crowell and Brindos are forced to fight through the intrigue to discover the depths of an interstellar conspiracy. And to answer the all-important question: Who, and what, is the Ultra Thin Man?

The Fantasy of Science Fiction
By Patrick Swenson

The Ultra Thin Man is a science fiction story.

Or is it?

If you could travel back in time to an early hunter-gatherer culture and give the inhabitants MP3 players and ear buds and crank the tunes long and loud in their ears, they’d either gasp in awe and wonder, or run away in fear. Would they see the MP3 player as a technology, or would it be a fantasy? Would it be magic?

There’s a story by the late Henry Slesar called “Chief,” where white men have come to an isolated island after a great atomic war. They are men of science, and they tell the chief that the little box they have with them is simply a play thing of science. What it really is, though, is a Geiger counter. The Geiger counter shows that the tribe is not radioactive; the box doesn’t “click.” But when the scientists point the counter at themselves, it “clicks.” Oh boy, the chief is impressed, and he declares it “great magic.” Here’s proof that these white men are gods. And as is their custom, they eat their gods, so naturally, they skin and cook the scientists and serve them at their evening meal. They’re feeling dang good about themselves, too, because now? The tribespeople are gods too. The boxes have started clicking for them.

It’s a fabulous piece of science fiction, a strong commentary on the horrors of war and the fears of technology gone unchecked. From the point of view of the chief on the island, however, the white men’s science is nothing short of magic, something only afforded to gods. Arthur C. Clarke famously stated that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Indeed, if you went forward in time 1000 years, you might have much the same reaction to that culture’s technological marvels as those hunter-gatherers did to your MP3 player.

One of my favorite writers is Ray Bradbury. I teach some short fiction from the loosely connected stories of The Martian Chronicles, and the book seems like science fiction, but it is mostly fantasy. When he wrote it, Bradbury understood there was no evidence of life on Mars. There were no canals. He wrote about the colonization of Mars, but he more or less fantasized about the existence of canals, looking instead at the power behind symbol and metaphor instead of latching on to any rigorous scientific extrapolations.

By definition, science fiction is any story that shows a possible or plausible change in technology or society. (To spell out one of many definitions.) It’s more about what’s possible, while fantasy is more about what’s impossible. When writing The Ultra Thin Man, I believed it fell, without a doubt, into the category of science fiction. It was a nod to the space opera and Golden Age pulp stories of my youth. Did I use science concepts in there? Yes. Was it believable science? Well, not always. (Sometimes you give a plausible explanation, and then hand wave the rest of it.) Remember that trip backwards in time? In reality, time travel is fantasy, because science hasn’t proven that time travel is even remotely possible. We’d have to crank up the volume and generate some super advanced technology (aka magic) to make it happen.

The margins between science fiction and fantasy blur even more when SF and fantasy team up. Consider Louise Marley’s The Singers of Nevya. The story reads as a pure fantasy world, but the specially trained Singers use psi power when they sing, thereby creating warmth on an ice planet. In the winters, the people need these singers to survive.

You could argue that the SF film Forbidden Planet is, to a degree, part fantasy. It’s even based on a fantasy, a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It’s the 22nd century. There’s a space cruiser. There’s that famous robot, Robby. But then you’ve also got the “id monster.” Turns out the character named Morbius can’t control his subconscious, which is sending its Id monster out and killing people. Science? Well, no. Right now, we don’t have the ability to turn our fears into reality, which is probably a good thing.

The novel that had a huge impact on my love of science fiction (and on my own writing) was Dune. Some believe that its space opera underpinnings touch on the metaphysical. Maybe so. Dune goes the extra distance, though. Author Frank Herbert takes this SFnal universe and makes us understand that, in an almost fantastical way, the people populating it have life-or-death stakes in the outcome of the story.

Whether fantasy or science fiction, every good story blends what is possible and what is not. Sometimes it’s wrapped around a rip-roaring adventure. Sometimes it’s a thoughtful extrapolation of known science or pseudo-science. Sometimes it’s an exploration of the unknown—in outer space, or inner space.

The Ultra Thin Man is a science fiction story. Or is it? Like many speculative stories, it attempts to convince the reader to look beyond what is factual and consider the possibility that imagination does not always look like real life, regardless of the technology or the society in control of it. Sometimes it’s just great magic.

Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us today Patrick!
Patrick is a writer, publisher, editor, and teacher. His first novel is entitled The Ultra Thin Man, forthcoming from Tor in 2014. He has sold stories to the anthology Like Water for Quarks, and magazines such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Figment, and others. (Taken from Goodreads)

Author Links:


Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Vessel by Lisa T. Cresswell


Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

VESSEL by Lisa T. Cresswell

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Author: Lisa T. Cresswell
Publication Date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
The sun exploded on On April 18, 2112 in a Class X solar storm the likes of which humankind had never seen.
They had exactly nineteen minutes to decide what to do next.
They had nineteen minutes until a geomagnetic wave washed over the Earth, frying every electrical device created by humans, blacking out entire continents, and every satellite in their sky.
Nineteen minutes to say goodbye to the world they knew, forever, and to prepare for a new Earth, a new Sun.

Generations after solar storms destroyed nearly all human technology on Earth, humans reverted to a middle ages-like existence, books are burned as heresy, and all knowledge of the remaining technology is kept hidden by a privileged few called the Reticents.
Alana, a disfigured slave girl, and Recks, a traveling minstrel and sometimes-thief, join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race. But when Alana is chosen against her will to be the Vessel, the living repository for all human knowledge, she must find the strength to be what the world needs even if it's the last thing she wants.
add to goodreads
Lisa T. CresswellLisa, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play "The Queen of the Nile" at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that's why she went on to become a real life archaeologist?
Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is now available from Featherweight Press.
Lisa still lives in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas!
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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 What do you think of the cover? Leave a comment!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eternal Night Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the ETERNAL NIGHT blog tour! Today I have my review of the book to share with you! Read on for more info on the book and the author.

Eternal Night
Author: Carina Adly MacKenzie
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: The Studio (a Paper Lantern Lit imprint)


There are gods among us...

Six young gods are hiding in plain sight among mortals, living secretly in cities across the world. From lavish penthouse soirees to pulsing underground clubs, for them, the party literally never ends. Until now.

On a hot June morning, the body of a beautiful girl is found floating in the rooftop pool of the Jefferson Hotel, her white-ink tattoos revealing the story of a life much longer than seems possible. Only the immortals know the truth: Nadia was the goddess of hope. Now she’s gone, and the world as they know it is ending. The Hudson River has turned blood red. Storms rage overhead. Mania is rapidly spreading across the globe.

It is up to the remaining gods—Lola, Dean, Weston, Mark, Nike and Peitha—to put aside centuries of betrayal and heartbreak, and stop the mysterious source of darkness that is taking over… before the sun sets forever.

Carina Adly MacKenzie, writer for The CW's hit series "The Originals," has penned a steamy, romantic, and ultimately redemptive story of forgotten gods, the persistence of hope, and the power of love to save us.
Eternal Night is a perfect blend of mythological gods and goddesses within a contemporary setting. The book focuses on the remaining six gods and goddesses who have basically lost their powers and now live on Earth among the mortals as regular people. Things seem to be going like the usually do, until the morning the paper reports an "angel" being found dead in a swimming pool at the top of the Jefferson Hotel. Right after that happens, the East River and the Hudson River turn blood red. The mythological friends gather to attempt to figure out what's happening. The truth is devastating - one of their own, a goddess named Nadia, was the "angel" who died in the pool. It now seems that an ancient prophecy detailing  the end of the world is beginning to come true - and it's up to the the remaining gods to stop the prophecy before the darkness takes over forever.

I have to admit that I was immediately drawn to this book after reading the description. Then, after finding out that the author is a writer for "The Originals" show on The CW - which I LOVE - I knew I had to get my hands on it. I didn't really know what to expect but I did have high hopes for the book because of the premise and how much I love the tv show. I'm so happy to report that I was definitely not disappointed in the least. The book is full of so many layers - from varying points of view to mythological histories and relationships between everyone - that it kept me eagerly reading until I finished the book (in one sitting). The book is told in an unique way. It is separated first into days and within the "day" chapters, there are several different characters telling a part of the story from their point of view. For example, we have Day 1 - and within that section of the book we'll hear from Dean, Lola, and Nike. The story really varies between all of the gods, so we get to know each of them very personally by the end of the book. I loved each of the gods. They all had unique personalities with distinct traits and flaws - which actually matched up with the ancient gods they are descended from. I thought this angle was a great touch by the author and it seemed to authenticate the characters as both mythological gods and realistic people at the same time. We learn a lot about each of the characters - their histories, relationships with one another, issues they are having or have been dealing with - basically everything that you could want to know. I honestly came to love (or at least like) all of them before the end of the book and found myself feeling like I knew them and could empathize easily with them all.

The plot of the book is phenomenal and wholly original. The author mixes various "end of the world" prophecies and stories together to create the situations in the book. I loved that she pulled from different cultures and religions to make the prophecy and how things are carried out according to it. The writing was magnificent - I honestly couldn't believe that it's the author's debut novel. I felt immediately transported into the story from the first paragraph and it was like I was right beside all of the characters as the story unfolded. There was a great amount of detail along with vivid imagery and descriptions that made it seem authentic and natural. The pace of the story was fast - some parts had me reading so fast I was afraid I was going to miss something because I just had to know what was going to happen. Overall, this is one heck of a debut novel. It blends so many genres together - action, fantasy, mythology, adventure, dystopia, romance, and more - that I don't think you can really pin it down to one category. And it shouldn't be labeled as just one. The author did a terrific job entwining the genres, the characters with all their histories and their issues, and the impending doom of the planet, into a mesmerizing novel that makes the reader beg for more. I very highly recommend this one to fans of mythology and fantasies, along with those who want something fresh and new - an honestly unique and outstanding novel. I'll definitely be (impatiently) waiting for the author's next release.

Favorite NYC books

When I was asked to put together a list of my favorite books about New York, the first book that came to mind was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. This isn’t just my favorite book about New York, it’s my favorite book, period. It’s a sprawling coming-of-age story about a family in NYC in the early 20th century. I think I’ve read it a hundred times – I’m not exaggerating. One summer, my family was on a sailing trip, and my sister asked to borrow the book, and though I’d read it a thousand times, I was so jealous that she was reading it at that particular moment, I made her read out loud every time we were in the same room.  That is how much I love this book – I can start it at any point, open it up to any page, and just read. Every time I read it I find something new to love. Not only about the book, and about New York City, but also about coffee and pickles and the smell of paper.

The next book that came to mind is American Psycho. While I disagree with about 99% of everything Bret Easton Ellis has ever said, this book is a weird dark head-trip of a masterpiece. I re-read it recently after watching “Wolf of Wall Street” – because it seems like there’s a very fine line between Leonardo DiCaprio’s character and Patrick Bateman. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed. It’s not exactly the grittiest version of NYC, but oh man, if this isn’t the NYC I’d want to live in. In the YA realm, there’s none better than Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, a fun wintertime romance about an unlikely search for connection in a city that can feel kind of isolating.
Carina Adly MacKenzie grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she boldly defied the no-reading-at-the-dinner-table rule time and time again. After studying English at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Carina moved to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career. Carina was a television critic and entertainment reporter for, the Los Angeles Times, and Teen Vogue, among other publications. Currently, she spends her days obsessing over vampire sibling rivalry as a writer for The CW's new drama, "The Originals." She loves coffee, Twitter, and her little dog Pacey. Eternal Night is her first novel. 

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Breathe for Me Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the BREATHE FOR ME blog tour! Today I'm sharing a great excerpt from the book and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! To see the full tour schedule, check it out below.

Breathe for Me
Author: Rhonda Helms
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press


Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).

All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.

But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.
“You’re such a good girl—even studying on your lunch break,” a whispering voice says as Sitri settles into the seat across from me. Speak of the devil.

I ignore my surprise at seeing him, forcing my heart rate to steady by drawing in slow breaths. I can’t concentrate anymore, but I pretend to read. Why is he here?

He leans over and plucks the book from my hand, then scans the cover. “Really?” he asks me, curiosity apparent on his face. “I never would have guessed.”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” I say, then instantly wish I could take the words back. If Sitri feels I’m being secretive, he’ll close off again, and I’ll have to work harder to regain the trust he’s shown me so far. I can’t lose that hard-earned ground. “I mean, I’ve learned a lot in school.”

A smile creeps across his face, and his eyes warm to a rich, dark grey. “I look forward to hearing more about these things that interest you.” He pauses. “I hope you’re behaving yourself,” he continues. His voice is low, soft, but the thread of seriousness beneath his words is undeniable. “And that you remember your time is coming to a close.”

“How can I forget?” I say, fighting to keep the edge out of my voice. Stay calm. “I’m reminded every day.”

“Isabel?” Dominic’s voice floats into the library as he enters. Oh, God. Oh, God.

I stand. A wave of nausea sweeps over me. I wish Dominic would go away. Or better yet, Sitri. But that’s not going to happen, because Sitri is studying my face with a keen eye and drinking in Dominic’s presence, no doubt wondering who he is to me.

He misses nothing.

“I’m in the middle of something right now,” I say to Dominic. “I’ll see you later in class.” I mentally plead for him to leave, even as my heart aches for having to push him away.

Sitri stands. “No, no, I’ll leave you two alone.” His eyes suddenly glow like hot black coals, and he smiles again. But this time, there’s nothing close to warmth in his face. It chills my blood. “I’ll see you later, Isabel.” With that, he moves by Dominic, brushing oh-so slightly against his arm, and leaves the room.

I exhale sharply, not realizing I’d been holding my breath. My head spins from dizziness and fear. This is a mess. I can’t do this. I can’t let Dominic get in the middle of something he can’t ever possibly understand. Sitri would tear him up in ways even I can’t imagine.

“Who was that?” Dominic asks. His face is unreadable, his voice a little tighter than usual.

I shake my head, unable to speak. If I do, I know I will cry. And I’m barely holding on to myself right now as it is.
Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.

When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.

Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family. 

Author Social Media Links:

Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

Tour Schedule:
August 11 - Kellyvision  
August 12 - The Cover Contessa  
August 13 - Books Complete Me  
August 15 - Hiver et Cafe  
August 17 - Zili in the Sky  
August 18 - Branwrites  
August 19 - K-books  
August 20 - A Dream Within A Dream 
August 21 - YA Reads  
August 22 - YA Reads