Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review: Crying Out Silent by Marita A. Hansen @MaritaAHansen

Title: Crying Out Silent
Author: Marita A. Hansen
Publication date: June 27th, 2018
Pages: 361

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Two high school students make an unlikely alliance--one their friends must break before death does.

The day I met Ash Rata was the first day I started dying, not because of Ash, but because of one of his friends. Ant Torres made me suffer, tormenting me because he thought I was a pretty boy. I am a boy, yet I'm also a girl. Neither one nor the other, but both.


While Ant was a closeted gay rugby player who used violence to get what he wanted.


But I didn't want him--I wanted the unattainable.


The beautiful boy who was hiding a secret as big as mine, one that would unite us... until death do us part.

Please note that this book contains sensitive topics such as suicide and assault (R18)

Purchase Your Copy Today!

I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There is always a time in a book reviewers life where they attempt to find something new, something unusual, and something they don't normally find themselves reading. Think of it as our way of stretching our book review angel wings and looking for new adventures. This book was one such experience. I am not usually one who reads books that involve LGBT. Not because I have anything against the genre, but because when you're a straight female who chronically gets lost in romance books, it's hard to star in a role with someone of the same gender when not into that sort of thing. But, as I had never experienced this type of book before, I was curious. I decided to try it out and see what came of it.

Llewelyn is not like the other kids at school. Llewelyn is neither a straight boy, gay boy, straight girl, or gay girl. He is something in between: both girl and boy. This ultimately leads to a lot of strife as kids in his school don't know how to treat him. He is too beautiful to be a boy, but has always been considered a boy on both paper and when enrolling in schools. Llewelyn has just transferred to a new school where he knows nobody. It doesn't take long for the school bully to set his sights on the timid creature, but for a different reason than Llewelyn thought. It seems Ant has an attraction for him that he is not likely to give up without a fight.

Then there's Ash. Llewelyn is immediately attracted to the most popular, gorgeous boy in school but it isn't until trauma and circumstances brings the two together that a kinship is born. L and Ash know the pain of violence, sex, and how the two when combined can cause irreparable damage. But when neither of them seem to be able to find a way to keep their heads above water will they at least have each other when they start to sink?

Oh my goodness, L is a heartbreak personified. I can't believe how much he goes through and how he still finds a way to care about the people around him more than his own emotions. L is just the best complimenting character to Ash and his brooding spirit. I found myself rooting for the two despite the fact that their relationship would be difficult to truly formulate into an actual relationship. I wanted Ash to admit his feelings for L even though they were utterly confusing. I wanted L to assert himself more and prove that the best match for Ash was him. I wanted Ant to be eaten alive by fire ants.

The many traumatic experiences of the characters became a bit overwhelming. It seemed like EVERYONE was being violated or beat on one way or the other. It wasn't enough for me to roll my eyes with a resounding "here we go again", but it did get old fast. Did they all have to be scarred in some way? But, I did find myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. It was definitely something that most authors would shy away from. It was also something new for me and I'm glad I took the time to explore unknown book genres.

"Crying Out Silent" is a book that is unafraid to delve into the gritty darkness or sex and violence and find the beauty that lurks within.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Review: Another Postcard by Elle Christensen

Title: Another Postcard
Author: Elle Christensen
Series: Stone Butterfly Rockstars #1
Publication date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 334
ISBN: 9781544764566

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Brooklynn Hawk is an enigma. Highly sought after for her incredible voice, her talent shines bright in the studio. But a dark past and a secret she holds close to her heart keep her from permanently stepping into the limelight.
Until her favorite band offers her the chance to chase her dreams.

As the lead singer for rock sensation, Stone Butterfly, Levi Matthews is wary of bringing in new talent. But, he has heard just how amazing Brooklynn is and when the need for another singer arises, he's confident that she is the perfect addition.

However, he doesn't count on laying his heart at her feet.

But the world of music can be as dangerous as it is thrilling. Joining Stone Butterfly on tour was hard enough for Brooklynn, but when she finally succumbs to Levi's charms, the rock 'n' roll life turns deadly.

Will Levi and Brooklynn keep their voices and their hearts entwined? Or will the music prove too hard to survive? 

**Can be read as a standalone**

Purchase Your Copy Today!

I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have always had a soft spot for books involving someone's love of music. Whether it be a rockstar selling out stadiums to a folk songwriter who can only communicate in music notes and melodies to express their feelings, I am always going to hunger to dive into the book the features any of the sort. This book was no exception. I was anxious to also find out some of the secrets that the protagonists may be hiding away within the depths of the pages. 

Brooklynn has more responsibility than she can rightly handle by herself. She has a family life that is less than conventional and a past that haunts her day in and day out. She lets her past and her hindrances dictate every movement she makes so when she decides to do something for herself by stepping in as a backup singing for a popular rock band, Stone Butterfly, she is completely out of her comfort zone. Then there is Levi. The sexy front singer that sets his sights on Brooklynn and dives into trying to charm her out of her steadfast rejections of his advances. When Brooklynn's resolve starts to shake, an outside force steps in to try to shove her back into her quiet existence with absolutely no Levi to light her way.

Levi is the typical womanizing front man before Brooklynn. The moment his eyes meet hers all other women seem to fade into the background. They no longer matter. All that matters is possessing Brooklynn body and soul and absolutely heart. He is willing to be the shoulder she needs, the rock she can't be, and the love of her life if she would only let him. But Brooklynn is hiding something and Levi knows he has to find out what it is or risk never knowing what he could have with Brooklynn.

This story started out so strong. I was firmly engrossed and sucked into Brooklynn and Levi's world. That was until about the middle of the book. The progress seemed to stutter and then grow lax. Things popped up in the plot like that were meant to be a major obstacle but were negotiated easily, or instances where they truly had no rhyme or reason. By the end of the book I was firmly in the 'meh' opinion of the book. If the antagonist wasn't so obvious and there were more problems center around them than just an innocuous item it would have built the suspense and made an edge-of-the-seat read.

In conclusion, I did not dislike the book, but I did not fall in love with it either. It has promise if only reworked a bit.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Blog Tour with Excerpt + Giveaway: Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster @e_foster3 @RockstarBkTours

Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Publication date: October 30th, 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
"A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world." - Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island and Dragonfly Song.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father's wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme's mother, Ariane--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. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother's steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane's double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

This fresh, inventive tale is an ideal read for younger teens.

Available at:

Traveling by gondola was like slipping into a dream: a dream where nothing mattered except the passage of water beneath, and the banks drifting by. The gondola's pointed prow speared upward, arabesque, saluting the bow-shaped bridges under which it passed. It was the same way Esme felt when she was immersed in a good book: cocooned in character and place, reality temporarily suspended, her troubles forgotten.

The gondolier's cry startled her out of her reverie.

"Last stop," cried the gondolier. "Canal's blocked ahead."

Esme peered ahead, trying to gauge the state of the canal, but a bridge impeded her view. She could only see the roofs, a number of which were ruined beyond repair, and had been left open, abandoned to the vagaries of the weather. She scrambled out of the boat.

"Can you point me in the direction of Sofia Square?"

The gondolier waved her off, pointing vaguely into the distance. The square led off into a web of lanes that kept doubling back on each other.

This part of the city was more worn down than worn out, the patina of centuries showing underneath every surface. Peeling paint and exposed brickwork only served to accentuate the city's ancient and noble underpinnings.

One of the doors was so riddled with age that it had partially disintegrated, but the owners had merely nailed a few equally decrepit boards across it. When Esme passed by the exact same door a few minutes later, she realized she was completely lost.

About the Author:
I was born in Brisbane, Australia, and now live in Sydney. Apart from writing and reading, which take up most of my time, I love walking, traveling and playing piano (badly).

As a child, I was called Dizzy Lizzy--which I regarded as an insult all my life, until I started writing! Now, daydreaming is a central part of what I do. My favorite childhood books included the Chronicles of Narnia and Enid Blyton's adventure stories. I was such an avid reader that my godfather gave me the complete works of Shakespeare when I was ten. (Still haven't read them all...) My reading tastes nowadays are eclectic, ranging from classic authors such as Jane Austen, to the works of modern YA writers, including J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Melina Marchetta and Maggie Stiefvater.

I love movies almost as much as books. Dreamlike films--such as the works of Hayao Miyazaki--hugely appeal to me, as do any clever psychological films and TV series which revolve around female characters, such as Buffy and Veronica Mars.

I used to enjoy writing as a child, but then I grew up and was sadly waylaid by more serious pursuits. Reading to my own kids reminded me of how much I missed getting lost in other worlds, and once I started writing again, I couldn't stop. I am also fascinated with people's motivations and personalities, and now I get to explore them on the page. I am a member of the SCBWI, the CBCA, and a reviewer for CBCA's Reading Time.

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Blog Tour with Excerpt + Teasers: Unlocking Lies by Kennedy Layne @KennedyL_Author @InkSlingerPR

Unlocking Lies by Kennedy Layne
Series: Keys to Love #3
Publication date: May 22nd, 2018

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Secrets and lies have a way of weaving a deadly web. Returning home from his last deployment shouldn't have been complicated, but Jace Kendall was immediately drawn into a murder investigation that hits a little too close to home. The last thing he should be doing was reigniting old passions that should have been kept buried, but he's never been a guy who plays by the rules.

Shae has suffered for twelve years without knowing why her sister disappeared. The long-awaited answers are now within reach, and she'll have no choice but to trust the one man who knows more than he's telling.

It isn't long before Jace and Shae are lost in the mystery of solving a case that's long gone cold. When they find the answers they've been looking for, a darkness is unveiled that will leave one of them in the crosshairs of a psychopath.

Their homecoming wasn't so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family's legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren't prepared for what awaited them--an unforgivable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.

Available at:

Shae set her purse on the far seat and slid it across the faux red leather. Her back protested the position, though her taut muscles from the long drive most definitely appreciated the small walk from her car to the diner. She was really glad the meeting she scheduled with Detective Kendrick wasn't until tomorrow afternoon. She would need to catch up on her sleep, if possible.

"One slice of warm apple pie along with one scoop of vanilla ice cream," Molly announced, having asked earlier what she could get Shae to eat. The white porcelain dish was set gently on the table in front of her. "Can I get you a nice tall glass of milk to go with that? Maybe a coffee?"

"I'd love a hot cup of tea, please." Shae had found that drinking English style tea reduced her stress level by half. She'd red quite a lot of different reports on how certain beverages could alter the way a person dealt with stress in their life. Seeing as she had an abundance of it, she'd given the theory a try by switching from coffee to tea. It had successfully worked in her daily life. "Thank you, Molly."

The waitress had been about to say something to Shae when the bell above the door jingled, alerting everyone to another newcomer. In this case, a father and son.

Shae was glad she hadn't taken a bite of her apple pie. She wasn't so sure she would have been able to swallow it around the knot that had just formed in her throat.

As she lived and breathed, it was none other than Jace Kendall. He'd changed since the last time she saw him, somehow managing to become even more strikingly attractive. She couldn't help but rake her eyes down him to prove to herself that he was real. His shoulders had gained considerable width, inches had been added to his over six-foot height, and he still had that charming, crooked grin that could melt a girl's heart like ice on a hot summer's day.

Yet all she experienced upon setting her gaze on his gorgeous features was guilt.

She'd heard that two of his brothers--Noah and Lance--had returned home from their time in the service. Their combined chosen path had been the Marine Corps, if she wasn't mistaken. Her mother had mentioned that Jace wasn't due back to Blyth Lake until the end of the year, which was probably why seeing him was such a blow to the serenity she'd been trying to marshal.

Her original plan had called for her to be out of Blyth Lake before he returned.

It wasn't personal. She was here for a purpose.

Shae was grateful that the diners had averted Jace's attention with their overzealous reception. He hadn't glanced her way, so he didn't even know that she was there. The distraction gave her time to slip out of the booth and head to the restroom, though her path took her right past the small group of greeters. No one noticed, and it wasn't long before she was behind a locked door and leaning over the sink to give her time to regain her composure.

"Why me?" Shae whispered to herself, hanging her head a little lower as she fought off the dancing lights. "I just needed a few weeks, Emma. Was that too much to ask? He will prove to be nothing but a distraction."

Shae didn't believe for a second that her baby sister was alive. She never had, regardless that her parents had proposed that scenario a time or two over the years. It had been easy for her to slip into a one-sided conversation, believing that Emma's spirit was somewhere out there watching over all of them.

Then there were times when Shae's unanswered requests made her question her own sanity. Talking with ghosts was crazy, wasn't it?

One of the saving graces about returning to her childhood home was knowing Jace Kendall wouldn't be in town. Shae understood that it wasn't fair to him, but he was a trigger of guilt that she couldn't deal with right now. She calculated her chances of just paying her tab and leaving without being noticed. After all, he'd been the reason she'd taken the car the night Emma disappeared. Given her profession, she understood that the what-if game wasn't healthy to her mental state. She just couldn't prevent the perpetual question from rising to the surface once again--would Emma still be alive if Shae hadn't been with Jace Kendall that fateful night?

No one would ever know. Not unless Shae got the opportunity to personally ask Emma's killer.

About the Author:
Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers.

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