Stealing Liberty: Blog Tour

Title: Stealing Liberty

Author: Jennifer Froelich

Genre: Young Adult

A heist so monumental, it may cost them everything… When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him.

 But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, they begin to question what they are taught about the last days of America and the government that has risen in its place.   Then the government decides to sell the Liberty Bell and Reed and his friends risk everything to steal it – to take back their history and the liberty that has been stolen from them (Stealing Liberty/Clean Reads).

Excerpt
My escort pushes me. “Pick up the pace, kid.” I stumble on a sharp rock and cut my toe. It hurts more than it should and I pull up to face him, fists curled at my side. I’ve grown about a foot since my sixteenth birthday, which means I can stare him down, eye to eye. He just smirks.  How about I smash your nose?  For a minute the urge is so powerful, my pulse pounds against my throat and red spots blur my vision. Don’t do anything stupid, Reed. Pick your battles. The voice in my head is my dad’s, so I listen. We climb aboard a rusty hybrid bus parked in front of the bombed-out terminal. “Welcome,” says the autopilot. It’s one of the retro models, formed like a human, with LED eyes and everything. When magnetic tracks were first installed, citizens didn’t trust computers to maneuver vehicles safely along roadways. At least that’s what my grandmother told me. Humanoid pilots were designed to make them feel safer.  Pretty soon, people had more important things to worry about.  My escort takes a seat behind the pilot, but I keep going. Only one other passenger is on the bus — a girl with long blond hair who sits in the fifth row, pressed against the window. Bruises swell on her left cheekbone and along her jaw. Her lip is crusted with blood and her right eyelid is swollen shut. Nausea washes over me, along with fresh anger.  “Sit!” our escort barks.  The girl flinches. I take a seat across from her and shift toward the window. The door squeaks closed and the bus lurches forward. We travel on an old freeway so desolate, we don’t encounter a single other transport. I wish I was calm enough to sleep — so numb to the government’s strong-arm tactics, they no longer get to me. Instead I stare past the landscape and try not to shake. Try not to relive my nightmare or think about how it felt to wake up with a gun to my head. I imagine a different outcome. Fighting back — or breaking out of the state home before they showed up. If only.


About the Author

Jennifer Froelich published her debut novel, Dream of Me, in late 2011, which reviewers praised as “well-orchestrated with outstanding imagery.” Her second novel, A Place Between Breaths, published in 2014, was called “a roller-coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep everyone interested” and won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 23rd Annual Self Published Book competition. Jennifer is a frequent contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul.  A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jennifer worked for many years as a freelance editor and writer before publishing her own work. She lives in beautiful Idaho with her husband, two teenage kids, and a rescue cat named Katniss.

Links Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

Counting to D: YA Review

18518158Counting to D by Kate Scott
Paperback, 227 pages
First published January 28th 2014 by Elliott Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Eliott
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A contemporary young adult novel about a bright dyslexic teen struggling to find her place in a literate world. Counting to D is sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled with learning disabilities, young love, or just being a teen!

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

My Thoughts

 Counting to D is the uplifting tale of dyslexic teen Samantha Wilson. The story follows Sam as she moves interstate, meaning a new school and leaving behind the most important things to her in the whole world, her friends, Arden and Gabby. She makes new friends easily enough, but then battles her self-doubts as to how much of her true self she is willing to show them.

The author Kate Scott was diagnosed with Dyslexia as a young child and it shows in the depth of Sam’s character. She feels real. Her struggles feel real and her coping mechanisms are explained in detail. Sam is easily likeable and you can’t help but root for her.

While the story is rather light and fluffy it touches on a lot of extremely important topics beautifully; friendship, peer pressure, social norms, social acceptance, learning disabilities, self-worth, first times and first loves (just to name a few). It is a heart-warming, fun and fast read. I got to the end of the story and wished there was more. I would have happily kept on reading about Sam’s life.

Counting to D was Kate’s debut Novel, she has since gone on to write a second The Evolution of Emily, which set in the same high school and yes Sam is in it as a supporting character. I’m really looking forward to reading it as well.


Kate Scott: Goodreads | Twitter

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

Book Tour: Path of a Novice by R.K. Lander

Title: Path of a Novice: The Silvan Book 1

Author: R.K. Lander

Genre: Fantasy

A land at war, a failing king, a light in the forest …

Bel’arán, land of mortals, immortals, and those that dwell in between. The elven forest realm of Ea Uaré is threatened by ruthless Sand Lords seeking water, and the undead Deviants who crave the mindless destruction of elves.

The powerful Alpine lords strive to dominate the leaderless native Silvans through power games, leaving in their wake a bereft king, assailed by grief and a family unable to forgive him.

As the king drifts in endless sorrow, the forest people are loosing their identity. Discriminated and belittled, they are the warriors but the Alpine lords are their commanders – until a child is born to the Deep Woods – an elf with the face of an Alpine and the heart of a Silvan, an orphan whose only dream is to dare become a Silvan captain in a world dominated by Alpines – Fel’annár, Green Sun.

A born warrior, to his friends, Fel’annár becomes Hwind’atór, the Whirling Warrior, and together, they will step upon the path of a novice.

Adventure, hardship and self-discovery will mould the warrior he will become. But destiny will not be ignored, and Fel’annár is confronted with the truth of his own abilities and the mystery of his past, one shrouded in sorrow and intrigue – one that may change the course of history.

From child to novice warrior and beyond, Fel’annár is, The Silvan.

Author Bio:

R.K. Lander was born in the UK. Fantasy was always a central part of her life and soon began reading authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Azimov, Ray Bradbury and J.R.R. Tolkien. Now living and working in Spain, Ruth runs her own business and writes as an independent author.

The Silvan is her first work, a YA epic fantasy trilogy revolving around the figure of a Silvan elf, Fel’annar. The first in the series, Path of a Novice is available now on amazon, and the second, Road of a Warrior, is approaching the editing stage.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * Excerpt * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Smoke billowed into the air as thatched roofs were engulfed and the people stumbled out of their homes, choking and crying as they desperately searched for a way out, but the Sand Lords were everywhere, their black cloaks billowing in the winds of battle, like the leathery wings of black bats grappling for prey. They descended upon the Silvans with their jewelled swords and senseless cries of fury, severing limbs and slitting throats, sending a frenzy of terror throughout the disorientated villagers. Some had no time to react as they were ran through, while others ran too slowly and were taken from behind, their heads twisted mercilessly.

Fel’annár saw it all through hazy eyes as he fired, again and again until there were no more arrows and he pulled his long sword in one hand and sabre in the other. He saw them fall, saw the women die such tragic deaths, their panicked children reach even to the enemy for comfort, only to be cruelly slaughtered. He saw it all and he fought – the battle before his eyes and the other in his mind; do not think – do not feel

Screeches and screams mixed with the sound of scraping metal and the thud of arrowheads imbedding in flesh. A roar of victory from the Sand Lords surely meant a warrior had gone down.

With a ruthless flash of metal, Turion slit another Sand Lord’s throat with a curl of his lip and then chanced a glance at Fel’annár who was facing off with two cloaked devils that twirled their scimitars deftly in their hands. The novice simply held his stance and watched them, long sword poised strangely over his head, and although he wanted to watch, Turion had his own foes to face. Moving before his next victim, he bore down on the black demon in utter fury, until a panicked cry escaped the strange being and Turion moved in, thrusting his sword right through his opponent’s chest, the squish of flesh and organs leaving no doubt in the captain’s mind that he was dead.

Fel’annár’s whirled and swivelled, sliced and parried. There was no confusion, no anxiety even though the colours were back. His mind was sharp and in control, all of its skill centred on his body and his senses, in spite of the death and carnage, the suffering of his kin and of the trees. He felt none of this, did not hear the scream of frantic mothers or the desperate wails of injured civilians, he did not feel the weight in his chest or the pain in his throat. Duck, bend, flex; push, cut, slash and stab. Flip backwards, somersault forwards, side twist and parry; kill, kill, kill…

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Lander’s Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Youtube | Amazon US | Amazon AU

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Cover Reveal: The Price of Magic by K.J. Taylor

You are here because you were born different. Born with a gift … and a curse.”

Big things are expected of Pip. Can he deliver? Magic is all around him and he is expected to be a great mage, but the path before Pip isn’t simple. Will he fulfill his parents’ expectations? Will he fulfill his own?

In Pip’s world, only those born with defects or deformities can wield magic. Struggling to find his place in an institute of talented mages, Pip sets out on a perilous quest to help his master face the suffocating cost of her gift. For every mage has a price; but in return for that price is power. Magic. The ability to shape the world and create wonders. But is it enough? Is the price of magic worth it?front-cover

K.J. Taylor published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, when she was just 18 and went on to publish another six titles in quick succession. Published by the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective, The Price of Magic is a stand-alone fantasy novella encompassing the best of Taylor’s creative appeal.

To celebrate the release of The Price of Magic cover, the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective is running an eBook giveaway competition. Sign up to the Black Phoenix Publishing Collective mailing list, and WIN an eBook copy of The Price of Magic by KJ Taylor. Follow this link to be part of the conversation: http://www.blackphoenixpublishing.com/contact.php.

Competition is open to Australian residents only, and will run until 5PM 13 December 2016. The winner will be announced the very next day on the bPPc Facebook page!!

See the bPPc Facebook page for further details. Terms and conditions can be found here: http://www.blackphoenixpublishing.com/Terms-and-Conditions.php

This beautiful cover was designed and developed by Brisbane-based artist and graphic designer Sabrina Raven. You can view her portfolio HERE.

Links for Aussie K.J. Taylor (#LoveOzYA): Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Review: The First Third by Will Kostakis

17185857Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together.

No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

* * * * My Thoughts * * * *

I read The Sidekicks and loved it. I’ve now read The First Third and loved it. I must get my hands on more! You, Mr Will Kostakis are brilliant and I love your humorous and heartwarming style.

In The First Third we follow 17 year-old Bill as he navigates first love and the monumental task his ill Grandmother has given him to put his broken family back together. With the help of Bill’s best friend Lucas and a pretty girl named Hayley, Bill manages to make some major progress with his family and help some other people out along the way. The ending leaves you with tears in your eyes, a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart and hope for the future.

Bill is a total sweetheart and reading along with his interactions with his friends, family and especially his Yiayia is a treat for the soul.

As with The Sidekicks the story flows beautifully, the characters are engaging and feel real. There is no denying that Mr Kostakis has the ability to tell a meaningful and captivating story. I am looking forward to reading more by him in the future.

Five Stars

Kostakis Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Facebook

Booktopia | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Bookdepository 

Review: The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

25574212

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.

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Paperback, 256 pages. Published February 29th 2016 by Penguin Australia.
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Goodreads WebsiteTwitter – Facebook

Amazon AUBooktopiaAmazon USBook Depository

* * * * * * * My Thoughts * * * * * * *

Set in northern Sydney The Sidekicks is the story of three very different boys. While on the verge of manhood they suffer the loss of a mutual friend. We follow each of the boys as they go on to deal with their friend’s death. The trauma initially separates them, but by the end of the book it has brought them together with a closeness they never had before. This is a story of love, loss, friendship, sexuality, homophobia and just wanting to fit in.

The Boys:

“The Swimmer” I was immediately drawn to Ryan (Thommo). His character straight up felt kind hearted and genuine. My heart wanted to reach out and hug him. The poor boy not only had to deal with the loss of his best friend, but with coming out to the world.

“The Rebel” Scott (Harley) is bloody adorable. Harley was the kind of boy I swooned over in school, and rightly so, thanks for proving me right Harley. Harley really grows up after losing his mate and he does everything he can to put things right. I outwardly applauded him (seriously my husband looked at my like a was mad clapping at a book) as he ran off to find and support Ryan.

“The Nerd” I was most afraid for Miles after the loss of Isaac. He really ends up in a dark place, but thankfully that big beautiful dastardly brain of his sees the light and lets the other two boys in. I wasn’t as drawn to Miles as the other two boys at first, but seeing the world through his eyes and his projected vision of the future, was a really strong and brilliant way to finish the story off.

star.5

Poet Anderson by Tom DeLonge

26494684Poet Anderson by Tom DeLonge, Ben Kull & Djet.

Based on the award-winning animated short film, and inspired by the Angels & Airwaves album ‘The Dream Walker’ by multi-platinum recording artist TOM DELONGE (cofounder and front man of the world-famous punk-pop band Blink-182), this graphic novel collects the critically acclaimed mini-series written by DeLonge and co-writer Ben Kull (Father of the Pride, Mission Hill) and illustrated by animation sensation Djet.

The prequel adventure chronicles young Jonas Anderson’s first foray into The Dream World, where he discovers his destiny to become Poet Anderson, a guardian Dream Walker who protects innocents while they sleep from the horrors their own dreams could pose in the Waking World.

This beautifully-illustrated adventure is supplemented with an in depth interview with DeLonge, exploring the many facets of fringe culture, dream theory, and the philosophy behind his various storytelling avenues. Also included are dozens of concept and design illustrations created during the development of the animated short film and current feature film pre-production. The hardcover edition will also include a CD mounted inside the back cover containing a soundtrack of previously unreleased instrumental and b-side tracks by DeLonge and Angels & Airwaves. >> GOODREADS <<

   *   *   *   *   *  My Thoughts  *   *    *   *   *

When I saw this on Net Galley the teenager inside of me got all giddy at the name Tom DeLonge. I was a little bit obsessed with playing Blink 182 out of my stereo as loud as it would go as a teenager.

Page 1-71 is the three-part graphic novel (comic) and Page 72-92 is the interview with DeLonge and concept art gallery.

We follow Jonas Anderson as he discovers this whole other Dream World created by mankind’s shared unconscious thoughts, as well as his destiny to be a “Poet” and Dream Walker. Jonas has his big brother along for the ride, but the catch is with Alan not having any special abilities he doesn’t remember anything when he wakes up. Because of Jonas natural gifts in the Dream World he is a target for REM (the evil villain) and his Night Stalkers.

This comic arc is set at the beginning of the Poet Anderson’s Dream World adventures so we learn of REM’s evil plans to break through and take over the Waking World using Jonas. We see REM start to facilitate his plan with the murder of both Jonas’s parents.

There is a lot of detail packed into the 71 pages, but I don’t want to spoil your fun by going into it further.

I found the interview with DeLonge interesting and intend to look further into the other Dream Walking projects. The multi-media storytelling of Poet Anderson’s world already includes an album by Angels & Airwaves, an animated short film (with a full length feature in production), one Novel and this three-issue comic arc. From what I gather while the stories are linked, they can all be enjoyed on their own without any previous Poet knowledge.

star.4

25779243Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge & Suzanne Young

From the critically acclaimed transmedia project Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, comes one of the most anticipated collaborations in YA literature this year: a thrilling, edge of your seat story written by award-winning musician, producer and director Tom DeLonge and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young.

Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson. >> GOODREADS <<

DeLonge on TwitterBooktopia & Book Depository

Divergent by Veronica Roth

13335037Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts:

I’m actually halfway through the second book now and thought I better stop and write up something about the first, but I’m still at a loss as what to. I flew through Divergent then immediately went out and watched the movie, and that totally screwed with my head, I think. They changed a fair bit in the movie, but I think I would have enjoyed it if I hadn’t just read the book as I kept thinking to myself – It didn’t happen like that etc.

Anyway back to the book; so I read Divergent in two days, it would have been One if I hadn’t had to get some sleep to go to work the next day – So that shows what a gripping book it was. It’s quite easy to read and flows really fast. I know it’s been compared to the Hunger Games a lot, but I don’t think that comparison does it justice. So even if you weren’t keen on the hunger games don’t knock this one back as just another dystopian YA. We get a strong female lead, Friendship, Love, evil bad guys to hate on and standing up for what’s right all rolled up in this crazy fast engrossing story.