Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review of 'Paranormal Days Gone Awry'

Book blurb from Amazon:

Bad days, we all have them. Even the supernatural beings among us. Do their powers and abilities make it easier or harder? You be the judge! In this anthology you'll see those doldrums days from every angle. From funny to tragic, from dragon to vampire, whatever your paranormal craving we have a flavor just for you! Enjoy one short story after another from many of today's hot and upcoming authors!

**My thoughts**

Vampires, witches, and zombies, oh my! And elementals and weres! You name it, this book has it!

I had purchased this book during a sale, because I am familiar with many of the Anchor Group authors. I was ecstatic when my book club chose to read it this month. By this time, I was caught up with even more of the authors than I had been before reading it.

I love reading books by Elizabeth Kirke, Christy Sloat, Stacey Rourke, and Karen Pokras Toz. All four of these ladies have stories featured in here, along with 9 others. Some of the stories provide more insight into characters in the full-length novels, such as the short about Dani and the kids by Elizabeth Kirke. Stacey Rourke's story about Keni was already familiar, as it also appears in one of her novellas. Christy Sloat's short about a vampire is an example of an author showing off a different side of her writing skills. Karen Pokras Toz's Nate Rocks is one of my current favorite middle grade series.

I also really liked Dana Piazzi's "Full Moon Flip Flop" and "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" by Katherine Polillo. I am not usually a fan of short stories, but these kept me plenty entertained.

This book is a fantastic introduction to the authors who make up the Anchor Group. It has something for everyone. Following each story is that author's bio and a listing of their other books, so you can catch up on ones you may have missed before.

 Available at Amazon \ Barnes & Noble \ Smashwords

Review of 'Love, Exactly' by Cassandra Giovanni

Book Info-
Title- Love, Exactly
By-Cassandra Giovanni
Genre-New Adult
Publication Date-June 20, 2013


Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.

Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.
With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

**My thoughts**

How many of us have had that blissful daydream where we run into our favorite singer and then we fall madly in love with each other? *sigh* That is precisely what happens to Emma and one of her favorite leading men, Evan. 

Interjection: The scene where Emma's phone rings, and it's one of Evan's songs as the ringtone is a classic, and precisely what would probably happen to any of us!

Emma is damaged goods, due to serious issues that she faced in college. I think her story is unfortunately familiar to more teenage girls than we realize. She uses her relationship with Evan to overcome that. I would hope that any girl or woman who reads this book and recognizes herself in Emma would try to get herself some help.

Evan is also damaged in that way that celebrities often are, especially when they have reached the limelight at such an early age. We see it all the time in the tabloids. Emma is able to see through all of that, allowing the real Evan to come out.

They are not without their struggles, though you won't find any overly dramatic scenes about them. Time passes quickly, as it must for them during so many of their separations. I only noticed two minor continuity issues, but they won't really affect the story.

This book made for a relaxing summer afternoon read. It also inspired some of my fantasies about famous rock stars to re-emerge. :-) 

Buy it on Amazon

Order an autographed print copy from the author here.

Follow the tour event on Facebook here.

About the Author-

Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since than Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Love, Exactly , in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.



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Saturday, June 29, 2013

'A Touch of Honor (The Honor Triology #1)' by J.P. Grider

A Touch of Honor (The Honor Trilogy #1)
by J.P. Grider
YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Fated Hearts Publishing
Release Date: March 13, 2013
Heat Level: Sweet
Length: 224 pages

Honor hurts…all the time. The doctors say she’s fine – it’s all in her head. But Honor feels pain. What she doesn’t know is…it’s not her pain– it’s everyone else’s.

Seventeen year-old Honor Stevens is not an ordinary teenager. Sure, she looks like one on the outside…but on the inside, there’s a whole world of pain going on. Honor is an empath. That means she can feel other people’s pain – like that of the girl who is about to be raped in the woods, or the girl who is dying of cancer, or her mom…who is suffering a heart attack. What she doesn’t know is what Ethan Sutherland comes to town to tell her – she can save these people. But at what cost? For every life Honor saves, she knocks years off her own.

When Ethan comes looking for her, he isn’t counting on falling in love. Now that he has, he wishes he hadn’t told her about her abilities. Though he tries his best to talk her out of saving every soul, Ethan loses the battle – Honor’s too nice for her own good.

Then there’s the matter of Ethan’s estranged, morally corrupt half-brother, Storm – he loves Honor too. And because Honor is intrinsically empathic, she’s aware of Storm’s softer side and begins falling for him as well.

When the two brothers are forced to work together against a group of evil empaths who are after Honor, they need to put their differences aside and focus on saving the one girl they both love.

A Touch of Honor is a paranormal love story of a different kind. In a world gone mad with vampires and werewolves, A Touch of Honor tugs at the heartstrings with a girl out to heal the world…one person at a time.

He takes hold of my hand, and we proceed to the wooden playground area off to the side of the library. A maze of playthings built from wood will serve as the background to, I suspect, a life-changing turn of events.

We ascend the wooden…plank, I think to myself, though it is really a wooden ramp. But “walkin’ the plank”seems so much more appropriate at this time. Since, unfortunately, I intuit a death sentence on the horizon.

“Honor,” Ethan starts, sitting down on one of the built-in benches. Of course, I follow. “I’ve been having this conversation with myself all afternoon,” he drops his head back against the seat’s wall and shuts his eyes. “Yet I still don’t know where to begin.” He opens his eyes and raises his head. Looking straight at me, right into my own violet eyes, he blurts out, “You’re adopted. You do know that, right?”

Now if I had not been aware of this fact already, I’d be quite traumatized right now. In fact, I’d have become just a bit unhinged at the moment. Come to think of it, I am anyway. “How do you know this?” I ask, astounded that he is aware of something so personal.

“Oh my God, Honor,” he puts his hand on my knee, “you didn’t know?” he asks, shocked.

Pulling my knee out from under his hand, I slide as far over as possible. But when I turn to face him, I swear…there’s a tear falling down his cheek. This tempers my anger…a little. “Yes,” I answer, hearing the sardonic tone in my voice. “I knew. I know…”

Ethan moves toward me.

“But…how do you know? We’ve kept this a secret. No one knows.” Tingly chills run up my spine. I am suddenly afraid.

“Your mother’s name was Hanna. Your father…Daniel. Your last name was Robinson.” Ethan ceases to talk, probably surmising, correctly, my need to absorb this new piece of intelligence about my own life.

Too dumb-stricken for words, I remain silently in awe.

“They gave you up for adoption…because they were dying,” Ethan resumes. “They were only in their early twenties.”

Hearing this makes me sadder than I’ve ever been. My body goes slack, and my eyes begin to burn. My mom, the one who raised me, had told me that my mother, the biological one, was dying when she gave me up. But I’d no idea she was so young. And no one had ever mentioned a father. There is a hollowness in my chest that I’d never known. A vacant home that had been hidden away, not knowing my true identity, now manifests into a cavernous canyon, because now I do know.

“You are from a special breed of people, Honor.” Unaware of the current turmoil taking place in my mind…and my heart, Ethan keeps on talking. “The violet eyes?” He pauses for a reaction from me, which he gets in the form of a blank stare. “They’re characteristic of your true nature.”

There is just no voice in me. All my thoughts are actually knotted into one mess of a ball in the pit of my stomach, where I can feel it trying to find its way up my esophagus. I want to vomit.

“Honor?” Ethan probes, as if I’m not listening. “All that pain you feel…day in and day out,” he pauses and is intent on looking me directly in the eyes, “and healing your mother. You know…you did do that. You know that, don’t you?”

I just shake my head slowly, hand over my mouth.

“Honor Nicole Robinson Stevens.”

My head moves back and forth quickly now, unable to grasp this. My hand is still covering my mouth.

Ethan will not stop.

“You feel people’s pain…Honor.” Ethan shakes his head now. “It is…a horrible existence, Honor, I’m not going to lie.” Tears roll down his face again. “But you are special.”

He smiles through his tears.

“You…” His head drops in a slight bow. “You can heal people…you are an empath, Honor. You take on the hurt and the pain of others…and you can take them away.”
Buy it on Amazon

About the Author:
J.P. Grider, born in Paterson, New Jersey as Julianne Pellegrino, was raised in Haledon, New Jersey, the oldest of six siblings. Her love of writing started early in her childhood, when she started writing poetry in-between homework assignments. As part of a school work program as a Journalism major in High School, J.P. Grider worked as a freelance reporter for a local newspaper, writing feature stories about exceptional high-school classmates. She studied Television Production and Film Writing at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communications.

Two of J.P. Grider's novels have won awards in the Textnovel Writing Contest, with her recently published, Unplugged (A Portrait of a Rock Star) reaching Semi-finalist position. Though Unplugged is not her first novel written, it is the first to be published. Her second novel, Maybe This Life, published Summer 2012, was actually her first attempt at writing a novel. After completing the whole manuscript, Grider decided to scrap the whole thing and rewrite Maybe This Life from scratch. In Grider's opinion, the difference between the two were night and day.

Currently, J.P. Grider is working on a Young Adult Paranormal love story and continues to work on stories in her main genre, Contemporary/Paranormal romance.

Connect with J.P. Grider

Prize is an autographed print copy of "A Touch of Honor (The Honor Trilogy #1)" from J.P. Grider. Contest is tour-wide and ends July 4. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

'Flanagan: Underage Detective: A teen noir' by Andreu Martin & Jaume Ribera

500,000 copies sold in print in Europe!

Book blurb:

 His name is Juan Anguera. He's a fourteen year old student, living in the turbulent environment of suburban Barcelona. But everybody calls him Flanagan, and he's an amateur detective. Big cases? Well, not really. He can find your lost pet, or maybe find out who's sending you those anonymous love poems. Until one of his simple cases turns out to be much more serious and dangerous. Flanagan finds himself doing the work of a real detective, all the while leaving behind his own childhood. And to make everything all the more complicated, he has to deal with his first experiences of heartache. His only weapons in the face of danger are his iron-clad sense of humor, his fast legs, and his clever mind.

Read rave reviews:
"Teen Detective, yes, but from a dynamic and funny view, something special in the usual boring and relaxed teen literature. It's hilarious and fresh, and it's really worth to be read. It's the beginning of the Flanagan series" (Shigaya Nimurai)
 "The particular mix of realism and idealism, of romanticism and postmodernism, has proven to be a winning combination among young people in Spain and elsewhere." Prof. Louise Salstad (North Carolina State University)
"In short, a new vision of the detective story in which the tough guy detective is replaced by a vivacious skinny kid that faces his situations with no more than wits and cunning. But the books have more to offer than just that. There is room for everything; comedy, thrills, danger, romance, humanity, and even local culture. The young Spain of the 1980's is described with great accuracy, with references to well-known urban trends and with plenty of nods to elements of the era (like car models or popular songs). The writing style is entertaining and effective, it really seems like the kid is telling us everything in minute detail with the typical expressions of his generation". Txenxo (Mediavida) 
"The influence of comics is clearly highlighted in the narrative rhythm, in the use of elipsis, which is executed through the quick accounting of the protagonist. It is precisely this subjective and direct narrative that gives a sense of immediacy and relief to the innocent side of the character." A. Sotorra (Diario Avui)

Published to great acclaim in Spain, and winner of the country's most important Award, the “Premio Nacional de Literatura Juvenil”, this is the book that created a new mystery genre: the teen noir.  

'Flanagan, Underage Detective' has been published in print in Spain, France, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Greece, Letonia and Germany. It's the first title of the "Flanagan" series, which has sold more than two million of copies in print.

~~Buy it on Amazon~~


Andreu Martín and Jaume Ribera, live in Barcelona, Spain, and have written together the Flanagan Series, thirteen books that have sold in Spain and Europe more than two millions of copies. In their solo careers, Andreu Martín is recognised as the best mystery writer in Spain, with classical tittles like “Prótesis” or “El hombre de la navaja”. Jaume Ribera has published humor, fantasy and children's books.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

'Morrigan' by Laura DeLuca

by Laura DeLuca
YA Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Pagan Writers Press
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Heat Level: Sweet
Word Count: 96,900

Shuffled from place to place in the foster system, Morrigan doesn't know the meaning of home. Plus, she is different. She has power over fire, the ability to move objects with her mind, and glimpse into the future. Just when she believes her life can't get any stranger, she discovers her true identity.

Filtiarn, a knight with a dark past and a surprising secret, has been tasked with guiding the heir of Tír na NÓg through countless perils to be returned to her family. Once Morrigan has been reunited with her mother and grandmother, their triad can save the forgotten land of magic from being devoured by an ancient evil.

Read an excerpt:

Morrigan took out a white candle and a stick of dragon blood incense, and set them up in the corner of the room. She sat cross-legged, and leaned forward to light them. No matches were necessary. No lighter either. She simply touched her finger to the end of the wick, and with an iridescent spark, the candle flickered to life. It shone at first with a bright blue flame that gradually settled into a more normal orange. It was the same with the incense—another reason why she preferred not to have an audience.

She stared into the candle for a moment, and took a few deep breaths to clear her mind of all thoughts but those of the magic she intended to perform. Danu and Dagda sat on either side of her, instantly falling into silence, as though they knew she needed her complete concentration. Their energy beside her only seemed to add to the growing sense of power that charged the room.

Morrigan closed her eyes and began to shuffle the cards. As she did, she allowed her breathing to become more even. A silence filled the room as the rest of the mortal world fell away. Soon the only sound she heard was the light thump of her own heartbeat, echoed by the quicker, fast paced beat of the cats’ hearts. She wasn’t sure how much time passed as the cards slipped through her fingers. It might have been minutes. It might have been hours. When she allowed herself to fall into a trance, time became insubstantial, irrelevant.

The tarot cards were so old; the designs on the back were almost completely worn away. She had to shuffle gently to keep them from crumbling to pieces in her hands. Yet they held a power that she knew no newer cards could offer her. As she shuffled them, she focused her energy into them, silently requesting to be given the answers she was seeking. She allowed the image of her mother to fill her mind. When she finally felt the cards had fallen into the order they were meant to be in, she placed the deck face down on the floor, and cut them with her right hand. Then, taking one last, calming breath, she lifted the top card from the pile. With a trembling hand, she laid it down and read it.

“Wheel of Fortune,” she said aloud.

In the center of card was a wheel. As she stared at the picture, that wheel seemed to turn clockwise. The movements made her feel slightly dizzy. The bedroom around her became more and more surreal. The scene on the card became her reality. The figure of the sphinx that sat on top of the turning wheel looked so very real. It might have turned its head to look at her. Its lips may or may not have moved. Morrigan swore she heard a deep, resonating voice whispering the meaning of the card into her ear. Destiny approaching. An unexpected and sudden change was coming—change that could lead to good fortune.

It was the card of fate and karma returned. It meant that she needed to be prepared—to expect the unexpected. Morrigan knew the cards were telling her something was going to happen—and soon. Her destiny, whatever it was, was about to be realized. Even if it did bring fortune, it still scared her to death. She considered packing up the cards right then and there. Her rational mind had every intention of doing just that. Her hands didn’t get the message her brain was sending. Before she knew what she was doing, she had already flipped over the second card.

“The Empress,” she whispered. She exhaled deeply. “My mother.”

It was the only interpretation imaginable. Even as she said it, the pregnant woman, crowned with stars and adorned in a gown decorated with pomegranates, turned to her and smiled. She was no longer a vague featureless stranger, but the same woman Morrigan had sketched earlier that day—a face that mirrored her own. It was an older version of herself, which she saw in the reflection in the nearby full length mirror, had turned chalk white.

The Empress was a symbol of maternal power—of strong feminine influence. But could it mean that her mother was returning? She had never allowed herself to consider such a possibility. To dwell on something so unlikely would have been too painful. But now, with just the flip of a card, she found herself daring to dream. There was only one way to find out for sure. She had to keep going with the reading.

“Six of Cups.”

The third card in the spread represented her past, and even her immediate present. The six of cups specifically symbolized childhood, and she was, technically, still a child. But she had a feeling that her childhood was about to end quite abruptly. The cups in the picture were lined up across a high stone wall, each cup holding the memories of her past.

Her past. It was nothing but a childhood filled with longing—longings which were perhaps about to be fulfilled. She visualized herself taking each cup down from the wall, and pouring the troubling memories away. It was time to start fresh. A new world was about to open up for her. She had known it as soon as she had seen the image of her mother’s face. But what would that world be like? What was waiting for her in the future?

Morrigan turned over the fourth card.

“The Knight of Wands.”

The man on the horse carrying the staff had her baffled. Not because she didn’t know its normal meaning, but because as she stared at the card, it began to take on the physical attributes of the knight in her drawings. He had the same long dreadlocks, the same bewitching stare, even the same cocky smile. The familiarity did not cancel out the meaning of the card. The knight of wands was representative of a dark man filled with a kind of honey-tongued charm. He was also fiery and arrogant, a man with a definite possibility of a dark side. If the knight of wands was coming into her life, she knew she needed to proceed with caution.

She thought she was done with the fourth card, and was preparing to move on to the next, when once again, she found she had lost control of her body. This time, her hands refused to move, while her eyes forced their way back to the knight in the card. She watched as the long haired stranger began to move forward—wandering over various landscapes, some high mountains, some meadows and fields ripe for the harvest. He kept looking back over his shoulder, as though he were speaking to someone. He was on a journey, and he wasn’t alone. Morrigan didn’t need to see his companion to know who it must be.

So, her journey would soon begin, and she wouldn’t be traveling alone. She would have a guide. Whether or not that would be a good thing was another question best left to the cards to answer. The next card told her nothing she didn’t already know.

“The Moon,” she said. “Caution.”

It was a scary card. It warned of tricks and illusions. The two howling wolves that stood under the moon looked back at her menacingly, growling, showing their pointed fangs in a snarl. For the first time since she began the reading, Danu and Dagda made their presence known by lifting their heads and hissing threateningly in the direction of the beasts.

Even the cats sensed it. The journey she was about to embark on wouldn’t be all fun and family reunions. There would be obstacles and deceit, most likely from people she thought could be trusted. The moon was a sign that danger was certainly awaiting her. In was an ominous omen.


She hushed the hissing cats, and gave them each a gentle stroke to try to settle them down, though she was far from settled herself. Again she felt the urge to stop the spread. Her instincts were telling her that no good was going to come out of this reading. She was only going to scare herself. She should never have done it in the first place. When would she learn that sometimes it was best to let life play out without interference or prophetic warnings? Then again, she knew that to be forewarned might be her only advantage. So with more bravery than she felt, Morrigan flipped over the final card.

“No . . . .” she gasped when she looked down at the terrible, skeletal face. “Oh no.”

She should have known. She thought a part of her did know even before she glanced down at the gruesome scene—a skeleton with a scythe in a field of body parts. With the divination going in the direction it was, what else could be the final outcome?

“Death,” she whispered. “Death.”

She knew that in most cases, the death card was a symbol of personal transformation rather than literal death. But a deeper sense of understanding told her that this time the card was meant to be taken literally. She saw only glimpses and shadows in her mind. Brief flashes of faces, some familiar, like her mother and the knight—some still strangers, like a beautiful, almost angelic blonde woman in a flowing white gown. But around them all, including herself, she saw the shadows of death.

Morrigan felt decidedly shaky as she gathered up her tarot cards. She placed them securely in the bottom of her bag just as she heard the door downstairs slam shut. The reading hadn’t made everything as crystal clear as she had hoped, but one thing was certain. Her whole life was about to change.

Available at:

About the Author:
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon.

Connect with Laura DeLuca

Prize is a Morrigan Prize Pack consisting of a wooden jewelry box, incense set with leaf holder, three rough crystal points, smudge stick with abalone shell, natural stone pendant, sterling silver triquetra pendant, and Morrigan's Enchantment bath salts created by The Sisters Elemental. Contest is tour-wide. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review of 'Hidden' by M. Lathan

M. Lathan


Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.

Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden.

Read an excerpt:
A far second to oranges, the song I sang in the shower every night had a way of soothing me. More than anything, it made me tired enough to fall asleep. With Whitney gone, I didn’t have to whisper it.
The stars are out,
It’s time for bed.
Now close your eyes,
And rest your head.
May angels shield you with their wings,
As you dream your little angel dreams.
I didn’t recall composing that song, but apparently, I used to think I was good and perfect like the angels. I knew better now.
I stepped out of the shower and tugged a brush through my unruly brown tangles. I stared into the mirror over the sink as I started the song again. My skin screamed winter. I should be a warmer tan; I looked less creepy in the summer. Maybe that was why the girls had been digging into me so hard. I looked rather witchy. The unease that made them mock me was probably their souls warning them, urging them to notice I was different and dangerous.
At my worst, it feels like the fire that could easily shoot from my palm is raging inside of me. My heart picks up, more than when I’m scared. It pounds, I can’t hear. My blood dances, taunting me, begging me to hurt whoever’s hurt me. And I know that I can. I feel that I can.
But I don’t. I breathe and pray and let the magic cool.

**My thoughts**

I don't know why, but it took me a little while to get into this book. Leah is SO sad and depressed that it was hard for me to warm up to her. Yes, I felt sorry for her for being so awkward. I guess you could say that I was seeing her somewhat like the horrible kids at the orphanage saw her. What was my reason for caring?

But I persisted. A couple of chapters into the book, Leah started to come alive as she was thrust into her new world. She began to understand more about herself and was forced into interacting with other people. She "let her light shine through" a bit more. I was completely hooked on her story.

Her relationships with everyone she encounters are much more complicated than they first appear that they should be. They don't know who she really is. Neither does she. You are compelled to keep on reading, to discover the truth as she does.  

Buy it on Amazon

M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.

Twitter: @hiddenseries

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review of 'Vanished' by Christina Holt

by Christina Holt



Ten years ago, Emily Miller went missing when she was only five years old. Everyone in town thought she had either drowned in the lake near her house, or had been kidnapped. Some even whispered that her father, Frank Miller was responsible.

No one suspected the old boathouse behind the Miller property, except Emily’s father. Frank Miller knew what had happened to his little girl. He knew the boathouse had her.

Ten years later, thirteen-year-old George Morgan wanders into the same boathouse and discovers a magical secret. At first he’s thrilled. He reveals his secret to his fifteen-year-old brother Eddie, thinking it will bring them closer together. After all, George and Eddie used to be best friends, before they moved to town, and before Eddie started hanging out with a bunch of older boys—the same boys who make it their mission to bully George on a daily basis. But, when Eddie tells his friends about the boathouse, everything starts to go wrong.

Suddenly the cool, magical secret of the boathouse isn’t a secret anymore, and the mysteries of the past come back to haunt them, putting their lives in great danger.

Read an excerpt:
George walked along the fence line of the property. He thought about the family and what they might have been like. There was a sign on the front gate that read, ‘Keep Out, Private Property’. He wondered if Emily was their only child. The other kids at school probably knew. Not that he could ask. He wasn’t exactly the type of kid to go and start up a conversation. He did know that little Emily just disappeared one day out of the blue. The Miller family looked for her for several years. Then they just boarded up the house and left town.

George had overheard at school that since the Millers still owned the house, the town couldn’t do anything with it, so now it just sat there untouched. The kids at school also said if you go there every year on the night of Emily’s disappearance, her ghost will appear at midnight in the window of her bedroom.

Of course, George didn’t believe half of what the kids at school talked about, anyway. This was the same group of kids that said that old man Miller went crazy after she disappeared, and that’s why the family left town.

George glanced over his shoulder one last time for good measure. He walked toward an old oak tree that stood in the back of the woods, partially overlooking Fox Lake. The tree was his own personal getaway spot. No one in the world knew about it. Whenever he wanted to be alone, he went there. Not that George wanted to be a loner. He dreamed of the day he would be popular like his brother and have tons of friends. He was just different from the other kids in his class. The tree had two large limbs that stretched out, making it perfect for a tree house. He knew his dad could build an amazing tree house if he tried, but because the tree was on private property, he didn’t dare ask his dad to help.

Over the past year, George did the best he could to collect old boards and nails. He made a platform between the limbs and even used a few of the boards to make a ladder to climb the tree trunk.

Once he was settled into his spot, he was able to relax again. He hated that Eddie bullied him so much. The two brothers were once very close. They’d been best friends when they were younger. He still loved his brother, but things were very different now. His brother always tried to impress the other boys. Occasionally, when it would rain, the two boys would hang out in Eddie’s room just like the old days. Those were his favorite times with his brother.

**My thoughts**

This is the kind of book I would have eaten up when I was a kid. I know that technically, it is considered to be a young adult book. I think that kids even in upper elementary would enjoy this.

Eddie and George are 15 and 13, respectively. As I was reading this, I honestly felt like each one of them was about two years younger. That is part of why I think it would appeal to younger readers.

Both of them are able to find strength within themselves, that they didn't realize they had. Both of them learn lessons about what is really important in life. George is a very relatable character. Eddie is annoying in the beginning, as big brothers can be, but grows on you as the story continues.

Emily is a mysterious character. I would have liked to have gotten to know her better. Perhaps there could be a spin-off story about what really happened to her over the past ten years?

The boathouse is also a mysterious character in its own right. The explanation for its behavior is not one I was expecting!

This was a fun, quick read.   
~~Buy it on Amazon~~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Christina Holt is a writer of Young Adult Science Fiction. She loves to create original stories that capture the young reader from the first page and give them a reason to love reading. Christina’s first published novel was Second Chance (LBF Books, 2007). Christina Holt currently lives in Memphis, TN with her husband, daughter, and the family pug, Pete. You can find her online at , or

Christina will be awarding loose teas and chip nuts (Chips nuts are peanuts coated with potato chips) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY). Follow the tour for more chances to win!