Saturday, December 31, 2016

Book Review: SeQuence by Lorraine M.L.M. @authorlorraineM

Title:  SeQuence (The Heart of the Ocean, Book 1)
Author:  Lorraine M.L.M
Genre:  Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Lorraine M.L.M.
Release Date:  November 2, 2016

From the Back Cover:

Alessia Appleton is desperate. She's desperate to silence the voices inside her head, but being committed to an island asylum has only made them worse. Still, at least there's the ocean. Water is the one thing that blocks Alessia from hearing the thoughts of those around her. Complete submersion is her only relief. So, when she gets the chance to escape her wardens and the voices, Alessia takes it. She dives into the sea and a giant wave drags her under.

When she comes to, one thing is clear--either Alessia's completely lost her mind, or she's not on Earth anymore. 

Instead, she finds herself in a world with two moons, a complex undersea society, a long-lost grandmother, and a drool-worthy young man named Dante Erajion. However, it doesn't take long for Alessia to realise that a new world comes with all kinds of new rules and new problems. In Zeneshia sequence takes precedence over chance, and Alessia's arrival has set off the Foretold Sequence of Hearts, shifting the future to a dire series of choices between Life, Love, and Death.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review:


This book exceeded all expectations and I highly recommend it for fans of YA Fantasy and YA Romance. SeQuence was a phenomenal fantasy romance that takes the reader on an epic journey. The writing was excellent and the world-building was even better!

Our heroine, Alessia, suffers from a strange malady -- voices in her head that are only silenced by water. Through her dramatic escape, she finds herself in another world... and answers that she didn't know she was looking for.

It was amazing exploring this strange new world along with Alessia, our curious and very endearing heroine. While the book occasionally had a tendency to move somewhat slow and drag in places, it lent itself to the leisurely pace of the lifestyle on their world. It also gave Alessia time to discover more about the world, herself, and her feelings for Dante.

The romance in this book was phenomenal. Although it was initially a bit of an instant attraction sort of thing, the whole romance was very slow to build and very sweet. We had lots and lots of those fantastic tingles! I would have liked to have seen more interactions and explanations into certain things between the two lovebirds, but I'm hoping we'll discover more in the second book. I have lots of questions about things that happened in the first book that were resolved... but we're not quite sure how. Maybe we'll find out in the second book.

It wasn't until close to the ending of the book that certain things were revealed to us and the plot became much stronger. Without giving away any spoilers... Alessia's presence in this new oceanic world has changed things. For everyone.

I'm interested in seeing how things will develop in the series in the future -- both in the romance between Alessia and Dante, but also how Alessia will further adapt to being in this world. It seems both of them will play an integral part of the next SeQuence of the game. I can't wait to read more!

My Rating:

About the Author:

Lorraine M.L.M writes young adult romantic fiction. Her love for reading prompted her passion for writing. She loves all genres of romance but has a special and inherent interest in Fantasy/Romance in particular uplifting and thought provoking fiction. Her YA Fantasy/Romance debut novel, SeQuence was shortlisted for the 2015 Love Stories New Talent Award. When she’s not writing, she can be found gazing into the distance thinking about writing.
Author Links:
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Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: Maggie Elizabeth Harrington by D.J. Swykert

Title:  Maggie Elizabeth Harrington (I Live in Two Worlds)
Author:  D.J. Swykert
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Publisher: Magic Masterminds, LLC
Release Date:  November 2, 2016

Central Mine is now a ghost town on the remote Keweenaw Peninsula in western upper Michigan, but when Maggie Harrington and Tommie Stetter roamed its nameless streets it was a thriving Cornish mining community with the Central Mine Methodist Church at the center of its social fabric. Young Maggie is a free spirited young woman whose idealism often brings her into conflict with the strict teachings of Reverend White and her stern father as she looks for answers to feeling unwanted and unloved. This historical story of a young woman's struggle with environmental and moral issues concerning the slaughter of wolves, and the churches condemnation of her love for a young man, are as real in today's global world as they were for young Maggie over a century ago.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

My Review:

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington is a thirteen year old girl living in a mining town in Upper Michigan with her father and grandmother.  I'm guessing the setting is in the late 1800's, but I'm not totally sure of that.  The story is written in first person, mostly reading the thoughts of Maggie as she observes life around her.  The story starts out with her knowing that her father is going to drown her new kittens.  Her cat is allowed to live because she keeps the mouse population down, but they cannot afford to feed her annual litter of kittens.  So every year Maggie's father pulls out a steel tub, fills it with water and drowns the little kittens.  Although she can do nothing to stop the killing of these kittens, later in the book as she sees a she-wolf being killed for the bounty and a hunt ensue for the litter of wolf pups, also to be killed, Maggie decides to find these wolf pups first in order to protect them.  Tommie Stetter helps her and as they run away to save the wolf pups, a budding romance develops.

This is a coming of age novel.  It is a sweet... and sometimes bitter sweet tale of young love, forbidden love and dealing with life and death.  I can understand why this book received several 5-star reviews, but I had a difficult time dealing with the lack of editing and with the repetitiveness.  Hearing every thought a thirteen year old girl has, over and over again, dragged the book down a bit and it took me longer to read it than usual and I found myself skimming some of the pages due to the repetitive nature.

I do think the author is talented and I loved the historical aspect of this book.  My own father was from Upper Michigan and I found the references to certain customs of the area to be right on target (and made me smile).

Overall, I'll give this a 3.5/5 but I'll round it up to 4 due to the unique way it was written.  Would love to see a good editor go through this book to fix the numerous mistakes.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by the author with the sole purpose of an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator writing fiction. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, Justice in the Street, Sweat Street and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Firebolt (The Dragonian Series, Book 1) by Adrienne Woods

Title:  Firebolt (The Dragonian Series, Book 1)
Author:  Adrienne Woods
Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date:  September 19, 2014

From the Back Cover:

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.

Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.

Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.

Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

My Review:

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. To start, I had some difficulties getting into the book initially. It started with quite a bit of action -- a dragon attack -- but the writing was choppy and hard to follow along. I had to actually reread the scene two or three times because at first, I thought there were just two dragons fighting... but then later realized there were more. But we never found out what happened with those other dragons. They just... seemed to disappear. Nothing more was written about that.

Once I got through the beginning, the premise of the story looked really promising and I wanted to learn more about the world. Unfortunately, I never felt as though I really connected with the main character. She seemed rather one-dimensional and bland. The book seemed to focus more on her daily activities... she went here, learned this, went there, learned that... rather than getting inside her head and experiencing the world through her eyes. Not only that, but I kept getting caught up on grammar issues and the weirdness with descriptions/word usage.  Maybe this book was written for a younger "Young Adult" audience because it seemed the book was a bit more rudimentary in terms of the writing. Not only that, but the main character (Elena) seems a very young sixteen. If I had to guess, I would have thought she would have been closer to 13 or 14.

Once our main character (Elena) arrived in Paegeia (and Dragonia), the book took on an almost information-dump quality. The world-building would have been solid... The author obviously did a great job crafting the world, the different types of dragons and their abilities, and even the history of the world, but the execution was somewhat lacking. It was difficult to keep all the names straight when everything was handed to us as a big history-type lesson. This was frustrating because I think the story would have really been really good if I could have connected with the characters or if I had been shown the world, not told about it.

The last part of the book was significantly better and there was quite a bit of action. Although, for the life of me, I have absolutely no idea why on earth the main character got it into her head to go on this big "quest" in the first place. It just seemed so bizarre and out-of-place based on everything we knew about her up to that point. Plus, her party of friends tagging along was even more odd. They were all against this plan... most of them didn't even like her... but they all wanted to go along with this idea of hers? I just had some trouble with the logic.

Aside from that, I was excited about the fact that we finally had some action and more of a story going on. Although, the entire last part of the book was a little too... familiar. I won't give any spoilers away, but the entire scene from the mysterious cavern quest Elena goes on has been done before. Somewhere. I've been trying to place it, but just can't. Maybe it's a little too closely tied to mythology? Or a little too close to some video games I've played? Or some other fantasy books? Either way, the cavern scene lacked in originality and that was something of a disappointment. I kept shaking my head and saying, "Wait. I've seen this before."

The book series is definitely setting up for a reveal of some future events (and has been since the very beginning). The hints the book dropped from the beginning were pretty obvious (to the point that I was surprised they weren't tied up in this book). I'm hoping that they aren't as predictable as they seem and we're in for some actual surprises in the future.

Sadly, I probably won't be continuing this series. While I think the premise is promising and I love most everything having to do with dragons, I would have preferred a main character that I can identify or connect with. The romance was somewhat forced and there weren't any tingles there (we were just told it existed and the boyfriend was another bland "perfect" prince-type). This book just wasn't for me.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

I live in South Africa with my husband and two beautiful daughters where I write full time. The Dragonian series is my debut novels and Dream Casters is my second series with book two getting ready for release.

I love life, cherish every special second of it and live my dream.

I write many genres under many names, so be sure to visit my webpage if you want to find out more.

Author Links:
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review: The Selection (Book 1) by Kiera Cass

Title:  The Selection (Book 1)
Author:  Kiera Cass
Genre:  Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction & Dystopian, Young Adult
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date:  April 24, 2012

From the Back Cover:

The first book in the captivating, #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series! Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters, glittering gowns, fierce intrigue, and a dystopian world that will captivate readers who loved Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Ally Condie’s Matched, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.

Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo

My Review:

I was looking for a quick, easy, light-hearted read... and I found it. The description originally intrigued me and I thought this might be something kind of fun. Unfortunately, this book was lacking in substance with a tired plot that's been overdone so many times that it almost felt like I could predict the next line in the story. The only difference is that some of these overused plots have been merged together... and not very well.

The setting is supposedly somewhat Dystopian, but unlike what we'd seen in Hunger Games or Divergent (books that have loosely been compared to The Selection), there is actually very little description other than rating people a number (1-8). Other than that, the world-building is seriously lacking. There's more of a focus on the actual dresses and the food that's served at the palace, while 35 teenage girls catfight over the prince's attentions. It was reminiscent of a bad reality television show in book form. 

I had hope that there might be some redeeming qualities about the book. The heroine of our book came from a lower caste and was able to bring some of her experiences to the palace. Granted, these weren't exactly first-hand experiences... but she "knew people" who were lower caste. The relationship between the prince and America (yes, that's our heroine's name), was slow to build. She had left a previous love interest back home and was having a difficult time reconciling her break up with him. All in all, I thought that growing relationship between America and the prince was well done and very sweet.

In fact, I enjoyed their relationship enough that I went ahead and bought the second book. However, I'm going to warn potential readers now before they become engaged in this series --- The "ex" makes an appearance in the book and our heroine proceeds to start waffling back and forth between her "ex" and the prince, leading both of them on. Now I'm sorry, love triangles may be popular among some readers (I'm even a fan when they're done well)... 

But when a love triangle is the simple result of a girl not being able to make a decision and stick to it... or even worse, misleading, betraying or cheating on the person she's leading on... I'm done. Not only am I done, but I'm downright pissed off. I stopped reading the second book at 30% and have labeled it as DNF (Did Not Finish). It irks me that these types of books are being marketed toward young women as though these are desirable traits. In what world is it ever okay to engage in that sort of behavior and disregard concepts such as honesty and integrity? Stringing two men along because you can't make up your freaking mind is not romance people! Sneaking out to meet up with them behind the other's back is not romance! It's wrong!

As such, I do not recommend this series. 

My Rating:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Game Begins by Victoria Danann - @vdanann

Title: The Game Begins
Author: Victoria Danann
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: February 28th 2017
Publisher: dba 7th House, Imprint of Andromeda LLC


When it came to the attention of the old ones that their creations, the Earth gods, had been playing games at the expense of humankind for millennia, they put a stop to it. But the rebellious gods were far too addicted to their games to give them up. After several summit meetings, they voted to use their own children as players and locate the playing field in the most treacherous environment in the known universe. High school.

To make it even more interesting, they would strip their children of their memories and withhold the rules of the game. The players believed they were ordinary kids until they were transferred to R. Caine High School. When odd things begin to happen, the players gradually realize they have special gifts or attributes. But that doesn’t mean they can’t die.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, is the author of sixteen romances, paranormal and contemporary. 

Her Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES THREE YEARS IN A ROW. 2013,2014,2015 - Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria’s paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on “imaginary” creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists, or financial analysts from Dallas. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

The first book of the Knights of Black Swan Paranormal Romance Series, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by both Reviewers’ Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards. All of her books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK awards. Many have appeared on Listopia BOOK OF THE MONTH as #1 across all genres.

Author Links:
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Cover Reveal Organized by:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Release Blitz: Light in My Dark by @WilliamDresden and @jean_gilbert

Title:  Light in My Dark
Author:  William Dresden and Jean Gilbert
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Rogue House Publishing
Release Date:  October 21, 2016

From the Back Cover:

Two boys love her. Two worlds need her. Only she can save them both.

Sixteen-year-old Harper Deveraux has longed for an adventure ever since her mother died of cancer four years ago. Much to her dismay, she is stuck in Glen Eden, a small mountain town in upstate New York that does little to fuel her hopes and dreams.

Another year of high school has begun, and with the Moon Dance only a few weeks away, Harper suddenly finds herself torn between the affections of two boys: her best friend Jack, and a new boy from the City named Knes who might not be from this world.

Strange things begin to happen in Glen Eden when Harper uncovers a mystery that involved her mother and a realm shrouded in darkness that lies beyond the wall... A realm that Knes intends to take her to. Only Jack stands in his way.

Light In My Dark, is an action-packed modern YA fantasy, filled with dark forces, love, and self-discovery.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo

About the Authors:

William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing Hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.
Author Links:
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Jean Gilbert is an award winning speculative fiction writer from New Zealand. She is a Core member of SpecFicNZ, and is also the coordinator for SpecFicNZ Central. Jean's novels include the Vault Agency Series: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault. You can find her short stories Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror, and Pride in the Contact Light Anthology.
Author Links:
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Novel Lady! 
We're taking a break today to spend some time with family and read some fantastic books! We hope you're all having a wonderful holiday too! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Book Review: Acca (Angelbound Origins, Book 3) by Christina Bauer

Title:  Acca (Angelbound Origins, Book 3)
Author:  Christina Bauer
Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Monster House Books, LLC
Release Date:  December 13, 2016

From the Back Cover:

In just one week, supernatural warrior Myla Lewis must discover enough evidence to send the evil House of Acca to prison… or she’ll end up in jail herself, along with her fiancĂ©, Prince Lincoln. No pressure.

To gather proof, Myla and Lincoln go undercover at an all-girl’s high school on Earth. Lincoln acts as the new gym teacher; Myla becomes the school’s least popular transfer student ever. To stop them from getting the goods, Acca releases Hell on Earth. Literally. Good thing Myla and Lincoln aren’t afraid of a tough fight. This one promises to be the hardest yet. After all, who ever said high school wasn’t hell?

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

My Review:

"Respect the Tail."

'Nuff said. If the denizens of Purgatory, Heaven, Hell, Earth and Antrum haven't learned by now... by the end of this book, they *will* respect the tail.

Myla Lewis is on a roll. She's kicking ass and taking names, bringing her adorable (and oh, so sexy) fiance Lioncoln along for the ride. But he's not just tagging along, he's bringing along his very own flavor of badass. The pair of them make an adorably awesome team and have now ranked on my list as one swoon-worthy book couple.

All earlier concerns from the second book have fallen aside. The third book in the series is a must read! We're once again faced with an antagonist that threatens all of both Myla and Lincoln's people -- and they're determined to stop him at any cost. Within the first few pages, we're thrown into the action....and it doesn't stop!

From the nonstop action, to the snark, to the laugh-out-loud moments, the comical antics of Myla's tail, to Myla's hot-and-heavy (and frequently interrupted) inner lust demon... this book is definitely going on my keeper shelf! I **strongly** recommend this book and series for all lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance.


And once again.... I have a serious case of tail envy.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too. Christina lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Author Links:
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