Friday, July 31, 2015

Blog Tour/Giveaway: Miss Mabel's School for Girls + The Network Series

TheNetworkSeriesBanner
Welcome to my tour stop for The Network Series by Katie Cross!  The Network Series is a young adult fantasy and the tour runs July 27 – August 7 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.

About Miss Mabel's School for Girls:
MMSFG 2 for NookNever Underestimate the Power of a Determined Witch. Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.
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About Antebellum Awakening:
Antebellum_FC_FNL_72Never underestimate the power of a volatile witch.Still reeling in the wake of her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe is forced to move to Chatham Castle. Not even the sudden appearance of ancient dragons in haunted Letum Wood nor her two best friends can distract her from the strength of her deep, dark rage.Her grief puts her magical powers into chaos, endangering any witch around her. She has six months left to destroy the curse that will kill her and fulfill her contract with the most cunning enemy of all: her former teacher Miss Mabel.Bianca must make a choice: learn to control her restless powers, or let the powers control her.Antebellum Awakening is the second book in the thrilling new fantasy collection The Network Series. It’s a haunting tale about tragedy, loss, and the power of moving on.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

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The Isadora Interviews blurb:
TII 2 for Amazon (1)Isadora is a quiet, old witch living alone in the fog-strewn forest of Letum Wood. Her magical power is great, but her foresight is even greater.As a Watcher, Isadora has the ability to see into the heart of every witch she meets, a talent that makes her the perfect guardian of the prestigious Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.Any witch that wants to enter the school must first pass an interview with Isadora. No secret insecurity or sinister motivation can be hidden from a Watcher, as four teenage girls will soon find out.Join Leda, Camille, Michelle, and Priscilla, as they each encounter Isadora in their quest to join Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. It’s a collection of short stories that fans of Miss Mabel’s School for Girls can’t afford to miss.

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About the Author: 
KatieCross
Katie Cross grew up in the mountains of Idaho, where she still loves to play when she gets the chance.If she’s not writing, you can find her traveling, working as a pediatric nurse, trail running with her husband and two dogs, or curled up with a book and a cup of chai.
 

Author links: 



Lauren's Thoughts: I want to thank Katie Cross and CBB Promotions for allowing me to take part in this book tour. I have had Miss Mabel's School for Girls on my wish list for a long time now, and it was great to get the chance to read it. I love books that deal with witches/wizards and magic, and it was so much fun delving into the world of Bianca and the other girls at Miss Mabel's School. It was a fascinating book, with some very memorable characters. Bianca is a determined, strong young girl and you can't help but root for her and you fall just as easily in love with her friends, Camille and Leda.

Miss Mabel is quite a mystery and I'm curious to learn more about her in the series. I hope to have my review of the second book in the series soon, but I was only able to get through the first book for this post. I'm sorry for the delay on that, but I'm sure I'll love all the books after the great start I had with Miss Mabel's School for Girls. This is definitely a book for a wide audience. It's a fantasy novel that doesn't feel overly confusing or perplexing, so many contemporary fans are sure to appreciate it too!

Giveaway:

$30 Visa Gift Card
INT
Ends Aug. 12th
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins


Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.


Review: Before reading Love Lies Beneath, the only novel I'd read by Hopkins was Triangles, her first foray into adult fiction. What I apparently missed when reading the summary for Love Lies Beneath is that the book is in prose - therefore, it's not in Hopkins' signature verse, like Triangles was and her many YA novels. This was a bit off-putting at first, as I really wanted to read a novel in verse, but I was soon swept into the story. There are poems spread throughout the book though, which was a nice touch.

At any rate, Love Lies Beneath is definitely a psychological thriller in a way, but it never really felt daunting. Depending on what you want out of the book, this can be a positive or a negative. I didn't mind it so much, but the book did feel a bit long for not having much of a suspenseful build up. There are many events that take place in the novel that make you wonder or feel a bit suspicious, but I never really thought of the book as overly suspenseful.

What I really loved about the book was the ending because it does take the reader in a direction you probably won't guess. If you do, good for you, but you won't know for sure until the end, so I think it should still be a bit of a shock. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and the situations that Tara is placed in by Hopkins. It was a bit of a longer read than necessarily needed, but the ultimate conclusion did leave me satisfied!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Penn's Woodland by David Connor


Penn's Woodland by David Connor

Review by Lauren

source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Years ago, Penn's lover was attacked in the woods, and most think Penn is to blame—including Penn. Ever since, he's been a prisoner in his home and his mind. When world renowned architect Ewan Parish arrives to construct a secure, enclosed walkway through those woods, Penn is surprised, suspicious, and also fearful.

Ewan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, reclusive Penn, his journals, and the beautiful artwork he's drawn, which Ewan recreates in the walkway's iron scrollwork. Determined to free Penn, Ewan sets out to unravel the mystery that has resulted in Penn's imprisonment by his family and conscience all these years...


Review: Penn's Woodland is a historical fiction M/M novel about Pennsylvania and Ewan. When I first started reading the book, I didn't realize it was historical fiction, but I soon got used to the way the story was told and how the people spoke. Pennsylvania - or Penn- has been locked in his room for eight years by his older sister, Georgia. The town they live in believe Penn to be a monster, someone who attacked another man in the woods when he was 18 years old. At the time, the fact that Penn likes men is another issue against him as it's not seen as natural.

Georgia has Ewan, a Scottish man, come to build an elaborate gate around the property and woods they live on, seemingly so that Penn would be able to leave his room every now and then. It doesn't take long for Ewan to become interested in Penn and he finds ways to communicate with him. The romantic aspect moved a bit fast, seeing as how Ewan starts out engaged to a French woman. Looking past this though, it was nice to see someone treat Penn with respect. Ewan promises to find answers for Penn about the past though, as Penn is afraid he really is a monster on the inside.

Penn's Woodland almost felt like a novella, but I read it on my Kindle, so it's difficult to determine the length. Regardless, it was a very interesting story that took an unsuspecting turn near the end. I won't go into detail, as not to spoil the story, but let's just say it was quite horrific in a way. I liked the twist though!

Overall, this was a good read. There are some sexual scenes, but I feel like the historical language kind of blurs the nature of it a bit so it's not overly explicit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rooks and Romanticide by J. I. Radke


Rooks and Romanticide by J.I. Radke

Review by Lauren

Source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: In an alternate world, Romeo and Juliet are gunslingers. Verona gives way to a steampunk Victorian London. The victims of turf wars are dumped in an alley they call Lovers’ Lane, and the moment the son of his family's enemy touches his face, Cain's revenge is poisoned by love. Fate would have it no other way.

Levi Ruslaniv is the heir to the Ruslaniv family gang, but ridiculous ancient feuds do not interest him. Cain Dietrich’s vengeful hatred for the Ruslaniv family is rooted deep, since he believes the Ruslanivs arranged for the murder of his parents. But his encounter with Levi pierces him deeper than hatred ever could. 

With bullets and blazes of glory, schemes, spies, and pack mentalities, loyalty runs as deep in the veins as passion or revenge, and there is only one way to end the fighting. From the start it was inevitable—a bloodstained fate for children with bloodstained hands, and the streets of New London will never be the same.

Review: This is a fascinating alternate world and retelling of Romeo and Juliet. In this version of the classic tale, the feuding families help rule over New London and have been fighting and causing much bloodshed for years. Levi Ruslaniv's face is hidden from all but his family and close friends. People know that Lord Ruslaniv has two sons but most could not identify them, including the Dietrich family. This family is ruled by Cain Dietrich, whose parents were brutally murdered three years before. Not knowing his enemies' face allows Levi to get close to Cain, but it's not long before the two of them are fighting feelings for one another.

Levi keeps his true identity a secret from Cain, but he also refuses to use his closeness to the Earl for any type of revenge, even though his gang, BLACK, is curious as to why not. As for Cain, he thinks he's hired a rogue gunslinger, one who can go between New London and share information. Unfortunately, nothing can stay a secret for too long.

The romance between Levi and Cain is passionate and intense. Readers realize that Levi can't hide for long, though, and so it's always full of suspense when the two get together. The writing has a slight historical feel to the words, which creates a realistic sense to the time. It also keeps the romantic moments in the book from becoming too erotic or gratuitous. The attraction between Levi and Cain is an important part of the story, but it's not the only thing. As these two families are enemies, it means readers cannot see a happy future. It means that there will continue to be bloodshed and violence throughout New London. Cain is desperate for revenge on those who killed his parents and imprisoned him for almost a year. Levi understands Cain's pain, but he also has loyalty to his own family.

I enjoyed seeing the pattern of Romeo and Juliet take place in this novel, without it being too overly predictable. Instead, it's a matter of events occurring and realizing it's influenced by the original text. Rooks and Romanticide is a suspenseful, passionate, and exciting read. I would recommend it to many and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm curious to see what Radke writes next.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Author Guest Post: J. I. Radke




 Guest Post by J. I. Radke, author of Rooks and Romanticide

There’s no avoiding it—Romeo and Juliet is a classic. The forbidden love/star-crossed lovers theme is one that occurs time and time again, whether in the traditional Shakespearean sense or in new relevant fashion. And of course there’s reboots like the movie Romeo + Juliet that take the old tale for a fun spin. I like to think it’s because the themes and emotions in Romeo/Juliet are intrinsic parts of the human experience—love and desperation, logic versus passion, secrecy and loyalty. To name a few. I never really had a plan, as a writer, to try my hand at reinventing the classic play. It just sort of happened in a huge collision of inexperienced research. What I mean is… Okay. Here we go!

I love literature in its every form—that includes manga (you know, the “backwards” Japanese visual novels)—and one manga that I absolutely adore and will never stop obsessing over is Kuroshitsuji (黒執事, or Black Butler.) ROOKS AND ROMANTICIDE at its youngest stage was…yes…fanfiction for this series. I was seventeen and I’d wanted to do something different, something new, and I thought it would be fun to reinvent Romeo/Juliet in a Victorian-type setting. What it became was more of an “alternate universe” Victorian London, and the gunslinger idea entered when I adapted the gang mentality of Romeo/Juliet’s fighting families to the era. From there, it just developed into this amalgamation, this almost-steampunk sort of culture, and became this great platform on which to explore the two houses hating each other and to build Cain and Levi’s relationship safe from that hatred. Mind, that was only the humble beginnings of ROOKS. It’s been five years since then and I like to think ROOKS has distinguished itself from its early days… ;)

For whatever reason going mad over organization, I went back to Romeo/Juliet and formed my own outline around the play’s actual skeleton. Scene by scene, act by act. I wanted to parallel it as far as plot movement, while tweaking it into something equally unique. I even structured the story itself like a play—parts are labeled “acts” and chapters labeled “scenes.” 

I hope the parallels come through both as throwbacks to the original play and as their own reinvented scenes. I won’t spoil anything, but I think it’s safe to say readers can expect certain turns of events just knowing how Romeo/Juliet plays out—even though there is a lot that is exclusive to ROOKS. 

One of the greatest places of inspiration from Romeo/Juliet was in the characterization of Levi and Cain. Knowing Romeo/Juliet, looking through it again, and building my own world for the retelling really made me stop and think about just what Romeo as a character and as a character mold stands for. What he wants. How that translates to Levi’s character. Same with Juliet and Cain. In fact, I feel like some traits of Romeo can be found in Cain at times, and Juliet in Levi, but that was what was so fun about borrowing and breaking the traditional: really getting to dig deep into the meaning and thoughts and feelings of two of literature’s most famous figures, and revitalize them. 

Same goes for the feud between the families, too, to be honest. It was a lot of wondering what loyalty meant, or what sort of void it might be filling. It was a lot of exploring grief and grudges, and sort of deconstructing the issues at the core of the classic play. Or maybe it was more about finding new meanings at the core of the play. In Romeo/Juliet, a lot of outside forces threaten the young Montague and Capulet—unwanted marriage, murder, feuding families. In ROOKS, it’s more about internal forces. And that was really pleasing to discover.  

I could go on and on about how reinventing the “classic love story” with two men was a lot of fun… ;) But to me the difference here is not because of that; it’s because Cain and Levi are, to put it simply, not Romeo and Juliet. While their situations and struggles are inspired by Romeo and Juliet, their story is still all their own. Realistically, it did bring some new conflicts with which to play, like dealing with homosexuality in a Victorian setting—and with the sons of noblemen well known to the public eye, all that jazz I love so much to talk about. ;D 

It was really fun being able to pluck key phrases and moments out of the classic play and put them into ROOKS in a new way—script/play dialogue is so very different from novel dialogue, after all. 

And I guess I’ll end with that. Here’s a tidbit!

ROOKS AND ROMANTICIDE – ACT ONE, SCENE FIVE

“A name, what is a name?” Levi sighed. There was no catch to this. He’d always gone by his middle name, anyway, and surely the Earl would never make the connection to his formal first name should he speak it.
He said, “A rose would smell the same if called anything else, wouldn’t it? Names are as dangerous as the guns we wave. With a man’s name you hold so much power over him—but if you should need a name for me, you can call me Levi—and I swear by the moon above in the sky—”
“Oh God, who are you? Romeo?” The Earl’s voice was thick with disgust, but his eyes danced.
Levi was slightly offended. He’d thought that had been a grand play of words.
“The moon is powerful,” he insisted, offering the Earl a frank frown. The Earl’s expression didn’t waver. He returned the stare, stubborn and smug in his austerity. Levi sighed. “What do you suggest I swear by, then?”
“Your life.”

About the Author:

J. I. Radke goes by a variety of handles and pseudonyms, most commonly "themissinglenk" and/or "white silver and mercury."

Once upon a time he wanted to be a marine biologist because of sharks. That lasted a year or so. Now he is an English/Creative Writing and History double major (emphasis on 18th/19th c. Western Europe, Classic mythology, and the history/psychology/theory of masculinity and sexuality), minoring in Russian Studies.

Radke writes ghost stories, romance novels, transgressive fiction, and "fanfic" that's sometimes all of that in one. He doesn't favor polemics, but he does believe in passionate speeches, discussions, and intellectual debates (best ones after midnight under the stars). He also believes in ghost hunting, swimming in coves with bioluminescent algae, zodiac/Tarot/moon cycles, sushi, Phad Thai, and pizza. He doesn't do quite as well with Ferris wheels.

Born in New Jersey but raised all over the U.S., Seattle is home to Radke.

Maybe one of these days he'll embellish this bio with a very clever quote from some respected historical figure or another.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin


Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Blogging for Books; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change?

Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.

Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:

• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?


Review: I have become really interested in nonfiction books lately, but I like to focus on the ones that read a bit like fiction. Better than Before definitely fits that category because it's almost half research/half memoir. Rubin's book is all about habits and trying to figure out why some people can form them easily while others cannot, among other questions. It does seem interesting that you can make habits for certain aspects of your life (perhaps brushing your teeth every night) but it's more difficult to exercise everyday or even read a certain amount of pages everyday. Sometimes fun things can be difficult to turn into a habit.

Throughout the book, Rubin uses her own ideas to experiment with her life and people she knows to see what habit forming techniques work best. I love that this is full of first hand accounts and how Rubin helps place people into one of four different categories (more on that below). There is a quiz in the back of the book to help tell you what Tendency you are, and once you know this, it will hopefully help you figure out how to make your habits work. I would suggest taking the quiz before reading the book (I did not) because once you have an idea of where you stand, you can read Rubin's examples and experiments with a fresher take on how it works for you.

Besides these Four Tendencies (Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel), there are other types of "people" and ways that people behave that Rubin focuses on to help people figure out how to make better habits for themselves and to then keep these habits. One example would be a Moderator and an Abstainer - this means that sometimes it's easier for people to Abstain totally from something than to Moderate it. A good example would be giving up chocolate bars. If you're a Moderator, you can choose good times to eat a bit of a chocolate bar and that works for you. An Abstainer has to give up chocolate bars all together or they feel deprived. I thought this section was really interesting, and for me, I think I'd have to be an Abstainer for the most part because moderating can be difficult for me.

This was definitely an intriguing book and I feel like I learned a lot. I would suggest checking it out!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline


Armada by Ernest Cline

Review by Lauren

source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?


Review: Wow, that's a really long official summary, but I think it gives you all you need to know to go into this book. First off, I'd like to say that Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One has been on my wish list for years now, and I still haven't read it yet, so I was really excited to get a review copy of Armada. These are two different books, so don't worry about when you read them. I just wanted to say that I'm even more ready (pun intended) to read Ready Player One.

As for Armada, this is the story of Zack Lightman. His dad died in a tragic accident when he was barely one and he's been raised by his mom ever since. Both of them love video games, and as for Zack, he's one of the top ten players in the game Armada which is about an alien race coming to Earth to wipe out humanity. Players like Zack have to use spaceships to help keep this force back. When Zack first sees a real life version of this ship outside his school classroom, he thinks he's losing his mind. He's not.

Zack is recruited for the real life Earth Defense Alliance, along with other players from around the world. They vary in country, age, race - but they are all the Earth has left to fight these real life aliens who are coming for them. They don't have long to get adjusted to the news, but the video games have been training them on how to fight for years. It's an interesting premise and I really enjoyed the overall story. I don't play video games, but I know a lot of people that do, so talk of that made sense. Regardless, I don't think it's necessary to know real-life games to enjoy the book.

Anyway, I believe I've mentioned this before, but I have an irrational fear of space, so when it comes to books that take place there, it's difficult for me to read. I was determined to enjoy this one, though, so I tried not to think about the setting too much (Zack does go to space for a portion of the story) and it worked for me.

Zack is a regular teenager and it was great to see the situation from his point of view. He has realistic reactions to sudden news, but it's never too much. I also really liked the secondary characters, especially the group of people that go to space with Zack. They are also in the top ten players for the game Armada and I feel like Cline gave us enough information about them so you care when things start to go wrong.

I really enjoyed this one, and I hope a lot of you will too! Now off to find Ready Player One...

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Discuss Cara Delevinge (Paper Towns) over at Let's Get Beyond Tolerance today as well! Be sure to check out previous posts. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Focus On Me by Megan Erickson


Focus On Me by Megan Erickson

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from author; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…


Review: I read and loved Trust the Focus, the first in the "In Focus" series by Megan Erickson. While this is a series and you should read them in order so things are not spoiled (the main characters in Trust the Focus appear in Focus On Me), these are essentially companion novels. Each books focuses on a different m/m couple and how they find love and happiness on a road trip across America. For Focus On Me, this is about Colin Hartman who has failed out of college and is on his way home for the last time. On the way, he meets Riley at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and he offers him a ride.

The relationship between these two starts out a bit slow, as Riley is obviously hesitant to get close to Colin, even when it's revealed that they are both gay and obviously attracted to each other. The reader knows a bit more about Riley than Colin does, but most of Riley's troubles are revealed as their trip continues and Colin decides to keep visiting various locations across the U.S. with Riley. I always like road trip novels because it shows me parts of the U.S. that I've never heard of and would like to one day visit.

Once the two do start having a physical relationship, it's intense and passionate. It's easy to want these two to work, but readers know that it's not entirely healthy. Colin and Riley both really like each other, but they can't form a long lasting relationship with secrets. I loved both of these guys. Riley is easy to care for because you want him to get well, but Colin is also wonderful as he's desperate to help Riley. He doesn't want to fail at that. Colin also has a close relationship to his younger sister, who he communicates with a few times on the trip and it was nice to see their bond.

Thank you so much to Megan Erickson for allowing me to read her novel for review. I think these are great books with a lot of heart - and heat- and I would love to read more in the series!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Author Jill Daugherty: Courage and Other Demons


Jill Daugherty's novel, Courage and Other Demons, is currently available as a free e-book on Amazon from July 17-22 if you wish to start this series!

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Hi, and thanks for having me on Shooting Stars Magazine! I’m excited to let you know a little bit about my books in The Courage Series. I thought since my stories focus so much on Irish folklore, and are also set in Denver, It would be fun to put together a few top 10 lists that expand on those pieces of my stories.



My first list focuses on the Denver Art Museum (DAM), an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through trans-formative experiences with art.  Its holdings reflect the city and region - and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Wouldn’t you want to go there? Even better - on a date?



Top Ten Things to Do On a DAM (Denver Art Museum) Date:

10. Stow your jacket and bags in a DAM locker, making it easier to hold hands with your DAM date.

9. Take the DAM elevator to the 2nd floor and check out the latest temporary exhibit.

8.  Buy a DAM souvenir in the DAM gift shop.

7.  Get a DAM snack at Mad Greens.

6.  Channel your inner child and create your own work of art at the DAM children’s area.

5.  Grab a DAM sketchbook and sketch your favorite sculpture.

4.  Take a DAM tour.

3.  If you’re enjoying your DAM date, take a DAM class to extend it beyond one day.

2. Have a contest to see who can make the most DAM jokes.

1. Kiss your DAM date under the giant chair at the entrance.



Another focus of The Courage Series is faeries, which were really decided by the origins of the story. Because it was an Irish folktale, I decided to research Irish mythology to include in the story and, of course, faeries are a huge part of that.  I did have to work to figure out what I wanted my faeries to be, because there are so many different faeries in Irish folklore.  I ended up taking little pieces from many different types to create the ones in my books, and it had me wondering how someone with their powers might use them for bad. So without further ado, I present…



Top Ten Abuses of Faery Power

10. Use your powers of invisibility to watch in the girls/boys locker room.
9.  Use your powers of persuasion to convince someone they want to go out with you.

8.  Use your powers of telekinesis to catch a pass in a football game.

7.  Use your telepathic abilities to cheat on a test.

6.  Use your powers of persuasion to get you them to buy you a car.

5.  Use your powers to unlock locks to read your sister’s diary.

4.  Use your powers of persuasion to convince the coach to put on a cheerleading uniform during the pep rally.

3.  Use your powers of persuasion to force your date to tell you what he thinks of your new hairdo.

2.  Use your powers of talking to animals to tell a snake to bite your little brother.

1.  Use your powers of telekinesis to make the lottery numbers on your ticket drop during the drawing.





Jill Daugherty Bio:

Jill Daugherty lives in Denver with Bailey, the world's cutest dog. By day, she works with gifted children and their teachers. By night, she writes. A lot. She is the author of the Courage series, which has received glowing reviews. At the insistence of her readers, she has started work on a spin-off series.


Courage and Other Demons (Book 1) Synopsis:

The end of the world will start in the suburbs of Denver with a faery transfer student from Ireland. If you think that’s totally ridiculous, then you understand how Maggie O’Neill feels. In all of her sixteen years, faeries were something you read about in children’s books. They didn’t actually show up on your doorstep. They didn’t kiss you and make your knees go weak and whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Until Simon Brady, that is. Simon changed everything. He makes her heart race and her skin burn with excitement, but he has also changed her core beliefs about the world and made her see it as a dark and dangerous place filled with monsters that belong only in the lines of faery tales. There is no doubt in Maggie’s mind that she loves Simon, but can she see past who he is and find a place for him in her heart?

Abandoned Courage (Book 2) Synopsis:

Maggie O’Neill had a rough junior year… She fell in love with Simon. She found out Simon was a faery. She spent some time with her dead ancestors. An evil faery with control issues came after her and brought his groupies to kill her. …but that was nothing compared to what’s in store for senior year. She’s the new girl at faery boarding school and is subjected to something she never thought she’d have to deal with in her entire life—mean girls. To make matters worse, she’s seeing less and less of Simon, her faery guard is smothering her in their efforts to protect her, and the evil faery is still stalking her, determined to kill her before she can kill him. She starts to wonder if she’ll make it to graduation. Then the unthinkable happens and she wonders if she’ll be able to survive even one more day.

Defining Courage (Book 3) Synopsis: 

Eighteen-year-old Maggie O’Neill is a high school dropout. If her parents knew, they’d probably kill her, but that’s the least of her worries. Balor—the evil faery from hell—is still stalking her, someone is still betraying her, and the mean girl at school is still mean. The worst part of her life, however, is figuring out how to live it without Simon. Will Maggie discover a way to defeat Balor? Will she ever be able to out-snark the mean girl? Will she find Simon? Tune in next week—uh, read the book—to find out.