REMEMBRANCE – HEATHER HILDENBRAND

Good morning, everyone. I’m happy to take part in the cover reveal for Heather Hildenbrand’s new book, Remembrance. It sounds like a great read!

 

heart-lines-remembrance-ebookShe’s the cure that could save him. If only she could remember how.

 

Two years ago, 20-year-old Samantha Knight experienced a life-altering trauma. Unfortunately, she can’t remember what it was. Previously outgoing, fun, and carefree—it’s as if someone flipped a switch on Sam’s insides. Now, she’s afraid of everything, socially awkward, and convinced she’s going crazy. As Beyoncé would say, she woke up like this. Sam tries her best to juggle college classes, work, and the nosiest roommate ever, but behind the curtain, Sam’s life is all about keeping a firm grip on her own mind. And life is kicking her ass.

Alex Channing has only one enemy in this world: werewolves. Born and raised to fight in the supernatural military, he has become an expert at hunting and killing rabid werewolves. But when Alex is bitten and infected, he finds himself racing against a ticking clock for his own survival.

Alex’s search for a cure leads him finally to an oracle in a seaside town in California. And she gives him the reading of a lifetime. The key to his cure is a girl who forgets things, cries spontaneously, and might just be insane. And the only way she can save him is to do the one thing Alex knows is impossible: she has to remember.

Book 1 in the highly anticipated Heart Lines series, a spin-off of the bestselling and award-winning Dirty Blood series. Note: you do NOT have to read Dirty Blood first. You can start here!
“If you enjoyed the Dirty Blood series, Remembrance is a must-read!”

Coming 2/27/17. Pre-order now at:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/1RememUS

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MZGCPMR

 

ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED ARC FROM THE AUTHOR!
*open internationally. Ends 2/14!
Enter below:

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

HildenbrandHeather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.)

She writes Young Adult & New Adult romance including the bestselling Dirty Blood & Imitation series’. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and sunny Florida and loves having a mobile career and laptop lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach dedicated to teaching fellow writers how to create their own Laptop Lifestyle. For more information visit www.fictionauthorcoach.com.

You can find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.com.

TIMELESS BLOG TOUR AND EDITING TIPS FROM CRYSTAL COLLIER

Hey, everyone! I’m excited today to be participating in the Blog Tour for Crystal Collier’s new book, Timeless. Thank you, Crystal, for sharing your new book and offering up some editing tips.

At the end of the post, you’ll find the link to Crystal’s Rafflecopter Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter!

 

 

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?
 

BUY: Amazon | B&N

How to Fix Your Sagging Middle

Thank you for having me here today!

So you’ve written this story with an epic beginning, a killer end, but the middle–ugh! No matter what you do, you can’t seem to fix the saggy, boring, drawn-out middle.

Here are a few quick tips to whip that middle into a gem.

First, we have to diagnose the issue. Often middles suffer from one of these:

1. Passive character action
2. Lack of focus on plot
3. Where did the tension go?

Correcting character passivity: 

Characters need to change and grow in a novel. It’s a known truth. Otherwise, we end up with “cardboard” characters, and who wants to hang out with them? I mean, they can’t even talk back to you!

The protagonist needs to be changing and challenged by everything that comes their way. No one wants to read about someone smoothly sailing over their challenges.

A big issue I run across is a character who is merely reacting to everything that’s happening rather than actively seeking after their goals. It’s fine for a character to react to their world, but when you hit the 50% point of a book, that HAS to change. This is the point at which the character has been pushed and shoved and won’t take it no more! From this moment on they must actively go after what they need–whether that be a relationship, independence, power, wealth, revenge, justice, or peace. (And if your character doesn’t BREAK, maybe that’s the issue?)


Focusing the Plot:

But your character does change and grow and pursues their goals. What is wrong?

Have you looked at the plot? A dynamic plot has a strong beginning, a dramatic turn around at the middle, and a powerful end, but that’s not all. The middle of that plot should contain no less than 3 (and preferably more like 6) plot points that DRIVE us toward a need for resolution. Try creating a plot chart where you actually measure where your action falls. I’m serious here–an actual graph. Estimate the tension for each plot point along the way on a scale from one to ten. (This means you have to clearly identify the turning points in the manuscript–any time something happens that motivates major change.)

Every time you hit a plot point, you’re going to go from a negative to a positive motivation, or the reverse. Technically, every chapter should be balanced by a negative to positive (or the reverse). This is one way to get to the next issue…


Where did the tension go? 

Image from Getty Images

There was a point at which I started chanting “tension all the time” while writing. There must be a juicy carrot–a mystery or desire hanging in front of the readers face to keep them moving forward. What question do you want readers asking in each chapter? What feeling do you want them to experience at the end of each chapter? Don’t leave it to chance. Actually, ask yourself these question and answer them–then implement the answer if it doesn’t already exist. Keep a mystery/need in front of the characters, and only let your readers relax about once every 60 pages. Keep them worried. Keep them hopeful. Keep them wondering.

In the end, middles only sag if we don’t build the proper structure beneath them. Go forth and support! You’ve got this.

What advice do you give for sagging middles? Have you been able to fix a book from the middle?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

 

Thank you, Crystal!! Now don’t forget to click on the link below to enter Crystal’s Rafflecopter Giveaway!

(An email address is required for awarding prizes.)

 

https://www.crystal-collier.com/spinner/

 

SEEDS OF A NEW BIRTH

Good morning all and welcome to Monday Book Reviews. Today I’ll be reviewing Seeds of a New Birth – Book One of the Kindred Series, by Orrin Jason Bradford. I believe the series is a trilogy.

 

SoNB
BOOK: SEEDS OF A NEW BIRTH

AUTHOR: ORRIN JASON BRADFORD

GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2.5 HEARTS

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

Unlocking the Potential of the Human Mind
Scientific Breakthrough… Or a Really Bad Idea?

Research geneticist and genetic engineer, Lionel Adams is onto something hot –the key to unlocking the vast reserves of the human mind. Everyone is interested in it. Bio Vita Tech, the genetics research lab he works for, is excited about the possibilities and the potential mega-profits. So are their foreign competitors who are counting on their inside man at Bio Vita to deliver Adam’s secret into their hands.

Everyone seems to want a sample of Adam’s formula, except his college buddy, Flip MacDougal, who makes a surprise visit to Bio Vita to play a practical joke on his old friend. Unfortunately, it’s Flip who ends up with the sample. His world is turned upside down as he struggles and maneuvers his way through the trouble he has gotten himself into as he unwittingly spreads his “gift” to others.

MY REVIEW:

While research scientist Lionel Adams is working one night on a secret genetic engineering project, his old college friend, Flip MacDougal pays him a visit. Flip, a smooth-talking ladies man, convinces Lionel’s secretary Debbie to lend him her keycard so he can enter his secure research lab. He wants to ‘prank’ him. In return, he’ll take her out to dinner.

After Flip startles Lionel in the lab, he accidentally knocks over a beaker of liquid that’s on the counter which contains Lionel’s most recent project ‘alteration’ – It turns out to be bio-genetically active recombinant DNA. He advises Flip to go to the bathroom and wash his hands with soap. When he gets there, he decides that nature’s call comes first. He washes his hands when he’s done.

He subsequently takes Debbie out to dinner and back to his hotel room, and you can guess the rest. Flip finds himself falling madly for her after that first night. When she declines his invitation for a second date because she has plans, he goes back into his player mode, flying out the following afternoon to see one of his lady friends. It’s on this trip that he finds out that he is being used as a ‘boy toy’ by a group of professional women. With his male ego shattered, he makes trips to various cities, visiting each one for a final tryst and confrontation.

Because of his lack of personal hygiene back at the lab, each woman ends up becoming impregnated with girls by him despite the fact that he’s had a vasectomy and each woman is either sterile or on birth control of some kind. The fetuses are growing at an alarming fast rate.

Lionel must now report the leak to the corporate sponsor who funded the grants for his research. The sponsor sends their own researcher to work with him. How many women are there? Has he taken his experiment too far in the name of science and profit?

I liked the premise of this story. The idea of genetically altered DNA that unlocks the possibilities of the mind – telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis, etc. makes for awesome science fiction writing. There was so much potential here and the plot wasn’t bad. There were some parts I didn’t see coming, and I liked that.

I was pulled out of the story more times than I wanted to be. Suspending reality in fiction is expected, especially in science fiction. The problem is, it still has to be believable. The setting is in modern day and the location is an ultra secure research facility. First of all, no one can gain access with a little sweet talk and the promise of a date. Second, even a lay person knows that a leak of any potentially dangerous/hazardous specimens calls for an immediate lockdown and/or quarantine until whatever implemented safety protocols are initiated. It would be like me gaining access to the CDC by batting my eyelashes, entering the labs, checking out all the vials, and asking “What are these?”, and then being told to go wash my hands in the bathroom down the hall with soap after opening a vial containing a deadly virus – thus contaminating everything and everyone I come into contact with. It is not going to happen.

As a reader, it seemed to me that the author wanted to get past the more uninteresting parts of the writing to get to the ‘action’. I mentioned earlier that the premise and plot were good, but the accident scene fell flat with me. The writing wasn’t bad, and the characters were okay.

Overall, this was an okay read. I may read the second book in the series if it is highly discounted or a free download on Amazon (as this one was). I’m rounding it up to three hearts because I really liked the premise, plot, and the story. I feel it has a lot of potential for improvement. Perhaps in a future edition?

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2.5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

OBOrrin Jason Bradford is the pen name for speculative fiction author, W. Bradford Swift, who chose to use a pen name for The Kindred Series to make it clear to his Young Adult fantasy readers that these books are of another breed entirely. Currently the series includes Seeds of a New Birth and book two, Seeds of a New Power.

Dr. Swift is a graduate of Clarion West in Seattle where he honed his skill and passion for writing fantasy and science fiction. These two genres are forms of visionary fiction – fiction that first and foremost entertains while also enlightening and encouraging the reader to embrace greater possibilities in their own lives.  Giving back to future generations of young adults and adults through visionary fiction and non-fiction is an integral part Swift’s legacy of a life on purpose. To learn more about additional books by the author go to: www.wbradfordswift.com  and amazon.com/author/wbradfordswift

 

 

 

 

 

18 THINGS

Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! I have a long list of books I’ve read in the past year that I haven’t been able to review, so I’m mixing them up with books that I’m reading and are on my TBR. Today I’ll be reviewing 18 Things by Jamie Ayres, that I read a while ago and only scanned over it again to remember character names and certain details. I remember the story clearly.

18Things

 

BOOK:  18 THINGS

AUTHOR: JAMIE AYRES

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/PARANORMAL

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

MY REVIEW:

Olga’s been in love with Conner since they were little kids and never told him, so they grew up being best friends. Conner dies tragically while they’re out sailing, and Olga is unable to save him, though injured herself and subsequently rendered unconscious. She can’t help but blame herself, thinking she could have done more to save him. The fact that she wanted the girl he asked to prom – popular, head cheerleader Tammy, to know she could have him with her any time she wanted when they planned that fateful day, made it worse. Unfortunately, when she goes back to school after his funeral, a few anonymous and cold-hearted classmates leave notes in her locker blaming her too.

In an effort to escape her pains, physical and emotional, Olga takes the bottle of pain medication the hospital prescribed her when she was discharged. After the ‘pill incident’, her parents insist on therapy. Her therapist Dr. Jill recommends a bucket list of 18 things to do during the year until she’s 18 to help her move forward with the healing process.

It’s while waiting for one of her sessions that she meets Nate Barca, who was court-ordered to therapy. A friendship begins. Olga finds Nate attractive, which she bothers her, because she still loves Conner. She appeals to God for answers – through prayers and pleas many times. How am I going to get through the year? Why didn’t God take me instead of him? I’m not going to give away much more because of spoilers.

I loved the idea and premise of the story. Reading how Olga, Nate, and her friends helped construct and get her through the bucket list was fun. Most of the characters were well fleshed out, although a couple were kind of cliché. Nate was my favorite and who I felt had the most personality. The book has references to God, scripture, and prayers, but it’s not added in a preachy way; it’s an important part of who Olga is and how she ‘deals’.

The ending shocked me – but didn’t, I guess. I had suspicions about how it was going to end in the beginning, but as I kept reading I said ‘Nah’ and forgot about them. When I finally reached the ending, I thought to myself – ‘Wait, what?’ … and had to go back to look for the clues that had me suspicious in the first place!

Overall, I think this is an interesting and clean read for young adults, and would recommend it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

AyresJJamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her jamieayres.com.

 

 

 

BITTERROOT – PART 2

Hey everyone! It’s time for Monday Book Reviews. A few weeks ago I reviewed Part 1 of the Bitterroot Series by Heather Hildenbrand and S.M. Reine. You can find it here.

Today I’m reviewing Part 2.

Bitterroot2

 

TITLE: BITTERROOT – PART 2

AUTHORS: HEATHER HILDENBRAND

and SM REINE

GENRE: PARANORMAL/YOUNG ADULT

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5 of 5 HEARTS

BOOK BLURB:

One month ago, Charlotte Vuk—Charlie—was living in a small town in Oregon with her mother, completely unaware she was next in line for alpha to a werewolf pack so steeped in tradition and rules that they banished her mother 17 years ago for being “the other woman.” Now, Charlie is here in Paradise to meet a family she never knew she had. And to compete for a title she never wanted in the first place.

Regan Vuk needs to be alpha—and fast. Her father has completely lost his mind; promising his daughter’s hand in marriage to their worst enemy in exchange for a peace the vampires ruined when they killed Regan’s mom is crazy. Regan needs to unseat him and bring order back to her people. Even if it means hurting Charlie in the process.

Charlie doesn’t understand why everyone hates the vampires so much. So far, Owen’s done nothing but help her. He’s the only friend she has, the only one who has taken the time to get to know her. But Owen isn’t the only one who sees her, and soon both girls realize there’s someone else out there against the idea of another Vuk becoming alpha. It might even be the same person who killed Regan’s mom. When they discover a vampire’s scent on their tail, Regan isn’t surprised they’re in danger.

For Charlie, it’s beginning to feel as if her world is crumbling in around her. For Regan, it’s just another day in Paradise.

MY REVIEW:

Charlotte (Charlie) Vuk spent most of her life living among humans with her mother until she was taken away by members of her father’s pack in the middle of the night. Now she’s trying to adjust to living life as a member of the pack, with the father she never knew and a sister she didn’t know existed. On top of everything else, she has feelings for one of the werewolves enemy – vampire prince Owen Rossi.

Could things get any worse? I’m glad you asked. They most certainly can.

Charlie has to fight her sister Regan for the role of pack Alpha; it’s tradition. No one, including Regan thinks she’s capable of winning. Does she even want to? Charlie and Regan are finally building a relationship, but there’s this huge elephant in the closet – the fight. She even offered to bypass fighting and take the role as Beta, but that can’t happen. She’d be ostracized and disowned from the pack forever.

After much thought, Charlie decides that she will fight – but only because everyone thinks she can’t. Including her own sister. Not only that, the winner has to marry Prince Owen Rossi! You’ll never guess who helps train her. 🙂

Throughout all this madness, Regan is sure that someone in the Rossi clan is responsible for the death of her Alpha mother, whose position her and Charlie will now have to fight for. Charlie is not so sure about that when she comes across evidence that there might be a traitor among the werewolves.

This was a well written second part to the three-part novella series. The characters were all fleshed out well and I got to know more about several of the characters. There are two blossoming romances here, one that’s considered forbidden love, and another that sparks from a childhood friendship.

I felt for Charlie in so many ways because she was such an outcast. Few of the pack paid her mind, and it was only Regan who came to her defense. The bonding between the two girls was clear despite the heavy cloud of the impending fight looming over them. The authors did a great job trying to bring the girls together while keeping the tension there.

I noticed minimal spelling or grammatical errors. I highly recommend this as a young adult paranormal read. It’s exciting and clean.

 

MY RATING:

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5 OF 5 STARS

NOTE:  I RECEIVED AN ARC FROM THE PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.