Ascension by Victor Dixen

Ascension (Phobos, #1)

Ascension by Victor Dixen (Goodreads)

 

I didn’t enjoy this. The characterization was inconsistent, the dialogue wasn’t well written and the villains were cheesey.

Had the characterization been consistent, Victor Dixen’s characters would’ve been vivid, rich and well-developed. With improved characterization I would have really enjoyed this and been eager for book too. The characters are quite good, they just needed bringing out so much more.

I had the thought that the villains were written so cheesily so as to develop the idea of the cheesy game show that the book is about. But it was just too much for me and I didn’t enjoy reading it.

In its favour, there is something about this that keeps you reading. I did finish it although towards the end I had to make myself read it. I care about the characters and I want to find out what happens, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the next book.

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The Angel’s Mark by S. W . Perry

The Angel's Mark

The Angel’s Mark (Goodreads)

I only got halfway through this one before giving up on it. It was very slow and the mystery didn’t grab me at all.

However, the writing was very literary and the characters did capture my heart. The feel of the book was very bleak, which to me is a sign of strong writing, as you really felt a part of those historical, hard times. The detail was amazing and the book was clearly well-researched. It just needed a little work on plot.

It’s a shame this didn’t work for me, as the Tudor times are one of my favourite eras, especially when Elizabeth I was on the throne. I would still give this author another chance with a different book, as the writing was beautiful.

The cover is gorgeous and matches the feel of the book well.

Giveaway: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk

Jaclyn and the Beanstalk
Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 4th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

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EXCERPT:

Mother crinkled her nose. “Don’t fret. You’re of marriageable age now. We must think of finding you a husband or your time will pass. I’m only thinking of your future, Jaclyn. I want to see you settled soon. Your father and I are not getting younger.”

“Getting married and bearing children is not for me. There’s much work to be done.”

I slipped my arms around her waist and pressed my head to her back. I inhaled deeply as warmth enveloped me and her love replaced the fright from my nightmares.

Safe. I am safe. No monsters.

“Our life is good here. Why would I want to fix what is not broken?”

“’Tis what we do. People will talk.”

“Let them.”

I scowled, anger boiling through my veins. I tended to not raise my voice, so I softened my tone out of respect.

“I will not be handed to a suitor I do not love.”

Mother patted my arm. “My child, you have much to learn. Love comes later. I did not love your father at first.”

“I will not follow other people’s ways.” Pouting, I shuffled my feet on the dirt.

She released a deep sigh. “Oh, Jaclyn. Your time will come. Everyone has a destiny. Everyone has a story to tell. Some more than others. We shall see what lies ahead for you. Fate will lead you to the path you are meant to take.”

I wished I had eyes for the future. I wanted to know a demon would not seize my soul, and I wanted to see a path without the nighttime cries. They must be monsters. I’d never heard a human throat make such tortured sounds.

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night?

Illness swept through my stomach. A shudder racked me, beginning in my gut, forewarning me.

 

Author Bio:

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Two Spells

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TwoSpells
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures. 
The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway. 
The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated. 
Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland? Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Mark Morrison was born number seven of eight children in a small town in Ohio. His family moved to Florida where he grew up, met an incredible woman, got married and raised four fantastic children, three boys and a girl.

Many years later, an empty nest left him to his true calling, storytelling. His first remarkable story is about a heroine whose courage and unrestrained personality—like his daughter’s—breathes passion and fervor into this adrenaline-packed story.

Mark & Sarah

 

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Giveaway: Identity Break

Identity Break
Stephen H. Provost
Publication date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

How far would you go to find yourself?

Imagine everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out to be a lie, and you didn’t know who was telling the truth. Imagine you possessed a secret so dangerous that, if it were exposed, it would reshape the entire world.

What would you do if that secret were your very identity?

In almost every way, Palo Vista seems like a typical California city, with office buildings, schools, and homes sprawled out across suburbia, filled with families making a life for themselves at the dawn of the new millennium.

But two seniors at Mt. MacMurray High are about to find out that nothing is as it seems…

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Jason Nix in session with Dr. David Stanton, psychiatrist:
He spoke to me in his lecturing tone. “Everyone has a subconscious, Jason. It’s just a matter of accessing it. I’d like to do a little experiment, if you don’t mind.”
I squinted one eye at him. What was he getting at?
“What kind of experiment? I’m not a lab rat.”
“Oh, nothing that will hurt,” he said. “I’d just like for you to go to sleep here in the office for a
few minutes, and we’ll try to discover what’s going on behind that tightly drawn veil of yours. I understand you might be too nervous to sleep, so I’m prepared to help you with a little meditative exercise.”
This time, I was the one who had been taken off guard.
Sleep? In the office? This was the kind of thing you did in a hospital on a couple of weeks’ notice. Not in a doctor’s office on the spur of the moment.
“What kind of bull is this?” I demanded, slapping the good doctor’s precious glass globe against a marble tabletop and watching it shatter.
Amazingly, Stanton didn’t seem to care.
“Come one,” he said in his best attempt at a reassuring tone. “This will be interesting. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and it might even be fun.”
“Fun for whom?” I asked. “For you, sure. For me, this
seems …” I pulled out my mobile phone. “I’m calling my parents.”
I started to dial the number, but Stanton grabbed the phone out of my hand.
“Nice,” I said, doing my best to stay composed.
“Now, we can’t have any of that. Besides, your parents have approved what I have in mind, so
you really don’t have any say in the matter, Jason. Just lie back on the couch and try to relax while we peer inside that incredible little mind of yours.”
The couch. Yeah, Stanton actually had a couch. I had always thought it was another one of his stupid props. No one actually lay down at a therapy session anymore. Did they? And what was this about my parents having the final say? I was of legal age now. Barely, but it counted.
Stanton pushed a button on the intercom on his desk. “I think we’re ready, Ms. Throckmartin. You can come in now.”
My eyes flashed toward the doorway, which opened in a same moment to reveal someone I’d never seen, a woman with a jet-black bowl-shaped head of hair and a dark birthmark just over her right eyebrow. She wore a gray pantsuit and a pair of white gloves that made her look a little like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
To her left was a small man in spectacles – the round-framed glasses I’d seen in pictures of John Lennon – and a white physician’s coat. Under one arm, he carried a tablet computer. He looked like a mole.
I stood and took a step backward.
Directly behind the mole man stood an imposing specimen of humanity even bigger than Haze.
I glared at him. Always challenge the biggest dog first; if you lose, you get it over with quickly. If you win, all the others will fall into line. I don’t know where I’d heard that, but it had always seemed like a damn good way of handling conflicts. If I was intimidated, I wasn’t about to let them know it.
Any of them.
“Allow me to introduce Ms. Throckmartin, Mr. Davey and Mr. Olson. They’ll be assisting us this afternoon.”
My mind flashed back to the football field and my winning touchdown. There was only one door to the room, which wasn’t particularly large, and Mr. Olson – the big dog – stood directly between me and the goal line. He was big, but I surmised that I was faster. A lot faster. I took a step forward and stuck out my hand, imitating Stanton’s plastered-on smile. Reflexively, the mole man took a step forward and extended his own hand. In the moment that he shifted his balance, I grabbed it and pulled him toward me.
His knees buckled and I let go, thrusting both hands firmly against his shoulders and knocking the off-balance mole backward into the surprised big dog. Both went tumbling backward in a heap. I had just a split-second to make it past them, but I knew it would be enough. I ran for the goal line …
And felt my shoulder wrenched back firmly from behind. Arms flailing, I landed flat on my back.
Ms. Throckmartin was staring down at me.
“Don’t worry about them,” she snarled. “Worry about me. Be afraid of me.” Her lips curled up in a menacing, self-satisfied smile.
“Sweet dreams,” she said. Then everything went black.

Author Bio:

Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.

As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (“Fresno Growing Up” and “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street”), novels (“Memortality” and “Identity Break”), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history.

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Book Blitz: Not Her Gargoyle

Not Her Gargoyle
Annie Nicholas
Publication date: June 18th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Ruby is done with jerks, dead-end jobs, and eviction notices. Everyone else she knows is finding ways out of this crappy neighborhood, so why can’t she? Since opportunities refuse to fall from the sky, Ruby makes her own. To hell with the little voice in her heart whispering about love. She never met a man she wanted to keep…then she met a gargoyle. Men were boring after all.

Nick was a con, a thief, and a rogue. He couldn’t keep a dime in his pocket even if it was glued. Then he met a ruby. Not one from the earth but one of flesh and blood. And ass. Let’s not forget the ass. Stealing her heart was now all he wanted.

He has a plan that could make both their dreams come true. It only involves an itsy-bitsy risk. All they must do is rob a witch.

Oh, and avoid the dragons.

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EXCERPT:

A distant dragon roar made Nick miss a wing beat. He swirled out of control for a second and caught his balance. One of them was close and he bet it was Eoin. Masquerading as a human would help Nick avoid recapture. He increased his speed, heading back to the apartment.

Landing on Ruby’s fire escape, he found the window cracked open for him. He smiled at the small gesture of kindness. She was one of the sweetest women. He recalled how fiercely she’d protected her sister from the vampire and himself when they had invaded the apartment. That felt like forever ago. She had been ready to fight them both. Brave and beautiful and kind.

Once more he wondered why she didn’t have a mate.

Nick climbed inside and found her on the couch, feet propped on the coffee table as she watched the evening news. Three empty bottles of beer sat next to the couch.

“Honey, I’m home,” he sang out. He’d always wanted to say that.

She gave him a huge grin and waved him over. “Come sit with me.”

The couch seemed too small for the two of them so he sat on the floor in front of her instead, leaning his back against it.

“Look.” She pointed to the television. “More gargoyles.”

His brothers were on the evening news, flying over the city’s port. “Yeah, I know them.” The dragon would hear about this if he wasn’t already watching. Nick hoped his brothers would lie quiet for a few days so Eoin wouldn’t blast them from the skies.

Ruby draped herself over his shoulders and handed him a beer, rubbing her face on his skin. “You’re very warm.” She snuggled closer between his wings, her arms lazily circling his neck from behind. “Can you shoot flames like the dragons?”

He snorted and took a sip of beer. “No. Are you drunk?” He eyed the bottles. There were only three. Then again, she was much smaller than a gargoyle. Maybe three was all it took.

“Nah, but I’m feeling good.” She sighed and seemed to melt against him. “I had an awful day.”

He reached behind and scratched her scalp with the tips of his claws like he would any family member in distress. He knew from experience that it felt good. He’d had a bad day too. Touching her made him feel better.

She moaned in his ear and it sent shivers down his spine. She bent over his shoulder more, giving him better access to her head. “That feels great.”

He undid the pins holding her hair and allowed it to cascade over his chest before continuing to massage her scalp. “What happened?” She felt so soft and tiny. Delicate like an angel. A brief whiff of her sweet smell and he struggled with the urge to bury his nose into her hair.

“What do you mean?” Her voice was muffled against his skin. Sleepy.

“Why was today so awful?”

“My boss sold the diner. I might be unemployed soon and my landlord is pressuring for rent.”

Nick finished his beer, absentmindedly scratching Ruby’s head. Stalking her boss until he changed his mind on selling the diner would probably end up with the police being called. Killing him was not Nick’s style. “Who’s the new owner?” He moved his hands to her shoulders and gently massaged the knots. Maybe they could be convinced to keep Ruby as an employee.

“The right side is worse than the left. Oh God, right there. Don’t stop.”

Those breathless pleas made him shudder. His wings reflexively expanded. She was setting off instinctual triggers. He breathed through the strong urge to carry her away somewhere dark and secluded. Teach her a thing or two about gargoyle anatomy. The desire to show her exactly how good he was at making women scream grew. The good kind of scream. Not the bad kind. Well, he could make them do that, too.

“I don’t know about the diner. I imagine I’ll meet them soon. My boss says that my job is secure—”

“That’s good news.” He ran long strands of red hair under his nose. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply. So, he didn’t have to beat anyone.

“It is, but it’s also a lie. I’ve been through this before. The shifters are trying to clean up this area. They are building shifter oriented neighborhoods close to here and investors are gobbling up every available building.”

“They are planning to make this neighborhood nicer?” That meant safer. Shifters were territorial and the majority responsible citizens. Any criminals in the area would be smart to move. He scratched his chin. Most shifters didn’t care for his kind.

“Nicer means more expensive. It means my landlord can increase the rent, which means I’m going to have to move just like everyone else.”

This wasn’t the Ruby he remembered. She seemed deflated draped over his body in defeat. “But you could find a better job at one of these new businesses.”

“That’s if I can find a job. The last place I worked was a biker bar. The new owners renovated the place, it became an after-work lounge for hipsters. Then I was fired because I didn’t fit their expectations as a bartender.”

Author Bio:

Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

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Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coley

I would highly recommend Bookshop Girl. It gave me an insight into a world I’ve never experienced myself, and yet it’s familiar enough to enhance your experience so profoundly. I really got into the work life of a young bookseller, partly because of the vivid writing, and partly because I (like many people), have experienced working in retail. But working in retail, with books? OH EM GEE. I loved reading about it. I LOVED reading about a teenager who was super passionate about studies, and who had a job, and you got to see all that. The story was about her actual life, not her romance with that boy, or any other kind of highly plotted storyline. The plot in this book melts into Paige’s life. Another thing I found super refreshing about this book is that Paige isn’t a freak or a geek, and she isn’t a queen bee or a mean girl. She’s one of the majority of kids, who are in the middle of all that. A regular kid. And she is fascinating! I loved the take on protesting, and being proactive (Paige is about as proactive in her life and for her future as it’s possible to be) and I loved how these young girls were going to life classes and reading through Women’s Studies books. This book is amazing. I apologise for the gushing review, but it is my honest opinion. 🙂

5/5

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