Cephalopod Coffeehouse March 2017–REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, my favorite read was REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. This contemporary YA romance has a whole lotta paranormal, and picks up half a year after EVIL LIBRARIAN left off. I think it’s best of you read these books in order.

About the book:
The stage is set for a fiendishly dramatic summer at theater camp for Cynthia and her boyfriend, Ryan. With no demons at all. Right?

Last fall, Cynthia Rothschild saved her best friend, as well as the entire student body, from the demon librarian, Mr. Gabriel, all while executing the most awesome set design for the school musical, Sweeney Todd. But now that all that demon stuff is behind her, Cyn is looking forward to the best summer ever at theater camp with her former-crush-and-now-boyfriend, Ryan Halsey. Once she gets to camp, though, Cyn realizes this summer might not be all she’s been hoping for. First, Ryan’s best camp friend is a girl (which Ryan had never mentioned to Cyn), and she just happens to be ridiculously pretty. Plus, it seems the demon stuff is not entirely over as Cyn had hoped. At least any new demons that show up to ruin her summer can’t possibly be as evil as Mr. Gabriel. It’s not like he could somehow come back to life to seek his terrible revenge or something. Best-selling author Michelle Knudsen brings back all the hilarity and horror (not to mention hot guys) in this sizzling sequel to Evil Librarian.

My Review:
Cynthia Rothschild is off to have a fantastic summer of theatre camp, designing sets that will (hopefully) earn her a “Tony”. Her sweet, sexy and swoony boyfriend, Ryan, has been attending this camp for years. Years! And he’s sure Cyn will love it. Except, well, he neglects to mention his camp bestie, Jules, is a beautiful, talented female lead. And, Jules isn’t best pleased to meet Cyn–especially as she and Ryan have been texting/emailning over the past seven months and Ryan didn’t think to mention Cyn, or having a girlfriend, at all.

Yeah, so, teen romance drama is on the program, naturally, but this all becomes complicated when Cyn spots a demon in residence, in fact, he’s Peter, camper-writer of the musical Cyn’s been slated to stage. Peter admits to being a demon–but a good one!–who’d never kill anyone and gains his energy from the everyday drama of human relationships. He’s getting a feast off the Cyn-Ryan-Jules thing. Also, Cyn’s demon-repelling powers are in high demand with the demoness who assisted Cyn by destroying Mr. Gabriel, the evil librarian of the first book. As much as Cyn wants to deny the possibility, the book is titled “Revenge of the Evil Librarian.” Expect Mr. Gabriel to come back. What he lacks in style and substance, he makes up for in sheer malevolence. Even Annie’s at risk again, until Cyn can come clean about all her secrets and get her friends on board for a demon-take-down.

Ryan and Cyn struggle with trust issues, Peter’s eager to step-in as Cyn’s leading man, and demons, demons, lots of scary demons. The tension isn’t quite so high as the first book in this series, but there’s a lot more of the demon world, and the stage has already been set for murder and mayhem. Ahem. I really liked how Cyn owned her foibles and gave her focus to the most important issues: saving the humans, first. The rest of the emotional problems–hurting Ryan, losing friends, keeping her sights off the sexy flirting demon playwright–had an appropriately lowered focus, so it didn’t seem cartoonish. The pace is tense, the battles are gruesome and the enemies are many and horrific. I couldn’t stop turning the pages by the end.

Interested? You can find REVENGE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local library. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About Author Michelle Knudsen:
I’m the author of 45 books for young readers for all ages. Titles include the New York Times best-selling picture book Library Lion (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes), the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the YA novel Evil Librarian, which won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor(!).

I also work as a freelance editor and private writing coach. Please visit my website to learn more if you’re interested – I especially love working with new writers! I’m also now teaching in Lesley University’s MFA program in writing for young people.

Catch up with Michelle on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in my friends. Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers to see if their “best book” picks strike your fancy, too.

Cephalopod Coffeehouse Jan 2017–EVIL LIBRARIAN A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, my favorite read was EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. This contemporary YA romance had a real paranormal plot–but took me in a whole new direction.

evil-librarianAbout the book:
#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon.

Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).

My Review:

Cynthia Rothschild is in a real bind when her bestie, Annie, falls for the new high school librarian. Cyn knows from crushes; she’s practically worships the ground Ryan Halsey walks upon–not that he’d ever notice her. Ryan is all things beautiful and fantastic, but for Annie, she only has eyes for Mr. Gabriel.

Yes, Cyn thinks he’s attractive, but whenever she’s around him, Mr. Gabriel seems super-duper creepy. She’s got some sense that he’s a bad guy, deep inside, despite his flawless smile and pleasant demeanor. Watching all the people who come into contact with Mr. Gabriel, Cyn notices that they seem to roam the halls with vacant stares and lost memories.

Cyn’s desperate to snap Annie away from Mr. Gabriel, notwithstanding Annie’s outright obstruction. This goodie-two-shoes is now skipping classes and coming in early/staying late, all for the chance to spend more time with Mr. Gabriel–and soon Cyn notices that Annie’s touch has a similar disorienting affect on their classmates and teachers. Seeing Ryan notice his own buddies have zombie-like symptoms, Cyn relates her worst, and pretty out there fear: Mr. Gabriel isn’t human, and he’s stealing the souls of the school.

Ryan is sure Cyn’s ready for crazytown–until they witness Mr. Gabriel in all his demonic fearsome splendor. From there, it’s a battle of wills and personalities. Gabriel plans to take the souls of the entire school, powering his batteries for a battle royale in Hell, and making Annie his demon bride when he assumes the throne. Cyn, obviously, doesn’t want this to happen. Ryan’s pulled in to help, because only he and Cyn really can see the true danger of the situation. They have to call in unlikely allies, including the school’s meanest teacher and a demon-loving book curator, to help save everyone. The good thing? The school’s musical for the term is Sweeney Todd, and, as all demons love Sweeney, Gabriel’s evil plot won’t go off until opening night ends.

This is a really interesting high school romp, with a fun unrequited crush, more than one dead teacher, friends-behaving-badly and, well, demons. Yes, more than one filthy underworld soul-sucker makes a ghastly appearance in this “damned” high school. I can’t say I had many laugh-out-loud moments, but I was thoroughly amused from beginning to end. Even the grisly bits were imbued with a sense of deprecation or exaggeration that bordered on the absurd, in just the right way. I loved how wild the demons were for Sweeney, and how that gave Ryan and Cyn a reprieve because Ryan has the lead role, and Cyn’s the tech director charged with building the magnificent barber’s chair. (For those who have no idea what Sweeney Todd‘s about, well, that’s a review for another time. Short, short version: a musical about a murderous barber and the landlady who turns his victims into bestselling “meat” pies.)  Clearly, that’s prime entertainment for homicidal demons.

And EVIL LIBRARIAN is prime entertainment for anyone who likes a little romance in their YA paranormal books. The sequel comes out in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to reviewing it soon!

Interested? You can find EVIL LIBRARIAN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local library.

About Author Michelle Knudsen:

I’m the author of 45 books for young readers for all ages. Titles include the New York Times best-selling picture book Library Lion (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes), the middle-grade fantasy novels The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, and the YA novel Evil Librarian, which won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor(!).

I also work as a freelance editor and private writing coach. Please visit my website to learn more if you’re interested – I especially love working with new writers! I’m also now teaching in Lesley University’s MFA program in writing for young people.

Catch up with Michelle on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in my friends. Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers to see if their “best book” picks strike your fancy, too.


Making Love UNBREAKABLE–Release Day Review

banner-unbreakableHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA supernatural romance from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Check out the excerpt below and be sure to enter the arrow-themed jewelry giveaway, too!

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About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

How about a little taste?

“Don’t make this all about you.” Evelyn shoved another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. “Don’ ge meh wrong, ihithabouoo. Buh—” Swallowing down her bite, Evelyn squinted her eyes shut and placed a hand on her temple. “Brain freeze,” she explained, standing and walking to the kitchen.

Andel’s head tilted to one side as he watched her throw the empty cardboard container away. Roscoe would be showing up for his dating lesson soon, and Evelyn needed to compartmentalize so she didn’t end up taking her frustration out on the Gargoyles.

“I’m sorry, Evelyn. Whatever I’ve done to upset you, please forgive me.”

Her spoon clanged in the sink, “How about I’ll forgive you if you tell me what you did wrong?” Evelyn made her way back to the couch, laying herself across the cushions like she needed therapy.

“I’m fairly sure you are upset I scheduled dinner with Jane and Kendrick during Roscoe’s first date.”

Keeping her composure, Evelyn looked Andel square in the eye and told him, “You’re danish right, I’m upset.”

Her pastry slip was proof enough of her anger, but she’d remained in control of her volume. Andel hadn’t asked Evelyn what she wanted to do during Roscoe and Sydney’s date. And after her surprise visit from Kalan, her nerves were fried. Evelyn wanted to be able to make the call for herself as far as where she’d be tomorrow night. She also wanted to decide for herself if she’d give the fairies her arrows. Maybe she’d keep her run-in with Kalan to herself for now.

“I’ll call Jane now and cancel the dinner.”

“You have her number?” Evelyn sat up and narrowed her eyes. She shook her head, clearing it. Why should Andel having Jane’s number matter? “No. Don’t cancel it. It was hard enough to convince her to come in the first place.”

“Are you sure?”

Knock, knock.

“Yes,” Evelyn grumbled as she went to answer the door. Roscoe’s arrival would at least keep Andel from asking any more questions. She could tell he had picked up that something else was bothering her, but luckily, she had planned Roscoe’s dating lessons for after work.

As Roscoe and Leo entered the apartment, Andel made himself scarce and took a seat in a chair at the edge of the room. Roscoe wore snappy attire, including a bowtie, while Leo had pushed the sleeves of his Henley up to his elbows. The two were complete opposites. Leo had made himself comfortable on the couch, and Roscoe stood at the window waiting for instructions.

“I’m glad you came, Leo. I may need your help tomorrow night.” Evelyn stood next to Roscoe. “You’ll be on awkward-moment patrol.” She patted Roscoe’s shoulder. “Now that I think about it, this will be perfect. You can circle overhead and stay out of sight, but if Roscoe needs help, you can run interference.” Leo’s eyes widened in excitement. “Not literally, but, you have super-hearing, right?”

Leo nodded.

“If you hear or see anything going wrong, you can come get me.”

A grin spread over Leo’s face. “Considering who we’re talking about here,” Leo waved in Roscoe’s direction. “What constitutes wrong?”

“We’ll work on identifying that as we go, so pay attention.” Evelyn faced Roscoe and reached up, tucking a piece of his curly hair behind his ear, but Roscoe flinched.

“Relax.” Evelyn stepped closer. “You’re going to have to get used to being close to Sydney. If she’s like every other girl on the planet, she’ll want you to hold her hand and put your arm around her.”

Evelyn let her arm brush against Roscoe’s. He sucked in air but didn’t budge. He froze. Evelyn couldn’t let Roscoe fail. She had started to like him. She wanted him to find love. She wanted Sydney to find love, too, and if it happened to be with Roscoe, then, bonus. She’d do everything in her power to help them have the chance they deserved.

Roscoe relaxed his fists at his sides. “Okay, I’ll work on that.”

“Good.” Evelyn ran her finger slowly down Roscoe’s arm. “How about we start with the end of the date, then?”

Leo whistled, and in the corner of Evelyn’s vision, she noticed Andel shift in his chair. She wasn’t really going to do anything, but if Roscoe had really loosened up, he wouldn’t curl up into the fetal position when they addressed a good night kiss.

My Review:
This is the first in a YA paranormal/supernatural romance series.

Evelyn is a 20 y/o woman who died saving her true love, Tate. In the afterlife she’s recruited to be a Cupid, responsible for securing true love matches by shooting through two deeply connected partners. Evelyn’s special in that her arrows can affect supernatural beings, not just mortals. Being trained by experienced Cupid Andel helps her learn a lot about Cupidry, and the long history of issues between Beings of the Lux (Light beings) and the Nox (Dark ones).

On her first big mission, she’s supposed to help a gargoyle find his true love, but it’s not quite so easy. In the process, Evelyn’s approached by a Rogue Cupid who can bend arrows and pollute them into lethal weapons. He’s there to warm Evelyn that her skills will be suborned by the Elders, and she should run while she can.

It’s a bit of a muddle really. I kind of expected this big dramatic boiling point build-up regarding Evelyn’s work with her gargoyle target, but it was undercut by Evelyn falling into a depression over her lack of a relationship with Andel… Plus, everyone’s freaking out about her and Andel getting too close, and how it could backfire and turn Evelyn from a Luz into a Nox. If that happens, it could spark a war–Evelyn is told. Thing is, I really never got the full sense of this, mostly because Evelyn is perhaps the most impatient being on Earth or in Heaven, and she continually cut off Andel, and others, when they tried to teach her.

The Rogue Cupids want her, though, and if she doesn’t cement the Cupid-Gargoyle pact the Cupids might be on their own against a new supernatural army. That’s a good part, actually, getting the true love match for a prominent gargoyle, yet it short-circuits with some giant randomness that features a missing King of the Fairies. In hindsight, I should have expected it. We do get some resolution, though mostly incidental. The book ending kicks off a whole new adventure–otherwise known as a cliffhanger–where Evelyn must confront the Rogue Cupids to save Andel.

I never quite connected to this one, mostly because I had trouble getting into it, and then tracking the many points of view and huge turns in the story. It’s really a creative book, with lots of supernatural and mythological connections, but the irregular switches from one character’s thought to another was problematic for me. Also, I felt like I’d jumped into the second book of a series, based on references the characters made. It was only after I finished did I find the prequel novella at the end of the book…which would have been better to read from the start. Plus, I suppose I didn’t get the whole ‘love coach’ aspect of Cupidry; Evelyn interacts with her marks, helping them to build a bond before she strikes with an arrow, which seemed cool but way counter to my own expectations.

It’s a clean read with some nice touchstone moments, but the story isn’t as developed as it needed to be. With all the mystery and adventure, the peril was mostly mild and vague. The ticking clock was also vague, as were the ramifications of failure. The emotional moments were the only parts that made sense, and they were rather decent and easy to imagine. I guess I needed more of those to be satisfied, but still, the adventure was why I’d pick up the book. I’ve not read a book about Cupids, and this world has lots of witches, warlocks, gargoyles and fairies. There was talk of succubi, weres and vamps, though I didn’t see any on the page.

Interested? You can find UNBREAKABLE on Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win some arrow-themed jewelry!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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Cover Reveal for UNBREAKABLE!

banner-unbreakableHi there! I’m excited to share a cover for an new YA supernatural romance coming soon from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00071]
About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

Interested? You can find UNBREAKABLE on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of it’s November 14th release on Amazon.

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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Their Love is HEARTBORN–Review and Giveaway!

Heart Born Blog Tour Banner
Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA supernatural romance-ish novel from Terry Maggert. HEARTBORN is a book where angels not only exist, they’re ready to rule. And humans they save may return the favor.

Be sure to drop below and enter to win a $25 GC in the giveaway.

Book Cover - HeartbornAbout the book:
Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

My Review:
Livvy is a seventeen year old girl with a congenital heart defect that keeps her just healthy enough to not be hospitalized. She works in a library, inexplicably, despite the seemingly intense struggle to simply walk to and from her post at the information desk.

Keiron is an angel on Earth. Literally. His mission is to find and save Livvy. Because reasons. He does find her, and pretends he’s human to befriend this nearly-friendless human girl. They even share a few chaste kisses that pretty much leave Livvy swooning, or maybe that dizziness was simply her heart being overtaxed. Meanwhile, Keiron’s family is preparing for battle. His elder brother has been accused of Keiron’s murder, and his parents are standing trial in what’s little more than a thinly-disguised power grab by an ancient angelic council. Battle looms and Livvy’s heart is growing weaker. Good thing Keiron is there to save the day….

I really felt like this was a tale of two books. It’s a supernatural romance, of sorts, with angels and humans. Many of the chapters relate the angelic host and the fight to come once Keiron falls to Earth on his quest to save Livvy. The parts with Livvy on Earth are pedestrian and tired. I had about a million questions regarding Livvy and her job, and why? What’s up with her heart condition? Why is she working? What are Heartborn, and what is their purpose?  Where are her parents? Why so many convenient mean people? And, who are these weirdos in the library?

The pacing of the story is slowed with flamboyant descriptions of setting and backstory and characters that set a very grand stage, yet the resolution comes far too quickly. And, it’s a confusing resolution. Livvy is a girl that lots of stuff happens to, and her passivity as a character made it hard for me to relate. Keiron seems like a great guy, and I’m pretty unhappy how things turned out for him. I’m also not clear on a good bit of what happened. At some point all the library people seemed to turn into her medical team, so was the library an illusion? Or, was she constantly monitored by some mystical watch team. I don’t know. I’m not really sure. Too many questions, too few answers, and that’s kind of frustrating. Ultimately, my problem was with the slow reveal of motivation and plot, and when information was finally given, the picture still felt incomplete, to me.

In short, it’s a winding fantasy with a lot of stuff that happens, but no clear reason for much of it. Lots and lots of coincidence, or perhaps just plain illusions that felt mostly contrived and stereotypical. I liked the scenes in “Heaven” best, but understood them the least. Go figure. I expect there’s another book, because Livvy ascends to the Heavens to help fight the angelic war, powered by the love and sacrifice of Keiron. Readers who like metaphysical books will enjoy HEARTBORN more than I did.

Interested? You can find HEARTBORN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About Author Terry Maggert:
I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

You can catch up with Terry on his website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and YouTube.

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Living a Lie: FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE

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Hi there! I’m spreading the word on a contemporary YA paranormal adventure romance from debut author DK Janotta. FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE tracks the misadventures of Astrid, a half-vampire, as she attempts to assimilate into human society.

FPV_cover_high_resAbout the book:
Living at home is driving seventeen-year-old Astrid Sonnschein nuts. She’s desperate to leave her parents behind, and why not, with stepfather George a foul-tempered old vampire, and Mom — well, the less we say about Mom the better.
Our heroine has another compelling reason for getting out of Dodge. If she stays home any longer she’s in danger of being transformed forever, and the last thing she wants is to become the newest Nosferatu.

She escapes to start a new life with her aunt and uncle, but soon finds out that nothing lasts forever. Living a lie proves to be more than a challenge, and Astrid is soon tracked down by the one person she hoped never to see again.
To make things even more complicated, she falls for Mike, a handsome young cop who has every last girl in town under his spell. Will Astrid be able to keep her guard up, or will her new love be her downfall?

Thoughts from the author:
In ‘Fifty Percent Vampire’ there are frequent references to the books your heroine Astrid Sonnschein is reading (when she isn’t obsessing about Mike Hanson). I guess there is some significance in this?

You’re right, the books Astrid is reading are of great significance. Most, if not all, are books from her stepfather George’s extensive library, books he has collected over the centuries. George is hooked on accumulating human knowledge, and he has influenced his stepdaughter in a similar way, to appreciate the very best of human thought. I wouldn’t say he is exactly brainwashing her; I guess this is normal. What parent doesn’t want to have some control over their offspring’s thought processes? Even after Astrid leaves Vampville and starts attending high school, she still continues to study the books George sends her via her mother, such is their importance to her.

At the same time, Astrid is also getting valuable exposure to her Aunt Jean’s worldview, mostly the various world religions, maybe a more emotional education than the masterpieces of science and philosophy provided by George.

In his own way George is helping Astrid to decide which future she wants.

Yes, I get the impression that Astrid has been rather sheltered in her upbringing.

This is true. Astrid spent her first seventeen years at home, with no contact to the outside world. It’s not surprising she now wants to spread her wings and explore. There’s also the matter of choosing immortality or a normal human life however, with temptations on both sides of the argument.

Interested? You can find FIFTY PERCENT VAMPIRE on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, and Amazon Australia. The book is currently on sale for $.99 through the end of the week.

About the Author
D.K. Janotta was born and raised in England and Wales but now calls a chalet on a mountainside overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva in Switzerland home. He has worked in Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, France, South Korea, and several states of the USA. He subverts the vampire genre to ask questions about and reflect on the meaning of human life.

You can catch up with DK on his website, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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Power to OVERWHELM–Review and Giveaway

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a paranormal YA non-traditional romance coming out this Friday from Layla Messner. OVERWHELM is an epic tale set in the end days of Atlantis, and features two forbidden loves….

Check out my review and enter to win the $35 GC giveaway below!

OVERWHELM E-book coverAbout the book:
The living crystals that feed elemental power to Atlantis are exhausted. They give and give, but the Altantians just want more energy to fuel their magical city. Sixteen years ago, the crystals came up with a plan to make it all stop, a plan that revolves around three teens:

KALIOPE is a soulsinger, an empath with the power to sing the souls of the dead to their next lives. She just wants to grow up, but her mother won’t let her.

DANICA is Kaliope’s whipping girl. She gets punished whenever Kali disobeys.

CHIARAN is a firestarter, so reckless even his family considers him a monster.

When Chiaran arrives in Atlantis, he’s the first fire person to set foot on the island in a hundred years. Kaliope naturally considers him an enemy and uses the last of her depleted power against him. But the battle reveals that the two have more in common than anyone could have guessed.

Anyone, that is, except the crystals.

Three teenage antiheroes, a bisexual love triangle, and an island about to sink.

Overwhelm is a darkly sensual fairy tale about growing up against all odds.

My Review:
Kaliope, Danica and Chiaran are Atlanteans. Kaliope and Danica are from the water tribe, and have the ability to turn into a dolphin and shark, respectively. Danica is a Guardian, the servant of Kaliope, charged with protecting Kaliope–a powerful soulsinger–and is also her whipping girl, beaten by Kaliope’s ruthless herbalist mother whenever Kaliope “misbehaves.” Also, Kaliope and Danica have a sexual relationship that is forbidden, and Danica is punished routinely for this.

Chiaran is a Fire Tribe person, heir to Fire Island, the place all the fire shifters moved to 100 years ago. They were tired of the Water tribe persons squandering the energy of the living Power Crystals that support life on Atlantis.

The queen of Atlantis has foretold the end of days to happen when Fire and Water bond–the chance meeting of Kaliope and Chiaran results in a forbidden word bond, and a lot of heartache for all involved.

This was an interesting read, but I had some reservations. Mostly, there is so much happening, so many characters tell this story, and it gets muddled. Kaliope’s mother is an abusive woman, and it seems she relishes the idea of keeping Kaliope under her authority. Kaliope cannot leave their home until she is a full-fledged woman (menstruates) which has yet to happen and Kaliope’s 16 already. I have a suspicion that her mother is really not the person she proclaims to be, but none of that was discussed in this book.

Chiaran is a young man, and a dragon shifter. His power is equal to Kaliope’s, or exceeds it, but the word bond causes them to share each other’s power. It’s a frightening experience for them, and the attraction between them is fierce. They have a hard time touching, or more, due to their powers clashing. Water douses water, and fire boils water.

There was a lot going on, but not much was resolved, unfortunately. We get to know a lot about the characters, there’s a hint that the end is nigh, and there’s a conspiracy to hide that knowledge, Kaliope and Danica suffer due to Kaliope’s abusive mother, and that’s most of it. The world building is lush, but the pace bogged for me. All the shifting points of view meant I had a bit of repetition to deal with…which was exhausting after a while.

The story ends in an abrupt confrontation and there’s a whole lot of story left to tell. I appreciated the difficulties for Kaliope and Danica. They have a master/slave relationship, which cripples their ability to have a loving partnership even though they have a lot of love fore each other. Chiaran and Kaliope have the potential to be equals, and that’s good, but I’m not sure how that will pan out in the sequel. This is clearly an epic story, but it’s not as fully developed as I would have liked. I’m still not clear regarding the purpose of the action, and how it will lead to the survival of Atlantis, if that is even possible.

Interested? You can find OVERWHELM on Goodreads and pre-order it on Amazon. It’s available for reading Nov 13th.

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layla messner newAbout the Author
Láyla Messner is a young-adult author and the founder of ChrysalisSanctuary.com for healing childhood sexual abuse. She has an M.A. in embodied writing from Goddard College and her novels provide New Sexual Mythology for teens. She believes that love is real. She does not believe in unsolicited advice or the word “impossible.”

Catch up with Láyla online on her website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

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