GRIM LOVELIES by Young Adult Bestselling Author Megan Shepherd is sure to enchant teens and adults alike. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: GRIM LOVELIES

Author: MEGAN SHEPHERD

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY FICTION

Length: 384 PAGES

Publisher: HMH TEEN – HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS

Received From: HMH TEEN INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-80918-6 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-328-80962-9 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 USD HARDCOVER

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*

DESCRIPTION:

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love.

But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human.

Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittoria, the evil witch who spelled her into existence.

That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood – and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away.

If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known… but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

*
*

MY REVIEW:

Inventive and dazzling, with a host of characters readers will be unable and unwilling to forget.

With a diverse cast, this book has everything required to become an instant Young Adult Best-Seller. Having just been released a little over two months ago, it is already trending on social media, and, if I have my way, it will trend even more after I post this review.

I love that the Author chose animals turned into humans as her main characters. I love that she chose the city of Paris as the headquarters of the Royals who reign over all magical beings. There has always been something alluring and mysterious about the historic city of Paris, especially to those of us in North America. With the millions of bones in the city’s catacombs, Paris also has a barely hidden sinister air.

Best-Selling Author Megan Shepherd has created a magical world that secretly exists alongside our own. Of course, we humans, or “Pretties” as the witches call us, are completely oblivious to the magic surrounding us.

Within this world there are “Beasties;” animals and birds who have had spells cast on them to change them into humans (sort of like the mice in the tale of Cinderella, except the change is permanent.) Anouk is one such Beastie. She is a year and a half old which is the equivalent of being a seventeen year old girl. For the entirety of her human existence, she has not been allowed to leave the house she was “born” in. It is the home of Mada Vittoria, the witch who changed Anouk from animal to human.

This imaginative tale, filled with magic, mystery and mayhem is perfect for today’s Young Adult audience. Readers of all types, and of all ages will be able to find a character to relate to.

There is a theme of good vs. evil in this book, but what, or who is deemed evil is often in the eye of the beholder.

GRIM LOVELIES is also a unique Coming-Of-Age tale in which Anouk realizes that her captivity at the hands of Mada (Witch) Vittoria, has resulted in her knowing very little about either the Pretties world, or the magical world of the Haute.

GRIM LOVELIES and the world of the Haute would make for a terrific and visually stunning movie. I very much hope to see this series become optioned for film.

I rate GRIM LOVELIES as a 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Young Adult novel and am excited to read more about Anouk and her other “Beastie” friends in the next installment of this wonderous tale.

***Thank you to HMH Teen for hosting the Instagram contest in which I won a Grim Lovelies prize pack. ***

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:

*

“Everything had a darker side, magic most of all.”

*

“He was a twat and she’d sooner kiss a frog, but even frogs deserved little moments of joy.”

*

“Even if we can find someone to recast our spell, I’m afraid that a spell alone can’t make us human. TRULY human. Only actions make a person human, not magic.”

*

“I’m not a bird with broken wings… I don’t need to be sheltered.”

*

“Through all this darkness, you’ve held on to love and hope, and that’s true strength.”

*
*

THE CHARACTERS:

A

BOUT THE AUTHOR:

MEGAN SHEPHERD – New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

She is the author of several young adult and middle grade novels. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and an especially scruffy dog.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

MORE BOOKS BY MEGAN:

*** Leave a comment and let me know if you have read any of Megan’s books?

And if so, which was/is your favorite? Why?

“STRAY MAGIC” AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – A fairy tale for all those of us who love dogs and who dream about happy endings.

Title: STRAY MAGIC

Author: JACKIE BOUCHARD

Narrator: AISLING GRAY

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

Length: 9 HOURS, 1 Minute

Publisher: JACKIE BOUCHARD

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: THE NARRATOR – AISLING GRAY

Release Date: MARCH 26, 2018

Price on Audible: $13.67 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Cara Snow is newly divorced, stuck working for a jerky boss at a pet boutique, and dreading her soon-to-be-empty nest with only her beloved corgi for company. Worse still, her ex just got engaged. Doesn’t she deserve some romance, too? Or, at least a date for the Fur Ball. She’s always enjoyed the annual pet rescue gala, but this year her ex will be there with his fiancée. Meanwhile, Cara hasn’t met anyone- other than the irresistible dogs at the boutique’s adoption events.

Cara is shocked when her wish to fall for a man as easily as she does for those mutts summons Vincent. His velour track suit, paunchy belly, and tough-guy accent don’t exactly fit her childhood image of a fairy godfather. Not exactly on top of his game, he admits to being twenty-five years late. (Her daughter Winnie is convinced he must be there for her!) Vincent does his best and casts a spell “guaranteed” to help Cara find the One. But when she actually starts meeting men, none of them are her type. If only they were as perfect for her as the dogs they adopt. Did her screw-up fairy godfather botch the spell? If so, what will it mean not only for Cara but Vincent as well?

MY REVIEW:

The description of this story states: it is loosely based on “Cinderella,” and I agree that it is VERY LOOSELY based on the classic fairytale. I enjoyed this book much more than I did the fairytale version.

Why? Well, let’s start with the main character, Cara. She is not a doe-eyed innocent. Cara is a grown woman, with a grown daughter who is about to go off to college. To top it off, she has also just gone through a divorce which hit her self-esteem pretty hard. But, like many women, she did not allow herself to wallow in despair, she just moved on with her life the best she could. Sometimes it takes an exceptional amount of courage just to put one foot in front of the other.

Cara may not think of herself as courageous, but that is how I saw her right from the beginning. As the story progresses, her actions, her attitudes and even her angst all solidified my belief in her courageous spirit.

The introduction of a magical fairy godfather was hilarious. The author nailed this character. From his physical appearance to the clothes he chooses to wear, Cara’s Fairy Godfather is a hoot. And of course, Cara, like any other sane person, reacts to his appearance and his pronouncement of his Fairy Godfather status by thinking he must be an escapee from an insane asylum.

Cara works in a pet store and has a beagle as well who plays a prominent role in the story. Then of course there’s the hunky guy from Cara’s past.

There are lots of laughs in this audiobook as well as lots of tender moments. In fact, this book will constantly put a smile on the listeners face. What more could you want?

I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I love dogs as much as the protagonist does, I am also around her age, and my kids have left home to go to college as well. So, suffice it to say that I very much relate to the book’s central character.

This book is a great read, but I have to say that I firmly believe that narrator Aisling Gray’s performance is so perfect that it makes listening to the audiobook preferable over reading the paperback or eBook version of “Stray Magic.” I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also rate the story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I highly recommend this Audiobook to anyone who is in the mood for a light-hearted listening experience. I also recommend this audiobook to anyone and everyone who loves dogs.

*Thank you to Aisling Gray for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. The fact that I received this audiobook free of charge has in no way impacted my review. I only review books and audiobooks 100% honestly and anyone sending me a book or audiobook agrees that my honest opinion will be posted – sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jackie Bouchard, a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction – humorous and heart-warming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives.

She spent a long time as a creative soul trapped in the body of a practical person. When she was bitten by the writing bug, she managed to leap free of the hamster wheel of corporate America, and now spends her days walking her dog, talking to her dog, and listening for the voices in her head that want their stories told. When the voices don’t talk to her, she can often be found staring into the refrigerator.

After growing up in Southern California, Jackie moved to Bermuda, where she met her husband. Now back in San Diego, American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. Jackie’s novels include STRAY MAGIC, HOUSE TRAINED, the Readers’ Favorite gold-medal winning RESCUE ME, MAYBE, and WHAT THE DOG ATE.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

AISLING GRAY started doing voice work in 2005 with commercial narration and voice acting, but her love of reading lead her to branch into audiobook narration.

Aisling grew up moving all over the world and has lived in the U.K., Costa Rica, Ghana, Sudan, Jamaica, Peru, the U.S., India, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Mexico — all the while learning languages, so she have a knack for accents.

Listeners have praised her clear, engaging, and versatile narrating as well as her comedic delivery. She loves to bring great writing to life.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

ACX

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

RITE TO REIGN PRE-ORDER BLITZ – ONLY 99 Cents for a Limited Time for this massive collection with something for everyone

Title: Rite to Reign
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: December 11th, 2018
Blurb:
Something wicked this way comes…
>Willful witches, supernatural sorcerers, cruel queens, and powerful priestesses fall out of favor and rise to rule in this highly sought-after collection of spellbinding stories!
More than 20 award-winning and bestselling authors have come together to curate this bewitching boxed set collection of the best PARANORMAL ROMANCE and URBAN FANTASY books in the genre, each brimming with stories of royal magic.
Journey through worlds of danger and mayhem, where witches and warlocks battle for influence and wizards fight for unrestricted power.
But reader beware: the highly addictive stories in RITE TO REIGN will put you under their spell. One click to secure your limited edition copy today!
Buy Links:
Participating Authors:
Heather Marie Adkins
Teresa Roman
JJ King & Candace Osmond
SJ Davis & P. Mattern
Scott Hungerford
Shawna Romkey
Ash Krafton
Christine Ashworth
Anna Santos
Melissa Winters
Colleen S. Myers
Andie M. Long
Alex H. Singh
Sabrina Ramoth
L.C. Ireland
Louisa Bacio
Grace White
Helen Scott
Carma Haley Shoemaker
Kyndra Hatch
Mirren Hogan & Stephanie Barr
E.B. Black
Elle Middaugh
Kat Parrish
Tanya Dawson
Buy Links:

STRATUS BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

Stratus
Fallen Skies Book 1
by Miranda Brock
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Lily Calhoun wants nothing more than some excitement on her quiet,

small-town life. When she gets caught in a storm one afternoon she

gets more than she bargained for. Excitement suddenly falls into her

life, literally.

Stratus is mysterious, fun, and has a danger to him that Lily finds herself

drawn to. Learning that he is either a demon or an angel only makes

him more irresistible. But when strangers start turning up dead in

her town, Lily begins to fear her new found flame may be the cause.

Caught in a tempest of lies, secrets, and betrayals, Lily must discover who

Stratus really is behind his stormy eyes. Is it an angel who will win

her heart, or will it be a demon who stakes his claim?

**Only .99 cents!**
From an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them.

Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods,

playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered.

Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
Follow the tour HERE

for exclusive content and a giveaway!

THE PARIAH CHILD and the EVER-GIVING STONE by Natasha D. Lane will draw you in right from the first paragraph. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE PARIAH CHILD and the EVER-GIVING STONE

Author: NATASHA D. LANE

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

Cover Design: BENLIN ALEXANDER

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: MARCH 22, 2018

ISBN: 9780999697719

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*

*

DESCRIPTION:

When Sarah was four, she promised her mother she would be a good girl — a proper young lady in their small country town — and that she would ignore the creatures who appeared to her and whispered in her ear of things unknown. But like all creatures of myth and legend, they won’t be ignored forever.

Now thirteen, Sarah is attacked by a wolf with poisonous black fur and strange, human-looking eyes. With the help of a few unexpected friends, she manages to survive the attack but soon discovers the creatures have returned. They want Sarah to find a powerful gemstone and bring it to them in Lyrica, their magical homeworld.

Her new friends urge caution, however. There may be more monsters like the black wolf. And the creatures themselves are frightening. Can Sarah trust them? Stuck between reality and imagination, her mother’s wishes and her own desires, Sarah faces an impossible choice – break her promise or do nothing to save a world in peril.

MY REVIEW:

I was provided with a free copy of THE PARIAH and the EVER-GIVING STONE by author Natasha D. Lane.

I receive literally hundreds of review requests every month and I only choose a few to read and review. The synopsis of this book along with the unique title intrigued me from the moment I saw it.

From the first paragraph in this novel, I was hooked. It begins with: “Sarafina danced barefoot in the field, the afternoon Montana sun warming her skin and the grass tickling her tiny feet. Around her, small patches of glittery light flew here and there. These were her friends. They were much smaller than her with translucent wings and shimmering bodies coated in gold.”

How could anyone resist reading further? 50 words and I was enthralled. I immediately wanted to know more about Sarafina and about why she was alone, without any real friends. And what were the glittery patches of light? Were they real? Or something out of Sarafina’s imagination?

I love it when a book grabs my attention and imagination right away. It is one of the best feelings in the world to begin a new book, it’s as if you are embarking on a new adventure.

The prologue sets the tone for the entire tale. Sarah – age four – is a happy child who speaks to trees, fairys and other creatures. However, her mother wants her to be a ‘proper’ young lady and to ignore the creatures that speak to her. Sarah’s mother takes her somewhere to scare her and upon returning home, gathers Sarah’s books and burns them. Anyone reading this story who loves books they way I do, will immediately and forever hate the vile woman who is Sarah’s mother. The way she terrorized Sarah before burning her books will make your blood boil – remember, at the time, Sarah was only a tiny four year old child – barely out of toddlerhood. Want to know what the witch (with a capital B) did? You’ll need to buy the book to find out.

Sarah’s mother knows that she is seeing and hearing from magical creatures but forces Sarah to promise to ignore them. What else can a four year old child do but agree?

As Sarah ages the creatures appear and ignoring them becomes impossible when she is attacked by a wolf with human eyes.

It soon becomes apparent that the creatures are real and that they desperately need Sarah’s help or their world may end.

Sarah is faced with a difficult choice. Search for the magical gem that will save an entire world, or ignore their pleas and stay home. No matter what she chooses, her life will never be the same.

Filled with creativity and magical creatures, this book will appeal to lovers of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

Author NATASHA D. LANE has a gift for world-building as well as for creating believable characters. This story will tug, not only at your imagination, but also at your heart.

I rate this novel as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am adding it to my list of recommended reading.

*
*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natasha Lane enjoys reading a wide variety of genres, but fantasy has always been dear to her heart. After a brief stint in romance, Natasha’s returned to fantasy and currently has two works in the making. She plans on releasing her first fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” March 22, 2018.

Natasha hopes one day to be a well known published author, whose writing informs as well as entertains her reader.

Besides being a book worm, Natasha is a documentary junkie, rom-com addict, health advocate, entrepreneur, and chef (in her own way).

She currently resides in Baltimore, MD. Despite where life may take her, one thing is certain. Natasha will always keep writing.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

#ThePariahChildandtheEverGivingStone #PariahChild #fantasy #yafantasy #ya #yalit #EvergivingStone #natashalane #natashadlane #newrelease #fairy #fairys #fae #faeries #talkingtrees #Amiesbookreviews #bookblog #bookblogger #igreads #readandreview #book #bookreview #instagramhub #instalike #instabook #bibliophile #booknerd #booknerdigans #2018book #2018books #childabuse #mentalhealth #scifi #sciencefiction #toread #tbrlist #mustread #indie #indieauthor #abuse #mentalabuse #psychologicalabuse #bodyimage