**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guest Post by Andrea Murray

oVivid Tour Andrea Murray

Andrea MurrayToday we're excited to host a guest post by Andrea Murray, author of the brand new novel Vivid.  In addition to Vivid, she's also the author of Omni, a young adult dystopian novel.  Today, she's going to share advice for other aspiring authors out there.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t write that first sentence! Just kidding although sometimes I feel that way.  Once you begin, it’s like an addiction but a good one.

Keep working.  Set up a time daily to work, and keep that time no matter what’s happening.  Finding time is often a struggle, but I really try to maintain my writing/reading time, and that is harder than it seems.  Sometimes, I look around and see toys that need to be picked up, clothes in the hamper awaiting the wash, or a coffee cup that needs to be put in the dishwasher, but I have to put on my blinders and focus on storytelling.  You also have to be willing to sacrifice for it.  What do I sacrifice? Sleep!  My writing time is between 4:30 AM and 6:00 AM.

Know your characters. You MUST know everything possible about your characters.  You should be able to drop your character into any situation and know exactly how your character will react.  Talk to them, but don’t let anyone hear you doing that or they will begin giving you strange looks.  Listen to their responses.  See them.  Know what they look like even if you never introduce that into your story.  If you know your characters well enough, you will be able to create the best conflict.  I try to put my character into the situation I know he/she doesn’t want to be in.  That’s when I get my story.

READ! Good writers are good readers.  If you aren’t reading, how can you expect to write? Yes, it’s time consuming to spend time reading and reviewing other works, but you can’t write if you don’t experience other writers’ styles.  Reading expands your own writing and helps you know what’s out there in the world of novels.  You don’t want to fill a notch that’s already filled, but you won’t know if it’s your notch without reading.

Not having an agent is not the end of your dream. When I began, I really worked hard to get an agent.  I queried, revised, queried again, revised, cried, and repeated this cycle for a year.  I was spending so much time on querying that I’d lost my reason for needing an agent in the first place.  I’d stopped writing and hated even thinking about it.  After that year, I kind of decided to cool it with the agent stuff. Don’t let an agent stand between you are your dream.  Put your work out there despite not having an agent.  Life is too short to wait for the stars to align and for your query to end up on exactly the right screen at exactly the right time.  

Criticism shouldn’t put you in the fetal position.Ever read a novel you hated?  Ever give feedback?  I admit it; I have given some harsh reviews.  (You can read them on my Goodreads Author Blog or Chick Lit Plus.)  Receiving harsh feedback is beyond hard!  You can’t please everyone.  Chocolate chip cookies are amazing, but you can’t get the whole world to eat one.  Not everyone will like your novel.  It’s okay as long as the bad doesn’t outweigh the good, and sometimes you can learn something from your feedback.  Read it.  Digest it for what it’s worth.  Try to pull out something useful.  MOVE ON!  Don’t dwell too long.  It will make you hate this thing you love.

Know your audience. I know teenagers.  I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know, without a doubt, what kids like and don’t like.  I have long since lost count of the number of students I have had over my eighteen years in education, but one thing I’ve learned is that teens don’t really change.  Styles change, language changes, but kids are overall the same.  They might have trouble explaining what they loved about a book, but they most definitely know what they hated about it.  From that, I deduced things they like.  Reluctant readers won’t read a long novel.  It might be the best book EVER, but if it looks like you could smash a small rodent with it, they won’t touch it.  Kids like short chapters.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and a clear goal.  Most kids like a little grit.  They want a character with at least a touch of bad. It isn’t realistic to think kids don’t hear cursing and talk about mature subjects.  If they go to public school, trust me; they hear it.  Does that mean the book should be overflowing with sex and profanity? No, that is likely to turn them away.  It’s a balance—one I’m constantly striving to achieve.

Poor format equals frustrated readers.Take the time to look into the correct format for typing a novel.  There are several ways to do this.  E-Publishing sites, like Kindle and Nook, have formatting guides for their specific devices, and this can become quite confusing; however, a general format for Word is more or less the accepted format.  Double-space.  Use a “normal” font consistently.  Learn to use style headings and bookmarks.  These things are a must if you want to look professional.  No serious reader, much less an agent, will give you any notice with your super-special, totes fab, I-can’t-follow-simple-directions format.


Thanks for visiting, Andrea!


Vivid Andrea MurrayAnd here's the scoop on Vivid:  Her entire life she has feared her power and its connection to her mother’s murder. 

When Vivian Cartwright was five years old, she witnessed her mother’s death. Now, sixteen-year-old Vivian only wants a normal life, hard to accomplish when you possess the power to control energy. She has kept her ability a secret from everyone except her guardian, Charlotte, who has hidden Vivian from the man responsible for her mother’s murder. 

Her secret is safe until Vivian defends herself at school using her power. After this first use of her gift in many years, Vivian’s power seems to take on a mind of its own, increasing in strength and demanding to be used. This increase in power also brings dreams of her mother’s death and the mysterious man associated with it. In her desire to unlock her past, Vivian is forced to use her supernatural gift over and over. With each use, Vivian fears she is losing control and discovers her powers are growing—maybe too much—bringing her unknowingly closer to the man who murdered her mother.


Amazon | Book Depository


Monday, December 29, 2014

Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

C.J. Redwine delivers a fantastic conclusion to her debut series. Deliverance is the third and final book of this trilogy and while I really enjoyed the first book, I thought the sequel fell a little short because of repetition and lack of plot. However, the author redeemed herself with this last book because, while I wasn't really sure where she was leading us with this story, I was sad, surprised and shocked throughout the whole book.

This story is as much about the ability to overcome oppression as it is about the fragility of the human spirit. Rachel and Logan have been fighting against the Commander of the now fallen city-state, Baalboden, for what seems like forever. Torn apart again, they each find themselves in dark situations where they have to push through in order to fight against their enemies, and hopefully find peace for their friends and loved ones. Rachel is taken hostage by Rowansmark trackers and forced to travel toward Rowansmark to face imprisonment and possible death. The trackers hope that Logan will do anything to save Rachel including bringing back the piece of Rowansmark technology that was stolen by the Commander, via Rachel's father. However, before saving Rachel, Logan embarks on a different quest to find allies to bring to Rowansmark's gates in order to fight their crazy leader that is obsessed with pain atonement. Trusting allies isn't easy for Logan, especially when he must learn to trust the most unlikely person. One of his new allies really makes you hate the expression, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

The writing doesn't get too touchy or emotional because Logan and Rachel are separated for most of the book. Personally, I think the separation allowed the characters to really evaluate their feelings and acknowledge what they have together is the real deal. I love these two as a couple and I think the author made the right choice in not letting the romance overpower the story. While I love a good love story, this book was primarily about fighting for freedom in a dystopian world, and the author achieved a good balance between the action and the romance.

C.J. Redwine proved in the previous books that she wasn't afraid to kill off important characters, even characters that were very close to the main characters, like a certain mentor or a very good friend. Again, in this book, many notable characters died fighting, even some that I truly believed would make it to the end. Obviously, don't get too attached to any character. On the other hand, we are also introduced to many new characters, some that are quite important in the continuation of the story.

While I'm sad to see this series end, I think C.J. Redwine made the right choice writing this series in only three parts. I don't think there's any room for more books and she leaves me satisfied with this ending. This last book answers all the questions that were left unanswered in the previous ones. Redwine created a wonderful dystopian world, and while the apocalypse is a little far fetched with its dragon like creatures that destroyed pretty much every city, I enjoyed seeing how human nature could create such hatefulleaders and the protagonists that were able to stand up to their evil. Deliverance  is the epic conclusion to a wonderful series that I really hope many of you will take the time to enjoy.

stephsig moon

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stacking The Shelves [139]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Hello to all!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  As for myself, I'm exhausted.  Between the extra hours at work and all that goes into the holidays, I could use a real rest.  Maybe some day but, not yet. This year has taught me one thing.  When your child becomes a teenager.....


You may wind up dressing up your dog for the holidays!

This time around was a bit scant for reading due to a hectic schedule.

DeadBeatByJimButcher ProvenGuiltyByJimButcherWhiteNightByJimButcherDean Koontz - The bad placeSnowQueenHCA


The Dresden Files: Dead Beat, Proven Guilty and White Night all by Jim Butcher. The Bad Place by Dean Koontz The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen Yes, I have been continuing my journey with the Wizard Dresden in the 7th, 8th and 9th books of the series.  I can't help it.  I think it' because Harry and I share a similar sense of humor. I also tried out another bit of nostalgia with Dean Koontz' The Bad Place.  The story was interesting and the comparison of '90s technology to the current level reminded me just how far we've come. I rounded out my selections with an audio version of The Snow Queen by Han Christian Andersen. I'd like to take this time to thank you all for making me feel welcome since joining Team Tynga Reviews.  I really appreciate your kind comments to my posts.  So to all the readers, the other Team members and of course to Tynga herself, thank you.  I look forward to the new year and sharing more stories with you all! Now, tell me, what shiny new gems or golden or golden oldies have you put on your shelves? Roberts Signature [inlinkz_linkup id=479363]


Friday, December 26, 2014

Ignite by Sara B Larson

Alexa is still by King's Damian side, still his guard even though both their hearts yearn for more. They might have won a battle, gaining control of Antion, but the war is far from being over. Unknown enemies are attacking the King and the border villages, but where should they strike when they don't know the real nature of their enemies?

Ignite is a great sequel to Defy, and even though I enjoyed the first book slightly more (there is something magical about meeting new characters and discovering a new world isn't there?) Ignite didn't bite the dust. There is no 'second book curse' here, what-so-ever. The reality Alexa, Damian and Rylan face is completely different, but no less engaging.

I really enjoyed the interaction between the three main characters now that their reality changed so much. Damian and Alexa wanting each other, but Alexa not wanting to get involved, convinced that she isn't fit for him. Her struggle was heart-breaking and the pain she visibly caused to Damian must have been hard for her to witness. There isn't much of a love triangle anymore because Rylan is content to let Alexa grief her love for Damian, but he is hoping she'll come around, and it's sad to see. He really is like a dejected puppy. The romance takes an unexpected turn though at about 60% of the book, and I won't tell you what, mind you, but I was happily surprised!

The political aspect of the plot kept me glued to the page, more than the romantic story arc, surprisingly. I really liked the mystery surrounding the attacks, and even though the real culprit was obvious, the way to prove it was the challenging part. Their motivations are also quite hazy, even now that I have finished the book, and I can't wait to learn more about this powerful and cryptic enemy.  The two enemy envoys were powerful foes and I'm impatient to discover the repercussion of their actions in the third installment.

The last third of the book left me restless. I was on the edge of my seat, engrossed by the action, and wondering how the heroes would pull through.

I'm sure readers who loved Defy won't be disappointed and if you haven't started this series yet, I urge you to do so. It's a great high fantasy novel, filled with action, love and betrayals. Its epic battles will keep you up late into the night and it'll be worth it!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to take a moment to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today :)

I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends!

IMG_59862 IMG_59902tynsignew


Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans

Hunt for Jade Dragon is the fourth book in the awesome Michael Vey series, and fans of the first three books will definitely not be disappointed in this latest installment.  However, I would caution that there seems to be a major shift in focus in this book as compared to the others.

The first three books are totally focused on ACTION ACTION ACTION.  A group of about ten teens, who all have super electric powers, have banded together to fight the evil Elgen corporation.  The Elgen corporation, led by Dr. Hatch, wants nothing more than to exploit the Electroclan (the teens with electric powers) and take over the world.  (I know; the extremeness of that situation is nearly laughable... but it actually feels plausible in these books!)  I have so loved this about these books.  I've been listening to them on audio in my car during my commute, and the nonstop action and adventure has kept my attention and made my drive fly by.

However, Hunt for Jade Dragon takes a bit of a different tack.  This volume feels a bit slower and a bit more mature.  I would have put the first three books in "younger YA," but I'd put this one in the 14-16 year old range.  This isn't a bad thing!  It seems like this series is sort of going the way of Harry Potter; the characters are maturing throughout the books, and the content is too.  In Hunt for Jade Dragon, the reader gets a lot more interaction between the characters:  we see Michael and Taylor go on a date.  (Yes, there's a break in the action long enough for a date in this book!)  It's chaste, but it's nice to see some of the characters get a chance to do regular teen things, like go on a date, instead of constantly (and I do mean constantly!) running/fighting for their lives.  We also see maturity and growth in some of the platonic relationships.  Nichelle, who was on the side of the Elgin in the first book, makes an appearance in Hunt for Jade Dragon.  I wasn't sure how that would play out, but the author really did a great job with those scenes.  They ring very true.  There's not instant forgiveness and friendship, but there's not instant death for Nichelle either.  No "after school special" moments here.

Unfortunately, all of the character moments came at the expense of the action that I'd come to expect from the Michael Vey books.  For nearly the first 2/3 of the book, the Electroclan is traveling from Peru to a "safe house" facility and then to China.  In Battle of the Ampere, the teens manage to get from Idaho to Peru in less than 24 hours.  I think it took them something like a month to get from Peru to the Elgen facility in China.  At one point I thought to myself, "if I hear even one more description of a meal, I'll quit the book."  If you're a foodie, you're in for a treat:  there are numerous descriptions of meals consumed!  I was just sitting there at the edge of my seat waiting for action, though.  Where were the ninjas during dinner?

Once the teens got to China, though, and begin planning the rescue of Jade Dragon, I was all in.  This was definitely their most daring adventure yet.  This time they not only have to outwit the Elgen and their highly trained guards, but they have to do it in such a way so as to not harm the girl they're tasked to rescue.  I just love how the main characters always pull together and use all of their unique talents and knowledge to rise to any challenge.  And a bonus:  the title character of the series, Michael, has Tourette's.  It doesn't define him, but sometimes he has to work around it.  He always triumphs, but I love seeing great series like this that show teens overcoming adversities or disabilities.

And to conclude, a note on the narration:  I was admittedly disappointed to find out that there's a new narrator for this book (as opposed to Kirby Heyborne, who did such a fantastic job with Battle of the Ampere), but Keith Nobbs does a fantastic job!  You might not even notice the narrator switch between books if you weren't looking for it.  The pacing was good and the inflections were just right and I never had to adjust the volume scene to scene.  For me, a good audiobook narration is one in which I can get lost in the story and not even notice the reader, and Keith Nobbs does just that for Hunt for Jade Dragon.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Storm Front: The Dresden Files #1 by Jim Butcher

It’s not bad enough that Chicago has gangsters and the winds from the Great Lakes to contend with.  They also have demons, vampires and many other super natural beasties to deal with.  Fortunately for the city, they have the only openly practicing wizard, Harry Dresden.  Wizard Dresden has managed to eke out an existence in spite of vast majority of the city not taking him the least bit seriously.

In this, the first installment, Jim Butcher introduces us, to Harry Dresden, professional wizard.   Through Harry, we are introduced to the magical side of the Windy City.  Readers get a small glimpse into Harry’s history with the magical and mundane world.  We’re also given and introductory course to the magic system of Dresden’s world to include an idea of the origins of his powers and how some devices work.

I like the strait forward approach of Harry Dresden being our host and guide of his story.  It’s not just because detective type stories work well in first person but, it also helps to have the main character there to explain the finer points of his craft.  Jim Butcher shows us that an easy to read style doesn’t have result in a simplistic story.   Pacing in this book was excellent.  Action scenes tended to ramp up as the story went along and were spaced out enough to give both the reader and poor Harry a bit of a break.

It’s easy to like Harry as the main character.  His quick wit and sometimes brutal honesty give him a certain rakish charisma.  As for the other characters in the story, there’s not as much time spent developing them with one exception, Lt. Karrin Murphy.  She’s the hard-as-nails detective that’s Harry’s main contact with the police departments section that handles unusual cases.  To be fair to the rest, we don’t really get to know any of them well enough because there is so much going on.  Besides, this book was probably meant to introduce Harry and a few key characters and that was definitely accomplished here.

Call me a late, late, late bloomer when it comes to The Dresden Files but, I like this series.  When I first became aware of the series my first reaction was “Another wizard named Harry?  Give me a Harry break!”  Honestly, the only reason I tried out the first book was because, one bored Saturday morning, I found the TV show on Amazon streaming and wound up binging on the only available season.   I looked at the reviews to get a clue why it was canceled.  As to be expected, the book fans were out with the long knives.   With that and knowing the book is always better, I decided to check the books out and I’m glad I did.  This is a very PG-13 book due to language and violence.  None of it is really what I would call gratuitous but, I wouldn’t want my child to do a book report on it.  I don’t know if I could convince the teacher that a naked wizard dropping S-bombs is a legitimate plot point for a seventh grader to discuss in class.

So, if you like magic, vampires, demons, talking skulls and sometimes clothing optional spell-casters, I suggest you try out Storm Front by Jim Butcher.   Besides, starting to read an established series like this, you won’t be waiting five years for the next book to come out.

Roberts Signature

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"When I'm not writing" with Elizabeth Corrigan

Elizabeth CorriganThis week's guest is Elizabeth Corrigan, author of the fantastic Oracle of Philadelphia and Raising Chaos books.  After reading Oracle of Philadelphia, I learned that she had a Pinterest board of potential movie stars to play her characters, and I just knew that we were "kindred spirits" (as Anne Shirley would say), as I often "cast" characters as I read books too!  In today's post we'll see what Elizabeth is up to when she's not writing or Pinning.

 When I'm Not Writing Marie

I have always loved stories in whatever form they take, be they books, television, movies, or cobbled bits of dreamstuff in my head. So one day as I was pondering my other hobby of video and tabletop games, I realized that the reason I loved them so much was that they were also stories, with the added incentive of being interactive stories. Not only did I get to experience the triumphs and tribulations of fictional beings, but I got to make the decisions and take out the bad guys myself. These days when I’m not writing—or, you know, at my day job, which is sadly necessary for things like paying rent and feeding my cats—I’m generally involved in something to do with a tabletop role playing game (RPGs). I participate in games several times a month, and if I’m not at a session, I’m doing something game-related—creating a character, familiarizing myself with a scenario so that I can run it for other people, reading sourcebooks so I can learn about the world, or scheduling games like the overachiever I am (because I can’t participate in an organization with other people for more than a few months without volunteering for some role.) One of the best things about all this gaming is that there is so much writing and story creation involved. Companies that put out RPGs have many writers on staff to create the stories and worlds that players interact with. In my interactions with fellow gamers, I have met several people who are as desirous of writing professionally for a licensed game company as any author I know is of landing that dream New York agent and Big 6 contract. All of the things that are important in writing a book—detailed descriptions, complex characters, well thought-out plots, good editing—are just as crucial for game writing. I confess that I have not branched too much into game writing as of yet, but I do use my writing and storytelling skills in my gaming. I need to come up with characters to play, and it helps to have a plethora of characters hanging out in my book closet to make. Usually I like to play moral characters who uphold justice and truth, and I’ve turned Kadin Stone from Catching a Man and Siren from Raising Chaos into holy warriors to fight the good fight. But I’ve recently played with creating an evil character who exists only for the game, and Adrienne, my assassin with serrated swords, will soon be press ganged onto a pirate ship. I do some other things when I am not writing as well—reading, hanging out with friends, faffing around on the internet. I’ve found that tabletop RPGs create plenty of opportunities for creativity, leadership, and the chance to spend time with like-minded people. So I foresee doing this for a good while longer.


Thanks so much for visiting us, Elizabeth! For more about Elizabeth and her books, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Here's the scoop on Catching a Man:

There's more than one way to catch a man. 

Kadin Stone's life is finally going according to plan. She's starting her new job as a homicide detective's aide at one of the premier criminal investigation companies in Valeriel City, the capital of a 1950’s-style kingdom. Kadin is certain her new position will introduce her to any number of eligible men, so she'll finally be able to get married and stop burdening the brother who insists on supporting her. 

On Kadin’s first day, the royal family calls in her team to investigate the murder of gossip-rag cover girl Queen Callista. Kadin’s superiors think it’s an open and shut case. The queen’s jilted lover Duke Baurus DeValeriel had motive, means, and opportunity, but Kadin can’t help but spot holes in their theory. 

After checking into a few leads of her own, Kadin inadvertently ends up in the confidence of Duke Baurus. When she tries to share what she knows with the rest of the team, she finds them unwilling to listen to the opinion of a girl who they know is only after a ring on her finger. In order to see justice served, Kadin finds herself doing the last thing she expected when she started working for a homicide detective—solve a murder!

Catching a Man Elizabeth Corrigan

Purchase her latest book, Catching a ManAmazon


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email me at marieharris725 (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Clariel by Garth Nix

This is an example of  exceptional YA novels and it makes me proud to say that I'm an adult that loves young adult novels. Although Clariel  is  identified as the fourth book of The Old Kingdom series, it's actually a prequel to Sabriel, the book that started it all. I must have read the other books of the series a good ten years ago when I was a real young adult in high school, and while I remember loving the series, I don't remember the stories specifically. This allowed me to read Clariel with an open mind and enjoy it as the prequel its supposed to be.

Like all good high fantasy novels, the story begins with a lot of description and a lot of world building. Garth Nix introduces us to his world little by little, which made me fall in love with The Old Kingdom all over again. As a main character, Clariel may not be the most thrilling person to read about, probably because all she wishes for is a quiet life as a Borderer, a ranger of the Great Woods. She doesn't have any political or magical aspirations, but unfortunately, as a relative to both the royal family and the magical Abhorsen family, a simple life isn't possible. Thrown in a feud she doesn't want to be a part of,  she must live through very difficult moments in order to survive and try to get the life she wants.

One of the genius aspects of this series is the world building, especially when it comes to magic. There are two types of magic; Charter Magic and Free Magic. Charter Magic is controlled by a series of words or symbols called Charter marks, but the Charter flows through everything and everyone. Charter Mages are more in tune with the Charter and learn to control the Charter through these marks. Combined together, the Charter marks form spells that can either last a few minutes or centuries. The Abhorsen family, or more specifically, the head of the family that is simply known as the Abhorsen, are highly trained in Charter magic and are also necromancers that use bells in order to control the dead. Free Magic can also be used by the Abhorsens but because of the dangerous lure of Free Magic, any Free Magic user is seen as an enemy to Charter Mages. The author has created such a complex and original world that it's sometimes a little hard to follow. Fortunately, there is a great bonus material on his website that helps clarify things.

Clariel goes through a personal transformation because of a series of unfortunate events. She becomes a stronger and more knowledgeable person. She learns to rely on other people, for example Bel, a boy whom she befriends early in the story, even though Bel has ideas beyond friendship. She also relies on other people and less reputable creatures in order to exact her revenge and save the kingdom from tyranny. A tall order for a girl who wanted a simple life of living off the forest. Clariel must also learn to control her rage, a state of mind that makes her lose control of her actions but can be harnessed and used to her advantage.

I didn't go too much into details with this review because it would be too easy to reveal spoilers. Personally, I really enjoyed this book and I think it can be enjoyed by both fans of The Old Kingdom and newcomers to the series. Garth Nix is a wonderful storyteller and even if it took him about a decade for him to release this prequel, I personally think it was worth the wait. Another great book to add to my favorites shelf.

stephsig moon

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Maze Runner Giveaway!

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is providing a copy of The Maze Runner for one lucky reader! Before I get into the details, here's a bit more about the movie :)
91V2ke+6WtL._SL1500_LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 3, 2014) – Will you make it out alive? Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment invites you to unlock the mysteries of the maze on December 16 when THE MAZE RUNNER hits Blu-ray™ and DVD. Based on the book by James Dashner that made The New York Times best-sellers list for more than 100 weeks, THE MAZE RUNNER brings together an up-and-coming cast of young talent including Dylan O’Brien (“Teen Wolf,” The Internship), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“Game of Thrones”), Will Poulter (We’re the Millers), and Kaya Scodelario (“Skins”) that do whatever it takes to survive.

In this heart-pounding survival thriller based on the best-selling novel, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s “Teen Wolf” ) wakes up trapped in a massive, ever-changing maze with a group of boys who have no memory of the outside world. Facing dangerous obstacles at every turn — especially the deadly Grievers that roam the concrete corridors at night — Thomas and the others must race to piece together clues in order to discover their true purpose… and find a way out before it’s too late!

THE MAZE RUNNER Blu-ray™ comes in a 2-Disc Combo Pack, including two hours of pulse-stopping bonus features that make for the ultimate fan gift this holiday season. Created especially for this release by BOOM! Comics, dive into the backstory world of the Gladers before Thomas’ arrival, with the limited-edition, twenty-four page prequel comic book written by director Wes Ball and co-screenwriter T.S. Nowlin. Fans will also receive a limited time offer for the mobile game featuring a bonus runner “Newt” plus free in-game currency on Blu-ray™ and DVD.

giveaway bannerThis is an express giveaway so buckle up!

Open until December 26th

US only

Please fill the form to enter!



Stacking The Shelves 138

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Hello!  Marie here.  It's been a few weeks since the last time I hosted Stacking the Shelves, so I've got a pretty big stack to share!  I'm a huge fan of using my public library, so I get a lot of books there.  I think I'd be totally broke if I had to buy all of the books I read!  I've been really busy lately getting ready for Christmas, but I'm about done with all my holiday to-do's and am looking forward to some reading time between Christmas and New Years.  What will you be reading over the holidays?

Deviate Tracy Clark Alex Crow Andrew Smith

First, we have my advanced copies.  In the last few weeks I've received copies of Deviate by Tracy Clark and The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith.  I'll be reviewing Deviate the week of March 3rd, so watch for that!  And I don't know much about The Alex Crow, but I thought Winger was brilliant and I can't wait to try another Andrew Smith novel!

StS138 Library 1

Next, we have tons of library books!  I love to crochet and knit, so I always try to sneak a peek at all the new pattern books that the library buys.  And because my projects don't always go 100% according to plan, I thought that CraftFail might be an entertaining read!  My aunt just read it, and she said it made her laugh out loud, and feel better about her own fails.  The Maker Movement Manifesto is a nonfiction read.  At work, I'm starting a program for teens with lots of hacking and coding and robot-making, and also helping build a physical makerspace for all ages.  I'm interested in what the author has to say as far as predictions for what programs and activities can be done in these contexts.  Fifty Shades Darker is on CD, for my commute.  I felt pretty lukewarm about Fifty Shades of Grey, but figured it wouldn't hurt to finish out the trilogy just to see where it goes.  And Forbidden has been on my "to-read" radar since October.  I meant to read it before I met the author in November, but I ran out of time.  There's never enough time for all the books!

StS138 Library 2

Continuing with the library books, I have a book of animal hat crochet patterns, and a craft book using upcycled old books.  Hubby and I are both rather bookish, so bookish decor totally works in our home.  The Reading Promise is nonfiction, and was recommended to me by my sister-in-law.  I continued to read aloud with my mom through high school, and I just know this book will melt my heart.  A coworker recommended Dorothy Must Die.  More accurately, she told me that I MUST read it NOW.  And The Map of the Sky was recommended to me by my aunt.  However, it's the 2nd in a series, so I might not get to it right away.  Got to read the first book first.

StS138 Library 3

And finishing up the library books... The House of Hades was on CD for the commute.  I've actually already read it and written the review; you'll see that here soon.  I thought The Complete Peanuts was the complete Peanuts when I requested it... didn't read the subtitle: 1993-1994.  It's still a really hefty book!  Turns out there's a bajillion Peanuts strips, so they released them in 2-year blocks.  But it's been fun to look back at the older strips.  Vest Bets is another needlework book.  I've been wanting a sweater vest for a little while now.  Forever is also on CD.  I'm listening to it right now, actually, and I'm feeling a bit lukewarm about it.  Maybe because it's immediately following a really great audiobook (The House of Hades)?

StS138 NewAnd finally, we have my new purchases.  Guy in Real Life is a nice hardcover, but then I read it and didn't find it as awesome as I thought it would be.  Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is paperback, but it is AWESOME.  I want to recommend it to all the teens.  It's not even a hard sell, with that title!

Want to join in the fun?  Click on the link below to add your link!


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Kate swore she would stay away from Curran, but just like winter, it seems the guy always comes around, there's no avoiding it. This time, Kate is recruited to investigate shifters murders and it will get very personal when her young friend Derek is a target. Kate will put everything on the line to find and punish the murderer, and it might be her biggest challenge yet.

The Ilona Andrews duo blessed us with yet another thrilling book! Before I get down to business... Gladiator fights!! Yes, yes, also synonymous to awesomeness. If you put aside the whole Kate-Curran romance (and I will get back to that later), the arena fighting was my favorite aspect of this book. Maybe I am a closet gruesome-blood-shedding-action fan, but I can't help it, I always love those kind of fights. So imagine my happiness when I realized we would get a whole tournament! *squeee*

Curran. He is sooo made of awesome. I love him since book one, but I love him more and more with each book. I just love how he intentionally makes Kate squirm under his scrutiny, how he teases her all the time. The way he subtly pursue her, with little attentions here and there also makes me swoon. And did I mention his sense of duty and unique sense of humor? I mean who wouldn't fall for such a great guy, wrapped in such a sexy package?

Kate isn't left in the dust either. She is smart, though, and fights teeth and nails out when someone she cares for is in danger. She is loyal to the end and just about the best friend you could have, because she will never let you down if she can help it. I also really like her dry sense of humor and even though I understand why she doesn't want to get involved with Curran, I have this strong urge to knock some sense into her!

The action was fine, the mystery was great and the new enemy was hate-able (yes yes this is a word...) just the way I like it. I just kept turning page after page, excited the whole way through, and wondering how the whole thing would end. And the answer is?? WITH A BANG! It was simply crazy and I can't wait to see how it will affect the next book.

The Kate Daniels series is awesome, and I can't believe it took me this long to discover it. The good side? I don't have to die in anticipation between each book, at least for a couple more books :) If you haven't started this series yet, I urge you to do so!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

ebook deals for christmas!

Here are a selection of great titles you can get for a steal during the holidays!

some are valid in US only.


Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans

Battle of the Ampere is the third book in the Michael Vey series.  So this review could contain slight spoilers for the first two books, but I promise no spoilers of this volume.

You won't find any series fatigue in this third volume!  After a narrow escape from the Peruvian Elgen headquarters, the Electroclan is scattered in the jungle.  Not only do they need to continue eluding the remaining Elgen guards and Dr. Hatch, but they also have to survive a grueling trek through the rainforest.  The goal that the Electroclan teens are moving toward: destruction of The Ampere (Dr. Hatch's fancy yacht, and the headquarters of the Elgen) and, hopefully, Dr. Hatch himself.  A little bit more is asked of the reader in this book, as the main characters are split up in a few groups of 2-4 each.  They are all moving toward a rendezvous, but for the first half of the book the viewpoints alternate between a few different characters in different locations.

Another difference between Battle of the Ampere and Book #2, Rise of the Elgen:  romance.  It's still very, very chaste (I think I remember one kiss), but it is there.  Michael spends some serious jungle time with a girl who is not his girlfriend, Taylor, and both Michael and Taylor have to deal with the emotions that brings up.  (No surprise: Taylor's ability to read minds kind of helps cut through any emotional irrationality during the ensuing Discussion of Feelings.)  The first two books in this series focus entirely on action and adventure; this third book is able to include some more emotional development of the characters now that the reader is familiar with the characters' talents (powers?) and situation.  Not only is there the Discussion of Feelings between Michael and Taylor; other supporting characters also have moments of emotional vulnerability.  All of this is really well done.  The emotional growth is more often shown than told, and is sprinkled throughout the book, in between exciting action.  The reader is never left bogged down with feelings, and nothing feels superfluous.

So yes, the ACTION! ADVENTURE! continues.  The Electroclan is still always on the go, trying to take down Dr. Hatch and the Elgen.  To make things more difficult, the Peruvian government has declared them wanted criminals for their "terrorist" activities destroying the power plant.  Yikes.  To recap:  trekking through the jungle on foot.  Dr. Hatch and his private army wants their heads.  The Peruvian government wants their heads.  They must destroy The Ampere.  I wouldn't trade places with them for anything!

A bonus factor in this book series: kids with disability.  The main character, Michael, has a superability: he's literally electric.  But he's also got a disability: Tourette's.  This never ever defines him or slows him down, but it is present and occasionally Michael has to work around it.

My only gripe with Battle of the Ampere is a tiny one:  the very ending.  When I read Battle of the Ampere, I already knew that there was going to be a fourth book.  But still, can we maybe not set up the fourth book so very blatantly at the end of the third?  I listened to this on CD, and I feel like the ending period would have been better placed about 15 minutes prior to the actual end of the book.  But maybe that's just me.

Speaking of listening to it on CD... the narration was fantastic!  I reviewed Rise of the Elgen a few weeks ago, and it's the same great narrator.  He has great cadence, and I never had to fiddle with the volume button.  He kept me totally engaged.  I think the book would be great no matter how you read it, but I do give the audiobook a shiny seal of approval.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Void (Witching Savannah Book 3) by J.D. Horn

Answers. That is the most succinct description of this book that I can give. Answers to so many of the questions that are brought up and in the first two books are answered here. Much like real life, many of the solutions may not be what we hoped they would be. This is another piece of the story that gives it that feel of authenticity.

Overall, the series has many of the hallmarks of Urban Fantasy. The characters are multifaceted, vulnerable as well as powerful and most of all, they seem human (even if they really aren’t). Mercy and her family had their share of demons, both literal and metaphorical, and were able to if not banish them at least tame them. Some of them I grew to really love and admire over the series such as Mother Jiloh and Uncle Oliver. I believe the one of the underlying themes to this series was the strength in family ties.

Just like the second book, The Source, this book is full of twists and turns and action. I believe The Source is still the most action filled of the three but, The Void is not very far behind it. Event leads to event with many running concurrently and of course, as with much of this series, resolutions and answers lead to more questions and situations.

I generally try to avoid saying how much I like or dislike a book. I feel sometimes personal tastes can shouldn't get in the  away of appreciating well written book or a well told story. This time, I have to say I loved this whole series. Well written, entertaining and thought provoking this series of books seems to be one of those hidden gems since most of the public has overlooked it. I sincerely hope a few of you reading this post pick it up, enjoy it and recommend it to your friends. It’s still a bit PG13 so, I would suggest it more to the more mature readers.

Roberts Signature

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"When I'm not writing" with Lia Davis

Today I'm excited to host Lia Davis, author of It's a Vampire Christmas.  Stephanie will be reviewing the book in just a few days, so watch for that!


When I'm Not Writing Marie

Lia DavisWhen I’m not writing, I’m hanging out with Hubby and my daughter, but not always at the same time. I typically work twelve hour days, sometimes more. I’ve recently started making myself log off the computer and go watch TV with my hubby at a certain time during the week. I try to take weekends off, but that doesn’t always happen. LOL. Even when I’m away from the computer, I’m thinking about writing. Sometimes I’ll plot the next few chapters or a new story while watching TV with DH.

My daughter and I hang out at the house watching old Law and Order shows and organizing swag and/or crafting. I make jewelry, book thongs, and purse charms. It’s relaxing to me and pleases the creative side of me.

On the weekends, when I’m not under a deadline, we try to do something together or with friends. Where it’s dinner and drinks or just hanging out, I value the time I make for my family and friends.

Other things I like to do is read and spend time with my granddaughter. She’s nine months old and is starting to talk and pull herself up. It’s always fun spending time with her.

I can also be found lurking on Facebook and Twitter. Those two are my biggest distractions.

Have a wonder Holiday season!


Thanks so much for visiting us, Lia! For more about Lia and her books, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Here's the scoop on It's a Vampire Christmas:

It's a Vampire Christmas Lia Davis

The hunt for the past will set their future…

Alasdair Morgan, vampire lord of the south Atlantic region of the United States, and his mate, Gideon, are on the search for an ancient journal. The secrets the book holds within its leather binding can be used to destroy their race’s queen, Lilith. When they finally find the journal, they discover it has been sold to an antique store. However, a female with her own agenda has her sights set on possessing the book.

Some gifts come in twos…

Being a half-breed living among humans, Rhianna Howell knows the importance of secrecy all too well. When she discovers one of the lost vampire artifacts, she doesn’t waste time in collecting it before it falls into the wrong hands. But keeping the journal safe from evil will put her in the seductive path of two vampires who claim to be her mates.

The days and nights heat up this Christmas as she discovers a fiery passion she can’t deny or run from.

Stephanie's Review

Purchase: Amazon


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email me at marieharris725 (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Vacant by Alex Hughes blog tour: Review + giveaway!

Sorry for the absence, folks! Teaching, job hunting and family stuff have taken over my life and I've barely had time to read, which is why you haven't seen much of me (and may not for a little while). But I committed to this tour for VACANT because I'm a huge Alex Hughes fan, as you probably know if you're a long-time reader of the blog, and I wanted to spread the love!

The fourth book in Hughes' Mindspace Investigations series, VACANT is a serious game changer and I was glued to my e-reader from start to finish. It has all of the great qualities I associate with the series: strong writing, an intriguing case, and nice character development. It's hard to discuss VACANT without referencing previous events so be forewarned!

VACANT is a book about choices -- choices Adam has to make in this novel and choices that he's made in the past that come back to haunt him. It's a rewarding novel to people who have been with the series since the start since we get to see how much Adam has grown and also how much he continues to struggle.

In a brief, happy moment, VACANT opens with Adam and Cherabino on a date. They're at a concert, which Adam finds overwhelming at first, until he realises what an incredible high he can get from everyone's positive energy. (Is this foreshadowing a new addiction for him?) Things rapidly take a turn for the worst, though, as Cherabino is set up for a murder she didn't commit and Adam is called out of town to help the FBI with a case. It's a nicely set up conflict for Adam: does he protect Tommy (whom he's seen die in his process visions) or does he abandon his charge to help Cherabino when it's obvious she's being railroaded? It makes VACANT a meaty read since it forces Adam to make touch choices and shows us a lot about his character.

Even without the emotional turmoil, VACANT pays out on a lot of Hughes' promises from previous novels, as old enemies come out of the woodwork. The links to previous novels are nicely orchestrated and add some excellent layers to the story. Plus, Adam finds himself working with a new team, which places him sorely out of his element, not just because of new partners but because he's working as a Minder, not as an investigator. I love a good fish-out-of-water story and Hughes delivers it in spades with this story.

VACANT ends in a way that has me eagerly anticipating what Hughes gives us next. The world's become a lot bigger now for Adam and I'm so curious to see where Hughes will take him (and us).

Vacant Tour Banner

In addition to fun blog posts, interviews, and exclusive excerpts, fans will have a chance to solve a mystery during the month-long VACANT blog tour! A “Clue-like” checklist is available to download from the author’s blog, to be marked off as readers visit stops along the tour schedule. Somewhere on participating blog posts will be clues (clearly marked) that will eliminate specific “Location”, “Weapon”, or “Suspect” options. At the end of the tour, a rafflecopter entry form will help Alex choose a grand prize winner amongst all who correctly guess “who dunnit?” based on the remaining options. There will also be individual blog giveaways for print, digital, and audio copies of Mindspace Investigations novels.

Here's our clue:


You can find other clues by visiting other blogs on the tour:

Blog Tour Schedule
Nov 25th - SF Signal
Nov 26th - I Smell Sheep
Nov 27th – Thanksgiving (US)
Nov 28th - Ashley’s Random Blog
Dec 1st - What The Cat Read BookHounds
Dec 2nd - NicholasKaufmann.com & Books Make Me Happy
Dec 3rd - Vampire Book Club
Dec 4th - Little Read Riding Hood
Dec 5th - Insane About Books
Dec 8th - BiblioFiend & Between The Lines
Dec 9th - Smart Girls Love Sci/Fi & Paranormal Romance
Dec 10th - Reading Reality
Dec 11th - Short & Sweet Reviews
Dec 12th - That’s What I’m Talking About & Anna’s Book Blog
Dec 15th - Tynga’s Reviews
Dec 16th - Janice Hardy – Fiction University
Dec 17th - Preturnatura & Amberkatze’s Book Blog
Dec 18th - Fantasy Literature & That’s What I’m Talking About
Dec 19th - Books That Hook & Literal Addiction
Dec 21st - Literary Escapism
Dec 22nd - Open Book Society
Dec 23rd - My Bookish Ways

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We're also giving away one (1) print copy of VACANT to a lucky reader!

US/Canada/UK only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hughes_authorphoto2_verysmall-681x1024Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time!

Website | Twitter | Facebook


Friday, December 12, 2014

Stacking The Shelves [137]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Hello everyone!

I hope you're getting ready for the holidays! Here my tree went up two weeks ago, all my gifts are bought and half of them are wrapped. I am also hosting two dinners so I got to take care of that now ^^

Here's a pictures of my tree and my daughters :)


Now onto my books!


Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

For Review:

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes (squeee!!!!)
Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy
Heart of Stone by Debra Mullins

So what did you add to your shelves?

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