The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy ~ Blog Tour: #bookreview #giveaway

July 1, 2017 


 

Welcome to my stop on The Disappearances Blog Tour organized by the Fantastic Flying Book Club! I have a book review and giveaway for you today. Click here to follow along with the other stops. 



Title: The Disappearances
Author: Emily Bain Murphy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Source: Copy for review 

My Rating:  

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Kobo 






Synopsis


What if the ordinary things in life suddenly...disappeared?

Aila Quinn's mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila's reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up. 

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.


As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.   



The Disappearances is a dreamy, ethereal story in which a young girl and her brother discover their mother's secrets after her death. The idea of losing ordinary things, things that all of us usually take for granted such as the ability to see your reflection in a mirror, had me intrigued. Once I began reading, there was a huge surprise waiting for me straight away that isn't revealed in the synopsis so I won't reveal it here, either. Let's just say it was really cool!    

Murphy writes beautifully, allowing the reader to slip into the story as easily as a swimmer glides through the water of a pool. Aila and her younger brother Miles were written well. It isn't easy to write characters who are grieving, especially young ones, but I felt their emotions like they were my own. I lost my mother to cancer when I was young and tend to gravitate toward books with characters who have also lost a parent. Stories like this allow me to grieve in my own way when no one else wants to see or hear me do it.

While grief is one of the themes in The Disappearances, it is only a part of the story. I was eager to find out what was causing something new to disappear every seven years. I couldn't imagine losing my sense of smell or the ability to dream even though I know I take them for granted. I loved the mystery that kept me turning the pages and trying to figure out where the clues would lead me.  

One of the many beautiful aspects of this novel is how life affirming it is to me. When I wasn't reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about how much beauty there is in the most ordinary of things. I don't even stop to be grateful for these things, or if I do it's a rare occasion. 

I guarantee Aila's story in The Disappearances will make you stop and think about how lucky we are to be human and have the ability to experience all that we can. This book has done that for me, and it can for you, too. 


About the Author





Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home. 

She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. 

Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel. 


Connect with the Author 








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The Many by Nathan Field ~ #bookreview @NetGalley

~Jennifer~ | 7:55 PM | | 2 Comments

June 18, 2017



Title: The Many
Author: Nathan Field
Publication date: July 12, 2016
Publisher: Silvermac Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My Rating:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32943866-the-many?ac=1&from_search=true


http://booklikes.com/the-many-nathan-field/book,13703462

Synopsis


"A thoroughly unnerving experience...The final line of dialogue will surely give readers jitters." – Kirkus Reviews

Karl notices something odd about his sister the morning after a blind date. A coldness in her manner; nothing anyone else would notice. Suspicious, he confronts her about the date but she turns nasty, accusing him of taking a perverse interest in her sex life.

When he next sees her, months later, she seems back to normal, until a harmless comment provokes a sudden, violent response. As her mental state fluctuates, Karl seeks out the man she dated just before her personality began to change, convinced she is suppressing a painful memory from that night. But what he discovers is something far more sinister, and pervasive, than he'd ever imagined.

Strictly for adult readers, THE MANY is the first book of a series that explores the dark side of the world we live in, and sheds light on a shadowy evil that is both disturbing and eerily familiar.

Look out for Nathan Field's new novel,
THE MANY: ENCORE, coming soon.




The Many's beginning was pretty good and hooked me right away. I loved the way it started out all high tension-y with a first date that I just knew was going to go crazy badly. The problem with this story was that the middle was difficult to get through, but I didn't skim it in case I missed something important. Luckily, the last third of the book picked up momentum again.

The Many begins with Stacey, who's out on a first date with a doctor. At first he seems like the man of her dreams, but soon his knowledge of details of her life that she never told him creep her out and cause her to want the date to end early. The next day, Stacey's brother, Karl, notices she isn't acting like herself.

We are then introduced to Isobel and her daughter, Dawn. Isobel also goes on a date with someone who seems to be out of her league, this time a woman. Like Stacey, Dawn notices her mother comes back from the date not quite right. The similarities between Stacey and Isobel's dates are creepy, and both Karl and Dawn know instinctively that something is very wrong. They end up joining forces to investigate what's going on.

I was glued to my Kindle! Field knows how to keep his audience in suspense from the beginning and at the end, but the plot in the middle drags on and could have been fleshed out better. I kept reading, however, because I HAD to find out what was going to happen next. I didn't want to miss something important.  

What terrified me the most about The Many was how the characters changed overnight, yet only their closest loved ones could tell the difference in them. Also, no one else really took Dawn and Karl's concerns seriously.

What I loved most is that vital questions about human behavior are explored. Without giving any of the plot away, I will just say it'll have you thinking about the factors that go into how we as a society decide which human behaviors are acceptable or not acceptable. And who has the right to decide which is which?

I'm SO excited a sequel is coming out. While this book has an ending without a cliffhanger, there is definitely room for more story to be told, and I'll be there for sure.


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Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine ~ Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

June 9, 2017



Welcome to my stop on the Secrets of Skin and Stone Blog Tour hosted by YaReads Blog Tours!





Title: Secrets of Skin and Stone
Author: Wendy Laine
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published: June 5th, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley  
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34388622-secrets-of-skin-and-stone


Synopsis


Something is wrong in Hidden Creek. The sleepy Alabama town is more haunted than any place fiend hunter Grisham Caso has ever seen. Unearthed graves, curse bags, and spilled blood all point to an evil that could destroy his gargoyle birthright. The town isn’t safe for anyone, and everyone says fiery Piper Devon knows why.

Piper wants to leave Hidden Creek behind. She’s had enough of secrets—they hide in the shadows of her room and tell her terrible things are coming. Too-charming city boy Grisham might be her only chance to save herself.

To survive, Piper and Grisham have to shed their secrets and depend only on each other. But what lurks in Hidden Creek still might take everything away from them, including each other.


There aren't nearly enough gargoyle stories in the YA world, so when I heard about Secrets of Skin and Stone, I knew I had to read it and am so glad I did. Grisham (Gris) and Piper are now two of my favorite characters for this year, and the storytelling was fab.    

Told from the alternating POVs of Gris and Piper, Secrets of Skin and Stone is about Gris, who's a Watcher by birthright and transforms into a gargoyle to fight off monsters called fiends. Gris is called by family members to investigate the little town of Hidden Creek, where he meets more fiends than he ever has before as well as a firecracker of a girl named Piper.

I can't tell you how much I love Piper because she's a real character with real flaws. She's her own person, strong and resilient, and I really enjoyed her fiery personality. Piper engages in self-harm with cutting and has a form of OCD that isn't as easily recognizable due to the symptoms. I identified with her so easily because I used to be a cutter, just not with OCD.

For any readers out there who could be triggered by this type of self-harm, there is a warning from the author at the beginning of the book. The cutting scenes are pretty detailed. There's a lot of misinformation out there about cutting, and I felt the author did a great job with portraying it in a realistic and sensitive manner. Hopefully, this will open up discussion about a problem that's difficult and uncomfortable to talk about but which needs to be brought out into the open.

Gris and Piper each have a lot of secrets they feel they can't tell the other, but the thing is, they can only work together on the problems in Hidden Creek if they shed their inhibitions and trust one another. I liked that Piper didn't immediately fall for Gris's charm, although I'm not convinced that Gris was trying to be charming anyway. Watching the two of them grapple with trusting each other was realistic and interesting. 

While the ending was neat and tidy, (actually a little too tidy, hence four stars instead of five), I'd love another trip back to Gris and Piper where they could once again investigate fiends together.



My Rating:



 

About the Author



Wendy Laine is the penname of author Wendy Sparrow. Writing is in Wendy’s blood as are equal parts of Mountain Dew and chocolate. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ over and over.

She lives in Washington State with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.


Giveaway


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A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase ~ Release Day Blitz!


 

The Shaughnessys are back! Samantha Chase's A SKY FULL OF STARS is here and we couldn't be more excited about it - be sure to grab your copy!

 
 
 
A SKY FULL OF STARS
By Samantha Chase
Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers #5
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK
The stars are about to align in the newest Shaughnessy brothers romance!

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
Brilliant astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy feels more connected to the cosmos than to people. He’s great with calculations, but when he leads a team of scientists to study a famous meteor shower, he doesn’t factor in his free-spirited artist assistant Brooke Matthews.

LOVE CAN DAZZLE YOU
Polar opposites in personality, the friction between them threatens to derail the project. But the beauty and mystery of the night sky draw Owen and Brooke together—and she’s going to surprise him in ways the stars never could.    

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

AMAZON / iBOOKS / B&N / BOOKS-A-MILLION / INDIEBOUND

 
   

 

EXCERPT

 
“You talk a lot,” he stated very matter-of-factly.

And that had her laughing again. She liked his bluntness. “I know. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. I tend to chatter more when I’m nervous. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it. The words just keep coming and I’ll end up flowing from one topic to another with no end in sight.”

“You mean like now?”

Brooke immediately stopped talking and considered him. “Oh. I guess I was kind of yammering on there.”

Why are you nervous?”

Was he kidding? She shrugged and twisted the shoulder strap of her purse. “You make me that way.”

Owen’s eyes went wide. “Me?” he asked incredulously. “I make you nervous?”

She nodded. “You’re a little intimidating.”

“Me?” his voice came out almost as a squeak.

Brooke nodded again. “You are a highly respected man, Owen. I’m sure you’re used to sitting around and talking with people who are more on your level. I’m afraid of saying something ridiculous and putting my foot in my mouth.”

“Brooke, I…I don’t even know how to respond to that. I’m intimidated by you.”

She already knew that just by how her uncle had prepared her, but she was curious about how he saw himself. “Why?”

“I may be respected here on campus or in my field of study, but…that’s it. Outside of the lab and away from the telescope, I’m fairly invisible.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

He gave a mirthless laugh. “Trust me. As you learned the other day, my brother is one of the most popular rock stars in the world. Do you think anyone sees me when he’s around?”

In that instant, she did just want to reach out and hug him.

“I have five siblings including Riley—four brothers and one sister,” he said, not meeting her gaze. “They all have impressive jobs and wonderful lives. All of my brothers are married and have kids. Well, Riley and Savannah just found out they’re pregnant so…” He stopped abruptly and this time he looked directly at her. “Forget you heard that,” he said quickly. “No one is supposed to know! Dang it.”

And that was totally adorable—he didn’t even curse.

Unable to help herself, Brooke reached out and placed a hand on his arm. They both seemed a little shocked by the contact. He was…muscular. Much more so than she would have imagined. Forcing herself to not focus on that, she gave him a reassuring smile. “You don’t have to worry. Their secret is safe with me.”

Owen nodded and gave her a small smile. “Thank you.”

She felt like they were having a moment.

And she didn’t really want it to end.

Patience…

“Okay,” she finally said, taking a step back. “Tell me what I can get you from Starbucks and I’ll meet you in your office in an hour.”






Don't miss the other books in the Shaughnessy Brothers series!

 

 

BOOK 1 - MADE FOR US

 
CAN'T MAKE TIME FOR LOVE?
The Shaughnessy brothers have spent the years since their mother's untimely death taking care of each other and trying to make their father proud. Oldest son Aidan is hard-working, handsome, successful-and still single. Sure, he'd like to have his own family someday, but who has the time?
 
SHE'LL SHOW HIM HOW TO FIND IT
Zoe Dalton, a stunning designer Aidan meets on one of his construction jobs, has the beauty and heart to make Aidan realize how much he could be missing. But it's not easy to break down walls you've spent years building up. Now there's a major storm bearing down on the North Carolina coast, and it could be catalyst enough to force Aidan and Zoe into some major decisions of the heart.
 
 

 

BOOK 2 - LOVE WALKS IN

 

HE LIVES BY A SCHEDULE
Aubrey Burke is on the run from an about-to-be-disastrous mistake when resort owner Hugh Shaughnessy catches her climbing through his office window. Until Aubrey tumbled into his life, Hugh had relied on work and discipline to safeguard a heart damaged by family tragedy. Now his careful world will never be the same.
 
SHE LIVES FOR THE MOMENT
Hugh's approach to life and love is the opposite of Aubrey's, but she soon finds herself falling hard for the handsome hotel mogul. There's a darker reason behind her ""live for today"" attitude than Hugh could possibly know, but for the first time Aubrey dares to hope this man's love might make it worth taking a chance on the future.
 
AMAZON / iBOOKS / B&N  
 
 
 

BOOK 3 - ALWAYS MY GIRL


Falling in love with your best friend? Easy.

Telling them how you really feel? Impossible.

Quinn Shaughnessy believes there's a lot more to life than romance, and he always thought his best friend Anna agreed. But now she's coming out of her shell and dating...and Quinn starts seeing her in a very different light.

Anna can tell Quinn anything, except the big secret she's been hiding for years-that she's fallen in love with him. Now Anna is determined to make a life for herself that doesn't include hopeless pining. But just as she's ready to move on, Quinn seems determined not to let go-and the way he's looking at her might be enough to finally change them from best friends to best everything.

 
 
 

 

BOOK 4 - THIS IS OUR SONG

 
Entertainment reporter Savannah Daly is completely unfazed by pretty-boy rock stars. She's just here to get her interview and write her story. When she's assigned to write a tell-all about Riley Shaughnessy, she expects to be put off by a shallow rock star lifestyle. Instead, Riley brings her home to the shores of the Carolinas where she's immediately embraced by his sprawling, rambunctious family. She expected spotlights and cameras; she gets a welcoming, loving family and a side of Riley she never could have guessed.
 
       

 

BOOK 6 - HOLIDAY SPICE

(COMING OCTOBER 2017)

 
Darcy Shaughnessy needs a break. Tired of her nonexistent dating life and poor job prospects, she decides to spend the holidays with her brother and his wife in sunny L.A. Nothing could be more relaxing—but of course, nothing goes as planned. In a cruel twist of fate, the lively Darcy finds herself snowed in up in Washington state with a brooding—and deliciously handsome—artist.
 
AMAZON / iBOOKS / B&N                

 

About the author

Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
 

CONNECT WITH SAMANTHA CHASE!

WEBSITE / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM 

Brought to you by

Inkslinger PR

 
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Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. Demeter ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 12:43 PM | 2 Comments

May 1, 2017


Title: Beauty of the Beast
Series: Fairy Tale Retellings #1
Author: Rachel L. Demeter
Publication date: March 15, 2017
Source: Copy for review from author

My Rating:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34098873-beauty-of-the-beast?ac=1&from_search=true

http://booklikes.com/beauty-of-the-beast-rachel-l-demeter/book,13816826


Synopsis


Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.


A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of
Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *
Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

* * *
Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18. Beauty of the Beast is a slow-burn romance that features a descriptive, richly detailed, and atmospheric writing style.






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Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens ~ #BookReview #netgalley

~Jennifer~ | 6:31 PM | | Please comment!

April 12, 2017




Title: Never Let You Go
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


My Rating:




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31840317-never-let-you-go


http://booklikes.com/never-let-you-go-chevy-stevens/book,13742228



Synopsis



Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.




Never Let You Go is the first book I've read by Chevy Stevens, and won't be my last. I've noticed the covers of her novels over the years and have always been captivated by them, making me wonder what stories lie within. She is an excellent writer, ramping up the tension at the right moments and causing you to question what you think you know about the characters. I loved it.

Never Let You Go is a gripping thriller that delivers a punch to the gut. Told from Lindsey and Sophie's (Lindsey's daughter) POVs as well as alternating between the past and present, I wasn't sure at first how all of that was going to work. However, I thought including scenes from the past was genius because they illustrated just how much danger Lindsey and Sophie were in with Lindsey's ex-husband (and Sophie's father), Andrew.

Andrew operates in an insidious way, and his subtle threats wouldn't have had the same impact if Lindsey had simply described her past. The reader needed to see and experience the various methods Andrew used to make sure Lindsey was under his control and miserable. During those scenes, Lindsey's suffocation from her controlling husband was palpable - I experienced those feelings right along with her.

I couldn't imagine having a father like Andrew, so when he gets out of prison, it's understandable for Sophie to desperately look for anything redeeming about her father despite everything her mother has told her about him. Still, I wanted her to stop making what I considered to be dumb decisions that could put her and her mom in danger.

I also thought it clever for the author to include other characters that had the potential to be a threat to Lindsey and Sophie. My only issue was that there might have been too many, and I started figuring out what was going on before I wanted to. I wanted to be kept guessing right up until the very end. I still highly recommend Never Let You Go for those like me who are constantly seeking new thrillers to sink their teeth into.

Trigger Warning: There's a scene where a puppy is harmed but not injured or killed.

Tweet: Newest thriller by Chevy Stevens is perfect for fans of 'The Girl on the Train' and 'Gone Girl.' https://ctt.ec/5I1r6+
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