Tag Archive | Young Adult

LIVE: LIFT Auction is now Live!

BID | GIVE | LIFT Wear | GIVEAWAY | List of Auction Items

The LIFT Auction is open for bidding!

Monday, April 23 – Friday, April, 27

Bid Here: http://bit.ly/LIFT2018Bid

Click here to enter the $50 Gift Card GIVEAWAY celebrating LIFT!

It’s time! The LIFT 4 Autism auction is open for bidding until Friday, April 27, 5pm EST.

A few bidding tips

1. You must register to bid. This connects any bids you make to an email address and alerts you if someone submits a higher bid, or ultimately if you have the highest bid when the auction closes and you win.

Register, browse and bid here: http://bit.ly/LIFT2018Bid

2. US Only v. International. Before you bid on an item, please note if it is marked Domestic (US Only) or International. If you are outside the US, bid on and win an item marked US Only/domestic, the donor is not obligated to ship Internationally, and the bid will instead be awarded to the next highest eligible bid.

3. There are about 350 items up for bid. For quick reference, you can view this rough list of items, or you can browse, scrolling from page to page, or you can use the search window to find a particular item.

5. When bidding closes, the person with the highest bid at that time is the winner and will be automatically alerted at the email address they used to register.

5. Pay for your bid when you receive the notification that you were the winning bidder. Failure to pay for the bid forfeits the item to the next highest bidder.

Don’t wanna bid? Here’s 2 other ways to give & be involved!

→Make a financial donation to Kulture City through the LIFT Campaign. (No amount is too small!)

GIVE HERE: http://bit.ly/LIFT2018Give

→Buy LIFT Wear (T-shirts, totes, mugs, etc…) All proceeds to Kulture City.

http://bit.ly/LIFT2018Tee

Just a few auction highlights:

All proceeds from the auction, TeeSpring campaign, and online donations go directly to Kulture City, our national charitable partner and the incredible work they do for ASD families. Learn more about their programs at kulturecity.org.

Contact us at liftauction@gmail.com with questions.

Don’t miss a thing!

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New Fantasy Novel by Camilla Monk: Still

Still by Camilla Monk

Science Fiction/Fantasy

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to review it. I decided to review it because it’s pretty kicka$$

Still

Overall Rating: 4 (XOXO)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Emma is used to people giving up on her, but the one person she hasn’t been able to give up completely doesn’t know she’s about to show up on his doorstep. After arriving in Rome to see her estranged father, Emma winds up bumping into her stepsister unexpectedly. The perfect stepsister her mother loved more than Emma. So, it’s a surprise to Emma herself when she puts herself in jeopardy to keep Lily safe from her creepy boss. Another surprise? The hunky blind bum who keeps showing up at the most awkward times.

I really liked this book. Camilla Monk is a fantastic writer. I’m sucked into her books immediately, which is an important skill when writing a fantasy novel. While Emma is a bit rough around the edges, she is an entirely sympathetic character. I rooted for her the entire time.

This book reminds me a bit of Percy Jackson, but with a kickass female heroine in place of Percy. I really like Faust, and I loved the banter between Emma and Faust. There is no “real” romance. There is attraction, flirtation, and a kind of weird psychotic love between Lily and her boyfriend. But this isn’t the traditional romance where the relationship between hero and heroine drive the plot. Instead, it’s much more about Emma’s scars, her personality quirks, and her innate goodness, despite being a little rude.

I cannot wait for the next book in this series. If you’re worried about this, don’t be because this book does not have a cliffhanger ending the way Spotless does. This novel wraps up pretty cleanly, with the exception that it hints pretty heavily about what the next adventure will be. But the ending is entirely satisfying.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

So, this is a bit steep since I have no idea how many books Monk plans on writing in this series. If it’s 3, that’s $12 total for the series, which isn’t too bad. The book is a standalone, so you can read this one without HAVING to buy the other books, so…. Yes, it’s worth buying! BONUS: it’s in the Kindle Unlimited Program, so read it for free.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. It’s a series that takes on all of the traditional myths and puts them together in a fascinating world where evil isn’t necessary a demon. Note: this is a full-fledged adult romance series. There are sexually explicit scenes.

Final Book in the Strange Luck Series

It’s out! A Darling Secret, the third and final book in the Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters is out today. Below is my book review.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult/Fantasy

 

A Darling Secret

 

I received an advanced copy of this novel. I choose to review the book because I enjoyed it and think you might too. You can read reviews of the first two novels by clicking their titles below.

WARNING: This is the third novel in a three book series. Book 2 ended in limbo, so some of the summary of Book 3 will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the first two books.

Read my reviews on the first two books: 

Strange Luck (Book 1)

Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

Overall Rating: 3.5

Quick Summary: After the thrilling ending of the Nightmare Birds, Daisy Darling is driving into the unknown. While she has her twin sister at her side and a crew of family members she didn’t know existed, Daisy is scared at all she must still face. A part of her just wants to go back to the way things were before, but she knows that cannot happen. She must face the Realm of the Shadow Gods and help to destroy an evil she never saw coming.

 

This is a fantastic ending to an exciting and thrilling series. Amie Winters continues to offer up surprising twists in this last installment, along with a very sweet and satisfying ending. Of particular note is the great evil that rules the Realm of the Shadows Gods. Complex even in its horror, the villain of this series is not a simple caricature of the devil.

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, primarily because Daisy kept breaking down. This is understandable, given everything she’s been through, but it seemed a bit out of character for her. In the end though, I thought the difficulty Daisy has at the beginning of the book add a bit more depth to her romantic relationship, especially since the climax of the novel has her facing off with the Shadow Gods with only her twin sister at her side.

Thinking about this series in its entirety, I am awed at the imagination of Winters. Each book offers a different world to explore. It lives up to the fantasy genre and offers interesting twists on old classics like witches, evil, and the afterlife.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

If you’ve been reading the series then of course you need to know how it ends. Luckily, if you have Kindle Unlimited, the entire series is free. All three books can be bought bundled together for $8.97, which for an ebook is a lot, but compared to paperback novels is a steal.

Something else you might enjoy:

I love Cat Winter’s young adult novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It has a fantasy feel with an added historical element. You can read my review of Winter’s book here.

Cover Reveal: Book 3 in Strange Luck Series

A Darling Secret

Strange Luck series, Book 3

Coming September 22, 2017

ADarlingSecret_3DCover_AmieIreneWinters 

Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters’ bestselling Strange Luck series.

Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods—ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.

For nearly two decades, Daisy’s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.

In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?

 

Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with A Darling Secret.

 

Pre-order today, read it September 22, 2017.

 A DARLING SECRET_FullJacket_JPG

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A Darling Secret excerpt:

A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.

Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody—like a music box—followed by soft voices.

I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.

Shadows were gathering there.

 

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A Darling Secret Amazon link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074JVRWH4?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Curious about the first two books? Read my reviews of them:

Strange Luck

Nightmare Birds

 

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Bio:

Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the bestselling Strange Luck series.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

Amie Irene Winters Headshot Cropped

Sign up for my mailing list here! You’ll only get emails when I have a new release coming up, a sale, or a giveaway.

 

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Social media links:

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A

Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aiwinters

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amieiwinters/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

Fangirling Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Young Adult

fangirl-picture

Overall Rating: 5 (xoxo)

Quick Summary: Cath has never been a fan of change. But Cath has always been the ultimate fan of the Simon Snow series, writing fan fiction that has garnered thousands of followers online. As Cath and her twin sister Wren begin college, Cath struggles with the autonomy of growing up. As her sister copes with change in her own way, Cath must figure out where her world begins and ends, especially as her conception of writing is challenged by her fiction professor.

This book has a lot going on in it. It deals in some pretty weighty issues like college binge drinking, sibling relationships, mental illness, and what constitutes creative writing and plagiarism. With all of these topics floating along in a 445 page book some are going to fall by the wayside. There are some questions that never get answered, like what exactly happens to Wren at that party (I won’t be more specific because I don’t want to spoil anything), or what happened with Cath’s dad that triggers an intervention. Despite these unanswered questions, I didn’t feel troubled by them. The way Rainbow Rowell crafts her story it makes sense that I don’t know everything, because Cath doesn’t know everything. Reading the world through Cath’s eighteen-year-old eyes, she isn’t interested in knowing all the details because they get in the way of her ability to deal with her relationships.

Cath is a terribly flawed character in many ways, but she is trying, and I love that. She makes mistakes, but she doesn’t make the same ones over and over again. While some may find this idealistic, I thought Cath is terribly brave and lovable. I was rooting for her all the way, and I was rooting for her in a way that extended beyond having her first “real” boyfriend (the “romance”) to writing her first creative fiction piece and building a strong relationship with her roommate.

I found Rowell’s portrayal of the first college romance so realistic. I, too, was a virgin upon arriving to college and while it was a religious thing, it was also about how important authentic relationships were to me. I didn’t want to deal in casual kisses and embraces, just like Cath. And I remember vividly how slowly my first romance blossomed. Cath and Levi are so quintessentially true to each other and to listening to their inner sense of self. Levi is comfortable with who he is and while Cath is getting there, I love how she thinks about whether or not she’s ready to embark on a physical relationship. Levi is so supportive of her quirks and insecurities; I wish I had dated a Levi early in my life too. Their relationship brings a beautiful balance to a novel that would otherwise be too weighty. While their relationship creates an element of hopeful anxiety, it is so sweet and optimistic that it evens out the pain of failed parental relationships and worries about mental illness.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $9.99)

It’s pretty rare for me to give out a five star rating, so a part of me screams “yes! This book is absolutely worth it.” But another part of me cringes at paying $10 for an ebook. I think I bought the book when it was on sale, but now I can’t remember. So I’m going to go with yes, since clearly I bought it at some point, but if you can find it at your local library or used book store, I’d go with that too.

Something else you might enjoy:

Obviously you should read Rowell’s other young adult books, like Eleanor and Park. Beyond that, you should try out Amy Harmon’s books. I’ve reviewed a few here on this blog, but I think Making Faces is a great one after Fangirl.

 

The Nightmare Birds, Strange Luck Book 2

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult

The Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The first book of the series, Strange Luck, has already been reviewed and you can find it here. While this novel can be read as a standalone, I highly suggest reading it as part of the series.

nightmare-birds

Overall Rating: 4

 

Quick Summary: Daisy Darling’s shop, Strange Luck, attracts all sorts of people and things. When she is tasked with vetting the Theatre of Secrets, she embarks on a journey that no one has returned from… at least no one who has seen the performance. It is said that only those with wild eyes, an impulsive heart and a wandering spirit hunt for the Theatre of Secrets, but that once found it will change your life forever.

Like the first novel in the series, there is a lot of action. There is mystery, suspense, and an estranged mother all to be had. Since it’s a somewhat complicated plot, it is difficult to follow in some places, but I enjoyed the dark and twisty nature of the novel. I was surprised in some places, which I always love in a fantasy novel, both by the characters and the nature of the story.

Amie Irene Winters seems interested in exploring the nature of life itself in this tale. What makes life worth living? What gives us motivation to continue living? And what are our greatest fears? Fear itself plays a very important role in the novel, but then again, so does its opposite, love.

This is not a romance novel, but there is a lot of love in the story. Daisy is a very loving person and it really helps to draw people to her, including me the reader. The love of a daughter to her father, first love, and the love of a mother to her child—it’s all there and I enjoyed it immensely.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

Yes, I enjoyed the second book in this series a lot and found it to be a fun adventure. It is highly entertaining and worth the three dollars. Plus if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free.

Something else you might enjoy:

You have to read Cat Winters, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It’s so good! It’s a little bit dark, a little bit of fantasy, with the added benefit of it being a historical novel. You can read my review of the book here.

Strange Luck Book 1

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Yong Adult Fantasy

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The second book in the series is The Nightmare Birds and I will be posting a separate review once I have finished reading that book.

Strange Luck (Book 1)

strange-luck

Overall Rating: 4

 

Quick Summary: Daisy Darling has spent her life listening to far-fetched stories in her father’s shop Strange Luck. Specializing in the mythical, mystical and mysterious, Daisy has enough material to pursue her dream of writing for years. But Daisy has to take care of the store, especially since her father needs a heart transplant that they can’t afford. When Daisy finds out that these stories aren’t just made up, she’s trapped in a world that she can’t quite decipher or escape.

This is not a love story in the traditional sense so it’s a little out of the blog’s normal reach. There is a bit of romance, but the story is much more focused on Daisy’s journey. Essentially it’s a coming of age novel where Daisy realizes that there are more possibilities in life than she originally thought. I appreciate that the lesson Daisy learns has to do with the place of dreams and memories in creating meaning in our lives. This is such an important lesson and I love that it is interwoven into an exciting tale of adventure.

The writing and dialogue are smooth and the world that Amie Winters creates is vivid and interesting. However, there are some lingering questions in my mind. I don’t quite understand everything that happens in the novel and that unsettles me. Fantasy/paranormal is a genre in which a lot of odd things occur, but I still like everything to add up. So that’s my only real problem with the novel. I don’t want to go into more detail because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

Yes! It’s a lot of fun and it’s a quick read. Although it is a part of a series it can stand alone with no cliffhanger ending and I would definitely recommend it to my 17-year-old sister. It’s also a Kindle Unlimited book so it’s free to read if you have a subscription.

Something else you might enjoy:

The Savannah Witches series is another great young adult fantasy/paranormal series. I loved it and it is one of the first books I reviewed on my blog so it has a fond place in my heart.