Along with You
Publication date: April 6th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
A wonderfully raw new novel by author Michelle Areaux that takes you on an emotional journey as you laugh, cry, and fall in love with the difficult side of being a teenager.
“People leave. People lie. People let go. That is how my world works.”
Sixteen-year-old Blair has never had consistency in her life.
After a traumatic event that Blair’s parents wanted to remain a secret, they began moving her around the country in hopes of starting a fresh, new life.
Only, Blair never stays anywhere long enough to start that new life she keeps expecting. Choosing to rebel instead of conforming to her parents wishes, Blair opts for neon colored hair and a sassy streak that pushes people away before they can hurt her first.
Hunter is your typical southern, small town boy. He’s a good guy with a great heart and a passion for helping others.
When Blair and Hunter meet, sparks begin to fly- but not the way either expected.
As Blair struggles to keep her dark secret hidden, Hunter tries at all costs to win over Blair’s heart and her trust.
Complete opposites come together in this novel that challenges the rules of society and who we are allowed to fall in love with. Sometimes, it takes the wrong person to join along for the ride of your life.
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Michelle Areaux is a wife, mother, educator, and young adult author. Her love for coffee helps drive her to create magical, fantasy stories.
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To Kill a Kingdom
by Alexandra Christo
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Mermaids
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Lira, a famous siren, must prove herself by stealing the heart of the man, a prince, threatening their race in this dark and action-packed debut.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most--a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen and or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby--it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good--But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
Alexandra Christo's debut is a dark and richly imagined take on The Little Mermaid that will leave readers breathless.
To Kill A Kingdom Review
To Kill a Kingdom is a YA fantasy novel by author Alexandra Christo. The story follows Lira- a seventeen-year old siren who is infamously known as the Prince’s bane due to her morbid task of ripping the hearts out of prince’s every time she ages a year- and Prince Elian, a young man who have notoriously earned a reputation as a siren killer. Lira makes a grievous mistake in the beginning of the story which forces her malevolent mother, the sea queen, to issue an ultimatum- either retrieve the heart of Prince Elian while in the form of a human, or risk being a human forever. Prince Elian, learning about the death of a dear friend to the nefarious Prince’s Bane, sets out on a quest to not only find her, but find a jewel that is thought capable of ending the lives of ALL sirens.
A twist of fate throws both Prince Elian and Lira into each other’s paths. What results is an epic adventure filled with devious pirates, daring sword fights, treacherous travels through snowy mountains, and a generous dose of love and friendship.
*Review below may contain some spoilers*
The story starts out with Lira ripping the heart from the chest cavity of a young prince while his mother screams in terror. After reading this, I thought, “Well. Not sure how I feel about this siren.” A part of me was reluctant to move on, not sure how comfortable I was with the actions of Lira. However, I decided to push through it, hoping that I would have a better understanding of her actions. Thankfully, this happened early on. Lira’s childhood was a tragic tale of a twisted, evil mother who was basically emotionally abusive. Lira had been forced to do an unspeakable thing as a young girl that resulted in the hardening of her own heart and the staunching of any emotions that can be construed as “good”. While this understanding does nothing to negate the horror of her actions towards princes, it does provide a nice scandalous premise for the story.
Prince Elian escapes his duty as a prince destined to rule by recruiting a loyal crew of pirates and sailing the seas in search of sirens to kill. In Elian’s mind, all sirens are evil and must be vanquished. He does not understand their actions, their culture, or their language, yet seeks to end them all anyway…even chasing the idea of mass genocide of their entire species. It is while on this quest that Elian fishes Lira out of the sea, believing her to be a human in need of rescuing. Lira unsuccessfully tries to attack Elian upon meeting him, which makes her untrustworthy in the eyes of his crew. Lira eventually learns of Elian’s plan to end all sirens and decides to join him on his quest so that she can steal the jewel for herself and usurp her mother as the sea queen.
The chemistry between Lira and Elian is constantly charged. Their dialogue was amusing, and I constantly found myself grinning by their witty repertoire. Both characters were strong, with Elian not the only one playing “savior”, but Lira finding herself in that position as well. I enjoy stories with strong female protagonists and To Kill a Kingdom delivered in that respect. I can hardly say any woman in this story was “weak”. In addition, I LOVED that two women ended up marrying one another and equally ruling a nation- as same-sex marriage is often underrepresented in stories- especially those in the YA genre.
To Kill a Kingdom left me with a major book hangover. And for that, I give the story FIVE stars!! Pestilence
by Laura Thalassa
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on March 21, 2018
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy
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They came to earth-Pestilence, War, Famine, Death-four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn's town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed. Too bad no one told her Pestilence can't be killed. Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he's eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she's with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her ... and hers towards him. And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she'll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.
Review of Pestilence
Pestilence is the first novel in the Four Horsemen series by Laura Thalassa. The story follows Sara Burn, a young woman who literally draws the “short straw” and must stay behind when her town evacuates due to the impending arrival of the horseman known as Pestilence. Every town and city that Pestilence has ridden through has resulted in a mass number of people perishing from the pervasive and deadly disease- the plague. Sara’s main task is to shoot and kill Pestilence as he enters her hometown- a task she both dreads and anticipates as she believes it is her parents’ only chance for survival.
Naturally, her plan goes awry, and Pestilence not only doesn’t die (despite the horrific way she ended him and his horse), but he kidnaps Sara in revenge and keeps her as his reluctant prisoner. What follows is a haunting adventure plagued (pun intended) with disease, heartache, betrayal, hope, redemption, and love.
There was a surprising amount of cruelty involved in this story. I will admit to being shocked by the actions of Sara when she attempted to kill Pestilence (though I understood her motivation). I couldn’t blame Pestilence for his anger at being attacked in such a way (and it made me cringe a bit when he even implored her for mercy). However, Pestilence more than receives his revenge by his brutal handling of Sara (being dragged by a horse, starved, shot with an arrow, and forced to watch others die slowly from the plague)- honestly, I half wondered if it was even possible for both characters to look past such events, forgive one another, and even fall in love.
While I understood why Sara felt the need to end Pestilence (he was causing widespread disease which was killing off thousands of people), it took me a bit to understand Pestilence. As the story progressed, I began to understand his character a bit more. Pestilence’s actions are divinely perceived as orders from God because of humans’ destructive behavior. In his mind, he believes his actions just. In addition, he isn’t human…he’s lived thousands of years as a “higher being”, so he does not truly understand human love, compassion, and all the emotions and actions that make people truly “great”. While Pestilence began to see a more beautiful side to humanity- through Sara’s eyes and actions, his burgeoning feelings for her, and the compassion in a few of the humans they cross- Sara begins to see parts of humanity that are truly troubling.
One thing that did bother me was the fact that Sara did not think, prior to initially attacking Pestilence, that someone had not thought to do so before. In fact, she didn’t dwell on this possibility until halfway through the novel.
Amid all the conflict, heartache, and turmoil, Pestilence and Sara begin to develop a stronger understanding of one another, and through that, feelings begin to develop into something pure and beautiful.
Pestilence was a deep, thought-provoking, passionate story about two people with vastly different points of view who find ways to overcome adversity and misunderstandings to not only save the world, but find love in the process.
Four stars for Pestilence!
Love Me Only
Justice K Chambers & Susan James Pierce
(Love Me Only Duet, #1)
Publication date: May 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Bridesmaids meets Sleeping with the Enemy.
A haunting past. A specific set of rules. One man determined to break them.
Chase Anniston has a haunting past full of drug abuse and heartbreak, and now as a recovered heroin addict, she’s focused on keeping her life and career on track. The way she does it? She’s formed a set of rules to keep her safe from the two things she deems trouble – men and drugs:
Never give into your cravings.
Never fall in love.
Never date your boss’ clients.
And these rules have kept her out of trouble for years… until Jared came along.
Jared Bryan is a country music star who used to be more notorious for partying and womanizing than his music, and he’s now a client at the PR firm where Chase works. A chance run-in with her at a bachelorette getaway in Vegas leaves him both intrigued and perplexed. Chase is like no other woman he’s met before. She’s beautiful. She’s feisty. And she’s not easily impressed. Chase might be everything he’s ever wanted, but he’s also the last thing she needs. He’s hell bent on winning her over anyway.
Love Me Only is Book One of the Love Me Only Duet, a Romantic Suspense series. Intended for readers 18 and over.
This book may contain substance and domestic abuse triggers for some.
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You know the moment you can feel someone standing behind you? Like you can sense their energy? Multiply that by about a thousand, and that’s what this feels like.
I turn to see who’s in my personal space, expecting it to be some drunk idiot, but it’s not.
It’s a guy who looks exactly like Jared Bryan… the playboy country singer Stella represents – fair skin, eyes so blue they can’t be real. I’ve never met him in person; he’s never come to the Atlanta office. But I’ve seen numerous pictures, and this guy’s dark hair is a little longer than Jared’s. And he seems… taller than I imagined Jared to be. Leaner. Not skinny, but lean in a cut way. In a really tasty way.
He could quite possibly be a hotter version of the singer himself. And apparently he knows it.
He smirks at me as I study him.
I shake my head. Get it together.
“Jared Bryan,” he says, extending his hand for a shake.
I laugh. “Right.” What a douchebag. Going around pretending to be him.
He cocks his gorgeous head. Gives me a ‘you don’t believe me?’ look.
“Okay, Jared,” I say, mocking him, and then shoo him away with my free hand. “Go use this one-man sideshow on someone else.” I’m not buying it. Last I heard, the real Jared was in Nashville working on his latest album. “Like a girl who’s drunk and incredibly desperate.”
He just stands there, still smirking. Like he’s waiting on me to cave.
When I turn back to the railing and scan over the crowd for my friends, I hope he’ll get the hint. But of course he doesn’t.
I take a long sip of my cranberry juice, wishing it had a shot of something strong in it, and suck in a piece of ice.
He moves to stand beside me, abs pressed against the railing. “Full house, huh?” he says.
I ignore him, crunching on the ice.
“Oh my God, look…” a girl says below. “It’s Jared Bryan!”
She whips out her phone and takes pictures.
I turn my head away, shielding my face with my hand as much as I can. I don’t want to be seen next to Fake Jared on social media.
Girls flood over to the bouncer to try and get up the stairs.
I’m too amused at this point to be irritated. I can’t help but smile smugly at him. “You’re eating this up, aren’t you?”
He studies me, almost a little too intensely, his smile widening. God, he’s got a killer smile, and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make my lady parts melt.
He’s good, I’ll give him that. He’s even wearing Jared’s signature leather jacket.
“I’m not sure how to answer,” he finally says.
“Oh, cut the crap,” I chuckle. “You’re a Jared impersonator looking to get laid.”
He shrugs, looks back over the crowd. “Maybe, maybe not,” he teases.
“Is it safe to look now?” I ask.
“Yeah, she’s stumbled off to the bar. You’re good.”
When I face the crowd again, he says, “Not a drinker?”
I look into my cranberry juice, back to him. “Nope. I prefer to be the sober one. It’s more entertaining.”
As if to prove my point, a guy below attempts to break dance and ends up smacking his head on the floor and passing out. “Like so,” I say, gesturing toward the break-dancer wannabe.
Jared leans against the rail with a small laugh. “Where’s your drink?” I ask. “The real Jared Bryan is a partier, you know.”
He gives me an odd look.
“But you have the playboy part down.”
“Playboy?” he repeats.
“Yeah.” I motion to myself. “Like how you’re trying to pick me up at the moment.”
“You think I’m hitting on you, huh? Maybe I’m just being nice to the lonely sober girl.”
I bark a laugh, but part of me scrambles to think back over this short encounter to see if I misread things.
No. That’s what guys like him are so good at – I’m playing hard to get. Or as far as he knows, I don’t want him to get me at all. And he’s playing it off like I might be conceited to save him from feeling rejected. “I’m sober but I’m not lonely. I’m here with my girlfriends.”
“And where are they?” he asks, almost taunts. Like I’m making them up to not seem like a loser.
Irritation swells inside, and I scan the dancefloor for them. I’ve only known this guy five minutes and I’m not sure if I want to push him over the railing or take him up on a one night stand. Fake Jared would obviously be game.
Truth be known, I’ve thought of Jared several times over the years when I slept with other guys. This might be as close as I’ll ever get to the real thing. At the very least, though, he distracted me from my heroin craving.
“There,” I say, pointing at them a little too eagerly. Why do I feel like I have something to prove to this guy? The three of them are dancing in a circle while holding their drinks, and apparently, Shea had a wardrobe makeover in the bathroom. She unbuttoned her blouse enough to show some cleavage and has tucked the bottom of it up under her bra. A Hildie creation, I have no doubt. But I can’t deny it looks better than before. Who knew Shea had a killer body?
“The blonde, the redhead, and the strawberry blonde?”
“Why aren’t you down there with them, then?”
I sip my cranberry juice. “Not really my scene.” I say it sharply, hoping he’ll feel the sting of it. This is obviously his scene as well.
“Let me guess,” he says, straightening and rubbing his stubbled jawline. His eyes roam over the tattoos on my arm. Over my little black dress and messy bun. I subtly bend my arms more so he won’t see the injection scars. “Art galleries and poetry readings?”
I shake my head, though the poetry part is pretty accurate. Not that I would tell him.
I smile pointedly and throw his previous answer back in his face, “Maybe, maybe not.
He tosses his head back in laughter, and when he looks back at me, there’s a flash of something in his eyes – familiarity. Respect. Intrigue. I’m throwing his game right back at him and he’s not used to it. And though I can see he likes it, I can also tell he’s not sure if he can crack me. He’s like every other egotistical man – how much should he try with me before he gets too far into rejection territory? Am I worth the risk?
Multiple Award Nominated and Bestselling Author Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Paranormal, Sci-fi, and Romantic Suspense novels.
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Justice K. Chambers is from the suburbs of Atlanta, GA and is a stay at home mother of two. Her passions include reading and writing poetry, and taking care of her farm animals.
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by Katy Evans
Published by KT PUBLISHING on November 24, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age
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A bad boy with something to prove.A woman with a mission.The race of their lives.The love of a lifetime.
I don't think his parents expected him to live up to his name?Racer Tate?but once he felt the adrenaline rush behind the wheel, he was addicted.
He's the fastest, fiercest driver around.
�Scouting new talent brings me to his doorstep... but his smile sends me to my knees.�
The sexy, mysterious Racer Tate is not the kind of man a girl like me falls for. He's secretive, reckless, elusive. But his proximity pushes me beyond reason, and his kiss....
This is our last chance to win, and he is our only hope. I'm supposed to watch him?make sure he doesn't get into trouble. But it's an impossible task. And now the one in heart wrenching, toe-curling, soul-crushing trouble is me. Because when your heart belongs to someone, their truths become your own, and their secrets become your salvation...or your curse.
He says he wants me. He says I'm the One. But he also thinks he'll break my heart, one piece at a time until it's gone.
Racer is a contemporary standalone novel by New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans. The story follows Lana, a twenty-two-year-old woman who is trying to keep the family business of racing professionally afloat. Unfortunately, without finding a driver for their team, the HW Racing Team may not see another season. This quandary sends Lana back to the States in search of someone to race for their team- a trip that sends her crashing- literally- into Racer Tate. Racer lives for the adrenaline rush fast cars provide and has earned a reputation among the illegal racing circuit as being one of the best drivers. So, when Lana approaches him about racing professionally with her team, he jumps on the opportunity. Of course, it isn’t just the promise of being able to drive at harrowing speeds that has Racer practically pumped with anticipation- it’s having the chance to grow closer to Lana and win her heart.
Racer Tate was a force of nature in this novel. His energy and intensity were consistent throughout the story. He was the first male protagonist in a romance novel that I have read about that has bipolar disorder. It was interesting to see how this disorder would play out in his professional life, as well as his romantic life. Lana has grown up the youngest of four children- with three older brothers, an ill father, and a mother who was no longer around. This has sort of forced Lana into a position of having to be strong, patient, and steady. Luckily, both Racer’s intensity and Lana’s steadiness help to balance each other. The chemistry was palpable between both characters and remained overwhelmingly present- there’s just no hiding something as raw and beautiful as the charged emotions between these two. While I usually don’t like male characters to be overly confident (as it often comes across as arrogant), Racer pulled it off nicely! In fact, Racer’s confidence and assurance in his ability to win Lana’s heart managed to snag mine in the process (hello new book boyfriend!).
What I also enjoyed about Racer was his consistency in the story. Racer kept me constantly engaged and sleep-deprived for a good couple of days. In fact, I’m quote confident that I strode into work a couple of days with blood-shot eyes and haphazard pony tails with a serious case of “book hangover”. Not surprisingly, I finished the novel faster than I would have liked because I enjoyed the characters so much. It was also refreshing to see two dominant and strong men (Racer and his father) being able to express their love for each other. Racer’s father is inspiring and admirable in his support of his son and the mental health issue he is facing. Also, Lana’s relationship with her father is equally warm and supportive. In this, both Racer and Lana have something in common.
In all, Racer was a fast-paced, humorous, and sizzling read that completely absorbed my world for a good couple of days. It also holds the current position in my life as the giver of a pretty solid book hangover. I’m going to need to cure this feeling pronto.
FIVE stars for Racer!!