THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE by Tehmina Khan is a story collection featuring characters who are usually ignoredin modern literature. It’s a MUST READ!

Title: THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE

Author: TEHMINA KHAN

Genre: FICTION, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, LGBTQ, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, DIVERSITY, CANADIAN LITERATURE

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: MAWENZI HOUSE

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988449-14-2

Price: $20.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto.

“Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber.

In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.

“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi.

“Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind.

“The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.

These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

MY REVIEW:

I am aware that the stories contained within this wonderfully written collection are fiction, but it is all too easy to see that they contain at least a degree of truth.

First-time author TEHMINA KHAN has crafted tales that are so believable that you will find yourself wondering if some of them are actually non-fiction. This is the mark of a truly talented writer.

In the story, BORN ON THE FIRST OF JULY, parents of a Canadian born young woman are shocked when she leaves to join ISIS. They “…become news junkies… [and] scour the internet for news on ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.” “For us, she dies again and again. She is reborn again and again. There is nothing as cruel as hope.” She has taken a topic that is taboo and somehow made it relatable. Great job!

All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully written and will entrance the reader. This book was impossible to put down and I found myself thinking about each of the tales, long after I finished reading them.

Tehmina Khan has given a voice to those people whom modern day literature shuns and ignores. From transgender youth to Muslim women, readers are sure to read about characters they might otherwise never encounter. It is story collections like this one that are necessary now more than ever before.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it. Tehmina Khan may be new to the publishing world, but I am sure we will be hearing more about her in the near future.

*Thank you to Mawenzi House Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tehmina Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and holds degrees from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis.

She has her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a cat. She is currently working on a novel.

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Our focus is on works that can loosely be termed “multicultural” and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. We publish 6-8 titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year.

Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women’s poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women’s fiction.

HISTORY

In 1981, a group of young people, who had been in North America for just over a decade, decided to take the plunge and start the magazine they had always dreamed about as students, at a time in which Naipaul had to be ordered from bookstores, let alone Narayan or Ngugi or Soyinka. The result was The Toronto South Asian Review, which later became the much broader-based The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad and helped entrench a generation of new writers. As an offshoot of this literary magazine, in 1985 TSAR Publications published its first title, a book of essays on South Asian Canadian literature, followed by a book of poetry by Sri Lankan Canadian Rienzi Crusz. Mawenzi House finally emerged, a uniquely diverse and knowledgeable publishing house based in Canada. (“Mawenzi” is the name of the second peak of Kilimanjaro.)

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***This book is part of my #2018AtoZChallenge on Ginger Mom’s Blog***

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AIRWOMAN by ZARA QUENTIN is Book One in an amazing new YA Sci-Fi Fantasy Series that everyone should read.

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Title: AIRWOMAN

Series: BOOK ONE of the AIRWOMAN SERIES

Author: ZARA QUENTIN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 340 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9954048-0-9 (SOFTCOVER)

ISBN: 978-0-9954048-1-6 (KINDLE)

Price: $15.00 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $2.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A father murdered by magic. A daughter’s cosmic quest for clues could make her the next victim…

Jade Gariq dreams of a new calling. While she wishes she could join the elite force that protects her home world from interdimensional threats, she’s stuck working for the family business. But everything changes when her father is found dead with traces of magic on him… magic that should only belong to the mythical Dragon-Gods…

To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends stand in her way of the truth. It’ll take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, but can she avoid his fate?

Airwoman is a high-flying YA fantasy novel set in a stunning new Dragonverse. If you like fascinating worlds, memorable characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventure.

MY REVIEW:

Once in a while, you read a book and immediately see the potential for a vast number of books to come from that book. AIRWOMAN is one such book.

Zara Quentin has penned a science fiction novel that introduces readers to a whole new race of beings – those who protect the Dragonverse.

The story centers on eighteen year old Jade. She is the heir to her father’s vast trading company that is the biggest and best company in all of Taraqua.

Jade’s father wants her to take over the company, but she has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force – the elite Taraqans who travel between worlds and who protect those world’s from the beasts that live in between them.

It is a struggle that many teens will identify with. Jade’s desire to please her parents wars with her own wants and desires. It is part of growing up to decide what to do with your life.

Of course, as often happens in real life, circumstances beyond Jade’s control seem to take away her choices. Her father is murdered and has named her as his heir.

Jade vows to bring her father’s murderer to justice and when all evidence points to the guilt of the man she is secretly in love with, Jade must decide what she will do.

With lots of action, a dash of romance, world-building that is as creative as it believable, deftly created credible characters, and a plot that cannot help but suck you in, AIRWOMAN by Zara Quentin is a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy book that will leave you begging for the release of the next book in the series.

The only thing I would change about this book is the cover. I think it is a bit harsh looking. The head and face of Jade make her seem evil, rather than as the heroic character she strives to become. However, I am not going to “judge a book by its cover” since it is really the story that matters. However, I believe with a revamped cover, this book would sell more copies.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars in the Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy category and I believe that with the right marketing, this book could easily become a Bestseller. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*I wish to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of this book and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series and to follow Jade on more exciting adventures.

**All opinions expressed in my review are 100% honest. Although I received the book free of charge, this fact in no way affected the rating I have given this book.**

To read the first three chapters of AIRWOMAN for free, head over to the author’s website and sign up for her newsletter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.

She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination. After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia.

Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.

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SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS by Alisha Sevigny is the Young Adult equivalent to a Nicholas Sparks book. It is the perfect beach read.

Title: SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS

Author: ALISHA SEVIGNY

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT, ENVIRONMENTAL

Length: 264 PAGES

Publisher: KIDS CAN PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

Ages: 14 – 18

Grades: 9 – 12

ISBN: 978-1-77138-929-7 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0043-1 (Paperback)

Price: $17.99 USD / $18.99 CDN (Hardcover)

Price: $10.99 USD / $12.99 CDN (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Julia is so ready for summer. Now that her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, all she wants to do is enjoy peak season at the lakeside campground her family owns.

Then Julia’s Mom completely blindsided her: a wealthy developer thinks their campground property is the perfect spot for a casino. They have to consider the offer, Julia’s Mom says, because of their crushing medical bills.

Leave the lake? The only home she’s ever known? Heartbroken and afraid, Julia takes her telescope down to the dock one night, seeking solace in the stars.

That’s when she has a chance encounter with Nick, a hot guy who offers some surprisingly sage advice.

Too bad this guitar-strumming stranger is the developer’s son…

As plans for the sale move forward, Julia is desperate to find a way out. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his family’s business. Together, he promises, they can save the campground.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever trust him with her heart?

MY REVIEW:

The cover for this wonderful young adult novel evokes thoughts of warm summer nights and burgeoning young love. The cover is 100% perfect for this story.

Poor Julia. In the first chapter alone we discover that just after graduating from high school, her best friend is leaving for the entire summer. Add to that the fact the guy she’s had a crush on since age twelve,and with whom she had gotten close the summer before, has arrived at the campground with his gorgeous new girlfriend in tow. Pile that on top of the fact that she’s worried about her nine year old brother Caleb’s health since he is recovering from a serious bout of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. In fact, it had been so serious that Caleb had spent months hooked up to machines and tubes. And, worst of all, because of their outrageous medical bills, her mother is seriously considering selling their family campground to a developer who wants to erect a casino on the site. All in all, Julia is having a really crappy week.

As Julia seeks comfort from the stars, readers will start to realize just how amazing and special the campground property is.

If you have never been so far into the wilderness that there was no light pollution at all, you are missing out on an incredible experience. Those of us who have been there, will recognize the author’s authenticity. It is impossible to fake a proper description of the vastness of the summer sky at night if you’ve never seen it with your own eyes. This setting is the perfect place for romance to bloom.

The characters are three dimensional and have real world problems. Yes, there is a rich boy, but the main character is a normal girl.

Although the storyline is not rocket-science, it isn’t supposed to be. This is a feel good tale about overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you, with a side of young love that will have teen readers sighing with anticipation and older readers looking back at that time in their lives with nostalgia.

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and recommend it to readers looking for a book that can be read in a single weekend or for the perfect vacation or beach read.

**I received a free copy of this book from the author.**

My favorite quote from SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS:

“A book always has value, even when it is old and worn.”

*** Alisha is also the author of KISSING FROGS which she discusses in the following video:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alisha Sevigny holds a degree in Professional Writing and Sociology from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent and hot yoga lover. A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a trip to Panama she fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog and was inspired to write her first Young Adult novel, KISSING FROGS.

Her second book, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is about a young woman fighting to save her family campground while trying not to fall in love, comes out May 1, 2018 with KCP Loft.

Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, Alisha has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. She now lives in Toronto with her family.

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ALL INCLUSIVE by Farzana Doctor is a phenomenal read.

Title: ALL INCLUSIVE

Author: FARZANA DOCTOR

Genre: FICTION

Length: 294 PAGES

Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Release Date: 2015

ISBN: 9781459731813

Price: $22.99 CDN (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget.

What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of having to see them again.

Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and why he disappeared. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her, and they both must come to terms with the reason why he abandoned her.

A moving new work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor, All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and death, and reminds us that love is neither easily lost nor found.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

MY REVIEW:

ALL INCLUSIVE was released in 2015 and won the Kobo Best Book of the Year — Canadian Favourites Category; a wonderful achievement.

Canadian author Farzana Doctor also won the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015. Upon reading ALL INCLUSIVE, I can certainly see why it won so many awards.

The subject matter of ALL INCLUSIVE firmly places it in 18+ readership category.

The main character is Ameera who has a white mother and a Middle Eastern father, a father she has never met and knows almost nothing about.

The narration of the tale swaps between two points of view. One is Ameera’s and the other is that of her father, Azeez.

Despite never having met, Ameera and Azeez are connected. Ameera decides to search for him at the same time as he begins to search for her.

The main story is about Ameera and her job at an All-inclusive resort. Someone is trying to sabotage her and the promotion she thought she had in the bag.

While trying to figure out who is out to get her and why, there is an entire other story happening which is just as complicated as the main storyline, maybe even more so.

With vividly realistic characters and descriptions that will paint brilliant pictures in the reader’s mind, ALL INCLUSIVE is a delightful read. Readers will feel immersed in the story and feel sad when the book ends – they will not want to stop reading. It’s a good thing that Farzana Doctor has more books available because I do not believe it is possible after reading this book to not become an instant fan of hers. I know that I for one am hooked. I plan to read her novel SIX METRES OF PAVEMENT next.

I rate ALL INCLUSIVE as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

FARZANA DOCTOR was the WINNER of the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015.

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award.

Farzana is one of CBC BooksTen Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now and the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant.

She co-curates the Brockton Writers Series and lives in Toronto.

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5 Stars for Melanie Karsak’s Steampunk short story: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST

Subtitle: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story

Author: MELANIE KARSAK

Genre: FICTION, SCI-FI, CHRISTMAS, STEAMPUNK

Length: 41 PAGES

Publisher: CLOCKPUNK PRESS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2014

ASIN: B00RA6ZA1Q

Price: $1.02 on Amazon

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

The main character is a young woman named Lily. She is the captain of the airship “Stargazer.” Lily has entered the Yuletide Airship Race ever since she was young, and last year she had almost won. This year – 1820 – Lily was determined to win.

Lily would never admit it to anyone, but she is lonely and Christmas being the next day amplified her loneliness.

Will Lily finally be able to beat out all the other airship captains? And what will she do about her loneliness?

Melanie Karsak’s world-building is superb. The Steampunk version of London where the story takes place is highlighted by vivid imagery.

What a gift! Melanie Karsak has the ability to describe a scene so well that you can visualize it easily in your mind. For example:

The rooftops were covered with a powdering of crystalline snow. The gaslamp light made everything sparkle. The waves on the Thames twinkled with golden light.”

I rate this short story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I highly recommend this wonderful Steampunk Christmas tale.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this story.

To sign up to Melanie Karsak’s Newsletter, click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series.

She is a steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne.

Melanie currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.

She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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DADDY DARKEST by ELLERY KANE is a dark & twisted YA thriller worthy of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: DADDY DARKEST

Series: BOOK ONE OF THE DOCTORS OF DARKNESS SERIES

Author: ELLERY KANE

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 358 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780692880968

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I wish my first plane ride had ended in a crash. An unforeseen plunge to Earth. A few minutes of white-hot terror, followed by a rising ball of fire. And no survivors.”

Samantha is a small town girl who just graduated from high school. She has her entire future ahead of her and she can’t wait. Her best friend, Ginny surprises her with a weekend in San Francisco.

Samantha knows her Mom would not approve so she waits until she is already on the plane before answering her mother’s texts and calls.

Samantha and Ginny may be best friends, but they are polar opposites of each other (except in physical appearance since they look so much alike, they could be sisters.

Samantha is quiet. Ginny is loud. Samantha does not like to flirt. Ginny seems to have learned to flirt in the womb. Samantha is careful, Ginny is not. Ginny likes to go with the flow, Samantha would rather have a plan. But, despite their differences, or maybe because of them, they compliment each other and their trust in each other is complete.

What neither of the girls know is that the amazing and fun weekend they’d planned is about to turn into a nightmare. One in which Samantha will discover that everything she thought she knew about her life, has been a lie.

Fast paced, heart-thumping action that will appeal to her new target readership of Young Adults and will not disappoint her adult fanbase.

This book, however, should come with a warning and could be a trigger for survivors of violent crime; including, but not limited to, stalking, mugging, domestic violence and especially to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I enjoyed most every part of this book and am glad author Ellery Kane has chosen to bring the issue of childhood sexual abuse into the light. She has included a description of one of the ways that pedophiles groom their victims. I believe this is important. The more information that is distributed to people, the less likely they or their loved ones will fall victim to this type of crime.

Tackling a sensitive subject while crafting an unforgettable thriller could not have been easy, but Ellery Kane has done exactly that. It is for that reason that I chose to rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers. An avid short story writer as a teenager, Ellery recently began writing for enjoyment again, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Ellery’s debut novel, Legacy, has received several awards, including winning the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, young adult, e-book category, and the Gold Medal in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards, teenage category. In 2016, Ellery was selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

To learn more about Ellery Kane, visit the following links:

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PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW: A Novella of Ghosts by GWENDOLYN KISTE will challenge everything you thought you knew about ghosts. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW

Author: GWENDOLYN KISTE

Genre: URBAN FANTASY, ADULT FICTION

Length: 94 PAGES

Publisher: BROKEN EYE BOOKS

Release Date: NOVEMBER 28, 2017

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW: A Novella of Ghosts

New weird urban fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste, follows the (after)lives and times of five ghosts and their haunts, combining contemporary fairy tale and urban legend in a story that shows that being dead isn’t always a bed of roses.

Releases November 28, 2017, from Broken Eye Books.

Mary, Mary: Always hitchhiking the same lonely highway, she calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her as Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to the same decrepit, nowhere mansion, she’s always got her sisters.

Call her name three times, and Bloody Mary appears. In the poisoned garden, Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary. Downstairs, Mary Mack, forever building her own coffin. And brooding with her horse skull, the restless Mari Lwyd.

They are the Marys, embodiments of urban legend and what goes bump in the night, every child’s nightmare. But as the walls between their realities start to crack, the shadows threaten oblivion. To save herself and her sisters, Rhee must unravel who the Marys are before the darkness claims them.

MY REVIEW:

In a dilapidated country house with “… trim around the windows the shade of old urine, the faded stonework as dejected as first love” resides a very unusual family.”

“We’re a house brimming with Mary’s, the mortar bursting at the seams with urban legends and deranged nursery rhymes. We don’t know how we got here, and we don’t know how to leave.”

Thrust together in an afterlife that not a single one of them asked for, are five women, all named Mary.

Each Mary is a ghost and each has their own mystique. For example, most readers have heard of the legend of Bloody Mary and that if you look into a mirror and say “BLOODY MARY” three times, she will appear; dripping blood.

Each night the Marys separate and head out to haunt people in the style required by their respective legends.

The Marys return home after haunting each night, they gather together around the dining room table and share the night’s adventures, just like families everywhere sit together at their kitchen table for supper every night.

The Marys are reasonably happy – as happy as five dead women can be, but their happiness won’t last much longer. Something is coming for them and unless they find a way to fight it, they are doomed to an existence where no one can see or hear them – a fate much worse than death.

The storyline is spectacular. Although this novella is only 94 pages long, or perhaps because of its length, no unnecessary scenes are included. This means the action is non-stop and readers will not want to put this book down – they will feel compelled to find out what happens next.

The author has done a superior job of character development and it becomes impossible for the reader to feel negatively toward the Marys. In fact, they become sympathetic characters. Readers will be rooting for the Marys. It may seem strange to empathize with a ghost, but you will understand when you read this book.

Those who enjoy tales of ghosts and of unrequited love will enjoy this book.

I rate PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

QUOTES:

“… he looks real now. Real and wicked as heartache.”

“… leans in close, and I taste his breath, all jagged ice and coffin dirt and winters that never end.”

**Thank you to Broken Eye Books for providing me with a free copy of this novella.**

COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR:

“Folklore and fairy tales have always been a huge inspiration for me, both for their whimsy and their remarkably dark underpinnings. As a horror writer, there’s nothing as familiar and unsettling as many of the original fairy tales most of us grew up reading.”

“In that vein, Pretty Marys All in a Row started from a conversation I had with my husband, who is a fellow devotee of folklore. He and I went through all the Marys who appear in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and other legends. It’s astounding when you list them all, how often the name appears in different incarnations (ditto for the Jacks, though he’ll have to wait for another story).

“That conversation led me to a series of questions that immediately unnerved me. What if these Marys know they’re storybook legends—and what if they want no part of it? If the choice to be in our folklore was never theirs to make, then what if we’re perpetuating their torment by continually retelling these tales? And if the Marys, like Resurrection Mary and Bloody Mary in particular, are the embodiment of nightmares, then what kind of powerful force controls the nightmares? That last question terrified me most of all—the notion of something else, something unknown to them, controlling the Marys—and from there, Pretty Marys All in a Row was born.”

“Ultimately, the story became one about loss and identity and finding yourself and your home and family, even when all other choices have been ripped away from you. To have Pretty Marys join the incredible roster of releases at Broken Eye Books is beyond thrilling and humbling. This is a journey that’s been a wonderful one to take as a writer, and I hope that readers feel the same way.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction author based in Pennsylvania. Her short stories have appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone, Black Static, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among other outlets.

Her debut fiction collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, is available now from JournalStone.

You can find out more about her online at the following Links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

______________________________

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Broken Eye Books is an independent press, here to bring you the odd, strange, and offbeat side of speculative fiction.

Their stories tend to blend genres, highlighting the weird and blurring boundaries with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.

More information can be found at the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Today is the cover reveal for Something Just Like This by Tracy Krimmer. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Something Just Like ThisSomething Just Like This

By Tracy Krimmer

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Age category: Adult

Release Date: February 14, 2018

 

Blurb:

Love? Second chances? That crap is for romantics, not realists like Juliette. She has a bad attitude about love and an even worse one when it comes to second chances. And she may dress like an elf for a few weeks out of the year, but that doesn’t mean she loves Christmas.

Stability? Purpose? Landon is surfing a pleasant wave of both until he’s fired. Devastating news from his sister certainly doesn’t help. At least he has the holidays to look forward to.

When Landon shows up at the mall and Juliette prevents a disaster, he can’t stop thinking about that sweet elf. Juliette doesn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas, but she can’t help but wonder why Landon was in her line that day. Could Landon deserve one of those second chances she’s so unwilling to give?

 

You can find Something Just Like This on Goodreads

You can pre-order Something Just Like This on Amazon for only $2.99 through February 15.

It will be available in Kindle Unlimited after release day.

 

Excerpt Something Just Like This by Tracy Krimmer

“Don’t be a Grinch!”

“Huh?” I lift my gaze and my best friend and co-worker Carly stands in the doorway, the smile so bright on her face it almost blinds me. “What do you mean don’t be a Grinch?”

“Oh, you know,” she says as she makes her way into the room, planting herself in my chair. “Like you are every holiday season.”

“I’m not a Grinch.” Maybe I am. I try my best not to show it. It’s possible I don’t have a convincing poker face. Poker was never my game, anyway.

“You most certainly are. Every Christmas party you sulk at the table drinking gin and tonic and refuse to join in on anything. This year, you are in. You’ll be the life of the party.”

“Over my dead body.”

“Shit, Jules, your stiff body would be a better time than you are alive at these functions.”

She’s right, and I know it. Why is she always right? I want to take offense but it’s no secret I’m not Christmas’s biggest fan. I may be the only elf working at the mall that despises it. The elf job isn’t for me, though. I do it for others. That’s festive, isn’t it? Isn’t Christmas about giving? I do plenty of that.

“Leave me alone. And why are you so bubbly? Did you drink a bottle of bubble bath or something?” I grab the container of pens, staples, and paperclips out of the box and place them on the desk. This is much easier to deal with than the picture of my family with our fake smiles.

“Oh, I don’t know.”

She dots her face with her fingertips, moving them around from one side to the other. Why is she acting so weird? “Wait.” I stop when I see it. “Are you wearing an engagement ring?”

She squeals and pops out of the chair, rushing over to show me. Her hand misses smacking me in the face as she shows off her princess cut ring, sparkles and all. “Pretty.”

“Pretty? Are you kidding me right now, Jules? This ring is gorgeous and fit for the fairest princess in the land.”

“Which is you, I assume.”

“What crawled into your pants this morning? Or should I ask who didn’t? Another bad date, huh?”

I shrug, not in the mood to discuss my date with Romeo. No joke. My cousin Dana claimed she found the perfect guy for me, and I said yes to a blind date. His name was Romy, like Mira Sorvino in that movie Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion. I’d only ever heard the name Romy from that movie. It turned out he used Romy as a nickname for Romeo. Yeah. Dana set me up with a Romeo because of course we’d be Romeo and Juliette. Barf. I don’t even spell my name like the Shakespearean character, and the last thing I would ever do is poison myself over a man. Dana had her fun. I did not. She’s never setting me up again.

“Let’s say I got home very early, watched an entire movie, and was asleep by ten.”

“Ouch. That is a bad date.”

 

Tracy KrimmerAbout the Author:

Tracy Krimmer loves coffee, popcorn, Drew Barrymore, and the movie Saving Silverman. She enjoys reading great books (of course) and writing realistic characters for you to enjoy. When she listens to music she prefers the 80s and 90s music she grew up on. In a typical day you’ll find her writing at one of her favorite spots–on the couch, at the kitchen table, or at her favorite hometown coffee shop.

You can find and contact Tracy here:

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Giveaway

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Something Just Like This. One winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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This Blog Tour is being run by LOLA’S BLOG TOURS

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THE DENOUNCED is the beginning of a new YA Dystopian Trilogy that is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Title: THE DENOUNCED – A GREY SUN

Series: THE DENOUNCED – BOOK ONE

Author: S.J. SHERWOOD

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED – To find out why this author chose to self-publish, read his explanation HERE.

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-9997929-0-9

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever.

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

MY REVIEW:

“In less than an hour my life will end.”

Thus begins THE GREY SUN, the first book in THE DENOUNCED TRILOGY.

I dare anyone to read that opening line and not be drawn into this book.

Who is this person that will die within an hour? What is happening? How does the person know he or she is going to die? Is this person a male or a female? How old are they? What is the reason they are going to die? Are they sick? How are they going to die? Is it a natural death? Is it murder? Who is going to kill him/her? Why? How does he/she know they are going to die? How do they know when they are going to die?

All these questions flash through the readers mind, and all of them (and more) are prompted from a sentence containing a mere nine words.

As we read a bit further, some of our questions begin to be answered, but each answer only spawns more questions, piques more curiosity and sucks the reader further into the story. The ability to achieve this is the mark of a talented author.

I love books that draw my attention immediately, and more importantly, are able to maintain my attention page after page. THE GREY SUN does exactly that.

It is difficult to believe that this is author S.J. Sherwood’s first ever attempt at writing Young Adult Fiction. He writes with the perfect voice for young adult audiences. In fact, if you were unaware of the above fact, you would think he has been writing fiction for teens for years.

Sixteen year old Ned is a character that will appeal to both teenage boys and teen girls. The guys will look up to him as a smart, tough protagonist that they would want to be friends with, young women will also look up to him, but they will also want him to be their new book-boyfriend.

How can a normal, red-blooded young woman not want to soothe Ned’s tortured soul and show him that he doesn’t need to be alone in the world any more? Add to that the fact that he would make an awesome protector and is both intelligent and resourceful, and you have the perfect recipe for a YA heartthrob.

Don’t let what I wrote above to take anything away from the story itself. Yes, Ned is “hot,” but that is only one tiny part of this tale.

The Dystopian world that S.J. Sherwood has imagined is revealed in small snippets and readers learn about Ned’s world as he learns about it. Although there is a resolution at the end of this book, there are also many unanswered questions which I am excited to find out the answers to. For some reason I do not feel cheated, even though I did not receive all the answers. Leaving questions unanswered without angering your readers is a difficult task to achieve, but this author somehow makes it seem easy.

I have read literally hundreds of Dystopian novels, for both Young Adult and Adult readers and this reality that S.J. Sherwood has created is one I will not forget. I think that part of the reason why I feel this way is because there is still so much to learn about Ned’s world. The possibilities are endless. I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you enjoyed A GREY SUN – BOOK ONE of the DENOUNCED SERIES, you need to add SHIFTING HORIZONS to your watch list as it is the soon-to-be-released as the second thrilling instalment of this wickedly interesting Young Adult Dystopian series.

*** Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

QUOTES:

“It’s dangerous to let yourself dream when you’re in the System.”

“People will either come to you or they don’t, and if they don’t, you generally don’t want them anyway.”

“… I have to do something that I’m not good at, that I think none of us are good at, which is to work together. Be a team.”

“In the few days of being here, we’ve already become brainwashed … You start to become what they impose upon you. I have a natural urge to rebel against it … I ache so badly to be free.”

“Freedom is something you don’t dare talk about when you’re in the System.”

ABOUT THE REST OF THE DENOUNCED TRILOGY:

Book Two will be titled SHIFTING HORIZONS.

Pod Fifteen has escaped to an unknown Quadrant. Who do they trust and where do they go next?

If the rumours are true, thousands of orphans are heading toward Ilse’s trap. If Ned and the rest of Pod Fifteen are to save the orphans, they would need to return home and fight a System that wants Ned dead.

With time working against them and tough decisions to be made, hard-fought friendships will be put to the test. Loyalties will be cut to the bone. Character flaws will be further exposed.

What will Ned and Pod Fifteen ultimately do?

Find out in the next explosive instalment of The Denounced, available in the first half of 2018 with the final instalment, Book 3, CREAKING DAWN, set for later in the year.

If you would like a sneak preview, as well as additional information about the release dates, please sign-up for The Denounced Newsletter HERE.

ABOUT AUTHOR S.J. SHERWOOD:

S.J. Sherwood grew up in a small town in rural England and spent most of his youth dreaming of escaping to the bright lights of a metropolis.

His dream came true in the form of winning a Scholarship to Drama School. He was an actor for a short time. At various times in his life, he was a construction worker, a waiter, and an ice-cream man to name a few. He then went back to school and entered the corporate world.

The one constant in his life has been a passion for storytelling.

When he is not writing and spending time with those he loves, you’ll find him in a wetsuit, splashing in the sea, where he will be dreaming up his next story. He currently lives in London, England.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

AMAZON


ESME’S WISH is an astonishinly brilliant new Young Adult book. 5 Enthusiastic Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: ESME’S WISH

Series: “ESME” SERIES: BOOK ONE

Author: ELIZABETH FOSTER

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY

Length: 252 PAGES

Publisher: ODYSSEY BOOKS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781925652246

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

DESCRIPTION:

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. Esme soon discovers that her mother, Ariane – a talented painter of myths and legends – once led a secret second life in the crumbling canal city of Esperance. The more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her mother at all…

Esme’s Wish, a fantasy with a mystery at its heart, leads the reader into a beguiling world to which they’ll want to return again and again.

BOOK TRAILER:

MY REVIEW:

This is a tale that is utterly enchanting and totally consuming. I found myself even dreaming about the wonderous world of Aeolia created by the extremely talented Elizabeth Foster. This is something that rarely happens to me. In fact, I can count the number of times it has happened to me on a single hand.

To put that into perspective, only books such as R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the HARRY POTTER series have had this effect on me. Am I saying that ESME’S WISH is on par with these genre-defining tales? Well, I won’t go quite that far yet, but only because this is only BOOK ONE. Ask me again once I have had the pleasure of reading the entire series.

Although this book is targeted at the Young Adult audience, as was the Harry Potter series, this book also holds incredible appeal for adult readers as well.

Esme is swept from a world in which her father remarries a woman she despises, giving up all hope after seven years that his wife will ever return. He, and everyone else, including Esme, believe that her mother is dead. She thinks that the reason she has been told that her mother was lost at sea is because they are hiding something much more sinister. Being a typical fifteen year old, she sets off to visit the last place her mother was seen alive – hoping for clues as to what really happened to her.

Instead of discovering a secret clue, she is swept into the sea and pulled through some sort of portal into the wonderous world of Aeolia. This reminds me of Harry Potter leaving London by going to platform nine and three quarters.

Who among us has not thought of somehow going to a different world? This book delivers on that fantasy and Elizabeth Foster’s world building is spot on. The people of this fantasy world all have some sort of magical gift which manifests in young adulthood. I don’t want to give anymore away, but the plot is terrific and readers will be drawn in and continually surprised by the mystery of what happened to Esme’s mother.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

QUOTE:

Esme “… had become entangled in matters… with forces far beyond [her] understanding – and it seemed there was no right way forward.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ELIZABETH FOSTER was born in Brisbane, Australia. She read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds.

Once she started writing, she never looked back. She is at her happiest when immersed in her stories and plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters.

Elizabeth now lives in Sydney, Australia where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

Her first novel, Esme’s Wish, a fantasy-mystery for younger teens, was released by Odyssey Books on October 30, 2017. Esme’s Gift, the second in the trilogy will follow in late 2018.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

KOBO: You can read the first chapter HERE.

PUBLISHER OF ESME’S WISH:

ODYSSEY BOOKS is an Australian Independent publishing house. It was founded only eight years ago, in 2009 by Michelle Lovi.

They only publish 12 to 18 books per year. Odyssey Books produces quality literary and genre fiction, as well as memoirs and creative non-fiction.

They live for the adventures that books provide and are not afraid to take risks with new writers and new ideas.

To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST

YOUTUBE