Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Unchained by a Forbidden Love by Felicity Heaton!

Felicity Heaton

Lost to the darkness, Fuery wages a daily war against the corruption that lives within him, constantly in danger of slipping into the black abyss and becoming the monster all elves fear. Work as an assassin gives him purpose, but what reason is there to go on when he killed the light of his life—his fated mate?

Shaia has spent forty-two centuries mourning her mate. Tired and worn down, she agrees to wed a male of her family’s choosing, following tradition that has always bound her as a female and hoping she will be able to gain just a little freedom in return. But as she resigns herself to being the mate of a male she could never love, fate places an old friend in her path—one who tells her that her lost love is alive.

Will Shaia find the courage to break with tradition and leave the elf kingdom in search of her mate? And as a ray of light pierces his soul again, can Fuery find the strength to win his battle against the darkness or will it devour him and that light of their forbidden love forever? | | |

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Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win an Amazon Kindle Fire HD plus books 1-7 of the Eternal Mates series in e-book or audiobook at the Unchained by a Forbidden Love book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on January 28th.

Enter now:

Eirwyn droned on about something. Shaia tried to pay attention to him as she re-tied her long wavy black hair with trembling fingers, gathering the twin braids that hung from near her temples and joining them in the silver clasp at the back of her head.

It became impossible as they entered the main semi-circular marketplace of the village and she whirled back through time, the mixture of two-storey thatched and tiled detached grey stone buildings that lined the curve of the square changing around her to grow sparser and the people transforming into those who had occupied the market that fateful day almost four thousand three hundred years ago.

The light of the portal beat down on her, making her dark blue dress uncomfortably hot. She tugged at the tight bronze metal corset as best she could while clinging to the heavy wicker basket she held tucked in her left arm. The fruits and vegetables she had purchased with her mother jostled back and forth, threatening to leap over the edge.

“Shaia,” her mother called and she looked her way, nodded to let her know she was coming and hurried after her as she bustled down the lane in the busy market, disappearing into the throng as she moved from stall to stall.

The noise of the people rose around her, growing more animated, and snagging her attention.

She glanced up from wrestling with her dress as she walked, wanting to see what had caused the commotion.

A tall male dressed in the figure-hugging black uniform of the army filled her vision and she barely had time to gasp before he turned and collided with her, knocking the basket from her arms and sending its contents spilling across the dirt. She staggered backwards, the force of him slamming into her sending her off balance.

Her back hit a passing male before she could fall and the male who had knocked her muttered an apology and moved on with the rest of his group, laughing and pushing at each other as they weaved through the crowded lane. The male behind her righted her, grumbling about her being clumsy, and walked away without as much as a backward glance.

Shaia huffed, crouched and began picking up her scattered belongings before the people visiting the market began stepping on them. The last thing she needed was her mother discovering what had happened and finding her at fault. Things had been strained at home, her family’s desire for her to make a good match wearing her down and putting her in a foul mood.

She was only two hundred. Who found the one they would spend the rest of their life with at such a tender age?

A shadow came over her and she covered her eyes with her right hand and looked up at the owner of it.

A male loomed before her, darkly handsome, his face set in a scowl and strands of his long black hair dancing in the breeze to caress his cheeks.

He smoothed it back into the ponytail with a huff and she half expected him to demand she move out of his way.

Shock rippled through her when he directed the full force of his anger over her head. His violet eyes were bright with it as his pointed ears flared back, and then he crouched in front of her and began helping her with her fruits and vegetables. She stared at him as he worked, carefully plucking each fallen item from the dirt, inspecting it for marks and dusting off the earth, and then placing it gently into her basket.

“Are you hurt?” he said, and her insides trembled, unfamiliar heat traveling along her limbs and curling in her chest as his deep voice sounded in her ears.

He lifted his violet eyes to meet hers and all the anger that had been in them was gone, drifted away like storm clouds in summer, leaving only warm light behind.

She couldn’t find her voice to answer him.

He had stolen it together with her breath.


He was gorgeous.

The banked heat simmering in his eyes seemed to echo the burning in her veins, a strange and unsettling sensation that lit her up and had the world around her falling away, leaving only the male before her. She stared at him, shaken by the force of the new feelings rushing through her, sensations that skittered over her skin and stirred her soul, awoke something inside her that had her growing increasingly aware of him as more than a person.

She grew aware of him as a male.

Raw. Masculine. Powerful. Handsome. Everything about him stoked the flames licking through her, had her breath coming faster as her pulse accelerated, drumming in her ears.

That heat in his eyes began to blaze.

Someone caught her arm and pulled her onto her feet, jerking her out of the spell he had placed her under and bringing the world crashing back down around her. She heard her mother speak, felt she should look at her but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the male.

He took hold of her basket, his face fixed in a placid expression that concealed whatever he was feeling, and rose to his full height so he towered over her again. He looked down at the basket, and then her, and for an agonising moment she thought he would speak with her again, but then he held it out to her.

She took it in trembling hands, still fighting to find her voice to tell him that she was fine. Better than fine. She felt wonderful.

Her mother pulled her away, into the crowd, and she glanced back over her shoulder to find the male watching her. Her eyes widened. A uniform. He wore the same clothes as the soldiers who had bumped her.

Disappointment flooded her, the light and airy feeling transforming into a cold sort of darkness as she realised he wasn’t a resident of the village or any of those that surrounded it. He was a soldier, and he would pass through her small world and out of her life before she could even get to know him.

“Cursed soldiers. I do not see why we must entertain them by allowing them to stay near the village.” Her mother’s voice broke into the darkness, bringing light back into her heart, and hope welled inside her.

Hope that she would see him again, even when she knew her family would never approve of the match.

She drifted home with her mother, and kept on drifting, through days and the nights that followed, her concentration poor as the male played on her mind and a desire to venture into the village plagued her, tugging her towards it in the hope she would see him again.

Five days after their fateful meeting in the village, Shaia found herself sitting on a boulder on the bank of the stream struggling to focus on her task of washing clothes for her family.

One of the other maidens of the village spoke, but Shaia didn’t listen to her as she stared across the broad swath of shallow water that rippled over the stony riverbed.

At the camp there.

Soldiers came and went from the round white tents, the volume of their voices rising and falling as they talked or teased each other. Sometimes, one would call across to her and her companions. The first time it had happened, one of the more delicate females had almost fainted and another had spouted vile things about how the males would snatch them and hurt them, almost causing a third to join the first in having a fainting fit.

Shaia took it all in her stride, unafraid of the males as they called or whistled, able to see they were simply flirting with them and were harmless. None of them had even set foot in the water. She presumed it marked a boundary, and they had orders to remain in the camp.

The males nearest the bank fell silent as a taller male passed through, his black uniform bearing a regal crest. A commander. She half expected him to make them go back to work, but he rolled his eyes and moved on, obviously uninterested in their exploits.

Were the soldiers here for rest?

Shaia scrubbed the last item of clothing on the ribbed piece of wood she had wedged against some rocks in the bottom of the stream, her focus on the camp more than what she was doing. Her knuckles were sore from repeatedly being banged against the ridges and she was sure she had broken more than one nail, but she didn’t care. Her eyes scanned the tents and the faces of the males as they moved around.

The hope that had burst to life inside her when she had spotted the camp on the banks of the stream began to wane as she finished with the undershirt and rang it out before setting it down in her basket with her other clothes.

She unrolled the sleeves of her light green blouse and tied them at her wrists, rose to her feet and stepped out onto the pebbled bank, the damp hem of her skirt sticking to her ankles as she moved. The light warmed her bare feet, chasing the chill of the stream from them.

“Take the longer route, Shaia. You must avoid the soldiers.” The youngest daughter of a noble family who lived close to hers looked terrified as she said that, as if she was picturing horrible things happening to her.

Shaia sighed and nodded to her, her older sister and the two other maidens, and turned away, heading along the bank rather than following the worn footpath towards the village. She had nothing to fear from the males.

And she hadn’t seen him yet.

She held the heavy wicker basket in both hands, stumbling at times as her bare feet snagged on a rock or she stubbed her toe. She tried to keep her eyes away from the camp, but they disobeyed her and kept drifting back, heeding her heart and doing its bidding.

Was he not at the camp?

She followed a curve in the stream and her step faltered as a new area of the camp came into view.

Males sparred in a clearing, breathtaking as they battled with weapons or barehanded, a startling display of masculinity and strength that had her heart pounding in response.

She had never seen males fighting before.

Her eyes locked on the one who had caught her attention, stealing all of her focus away from the world and narrowing it down to only him.

He fought gracefully, bare feet kicking up dust into the thick hot air as he dodged and blocked each attack the other two males made with their blades, his bare hands swiftly knocking the sword arms of his foes, pushing their attack off course.

She gasped as he dropped to his knees and slammed his right hand up against the arm of the shorter male, stopping his blade at the last second, and his head slowly swivelled towards her.

Gods, he was breathtaking.

“Shaia?” A male voice penetrated her thoughts, shaking her hold on the past.

She tried to keep her grip on it but it began to slip, and despite her fierce struggle to stay in those days where the world had felt bright and beautiful, she came back to one that was dark and dreary.

Or one that had felt dark and dreary until only moments ago, until a ray of light had pierced the veil of darkness and brought warmth and hope back into her heart.

“Are you even listening to me?” Eirwyn snapped and she almost admitted that she wasn’t, that he bored her and she hated him, and she would wish for him to go to Hell if they weren’t already there.

Perhaps she could wish him into a more dangerous part of Hell.

“I am tired,” she whispered and pressed her hand to her forehead, hoping to make him believe her.

He thought her a feeble thing, and if playing on that would keep him from suspecting she had been miles away, centuries ago and reliving a better time of her life, then she would do it. She had no qualms about it either.

Her mind attempted to delve back in time again, but Eirwyn huffed and kept her with him, holding her in the present as he moved closer to her and spoke.

“… Males in elevated positions above their standing speaking to me in such a disrespectful manner.”

Shaia frowned in his direction, for a moment seeing her mother on a night over four thousand years ago, one where she had said almost the same thing about another male.

The only male dear to her heart.

“Bleu is the aide of our prince,” she said without considering the consequences, “his top commander and a male who is respected by all.”

Eirwyn turned a scowl on her, his purple eyes darker than she had ever seen them and filled with a silent reprimand. “Something is wrong with you today. You have been… different… since seeing that male. What is he to you?”

“He is no one to me,” she said and his expression didn’t lighten.

If anything, it grew darker, as if he could read her thoughts and knew that the one Bleu had spoken of meant everything to her though.

Instinct made her move a few inches away from him, a trickle of fear running through her that shocked her. As an elf, she possessed keen instincts, ones that could often warn her of danger before it presented itself, saving her from coming to harm.

Only once in her lifetime had she felt such an urge to move away from a male though, and then that male had meant to harm her, had ambushed and intended to rob her on the path between her home and the village one evening.

Did Eirwyn mean to harm her?

She steeled herself and steadied her heart. He wasn’t like that, had never shown any sign of being the sort of male who would strike a female or even a male. She was just jittery because of everything that had happened and on edge because she feared he would discover why she had suddenly grown distant and would be upset enough that he informed her parents.

Her parents would probably respond by shutting her in her room for months on end and stopping her from being able to leave.

They had reacted that way after she had wandered to the borders of the free realm to find Fuery forty-two centuries ago, hiring a sorceress to place a barrier around her rooms that would prevent her from teleporting out of them.

At the time, she had been too distraught to think about leaving again.

This time, it would drive her mad.

She made polite conversation, not hearing her own words as her mind churned, formulating a plan that had her heart beating harder, a trickle of fear running through her veins but excitement too, mingled with hope that gave her courage and strength to do what she had wanted to for over four thousand years.

She was going to cross the border.

Because she needed to find Fuery.

She needed to see with her own eyes that he was alive. | | |

iBooks USA | iBooks UK | iBooks Canada | iBooks Australia | iBooks New Zealand

Barnes and Noble | Kobo Books | Google Play

Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (FREE AT SELECTED RETAILERS)

Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King

Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince

Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar

Book 5: Craved by an Alpha

Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat

Book 7: Taken by a Dragon

Book 8: Marked by an Assassin

Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior

Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness

Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death

Book 12: Turned by a Tiger

Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger

Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger

Book 15: Unchained by a Forbidden Love

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:


Friday, January 12, 2018

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Lions Tigers and Boys by Tawny Stokes!

Title: Lions Tigers and Boys

Author: Tawny Stokes

Publication date: January 8th, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Crave

Genre: YA Paranormal

About the Book:

The last thing a girl as awkward as Dani Gale should be doing is trying to learn the high wire. Yet that’s exactly where Dani ends up—at OZ, the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts. Trying to overcome her shyness is near impossible when her new partner—the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on, and whose touch seems to give her poise she thought impossible—also seems to be sabotaging her progress.

The last thing Cai Coppersmith needs is a distraction, especially in the form of the new, cute shy girl. He needs to focus on trying not to shape-shift into a tiger on school grounds, and completing his mission to keep Dani from winning the school’s high-wire competition. In fact, the entire safety of OZ is relying on Dani not succeeding. But there’s something about the girl that draws him in. She has magic, he can feel it. So he’ll do what he can to protect her, even if it means pushing her away.

Get It Here:

Entangled Publishing

Follow the tour:

Click here!

About the Author:

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

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In short, this was a cute and fast read.

I really liked the fact that this book has a Wizard of Oz theme with it, though it's not a retelling.

I also really liked the concept and setting for the book. I think it's cool that there's a boarding school tucked away in the middle of the woods in God Knows Where, USA full of kids who are learning circus skills. The circus acts add a nice twist to the usual mean girls/high school drama because they're competing for a chance to shine under the spotlight.

I liked the characters. Cai is a shifter and a bit mysterious. Dani is super awkward but really sweet in a way that comes across as totally believable. The alternating POVs worked well because each character was different enough in voice where you could tell them apart, although some of the vocabulary used is a little questionable (Deets, off the chain). While they were likable and cute, I feel like the love was too instant. I didn't really have a lot of time to warm up to them individually before the feelings started.

There's a lot going on in this book that makes it a bit hard to focus, but also really interesting at the same time. There's a circus, there's boarding school drama, there's magic, there's shape shifters, there's romance. There's a lot of balls in the air, but it seems to work pretty well together.

I didn't care for all of the pop culture references (Emma Watson, So You Think You Can Dance) because I feel like it dates the book and makes it less relatable down the road. That's just a personal preference though, I'm sure others reading didn't think twice about it.

All in all, this is a solid young adult book. It was engaging with cool world building and some interesting concepts. If you like high school romance, circuses, or boarding school themed books, or attractive red-headed tiger shifters, this is a book worth checking out.


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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Release Day Blitz: The Crown Prince's Bride by Donna Alward!

Title: The Crown Prince's Bride

Author: Donna Alward

Publication date: January 9th 2018

About the Book:

A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there - in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairytale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

Get It Here:

KOBO | | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

About the Author:

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mini Review: Grimms Manga by Kei Ishiyama

Title: Grimms Manga
Author: Keiko Ishiyama
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: January 9 2018
Source: Tokyo POP

Book Description:

In this classic manga version of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, Kei Ishiyama puts her own creative spin on these beloved stories.

Featuring Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Two Brothers, The Twelve Hunters, Snow White, The Frog King, Puss in Boots, and The Singing, Springing Lark, this fantasy manga retells these timeless tales... but with a twist of originality!



This is a very cute collection of Grimm-inspired fairy tales done in a manga art style.

I really enjoyed these retellings. It's worth emphasizing that again: these are retellings. If you are looking for exact stories the way the brothers Grimm told them, you're going to be disappointed. These stories all have new twists and changes that succeed in representing what the original story was about, while making it new and unique. For example, some genders are swapped and some morals of the stories are changed.

I adored the artwork. It went well with the text, and showed the flow of the plot so that you could easily see the stories unfold in front of you. Personally, my favorite artwork was for Little Red Riding Hood- I think that the wolf character looks darling.

If you like both fairy tale retellings and manga, you're in luck. This is something you'll want to read. It's a pretty quick read and one I'd definitely look through again.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

Title: Monsterland
Author: Michael Okon
Format: Paperback, 232 pages
Pub. Date: December 19th 2017
Source: Author

Book Description:

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth. Wyatt Baldwin's senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?



This is a great concept for a book. In this novel, humans are fully aware of the existence of monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies (also known as the vitally challenged). Not only that, they are the topic of politics, study, and either admiration or abomination. Enter Monsterland: a theme park where humans can step right up and see zombies, vampires, and werewolves in a safe environment, up close and personal. Some say it's genius, others say its cruel. As for me.... I fluctuated between the two.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Okon takes this as a compliment; Monsterland gives me major 1990's RL Stine nostalgia. He was my absolute favorite author as a kid, and this book took me back. But at the same time, this book is like Fear Street all grown up. There's more death, more philosophy, and honestly I was taken by surprise the issues and topics that made me think as a reader. What makes a human more human than a vampire? Are we worthy of more rights? Are they just animals? Is it humane to display other living things in glass cages, or take advantage of the ill?

My opinion switched over the course of the novel. At the beginning, I was like the main character. I was PUMPED for Monsterland. Seeing vampires up close? Sign me up! But then you learn more about how the park works and boy does it get sinister. Like the fake moon that rises every hour that forces the wolves to go through their painful transformations against their will. And then I felt bad. Because that's awful, and of course I wouldn't want anyone to do that.... The moral dilemmas are interesting and unexpected.

The world building is well done. You learn why the monsters are there, about the politics of a mixed species society, about the anticipation of the park. It's a solidly written book. The violence is descriptive and gory (bones breaking, blood oozing) without being gratuitous. There's quite a few characters to follow, but they're pretty distinct from one another so it's easy to follow. The speed of the book is well paced, albeit a little rushed at the end. I think it may be a set up for a second book though, so I get why it ended the way it did.

I liked the twists on classic monsters that Okon brought to the story, such as how vampires turn people and how zombies came to be. It was intriguing (and kind of made me want a more NSFW vampire book, to be completely honest with you).

I'm glad I read this, and I can already tell you this book is underhyped and underrated. This book can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of (relative) age or gender; there's romance, there's high school drama, there's murders, there's zombie decapitations, there's something for everyone.

If you're a fan of young adult horror and vampires that don't sparkle, or books that are set in amusement park/circus/carnival type settings, this book is worth getting. I would read another book in this series in a heartbeat.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [109]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* the picture to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Is it as freezing by you as it is by me?

In My Mailbox

Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill

In My E-Mailbox

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton [Thanks Disney!]
Derailed by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge [Thanks Monster House!]
DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster! by Shea Fontana [Thanks DC!]
Reflection by Elizabeth Lim [Thanks Disney!]
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh [Thanks Penguin!]


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling [Thanks dad!]


Be sure to enter my giveaway, click the banner!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy
Series: If You Were Me and Lived In...
Author: Carole P. Roman
Artist: Silvia Brunetti
Format: Paperback, 58 pages
Pub. Date: May 6th 2016
Source: Author

Book Description:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Elizabethan England, and what Colonial American children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



I think this is a great children's book series that overall does a good job of introducing world history to kids. While still an okay book, this particular installment is not my favorite of the series.

There is a LOT of information here. And that's good, to a degree. But when there's a block of text compared to a small, or not detailed illustration, it becomes dry and too much like a text book.

As always, I do appreciate the glossary in the back, and the phonetic pronunciations that are sprinkled throughout the book. They're helpful, if you/r kid has not come across them before. There's also a list of famous figures from this point in time, which is a good addition.

The illustrations are really pretty- I really like the art style. I do, however, think the mix of real life photos and artwork is sort of odd and choppy.

I also really appreciated that the book was about a girl this time!

All in all, it's informative but a bit much. It's still really interesting, but a bit harder to get through.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Bats and Bones by Jeffrey Hickey

Title: Bats and Bones
Author: Jeffrey Hickey
Artist: Karen Kiser
Format: Paperback, 1st, 44 pages/audio cd
Pub. Date: October 12th 2015
Source: Author

Book Description:

Bats and Bones is IPPY award winning author Jeffrey Hickey's second work for children. This collection of spooky tales for middle school aged children and above is a subtle masterpiece of fright and emotion. Hickey wrote all the stories, the lush music, and does all the voices for the audio book. His wife, Karen Kiser, contributes the cover art, along with some penny whistle and a little piano. The inside illustrations, layout and design are by Rachel Betz, who also designed Hickey's first work for children, Wages Creek.

This was originally released as a CD only. This is the first edition in print.



This is a solid collection. Bats and Bones contains a collection of short stories that are aimed to be spooky reads for "middle school aged children and above".

The story telling was okay, but I didn't find it all too spooky. I don't think that the age bracket intended is spot on. It seemed a bit younger than middle school to me. I could be biased, since in junior high I was reading Stephen King already. But, the writing is fair, and I appreciated that each of the stories was unique from one another.

I do think that the audio cd/accompaniment that came with the print book made it a more interesting experience. I highly recommend utilizing the audio component. It does make everything a bit creepier, and makes up for the bit of lacking that I found while only reading the print alone.

If you have a child who is into ghost stories or starting to show an interest in horror, this is a good place to start. If they're already reading horror, then this might not be up to their level of entertainment.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking!

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart

Series: Valkyrie #1

Author: Amanda Hocking

Pub. Date: January 2, 2018

About the Book:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin's Valkyries, Malin's greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Get It Here:

BAM | Powells | IndieBound | Amazon | B&N

About the Author:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Blog | Website | Twitter | Facebook



I was beyond excited to get the chance to read this book. Amanda Hocking's book, Switched, was one of the very first books that I ever reviewed. It's cool to me that I still get to read her work, some five-ish years later. In addition to liking Hocking's work previously, I was also drawn in by the promise of Norse mythology. I wasn't left disappointed.

I really liked the characters in this book. Even the ones that I wasn't cheering for, I appreciated their development and had opinions on them. In particular, I really liked the relationship between Malin and her mother. It was complicated and frustrating, loving and hateful. In my opinion, there's not a lot of books that (successfully) portray how you can resent a parent but still feel love and warmth from them. I felt it was well done here. I liked her best friend, Oona, who is a crafty (pun absolutely intended) sorceress. And, I liked Quinn, the Valkyrie ex-girlfriend.

Which brings me to something else that I really liked: Malin's bisexuality is represented without it being the point of the plot/book. She just is and it has almost nothing to do with the book's outcome, save for a tiny bit of a love triangle type dilemma. It's not a big deal. It's never explained or explicitly stated. And in that same vein, I appreciated that neither love interest was a "first". There's no moony-eyed dilemma of having feelings for a girl for the first time. She point blank says hey, I've dated boys and girls before. And to me that's almost as bad ass as the whole sword-wielding contracted immortal killer thing.

Which, I also loved about her. I loved that there was never a moment where she's thinking poor me, I'm so average, whatever will I do? She is talented, albeit flawed, and confident and I appreciated it.

The world building was cool, but a bit confusing at times. The beings and gods and whatnot are timeless, so it has an old vibe to it. But then they're talking about technologies like eye scanners that are contemporary. But then there are some devices that certainly don't exist in our day and age, so it's also kind of futuristic. It's cool, but I wish it was flushed out a little more.

Similarly, I absolutely adore the fact that there are so many types of creatures and myths at play here; it's far more than just Norse. There's Lamia and demi-gods, and beings I had never even heard of. On the one hand, learning about all these creatures was super cool... But on the other hand, it's overwhelming because not all of them are explained. A lot of these words/beings are from mythos I know nothing about. I had to look up quite a few, because only some of them are explained or elaborated upon. It was a bit frustrating.

I think this book is like a Percy Jackson if it grew up and got a little more intense and steamy. There's profanity. There's sex. There's drinking. There's decapitating spider-women. But it's all balanced and not there for the sake of being there.

If you're a fan of young adult mythology or strong female characters, I'd recommend checking this book out. There's a mild cliff hanger and a slight love triangle situation, but neither really bothered me in this case. I read this book in one sitting despite my few grievances, and I'll definitely want to read the next book in the series.


- One (1) winner will receive a finished paperback copy of BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART, U.S. entries only.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: If You Were Me and Lived In... Colonial America by Carole P. Roman

Title:If You Were Me and Lived In... Colonial America: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time
Series: If You Were Me and Lived In...
Author: Carole P. Roman
Artist: Sarah Wright
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: April 24th 2017
Source: Author

Book Description:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Elizabethan England, and what Colonial American children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



I'm a pretty big fan of these books. I think they're a great introduction to history for young readers. This book is no exception. This is a good, age appropriate introduction to American history.

One thing that's super helpful is that there are phonetic pronunciations are given for words that may be unfamiliar. However, I do think the words chosen seem sort of odd. For example, "Catholic" has phonetics, but "Protestant" does not. You also learn some new words- like "daub" or "wattle".

There's a lot of information in these small books. This includes a glossary section in the back, as well as a guide with some famous people from this period in history.

There's a stray typo or two, but nothing too major.

The illustrations are very cute, and go well with the text. There's a good balance of words and photos on each page, which is good for maintaining focus.

I think this is a good intro to American history, that tells a lot, but doesn't get into too much horrific detail.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Review: Sweet Revenge by Heather Kim

Title: Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies
Author: Heather Kim
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: January 1st 2018
Source: Netgalley

Book Description:

50+ killer cakes, cookies, and candies for your exes and enemies. Dumped by your beefcake boyfriend? BFF steal your one-and-only? Lab partner a more-than-periodic no-show? Don't take these battles online. (Seriously, don't do that, okay?). Get out your heaviest rolling pins, sharpest cleavers, and most blistering torches, and kill your enemies and exes . . . with kindness. That's right - bake that loser ex a pan of Go Fudge Yourself. Gift your former friend a You're the Devil Cake. And give that annoying admirer a Donut Call Me Again. Let them taste your over-them happiness and see what comes next . . . Pastry chef and tattoo artist Heather Kim serves up sinfully delicious recipes and bittersweet advice.



This is one of the best books I read in 2017. No, not just cookbooks. One of the best books full stop. It's delicious, snarky, and hilarious, and is right up my alley. I'd keep this in my kitchen for sure.

The recipes are divided into sections by type, including an introduction, Bite Sized Treats, Cakes and Cupcakes, Breads and Pastries, Candy Creams and More.

The tone of this book is hilarious. It's snarky and funny- like if one of your girlfriends was psyching you up after a bad break up and helping you get your bullshit together. It gives it a familiar, friendly tone, which makes the book even better.

This book is great for beginners. Some of the ingredients that are used are home-baker friendly, such as jarred jams. There's cute little tinder bios to help explain what different types of sugar are for. The steps are super helpful and are written in layman's terms; "Plop the dough down" and "crank that oven up" are examples that immediately come to mind. This book is definitely accessible.

Some of the dishes that sounded the most delicious include You've Got a Latte Balls (PSL balls), Suck It Up and Grow a Pear (cheesecake), and When I Think of You I Scream (flamin hot ice cream sammiches).

This book is a great cookbook, whether you're baking away thoughts of your terrible ex, or if you're just hungry. It's well written both in tone and instruction, and I think it'd be a great gift.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.