Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bad Bloods ~ ~ Blog Tour, Audio Clip, Review, & Giveaway!

Author: Shannon A. Thompson
Narrator: Jonathan Johns
Length: 5 hours 15 minutes
Series: Bad Bloods, Book 1
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Released: Sep. 12, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn't human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them. Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods' rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona's vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

A. Kelley is from Florida and has been writing fantasy and science fiction adventure stories for all ages since she was old enough to chew on a number two pencil. All her books have adventure, humor, and a little romance because life is dull without them. She doesn’t write graphic sex or gore so your mama would approve but does add a touch of cheeky sass so maybe she wouldn’t. In her spare time she calls in Bigfoot sightings to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are heartily sick of hearing from her.



Narrator Bio

Jonathan Johns is a professional audio book narrator, voice actor and family man.

As an audio book narrator he spends most of his time in front of a microphone spouting written words into Audacity. In his spare time he looks after his daughter Aria. He is currently recording all his audio books in Aria’s bedroom! Jonathan is known for his character work and spends far too much of his time using other characters voices in daily life. He currently has over 20 audio books to his name and has voiced hundreds of characters in them (all with varying degrees of success!). Be it Male, Female, American, British, Elderly, Youthful or anything in between, Jonathan has a voice for you.



HALL WAYS REVIEW: In Bad Bloods: November Rain, readers jump in with main character Serena at the end of a year she's spent in a Bad Bloods detention camp. Readers get the gist of the horrors there, and I get why we needed to move forward from there, but OH HEY, PREQUEL material right here. I really want to know more about that world. Really, I want to know more about all the world in this book as it was a little foggy around the edges for me. This may be more a result of my reading with my ears than the author's actual world-building and writing.  

Speaking of reading with my ears -- the audio book narrator, Jonathan Johns, has a delightful voice and pacing. He handled well the wide range of ages (from light hearted children to gruffer old men) and did an excellent job voicing the emotions of the characters. My only issue was that the story is told from alternating points of view, and I had some trouble distinguishing between the two main characters. Fortunately, readers are told who's narrating at the start of each chapter, but if you are not a careful listener, you will be confused. 

"Like a flame that already flickered away, put out by the streets and only smoke remained. Daniel was a ghost of a person. I simply hadn't seen it before."

Author Shannon Thompson has some great sentences in the story, and she makes use of figurative language without overdoing it, so I think there is a lot to enjoy if you read this book in print, too. In her writing, Thompson has some interesting parallels between fictitious Vendona and the real world we live in. Many of the leaders in Serena's world focus on what makes us different from each other instead of what we have in common. The upcoming elections literally mean life and death to some of the citizens, and because of what makes them different, they are targeted by the government. 

The end of this story. . .ARRRGH. It leaves me with more questions than answers. Instead, what readers get is an abrupt, cliffhanger ending. It's actually a short listen at just five hours, so I would have greatly appreciated just one resolution in the mix. But, on a positive note, the ending leaves a whole lot of potential for the next installment in this duology, November Snow, to be incredibly good. The book is out now but I am going to hold off for the audio book (which I hope is in production now). 

Thank you to Audiobookworm Productions and Clean Teen Publishing for providing me a free audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.   

November Rain Giveaway: Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box

Nov. 19th:

The Audiobookworm

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Crazy Beautiful Reads

Nov. 20th:

Up 'Til Dawn Book Blog

Books, Dreams, Life

What Is That Book About

Nov. 21st:

Chanda Reads

Hall Ways Blog

Nov. 22nd:

Buried Under Books

Jazzy Book Reviews

Nov. 23rd:


Lilly's Book World

Nov. 24th:

Notes from 'Round the Bend

Loves Great Reads

Nov. 25th:

The Book Addict's Reviews

The Book Slayer

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sea of Rust ~ ~ ~ Blog Tour Promo & Audio Clip!


  Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Robot Western
Publisher: Harper Voyager, an imprint of Harper Collins
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 384

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—but not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One resister is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

SEA OF RUST is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A powerfully imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a human-like AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

Praise for Sea of Rust:
Sea of Rust is a forty-megaton cruise missile of a novel - it’ll blow you away and lay waste to your heart. It is the most visceral, relentless, breathtaking work of SF in any medium since Mad Max: Fury Road.”  
— #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill 

“Cargill…effectively takes a grim look at a war-torn future where our nonhuman successors face complex moral dilemmas, exploring what it means to be alive and aware [….]This action-packed adventure raises thought-provoking and philosophical questions.”
   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Innovative worldbuilding, a tight plot, and cinematic action sequences make for an exciting ride through a blasted landscape full of dying robots.”  — Kirkus Reviews
Listen to an audio book sample: 

C. Robert Cargill is the author of Dreams and Shadows and Queen of the Dark Things. He has written for “Ain’t it Cool News” for nearly a decade under the pseudonym Massawyrm, served as a staff writer for Film.com and Hollywood.com, and appeared as the animated character Carlyle on spill.com. He is a co-writer of the horror films “Sinister” (2012) and “Sinister 2” (2015), and the new Benedict Cumberbatch superhero movie, “Dr. Strange” (2016). He lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.


Audio Clip
Author Interview 1
Author Interview 2
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Haven ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Haven by Mary Lindsey
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s use to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Ancient magic and modern society collide in a sexy, spellbinding romance perfect for fans of C.C. Hunter and Maggie Stiefvater that proves sometimes beauty is the beast…

Purchase the Book: 

"Fear makes people crazy. Get enough crazy people together and the insanity makes sense in some bizarre way, and the weaker ones will follow authority, even if it's out of control."

HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪ Having not read the buzz about the book before I started reading it, I enjoyed discovering and uncovering things about Haven alongside the main character, Rain.  I am not sure I even knew there was a paranormal element, but Lindsey quickly built up the feeling that the story was going that direction. Initially, the town of Haven gave me a delicious Harvest Home (Thomas Tryon) vibe, but once the characters were introduced, it moved into a Lost Boys-like feeling and then very Twilight-ishEven though it is not long before the type of paranormal is revealed (no spoilers here), one of the best aspects of Lindsey’s writing is how she sprinkles those hints around like little seeds waiting to grow into a new plot piece.

Main character Rain is a complex character.  He is intelligent and introspective – some of the best dialogue is what he says in his head versus what comes out of his mouth. Even the very simple exchanges amused and enlightened.

“How was school?
Weird as hell. “Good.”

His street smarts give Rain an added dimension – and maybe that’s why I am a little more tolerant of his emotions. Perhaps since he has been starved for love until he gets to Haven, he more easily goes all in with his heart. He survives by trusting his instincts, but he also makes decisions that place him in great danger and values pretty much everyone else’s lives ahead of his own. At times, he is very teenaged boy being ruled by his desire; at other times, he is very adult in assessing what’s going on around him – until he goes teenaged boy again and talks about what’s happening in his pants. And let’s talk about that.

There is a lot of sexual tension in this book, and I think there is a lot of sex. Lindsey (happily) tiptoes around it, but this causes problems for me with the book being YA. As an adult reader, it’s obvious that Rain and Freddie are having sex and it explains Rain’s fierce loyalty and willingness to die for Freddie. (cue the teenaged boy). However, it feels a bit too sexual for readers on the younger end of YA, but it is too tame to be NA, which puts the book in limbo. Rain and Freddie (un)clearly become lovers, but his sometimes sexually aggressive behavior towards Freddie is a little troubling. Without a peek into the bedroom and an understanding of the sexual relationship, readers don’t have the context or possibly the maturity needed to deal with, for example, a male forcefully placing a female's hand upon his crotch.  In this story, it’s treated as an okay thing to do – and for these two lovers, it may have been. In life? Often not. We need context. Too much is implied for some of the sexual scenes to safely work for a young audience.

Of course, I love the Texas town setting and the backdrop of Enchanted Rock, a truly magical, mystical place in its own right. Lindsey’s character and world building are rich and intriguing, and she has some outstanding secondary characters (Petra!!) who make the story pop. And what of the elusive category of characters, the revenants, whose existence are just a cruel tease to the readers?

Haven got me in trouble because it CALLED to me when I needed to be doing other things for other people. It’s well-written, well-edited, and weaves an immersive tale that traps the reader. While the cheesy factor gets a little heavy for me in the last tenth of the book, it’s unfair to call something silly or judge something as unrealistic when we are dealing with fantasy. Anything goes, and Mary Lindsey puts her own definition and stamp on the fascinating people and world of Haven.

*SIDE NOTE: Whoa! What a great decision to change the cover and title of this book from its original – check out my cover reveal post from seven months ago! It was a complete mismatch to the story whereas the new cover and title are perfect.

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for providing me an eBook in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. 

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 "pet" Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the "pet" roaches found a home... somewhere else.

Win a Swag Box including books (not I) and fun stuff.*  A $15 Amazon gift card will be substituted in place of the prize pack if the winner is international.



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