Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard

Welcome to this stop on Cedar Fort's Beyond the Rising Tide Blog Tour, from Sarah Beard.

About the book:

Kai was seventeen when he died saving Avery’s life, though he didn’t really have much to live for. After spending half his life being shipped around to different families, the only place he felt at home was on a street corner with his guitar. Now, it’s been six months since his death. Six months adapting to a new kind of existence where instead of making music, he uses his new healing powers to save lives. But in his off hours, he watches helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death.

Avery doesn’t know that it was Kai who saved her life in the ocean, because her rescuer’s body was never found. Wracked with guilt, the ocean she once loved is now her tormentor. As her surfboards collect dust in the garage, the weight of her grief destroys her relationships and stretches her to a breaking point.

Always willing to break rules for those he loves, Kai steals a ring that temporarily gives his body substance. With limited time, he does all he can to restore her life to the way it was before his tragic death, but Kai’s half-baked plans rarely turn out the way he thinks they will.

My thoughts:

This is a very interesting Young Adult read that delves into the world of life after death and extraordinary love. Avery is lost. Ever since she almost died, and her rescuer did, she has not been her self. She no longer can stand to be near the ocean and her once fearless nature is gone. Her boyfriend tries to hold on to her, but is unable to deal with her new state of being. The reader can feel the pain that Avery goes through and is able to understand her dealings with her boyfriend, her annoying sister and new arrival Kai.

When she runs into to Kai, Avery is suddenly able to  breath again. Kai, of course, is breaking all the rules to return to Earth in a mortal body and help Avery out of her funk. He doesn't plan to fall in love with her. Told from both Avery's and Kai's POV, this story explores both sides of love and despair. It reaches beyond just this world, and  tells an interesting story of life after death, which both Avery and Kai experience.

The true story asks the question- What would you do or give up for love? Very well written, poignant and thought provoking. I liked it and think you will too. 4 stars!

About the Author:

Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she's not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.

Praise for the Book:

“Vividly imagined, this novel is the perfect mix of modern love story and literary fiction. One brimming with genuine emotion that had me re-reading passages simply because they were too beautifully written to experience just once.” --Julie N. Ford, author of With No Regrets

“This book is not only an engaging and satisfying supernatural romance, but also a beautiful story about life, death, and the gray places in between.” --E.B. Wheeler, author of The Haunting of Springett Hall

"This is one of those stories that stays with you long after the closing scene. It was beautifully imagined and vividly written and I absolutely loved it!” --Teresa Richards, author of Emerald Bound.

Buy it Now:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Awesome 8 from National Geographic Kids

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am looking at one of my favs- National Geographic Kids. They have a new release for youngsters out called Awesome 8. My 10 year old spent two hours looking at this book instead of being bored at his brother's high school graduation. Score!

 Awesome 8 is actually a colorful picture filled book about the weirdest and coolest stuff in the world. It is designed so that each topic has only eight things listed, so a child is not overwhelmed. You do not have to read it in any order, so a child can turn to the things they think are cool and delve in. There are so many different topics, things kids might never think of, and all shown in full color and detail.

There are fifty top 8 lists for kids to choose from, including Eight Remarkable Ruins, Eight Funky Treehouses, Eight Deadly Dinos and Eight Robots That Rock. They will not get bored. Non fiction at its best. They'll be visually stimulated and their brains will love the facts that are given. Plus, you'll find full page coverage of some items, like Meet a Volcanologist for Extreme Occupations or learning about Death Valley in the Eight Wackiest Weather Events.

Kids will LOVE it! 5 stars.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review and Giveaway! The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am reviewing The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. As a special treat I am giving away the ARC and special Star-Touched tattoos I received from the publisher! To enter fill out the rafflecopter form. If you don't see it, click 'read more'.

The Story-
Maya is a young woman avoided at all costs by her people. A daughter of the king, and yet her birth horoscope predicts only death and despair. She is content to be shunned, seeking joy in other pursuits. Then, her father arranges a political marriage for her, and her future begins.

Taken to wife by Amar, she becomes the Queen of Akaran, but her new kingdom is a puzzle within a mystery. She roams halls filled with locked doors, she finds gardens made of glass and secrets hidden within a tree.

Danger lurks in her world, and when an old "friend" appears, Maya must choose between her heart and her head. Her choice will change the fate of all man-kind.

My Thoughts-
I enjoyed this read. The story hints at so much mystery and the author does a good job keeping things under wraps until the right time. Maya is a strong female lead, who is unable to trust those around her, both as a child and as a married woman. She struggles with feelings for her new husband, but because of the secrets he keeps, she is unable to fully give herself to him. This untrust is the perfect ground on which to breed deceit.

I myself was pulled along, not knowing who or what to believe. I had to keep reading just because I wanted the answers. Who is this best friend? What is Amar hiding? Does he really love her? Why does Maya's horoscope predict death? What about those she left behind?

This is a beautiful tale using Indian folklore, especially the idea of rebirth. The story comes full swing in a nice way and the reader is able to feel as if nothing remains untold. I'm giving it 5 stars!


Please read terms and conditions. Open to ages 13+ in Us and Canada.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Arctic Code by Matthew Kirby

Welcome to one of my favorite days- Middle Grade Monday! Today I am sharing The Arctic Code by Matthew J Kirby.

The Story-
Eleanor Perry lives in the near future during an ice age that has covered the planet. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her uncle, while her mom, a scientist, is up north in the Arctic trying to uncover a way to stop the ice age from spreading. One day Eleanor gets a download from her mother containing secret files, the next day, her mom goes missing.

Eleanor refuses to think her mom is dead, and she stows away on a plane bound for Alaska. Making her way to her mother's research lab, she uses all her wits to keep from freezing and unlock her mother's secrets. However, a large corporation has taken over her mother's work, and they will do anything to find the source of energy that her mom discovered before she went missing.

My Thoughts-
I really enjoyed this book, mostly because it took be by surprise when the big secret about the freeze comes out at the end. It was not what I was thinking and adds a great sci-fi twist. Kids will enjoy reading about Eleanor and her bravery. From the get go she risks her life doing stunts other kids would avoid. So, when she heads off to the Arctic, the plot works. She is smart and determined, and able to discern the character of others.

Just reading about Eleanor's risks to save her mom make a great story, but the ending makes this book an even better one. Why? Because it opens up a whole other adventure and direction that makes your imagination soar. I'm giving this one 5 stars!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Doreen by Ilana Manaster

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am reviewing the new release, Doreen, by Ilana Manaster. First off, how could I resist reviewing a book that uses my own name? (I know it is spelled different, but I'll take it :) Second, holy moly, this book is a conundrum, let me explain-

The Story-
Doreen Gray comes to Chandler Academy a pimple faced, frizzed haired, overweight teenager. She is welcomed by her cousin Biz, who just wants to help Doreen fit in and not be bullied, and by Biz's socialite roommate Heidi.

Heidi gets right to work trying to help Doreen fit in, including creating a profile for her on the school website. Biz, who has an interest in photography, takes and air brushes the pictures, creating a beautiful, and classy Doreen.

The next morning, Doreen finds out that she has switched appearances with the picture, and now she is beautiful and sexy, while the picture remains her true self. Life opens itself up to Doreen. She becomes popular with other students and boys seem to throw themselves at her. As her pride grows, her soul darkens, and the image in the photograph turns devilish.

Now accustomed to privilege and power, Doreen ruins the lives of those around her, even her kind cousin Biz. Who can stop the beautiful monster?

My Thoughts-
Wow, this book is a work of art. I have not read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, which this book retells, so I can not tell you how close this modern adaptation is or the originality of plot points. So, I'm just going to tell you my thoughts as a first time reader.

I found this story to be a mash-up between Jane Austin, Clueless and the Twilight Zone. Jane Austen because the language used is very proper and high society. So much so, that I often had trouble relating to the main characters that are in high school, as they tended to talk like mini-adult socialites who have their noses stuck up in the air. As I continued to read though, these rich, little socialites and their language evolved into something more, almost as if language could be a character all on its own. I find it hard to put into words this strange occurrence. It definitely fits with the plot.

Now, let me tell you about the Clueless and Twilight Zone mix. Clueless is obvious. We have the "different" girl being made into a popular girl by a manipulative, controlling peer. Twilight Zone because of the odd powers of the photograph and the demon powers it seems to endow. The transformation of Doreen is so heart wrenching and gut churning that I couldn't stand it. She truly becomes a soulless monster.

Heidi is one of those characters you love to hate. She is controlling and cold, and yet the author gives her a tattered past with scandalous secrets that make you root for her. After finishing the book, I'm inclined to believe that she is the true main character, for she makes an amazing journey and finally makes a choice that leads her into her future. (So does Doreen, but her future is not certain.)

There are a lot of point of view switches and sometimes I had to backtrack to see what character's head I was in. They were often random and sometimes you jump into the head of a minor character. Overall, I found this book morbidly fascinating. I couldn't stand the way the characters treated each other, but kept reading because I hoped at some point justice would be served, and Doreen's secret revealed. I'm giving this one 4.5 stars, and I can't even tell you fully why, just that the book was engrossing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New York Book Show Finalist

I am excited to announce that my book, The Diamond Looking Glass, has won an award for best self published cover from the New York Book Show! A big shout out to artist D. Robert Pease at Walking Stick Books!

It is our pleasure to inform you that your entry, The Diamond Looking Glass, in the Self-Published Cover category has received an award in the 2016 New York Book Show.

While we must gather information about the winning titles, and thus reveal that specific titles have won in various categories, we do not announce what place the titles have won until the show itself. This will be officially announced via various press releases and the New York Book Show website after the event.


Your book cover will also appear in the New York Book Show catalog. You have already submitted this artwork. We will reach out to you if there are any complications with the artwork. Otherwise, please consider the artwork you submitted to be final.

See you at the show!

The 2016 New York Book Show Committee

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

To all the brave men and women who fought and died for our freedom- I honor you! God Bless America.