Two sisters fighting for the throne and kingdom go from family to enemies. Lu, the fighter and fiercely independent one, and be readying herself to become the first female leader of the kingdom. But her hopes are shattered when her father makes the unexpected decision to give the throne to her younger sister's, Min, fiance. A fiance that has ulterior motives and plans to rule with an iron fist.
Lu is a very strong, but unfortunately stubborn, character. She has a picture in her mind of how things should be and struggles to accept it when that picture is shattered by events unfolding around her. Forced to make allies in unusual places, we are introduced to Nokhai, a man from a culture and magical background thought to have vanished. But they will both find out that he is far more than what he seems, and his race is far from disappeared.
While Lu is a strong and likable character, I felt drawn to the story of Min. The younger daughter that grew up in the shadow of her sister. When she discovers she could be so much more, the power calls to her and she finds herself in the hands of a skilled manipulator that would do anything to keep her under his heel and under his control. He sees her ancient magic as a tool to recreate the world under his rule and wipe everyone who opposes him off the face of existence. She struggles to find out who she is and what her place in the world will be.
This is the first book in the Girl King series, and while it sets the stage for an epic fantasy battle, it is an amazing story on its own as well. There is much more to come in the world, and I feel several surprise revelations on the horizon as the sisters battle each other for the title of King.
**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**
Zoey was a great teenage character. The new kid in school and feeling a bit like an outcast is something I could completely relate to. Being uprooted and moving is rough for anyone, but moving AND finding out that you're not exactly human? That would be super stressful.
To add to Zoey's difficulties, the older generations of her Ice Dragon family are a bit snobbish and don't think humans are good enough for their grand-daughter (even if she is only half-dragon).
I really admired the fight that Zoey found within her self and the courage it took to stand up to her family and their traditions. I don't think her battle is over yet, but she may have won some allies to her side of the field by the end.
One of the things I enjoy most about the Havenwood Falls storylines is the great diversity of characters. People from all walks of life and creatures from all over the mythos. The Fall introduces a creature that I haven't seen in Havenwood Falls yet, and her best friend, who happens to be a witch.
Serena, our new creature, has no idea the paranormal world exists and that she is a very big part of it. Much of her family's past is shrouded in mystery, and her mother (who is understandably a bit of a crazy person) is unable to share the secrets and guide Serena. It falls to her aunts to take care of her, and they are up to something that Serena just doesn't understand yet.
As a person who has always found water to be very peaceful, I understood Serena's draw to it. But her draw is much more than mine, and it causes her peace and solitude, and also pain and guilt as she learns more about who she is and why the water calls to her.
This book was very much high school. The cliques, the friendship fights, the pranks, the getting in trouble, and learning the lessons of life. It rang very true (if a bit over the top) for what the high school experience is like. The Fall is one of my favorite editions to Havenwood Falls High so far (there are many I have yet to read though).
**Warning - this does have a bit of a cliff hanger ending - so be prepared.
What happens when a witch hunter falls in love with a witch? Well, hopefully nothing in Havenwood Falls. Witch hunter Macy is supposedly warded from her witch hunting blood, and it shouldn't be a big deal that she's dating the witch, Gallad. But her wards start to fail, and to avoid all hell breaking loose, Macy runs.
A large part of this story is Macy coming to terms with her history and legacy. When she stumbles upon distant relatives with a more violent tendency, she is forced to come face to face with what she just might become.
Macy's family, and her boyfriend Gallad, are racing against the clock to find her. If her month away runs out, then the magic will force her to forget everything she knows about her home.
There are some super crazy fight scenes, a very well-written psychological and moral dilemma, and a boyfriend that just won't give up on his true love. All in all, this is a great addition to Havenwood Falls, and I loved the entire premise and history of the witch hunters that live in the town.
Title: Lost Horizon (Oz in Space #1)
Author: Michelle Hercules
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Romance
A magical planet torn apart by war. A defiant space pilot cadet determined to save the ones she loves. The adventure of a lifetime.
Oz like you have never seen before.
Space Academy prodigy Dorothy Hanson doesn’t have time for love nonsense. She has one goal, complete the mission her parents started before their untimely death.
When a cosmic disturbance hits the Kansas Space Station, Dorothy seizes that opportunity to go on her first space voyage. She didn’t expect to be sucked into a vortex nor land on a strange planet ravaged by war.
Stranded, she must embark on a perilous mission to the Land of Oz, the only nation that possesses the technology to send her home. Three strangers join Dorothy in her quest, all carrying reasons of their own for reaching Emerald City. A man without memories marked with a strange symbol on his face. A cyborg with a chip on his shoulder and a mysterious past. And a scarred hellioncat plagued by nightmares in the dark.
Dorothy doesn’t know if she can trust them, but as their journey progresses, their bond becomes stronger and Dorothy's feelings evolve from suspicion to caring too much. Torn between contradicting emotions, she must find the strength to fight the evil forces that stack up against them along the way. Surviving the trip on the yellow road is priority number one, but can she survive losing her heart?
About Michelle Hercules
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born.
Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter. She is currently working on the Legends of Gattica series.
Ender to win signed paperbacks of Red's Alphas
Title: A Tale of Two Houses (Defy the Stars #1)
Author: Susan Harris
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Centuries ago, the royal house of witches in Vernanthia split into two factions: House Cambridge and House Montgomery. These two houses warred with each other for an age, causing widespread bloodshed and death. Those without magic--the Nulls—suffered the most. One day, a favored daughter of the Nulls was slain. With her dying breath, she cursed the covens to know no peace until love was possible between the houses.
That curse had long since been forgotten—until now.
Julian Montgomery is the reluctant Prince of House Montgomery and Rowan Cambridge is in no rush to become the Queen of House Cambridge. Both heirs long for freedom from their birthright obligations. When fate throws these two star-crossed lovers together, it sends them on a collision course with destiny that neither could have predicted.
Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet is reimagined in this compelling drama about two young people drawn by fate into an unwinnable situation. If you think you know how this story ends—think again!
Excerpt from A Tale of Two Houses
©2019 Susan Harris
Underneath the window, a trellis crept up the wall, vines of ivy weaving in and out of the wood. I cupped my hands over my mouth and breathed out to try and put some heat into them. My heart began to beat a steady rhythm against my chest as I placed a booted foot on the end of the trellis, my cold hands less painful than the pit of magic in my stomach.
Creeping up the wall, I managed a quick incline, resting my butt on the window ledge as I considered that I might just be mad enough to knock on his window and beckon him to open it up. The wind whipped my braid against my face as I lifted my head and gave a gentle tap.
Nothing happened, so I tapped again, this time hearing a heavy footfall come toward the window. For a split second, I feared that the Montgomery heir would open the window, pushing me to my death before I could even blink, but as I perched myself on the window ledge, I rolled my shoulders and braced myself for whatever reaction I received.
About Susan Harris
Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland.
An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy and Dystopian genre. She writes books for young adults and adults alike.
When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, creepy snow globes, DC shoes, stationary, anything Disney, Marvel movies, psychology and far too many TV shows. If she wasn't awriter, she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.
Enter to win a Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box!
Internment is very scary look into a near future reality that seems to be knocking on our door right now. When politicians vilinize the Muslim community, people begin to view them all with suspicion. A registry is formed. They lose their jobs/schools. And they are sent to camps.
Samira Ahmed does an amazing job showing just how the American public allowed this to happen. Between a mixture of hatred, being uninformed, and people assuming it could never happen here - they allowed it to happen.
We see these events unfold through the eyes of Layal - an American whose country turns on her for committing no crime. Viewing the life of the camp and the small rebellions leading to revolution as she experiences them was so very hard.
I think this book comes at a great time in history to show that "not doing anything" isn't any better than "doing the bad thing." Looking the other way or assuming that it can't happen here is a faulty way of thinking/acting, and Samira Ahmed shows us why. I alternated between anger at what people dared to do and sadness that anyone would be treated in this way.
Thank goodness it's fiction....for now. I only hope that continues to be the case and we never have to see events like the ones in Internment ever happen.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Ten Reasons Why I Have a Total Love-Hate Relationship With My Abilities
by Maité Martinez
I LOVE BEING A HALFER.
I HATE BEING A HALFER.
Title: Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles #1)
Author: Aileen Erin
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin
Maite Martinez has always yearned for more than waitressing in a greasy diner on the polluted ruins of planet Earth. Hiding her special abilities is a full-time job on its own, even with the government distracted by the mysterious alien race – the Aunare.
When a SpaceTech officer gets handsy with her, she reacts without thinking. Breaking his nose might not have been her smartest move. Now she’s faced with a choice: serious jail time working in a chain gang on a volcano planet or join the corporate army to fight against the impending war with the Aunare. It’s really no choice at all.
As with everything in her life, Maite quickly realizes that the war with the Aurnare isn’t what it seems. And Lorne, the Aunare prince, keeps popping up everywhere she goes. Being seen with him could get her in even deeper trouble with her commanders, but he’s the first person who sees through the wall she’s built around herself and she can’t bring herself to send him away.
When the situation between SpaceTech and the Aunare escalates, Maite has a way to end the war before it even begins. There’s only one question: Can she stop the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?
About Aileen Erin
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
Enter to win a signed copy of Off Planet
Building the World of Bellona
by Jessika Fleck
Like all stories, Beware the Night, slowly evolved from a loose skeleton of a concept to a complete work in several stages. Originally titled, The Offering, the world in which Veda, Nico, and Dorian face Sun verses Night and all the shadows in between certainly didn’t materialize in my brain overnight. However, the setting was probably the first thing I was sure of when I began drafting the book.
I knew I wanted this story to take place on an island. In the beginning, it was a series of islands all surrounding the main island of Bellona and linked by sea and canals. It was a very cool concept but presented too many logistical issues to juggle. Plus, I definitely wanted Veda’s community to feel intimate and fairly small; a place where two very different groups of people have to work together to keep their community thriving. A place where everyone knows who the glassblower is and who sells bait at the market and certainly who to avoid and who to trade with. Thus, the single island of Bellona was born.
In the earliest stages of the story, I knew I wanted a society inspired by Venice with canals and tunnels and winding, cobbled walkways. Less grand than true modern-day Venice, but with all of the charm and mystery. My husband and I actually visited Rome and Venice on our honeymoon and literally found ourselves lost within the maze of streets and towering buildings and it was magical. So, I knew the sort of aesthetic I was going for—just a more rustic, darker version. The Romanesque touches came later with the addition of a coliseum and spectator style ceremonies. But instead of the rituals being a game and for sport (despite how those in charge might take advantage), I knew I wanted Bellona to have a more sacred relationship with its Offerings.
Once the main structure was set, I sprinkled the world of Bellona with unique details to make it its own. It made sense that fish would be a major resource and I loved the idea of a female main character who was a skilled fisher. Having hourglasses instead of clocks entered around this time as well. I really liked the idea of the characters using something old-world and different to keep the hour. The rest of the landscape: thick forests, long tunnels, underground caves, piazzas, and a dormant volcano naturally evolved as the story progressed. I adore this world so much (can you tell?)! I even attempted drawing my own map (on the title page of my pass-pages, no less)…
Title: Beware the Night
Author: Jessika Fleck
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits.
Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace in a cruel world where the division between her people and the ruling Dogio is as wide and winding as the canals that snake through their island.
But when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night—and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life.
About Jessika Fleck
Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019. More at www.jessikafleck.co
Enter to win a print copy of Beware the Night!!
Title: Right Girl Wrong Timing (Offsides #3)
Author: Natalie Decker
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Adaline Frost’s life officially sucks. Now that her BFF has found her true love, Addy is constantly stuck being the third wheel. On top of that, she hasn’t started her junior project yet, so her advisor pairs her up with what could only be described as the “Reject Breakfast Club.” Instead of the weirdo and the troublemaker, Addy is forced to work with two stoners, a popular girl, and her crush, Austin Reed, the jock who broke her heart.
Austin Reed is sick of being labeled “dumb jock.” If he doesn’t get an A on this project, he can kiss his future goodbye. Austin thought he’d gotten lucky being partners with the very nerdy Adaline Frost, but boy was he wrong. Addy jumps down his throat about his being late and calls him names like “manwhore” on the daily. She has no idea Austin works before and after school in order to help his mom with the bills. Yeah, he’s made mistakes and has had lots of girlfriends, but he doesn’t need Adaline Frost to remind him of it every time he sees her.
Can Austin and Addy ever be a thing?
Right Girl Wrong Timing is book 3 in the Offsides series by Natalie Decker.
Right Girl Wrong Timing Excerpt
©2019 Natalie Decker
It’s like my body is on GPS vibe, and I sense her before I see her. Adaline enters the commons, and Brock is talking about something, but I’m no longer listening to him. “Hey, Brock, scoot your ass down one,” I say.
He lifts his head and gawks around. “Grab another chair, and pull it up for her,” he says.
Slick move. I’ll take it. “You still gotta move down. I want her close, man, not really you in my lap.”
He laughs as he slides his chair down, making room for me to pull another chair for Adaline in its place. I steal one from the table next to me. I hope to hell she’s coming over here, otherwise I’ll feel stupid.
She reaches the table and mumbles. “Got a minute before everyone else arrives?”
I pat the empty chair next to me. “Sure.”
“I don’t think I should sit there.”
I frown. “Ads, please take the seat.”
She rolls her eyes. “All right. Only if you stop pouting.”
Brock barks out a laugh as she plops down next to me. I grip the edge of her chair and pull her close to me. Our legs touch, and her eyes widen. “That’s better. You were too far away, and you know how crappy my attention is.”
She looks as if she’s half tempted to slap me. I wouldn’t blame her. “You’re impossible. You know that?” Irritation laces her words. “I was thinking since we must work together, we should get one thing straight. This will not be a repeat of our history project.”
Wow. She’s really scorned. I mean, I got she was mad at me but damn. She knows how to kick a dude while he’s down. “How many times do I have to apologize to you?” I whisper.
“I’ll catch you later, man,” Brock says, and he leaves.
I wait until he’s gone before I clasp Adaline’s chin and direct her attention to me. Her eyes narrow. “Don’t. Can we forget about it and just move on?”
I lean toward Adaline. Her breath hitches slightly. I dip my mouth close to Adaline’s ear and whisper, “We’re not done discussing this. Far from it.”
About Natalie Decker
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
Enter to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!