Book Review: The Selection (The Selection #1)



For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

BEWARE SPOILERS 

This book really is a mix of "The Hunger Games" and "The Bachelor" and I actually liked it. I know it's not for everyone but it appealed to me. I've read the Hunger Games and it was ok, I liked the first book the best and I've watched a few old episodes of the Bachelor so I guess I can see the appeal in this book. However, my interests in those have decreased over time. I'm not sure how long this series will continue but hopefully no more than 2 more books otherwise I think it would be ridiculous.

The heroine America gets selected to be part of the Selection which is like getting selected to be on the Bachelor. All the girls get selected to have a chance to marry the Prince. I liked America, she's smart and clever but her beauty may have been over-exaggerated. Everyone kept saying how beautiful she was. I get it, geez. >_<;; I liked Aspen for the most part, he's just a guy who wants best for the girl he likes but then does something stupid to ruin it and he regrets it. I wasn't really feeling attracted to Prince Maxon at first because of that but I actually liked him once we got to know him. He seemed like a normal guy but I really expected that he would be more like a pompous, spoiled, only-child, Prince that he was than a normal caring man. The other girls who were in high castes seemed to be spoiled but I guess it's because his mom was raised normally so that the Prince was raised more with care. Either that or he was severely sheltered, I mean seriously, he's never had a friend before? haha The author never really goes into the relationship with Maxon's parents to help clarify why he was caring instead of spoiled.

Book Review: The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.
Minor Spoilers

A worthy sequel to The Swan Prince, I found this story as riveting as the first book. Again, the same complaint with the first book was that it was too short! As mentioned in the first review I feel Shipley does a wonderful job writing in a lyrical, fairytale manner. I do feel that the ending was rushed and cut short. I would have loved to see how things played out to the end. Instead the author cuts things short. Nice and clean I suppose but left me wanting more and wondering what happened to the characters afterwards.

I think Shipley did a wonderful job at pacing the romance this time around. Instead of the typical insta-love, the author carries the romance in a logical manner. It was still a bit fast but much better considering it's still a fairly quick read. Well done!

Book Promo: Empath Blog Tour by Becca Campbell




Empath Purchase Links

During the Empath Blog Tour (September 16th - October 20th), the first book in the Flawed series will be on sale for a discounted price of $0.99. Grab it for cheap while you can!


 
Author Bio


Becca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to RealityNew Adult Romantic Paranormal Thriller Empath (The Flawed Series #1), and  Sub-Normal, a series of Science Fiction short stories.

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.


 
Empath (Flawed Book One)

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.


   
Blog Tour Schedule

Book Review: Empath (Flawed #1)

Empath eBook cover SM
Where to find Empath:
During the Empath Blog Tour (September 16th - October 20th), the first book in the Flawed series will be on sale for a discounted price of .99.
Grab it for cheap while you can!
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.

Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.

When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.

Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.
NO SPOILERS

I was lucky enough to recieve an ARC for Empath. The thing is that I've never read anything by Becca Campbell before. I only knew her from Junowrimo where she is the co-creator where I joined the event last minute and it was a lot of fun. I was curious about her stories as Becca already had written a half dozen of other novels. When she opened up requests to review ARCs I jumped on the chance which led me to Empath.

Ok enough of the back history, let's get to the review! Overall I enjoyed it a lot! Becca has an amazing way of keeping you hooked throughout the story which is great! Since I don't have an e-reader I have to read the story on my computer screen which can be a hassle and sometimes I can't sit still long enough to read the book than if I had a printed version but I found myself not wanting to stop. When I did stop I found that I could easily pick up back where I left off without any problems. Sometimes when I read and stop I have trouble picking the story back up but Becca's style of writing left me without that problem. Overall, her pacing and complexity of the story are wonderful!

Book Promo: Render by Stephanie Fleshman - Excerpt

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Render: An Excerpt


I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in.

Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back.

“You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear.

Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know.

“Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch.

“Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously.

Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that.

She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home.

“How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes.

I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.”

This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.”

I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now.

“It suits you.”

I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?”

“Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.”

“Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.”

Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body.

I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us.

“I wasn’t finished,” I say.

I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.”

“Wait?” I mutter against her lips.

I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts.

“I got your note,” she says.

When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now.

I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all?  Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?”

Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.”

“You don’t need words for that.”
 
 



About the Author:


Stephanie Fleshman grew up near the border of Virginia, in a rural town of about 4,000 with her four siblings.  She has always had a passion for traveling and learning about other cultures, and she will go just about anywhere at any given time.  Her dream was to become a psychologist, and so she majored in psychology, which led to working as a medical tech (of course) in Naples, Florida. Somehow that led to writing, something that she had never before considered (otherwise she might have majored in Literature, instead…but probably not).  Now, with a series in progress, there’s nothing  more that she would rather do than write.


About Render


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Koldan Holdt knows what he wants.  The problem is his future was decided the day he was born—a future void of everything he has ever known.

Days before summer vacation, Koldan’s grandfather suddenly dies, leaving the consequences that have followed him since he fled his country to fall to Koldan.  As he learns about his new fate, he must accept the terms to which he is bound and live without the one person he wants, or remain true to who he is and risk both their lives repeating the choice his grandfather made.

Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan…until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives.  While she is not willing to give up without a fight,  she knows it is a deadly game to stay together.
   


Giveaway

Render Tour Badge 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! 

 To win the prizes:
  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.
About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving... Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan--until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Book Promo: Render by Stephanie Fleshman - Author Interview

Please enjoy this interview with Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.


An Interview with Stephanie Fleshman
Author of YA Paranormal Novel, Render

1. How do your experiences traveling and growing up in a rural town help you to write? Traveling has always stimulated the passion I have for learning other cultures. Render definitely depicts that, since I bring so many other cultures into the story.

 2. You are among many new authors who went to a post-secondary school for something completely different from writing. How does your degree in psychology play a role in your writing? Psychology is the study of human behavior, so that has definitely helped to create multi-dimensional characters.  

Book Promo: Render by Stephanie Fleshman - Guest Post

Please enjoy this guest post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.


The 5 Guys You'll Meet in YA Fiction: 
A Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman 
  
According to GalleyCat, YA eBook revenues increased 120.9% last year. The great news is whatever YA male character types keep you reading, it's unlikely you'll run out of books anytime soon. After a while contemplating my favorite YA reads, I noticed a pattern when it came to the male heroes in these stories. Without further ado, here's a run-down of the 5 guys you're likely to meet when reading a Young Adult novel... 

Guy #1: The Broken and Vulnerable
When I think of broken, I think of Josh from Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy. The sad thing about Josh is that he knows he’s broken but blames himself instead of the person at fault. When I think of vulnerable, two characters come to mind: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Wake series. Cabel is doused with gasoline, then set on fire by his alcoholic father. He wants to be loved, yet is scared. What makes him strong in a not-in-your-face kind of way is that he wants to love. His lack of resentment and hate is what makes him attractive. 

Guy #2: The Abusive
In Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End, Cole is the product of “like father, like son.” In Swati Avasthi’s YA novel Split, however, Jace is the product of being victimized by his own abuser. Unlike Cole, Jace is capable of remorse and guilt. He not only owns up to his actions, but he wants to pay for them. By comparison, Jace makes Cole look like a sociopath.   


Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)


Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

BEWARE SPOILERS 

I kind of had higher expectations for this book since it was highly rated and I really liked the summary on the inside cover. I loved the idea of a female artist sketching what she sees, be it real or not because I could relate as an artist as well (sketchbooks ftw!). The author did an excellent job describing what it's like to sketch fluidly. :)

The main character, Karou is strong and I like that she's independent and for the most part able to take care of herself. However, she's kept in the dark about her heritage and for ridiculous reasons. I find it terribly annoying when parent's/people think that hiding the truth seems to protect the person when it's their protecting (and hiding secrets) that seems to get them into trouble. That is what happens in this case where it would have been better to just tell the truth from the start.

The beginning started off strong but it just kind of went all over the place as it went on. There were flash backs which kind of threw me off as there was a lot that needed to be clarified that wasn't explained along the way. They were clean breaks, but still kind of annoying. I was able to predict who Karou was early on. The author didn't leave too much mystery about that. I was kind of hoping that Karou was a descendent of forbidden love of an Angel and a Chimera, which I know is kind of stereotypical but still fun.