June 30, 2014

Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane ~ Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Hey there and welcome to my stop on the Ex-Factor Blog Tour hosted by LRT Blog Tours. Click here to follow along with the tour. 

Title: Ex-Factor
Series: The Diamond Girls #1
Author: Elisa Dane
Publication date: April 14th 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance

Source: Review copy

Nevaeh Evan's life is uprooted after her father's death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn't working. Her friend's jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it. 

But Nev feels she doesn't deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. 

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he'll never play football again, and he's so far behind in credits he can't see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they're not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.



Ex-Factor is a novel I wanted to read for the emotional depth and impact I had a strong feeling it would have. This is a beautifully told story that will resonate with me long after the ending. I couldn't think of a better way to write about the topic of teenage drinking and driving - it wasn't preachy and didn't shove platitudes down my throat, and I appreciated that. I think the less preachy the writing, the more the consequences of the behavior will stick with you.  

Nev is a character I loved; she's witty and strong with a lot to offer the world. She doesn't feel sorry for herself even after everything she's been through. The problem is, she's so busy beating herself up over her father's death she isn't able to see her own potential. She's drowning in her grief, and I felt every moment of it. I identified with her and knew she was going to have a long way to go. You have to allow yourself to grieve to be able to come out on the other side.    

I was glad Nev and Bodie had each other to lean on once he stopped giving her the death stare. My only problem with him was the nickname he had for her - "Doll Face." I hoped he'd drop it once they became close. From the way Nev described him, I'd have fallen for him, too. I knew there was a lot more to him than what he showed on the outside.   

The competitive cheerleading aspect of the story only interested me as far as a way for Nev to deal with her grief and guilt in a healthy way. I didn't mind reading about it since I know nothing about what that world is like, and it served a purpose in the story. I loved Livvie and Erin, the new friend Nev made, so much. They were great for Nev and there for her, just as a cousin and a friend should be. 

I'm looking forward to the next book to get to know Livvie's story and see things from her perspective.    

My Rating:

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Blog Tour organized by:

Primordial Dust by Sarah Daltry ~ Blitz: Dream Cast & Giveaway

Welcome to the Blitz for Primordial Dust by Sarah Daltry! Below you'll find teasers, Sarah's dream cast, and a giveaway. I'm stoked to check this book out - I love YA Fantasy! 

Title: Primordial Dust
Author: Sarah Daltry
Publication date: June 29th 2014 
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Fantasy (Romance/YA)

A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace. Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

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Smashwords | Kobo | Apple | All Romance    




A princess of a kingdom lost in time and wrapped in secrets. Snarky and difficult, because life has always been easy, she is unprepared to be the leader she needs to be when her city falls.


A trained assassin tasked with keeping his own city, and all the cities of the kingdom, safe. Betrothed to Alondra for diplomatic reasons. Much kinder than his profession reveals.

A young girl trained to be an assassin, sent to kill the son of the king. Her hopes rest on succeeding in her quest, because if she fails, there is no alternative but death.  


The mysterious man who captures Alondra’s heart on a night before the world fell apart. His eyes whispered secrets, but they may be secrets that led to the ruin of everything she held dear. 

Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She's written works in various genres - romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn't as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she's been known to shake it up. 

Most of her stories are about relationships - romantic, familial, friendly - because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn't matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future - human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah's stories. 

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun. 

When Sarah isn't writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking the internet for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window. 

She has written several books, most notably Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy in the Eden’s Fall series, Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story, and the six book New Adult Flowering series, including Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Orange Blossom, and Ambrosia.


Win a signed paperback of the novel or a $25 gift card to Apple, Amazon, or B&N! 


The Trouble with Flying by Rachel Morgan ~ Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Trouble With Flying - PROMO Blitz
By Rachel Morgan
Young Adult/New Adult
Date Published: June 24, 2014

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When introvert Sarah boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, the last thing she expects is Aiden, the guy sitting next to her who’s never flown anywhere before and refuses to shut up. Hours of random conversation later, they part ways. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Aiden, though, and wondering if she made a terrible mistake letting him go. Should she abandon her safe, predictable life and go in search of him, or would she be chasing a happily ever after that could never exist in real life?



I don’t make friends on aeroplanes. I know there are people who like to strike up a conversation with the complete stranger sitting next to them, but that’s not me. It’s not that I’m an unfriendly person. It’s more the fact that the conversation centre of my brain seems to seize up in the presence of strangers, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to say. And even if the other person is happy to simply babble on while I pretend to listen and be interested, I’d really rather be doing something else. Like reading. Or watching a movie. Or sleeping. Or trying to figure out how to stop crying.

Yes. Crying. Because if being shy and awkward isn’t enough, today I’m adding red eyes, tears, and suppressed sobs to the embarrassing mix.

I stare out the tiny, oval window at the patches of reflected light on the wet runway and silently ask God to leave the seat next to me empty. I can’t deal with a chatty neighbour right now. I’d rather watch the black sky and incessant rain until we reach cruising altitude. Then I’ll close my eyes and let sleep take the pain away.

Oh, STOP IT. It’s not like someone died.

I wiggle around a bit in my seat and sniff, trying to listen to my inner pep-talk voice. Think of the good things, I tell myself. I’m on my way home. I’m leaving behind the dreary, wet weather for a sunny, summer climate. That, at least, should make me happy. But thinking about home leads to thoughts ofwho I’m flying towards, and that only makes my stomach twist further.

I hear the sound of a bag being dumped onto the seat at the end of my row. There are only three seats between the window and the aisle—mine and two others—so there’s a fifty-fifty chance this person is about to plonk him or herself down right next to me.

I angle myself more towards the window and swipe my fingers beneath my eyes. I start the furious tear-banishing blinking. Stop crying, stop crying, stop crying. All I need now is for someone to see my blotchy, wet face and start asking me what’s wrong.

I hear someone settling into a seat. I don’t feel movement right beside me, so it must be the aisle seat. Fantastic. I send up a quick thank-you prayer and remind God that it would be spectacularly awesome if He could keep the seat next to me empty.

A tickle inside my left nostril alerts me to the fact that my nose is dribbling. I sniff, but it doesn’t help.Crap, where are my tissues? I lean forward and reach down by my feet for my handbag. Brown strands of hair fall in front of my face and block my vision, but if I can just get the zip open and feel past my purse to the tissues—

No. Too late. Now it’s trickling down my lip and I’m digging around in the bag and I can’t feel the stupid tissues and a drop of tear-snot just landed on my hand and yuck! I haul the ridiculous handbag—I told Jules I didn’t need something so big—onto my lap with one hand while holding the back of my other hand to my nose. And there the tissues are. Right next to my purse. Perfectly easy to find. I rip one from the packet and jam it against my nose to stop the tear-snot flood.

And that’s when I catch a glimpse of the guy sitting in the aisle seat. A quick sideways glimpse, but enough to tell me he’s cute. Excellent cheekbones, a strong jawline, and perfectly messy dark brown hair. Terrific. My nose is dripping snot in front of a cute guy. Not that I should care that he’s cute, or that he’s a guy, because it’s not like I’m going to talk to him, and it’s not like I’m even available—am I? I don’t actually know. And thinking about that makes me want to cry all over again—but STILL. I don’t want to look blotchy and snotty in front of a cute guy.

About the Author

Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn't for her--after all, they didn't approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults.

Author Links

Buy Link


A $20 Amazon gift card for one winner

E-copy of THE TROUBLE WITH FLYING for two winners

Blitz organized by:
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June 29, 2014

Blog Tour ~ Hive & Heist by Janine A. Southard - Review of Book #2 & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Hive & Heist Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Click here to follow along with the tour. 

Title: Hive & Heist
Series: Hive Queen Saga #2
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication date: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Source: Review copy

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Queen Rhiannon and her Hive have found safety on John Wayne Station, but with no way to pay their docking fees or Victor's medical bills, their debts are racking up quickly. Thankfully, Gavin gets a job with American Space Ranger M3L-15-A, who's hot on the trail of dangerous criminals.

The teens move in with their Ranger benefactor, but when they revisit their ship to pick up personal belongings, they realize their Alcubierre tensor jet has been stolen!

If Rhiannon and her Hivemates ever hope to leave, they must find and steal back what's theirs. But far from home and among strangers, who can they trust? Will they be stuck on John Wayne for the rest of their lives? 

Hive & Heist begins introducing a new character, Melissa, a sentient robot and an American Star Ranger (formerly known as the Texas Rangers). I didn't connect with her right away - she's all business and no nonsense, but she ended up growing on me. 

I loved that the station Rhiannon and the Hive are at is called the John Wayne Station, and with the mention of the Texas Rangers, I felt like this was a wink at American history and pop culture.  A wink I truly appreciated. 

Rhiannon's Hive is still experiencing problems with acting as a cohesive group. The members still aren't coming together as she had hoped they would. I admire her determination to be the best Queen she can be and the leader they need, but that's also a lot of responsibility and pressure on her shoulders. She handles it much better than I could, and she's still my favorite character. 

Victor is beginning to find his place within the Hive. In the first book he struggled with feeling in the way and of no help to anyone. After the events at the end of book one, he feels he's found his strength and where he can feel like he has a purpose. I can relate - if you don't feel like you're needed, it can depress you. 

When I started reading about Victor and Lois, I became confused but soon remembered Gwyn's name is actually Lois. Rhiannon came up with the name Gwyn as a nickname that even Gwyn's own parents loved. I'd like to get to know Gwyn better beyond her close friendship with Rhiannon and relationship with Victor. It was just a bit disconcerting to read about "Lois" when I was used to the name "Gwyn."  

Parts of the story dragged a bit for me, especially in the beginning, but the story soon picks up quite a bit and became action packed. I really love these characters, even if at times I don't think they're making good decisions or they're being abrasive with the other members of the group. I love spending time with them and really didn't want this book to end.   

My Rating:

~ Book One ~

Title: Queen & Commander
Series: Hive Queen Saga #1
Author: Janine A. Southard
Publication date: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Source: Review copy

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Please click here for my review. 

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She's attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE. ("Oxford educated, but Californian at heart.") She's also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband (and a cat) and sings with a Celtic band.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter   

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