Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Starter Zone by Chris Pavesic (A LITRPG Novel)


Starter Zone
The Revelation Chronicles, Book 1
Chris Pavesic

Print Length: 219 pages
Publication Date: September 25, 2017
ASIN: B074YZ9JKB

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, LitRPG

Follow the tour to read reviews guest posts, exclusive excerpts, and spotlight posts:

About the Book:


When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail.  Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

Time to play the game.


MY TIDBITS

This fantasy/adventure mixes the gaming world with reality for an exciting read.

Cami has one goal—keep her and her younger sister alive. Civilization has been destroyed, leaving street gangs and worse fighting for whatever supplies might be left. It doesn't help that water in every form is deadly unless it's been cleansed. While trying to sneak out of the city in hopes of finding a more peaceful life in a forgotten rural house, Cami and her sister are caught by hydrologists, and they force Cami and her sister to become part of a different world. A very dangerous one.

The novel starts out with a dystopian setting. Cami and her sister are trying to survive, and need to avoid the deadly street gangs. And rain. The tension is high from the very first page, and the sisterly bond between Cami and her seven-year-old sister pulls at the heart strings. Even though Cami can be cold when necessary, her relationship to her sister makes her impossible not to like and cheer for. When the novel takes a sudden twist and the game type world opens up, the switch flows smoothly. The author does a good job of providing enough explanation to make the switch believable, and does it in a manner which never comes across boring. Cami needs to learn about her new world and the role she plays in it, and the reader learns along with her.

Anyone who has gamed will feel at home in this tale. The adventures follow the regular gaming basics with a familiar feel. The sudden bouts of information about Cami's level, skills, health, and such don't jolt from the story but blend right in with the plot. Even when Cami isn't fighting or in a tense situation, the story is well-paced and doesn't let the reader go. I had no trouble reading this in one setting.

It's an easy read, but enjoyable. There are layers of intrigue waiting in the shadows and hints at a bigger adventure to come. Enough unexpected twists and turns keep the plot interesting, and even when some thing aren't completely a surprise, the tense build-up left me on the edge of my seat. It's simply a fun read, which fantasy friends and gamers are sure to enjoy.


EXCERPT

I would like to offer you a glimpse into Starter Zone, the first book of my new YA/LitRPG series, The Revelation Chronicles.

PROLOGUE

I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.
The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.
The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.
The obscenely rich were the hydrologist’s first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people’s interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription—whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.
I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.

CHAPTER ONE

As the sun hovers near the horizon, ready to dip below and plunge the world into darkness, the weather changes for the worse. Clouds gather. Peeking out my window and over the outline of rooftops in the distance is what looks like thunderheads moving toward me in the invisible polluted gusts of wind.
I try not to think about the coming storm as I methodically pull on my boots and zip up my jacket. It is supposed to be waterproof, but I would not risk going out in anything above a light drizzle. Water has a way of seeping through even the best defenses. There’s also a lining that’s overly warm for a summer evening. I’m already sweating and the discomfort adds to my nerves.
I check the hunting knife strapped to my left leg. It was one of the first weapons purchased for me by my dad back when the sporting goods stores were still open for business. He didn’t think I was ready to handle a handgun at thirteen, but he taught me to shoot a rifle in the open fields by our house, helping me hold the weapon steady until I grew strong enough to support the weight. Now, three years later, I have a handgun, a Ruger semi-automatic, but bullets are scarce and loud noises are problematic. My small ammo stash sits in the bottom of my backpack next to the gun.
Instead of the gun, I carry an extra-light crossbow as my go-to weapon. I can hand-make the bolts so I don’t worry about running out of ammunition and the shot is relatively silent. I carry the spare bolts in a quiver strapped to my right leg. It’s awkward when running, but I can draw the bolts fast when needed.
My little sister, Alby, has loaded her own backpack. I lift it to test the weight and then pull a few things out. I place them in my own pack without comment. I help her position the lighter pack over her shoulders, tightening the straps so that it will stay balanced. She always tries to do more than she should, but I don’t like the way her face has a perpetual pinched, strained look or the deep shadows under her eyes. She looks far older than her seven years. This scares me more than everything else and that fear threatens to register on my face. I force myself to stay calm.
I check her raincoat and boots, making sure everything fits snugly. I help Alby pull up the hood of her coat, tucking in a strand of dark hair that has escaped her ponytail. As frightened as she is, she manages to give me a smile. I smile back, trying to present a brave front. As my dad used to say, “fake it till you make it.”  Over the last few years, I’ve been faking confidence more and more often for Alby’s sake.
“Ready to go?” I ask with all the false cheer I can muster in my voice. I take one last glance over the motel room that had served as a temporary home for the last few days, looking for anything that we might have left behind. The room is swept clean. No trace whatsoever that we had ever been there.
Alby nods. “Ready, Cami.”
“If we get separated, remember to keep going north,” I say. “Follow the road till you get to the park, then take the walking paths. No matter what happens, keep going. Stop when you get to the Stone River. I’ll meet you at the bridge in the center of the park where we used to feed the ducks, okay?”
She nods again, looking up at me with those dark eyes so full of trust. I hug her, because if we do get separated, there isn’t much hope we will ever see each other again. I need to keep up the pretense of hope, though, because that’s all we have to keep us going.
Stone River Park is at the very limits of the city and the area surrounding it is relatively unpopulated. I figure that once we are out of the city, our chances of survival will dramatically increase. After reaching the park, we can follow the Stone River north. There’s bound to be deserted houses in the country and less chance that any of the gangs would be interested in the meager pickings outside of the city. We might even be able to find a place to stay before winter.
I crack open the door of our motel room. It is still light enough to stain everything with graying shades of color. The setting sun casts long shadows between the buildings, so I depend more upon my ears to find signs of other humans. I hear no motorcycle engines and no voices, only the wind, blowing and moaning, and the far-off call of a bird. The coming storm appears to have cleared the streets. They are deserted except for empty, crashed vehicles abandoned in every lane.
Alby and I had been lucky to reach the motel a few days ago. The single-story building is on the outskirts of the main town and catered to big rig truck drivers and other traffic from the interstate. I had found the skeleton key in the motel office after climbing in through the bathroom window. Alby and I spent the nights scouring every room for supplies.
No one had broken into it before we got there. Too many other rich targets to go around. But inside each room was a mini-fridge filled with snacks. Even though the electricity had been turned off, the chocolates and small bags of honey-coated nuts were edible. The tiny bottles of alcoholic beverages in each fridge did not seem useful, but I kept a few. They might be helpful in starting a fire someday when we made it outside the city. We even discovered coffee filters and a small bottle of chlorine bleach—a major score for treating our drinking water. 
If I hadn’t spent days secretly peering out the dark windows of the motel, I might believe my sister and I were the last two people left on earth. But I know that out there, behind the ruined buildings and boarded-up windows, there are at least a few pairs of eyes whose owners would kill us without a second thought. My eyes flick toward the two bodies hanging from the traffic lights in the nearby intersection. They hadn’t been moved. Good.
     The daytime usually belongs to looter-gangs, each with spray-can marked territories in bright displays of color that start on the buildings and drip down toward the pavement. The gangs wear something marked as well, usually a jacket or bandanna that will stand out from a distance. The snipers hole up in their nests and target anyone who encroaches on their gang’s territory. They particularly looked for members of other factions trying to increase their terrain.
Paint tags don’t show up well after dark, though, so the gangs have started leaving their victims as warnings to others not to encroach on their holding. These bodies have been hanging undisturbed in the intersection for several days, indicating a lack of activity in the area. I can only hope that the gangs have moved inward, toward the center of the city and more supply-rich targets.
No one is ever going to catch the murderers, or the ones who strung up the bodies like macabre trophies, and put them in jail. They’ll just go on and do it again and again. Like animals in the jungle—except that animals are not cruel.
We were lucky to go unmolested by the local gangs. Heaven knows we don’t look like we have much of anything, and we don’t look threatening, but that will only last for so long. Someday someone will try to kill us, possibly for no other reason than wanting to watch us die. The whole world, it seems, is at war, and no one is on my side except Alby. We only have each other.
A streak of lightning splits the sky almost directly overhead, making me wince. It is followed by a heavy clap of thunder. As frightening as it is, the bad weather is to our advantage. No one wants to be caught outside in the rain. Everyone is more afraid of fresh, untreated water and what it can do than they are of each other. But I believe we can make it out of the area and to shelter before the rain poses any danger.

In fact I’m betting our lives on it.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/starter-zone-chris-pavesic/1127125956?ean=2940158707476




And here she is. . .




Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. She blogs on www.chrispavesic.com and Tweets @chrispavesic 




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: NIV Kids Visual Study Bible


NIV KIDS' VISUAL STUDY BIBLE
Explore the Story of the Bible - People, Places and History
Zonderkidz
Religious - Bible
1952 pages
ages 8 and up


The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible, for ages 8–12, brings the Bible to life in four-color illustrated splendor. This study Bible includes a spectacular full-color interior featuring over 700 illustrations, photos, infographics, and maps on every page that visually represent key Bible information. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they’ll want to explore.
Features:

-Over 700 four-color photographs, illustrations, infographics, and maps throughout 
-Full-color design 
-Book introductions, including important facts and an image to orient the reader 
-One-column format with side bar study notes for ease of reading 
-Presentation page 
-The complete text of the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible 



MY TIDBITS

Dry and boring are words of the past with this study Bible. With grabbing tidbits, an easy to read lay-out, and tons of other informational goodies, this is a Bible to grab onto and digest to the heart's content.

Study Bibles aren't usually a book which perk kids' interest. Neither is the sight of a nearly 2000 word volume a reason to dance for joy. But this Bible surprises by not talking down to kids or soaring way above their heads. Each book of the Bible starts out with a one page run-down with basic information about the book: who wrote it, what are the key people, what stories, etc. There's also a photo of a modern day view of a place mentioned in the book or something which has to do with a verse in the book. 

The chapters are presented in a single column with a yellowish sidebar along each page. Here, short dabs of helpful information and explanations are presented with reference to the verse. These are much easier to understand than old fashioned footnotes, simple to read and presented in a very understandable way. Colorful and interesting diagrams are also peppered along the sides to visually support some information and provide an easy to understand summary (for example: a diagram to Amos' Visions). There are also small footnotes at the bottom of the text to add extra information and assistance on top of everything else, but these are not the main aide. A table of weights and measures, an index and maps round off the end. And, as a small extra bonus, there's a blue ribbon attached to use as a always ready and simple bookmark.

This is a NIV (New International Version) translation—which, of course, is a matter of opinion to its correctness (as always)—but it is a version children can easily understand and read. The notes along the side help with any terminology stumbling blocks, making it very reader friendly. There is some space for personal notes along the side, but not too much, and the text itself is in a relatively small print — not necessarily 'highlighter' friendly. So more intense fans of scribbling down thoughts and notes will need an extra notebook on the side. But this study Bible isn't necessarily hitting that area hard. This one is about bringing the text to life and helping the reader understand the background behind the verses. And these are tidbits which kids will love and devour. Things passed by in just a word or two in the verses are explained. . .and that in a simple, clear way. (Why tents needed to be bigger, how was a funeral procession conducted, why armies destroyed Moab, etc) Often things, events and objects are assumed to be understood, but this Bible explains the cultural differences, reasons behind certain actions, or what something simply is. 

Summed up, this is a Bible which encourages children to not only learn the verses and meanings but opens up the past. It uses visual means to sum up information, show connections and simple bring the past to life. Even adults will enjoy diving in and are sure to grab up things they didn't know before.

I received a complimentary copy of this one through Booklook Bloggers and was honestly surprised how interesting this Study Bible is. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Book Birthday, Running with Wolves by Summer Lane with Giveaway!





Running with Wolves 

by Summer Lane

September 22nd 2017
YA Adventure, Historical, Romance


Alaska, 1898
“They always come back,” she whispers. “Always.”

He spilled their blood. Now, she’s out for revenge.

Jenna Renee is a woman wronged. When her adoptive parents are brutally murdered by an outlaw named Conroy Parker and his gang of thugs, they take everything from her: her family, her happiness, and her money.

Determined to bring Conroy and his boys to justice, she hires a gruff but dangerous gun-slinging trapper and guide, Jeremiah Black, to help her hunt Conroy down.
But there is more to Alaska than meets the eye.
The cold touch of the arctic winter is dangerous, and the corruption of Conroy Parker and his comrades runs deep. The tundra is unforgiving, and so are the wolves. Nothing is as at seems.

If the wilderness doesn’t kill Jenna, the pack will. Revenge comes with a price, and so does love. There will be no mercy….only the hunt.

A romantic adventure from #1 bestselling author Summer Lane, set amidst the gritty and awe-inspiring setting of Alaska during the last great Gold Rush.



Interview with Bestselling Author Summer Lane
(Courtesy of Writing Belle Publishing)

This is your first historical fiction. How different was the writing process, as opposed to the past 17 novels you’ve written – which have all been post-apocalyptic?

A historical novel is more strictly attached to the time period in which it takes place. The way people talk, dress, act, and even eat are different than how we do all of those things modernly. I had to do a lot of research, of course. I have been slowly working on this book for roughly 2 years, when the idea originally occurred to me. I have read so many books about Alaska…toward the end of the writing process, I was devouring whole college textbooks and double fact-checking everything I had until I was entirely sure my eyes were going to fall out of my head.
With my apocalyptic books, the research is tactically-oriented, if that makes sense. With Wolves, I had to make sure the slang and vernacular was correct and that the history was right on target. I took a few artistic liberties with the story, as all writers do, but everything is based in fact. Everything.

Where did the idea for Running with Wolves come from?

I have always loved animals. I have always loved dogs. I first was enraptured by the idea of setting a story in Alaska when I was a little girl, after watching the animated film Balto for the first time. The concept for this particular novel sprung up about 2 years ago. It took me a long time to cultivate the plot to a point where I liked it enough to go ahead and write the book. I have always wanted to write a western-style novel, and that’s what Wolves is. A western novel set in the snow, with adventure and romance.

Where does the story actually take place?

I have constructed a fictional tale within the boundaries of the boomtowns and mining camps that existed in 1898. The main character, Jenna Renee, lives outside of a town called Dyea. I used prominent and famous historical hotspots, such as the Chilkoot Pass and Dawson City, in the book, too.

Can we look forward to some romance, in addition to adventure?

Yes! One of the central themes of the novel is the romance story between Jenna Renee and the rather callous but handsome United States Marshal Jeremiah Black. I love Jeremiah’s character – he’s got a lot of surprises up his sleeve, and I think readers will love him as much as Jenna does.

What are your upcoming projects?

Well, I have a non-fiction novel coming up in the next several months: Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel. I’m also releasing the first installment of the anticipated Resurrection Series in January 2018. Resurrection will continue the adventures, fights, and romances of Commander Cassidy Hart from the hit Collapse Series.

And here she is. . . 
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 18 novels, including the smash-hit Collapse Series. She owns Writing Belle Publishing. Lane is also an experienced journalist and creative writing teacher. Writing Belle is her online magazine, where she has interviewed and featured hundreds of writers from around the globe.
Look for her upcoming books, Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel, and Resurrection: Shadows of Omega, the hotly anticipated continuation of Cassidy Hart’s post-apocalyptic adventures.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, Scott, and their German Shepherd, Kona. 


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Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Marice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon, Illustrated by Karl James Mountford


MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY
by Amy Dixon
Illustrated by Karl James Mountford
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 3 and up


Beasts roar! Beasts destroy! But not Maurice.
This frightfully unbeastly tale about staying true to yourself is for everyone who’s just a little bit different.

With his melodious voice, fondness for kale, and unfailing politeness, Maurice isn’t quite like other beasts. So his concerned Mama and Papa send their ridiculously photogenic beastie to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to learn how to behave badly. Will Maurice master growling, scowling, snarling, and howling? Or will he prove that being different is a good thing after all?
 




 MY TIDBITS

With monsterly sweetness and abominable fun, this book embraces different in all of its furry and ungrowling ways.

Maurice is a vegetarian, kind and polite—all those things a monster shouldn't be. Not sure how to help him, his parents send him off to monster academy in hopes he'll learn true brutish behavior. Maurice tries, but keeps messing up.

Although Maurice is a monster, his behavior isn't very scary or beastly, and this is reflected masterfully, especially in the illustrations. His black and furry appearance sits like a snug costume around a gentle, green face. He's a monster, but even at first glance, it's clear that he's not necessarily something to fear. His habits support this in a humorous yet caring way. Even when mocked, Maurice doesn't lose face. He tries to make the others happy but remains true to himself. 

The situations are cute, calm and always hold a light sense of humor. The growling and roaring comes across familiar without turning frightening. The other monsters hold their monsterly outside while never growing too scary for younger readers. 

The text tells the story while adding light pinches of humor here and there to make sure a smile never leaves the face. The vocabulary is a bit high even for slightly older listeners and will need some explanation along the way. Some of the clever humor will get lost because of this too. The message still comes across loud and clear, and leaves a warm, huggy mood. Maurice is a wonderful type of different and this is something young readers will love (and need) to hear. He's the kind of monster kids will want to have as a friend too.


And here they are. . .

The Author. . .



The Illustrator. . .














Premonition by Leigh Walker with Interview and Giveaway




PREMONITION 

by Leigh Walker
The Division #1
July 19th 2017
YA Romance, Science Fiction






When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…
Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it.
The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…
Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run.
Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…
She was made for it.



INTERVIEW WITH LEIGH WALKER

Q: Wow, you’re interviewing yourself…how pompous!
Right? It’s to tell people more about the series, lol. Although I should admit that I normally talk to myself a lot, so this isn’t much of a departure.

Q: Tell us about “The Division” – it’s a bunch of teenagers with psychic powers, right? How did you get inspired?
Everyone on the team has psychic powers, yes. I was watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix and I WAS SO PSYCHED they were testing poor Eleven for psychic powers. But I was also like, YEEHAW! Because I LOVE psychic powers, and I can’t remember the last time I saw or read something that included them. I’ve always been obsessed by the concept, and there’s so many variations of powers, so many incarnations it can take… Anyway, after watching that show and having that reaction, I thought, other people must love this stuff, too, I can’t be the only one. So I wanted to give us all more!

Q: Tell us about the main character, Riley Payne.
Riley is a ‘normal’ girl dealing with a lot. Her father and sister died in a car accident and her mother started drinking heavily after it happened. She just wants to get out of her house and go to boarding school, but she gets more than she bargained for when she abruptly gets recruited into a secret agency…

Q: The ‘secret agency’ is The Division, correct?
Yes. It’s a secret cell of teenagers who were genetically engineered with psychic gifts. They work for the American government to combat domestic terrorism.
Riley thinks they’re nuts, of course. Until she unlocks her powers, then she’s blown away by what she can do.

Q: As the series goes on, you get into genetic engineering, fated love, eco-terrorism, loyalty, isolation, human nature, climate change…some pretty heavy themes. But would you describe the series as a difficult read?
I don’t think so, but certainly some parts were hard to write – like about Riley missing her dad and her sister. I still cry when I read those parts. And in the second book, an eco-terrorist is introduced, and some terrible things happen in the book. So yeah, there’s definitely a heaviness to some of what the characters are dealing with. But they’re teenagers, and their youth is sort of a tonic against everything they’re dealing with. They still care about their friends. They still want to hang out, tell stories, joke around. They are still very interested in falling in love. I think my writing style is naturally light and breezy, so it’s sort of a counterpoint to the storyline. If that makes sense, lol.

Q: What’s your favorite part of this series?
Riley and Finn’s relationship. They have so much on their plates, and they’re so young, but they genuinely care for each other in a way that makes me ache.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have three large, unruly boys who like to play every sport and eat as much food as possible. When I’m not at my computer, I’m busy carting them around and grocery shopping. But I also love to relax with a great book or television show – I am currently completely obsessed with Riverdale, OMG!!!
Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!!



And here she is. . . 
Leigh Walker lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Journalism and a law degree. She's never been to the Naval Shipyard prison in Kittery, ME, but she's driven by it...and boy, is it creepy!

Leigh has lots of books planned for The Division Series. Sign up for her mailing list at www.leighwalkerbooks.com to be notified of the next release in the series! You can also find her on The Division's FB page: https://www.facebook.com/divisionbookseries/ 

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Bewitching Hannah by Leigh Goff


Being a witch is the last thing she wants…


Bewitching Hannah
by Leigh Goff
Mirror World Publishing
September 17, 2017
YA, Fantasy, Romance


Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a troubled legacy of magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead. Engaged in a deadly game without knowing who her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she will survive, and if she loses she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.


MY TIDBITS

Shadowed with a constant layer of darkness, this read packs magic, tension, and the hand of fate into a read which hooks until the last page.

Hannah is a witch, although she wishes she wasn't and tries to keep the magic inside of her from surfacing. After her parents' tragic deaths, she lives with her aunt in Annapolis and is forced to take part in the coven she was born into. Hannah's attempts to deny what she is unravel as she's faced with three girls/witches, who are determined to make her life not only difficult but use any means possible to steal a so-called 'key' from her. Even if Hannah is sure she doesn't have it and wants nothing to do with it, the girls' quest for power turns into a deadly game.

I enjoyed reading this book. There's tons of magic, wonderful tension and enough twists and turns to keep one guessing until the end. Hannah isn't comfortable in her own skin, and it's a rough road before she learns to accept who she is. She's a bit snarky at times and tends to snap out exactly what she thinks, but there's a caring side to her and her moral compass keeps her actions intact. In other words, she's far from perfect but still a true heroine inside.

The idea of covens and witches living right under normal human radar comes across very naturally. The magic is intense but it slides right along with normal high school life in a smaller town. Although witches and wizards are key in the plot, other types of magic also have an influence as magic from cultures such as the Incas and even a bit of the Greek mythology is sprinkled in.

The plot moves along quick, never leaving a moment for boredom. Even the romance holds dark secrets, which keep the tension high the whole way through. I enjoyed the hesitation in the romance, but found it sometimes was a little off in the chemistry. Some of the reactions seemed a bit sudden, or lacked a little more background. Especially the first chapters were a little confusing, and it seemed as if some information was missing. But then there were hiccups even later on, at times. Still, the world and story were interesting enough to keep me engaged, and even with these little stumbles, I didn't want to set the book down.

Fans of witches, magic, slightly dark romances and hidden evil will enjoy diving into these pages and are sure to get caught up in Hannah's world.






EXCERPT

Lightning flashed, followed by a rumble of thunder, jolting me alert. A tempest churned over the Chesapeake Bay and was rolling toward town. I stared at the clouds, ready to calculate how much time we had before the rain hit. Another bright flash of white-hot lightning forked across the purplish-black sky. One, two…twenty.

Boom.

The storm was at least four miles away. I pressed a hand over my chest, feeling the thumping slow.

I glanced at Aunt J, who was no longer bopping her head to the bad music. Instead, she blinked over and over, and rubbed her eyes with one hand.

“If you’re tired, I can drive.” Who needed a license when I’d already mastered a moped along with the Green Briar golf carts?

Her slender fingers searched for me as if I were a ghost she could only hear. She grasped my arm tightly.

“Hannah?” Panic drenched her voice.

My eyes widened. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t see. I mean, I see something, but it’s not the road. What’s wrong with me?”

I peered out the windshield. A distant telephone pole grew bigger as her foot stuck to the accelerator.

A frightening swell of adrenaline flooded my veins, sending my heart into a frenzy. “Stop!” I yelled, but she was frozen with fright. I grabbed the steering wheel and threw my leg over to jam on the brake pedal.

It was too late. Absolute silence fell over us in the grim second before we plowed into the pole. My lower body slammed into the dashboard while the seatbelt squeezed hard against my ribs. Metal groaned. White bubbles deployed. Glass shattered with a scream. Or maybe the scream was mine. The car groaned to a halt with a hiss and clank.

Stillness settled over us. My head was reeling as I checked myself for injuries. Bursts of pain sparked from my chest and leg.

“Hannah?” Aunt J’s quivering voice reached out.

I pried my eyes open. She had escaped her seatbelt. Her lips and hands were trembling, but I saw no blood or broken skin. Inwardly, I sighed with relief.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I sucked in a shallow breath. “Me? Fine,” I managed, not wanting to stress her out, but I struggled to breathe and my left leg was wedged under the intruding dashboard.

She reached over, wiping her hands across my cheeks and forehead, dusting away crumbs of glass. She touched her trembling fingers to the seatbelt release and pressed on it, over and over. “Come on, dammit. Let go.”

I pushed her hand away, restraining a whimper. “It’s okay. Go get help.”

She nodded and with a hard push, shoved her door open. “I’ll be right back.”

A heavy silence fell over the car’s interior until a hiss sounded from the engine. Within seconds, the smell of burning oil seeped in through the vents.

One toxic breath went deeper than I meant it to. “Ow!” I coughed and writhed beneath the unyielding seatbelt like a five-year-old having a tantrum. Panic swept over me as I struggled for freedom.

Stress vibrated deep in my gut. Self-soothe, self-soothe, I reminded myself. The air grew thicker with burning oil and a starburst of pain wracked my body. I was going to die. Unless…

No. How could I even think it? There had to be another way because what if I couldn’t send it back? What if it took me to the same terrible place it had taken them?

I peered out the windows, searching. There was no one. I turned my focus on the glove box. Maybe Aunt J kept a knife in there or a pair of floral scissors. I pushed the button hard, again and again. Jammed. My heart raced.

A burst of smoke puffed into the car’s interior. I coughed and closed my eyes. The pressure on my leg intensified and the sickening fumes filled me with dread. Eff it. I balled my hands into fists.

I recalled the spell I’d overheard my dad utter once. I recited it in my head before casting, making sure I had it right. “By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.”

I stopped breathing, trying to sense any changes. I felt no different. And then it filled my core like a warm sphere of energy. Quickly, the power expanded into a blazing inferno. My back arched, pressing me harder into the seatbelt as my internal fire surged. Every cell jolted awake. My heart pounded out of control as I imagined channeling the smoldering energy. Suddenly, my hands tingled with intense power. I swallowed hard and aimed my fingers at the strap. The fiery threads trickled out in a wiggly pattern until I steadied my hand. The seatbelt burned orange, then cooled to black before separating.

Purchase Links:
Mirror World Publishing eBook:
https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/young-adult-fiction/products/bewitching-hannah-ebook

Mirror World Publishing Paperback:
https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/young-adult-fiction/products/bewitching-hannah-paperback

Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2vtH056

Kobo:
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/bewitching-hannah

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bewitching-hannah-leigh-goff/1126756568?ean=9781987976311

And here she is. . .

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥


Leigh Goff grew up in Maryland where she resides today. Her writing is inspired by an eclectic childhood, a vivid imagination, and compelling historical events. After taking several writing courses in college and attending professional writing workshops after she graduated from the University of Maryland, she joined the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. 

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http://leighgoff.com/author/leighgoff/


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Cover Reveal: What the Valley Knows by Heather Christie





What The Valley Knows 

by Heather Christie

January 25th 2018
YA Romance






Millington Valley is a quintessential small Pennsylvania town: families go back generations. Football rules. Kids drink while adults look the other way. High school is a whirlwind of aspiration and rivalry, friendship and jealousy.
When smart and pretty Molly Hanover moves to town and attracts the attention of the football team’s hero, Wade Thornton—a nice guy with a bad drinking habit—longtime friendships are threatened and a popular cheerleader tries to turn the school against Molly.
The young couple’s future is shattered when Wade, drunk, wrecks his truck and Molly is thrown through the windshield. She wakes from a coma to find her beauty marred and her memory full of holes. As she struggles to heal, she becomes sure that something terrible happened before the accident. And there is somebody in the valley who doesn’t want her to remember.


And here she is. . .

Heather Christie grew up in rural Pennsylvania and, at age seventeen, took off for New York City in hopes of becoming a movie star. Flash forward several decades, a couple degrees, a bunch of cats, two kids and one husband later, she's back in Pennsylvania writing her heart out and chasing dreams again. She loves to read, run, drink tea, and make Sunday dinner. Follow her blog at www.HeatherChristieBooks.com and say “hello” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


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