Book Blitz: Captivate by Vanessa Garden

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Captivate (Submerged Sun #1) by Vanessa Garden
Release Date: August 10th 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a glittering underwater world, where danger lurks behind beauty and power…

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…  

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Author Bio:

A bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not raving about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her next novel, she enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

Author Links:

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Excerpt:

Marko took my hand and gently pulled me towards him.

“Don’t ignore me,” he said, his icy blue eyes vivid beneath a fringe of black lashes as he stared down into my face.

There was something both commanding and alluring about his stare. It frightened me that anybody, especially somebody in a position of power over me, could transfix me like this.

Though the touch of his hand was making my insides tremble with butterflies, I yanked mine from out of his grasp and took a step back. The only other guy who had ever made me feel like this, just by touching me, was Aiden. It shocked me that a person like Marko had the ability to do the same. It wasn’t right. I wasn’t right in the head to be responding this way.

A frown of confusion creased Marko’s forehead.

“You don’t like me, do you?” he asked. “And yet, you liked it when I held your hand.”

I stood there, burning with humiliation. He was so right.

He half-smiled. A spark of interest illuminated his eyes.

“I find that so intriguing, Miranda.”

“I didn’t like it,” I said, when I finally found my voice. “In fact I hated it.”

Marko’s smile widened.

“Shall we try it again, then, just to be sure?”

I was glad for the dimness of the room because I probably looked like a human tomato.

“No.”

“Here, take my hand. I’ll escort you back to your room.”

I folded my arms across my chest. “I’ll escort myself back.”

Marko shook his head and stared at me.

An awkward, statically charged silence followed.

I turned to leave but Marko called my name and I paused, mid-step, my breathing laboured.

“I understand it will take a while getting used to our forced union, Miranda,” he said in a quiet, thoughtful voice. “But the people of Marin won’t wait forever.”

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The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 0.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Careful what you wish for. It just might come true.
Ava Marshall, driven by a desire to learn more about her mother’s past, moved across the country to attend St. Augustus. But her mom’s secrets will have to wait, because she finds herself instantly hated for her family’s connection to her new school and is forced to fight alone against a classmate who is setting Ava up to be expelled.

Fleeing campus, she takes a shortcut to her Gran’s house through the forbidden West Woods and discovers a mysterious fountain that has the power to grant a wish and change it all. But can she live with the consequences? Or will she end up breaking every school rule and risking the love of her life to make it right…”

My Review:

What. Did. I. Just. Read. 

Can anyone tell me? Anyone? What did I just read? Because I have no clue. I just read a terrifying mess and Oh. My. Gosh, run for your lives.

Surprisingly, I don’t hate the characters. There’s definitely no love for them either, but there’s no hatred. Even still, I can’t stand them.

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Blog Tour: The Dream Protocol: Descent by Adara Flynn Quick + A Giveaway!

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30268886Synopsis
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“WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T GET OLD.

In fiery young Deirdre Callaghan’s home of Skellig City, no one has dreamt their own dream in over a thousand years. Dreams are produced by the Dream Makers and sold by the Ministry, the tyrannical rulers of the city. In Skellig City, years of life are awarded equally and the ruined are cast away beneath the city on their 35th birthday.

Unbeknownst to the Ministry, Deirdre’s handsome friend Flynn Brennan is afflicted with a terrible disease – a disease that accelerates the aging process. Knowing his fate if the Ministry should ever discover his illness, Flynn has lived his whole life hiding from their watchful eyes. When Flynn’s secret is finally discovered, Deirdre is determined to free him from the Ministry’s grasp. But to save him, she will have to reveal herself to a shadowy enemy…one that none of them even knew existed.”

Excerpt:

Roenin said, “A power inside every living thing sleeps and waits for anyone who will call to it. That power may have diminished, but here in the dream world, it can be felt again and used for good. This is the only power that may shine light through the darkness of the Ministry.”

I ask, “When will this light come?”

He sighs and looks again toward the trees. “That, I do not know. But this room of sacred trees is a promise that it will be soon.” He reaches forward and shows me the fresh green shoots on the branches. “I have waited long for the trees to stir. And now it has begun. But speak none of this outside of here; it is yet too dangerous. When the sanctuary trees are in bloom, then it will be time.”

I study the lime-green shoots and feel suddenly joyful, like something inside me is beginning to grow as well. I step back to take in more of their beauty. Beneath the branches is an altar of sorts, the roots of the trees growing up to hold an object. I notice they form the five interlocking circles of the Dream Makers, and then I look closer at what the altar is holding. It looks like the teak box from our living unit, just missing our Callaghan family pattern on the top. What is that doing in this dream? I wonder why mother has placed our box here in the middle of the sanctuary.

I walked forward, reaching out to touch it like I have done a thousand times before at home. But Roenin’s hand shoots out, stopping me from touching the wood. “No, lady. To touch it is death. You must promise me to never touch it, in here or out there.”

I feel shock. “Wait. How do you know that this is the box in my home? Or about the Ministry’s Dream Protocol?”

He is silent, and the dark pools of his eyes swallow me whole. Then he gathers up the cloth of his robe and in a twisting motion, swings it over my head. Everything goes dark and I feel myself falling backward into the trees. The fresh green shoots on the branches wrap around me and I remember nothing more.

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GIVEAWAY! –> The Dream Protocol Giveaway <–

About the Author:

Adara.jpgIrish-American author, Adara Flynn Quick, is the writer of The Dream Protocol series.  Early in her career, Adara was fascinated by dreams, the unconscious, and the healing stories of many cultures.  As a contemporary author, she writes young adult literature that brings ancient myths and legends into futuristic worlds.  She is an accomplished visual artist and uses her background as a psychotherapist to inspire the finest and darkest moments of her characters.

Driven to distraction by her computer, Adara writes all of her stories longhand.  Pen and paper are two of her favorite things.  The author tortures her husband with a passion for downtempo electronica and too many pillows.  She is a firm believer that there are never enough pillows.

 

Author Links:

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The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Araina’s isolated teenage life is forever altered when she witnesses a man emerge through a rippling wall into the dark labyrinth she calls home. As a result of the stranger’s arrival, Araina’s Creators have unleashed a series of magical attacks using the labyrinth against its inhabitants. Now Araina must decide if she will trust potentially deceitful allies in order to reach safety on the other side of the labyrinth wall.”

My Review:

I requested this book from Netgalley, say, three or four days ago and I finished reading it on Wednesday. The synopsis made the book sound awesome, the book’s cover made the book seem awesome, even the Goodreads rating made it seem awesome. The Labyrinth Wall was not awesome.

In truth, I was extremely bored. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say: “The Labyrinth Wall is simply a book about traveling.” And I wouldn’t be wrong. The entire book is about Araina and where she’s walking/running/escaping to or from.

Speaking of Araina, she’s not a special character. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, then you know I am 100% against the whole “I am not special, but wait, I actually am! More special than special has ever seen!!” Ariana is told, once, by some guy who’s been stalking her (he doesn’t call it that, but it was stalking), that she’s special because of some flimsy reason. Ariana, however, wasn’t special at all. Of all the other heroines I’ve read, they were the “special” trope, and then the author gave them something special about them. Your main characters need something that makes them even a tiny bit different from the average Joe (or Mahk in this case). Ariana got nothing. Ariana was an unforgettable character, to the point that I forgot her name and had to look it up. She was, horrifyingly, a plot-pushing character in a book where she was the main character.

The rest of the characters were plot-pushers as well, insignificant in all aspects.

The plot was somewhere outside of the book I actually read. The Labyrinth Wall is literally just a book about traveling and that doesn’t interest me. I wanted adventure, cracking codes, a mystical labyrinth with winding turns and scary dead-ends, and heart-squeezing, lung-pumping, wide-eyed events to take place. Instead, I got 305 page long book about Ariana’s experience with two places she’s never gone before. There were no epic battles, instead there were small fights that I would guess were supposed to be epic, but fell flat. Every “terrifying” event that took place always had a convenient escape route and of course, Ariana would stumble upon some super philosophical realization about herself that was cliche that I didn’t care about. There was no suspense, no drama, no wonder, no awe, I just found it meh. The ending was ridiculous too. The absolute least this book could have given me was an actual ending, instead of a cliff-hanger that wasn’t even doing its job: leave me hanging in such suspense that I want to read the next book.

The writing left me confused and lost and most of the time I didn’t know where Ariana was and I didn’t feel like knowing. There was no overall purpose of Ariana’s goals and we weren’t given a backstory. I was told a vague description of how the Mahk people are made and then I’m hurried along into the next random scene. While I can agree that the Mahk people are suffering, I wasn’t given a reason to care. I didn’t connect with any of the characters because they lacked the humanity I can relate to. Each character was detached and distant, the most genuine relationship I saw was between Ariana and her pet, and even that’s a stretch.
Would I recommend The Labyrinth Wall? Unfortunately, no, I’m afraid I wouldn’t.

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane: Book Blitz & Giveaway!

 

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Stars.jpgSynopsis:

“Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?”

 

 

Kindle Price: $3.82

Official Rating: 3.5/5

 

My Review:

McFarlane, please forward my apologies to your co-worker, Ms. Kahla Dombowsky, for I am stealing her quote: This is so good!

There Once Were Stars was predictable, but unpredictable, and that’s not only possible, but also enjoyable.

Here’s what was predictable: Government of some sort is bad, inevitable love triangle, female main character with brown eyes and brown hair, lies, lies, and more lies, the main character getting upset when everything she knows is a lie, a smirking love interest, an I’ve known you my whole life and you’re sweet and comfortable love interest.

Here’s what was unpredictable: The government, the love triangle, the main character, the main character’s reactions to lies, the smirking love interest, and the comfortable love interest.

Are you interested now?

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Dissever by Tracey Ward

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Annabel Lee has her life mapped out for her. A pawn in her aristocratic father’s game, she goes where’s told and does as he says. And she’ll marry who she’s told to marry.

Roarke is an outsider. A member of a mysterious clan living at the edge of the distant wood, he would do anything for Anna. For the childhood friend he can know only in secret. For the girl he’s loved all his life.

As they grow older and Anna’s fate draws near, they’ll discover that nothing is as it seems. That the secrets and lies that have kept them apart are what will ultimately draw them together.

And even death itself can’t tear them apart.

A Gothic fantasy romance based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem ‘Annabel Lee'”

My Review:

Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect when I clicked onto Dissever. The cover wasn’t impressive, it just looked like some girl who would of course be relevant in the story. I had bought the book who knows how many months ago, but I didn’t re-read the synopsis so I was going in blind. I was surprised to have enjoyed it.

Ward did something extremely unique with Dissever, something I wasn’t expecting and I adored. There are no petty enemies. This is important because she had two chances to make Anna have petty enemies and she passed them up. There’s a girl who is in love with the prince, but of course, Anna is set to marry him. Ward could have made Anna and the girl be sworn enemies because of it, but instead they become friends. The second person who could have been an enemy I cannot say, because it would be a major spoiler, but I was extremely pleased that he wasn’t an enemy.

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Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H. L. Burke

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?”

My Review:

Oh my. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my. I liked this book. I bought this last month because the synopsis had me interested and wow, Burke didn’t disappoint me. An excellent blend of adventure, mystery, and romance. Oh, I am swooning.

I THINK I’M IN LOVE WITH A COMPUTER. That’s all I can say about that, no spoilers, sorry. 😉

Honestly, I hate a lot of 5 star books. Do you know why? Because I love them. And because I love them the review isn’t as fun because a) I didn’t write any notes because I didn’t have any complaints so I am totally writing by memory, b) it’s a lot more fun to write a negative review, and c) I never like to write 5 star reviews because it just kinda taints the book for me. Not really in a bad way, but just in an “it’s over” way. But no matter, I will write about this wonderful book.

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Kingdom from Ashes by Megan Linski

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Princess Bennua is to be married. The daughter of a sultan, her duty is to marry a powerful yet cruel warlord to be her husband, sealing an alliance that will scare the desert of Sahrahn into submission. But the wedding is halted in place when the infamous Raider Prince, king of thieves and leader of the dark city Ashana, threatens to take her city by force.

Sacrificing her freedom for her country, Bennua agrees to accompany the Raider Prince on his travels if he leaves her homeland alone. Stolen from her charmed life Bennua begins to learn the truth of what lies beyond the palace walls and the suffering that plagues Sahrahn’s people. Bennua begins to plan her escape, but the more she learns from the thieves the more she finds herself becoming one of the them…all while falling hard for their leader, the Raider Prince himself.

A portion of the author’s royalties from the sale of each Kingdom Saga novel will be donated to furthering the education of girls around the globe.”

My Review:

This is the second book I read for the #MakeMeRead readathon and after a disastrous start, I’m glad that Kingdom from Ashes was able to salvage some of the leftovers of my expectations.

I don’t know if there’s a real time frame for Kingdom of Ashes, but it was definitely not modern. Truthfully, it seemed to be set in the Middle East and it had a religion that seemed similar to Islam. For example, the women had to wear veils, they followed a god called Alshams (Allah), women aren’t encouraged/allowed to be in charge (in this book), the men were allowed to have multiple wives while the women were only allowed one husband, and some other things. Although this opinion is coming from someone is who not a follower of Islam, from my perspective, the representation of the religion Alshams didn’t appear to be a mockery of Islam or anything of the sort.

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Tainted by Alexandra Moody (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“The ARC: the world’s last chance for survival, but this underground fallout shelter is the last place you want to be.

At the tender age of two Elle Winters lost everything, when the day of impact transformed Earth’s surface into an icy, desolate wasteland. Fifteen years later, all she has ever known are the cold, artificial confines of underground fallout shelter, the ARC. Under the Council’s rule, ruthless officials roam the hallways and community comes first. Everyone lives in fear of failing their annual testing and those that do are deemed tainted—taken away without any warning or a word of goodbye.

No one has been taken in over six months and the remaining citizens of the ARC have slowly begun to forget the danger. Elle remains wary, but even she is beginning to wonder if it’s finally safe to succumb to her feelings towards her closest friend, Sebastian.

But, no one is ever truly safe in the ARC. Elle is about to experience her own personal apocalypse and with nothing left to lose, she will finally attempt to uncover the truth about the tainted.

Will she find what she’s looking for or are some secrets better left buried deep underground?”

My Review:

Yikes. Tainted took me by surprise. Thank you, Moody, for reminding me that no matter how many books I read, I still don’t know everything.

I’ve been dealing with some pride lately. The other day someone told me, “I’m a quick reader and this book is taking me a long time. I don’t think you can finish it in a day.” Well, my blogger pride was injured and I haughtily thought, Oh yeah? Well I’ve read books in one day and written a review for them! So don’t tell me how long it’ll take me to read a book. Oh my, right? At least my response to her was civil. Meaning I didn’t reply. But why am I telling you that? Because even though I haven’t even reviewed one-hundred reviews yet, and even though I haven’t been blogging for a year and a half yet, sometimes I feel like I already know everything. I judged Tainted and figured I knew everything that Moody had to offer, and thus set my expectations low.

My notes are littered with sarcastic predictions that were, to my surprise, proved to be wrong. Well now.

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White Hart by Sarah Dalton (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In a land where magic has withered for centuries, Mae Waylander is the last magic wielder in Aegunlund. She is the craft-born. But Mae has kept her true identity hidden from the world, and she’s not about to reveal her secret. Not when the King is searching for the craft-born to marry his heir, Prince Casimir.

In Mae’s town of Halts-Walden, the ambitious miller claims his daughter Ellen is the craft-born. All Mae has to do is sit back and wait until Casimir and Ellen are married, then she will finally be free of the threat of her fate. But on that day an event so shocking and terrible occurs that Mae finds herself entering the neighbouring cursed forest on a quest she never thought she’d have to follow.

Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing–no one–will get in her way.

Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing, no one, will get in her way.”

My Review:

I’m actually extremely impressed by Sarah Dalton. I read her book The Blemished and I didn’t like it, but I loved White Hart.

Dalton created a world that though I would not want to live in, I imagined it perfectly.

I want to talk about the characters first. Wait no, the romance. No, the characters. We will talk about the characters.

I loved White Hart. She was strong, she was compassionate, she had flaws, and she knew the meaning of grief, remorse, and forgiveness. I was just so impressed I was going crazy. What stood out to me the most was her natural progression. She started off with one goal, which wasn’t a pure goal, and you can see how she grows personally throughout the book.

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