Book Blitz and Giveaway: ‘Project Pandora’ by Aden Polydoros

 

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1)
by Aden Apolydoros!

If you enjoy YA thrillers with an espionage feel, you’ll want to give this one a try. It comes out on various platforms tomorrow. Add it to your cart with one of the links below and be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for an advanced reader copy and some swag!

 

Congratulations Aden!

 

 

Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…

Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1)
by Aden Polydoros
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Amazon | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

 

 

 

Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin PROJECT PANDORA. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

 

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win an ARC of the novel plus book swag! International winners will win a $10 Amazon gift card instead.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: ‘The Cauldron Stirred’ by Judith Sterling

I love a good fantasy set in Ireland, so I’m pleased to present today’s book blitz for The Cauldron Stirred by Judith Sterling. It’s a YA paranormal read featuring the old Celtic gods set in modern day. It came out this past Friday, so if you’re interested, follow the links to buy it or add it to your Goodreads list. You’ll also find a link to Rafflecopter below to enter an international contest for a signed copy of the book and a $15 Amazon gift card. Who doesn’t love free books?

The Cauldron Stirred
Judith Sterling
(Guardians of Erin, #1)
Publication date: July 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.

The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.

“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.

I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”

The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”

“You scared the crap out of me!”

“Whisht!”

“What?”

“Shush!”

Pop!

The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.

Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.

Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.

Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.

His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”

His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.

Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.

“Are we hiding?” I whispered.

“We are.”

“Why? And what just happened?”

“I can’t say.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Both.”

Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.

I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”

His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”

“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”

With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.

High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.

She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.

I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.”

He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.


Author Bio:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her YA paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books–My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories–have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook


GIVEAWAY!

Click the link below to enter the contest for a signed copy of this book plus a $15 Amazon gift card! Open internationally!

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Unboxing: Coffee and a Classic July 2017 ‘Walden’ Standard Classic subscription box

I was an English Language and Literature major in college and besides turning me into a grammar Nazi, it also gave me a love of classic literature. My favorite novels of all time are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I also have a fondness for Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. That being said, when I saw there was a subscription box that catered to classic reads and bookish goodies, I sent out a proposal right away! The owner was kind enough to send me a free Standard Classic box to explore with all of you.

Coffee and a Classic has two box choices. There’s the Starter Classic box that includes the book, something to sip and two bookish items, or there’s the Standard Classic box that contains the book, a drink, a snack, a bookmark, a mug and one or two bookish goodies. Everything is themed to the novel. Here’s what was in this month’s Standard.

Coffee and a Classic July 2017 'Walden' Standard Classic Box reusable

Above this article, you’ll see the presentation of the box. It arrived in a separate shipping box and the inside package was tied in brown string with their logo on the top. The box is a keepsake photo box that you can reuse. I love this idea! I’m sure I can find plenty of uses for it.

Inside, everything was packed in shredded cardboard. The inventory card was buried beneath all the items. While this is great for people who want to be completely surprised, I like to read the card first to make sure I find everything I’m supposed to in the box. Not a big deal, I just had to do some extra digging.

Coffee and a Classic July 2017 'Walden' Standard Classic Box tangibles

The first items I pulled from the box were the themed mug and the two extra goodies. The mug is a gorgeous forest green and reads “Life in the Woods.” It’s a great size for morning coffee. The extras included a wood burned magnet that says “All Good Things are Wild and Free” and a soy candle with a wooden wick that smells like a campfire. It really does too! Very smoky and with the wooden wick, it will even crackle a bit. I’m looking forward to burning it. The magnet is inspirational, which I like. I’m saving it to add to my fridge when we get a permanent place.

Coffee and a Classic July 2017 'Walden' Standard Classic Box edibles

Next in the package were my edibles and a neat fabric bookmark. The bookmark was handmade by the people who run the box. It’s made of some sort of linen cloth and features pine trees. Very sturdy and since I still haven’t found my bookmark box, very handy. The edibles were chocolate mint flavored chai tea by Teakoe which was awesome, and the makings for a s’more. The chocolate graham cracker and the marshmallow were homemade by The Marshmallow Cart and they were delicious. There was a chunk of Hershey’s milk chocolate included too. The graham cracker was cracked when it got here, but that made it easier to share with Mike, so it’s all good.

Coffee and a Classic July 2017 'Walden' Standard Classic Box book

Last in the box was this month’s book which was Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. That’s why there were so many outdoorsy themed items in the box. In all my years of reading, I’ve never gotten to this book, so I’m happy to have it. I just need to find time to work it in.

Everything in this box is high quality and easy to use. Nothing I want to stuff in a drawer or pass along to Salvation Army. After I move again, I might put this box in a more permanent rotation in my reviews by subscribing. I loved it that much.

Starter boxes are $25 plus shipping and Standard ones are $38 plus shipping. I have to admit that their shipping fee is a bit steep, but you’re guaranteed to get gourmet treats and handmade items every month which are worth the total price. If you’d like to subscribe, click here to go to the Coffee and a Classic website.

4.75 out of 5 stars

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: ‘Watertight’ by E. J. Stevens

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read some of E. J. Stevens’s work and enjoyed it. While I haven’t yet read her Ivy Granger series, I’m happy to promote it as I’m sure it lives up to the rest of her series. So, today I’m bringing you the cover reveal for book number seven in this paranormal/urban fantasy series, called Watertight. The book comes out sometime next year, so you have time to catch up on the first six beforehand. Look at that beautiful cover for inspiration and get reading! Also, remember to enter the giveaway attached at the bottom of this entry for swag and an Amazon gift card.

Watertight
E.J. Stevens
(Ivy Granger, #7)
Publication date: 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

When Torn is accused of murdering a local mermaid, Ivy Granger is plunged into the deep end of water fae politics.

With her psychic gifts and newfound wisp powers, locating Torn’s alibi should be simple. Too bad a deadly enemy with a score to settle is lurking in Harborsmouth’s darkest waters.

Ivy Granger might be in over her head. Even with the help of her kelpie king fiance, Ivy only has until the next high tide to prove Torn’s innocence. With the clock counting down and the bodies piling up, Ivy better hope she finds an alibi that’s watertight.

Add to Goodreads


Author Bio:

E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS’ GUILD urban fantasy series, and the WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages.

BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series.

When E.J. isn’t at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on Twitter @EJStevensAuthor. For more, including a list of her books, freebies, and upcoming events visit http://www.EJStevensAuthor.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


GIVEAWAY!

Click the link below to enter a contest on the Rafflecopter website for a $25 Amazon gift card and swag pack with mermaid and shark stickers. Very cool!

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: ‘Northwoods Magic’ by Desiree Lafawn

Today’s book blitz brings you a fantasy novel full of magic and romance. If you enjoy love stories with a paranormal twist, you’ll want to pick this one up. I will be reading and reviewing it for you in mid-August. In the meantime, click on the links below for purchasing details or to add it to your Goodreads list. There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post.

Northwoods Magic
Desiree Lafawn
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Quinn Reynolds is desperate for answers. After a near fatal accident, Quinn’s life changes and she is suddenly plagued by dreams of ravens, magic, and a boy with copper-ringed eyes. Told by her doctors that she is delusional, Quinn travels to the Northwoods of Minnesota to find out the truth. But Quinn has another problem that she hasn’t shared. Not only does she dream of magic, she also possesses her own power as well and it scares the hell out of her.

Corbin Olsen has been battling his own demons for the last ten years. After sacrificing everything to save Quinn’s life, she forgot about him completely. He’s thought of her constantly in the years she’s been gone, but nothing prepared him for the woman she has become. Although angry at her for leaving him, Corbin isn’t able to dismiss his need for her.

But Corbin and Quinn are running out of time for a meaningful reunion, the real evil is back and hunting the prey that escaped them all those years ago.

Goodreads / Amazon

Are you a book reviewer?
You can request a review copy here!

EXCERPT:

Quinn had a special book, a book that had been with her since she was a teenager. This was the notebook that she kept all of her dream drawings in. Sometimes she would add words to the sketches and sometimes she wouldn’t. There were hundreds of drawings in this book, some the size of a quarter, and some – after a particular bad night of dreaming – took up an entire page of hard angry charcoal strokes.

That book was private, and Quinn kept it to herself. That was just for her. For so long she hadn’t been able to tell what was real and what was fantasy, thinking maybe she herself was just a figment of someone else’s imagination. Her sketchbook was Quinn’s way of knowing she was real. Maybe she had imagined seeing the things she saw, or knowing the things that she had forgotten, but she hadn’t fabricated drawing the pictures or writing the words. The pictures and words would always be there, permanently tattooed into the book. If she opened the pages and saw those things then she would know that in that very moment, she was present. She existed. She was.


Author Bio:

Desiree lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, two children, and two rowdy cats. She is a craft addicted, roller derby skating amateur foody who loves to enjoy a glass of chardonnay with a side of whatever snack the kids left untouched in the pantry, most likely goldfish crackers.

She writes contemporary and fantasy/paranormal romance because fairy tales are where it’s at. She loves the pull of magic, the light and the dark of it, as well as the effort the characters must go through to reach their happily ever after.

Goodreads / Facebook


GIVEAWAY!

You can win a $25 Amazon gift card! Open internationally. Click the link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Unboxing: Sparkle Hustle Grow July 2017 Business Travel box

So, I work from home part-time and I’m presently trying to become better at what I do and make it into a real business with good pay and decent hours. To do this, I’ve been consuming online trainings and inspirational literature. When I saw that there were boxes on the market that catered to female home-based business owners, I got excited. I’m going to be trying two of them this month. Both were paid for with my own money.

The first is Sparkle Hustle Grow. They have an inspiring member community on Facebook and they send out 4-6 items to help grow your business including office supplies, snacks, planners and self-help books, plus online classes. Everything included surrounds a theme. This month’s theme was business travel. Ready to see what was inside that pretty pink box? Here we go!

Sparkle Hustle Grow July 2017 Business Travel box packaging

Everything inside my shipment was packed in sparkly gold cardboard shreds for safe travels. On top was an inventory card with a celebratory message, increasing the excitement before you even get to the goodies.

This month’s book was Adventures for Your Soul: 21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential by Shannon Kaiser. I’ve started reading it. It’s a bit new-agey in the idea of what you think will manifest, but I’m into that, so I’ve been enjoying it. It’s already made me kinder with myself in terms of my weight loss journey and inspired me to work harder to create the business I want. If you’re not a fan of self-help, this isn’t the box for you. For those of you that know you can use extra help in achieving your goals, it’s perfect.

Next were the six items that tied into the theme. The first of these items was a retractable, refillable lint roller. Why has nobody ever thought of these before? After you use a sheet of the sticky paper to remove lint from your outfit, you close the roller so it stays clean. No more collecting gross detritus from your car or junk drawer on the outside of your roller. You just roll it up and down like you would a lipstick. It’s made by Flint.

Sparkle Hustle Grow July 2017 Business Travel box contents

After the lint roller was a package of twistable ribbons by Unplugged Goods. These ingenious little twists are made of bendable silicone which you wrap around unruly cords to keep them organized. They work great for tablet and phone cords, earbuds and headphones or even camera cables. I have plenty of uses for these. I wish I had received them before traveling earlier this week, but I’ll have them for all future ventures. I might even look them up and buy another pack.

Next two items would be great for hotel travel. One is a Dream Big sleep mask to help block out any extraneous light and the other is a hanging cell phone holder. For the latter, you simply hang the holder over your phone charger when you plug it in and you can lay your phone on it to save room and keep it off the floor. A simple piece of plastic, but a smart idea all the same. The eye mask is satiny and smooth. It’s comfortable and adjustable, too, with a Velcro close on the elastic band.

Also in the box were a leather luggage tag and a gold charger keychain. The tag reads, “Word Hard, Play Hard” and is excellent quality. No difficult buckles or leather over the name tag either. You can simply attach it with its elastic string and your name is visible and easy to remove when your address needs to be updated. The keychain has a USB plug for attaching both an iOS and Android product to your computer or block for charging. I’m not a fan of Apple’s software, so I don’t own any iOS items, but this will still come in handy for on-the-go charging of my phone, tablet or e-reader.

After the book and the fun goodies comes the part of the box I’m most excited about – the business training course. This month’s class is Facebook Ads to Supercharge Your List Growth and it’s worth $147! All courses from Sparkle Hustle Grow are worth way more than the price you pay for the box, making it an awesome deal. I’ve been wondering how Facebook Ads work and if they’re worth the money. Now I’ll be able to find out how to make them work for me.

Last in the box were coupons for both Flint and Unplugged which will be useful. There was also an insert with a list of the SHG company’s favorite apps for business travel. It includes everything from an itinerary planner and navigation app to GPS, a mileage tracker and a portable scanner app. Very helpful.

This box had a total value of $207! Even without the online training, everything in the box is worth more than the $39.95 plus $6 shipping that the monthly subscription costs. Seriously, if you’re a female business owner, how can you pass that up? Fun office supplies, community, inspirational reads and online courses are a need for anyone who wants to improve their home-based company. Get them all at a reasonable price in a fun monthly shipment by subscribing to Sparkle Hustle Grow.

5 out of 5 stars

Book Blitz and giveaway: the ‘Witchbreed’ series by R. L. Martinez

Today’s book blitz is for a magical fantasy series by R. L. Martinez featuring twin witchy sisters escaping persecution and darkness. Sound like something you think you’ll love? The first book came out last March and is currently free on Amazon! The second novel in the series is out today. Just follow the links below to order and add them to your Goodreads list. There’s also an international giveaway where you can win the books or an Amazon gift card. Find it under the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post.

In the Blood
R.L. Martinez
(The Witchbreed Series #1)
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

A snake. A lion. A return.

In a time when magic is feared, Lady Oriabel Dominax has no choice but to conceal her healing powers while she cares for her father’s struggling estate. One touch of the Witch’s Tree shows her visions of witches hung and burned at the very hands of the people for whom she cares, the people who love her. But with the arrival of a new lord, a man hiding secrets of his own, falling in love might be one wrong move too many.

Incarcerated for an unspeakable crime, fearless warrior Lady Ottilde Dominax is plagued by mysterious dreams of her sister’s death. When a hooded figure offers her the chance of escape, although untrusting, she does not hesitate. Racing across nations to reach Oriabel, her journey is cut short by an encounter with a wedowyn, a formidable beast which she has no chance to overpower alone. Though it is not death that greets her, but something far worse.

Blackmail, betrayal, and murder are only the beginning as a darker magic is awakened. And someone has plans for the Dominax twins, plans more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine.

Beneath the Skin
R.L. Martinez
(The Witchbreed Series #2)
Published by: Lakewater Press
Publication date: July 21st 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Abandoned, betrayed, and wanted for murder, Lady Oriabel Dominax is a witch on the run. The deadly magic now awakened inside her is hungry, and it is all Oriabel can do to control it. With no choice but to trust strangers as her guardians, she quickly discovers not everyone is who they say they are and the very magic she fears might be her only weapon to protect those she loves.

Since rescuing her sister from certain death, Lady Ottilde Dominax’s only goal is to keep Oriabel safe and alive. Not an easy task when both the enemy and their so-called allies are hunting them. Placing all her trust in the very man who held her prisoner, Ottilde must open her heart and mind to a future she could never have predicted, a future guided only by love and survival.

Life, death, and tragedy lie ahead as the Dominax twins set out on a perilous journey to safety. But knowing they are mere pawns in someone else’s game means fighting for family is all they have left.

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

Being a stay-at-home mom is probably the hardest job Robin’s ever had (and that’s after working at places like Goodwill, MCL Cafeteria, and Captain D’s). Her house is never clean! No matter how many dishes she does or toys she picks up, her two little ones come right behind her and make a whole new mess. Anyway, this is the first time she hasn’t had some sort of job outside the home since she was fifteen. Kinda scary!
Now that her kids have both started all-day school, she can fling herself into the stories that constantly swirl inside her head. One of the main reasons she writes is to read books that she wishes other people were writing. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, two small sons, two naughty canines, and a mouse-killing cat.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


GIVEAWAY!

Ten chances to win the second book or both books in the series, as well as a chance to win a $25 Amazon voucher. Just click below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

Book Review: ‘The Castaways’ by Jessika Fleck

I recently got a free copy of The Castaways from author Jessika Fleck in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it but ended up really enjoying it. It’s a contemporary fantasy read with a dystopian feel without the apocalyptic outer world.

Olive is losing herself to the daily bullying she receives from a trio of mean girls in her high school. She considers her name the bane of her existence. When running away from an encounter with the girls at a local carnival, she gets lost in a corn maze and ends up on an undetectable island where two factions of lost kids from different eras are at war. Can Olive overcome her issues and help bring peace to the kids on the island? What is charismatic leader Will hiding? Will any of them ever find their way home?

I was afraid this book might be a fail for me, thinking it would follow too closely in the footsteps of the many other dystopian reads before it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a plot of its own. It was a bit Lord of the Flies, but with its own personality. The growth of each character felt natural, as did the romance between Olive and Will. I was happy to see everyone move on from their painful pasts through cooperation and friendship. Olive and Will especially grew into the people they should have been had their histories been different.

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy literature or magical islands with minds of their own, this should be on your TBR list. It was a fun read with a lot of heart, a dash of drama and an anti-bullying theme. Pick it up today at one of the retailers below.

4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / Kobo

Unboxing: Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides YA subscription box and coupon!

Always looking for the next great book box, I was pleased when the owner of Blue Tome offered to send me a box for review. They mail out a brand new sci-fi/fantasy YA book as well as bookish goodies every month. I was able to grab their inaugural box to discuss with all of you. This month’s theme was Dangerous Tides and it had some fun piratey stuff inside. Have a look!

Up top, you’ll see the container the subscription shipped in. It was a white box with a sparse, but cute logo and motto printed on the top.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides packaging

When I opened the box, this is what I saw. Immediately drawing my eyes? Funko! Yay! There was also an inventory sheet that was rolled up like a treasure map, which was a cute touch. Everything was packed in shredded cardboard and arrived safely.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides paper gifts

When I pulled out the cardboard, I found several paper goods. There was a coloring bookmark and a laminated bookmark, the latter by Oriandle, both with quotes from this month’s novel selection. Having just moved, I’m not sure where my collection of bookmarks ended up, so it’s Blue Tome to the rescue. I love having unique items to mark my pages with. There was also a decal that read “Life is a Journey” by The Crafty Notebook. I threw that onto the back of my laptop along with some other inspirational stickers that were there previously. I love to have a pick-me-up just an easy glance away.

Also with the papers were an art print by Sip and Read with the same quote as one of the bookmarks and a large Kraken temporary tattoo created by A Blink Ink Tattoo shop on Etsy. I love the picture on the tattoo, but it’s larger than I would normally wear, so this will get passed on to my 12-year-old nephew. He’ll love it.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides solid gifts

There were also several solid goodies included in the box. A candle by Cherry Pit matches the theme of the book and is scented like the ocean breeze. It smells floral with a bit of coconut undertone. I love candles. They’re a great way to spruce up the scent of your living space. As mentioned before, there was a Funko in the package. Everyone received Captain Barbossa from The Pirates of the Caribbean films. I love the detail on him. I’m tempted to keep him for myself, but I think my nephew would really get a kick out of him, so I think I’ll be passing him along with the tattoo.

Other physical goodies were a glow in the dark metal dragon bookmark by Kawaii Craft Cottage and a small compass by Epoch Beads that can be worn as a pendant. The dragon bookmark is pretty and his wings glow really nicely. Even better, the top of his hook isn’t pointed so it won’t bust through my book’s pages. I’ll be getting a lot of use out of him. The compass really works and would be handy for outdoor adventures this summer. The outside is made of a gold tone metal and it feels sturdy.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides treasure map

Also pictured with the above items is a Pirate map by Dire Atrium. You’ll see a better picture of it here. I love the mermaid and ship details.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides wrapped book

The book of the month was wrapped up like a gift (as was the compass), which upped the suspense. Blue Tome even wrote my name at the top of the wrapping.

Blue Tome June 2017 Dangerous Tides novel

The book this month was one I hadn’t heard of yet, but it looks great! It’s Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser and it’s a swashbuckling fantasy adventure with a strong female lead. The blurb on the front of the book was written by Stephanie Garber who wrote one of my favorite reads of this year, Caraval. That alone makes me super excited for this story, but the premise sounds awesome too.

Blue Tome costs a bit more than other YA boxes, but they include some quality and unique items with your read. The tattoo and bookmarks made by small home-based businesses were super cool and Funkos are always awesome. I also admire the creativity of throwing in the compass for a pirate themed box.

At $39 per month, you’re getting more in value than what you’re paying, which, along with usefulness, is always the ultimate goal. Plus, Blue Tome is offering a coupon to my readers. Use code BNSL15 for 15% off your first order, good through the end of July. It’s good for any length package, so the more months you pay for up front, the more money you’ll save.

Ready to sign up? Click here to place an order on Cratejoy. Need more information first? You can get that here.

I love this addition to the YA book subscription market and I think you will too.

4.5 out of 5 stars

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

Book Review: ‘The Witches of New York’ by Ami McKay

Today, Ami McKay’s new historical magical realism novel, The Witches of New York, was released in the US. I managed to get an early copy in exchange for a review. The story follows three witches in New York City in 1880 and covers the darkness of mental illness and sexism in that period. While that part of the tale was fascinating, I do wish that the story had worked in more character development as well as possibly leaving out some unneeded individuals.

Eleanor and Adelaide run a tea shop in Manhattan complete with apothecary cures, birth control and fortune telling. They are later joined by young Beatrice who finds she can speak with ghosts. When Beatrice is supposed to speak at a scientific symposium, she is instead kidnapped by an evil man hiding behind the cloth. The clock is ticking for her friends to find her before she becomes a ghost herself.

This story moves slowly, but all the information worked in about that time is captivating. I had no problem meandering through the book. The thing that bothered me was that the characters didn’t have much growth. Evil men and demons stayed evil. Adelaide who was supposed to have this great epiphany really didn’t change much, nor did steadfast Eleanor. The only character that really grew was Beatrice – from mousy and unsure to more confident in her powers.

Also, certain characters, like Palsham, seemed unnecessary. The book was left open, so maybe he’ll come into play more if there’s another novel in the series. The Bird Lady, the Dearlies and the prisoner in the ladies asylum also seemed extraneous.

Overall, this was a tale that I enjoyed. I found out after I read it that Adelaide was the main character in McKay’s novel, The Virgin Cure. However, I could read this book as a standalone without that knowledge. If you’re interested in 19th-century mediums, the darkness of the witch hunts and women’s rights, you may find this novel worth reading. I’ll definitely be waiting to see if it turns into a series.

3.75 out of 5 stars

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