July 31, 2014

Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajac ~ Blog Tour: Review

Welcome to my stop on the Please, Pretty Lights Blog Tour hosted by Girls Heart Book Tours. Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.

Title: Please, Pretty Lights
Author: Ina Zajac
Publication date: July 16th 2014
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Source: Review copy

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

It's September when Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Mattias and Nick - best friends, bandmates, and bouncers - can see she's not like the other girls and do their best to shield her from their shady, sadistic, cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don't realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape. 

She is actually the adult version of Violetta Rabbotino, the tragic little girl who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love had captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via is attempting to recast herself as a party girl by stage diving into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. At first the rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction. She gets high on true love, but the rush terrifies her. As Christmas looms closer, she can no longer deny her demented past. But how will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?

Warning: Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual content, and drug use.    

What initially drew me to Please, Pretty Lights was the music scene. I love most of the bands from the 90's mentioned in this story - they make up the soundtrack of my high school years, getting me through the teenage angst and making me feel as though I was invincible. Against the backdrop of the Seattle music scene, Via's story came to life. 

In the beginning of Please, Pretty Lights, when Via meets with her uncle, I couldn't help thinking how lifeless this character seemed as though someone had sucked all the joy from her life. Just in this short scene, I learned much about her. I knew she was an interesting character with a lot going on internally and was protecting herself from outward scrutiny of the trauma she suffered early in life. She was going through the motions without really and truly living. But most of all she was on the precipice of self-destruction, hanging by a thread. 

I could identify with Via's yearning to escape her past and find a new way to live that might make her feel alive and happy. Her internal debate with what she wanted to do versus what she thought she should do was so realistic it was almost painful. Although I definitely didn't agree with some of the choices she made, especially those that put her in danger (I was scared for her at times), I didn't want her to remain imprisoned by her childhood trauma either. The choices she ended up making landed her in a downward spiral of self-destruction - easy to fall into but so hard to leave.       

I definitely don't mean to romanticize this story. It's dark and gritty with a glimpse into the world of drugs and stripping. Reading Via's story was at times downright heartbreaking, but I couldn't look away. I didn't even think about looking away. She was already closer to spiraling out of control than I think even she knew. That thread she had been hanging from didn't take much to snap.   

Please, Pretty Lights is about much more than sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. It's a story about reinventing yourself. It's about running from your past even knowing it'll eventually catch up with you. It's about living life freely without being chained down by the expectations of others. And most of all, it's about a broken young woman named Via who's only trying to find her way in this world. In the end I think you can agree with me that's what we're all trying to do, and there's a little bit of each of us in these characters and this story.    

My Rating:

Ina Zajac is an award-winning journalist, avid people watcher, and lover of quirk and contrast. Her writing is heavily influenced by her fascination with music, art, and her hometown of Seattle. 

Blog Tour organized by:

Breaker by Emma Raveling ~ Cover Reveal & Interview

CoverReveal_July31 (1)

Welcome to the cover reveal for Breaker by Emma Raveling, the fourth book in the Ondine Quartet, an upper Young Adult Urban Fantasy series. 


War. Prophecy. Freedom.

She fought for herself. She fought for friendship and love. Now, Kendra Irisavie fights for the survival of her world.

War rages on, leaving no one untouched. Destruction rips through elemental communities and terror flourishes in its wake. Suspicion soars, order fractures, and loyalties crumble despite Kendra’s desperate attempts to protect everyone she holds dear.

When an organized Aquidae army launches a series of merciless assaults, Kendra and her friends set out to end the bloodshed once and for all. With the fate of elementals hanging in balance, the Shadow and sondaleur hunt each other down in a brutal match of cunning and will.

Kendra has trained for this her entire life. But in a ravaged world where trust is scarce and no life is sacred, she soon realizes her battle may be against an invincible enemy and that her darkest days lie ahead.

Twists and turns shape her harrowing odyssey, leading to a stunning climax that challenges everything she believes in.

Torn between destiny and autonomy, Kendra must finally decide whether the cost of freedom is too high.

Heartbreaking decisions, turbulent alliances, and shattering revelations collide in Breaker, the
explosive conclusion to the Ondine Quartet.

~ Interview ~

Tell us about the covers in this series.

The main novels of the Ondine Quartet (Whirl, Billow,Crest, Breaker) have conceptual covers. Each cover’s imagery captures a particular theme or motif in the book, and the coloring conveys a sense of the story’s mood and emotional arc.

The shorter works/novellas in the series (Ondine,Chevalier, and Warrior Prince) are essentially character portraits and are told through the eyes of different characters in the series. Those covers use models.

The goal for Breaker’s cover was to visually convey high stakes, explosive energy, and a brilliant, sharp intensity.This is the epic finale to the series and everything that has happened in previous books has led to this moment.

Out of all the covers in the series, this one took the most amount of work. My designer and I went back and forth multiple times, going through several drastically different versions before finally arriving at the right imagery and coloring. 

How does it feel to end a series?

It’s bittersweet. A part of me is thrilled to share the end of Kendra’s journey with readers. I’ve had the entire series planned since the very beginning so finally releasing what’s been in my head is a relief.

But the process of writing this final book has been a highly emotional one. There’s a personal attachment to the work itself. I’ve spent countless hours thinking and living with these characters and with this world over the past four years. It’s difficult to bring not only Kendra’s story, but my journey with her story,to an end.

A few easy questions:

Top 3 books?
Only 3?? Argh! There are so many books I love for different reasons and my list of favorites is always changing, depending on what’s going on in my life. Right now, if I had to name three, they’d be:

1. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. And of course, the Harry Potter series

Top 5 movies?
1. Aviator
2. Mulholland Drive
3. The Matrix
4. The Breakfast Club
5. Okay, I couldn’t just pick five. So the last one is a tie between The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Star Wars (ep. 4-6), and Catch Me If You Can.

Top 5 places in the world you enjoy visiting?
1. New York City
2. Tokyo
3. Paris
4. Kauai Island (Hawaii)
5. Berlin

Top 5 foods?
1. Fresh basil pesto – I’ll add this on anything
2. Sashimi (Japanese-style raw fish)
3. Dark chocolate
4. Jamón ibérico(Spanish ham)
5. And my terrible guilty pleasure: pizza

Emma Raveling writes a wide variety of fiction for teens and adults. Hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, she is the author of the Ondine Quartet and Chancer young adult series, and is currently working on the first book in her new Steel Magic series for adults.


Previous Novels:


Previous Novellas:

This event was organized by:


July 29, 2014

Regret Me Not by Danielle Sibarium ~ Blog Tour: Review & Teasers

Welcome to my stop on the Regret Me Not Blog Tour hosted by Gabby @ What's Beyond Forks?. Click here to follow along with the tour schedule.

Title: Regret Me Not
Author: Danielle Sibarium
Publication date: June 17th 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance/A Touch Inspirational
Source: Review copy   

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

For Mackenzie Green life is full of regrets; regrets from choices she made in the past, regrets for the things she'll never see in her future. She regrets letting her grades slip while her sister was in rehab, ensuring she'll never break away from the rumor-run, small town she lives in. She regrets breaking up with her future All American football playing boyfriend, Brayden Turner out of fear of getting hurt. Most of all she regrets every decision she made leading up to the night that changed her life forever. 

It's only after Brayden cuts her off completely that Mackenzie realizes how much she wants him in her life. She learns that losing what you love breaks you, but sometimes it's the only way to tap into your inner strength. 

Can Mackenzie find the courage to learn from her mistakes and move forward or will she spend her days consumed with regrets? Is it too late to convince Brayden she wants him in her life and that she's in it for the long haul? Most of all, can she accept that sometimes bad things happen no matter how hard you try to protect yourself from them? Can she put it all behind her or will she live an unfulfilled life full of regrets?     

Regret Me Not took me by surprise with its emotional depth. I shared Kenzie's laughter right along with her tears. The story was beautiful and moving with a full range of emotions. I wasn't expecting to be taken on this journey but am so glad I was.   

From the start I could tell Brayden was a genuinely good guy and cringed at the various ways Kenzie came up with to push him away. I wanted her to trust him almost as badly as he wanted her to do so. There aren't too many guys like Brayden out there, as Kenzie's sister found out the hard way, which made it even more difficult to stand by and watch this push and pull go on between them.  

I didn't like Brayden's parents at all. To be fair, from their perspective it looks like all Kenzie does is cause their son pain. While I wasn't too fond of Kenzie's parents, I eventually grew to understand why they made the mistakes they did and began to warm up to them. They did a grave injustice to Kenzie by basically ignoring her through all of her older sister's problems. I'd be as hurt and angry as Kenzie if I had parents who treated me like I was nonexistent. 

There were moments when my heart felt like it was beating right out of my chest - moments where I didn't know what was going to happen between Brayden and Kenzie and all I could do was hope for the best. I quickly became invested in this couple. While I didn't agree with some of the things Kenzie did, I can understand why she did them. They were easy characters to like and root for, flaws and all. 

While Regret Me Not surprised me overall, the ending surprised me almost even more so. I didn't see it coming at all and thought it was realistic - I like endings that aren't tied up neatly with a bow. If you're looking for a novel that's easy to get into and a story full of emotional depth, I recommend this book.    

My Rating:


Danielle Sibarium, YA and NA author, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her childhood she transported herself into a fantasy world full of magic and wonder. Books were the gateway between her play world and reality. On any given summer afternoon she became Snow White sweeping and cooking for the dwarfs or Cinderella waiting for the prince. 

In 2004, Danielle won Honorable Mention in the Southern Heat contest. In 2007, she collaborated with Charlotte Doreen Small to write songs for her CD More. Danielle wrote the lyrics for "Take My Hand" and "Goodbye", while Charlotte contributed the melody.

Danielle graduated from Farleigh Dickinson University with honors and currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and three children.

In October 2011, Danielle's debut novel For Always was released. She has since released The Heart Waves Trilogy, Heart Waves, Breaking Waves, and Waves of Love, as well as To My Hero: A Blog of  Our Journey Together, Into You, and Regret Me Not.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads    

July 28, 2014

Strange and Ever After (#3) by Susan Dennard ~ Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway!

IFB is hosting the promo tour for the third and final book in Susan Dennard's steampunk, zombie trilogy. Continue below for a sample and a cool giveaway.

17902141Series: Something Strange & Deadly #3
Release date: July 22nd 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.


Click here for the series recap at Epic Reads. *Caution: Spoilers if you haven't read the first two books!!*

Click here to read the first 66 pages of Strange and Ever After!


Susan Dennard
About the Author
Susan Dennard is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Strange and Ever After is the conclusion to her trilogy, which includes A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Something Strange and Deadly. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

The Complete Series

a-dawn-most-wicked-a-something-strange-and-deadly-novella something-strange-and-deadly a-darkness-strange-and-lovely strange-and-ever-after