Thursday, May 17, 2018

Happy Release Day! Unlocked by Casey L. Bond


Welcome to the release blitz for Unlocked by Casey L. Bond! Many congrats to Casey on her release today! Fairy tales will never get old, and today's authors know this. Please check out this new fairy tale retelling and be sure to grab your copy right away!

Title: Unlocked
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Editor: Stacy Sanford/ The Girl with the Red Pen
Cover Designer: Melissa Stevens/ The Illustrated Author Design Services
Publication Date: May 17th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Please note affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help me support my websites, at no additional cost to you.




Unlocked 

Princess Raya of Paruth lived alone on a deserted island in a towering lighthouse, forgotten by time. With only a loyal albatross as a friend, she had little hope or joy in her life until he washed up on her shore in the middle of a raging winter storm.

Prince Trevor of Galder left his father and kingdom behind to travel north in search of a wife. It was time to settle down and forget Ella Carina, the woman who chose to love a peasant and follow her heart instead of choosing Trevor and fulfilling her duty to her people. He didn’t heed the warnings about the North Sea in winter, and his ship, crew, and captain paid the price.

Raya and Trevor must work together to find a way off the island, or risk being trapped there for the rest of their lives. But sometimes the simplest lessons are the hardest, and each will have to learn that the only thing that can truly set you free is love.



https://amzn.to/2InPsd4




Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links: 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review of The Ancient Tripod of Peace (A Teen Thief-Catchers Novel) by Kalen Cap



Welcome to the review tour for The Ancient Tripod of Peace by Kalen Cap. It's the first book in the Teen Theif-Catchers series and is designed for those who love history, artifacts, and mystery. Please tune in to the blurb and excerpt, followed by my review. You can also follow the tour for more excerpts and reviews, plus have bonus chances to enter the giveaway. Please be sure to leave the author any comments or questions you may have!

Please note that affiliate links are present. Should you make a purchase through one of these, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you. I only share those books that I feel will interest my readers. Also, I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.





The Ancient Tripod of Peace


Teens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies.

Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.

His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.

With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.

The Ancient Tripod of Peace is the first book in novelist Kalen Cap’s Teen Thief-Catchers Series. If you like stories with artifact treasures, fighting secret societies, and spirited protagonists, you’ll enjoy this novel.




Read an excerpt:
“Mom knows one of my high school teachers, called him an odd duck. Said she worked on a fundraiser for his bird sanctuary.”

Brandon spewed the protein shake across the counter.

“Dude! That was classic! What gives?” Gil couldn’t help snickering, although his brother looked like he might be truly sick.

“Ah. Nothing. Went up my nose is all.” Brandon grabbed a dish towel and wiped up the mess. “So, you said this bird sanctuary guy is your teacher? What’s his name?”

“Some old guy named Saffron.”

“Nick Saffron is not old.”

“If you say so. He’s at least in his fifties, older than Dad. You know him?”

“I know him to see him. He’s gotta be the only Saffron at the gym,” Brandon said. “Listen, I need some shut eye. Are you going to walk Cyclops this morning or should I?”

Blind in one eye, their dog Cyclops was originally Brandon’s responsibility. But, when Brandon left for college, Gil cared for the doberman mix. A handful at 105 pounds, Cyclops was one of the biggest dogs in the neighborhood.

“I’ll walk Cy.” In many ways, the dog had been Gil’s best friend the past year.

“Thanks. I’ll catch some Z’s. Later.” Brandon left the kitchen while wiping his face with his hands. He quickly reappeared, stepping back into the kitchen. “I wouldn’t tell Saffron about my being your brother and him knowing me from the gym.” Without further explanation, Brandon left again.

“Okay,” Gil answered. He shook his head. Why does he care about that?

Want more? Read another excerpt here. 


**My thoughts**

I am always a sucker for a book that takes place in the state of Ohio, as that is where I was born. I almost relate better to the setting, because I am familiar with it. Add in the idea of a mystery with artifacts and secret codes, and I was completely intrigued.

This story is akin to National Treasure and The DaVinci Code in that ancient codes and secrets are hidden right in front of our faces, and only certain people are able to find them and use them. The difference here is it involves a group of people called the Enlightened Pythagoreans and connections to Shakespeare. It's a totally fascinating idea that I never would have thought of on my own. It's also quite complicated, and I feel like I need to do some additional research to totally understand what is going on here. 

The group of kids involved in this mystery are definitely not a group that would normally be hanging out together. Each one of them has their own quirks. They couldn't be more different. And yet they have to work together. Brandon is very much a scaredy-cat. Gil is a massive know-it-all.  Lexi is caught up in trying to please everyone and making her mark, while also being concerned about her father's job, and having all kinds of other interesting connections to the stolen artifacts. 

Then there are the adults. Dozens of secrets abound and you almost don't know who you can trust. I had a hard time keeping all of the adults and their relationships straight, as well. I found the story both interesting and confusing all at the same time.

The intense knowledge that one must have about the history and these secrets feels like something that most people, let alone teenagers, would know anything about, let alone understand. I sometimes forgot that I was reading about teenagers here and there. Yet for those of you who are really into these quirky conspiracies and history, it won't matter how old you are. You'll want to dive into the mystery and see if you can figure it all out for yourself. It will be interesting to see where these kids go in the future.

About Kalen Cap


Kalen Cap is a writer living in Ohio and regularly commutes back and forth between Columbus and Port Clinton residences. Set among the Lake Erie Islands, “TheAncient Tripod of Peace” is his second novel, first of the Teen Thief-Catcher series. His first novel, “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” was published in 2012.





Kalen Cap will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pre-Order There Goes Sunday School by Alexander C. Eberhart



What's harder than being a closeted teen in small town Georgia? Falling for the pastor's son. The new coming of age book by Alexander C. Eberhart is coming on June 4th and you can preorder your copy today! It's available on all of your favorite platforms. And while some of these buy links are affiliate links which may earn me a small commission, it won't cost you anything extra to use them.


Title: There Goes Sunday School
Author: Alexander C. Eberhart
Genre: YA LGBT – Coming of Age
Publication Date: June 4th, 2018
Cover Designer: Molly Phipps at We Got You Covered
Publisher: Seven Sisters Publishing, LLC

There Goes Sunday School

In sixteen-year-old Mike Hernandez’s life, only one thing is clear: Gay is NOT okay. His family’s life revolves around the church, a church run by the vocally intolerant Pastor Myers, so Mike has resolved to spend his life in the closet. His only escape—besides the occasional, anonymous gay make-out session—is his art. He pours his complicated emotions into risqué drawings he keeps in a secret sketchbook. A sketchbook he carries everywhere. 

When his sketchbook goes missing in the middle of Sunday school, Mike is sure his life is over. He’s going to be outed, ostracized by their community, condemned by the pastor, maybe even homeless. What’s worse, the pastor’s son, Chris, suddenly seems hell-bent on adopting Mike and his friends and he has no idea why.

When an awkward confrontation with Chris leads to an unexpected kiss instead of a much-expected punch, Mike’s world is turned upside down. As their friendship grows and faith is questioned, Mike may be forced to choose between the comfortable life he's always lived and a chance at the love he never thought he deserved.



Buy Links:
Amazon * Kobo * B&N * iTunes


Alexander grew up in the Metro Atlanta Area his entire life, moving from suburb to suburb, just on the outskirts of the city. He’s always had a passion for writing, even from a young age. He still lives on the cusp of Atlanta, inching his way ever closer to finally becoming the City Dweller he’s always wanted to be. In the meantime, he spends his days writing stories with queer characters and drinking an unfathomable amount of coffee. When he isn’t crafting quality queer fiction, you can find Alexander most likely curled up alongside his boyfriend, watching a movie or another equally lazy task.


Author Links:

Friday, May 4, 2018

Review of Alone Together by Sarah J. Donovan with Giveaway


Welcome to the blog tour for Alone Together by Sarah J. Donovan. I can pretty much guarantee you've not come across a novel like this one before. I have an excerpt for you to give a brief demonstration of what I mean, as well as my honest review of the book. There's a giveaway at the end of the post. You can also get more about the book if you follow the book tour.

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you. Also, I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Alone Together

Sadie Carter’s life is a mess, as wavy and tangled as her unruly hair. At 15, she is barely surviving the chaos of her large Catholic family. When one sister becomes pregnant and another is thrown out, her unemployed dad hides his depression, and her mom hides a secret. Sadie, the peacekeeper and rule-follower, has had enough. The empty refrigerator, years of hand-me-downs, and all the secrets have to stop. She longs for something more and plans her escape.

However, getting arrested was not her plan. Falling in love was not her plan. With the help of three mysterious strangers—a cop, a teacher, and a cute boy—maybe Sadie will find the strength to defy the rules and do the unexpected.

Told in verse, Sarah J. Donovan’s debut Alone Together has secrets, romance, struggle, sin, and redemption, all before Sadie blows out her 16 candles. It’s a courageously honest look at growing up in a big family.



Buy Links 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble


**My thoughts**
I was intrigued by the blurb of this story as far as the plot, but then knowing it was written in verse made it even more interesting. It really was a great way to get a deeper look into Sadie's pain and isolation. Her fractured bursts reflect her fractured emotions and thoughts as she tries to figure out who she is and her place in this family and in this world. 

Being part of such a large family has got to be difficult. There were only two of us, so I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to share everything with that many other people. Adding to their chaos with 11 kids is their devout religion and essential poverty. Neither parent is happy, which trickles down to the kids and they are essentially ignored on some level. I hurt for Sadie while reading her entries, because her verse is just so painful and honest.

Not every large family has these kinds of demons, though the ones I know are now all grown and with kids of their own. I want this happy close-knit family and/or friends and support for Sadie and I think she wants it for herself. She just doesn't know how to find it. When she does finally find support from unexpected people, she doesn't know how to accept it. She is a beautiful, smart, and determined. She just needs someone to show her, but that's going to be a long road.

We get a glimpse into a year of her life, but it's only a glimpse. In a way, you almost want a bit more, but that would only come in the form of prose, which would detract from the emotion that you're experiencing. It wouldn't accurately reflect Sadie's state of mind. But I do want a glimpse into the next period of her life. It could even be another story set in verse. I think it could still be done and still reflect who she has become.


Read an excerpt and author's note:

A R R E S T E D

I knew he’d come,

he’d be the one

because Mom’s always at church these days,

because he’s always in the garage these days.

I knew he’d be stoic

as he shook the hand

of the police commander—

a 6’ 6” Santa Claus

with a badge.

Nobody speaks

for what feels like

forever.

say a silent prayer— for what I don’t know.
God has more important things to worry about these days.






Dad leans back in his chair.

Crosses his legs.

I notice his overgrown toenails

stretching just beyond the sole

of his too-small flip flops.

Laces his hands behind his head.

I notice the stench of several shower-free days seeping into the silence.

Santa runs his hands through his silver hair, smoothes out his beard, blue eyes taking note of this

father-daughter dynamic.

“Today’s my last day,” says Santa.

“and it looks to me

like you could use

a break.”

I’m not sure

if he’s talking to me,

if he’s talking to Dad,

but my hands are praying

for some miracle.

Santa

tosses my violation in the trash.

Santa

stands to shake my hand.

My fingers are lost in his palm, and

I swear his blue eyes twinkle as he says, “Make better choices, Sadie.”





Christmas in August, I think.

A Christmas miracle, I think.

Until Dad finally breaks his silence to say, “Got a few bucks for gas?”

I’m not sure

if he’s talking to me,

if he’s talking to Santa,

but Santa takes out a ten

and hands it to Dad.






S I S T E R S A D I E

The only one of eleven

who sets the table every morning with cereal bowls and spoons,

who matches mounds of socks

without complaint or disdain,

who obeys every stand, kneel, sing in mass without sneaking out after communion.

The only one

who follows the rules,

who keeps the peace,

who has a chance at

joining the convent

to make her old Italian grandmother proud.

Now

without proper punishment, without penance or consequence, without a way to assuage the conscience:






Destined-to-Go-to-Hell Sadie

(or at least confession),

which is okay because

I like boys too much to

become

a

nun.





S I L E N C E I N N U M B E R S

No one is home.

No one.

#1 left at 18 to raise her own family—

done being a second mother to the brood.

#2 left at 18 to train for triathlons—

practically ran to Arizona the day he graduated.

#3 was kicked out at 18—

an unforgivable sin, but we don’t talk about her.

I don’t know them all that well.

They never come home.

#4 and #5 left to go to college—

have jobs on campus in the cafeteria,

wish I could see those boys washing dishes. #6 left at 18 for restaurant management training— 

didn’t have the smarts for college, wish I could see her running a crew. 

I don’t know them all that well.

They never come home.

#7 runs a drive-thru

passing the time with college classes until her boyfriend proposes.
#8 bakes croissants

saving every bit of dough

until she can plan her escape.






#10 runs with a gang

taking #11 to babysitting gigs

until she sneaks out to party.

I don’t know them all that well.

I was busy shoplifting.






A LW AY S H O M E

Dad does not have a job.

Fired five years ago,

he

delivered packages

until he didn’t,

remodeled a neighbor’s basement,

which is still not finished,

designed a truck

that already exists.

So he is making a wooden canoe

in the garage

to one day drift on rivers of bliss, only
while he’s been at “work,”

one through six have already departed, and seven through eleven are

making

plans

to

abandon

ship


(or canoe).





A UT HO R’S NOT E




I wrote Alone Together in verse because I see the stanzas and line breaks as representing Sadie’s fragmented thinking and limited perspective on the complexity of her family and purpose in life.

Like Sadie, I grew up in a big family. I can’t possibly know what it was like to be the oldest with so many younger siblings or to be the youngest with so many older siblings, so the white spaces on the page are for their stories. And the white spaces on these pages are for the verses of your life. I hope that you write them.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helped me tell Sadie’s story. In his 1943 paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Abraham Maslow describes stages he believed necessary for human subsistence and fulfillment. Many people understand this to mean that in order to reach the higher stages like self-actualization, you must have your more basic needs satisfied, such as security, but I wanted to explore the resilience of teenagers who are working within and across all these stages every day. I wanted to show the struggle and beauty of one teen figuring out how to be and to become while she was hungry, while she was finding love and belonging, while she was discovering her path.

As an adult, I am still figuring out how to take care of myself and how to be a part of this complex world we live in. But what I do know is that I need others to help me. I am grateful for the people who love my family and grateful for the people who love me, who taught me how to love and be loved. This book would not exist without all of them.






About Sarah J. Donovan


Sarah J. Donovan is the author of Alone Together and Genocide Literature in Middle and Secondary Classrooms. A junior high English teacher by day and college education professor by night, she spends every other moment reading young adult novels and writing. She lives with her husband in Downers Grove, Illinois in a condo so she can write instead of mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. When she is not teaching, reading, or writing, she can be found playing sand volleyball with amazing Chicagoland women. (Yes, even in the winters.)You can see all her “shelfies”on Instagram @donovan_sd or tweet @MrsSJDonovan.

Author Links:



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