The Art of Taxidermy: YA Review

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The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Fiction
Publication: July 1st, 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy – THANK YOU
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Lottie collects dead creatures and lovingly cares for them, hoping to preserve them, to save them from disintegration. Her father understands—Lottie has a scientific mind, he thinks. Her aunt wants it to stop, and she goes to cruel lengths to make sure it does.

And her mother? Lottie’s mother died long ago. And Lottie is searching for a way to be close to her.

The Art of Taxidermy is a heartbreaking verse novel exploring love and death, grief and beauty, and the ways we try to make sense of it all.


The Art of Taxidermy has been marketed as “for fans of Steven Herrick (The Simple Gift) and Diana Sweeney (The Minniow)”. I’m a big Herrick fan, and I’m inclined to agree with this statement. I haven’t read any Sweeney, but I do intend to rectify this.

Australian born Lottie is the daughter of two German migrants. After the loss of her mother, Lottie’s aunt takes over the maternal role. Lottie is trying to preserve the beauty of life with her taxidermy experiments. Trying to understand the world around her. Trying to make sense of the devastating losses she has had to face at such a young age. But her aunt doesn’t understand this, or really understand Lottie at all.

Sometimes reading MG or YA the mother/adult in me takes over and I side with the parental figure. But at times while reading this I was internally screaming at Lottie’s aunt and wanted to slap her back to last Friday.

I found the protagonist Lottie easy to connect with. I was Lottie! I think that is a sign of how well a story is told, of how good the story is, If you are so engrossed that you can’t unattach yourself from the character. That you struggle to see it any other way, other than the way the character sees it.

We (as the reader) feel the grief that drags Lottie down and together we deal with it, learn how to live again, and figure out who we are without the ones we love.

Words I would use (and am) to describe this book: beautiful, moving, engrossing, captivating, heart-breaking, heart-warming, hopeful and healing.

This #LoveOzYA verse novel by Mount Barker native Sharon Kernot is a moving testament to life and death. This is a hauntingly beautiful story that will stay with me for a long time.

Find it @ Booktopia | Bookdepository | Goodreads | Text Publishing

 

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

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Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemp/Paranormal
Publication: May 29th, 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Thank you TEXT
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.

Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Damn, what can I say to get you to read this book without giving it all way. – The only thing that disappoints me about this book is that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time!

I felt a connection to the protagonist, Grace almost immediately. You only make it to the third page before she tells you of her mother’s death. Grace’s hides her grief and dark inner thoughts from everyone around her, behind the shield of being her school’s resident joker and daredevil.

An incident late one night, during one of her daredevil stunts, leaves Grace questioning her sanity. Grace struggles keep a grip on her normal day to day life resulting in her relationships with her friends and family becoming strained, this then pushes her to keep dangerous secrets and go off on her own. Grace is compelled, seemly to her by an outside force, to Investigate a twenty-year-old mystery. The disappearance of a local girl named Hannah. Investigating Hannah’s disappearance leads her to discover secrets about two other local’s deaths, one being her own mothers.

This is a brilliant bloody book. The tale Grace has to tell is deliciously dark and spine tingling. The story’s pace and flow are fantastic. A thrilling murder mystery with some seriously creepy scenes. The story explores grief, belief in the paranormal, family, friendship, mental illness and criminal redemption. 5/5 a #LoveOzYA must read.


Links: Vikki’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Mad girl on Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Never Again: Paranormal Review

36543599Never Again by Lily Luchesi
Genre: blended fiction; paranormal-historical-horror (MA15+)
Publication: December 2nd 2017
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank You Lily
Add to Goodreads
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign.

In World War Two, not all monsters were human.

Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.

Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.

But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?


I finished reading Never Again and pondered the book producing powerhouse that is Lily Luchesi. I think Never Again is my favourite book of hers to date and i’ve read quite a few since coming across her looking for reviewers for Stake-Out (PDS#1) in a goodreads request group. It feels like forever but when I looked it up it was actually early 2015. Damn Girl, you have bled out a phenomenal amount of words in the last three years. I’ve enjoyed Lily’s writing from the beginning, but it feels as if she’s found her rhythm, her knack and she’s grown confident and is owning her style now.

Lily has really outdone herself this time with Never Again. The writing is strong and confident, the story compelling, a blend of paranormal and real world historical events.

There is swearing. There are some extremely deplorable and violent bad guys (obviously as a large chunk of the book features war). As well as post-traumatic stress disorder being explored in detail. But there is also love and hope to balance out the hate and despair.

The story’s sole protagonist is Sean, a 526-year-old male siren who originated in Israel. Thanks to his slowed siren aging process for the most part of the story he only looks like he’s aged between 20 to 40.

526 years – does he have a story to tell? You bet he does. His life story. 526 years, experiencing ancient Israel, the Ottoman Empire, the Tudors, the Nazis and modern rock and roll. Sean is, despite his species and the fact he regularly refers to himself as an asshole, a good guy and a war hero.

So yes this is a Paranormal Detectives Series Spin-off and if you’ve read any of the PSD books you’ll recognise a fair few characters and locations. But if you haven’t that’s okay, this this is a stand alone and a great way to get a feel for Lily’s writing style.

Lily’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

No Limits: YA Review

35298151No Limits by Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author
Thanks Ellie, you wonderful woman
Add to Goodreads

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.

His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…

Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…


Woah! What an action-packed adventure ride this book was. I loved it. It was fan-frigging-tastic!

Right from the start I was enjoying reading this book; Ellie’s writing, the characters and the prospect of romance and drama. The story reeled me in, fast, and I was happy to be hooked.

Harris’s dad is an evil arsehole. Had to be said! He has subjected Harris to emotional and physical abuse his whole life, making Harris an emotionally closed off hard arse. We meet Harris at an extreme low point. He has no self-worth and a bit of a death wish. Enter Amie.

Amie’s dad is a good man, a man of the law. And Amie has a loving extended family. After the death of her mother Amie can’t bear being separated from her remaining family. So, she plans on giving up her dreams of studying photography and visiting far off places to stay and be near them. Little help here please Harris (and Nani).

Harris and Amie are two extremely different people, but the chemistry between them is undeniable right from the start. Each helping the other heal, let go and move on to bigger and better things – oh and there is a whole lot of criminal activity, dangerous dudes and wrongs righted in between.

Meth, not even once mate! Methamphetamine, Crystal Meth, Crank, Speed, Ice, Poor Man’s Cocaine etc. whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s poisonous s**t. I really liked how Ellie went into detail with her characters drug use without glorifying it. The message of the damage it can do shines through the story, but she’s not preachy.  She shows the painful truths, the negative side effects and deadly consequences. She also bothers to show how it feels, and why they do it.

The last eight chapters were a full-on adrenalin rush. I was physically anxious, my stomach was churning as I flew through the words, racing to find out how it all ends. Totally worth it! The ending made my heart sing.

I can see myself reading this book again. I really enjoyed getting to know Harris and Amie intimately, and the rush of experiencing their world.

Harris does feature in the last book of Ellie’s Every series, but you in no way need to read it first. Do yourself a favour, go and buy No Limits and fall in love with Ellie’s story telling awesomeness .

Find Ellie and her books here: Amazon AU | Amazon US | BooktopiaAngus & Robertson Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Paranormal Detective Series Review Blitz & Giveaway

Title: Paranormal Detective Series
Author: Lily Luchesi
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Cover Designer: Rue Volley
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Editor: Elizabeth Anne Lance of EAL Editing Services
Last Rites:
Power is the deadliest desire.
With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.
When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.
But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny’s biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica’s reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?

In book five we get to delve deeper into Harriet’s past, see Danny and Angelica get married, meet the first ever Vampire and experience the epic end of an era. We meet new friends and in true Paranormal Detective Series form, lose old friends as well.

At about the 50% mark Danny was really pissing me off, just turning his back on Angelica. But once the drama queen comes to his senses it is an emotional sprint to the end.

There are twists and turns throughout this book, some I saw coming, some I did not. Not that I can mention any of these without giving away the major events of the story. I really want to tell you all about who betrays Harriet, who Augustus’s heir turns out to be and who gets turned into a vampire – but these are things you’ll have to find out for yourself.

The end of book five (and that killer Epilogue) lines up an exciting new direction for the last two books in The Paranormal Detective Series (Skin Deep 2018 & Day of Execution 2019). But between now and then is a spin off, Never Again (December 5th 2017), set just after Last Rites following Sean Wireman’s character.

I think Lily has out done herself this time and dare I say it this might even be my favourite so far. 

 My Reviews of Books 1 to 4: Stake Out, Miranda’s Rights, Life Sentence and Right To Silence.
Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle.
She is the author of the award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series from Vamptasy Publishing and also has short stories featured in the anthologies Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words, Naughty Bedtime Stories: Four You, Death Love Lust, Beautiful Nightmares, Lurking In The Mind, Lurking In The Shadows, and Weirdbook Magazine.
When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, watching the CW, or reading manga.

“I have watched you for two centuries, unable to approach until your destiny had been fulfilled.”
Angelica was dumbstruck. She had known much of this information, how Augustus’ line had gone back to mortality, but he had watched her? Since birth? Stalked her family until the prophecy was fulfilled?
“First of all, that was quite creepy of you. Second, why did you wait? It has been three years since I was fully turned. What stayed your hand?” she asked.
Drinking from his chalice, he paused. “At first, I lost you after the battle in Scotland. And when I found you again, I could not be seen by Hell’s Lieutenant. I betrayed Lucifer, by accepting his contract and then breaking it with my own immortality. Once you neutralized Leander, I knew I could come to you as I wished, without threat of attack.”
That did not sound right. “So again you hid, instead of helping me fight off Hell? Leander has been dead for months. The only sign I received from you was a trail of dead mortals!”
He smirked, dark eyes glinting. “You were touted as the best hunter on Earth. I just wanted to see how good you were. I had not expected you to bring me prey.”
Angelica shot up from her chair. “Don’t you dare even think about touching Danny!” Emperor or not, all-powerful or not, he could easily be decapitated, and she would not let herself forget that fact. His neck was no more protected than hers. “I have my Consort, and he is being held in your little room up there. If you want any sort of allegiance with me, you will leave him alone. If you even attempt to harm one hair on his head, I will finish the job Livia failed at!”
In a flash, faster than even she could perceive, she was pushed up against the wall, next to the painting of Livia. Augustus was holding his hands on either side of her head, leering down at her, eyes so deep she felt as though he could sense her every thought. He was not touching her, yet she had never felt more trapped.
Her heart rate increased and she felt her breathing speed up. She was unsure if it was from fear or something else she could not bear to name. Angelica was used to being in complete control, even when facing Hell’s Lieutenant or demonic witches. The only time she ever voluntarily gave up that control was to Danny, whom she trusted implicitly. Here, with Augustus, she felt as though all her control had been shattered. She despised this feeling, but knew she was, at the moment, powerless to stop it.
“The fact that you dare to threaten me shows that you are indeed my true Empress. Beautiful, strong, and stubborn.” His voice was a low growl in her ear, and she felt his breath tickling her neck, sending shivers down her spine. His thrall was incredible, and she could not believe that she could also do this with just a few words one day. His voice was silky and dark, undoing her mind there in that comfortable dungeon.
She dug her nails into her palms, briefly cutting the skin, grounding her to reality. She must not allow him to glamour her, or else it would be over.
“I am not yours,” she spat at him. “I never will be. I don’t give a damn who my ancestor was, that does not predispose me to be your property!”
He shook his head. “Oh, my dear, you are not my property. You are my equal. My only equal on this Earth.”
That dark part of her mind, the part that had always sought power, was intrigued by the thought that she was the equal of the first true vampire. The rest of her was appalled that he would consider himself equal to her. He lad left a trail of bodies in his wake for miles across Chicago, and Lord only knew how many more in all the long years he’d lived. Any vampire who had to kill for food any time after the nineteenth century was evil, plain and simple.
“Do you know why I have to feed so much, so often?” His voice was low, nought but a purr. “It is because none can satisfy me for long aside from my Empress. I have just consumed two large goblets of blood. And yet you can feel, I am much colder than you are, and you have not had blood since you wakened.”
He touched her gently, running icy cold fingers along her cheek, down her neck, stopping at her pulse, which quickened at his touch. He was cold, far colder than she had ever been.
“That is not true,” she said, barely able to get the words out. “I am fully satisfied by Danny’s blood: one pint, twice a day.”
“Liar,” his voice slithered into her ear. “You cannot take that much blood from a mortal daily. He would be dead after a week.” His fingers pressed harder into her throat, and she knew he felt the Undead blood rushing in her veins just as much as she could hear his. “You have no idea what it feels like to be truly sated. Indeed, it has been so long, I almost forgot myself.”
Angelica knew what was coming, and she felt him move back, just for a second, giving her enough time to move away from his proximity. If asked, she would say she did not remember why she stayed put, except for the fact that she was genuinely curious about what was going to happen next.
With one cold hand, Augustus held her head to the side and sank his fangs deep into her long neck. She felt it all in slow motion: the first initial pain of tearing flesh, the shock of her blood being drawn into another’s body, and the rush of pleasure she received from those two sensations mixed together.
She gasped at the sensations, the pleasure-pain. She had never been bitten fully, just a nip here and there from perps trying to take her blood and the powers it held for their own. This was an entirely new sensation rushing in her heart and mind, her body betraying her thoughts. All she wanted was to lose herself in this feeling, but her mind grounded her to the situation, barely.
She felt him chuckle against her skin before he pulled his mouth away from her neck, licking the blood that dripped down her creamy flesh. When he faced her, she saw through glazed eyes that her dark blood covered his lips, sending a jolt of heat to her stomach. Traitor, she thought viciously to her body.
His hand still held her face, but it was no longer as cold as marble. It was warm, as warm as Danny was when he held her. It was hard to believe that she had done this, that her Undead blood had given life.
“Nothing more invigorating than the lifeblood of your soul mate,” he said. “Do you want to know how it feels?”
Yes. “No.”
He laughed again. “You are not very convincing, Angelica.” He held her at the waist, and his touch was feather light, but with the promise of brute strength there in his lean frame. She knew he could kill her with a look if he wanted to. The idea terrified and thrilled her. He held his other hand up, letting her go for a second to undo the cuffs of his jacket and shirt sleeve, exposing his wrist. Evidently, he did not trust her near his throat. Smart man.
“Taste and you will understand,” he said, holding his wrist close to her mouth.
Blood was power. His powers lay in what ran through his veins, and he was a fool to offer even a taste of that power to the Empress. Yes, she wanted a taste, but not to feel life. She wanted to feel his power in her veins.
Feeling her fangs elongate with little mental encouragement, she leaned forward and placed them over his veins, piercing the skin. She tasted his blood, warmed thanks to her, and it was like electricity and fire, and like the finest wine it sent a warmth throughout her body. However, this was not a new feeling for her. This was how Danny’s blood made her feel every day, every time she tasted him: satisfied and lively. Alive.
She moved her mouth from his veins and went to speak, but before she could get a word out, his lips covered hers, mingling their blood together in one incredibly hot kiss. The feeling of tasting her own blood was somewhat uncomfortable, but she could not deny the perverse pleasure she was feeling. It was not unlike how she felt when she kissed Danny after drinking from his veins.
Danny!
Her mind struggled to get out of the deep thrall Augustus had her under, and she felt her vampire claws dig into his arm, tearing the fabric of his expensive clothes in the process.
Growling in pain, he moved back quickly, dark eyes burning red. Just red irises, not like the black and red of a normal vampire. Angelica made a note of that, right before she noted the fact that she was most likely about to be murdered in a second.
Surprising her, he simply massaged the wounds that were already healed. His blood dripped from her fingertips, deepening the red of the carpet.
“Cunning, using such a physical moment to attack me. You intrigue me, Angelica,” he said, his eyes returning to normal.
“You glamour me into being pliant, and yet you call me cunning? You tried to fool the Empress! I might intrigue you, but you impress me,” she replied, maintaining the outward calm and in control appearance she had always found to serve her well. To drive in her blase outer appearance, she licked his blood from her fingertips.
He did not respond, and was even so bold as to turn his back on her as he pressed a button in the wall. Not a moment later, the thralled maid came to the dungeon door.
“Please escort the Empress to the exit. And make sure you release her…Consort.” If it was possible, he managed to imbue that one word with dripping sarcasm.
Angelica arched an eyebrow. “You are releasing us?”
“A true Empress cannot also be a captive, and by releasing your little mortal plaything, I believe I can expect a bit more cooperation and camaraderie from you than if I simply drained him to a husk as I would very much like to.” He smirked. “We are not done here, Angelica.”
“No, we are not,” she agreed. She turned, but he called her back.
“Just one more thing, my dear: at no point since we met have I ever consciously or otherwise tried to glamour you. Indeed, if I tried, I would find myself unsuccessful. Neither of us can put the other in thrall. It is impossible. You cannot glamour your soul mate.”

Last Rites: Release Blitz & Review

 
FREE if you use Kindle Unlimited!
Last Rites (Paranormal Detective Book Five) by Lily Luchesi
Power is the deadliest desire.
With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.
When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.
But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny’s biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica’s reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?

Check out the trailer, featuring the song “I Don’t Drink, I Don’t Smoke, But I Lie” by Peter Blast.
 


Join the event on Facebook, featuring multiple authors, games, and giveaways.


Read books 1-4 of the series for just 99cents each, June 14th-18th!
Stake-Out * Miranda’s Rights * Life Sentence * Right To Silence


My Reviews of Books 1 to 4: Stake Out, Miranda’s Rights, Life Sentence and Right To Silence.
MY THOUGHTS
In book five we get to delve deeper into Harriet’s past, see Danny and Angelica get married, meet the first ever Vampire and experience the epic end of an era. We meet new friends and in true Paranormal Detective Series form, lose old friends as well.

At about the 50% mark Danny was really pissing me off, just turning his back on Angelica. But once the drama queen comes to his senses it is an emotional sprint to the end.

There are twists and turns throughout this book, some I saw coming, some I did not. Not that I can mention any of these without giving away the major events of the story. I really want to tell you all about who betrays Harriet, who Augustus’s heir turns out to be and who gets turned into a vampire – but these are things you’ll have to find out for yourself.

The end of book five (and that killer Epilogue) lines up an exciting new direction for the last two books in The Paranormal Detective Series (Skin Deep 2018 & Day of Execution 2019). But between now and then is a spin off, Never Again (December 5th 2017), set just after Last Rites following Sean Wireman’s character.

I think Lily has out done herself this time and dare I say it this might even be my favourite so far.

About Last Summer: Blog Tour

Title: About Last Summer

Author: Patricia B. Tighe

Genre: YA Romance

Pretend to be from Spain? Act like she can barely speak English? Sure, why not? It wouldn’t be the first time Gabby Vega had agreed to a challenge from her best friend, Kenzie. Besides, it’s only for a week of vacation with Kenzie’s cousins. Gabby will prove to Kenzie she can keep up the fake identity for the whole trip—that she’s not a quitter.

There’s just one major surprise. Noah Jernigan is also staying with Kenzie’s cousins. Noah, the boy she fell in love with at drama camp last summer and the boy she had to dump when it was over. The boy who knows who she really is.

Noah can’t believe it when Gabby appears at the Bryson’s vacation home in the New Mexico mountains. He hasn’t seen her in a year. It practically took that long just to get over her. And now she’s Gabriela from Spain? All he wants is to get as far away as he can. Or maybe the exact opposite. Stick as close to her as possible and find out what the heck happened last summer. And definitely get some payback.

Now Gabby has to keep Noah at arm’s length as she pretends to be Gabriela. She doesn’t want to answer his questions or rehash last summer. Because one thing is clear—the more time she spends with Noah, the more she’s in danger of falling for him all over again.

Links

Buy on Amazon | Add on Goodreads

Patricia B. TigheAuthor Bio

The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and dog. She eats way too much pizza, drinks way too much coffee, and watches way too much NFL football. On the bright side, she also reads and writes teen fiction. She promises to include as much romance, angst, and adventure as possible in her books.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaway

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Excerpt

Noah

I was three measures into a different Celtic song when a sound broke my concentration. A footstep? Probably not. I frowned and kept playing. But somehow, the shades of darkness shifted. I squinted. Someone stood on the blacktop where we shot baskets, half hidden by the side of the deck.

My heart rate picked up. There was only one person it could be. The others were inside, and Amanda didn’t go anywhere without Haley. I kept playing, just more quietly. “You can come out,” I said. “I know you’re there.”

Gabby’s voice came from the blackness. “How?”

I waited until she reached the bottom of the steps. “A shadow moved or something.”

“Oh.” She stepped up and sat on the stair just below the deck’s floor. “That sounds familiar.”

Crap. I’d been playing her song again. I purposely plucked the wrong string, the flat note twanging out like a slap. “Haven’t played it in awhile.” Idiot, idiot. You played it a few minutes ago. If she was outside, she heard it.

She leaned back on her elbows and faced the backyard. “It’s still good.”

I could’ve switched songs. I so wanted to. But a perverse need to show her just how great the song could be filled me with determination. So I let myself fall completely into the music, each note ringing out with precision and aching sweetness.

Finally, when my chest was so tight I could barely breathe, I stopped. My body still rocked uncontrollably forward and back, the last notes reverberating into the night.

She said nothing. Just sat there as if she deserved the whole performance.

And I was caught. I wanted to jump up and go inside. But I also wanted to lean toward her. Remember how much you liked that last summer? Do you still? I had to be the biggest fool between here and whatever the hell river ran through Texas.

She sighed, and it broke through the Gabby-cloud in my mind. “What’re you doing out here, Gabby?”

She looked over her shoulder at me, but I couldn’t see her face in the darkness. Just her soft voice floated out. “Why didn’t you play games with everybody?”

I picked idly at the guitar strings. “I’m tired of games. Especially ones I can’t win.”

Night Swimming: YA Review

33128455

Night Swimming by Steph Bowe
Paperback, 311 pages
Publication: April 3rd 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Text
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Steph Bowe is back. Night Swimming is a love story with a twist, and a whole lot of heart.

Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.

Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?

But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…


“In real life, there’s no such thing as happily ever after, there’s just life passing day by day. After you ride off into the sunset, then you’re just in the middle of nowhere on a horse at night, aren’t you?” – Oh Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, how I adored your Internal monologue.

The story follows 17-year-old Kirby Arrow, her bestie Clancy Lee and her pet goat Stanley as they navigate day to day life in the small town of Alberton. I read this book in one day! and that’s not the norm for me. It was delightful and easy to read. An adorable feel good romp about growing up, finding your inner strength and place in the world.

Kirby wants to stay in Alberton, much to her mother’s dismay. She is determined that nothing in her life will change. Kirby’s mother wants her to go off and explore the world, as she never had the opportunity to do so. Clancy wants to leave Alberton to pursue musical theatre, while his parents want him to work in the family restaurant. The besties may seem to be on different paths at first, but they are both just trying to balance their dreams with family expectations.

The arrival of Iris and her family, rising flood waters and the inevitability of growing up, all threaten Kirby and Clancy’s friendship. I really enjoyed the whole Kirby+Clancy+Iris dynamic. You know someone is going to get hurt, you know the ball is going to drop sooner or later, that the goat poo is going to hit the fan etc. etc.

There are plenty of high jinks between these pages but ultimately this is a heartwarming story about first love, true friendship and finding the courage to move forward.


Steph’s Links: Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Buy Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Night Swimming is a sweet story of coming of age, family and first requited love. There is a genuine-feeling desire in the story to see the good intentions in lightly sketched but complex characters, which gives the book a lot of heart. It will appeal to fans of realistic Australian YA and to readers searching for sweet and hopeful queer love stories.’ – Books + Publishing.

‘This bittersweet comedy of romantic misunderstanding, life management and family relations is poised at the emotional intersection between forgiveness and self-acceptance. Despite its whimsical tone, Night Swimming tackles serious themes of mental health, family upheaval and sexual coming-out with commendable delicacy and humanity.’ – Readings.

“The utterly charming story of two best friends, the small town they live in and the girl they both fall for. It is a tender and humorous tale of family ties, friendship and first love.” – Erin Gough.

“Night Swimming is a love-letter to outsiders, the kooky and complex – it’s an ode to first times and best friends…but above all else, it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have a writer like Steph Bowe in our midst” – Danielle Binks, Alpha Reader.

Blog Tour: Spellbound Collection featuring Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton

Spellbound: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Collection
* * *
Genre: fantasy/ paranormal romance/ urban fantasy
Publisher: genreCRAVE
Date of Publication: May 2, 2017
ASIN: B01N18NFS9
Number of pages: 5000+
Word Count: 1.5 Million +
Cover Artist: Rebecca Frank
* * *
Box Set Description:
The Spellbound Boxed Set is a compilation of 20+ Full-Length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads!
Readers of all ages will be swept away by this fascinating mix of existing titles and brand new content, full of pages brimming with faeries, witches, vampires, shifters, psychics, Greek gods, angels, demons, and even ghosts!
With over a million words of fiction, this is your one stop shop for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, shifter romance, vampire romance, elemental magic, time travel, and MORE from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors!
Although some of these reads may be gritty and dark, this is a collection of clean reads that anyone will enjoy!
Pre-Order Sale Only .99
Amazon      Kobo      BN      Apple
The collection includes titles from…
International bestselling author Jade Kerrion
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Joanne Wadsworth
International bestselling author Nicole Zoltack
International bestselling author Rachel E. Carter
International bestselling author Andrea Pearson
International bestselling author Alicia Rades
International bestselling author Sophie Davis
USA TODAY bestselling author Michael J Ploof
International bestselling author Megan Crewe
International bestselling author C.E. Wilson
International bestselling author Kelly Carrero
International bestselling author Jess Haines
International bestselling author E. Blix
International bestselling author Alexis Kade
International bestselling author GP Ching
International bestselling author Gaja J. Kos and Boris Kos
International bestselling author Dara Fraser
International bestselling author Ash Krafton
International bestselling author Jim Johnson
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tom Shutt
International bestselling author Emily Martha Sorensen
International bestselling author S McPherson
* * *
 The first chapters of books by each featured author are available in the Spellbound Sampler, available on Wattpad
 * * *
Book Description Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton
Sophie Galen is an advice columnist whose work leaves her neck-deep in other people’s problems. Thanks to her compassion, her gut instinct, and her magnetic charm, Sophie really knows how to attract little black clouds.
Marek Thurzo is no little black cloud; he’s a maelstrom. Marek is Demivampire, a race with the potential to evolve into vampire. A warrior who’s taken his share of spiritual damage, he hovers dangerously close to destruction.
He seeks salvation. She’s driven to save him. But what if he can’t be saved?
Sympathy for his plight becomes true empathy as Sophie’s hidden nature is revealed. Marek suspects she may be one of the Sophia, oracle and redemption of the damned Demivampire. She alone can turn back the evolutionary clock.
All she needs is the courage to face her fears. Can she save him from Falling?
* * *
The following is an excerpt from BLEEDING HEARTS
Demimonde Book 1 by Ash Krafton
In the great hall housing the Egyptian exhibitions, I immediately noted the change in the atmosphere. The room was cool and dry, its climate controlled to mimic the conditions in which the relics had existed in their native land.
The entire room had been designed to resemble an Old Kingdom temple. The main lights were dimmed while strategically-placed spotlights emphasized massive columns and
magnificent wall carvings like sunbeams through temple windows.
I scanned the room. No other tourists. Even better. I meandered, enjoying the rare
opportunity to linger.
Craning my neck, I ran my gaze up each of the columns, reading the images, admiring the palm leaves carved at the tops like great stone trees. Eyes toward the ceilings, I turned slowly around, admiring the handiwork of the ancient artists.
What was it like to live in those lands and those times? Could an ancient version of my spirit have been there, stepping barefoot and silently through a sandy temple like
this one?
Lost in contemplation, I was completely unprepared for the shock of smacking into
someone, bumping him hard enough to lose my balance. I’d have fallen had he not
caught my arm. Wide-eyed with consternation, I stammered an apology to the
handsome but serious-faced gentleman.
“You are not hurt, I hope?” His voice, deep and smooth, sent shivers marching down my neck, between my shoulders, down my spine.
“I’m okay.” I shook my head, too shy to make direct eye contact, wishing I’d
checked my hair and lipstick before coming in. “I’m far too adept at being
inept.”
He flashed a grin and I caught a glimpse of nice white teeth. “Temples are places for spiritual reflection. It is forgivable if your vision was turned inward, rather
than toward where you were walking.”
His expression softened by amusement, he tilted his head toward the pillars. “Majestic, aren’t they?”
I stole another glance at him—black hair smoothed back into a discreet tail, clear light skin framed by long sideburns, strong jaw culminating in a square, cleft chin. Like
the other items in the museum, something about him made me want to look closer,
inspect each detail.
A subtle flush warmed my cheeks and ears so I quickly turned back to the heights of the exhibition. Murmuring a sound of agreement, I circled the column, stepping a
few feet away so I could see both him and the stone. “Do you visit this
museum often?”
Furtive glances allowed me to take in more of his appearance a tiny section at a time. Clothing dark as his hair. Long blazer, something in between a suit coat and an
overcoat. In one hand he carried a bound book and fountain pen, as if he’d been
making notes.
His gaze was calm and steady and entirely on me. Taking a deep breath I permitted the contact of the direct look. My boldness was well-rewarded. His Paul Newman lips
brought to mind the sculptured busts on display in the Greco-Roman Quarters and
he wore a stern expression that cast a veil of hardness upon his features,
enhancing the impression he’d been carved from marble.
Except for his eyes. The Roman busts bore eyes that were blank and white but this man’s eyes were alive with bright green color. Like gemstones, they glittered and drew my
gaze.
“No, actually,” he said. “My first time here. Although, I admit, I’m drawn
to places like this.” His voice made music of the words—deep bass notes
and soothing rhythm.
“Ah!” I said. “A man after my own heart.” His left eyebrow arched so
sharply I thought it might disappear into his hairline and I hurriedly
continued. “Are you a professor?”
“No, nothing like that. I do studying of my own, it’s not a living. It’s more of a
hobby. Personal research, of sorts.”
“Studying past times is one of my pastimes. It’s my preferred form of
entertainment.”
“Mmm.” Eyebrow cocked again, he cast a disapproving look at me and swept his hand around the contrived temple. “Would the gods be pleased to know they are
reduced to the level of entertainment?”
“I hope so.” I kept my tone light. Considering the seriousness of his expression,
I didn’t want to accidentally insult him. “Otherwise, they’d have to be
content with staying dead, right?”
His gaze swept over me and I shivered again as if the touch had been tangible, a brush of fingertips against my cheek.
“Well, I’ll leave you to your worship. I mean, your wanderings.” He gave me a
conspirator’s wink. “Unless…”
He hesitated, with a quiet clearing of throat as he tucked his notebook and pen into an inside pocket. “You wouldn’t mind a companion? Sometimes one sees things
differently when seeing through another’s eyes. I would appreciate a new
perspective.”
I mulled it over, listening to the rain spattering the windows and distant voices echoing faintly from other rooms. Although I’d looked forward to a quiet afternoon, it
might be nice to spend it with someone who seemed to share my interests. He
certainly was attractive, and his pleasant voice intrigued me.
I realized I’d become used to living inside a shell. This man made me want to step outside for once.
“I’d like that.” I smiled at his pleased expression. “I’m Sophie, by the
way.” I stuck out my hand in introduction.
Instead of shaking my hand, he bent his head over it and pressed polite lips to the backs of my fingers. The quaint gesture would have seemed strange and out of place
had we been elsewhere. “I am Marek. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Fingers tingling from the unexpected kiss, I fought the urge to curtsy. “Well, Marek. Lead me into the past.”
His almost-smile sent a thrill down the back of my neck. “That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d hoped you say. Shall we?”
He turned on his heel and swept out a hand with a slight bow, indicating the archway to another exhibit. For the first time since I’d been coming to this museum, I wondered what I’d see on the other side, and was surprised to realize I wasn’t afraid to
find out.
* * *
About the Author:
A speculative fiction girl through and through, Ash writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels as well as poetry and short fiction. She also writes for New Adult audiences under the name AJ Krafton. Her work has won a bunch of awards and was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. When she’s not writing, she’s practicing Tai Chi, listening to loud rock and metal, or crushing on supervillains.
Most recently, she’s re-released her urban fantasy trilogy THE BOOKS OF THE DEMIMONDE because she never really left the world of Sophie and her Demivamps. She’s also working on the next installment of her Demon Whisperer series.
Find out more when you visit www.ashkrafton.com
 
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Release Blitz: Beautiful Nightmares anthology

 
Demons, Vampires, Dark Readers of the Mind, Unspeakable Horrors and Ghosts that lurk in the night. When the sun fades behind the horizon and darkness falls, these are the things that chill your bones. Every bump, every whistle of the wind, every distant cry a nightmare waiting to unfold. Frightening. Terrible. Beautiful.
Beneath this cover you will find twisted tales of the macabre from some of the best in modern Horror, including:
Cover design from Rebecca Poole of Dreams2Media
Read them, if you so dare, but leave the lights on. You never know who, or what, is lurking at the edge of darkness.
Beautiful Nightmares, a Horror Anthology from Vamptasy Publishing, the leader in Indie Horror.
All proceeds to be donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
 
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Featuring these great stories: