Release Blitz: Junior Hero Blues by J.K. Pendragon #YoungAdult #LGBTQ @JKPendragon @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Junior Hero Blues

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/29/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58400

Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+, Action/adventure, Coming-of-age, Criminals, Enemies/rivals to lovers, Geeks, Humorous, Interracial, Law enforcement, #ownvoices, Superhero, Young adult

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Description

Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s…well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.

But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of school work and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.

Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.

Excerpt

Junior Hero Blues
J.K. Pendragon © 2021
All Rights Reserved

When I woke up, my mask was lying beside me on the ground, and I felt like my entire head had been squeezed like a pimple.

It took me a few minutes to get my bearings, and by the time I realized the Raven was there with me, she was putting my mask back over my eyes and checking my vitals. Masks have a way of obscuring expressions, but I could see her jaw was tight and her lips were even thinner than usual.

“What happened?” I groaned, my voice raspy. I was starting to get memories back, of the smoke and explosions of the battle, and of him. That bastard smashing my head into a mirror—I raised a hand to my forehead and felt crusted blood through my glove—and then of us fighting, and of a rather unheroic rage that had come over me as we did so. The last thing I remembered was my hands on either side of his head, shooting sonic waves into his ears so hard his eyes were rolling back, and his big meaty hands around my neck, squeezing me into darkness.

“Don’t know.” The Raven’s ambiguously Slavic accent was harsher than normal. “I found you here, with your mask off. Who did it, do you know?”

“Yeah.” I coughed. “Who do you think? Jimmy Black.”

*

I guess I should back up a bit. Jimmy Black was my sworn enemy, if you go for dramatics like that (I totally do), and I’d met him before all this crap with the Organization started. I’d been on a date with Rick Rykov. My first date. Ever, that is, and I was pretty convinced the whole thing was a setup to make fun of me, because that would be typical. But then Rick actually showed up at the café, and we sat there for twenty minutes drinking coffee and discussing our lives like regular people, and there was absolutely no sign of the whole thing being a prank or some plan concocted by him and his friends to humiliate me.

I mean, aside from being gay, Rick was, like, standard bully material. He was a football player, even—six feet of lean teenage muscle and popularity. And I have a theory that being gay in high school just pushes your social standing to an extreme either way. Like, if you’re already popular, and then you come out as gay, you become this amazing, brave individual who inspires change (exhibit A: Rick Rykov). But if you come out as gay, and you’re that weird little Spanish dude who came to America in first grade and couldn’t speak any English, who decided to compensate for that fact by eating a bug in front of his entire class, which was never forgotten, ever, by anyone…

Well, see exhibit B: Javier Medina (that’s me, by the way). Skinny, brown, nerdy. I’m sure you can picture it. That, combined with my family not exactly being wealthy, meant I got picked on a lot in school, even before the bug thing, so I’m a little skittish. Or possibly a lot skittish. You decide.

So anyway, naturally, considering my rather extensive history with bullies, when a superhot, superpopular football player came striding down the hall toward me after class one day, my first instinct was to run away. Unfortunately, Kendall (who apparently has superhearing that I don’t know about) had overheard that Rick was planning on asking me out and grabbed my arm to keep me from escaping. She’s pretty heavyset, and I guess she was using her weight to her advantage, because I was basically rooted to the spot despite having, you know, moderate superstrength.

So then Rick strolled up, cool as you please, and introduced himself. Like, he full-on shook my hand. As if it were a job interview. And then he asked me out, and I was thinking I might be stupid enough to eat a bug, but I sure as hell wasn’t stupid enough to think that Rick Rykov was actually asking me out on a date. So I told him to eff off.

Yeah right. I actually said something along the lines of, “Uhh…you want to go…on a date? With me? Wh… Why?”

And he said, “Because I like you. I think you’re cute, so I thought we could get to know each other a bit better over coffee.”

At this point, I was basically giving myself whiplash looking around trying to see if I was in the process of being ambushed with the eventual intent to stick my head in the toilet. And then I got kind of angry because, like, here I was, busting my butt every single day to save people’s lives and keep the public safe. Screw putting up with this high school bullying crap.

So I decided I would go out with Rick, and if he or any of his buff football friends decided to try to pull one over me, I was just going to spontaneously snap and beat the crap out of them (or at least use my powers to pull some fun tricks with them) and plead temporary insanity to Captain Liberty after the fact.

Rick seemed pleased, and a little surprised I’d agreed. We set a date, and I went fully expecting to be doused with whipped cream, or laughed and jeered at, or at the very least stood up.

But Rick was there, leaning back in one of the little spindly café chairs that looked like it might break under his weight and sipping some frothy drink. When I sat, he shook my hand again, and then we just sort of…started talking.

Which I know isn’t a big deal, because, like, people talk all the time. But not me. I mean, I talk to Kendall, because she’s my best friend and has been forever, and we tell each other everything. I talk to my parents, in Spanish mostly, which is still a bit easier for me, funnily enough (although I’m sure you can tell I have an absolutely superb grasp of the English language). But with everyone else? It’s kind of like the fewer syllables I can use, the better. I mumble my way through life. I just can’t make myself say what I’m thinking most of the time.

So yeah, it was pleasantly surprising to be able to talk to Rick. He asked me questions and waited patiently while I answered them, and then offered information about himself. He lived with his parents in a really nice part of town, although pretty close to me, and had a sister and a cat. And I told him, a bit defensively, that I lived with my parents in a crappy little apartment that didn’t allow pets, and that my dad worked on computers and my mom worked at a gas station so we could have a little extra income. I was all set for Rick to be all judgey or awkward (or worse, feel bad for me) about my poorness, but he didn’t seem to care about that at all. He actually seemed to genuinely want to get to know me.

And then, just when I was starting to relax and believe that this was actually a thing that was happening and I wasn’t going to, you know, die, Rick’s phone rang. He had a sort of awkward conversation and said, looking really let down, “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go to work. Last-minute thing.” Then his face brightened up a bit. “But we should do this again sometime.”

I agreed, and he went off, and I was left sitting there for about ten minutes finishing my coffee and thinking. And then my phone rang too.

I should have figured it out right then and there.

It was the Legion dispatch, about as polite as ever, which is to say one step up from a robot. Actually, scratch that, the Legion AI was way friendlier.

So she was all, “There’s an incident downtown, not far from your location. Can you respond?”

And I figured why not, since I was pretty pumped at that moment, and anyway, it was my job. Like, I got paid for it and everything. So I told her I’d be there in two minutes, and grabbed my bag and headed out.

Now, listen up, because I’m going to let you in on a little secret about switching from your civilian clothes into your superhero getup.

The telephone booth thing?

Utter bullcrap.

I mean, maybe except for old pros like Captain Liberty. I’ve seen him change into his costume so fast it was as if he must have been wearing a tear-away outfit, complete with, like, origami cape and boots in his back pocket. But for the rest of us, it’s three-plus minutes of awkwardly hunching on top of a building—try even finding a telephone booth these days—ripping off your clothes and pulling on the parts of your costume that don’t fit under them, and then you have to try to fit everything, including your shoes, into your backpack. And then you have to look for a place to stash your backpack where it won’t be stolen or crapped on by pigeons or something.

And the Legion really does expect you to respond to a call within only five minutes. I don’t know why they haven’t invented some sort of quick-change technology. Maybe they have, and they just don’t make it available to Junior Heroes.

It’s a complete rip-off being a Junior Hero, by the way. You’re supposed to be only assigned to low-risk stuff, but half the time it’s just as dangerous as anything else anyway, and the rest of the time it’s freaking boring.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.

J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at jes.k.pendragon@gmail.com.

Twitter | Instagram

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BOOK REVIEW: John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids – Sacred Hearts by Steve Niles #graphicnovels #horror #NetGalley

For Chris, Dirk and Shelley, life in their small town has always been quiet. But they have all heard about the Franklin Farm… a place they should never go near. When the three best friends decide to build a tree fort in the woods, they dare each other to go to there in search of wood, and find themselves in a strange world they never expected, setting off a terrible chain of events. In this place, monsters are created, and an ancient evil from an old family curse is rising within their little town. But in all the chaos, they come to learn that not all monsters are bad. Some are special… some are born with a Sacred Heart… From his horrific beginnings, this special Monster was born from a broken pact with evil, and somehow a door to a dark world had been opened. With the help of their new Monstrous friend, the kids try to stop the destructive forces happening all around them, and end the curse once and for all.

Get it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

MY REVIEW

5 stars!

I admit I wanted to read this because I’m a John Carpenter fan. I loved the artwork and the storyline held my attention from beginning to end. While the story was mostly predictable, there were some unexpected twists that kept me entertained. The artwork alone is enough reason to add this one to my collection. If you’re looking for horror that’s not overly gory, you can’t go wrong with Sacred Hearts. Great for young adults, and adults who are young at heart.

A gripping, fast-paced read with gritty artwork, Sacred Hearts is a must-have for horror fans!

Book Tour: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz #youngadult #urbanfantasy @OWildWrites @katiehayoz @MagicPenTours

Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book tour for Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz taking place March 22-26, 2021!

Book Details

Title: Of Wicked Blood

Series: The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1

Author: Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz

Genres: Upper Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy / Frenemies-to-Lovers Romance

Release date: February 9, 2021

Pages: 425


Blurb

“This is storytelling at its best.” – WENDY HIGGINS, NYTimes bestselling author of Sweet Evil

NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.

Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.

Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.

If any of us fail, I’m dead.

I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.

The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.

Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?

Wrong.

The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.

But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.

Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.

Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).
*Intended for readers 16 and up.


PURCHASE NOW!

AMAZON: http://readerlinks.com/l/1429836


Excerpt

I’m torn between the desire to strangle him and kiss him. “We should go. Adrien’s waiting.”

“He’s fine.” He finally stops rubbing his chest. “He can wait.” He lays his hand on my jaw, tilts it up.

My heartbeats are so loud and close together that they’re probably making all six layers of my clothing vibrate.

The tip of his nose touches the tip of mine, and his breath warms my parted lips. The only boy I’ve ever kissed is Romain, and those kisses were always friendly and sweet. I don’t think kissing Slate will be friendly or sweet. I lick my lips in anticipation.

“Can’t wait for our date.” He pulls back, releases my head but finds my hand in the folds of his coat, and tows me downstairs.

Yep. I’m going to strangle him.

Probably while kissing him.


About the Authors

USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.

Author links: WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | TWITTER

Katie Hayoz grew up in Racine, Wisconsin where she acquired an irreversible nasal twang and an addiction for books with a slightly dark edge. She now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, two daughters, and a very fuzzy cat. She has been an avid reader of YA fiction for years. While she has a penchant for the paranormal, she devours a range of books – along with popcorn and black licorice. She consumes all three in large quantities. Luckily, the books don’t stay on her hips.

Author links: WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | TWITTER


Giveaway!

INTERNATIONAL Giveaway taking place March 22 – 29, 2021

PRIZE: A SIGNED PAPERBACK of ‘OF WICKED BLOOD’ by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz + bookish SWAG

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE!

*Note. Must be 16+ to enter the giveaway.https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Tour Schedule

March 22

Daily Dose of Books https://dailydoseofbooks.com/ – Review + Creative Post

@erins_adventures_in_the_pages https://www.instagram.com/erins_adventures_in_the_pages – Review

@tome_crusader https://www.instagram.com/tome_crusader – Review + Promo

@mama2aprince https://www.instagram.com/mama2aprince/ – Promo/Excerpt

March 23

@tea_reading_and_oz https://www.instagram.com/tea_reading_and_oz/ – Review

Books+Coffee=Happiness https://bookscoffeehappiness.com – Promo/Excerpt

@ireadtorelax https://instagram.com/ireadtorelax – Promo/Excerpt

@forging_worlds https://instagram.com/forging_worlds – Promo/Excerpt

March 24

@She_Reeds_by_the_Sea https://www.instagram.com/she_reeds_by_the_sea/ – Review + Creative Post

@bookish.heidi http://www.instagram.com/bookish.heid – Review

@biareadsbooks https://instagram.com/biareadsbooks – Promo/Excerpt

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read http://mommasaystoreadornottoread.blogspot.com – Promo/Excerpt

March 25

Journey in the Bookland https://journeyinbookland.wordpress.com – Review + Excerpt

@elenna_lovereadblog_ https://www.instagram.com/elenna_lovereadblog_/ – Creative Posts

BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog https://bookreviewvirginialee.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

The Faerie Review https://www.thefaeriereview.com/ – Promo/Excerpt

@BookishKelly2020 http://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020 – Promo/Excerpt

March 26

The Romance Book Fairy https://theromancebookfairy.wordpress.com – Review + Excerpt

Books a Plenty Book Reviews https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogspot.com – Review

@theromancereporter https://www.instagram.com/theromancereporter – Review

@eamons https://www.instagram.com/eamons/ – Creative Posts

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author https://www.valerieullmer.com – Promo/Excerpt


Thank you for stopping by, visit other tour stops and enter the giveaway to win a signed paperback of ‘Of Wicked Blood’ and bookish swag!

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BOOK REVIEW: Seeker by Suzana #youngadult #bookreview

Mila meets a boy who is not quite human. He’s drawn to her even though she’s not supposed to see him. Nobody can escape death, but Death can’t escape Mila.
This book is recommended for ages 16+ due to adult content.

MY REVIEW:
3-stars

Death is feared by many, but there’s one girl who captivates him….

The book description sounded like an amazing paranormal read… but that wasn’t what I got.

The story of Silas and Mila took me by surprise. It’s definitely more of a Christian romance than paranormal, if you could call it romance. While I enjoyed parts of the story, there were a few things that made this an uncomfortable read. The relationship between Mila and Silas develops too quickly once she reaches the age of sixteen. She allows his feelings for her to be her guide and Silas’ conviction that they’re destined for one another makes Mila doubt her feelings and herself. She quickly swings from one extreme to the next. For me, that part of the story wasn’t romantic in the slightest.

Silas’ almost overnight transition to talking about God all the time and suddenly wanting to be a minister doesn’t come across as being from his devout faith. It has a more troublesome feel to it, as does Mila’s constant need to defend him and his beliefs. It set off warning bells for me with more of a cult vibe. If the author’s intention was to spread the news about God, she nearly made me want to run far in the opposite direction as quickly as possible. The character of Tara in particular is a great example. She’s exactly the sort of Christian who runs people off. You can be devout in your faith without beating everyone else over the head with your bible.

The relationship between Mila and Silas in the last chapters somewhat redeemed the story for me. Yet even through her excitement over their future, she still questioned her love for him. After they have sex, she’s suddenly madly in love. While I didn’t agree with their relationship, not as it was written, I enjoyed seeing her happy with him toward the end.

The sudden explosion of Christianity aside, the book held my attention. It’s definitely unlike any teen book I’ve ever read. But reader be warned, there are no happy endings here.

*Disclaimer: The review above is my honest opinion. I received an ARC via NetGalley.

BOOK REVIEW: How I Die (Raised by Monsters) by Lili Black #YAfantasy #bookreview

New school means a new, normal, human life. Or, at least, that’s the plan.

After being hunted by a crazed werewolf, Halie’s paranormal parents have promised her a normal senior year full of all the normal, human high school experiences Halie’s always dreamed of.

At her new school, everything is looking up for Halie. She’s dating the quarterback, her best friend is head of the cheer squad, and no one looks at Halie like she’s a freak. She has everything she ever wanted, so why isn’t she happy?

When a new boy appears in school, Halie takes one look at him and knows he’s trouble. He’s tall, dark, and a vampire. Which means Halie’s not interested. So why do their paths keep crossing? And why does he make her feel flutters when the human boyfriend she thought she wanted just isn’t living up to her expectations?

With Homecoming and a full moon drawing near, can Halie keep her tenuous hold on normal? And does she even want to?

Add to Goodreads

Get it at Amazon

MY REVIEW

5 stars

A fantastic YA fantasy story! It’s a quick read, but the pages are filled with teen drama, romance, and humor. It kept me entertained from page one, and I was sorry to see it end. I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. This was my first time reading anything by Ms. Black, and while this is book 2 in the series, I didn’t feel lost at all.

Halie is a strong-willed young woman. Although she wants to experience all a “normal” high school life could offer, she permits herself to be emotionally and verbally abused by her so-called boyfriend and best friend. She’s so desperate to fit in with humans, she didn’t stop to think that maybe the magical community aren’t the real monsters and humans aren’t as fabulous as she thinks. Her inability to see the truth puts her in harm’s way, even though there are a dashing werewolf and vampire eager to keep her safe.

The story does end on a cliffhanger, but that’s typical of this particular genre.

Overall, a thrilling read that left me wanting more…

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Book Blitz: Meraki by Naomi Kelly #YoungAdult #Fantasy @MagicPenTours

Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book blitz for Meraki: A Syren Story by Naomi Kelly taking place March 8-12, 2021!

Book Details

Title: Meraki: A Syren Story

Series: Syren Stories #1

Author: Naomi Kelly

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy / Enemies-to-Lovers Romance

Release date: May 1, 2020

Publisher: Indie published

Pages: 237


Blurb

Her song is a gift bestowed by the gods; so why does it feel like a curse?

Seventeen-year-old Wren thinks she has just swum away from the greatest threat in the sea. That’s until she finds herself being hauled upon a warlord’s boat. With her life at the mercy of a young, temperamental King, Wren must decide who is her ultimate enemy.

Can Fate be altered? What do gods have planned?

Syrens are bound to tell the truth, but that doesn’t mean their lives cannot be riddled with lies.


PURCHASE NOW!

Amazon / Book Depository


Excerpt

“Flip it. I’ll choose either ‘Face’ or ‘Fin’, if I am wrong then I’ll drink, if I’m right, you drink. Simple.”

I scrunch my nose and examine the coin closely. I don’t know how, but this game feels rigged in his favour.

“Alright,” I say hesitantly, “But if I find out you’re cheating I’ll summon Cerberus to chew you up and spit you out.”

“Can you summon Cerberus?” he asks with an arched brow.

“I haven’t had to try…yet,” I say with a shrug.

He chuckles. It’s a magnificent melody. There is something so wholly mortal about it, and although I wish otherwise, I find myself savouring the sound and remembering it for future use.

It may not be a syren song, but it’s something I wish to practice more of.

“I do not cheat; I just don’t lose,” he informs me.

“You can’t always win.”

I toss the coin high into the air. It gyrates in the candlelight between us, splashing dots of golden light across Kellan’s shadowed face. I catch the coin with both hands.

“Watch me,” he says casually, “It’s fin.”

I unclasp my palms slowly as if I were releasing a dragonfly. I feel his smugness before I even see the coin.

He hands me the refilled cap with a grin, “Best of three?”


About the Author

Naomi Kelly is an indie Irish author who writes YA Fantasy.

She began her writing journey in Sept. 2019 when she released her first book, ‘Trial by Obsidian’.

In May 2020, her most popular book ‘Meraki: A Syren Story,’ was released. The sequel to this captivating mermaid-style ‘tail’ is called Kairos: A Syren Story and it’s releasing in Spring of 2021.

INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | AMAZON

Thanks for stopping by!

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Cover Reveal: Sold to a Wolf Pack by Mia Meade #ParanormalRomance #YoungAdult @XpressoTours

Sold to a Wolf Pack: A Lunaverse Novel
Mia Meade
(Saffron, #1)
Publication date: September 30th 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

My dad sold me to a pack of werewolves to settle his gambling debt.

Sold to a Wolf Pack is a young adult werewolf romance by Mia Harlan, writing as Mia Meade. It is the first of three books in in Saffron’s Lunaverse series. Blurb coming soon.

* * *

“I’m going to count to three,” he growls. He doesn’t have to say the rest. If I haven’t come to him by then, he’ll come to me… and I’ll regret it.

I know this game, and I know there is only one way it can end: with broken bones. If I don’t come to him, his wolf will take over and he’ll make me pay. If I obey, his wolf will still take over, and I’ll still be the one suffering the consequences.

“One,” Logan snaps.

A tear slowly rolls down my cheek and I dig my nails into my palm until they draw blood. More tears join the first and my lower lip trembles. I want Logan to see how much he’s hurting me.

“Two,” Logan counts, gesturing for me to come to him. I know that he’s filled with anticipation. He’s hoping for ‘three,’ craving it.

* * *

Disclaimer: This is NOT a dark romance. All relationships are consensual.

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

Mia Harlan lives in Canada with her husband (who’s definitely Not a Vampire) and their adorably fluffy cat. They recently welcomed a Mini Mortal (a baby girl) into the world and are happy to report she doesn’t have fangs. Mia is a librarian by day and an author by night. She’s been reading romance since she turned thirteen and published her first one in mid-2019. She writes humorous, quirky (and mostly paranormal) reverse harem romance.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon


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Book Blitz: The Wise One by K.T. Anglehart #YoungAdult #Fantasy @kt_anglehart



The Wise One
K.T. Anglehart
(The Scottish Scrolls, #1)
Publication date: October 28th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Mckenna’s never thought much of her nightmares, but on her seventeenth birthday, a vivid dream of burning at the stake awakens her dormant abilities, thrusting her into a world where faeries are real, spirits hold a grudge, and a High Priestess obsessed with a 16th-century prophecy is tracking her every move.

Now, her overprotective dads, Seán and Andre, are forced to tell her the truth—they know who her birth mother is, and her life is not the surrogate story she’s always been told. Abigail, Mckenna’s mom, is some sort of mystic, and Mckenna a Wise One.

Whatever the hell that means.

With the help of a persistent little wren and company of a newfound friend, Mckenna journeys to Ireland in search of her mother and real answers. Along the way, she learns to harness her innate magic and trust her intuition, as best she can anyway—Cillian, a kind and passionate delegate who crosses her path, is proving much harder to read.

Only her mother could truly help her halt her ill fate and prepare her for what’s to come . . . before she gives in to the darkness she knows is buried deep within.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Bruised and battered, the young woman was dragged through the screaming, unruly mob. Her wrists were bound behind her by a rope as thick as the noose she now faced.

“Buidseach! Buidseach!” Witch. Witch.

“Bàsachadh!”

Die.

She halted in front of the noose, unperturbed, for she knew her death would end swiftly. The man who held the end of her rope looked from her calm expression to the noose, and let out a shrill laugh.

“A quick snap of the neck, aye, Bessie girl? You don’t think you’re getting off that easy, do you? Nah, that there isn’t for your kind.”

The ugly man, towering and troll-like, hauled her further on like a rag doll, finally leading her to a pit loaded with broken wood fragments, branches, and logs.

She was going to be burned alive.

In that instant, her body trembled with the fear she had been trying so desperately to conceal. Of dying, no—she knew this life would not be her last, and she was ready to part ways with this physical body. But she would be lying to herself if she said she hadn’t been hoping for a less painful demise.

He tightened the rope from her wrists around the wood banister that stood erect in the centre of the pit, then secured more rope round her ankles. “Spill your guts, now or never, buidseach,” he spat.

The woman scanned the crowd. Foolish, blind, she thought. They had no idea what would become of their Earth. No, she did not regret her actions. And if she had to burn for them, then so be it.

She held her chin up and addressed the spectators. Her voice was steady, knowing. “There will come a day when your fate shall depend upon a witch such as me—and you will beg for mercy.” The crowd cackled and spat back, simultaneously enraged and amused. But no one laughed louder than the troll-man. “Devil-worshipping hag.”

He lowered his torch to the base of the pit, and the flames caught quickly. She watched them crawl towards her boots, but her eyes were forced shut by the rising smoke. In an instant, beads of sweat leaked like rain on her forehead, and her lungs swelled to twice their size.

Just when she hoped she might pass out from the heat, the flames grew larger, now licking the base of her legs. What followed was an acute, unfathomable pain. The flames travelled higher, higher, until they enveloped the lower half of her body—and she could no longer bear the sheer agony of her skin melting away.

 

Author Bio:

Katrina Tortorici Anglehart is a born and bred Italian-Canadian from Montreal. A devoted academic, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism; a graduate certificate in Scriptwriting; and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. After dabbling in TV writing and working as a digital marketing content manager, she left the nine to five to launch her freelance editing and coaching career. Today, she relishes in helping aspiring authors to develop and refine their stories.

Besides English, Katrina speaks French, Italian, and Spanglish. When she’s not writing, diving into magical reads, or Netflixing, she’s travelling with her favourite human–her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, Andy–and obsessing over her pet bunny, Magic, and newly rescued pup, Nessie. Katrina currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Book Blitz: A Shot at Normal by Marisa Reichardt #YoungAdult @youngadultish

A Shot at Normal
Marisa Reichardt
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: February 16th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Marisa Reichardt’s A Shot at Normal is a powerful and timely novel about justice, agency, family, and taking your shot, even when it seems impossible.

Dr. Villapando told me to get a good attorney. He wasn’t serious. But I am. I’m going to sue my parents.

Juniper Jade’s parents are hippies. They didn’t attend the first Woodstock, but they were there for the second one. The Jade family lives an all-organic homeschool lifestyle that means no plastics, no cell phones, and no vaccines. It isn’t exactly normal, but it’s the only thing Juniper has ever known. She doesn’t agree with her parents on everything, but she knows that to be in this family, you’ve got to stick to the rules. That is, until the unthinkable happens.

Juniper contracts the measles and unknowingly passes the disease along, with tragic consequences. She is shell-shocked. Juniper knows she is responsible and feels simultaneously helpless and furious at her parents, and herself.

Now, with the help of Nico, the boy who works at the library and loves movies and may just be more than a friend, Juniper comes to a decision: she is going to get vaccinated. Her parents refuse so Juniper arms herself with a lawyer and prepares for battle. But is waging war for her autonomy worth losing her family? How much is Juniper willing to risk for a shot at normal?

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EXCERPT:

Now that the new school year has started and my parents have reached out to other local homeschoolers to plan field trips, I’m hoping I’ll make some new friends.

Until then, I’ll remain on the outside looking in.

Like this morning, in my room, where I spent from seven forty-fi ve to eight a.m. watching through the window as bright yellow buses pulled up to the curb in front of Playa Bonita High School. The bus doors opened and students spilled onto the sidewalk. Others rode up on bikes and skateboards. The older ones, the juniors and seniors, arrived in cars crammed with passengers, two in the front seat and three in the back. Everyone wore shorts or sundresses, because it’s still the last week of August and the heat of summer hasn’t let go of this town yet.

I could feel that heat in my armpits and the sweat marks collecting along the edges of my tank top when I woke up. I slathered on deodorant from the half- empty mason jar on my dresser like I do every morning. It’s sticky and lumpy and leaves behind a white, oily residue that stains my shirts. I’ve asked my mom for real deodorant. Or at least something from the natural health section at Whole Foods.

“Tapioca starch and coconut oil take care of things fine,” she says. I’m sure that’s not true, because if I notice the stink of my mom’s BO, then surely I have it, too.

The girls at PBHS probably smell like strawberries and freedom. I bet they spent all morning soaking themselves in those scented body washes from that store at the mall that always smells like a fruit stand. I also bet my mom can recite the exact paraben levels in each bottle. Because that store, like the mall itself, is not a place my parents would ever let me spend money.

That’s why those girls across the street are there and I’m here. The chemicals and the toxins and the mercury levels and the melting ozone layer made my parents take a big step back from the real world. Everything from our deodorant to our food to our cleaning products to our furniture is organic. Important things, I know. But there’s such a thing as too much. My parents are rabid in their beliefs.

“Organic isn’t what’s new. It’s what’s old,” my mom says proudly. “We’re original.”

She operates in a rose- colored version of history, which is also why my sister, my brother, and I don’t get vaccinated. This makes us ineligible to enroll in schools in California. Not that I haven’t tried. When we moved, I thought maybe this was finally it. The public high school was right across the street. I’d practically still be at home. I begged to go. But couple the strict California vaccination requirements with the fact that my parents think homeschooling creates lifelong learners as opposed to kids who simply regurgitate multiple- choice information for state tests, and it was easy for them to say no. “We decide what goes into our children’s bodies and minds,” they said. So here I sit at the kitchen table, digging into my putrid pancakes, trying to figure out if selling baled herbs and essential oils this summer made me a better person.

My guess is no.

Author Bio:

Marisa Reichardt is the critically acclaimed author of the YA novels UNDERWATER, AFTERSHOCKS (2020), and A SHOT AT NORMAL (2021). She has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and dual degrees in English & American Literature and Creative Writing from UC San Diego. Before becoming a published author, Marisa worked in academic publications, tutored high school students in writing, and shucked oysters. These days, you can probably find her huddled over her laptop in a coffeehouse or swimming in the ocean.

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BOOK REVIEW: Demon Kissed by H.M. Ward #fantasyromance #youngadult @hmward

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The Valefar boy tricked Ivy Taylor into kissing him, but he took much more than a kiss – he stole her soul and left her within inches of death. By surviving, Ivy is drawn into the conflict between the Martis and the Valefar. The war between these two immortal forces has raged for millennia without distraction. Until now.

Ivy is an anomaly-she is the only person who has ever walked away from a demon kiss alive. Her survival gives her unique and deadly abilities. Too powerful to ignore, Ivy is a threat to both armies. These two ancient enemies will stop at nothing to kill the seventeen-year-old.

Surviving is nothing new for headstrong Ivy, but her survival has never depended on another person before. This time it does. And if she misplaces her trust, she’s dead. To her horror, she starts falling in love at the worst possible time-with the enemy. He appears to be protecting her. But she can’t be certain if he is trying to help her, or help himself to her power. For Ivy, trusting the right person is the difference between love and survival, or a deadly demon kiss. 

MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

I stumbled across this one as recommendation from Amazon, based on previous books I’ve read. I didn’t read the reviews before downloading it, and I’m glad I didn’t since so many said the book was awful.

Good vs Evil will be a common book theme until the world ends. Yes, there are ideas in this one that seem similar to other romance with demons or angels, but not enough for me to say it’s a copy of any other book. It stood on its own and was unique enough to keep me intrigued. Yes, there are errors but even books from large publishers aren’t completely error free. There weren’t that many and it didn’t distract me from the story.

I found Ivy to be an interesting mix of light and dark. She was stronger than she realized. Collin is the bad boy everyone loves and wants to reform. He’s typical in every way, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Then there’s Eric, who is so blinded by his beliefs he struggles to see the truth until it’s nearly too late.

Be warned, it ends on a cliffhanger.

If you want to be entertained for a few hours, and enjoy paranormal young adult romances, give Demon Kissed a try.

*Disclaimer: Neither the publisher nor author requested a review. I purchased/borrowed a copy from Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.