Friday, December 12, 2014

December End of the Year Catch Up

O.k. Folks it's true things got busy at my paying job and I haven't had as much time to blog as I'd like. So this morning I'm catching myself and you all up on the latest reads and what's up on the blogosphere.

First Epic Reads hosted their annual Shimmy Awards. I voted for my favorites and I hope those of you that read and visit Epic Reads voted for your favorites as well. I was pleased with my favorite authors and less than pleased with some of the winners but hey that's how life goes. To check out the winners and runners up just follow this link.

Secondly a recap of my November reading list. I finished the Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Braken. It was awesome! There is this thing that happens with a book series where the final book usually ends up sucking because the author or editors or who ever doesn't quite run with the ball. It's tragic and sad and happens all too often in fiction. That being said this trilogy will not let you the, reader, down. The first book all the way through to the last book was great. It ended with a sweet note of hope which is what we all want in the end of a dystopian novel anyway right!! I give this trilogy two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Third for the new Independent Author of November I present to you S.L. Morgan and her new series Ancient Guardians. There are currently two books out in this series right now and each one is packed full of action, adventure, nail biting suspense, and just enough aww moments to make it all worth while.

As you can see the cover is beautiful but more than that S.L. Morgan weaves the impossible with the classical. If you are a fan of Jane Austin and you love the fantastical worlds of sci-fi and paranormal you're going to LOVE this!! As I said before there are two books in the series right now and Ms. Morgan we are anxiously awaiting the release of the third book in this series. 

Finally and without further ado my reading list for the December break:

The Luxe books from my November reading list. I need to read those.

Still waiting my turn to check out Snow Like Ashes and The Young Elites.

Currently Reading: Ever Shade by I.A. Author Alexia Purdy.

New Releases for December: The Queen by Kiera Cass

If you have an Independent Author you'd like me to read and review please post them in the comments below and I'd be happy to add them to next years list.

Have a Happy Holidays and happy Reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ohh baby it's cold outside!!

I can't speak for my friends below the equator or heck even below the Mason Dixon Line but here in St. Louis it's cold, cold, cold! Too cold to be outside unless you're one of those winter people that loves the bracing air and icicles in your lungs, ok that last part may be an exaggeration, the point is people it's freaking cold outside!

I'm originally from the deep south and my blood is thin it's not used to this cold, wet, weather no matter how many years I've lived in St. Louis. The only consolation to cold weather is warm houses and time spent indoors curled up under throw blankets with hot chocolate and marshmallows. My only other consolation is it's reading season!

This weeks blog is dedicated to my favorite past time, READING! I know this blog is for Independent Authors and I have quite a line up of those as well but I thought I'd share some of my top picks for November reading along with a short blurb about the book. Who knows maybe you'll find one or two you'd like to add to your own reading list.

1: THE LUXE, By Anna Godbersen
Short Synopsis: Manhattan, 1899: In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent. 

All right I confess this is a little outside my norm but I need to break away from paranormal for a bit. I mean I love a good werewolf story as much as the next gal and yeah vampires are kinda cool too but every once in a while I just want to read a really good fluff piece with a bit of mystery and this one sounds like it fits the bill!

2: SNOW LIKE ASHES, By Sara Raasch
Short Synopsis: Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self.  Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

HELLOOO Game of Thrones referenced alongside Graceling I didn't need to know anymore but then they went and put that awesome description together and yeah I'm totally done for. I'm hooked like an addict and I need to read this book!!

3: THE DARKEST MINDS, By Alexandra Bracken
Short Synopsis: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government 'rehabilitation camp.' She might have survived the mysterious disease that''s killed most of America''s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she''s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can''t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader

What needs to be said on this one?! Dystopian world, plague, romance, mystery, heart pounding action, if this were a movie I'd predict it to be a blockbuster! I'm so excited to read this one and am counting down the days till I can get my grubby paws on it.
4:THE BROKENHEARTED, By Amelia Kahaney
Short Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles and Marie Lu's Legend series, Amelia Kahaney's The Brokenhearted is a gorgeous, gritty, and imaginative take on the superhero story. Anthem Fleet, talented ballerina and heir to the Fleet fortune, has always been closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. Lured by the handsome and dangerous Gavin, Anthem is drawn into the dark and exhilarating world on the wrong side of town. But when the couple runs into trouble, Gavin goes missing and Anthem winds up dead . . . only to awaken in an underground lab with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. Now she can run faster, jump higher, fight better. But the only thing that matters to her is getting Gavin back. And when she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, she is determined to use her new found powers for the ultimate revenge.

I have to say I'm not as excited to read this one mostly because I was not a fan of the Lunar Chronicles. That being said the books synopsis sounds far more entertaining than the reference they give to the already established Marissa Meyer's series so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best on this one.

5: RED QUEEN, By Victoria Aveyard
Short Synopsis: Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Ok I mean read that synopsis! You know this book will probably kick major ass when the two books they reference are Graceling and The Selection. Both of those books were A-Mazing! So I'm super excited to read the Red Queen. 

These are my top five picks for my November reading list. This is by no means the only books I'll be reading this month, after all none of these author's are independent authors and I need to stay faithful to my blog readers and fellow I.A. Authors. 

Do you have a book you'd like me to read and review or an author you're in love with and want to share them with the world? Drop me a line in the comments section and I'll feature them in December's review blog.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I have a new Author for you!

Aileen Erin

I know this is a relativity new review blog for Independent Authors and I hope, so far, you're finding these reviews helpful. My friends and I love to read and we love to discover new or new-ish authors out there that have taken the bold and scary decision to self-publish. In my search for something new I took a chance on an Amazon recommended title; Becoming Alpha. I don't usually take Amazon on up on it's recommendations as it's been known to steer me more wrong than right but it was Halloween, I was off work, my kids were occupied with the Fraggles and I was desperate, so I took Amazon up on their suggestion and am I glad I did. So Aileen Erin whoever you sweet talked over at Amazon for that recommendation this reviewer thanks you.

I've read so many stories, from so many authors and genre's that sometimes they just blur together as reading trends move from one genre to the next. The stories that really stand out are the ones with unforgettable characters like Ilona Andrews and her Kate Daniels or Chloe Neill and her Chicagoland Vampires. No matter the genre great characters drive and move the story they are what make us fall in love with a particular series or novel. It's no secret, or shouldn't be a secret any longer, that I love a great, strong, witty, heroine and when given a choice those are the types of characters I gravitate to reading more about. I discovered this need early on in my life when I read a Wrinkle in Time and it was further watered by Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters and Aileen Erin gives one hell of a heroine in this series of hers. I also love that the main character is of mixed race and Aileen gives a very accurate picture of how children of mixed races generally fair in our American Society. I won't go into too much of that here in this blog to avoid getting on any soap boxes.

Now onto my favorite part! Have you ever fallen so in love with a stories concept that you just couldn't shake it and thought to yourself "Self, it would be so absolutely awesome if the elements from this story were paired with the elements from that story and oh! oh! oh! what if these characters met?!" If you haven't had that conversation with yourself then I'm genuinely sad for you. I have those thoughts all the time but then I do talk to myself a lot so, ya know, there's that. In this new-ish series, and I say new-ish because there are three books out in the series now and two more coming next year so clearly I missed the opening season of this series. Oookaay back to the point in this series we meet a young 17 year old mexican/american girl moving from LA to Texas. Talk about a culture shock and the reason for the move becomes apparent when you find out that the girl has social issues because of her special ablities. Tessa is a descendant of the powerful bruja clan and she's been raised away from her relatives in an effort to protect her from them. You'll find out why she needs protection by book two so I'm not going to go into that yet. All you need to know about Tessa is that she's had to grow up being socially isolated with no friends because every time she touches someone or touches things that others have touched she gets flashes of their past and sometimes of their present. This has made touch in general a no no for Tessa. She has a strong family support and you'll come to love them as much I do. Her mom is strong and supportive of her and her dad is like the best dad ever! Seriously wish I had had a dad like him growing up. Her only real friend through out her entire life has been her older brother and he's pretty bad ass himself. Tessa is excited for this move. She's ready to leave LA behind and everyone who knows her at school as that "weird kid". She sees this move as a way to start over in a new place among people that don't know her or her special abilities. She's determined to fit in and she's somewhat successful until one fateful party and one fateful kiss.

She's drawn to Dastien, one of the St. Ailbe's kids. He's two years older than her and all she knows about him at first is that he's an instructor at the St. Ailbe's school. She's warned repeatedly by her parents and by Mr. Dawson to stay inside at night and the kids at school warn her about staying away from the St. Ailbe's kids. That doesn't happen as I'm sure you can figure out but I'm not going to ruin the story by telling you how that comes to pass. It's one of my favorite scenes in the book anyway and you should have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.

What makes this book and the other two that follow it are the careful mixing of new and old story ideas and the great character develop the author has put into her work. I was excited to keep reading and be able to pick out elements from different genre's that she has melded so seemlessly into her world that it just worked! If you love the Quinn Loftis series and the Christine Feehan worlds you'll love this series. They have a lot of elements in common but with a unique twist that makes Aileen's world so different and exciting. It's not just another werewolf story or coming of age tale it's all of those things and then some.

You can get her books pretty cheaply at Amazon and I promise you it's worth the cost of a few bucks to be transported into this world.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Out of the Ordinary Book Review

On a whim and because I haven't reviewed anything from this genre yet I chose to read and review Kendra Elliot's "On Her Father's Grave". This is a mystery novella. Yes I said Novella. There are currently two novella's out in this series with two more prepped to go out next month. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read these two novella's for free. If you don't have Kindle Unlimited you can purchase them through Amazon for $2.99. Each novella is 98 pages long so there's not much of a commitment involved in surrendering to this series. 

This first book follows the eldest Taylor daughter Stevie as she returns to her small Oregon hometown of Solitude. Her father has passed away and Stevie is over and done with the LA scene where she's spent the last ten years working for the LAPD. Stevie is looking forward to the slower more sedate pace of a small rural town and the friendliness of familiar faces, that is until a young teenage football player dies mysteriously at everyone favorite swimming hole O'Rourke Lake. Stevie knows the kids are lying about what caused his death and she needs to find out soon before someone else dies.

The book is a bit formulaic so guessing the ending is pretty easy there's no real surprise twist ending. I'm strangely ok with this because the story line itself is not too bad. You are left wondering about the who and the where and when Chief Roy goes missing and no one can find him that's another layer of mystery to chew on.  

The book is the first one in a series so don't expect the ending to wrap up all of your questions, it won't, but that's the fun in reading a series anyway.

I wasn't totally in love with the book on a scale of 1 to OMG I MUST HAVE THE NEXT ONE I would give it a 4. It was a short, entertaining read but I'm not going to be waiting anxiously for the next one to come out or pre-ordering ahead of time. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reformed, Rehabbed, Remission

I'm a self confessed spoiler of books and movies. I've tried, really tried, to avoid this bad habit in this blog but I have to say it's going to be hard! I promise to warn you readers if I feel a spoiler coming on and you can feel free to skip over to the next part. 

If you've read the other Ghost Bird series of books from my earlier blog then you know how excited I've been for book seven to hit the markets. I had this release date circled in my planner months ago and I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I read the whole thing in one sitting only to immediately flip right back to page one and start again. 

As you can see from the title of this book it's mostly about Silas *Le sigh* our resident Greek God. I know Sang loves all the boys from the Academy equally and doesn't choose favorites but I'm not Sang and Silas is one of my favorite boys, right up there with Luke and Gabriel. 

C.L. Stone does not disappoint us with her latest book. As you know from the previous books the Academy guys are facing opposition on every front from the school, from Volto, and Sang's family issues are impeding their investigation. Those who are up to date like me will be pleased to note that a few of those loose ends get wrapped up in this book. The Academy boys switch up their tactics and turn the table on Principal Hendricks and even catch up with Mr. McCoy. You'll see some heart pounding, edge of your seat, moments in this latest book.

Then there's Silas Korba. We'll learn more about the sweet, silent, greek in House of Korba. You'll learn about his blood family and how Silas came to be a part of the Academy. I dare you not to cry when you read about his mother and brother Theo. His father Charlie is endearing and you can see where Silas gets his sweet side from in this book. You'll also blush fire engine red when you see how he flirts outrageously with Sang and laugh out loud when you read about the prank the boys pull on him. You'll see a side of Silas you've never seen before in this book and I for one hope that side shows up a little more often. I have one word for Silas Korba when he turns on the Greek charm and that's INTENSE. 

One of the best and most awkward scenes in the book is a face off between Silas and North with Sang in the middle. O-M-G! 

If you haven't gotten your copy of House of Korba yet then you need to stop reading my blog and go get your copy. Don't leave yourself hanging after book six and hello SILAS!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A. J. Aalto Canadians rising star in Independent Authors

Independent Author AJ Aalto is the new rock star of adult paranormal books. Her character Marnie Baranuik is a Canadian born and bred psychic known as a groper/feeler. She's a foul mouthed, petite blonde who gets her psychic abilities from her bonded vampire, collectively known in this new universe as Cold Company. Unlike other paranormal books that seek to romanticize the relationship between vampires and humans AJ Aalto takes a new and slightly more twisted approach to the genre. In her world vampires bond with humans in a symbiotic relationship that allows the vampire to maintain sanity and a connection to the ever changing world around them and the humans they bond with receive different types of pyschic powers and an above average life span. The humans don't live forever and thus the vampire inherits a new human bond when the older one dies of old age. The vampire and their wealth is held in the name of the human they are bonded to and is passed down through a family like a favored family heirloom.  Yes you read that right in AJ's universe vampires are more like property and less like all powerful masters of the universe. That's not to say that the vampires lack personality Marnie's bonded vampire in this series is Lord Guy Harry Drepenstedt and he has as much personality and yes vampiric power as Marnie does. He is humorous and impeccably dressed as we've come to expect from our fictional vampires he's also dangerous, though it's easy to forget that last part until AJ brutally reminds us. 

In the first book of the Marnie Baranuik Files, Touched, we are introduced to Marnie and are told that she is "retired" from her paranormal investigation. She once worked for the F.B.I.'s paranormal division to attempt to catch a vampiric serial killer but was thwarted by a bullet to the chest. Touched is a fast paced comedy of errors from the first page all the way to the last. Marnie is your quintessential anti-hero. She isn't brave or gifted in weaponry. She's not the first person you would expect to see working with the F.B.I and she knows her limitations and that they don't stretch very far. Though Marnie has a PhD in Preturnatural biology she gets queasy at crime scenes and has zero aptitude for taking orders or even defending herself. Marnie is the ordinary girl who keeps finding herself in extra-ordinary positions where she has to think fast, a skill she swears she lacks, or die. The only real talent our anti-hero has is in self preservation and in that area she excels. Her botched investigation attempts are half the fun of reading this series, the other half comes from the richly detailed world that AJ Aalto has created for all of us to play in. 

Expect to see some very adult material in both language, Marnie loves to cuss and is proud of her swear word vocabulary, and because she is bonded to a vampire has a higher than normal sexual appetite so there are some sex scenes in this first book. I do have to say that I don't mind sexual scenes in my fiction as long as they don't detract from the actual story. It's a fine line to walk and AJ Aalto walks that line like a skilled professional writer. Marnie's love life is as awkward as it is steamy mixing both realistic elements with the better than real life sex we've come to expect from our fiction. You cringe in embarrassment and laugh out loud at some of her sexual escapades then pant from the sheer hotness of it. All of it liberally dosed with swear words and innuendo. 

There are currently three full length novels and two short novella's in this series and each one builds from the last. You can find all of the Marnie Baranuik books at Amazon and Booktrope all of them very reasonably priced at below $10.00 per book. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

End of September Round Up

For this new venture I've decided to end the month with the next months upcoming I.A. new releases.

For Quinn Loftis you can pre-order at only 2.99 her next Into the Fae book Wolf of Stone which releases October 31st. Just in time for a chilly night after trick or treating.

C.L.Stone's latest installment in the Ghost Bird series will House of Korba will be out October 27th. I'm especially excited about this one as we all know Sylus Korba is my favorite Academy boy.

That's it for my Independent Authors new releases that I've reviewed here this month. If you have an I.A. Author that you'd like to see featured on my blog leave their name and book title in the comments below.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oh so Furry!

That's right ladies and Were's we have another series by the great and wonderful Quinn Loftis. This is actually a completed series by her so there's no desperately waiting for the next book to come out with this one. This series has 7 books in total and not one cost more $3.99. There is an 8th book but it's more of a Prequel to the whole series as it centers around Vasile and Alina the two head Alpha's of the Romanian pack. She also has a spin off series she has recently begun with this original series that centers on the Gypsy Healers. I'm not ashamed to say that I've read ALL of them and I can't tell you which one is better.

I would suggest starting with this series before attempting to jump over to her spin off series only so you'll know and understand the characters with more in depth knowledge.

Let's get back to these hot hot werewolves shall we?

Unlike most stories that involve paranormal aspects Quinn keeps her characters pretty level headed. For instance, have you ever read a book where you thought "damn if she'd just have told him that piece of information all this other crap could have been avoided?" It's frustrating isn't. Well you won't find too many instances of that in these books. Quinn keeps her characters true to form and still manages to weave a rich and detailed world of mystery, danger, humor, and suspense. I dare you to read these books and pick a favorite character. You can't each one is central and needed to support the roles of the others and to keep the story moving.

There are three main female characters in the series Jacque, Jen, and Sally. Quinn has styled these characters after her own best friends so don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing you were a member of their tight knit group, I certainly did.

Jacque is a spunky red head she's the first character you meet in Prince of Wolves. I can't say too much about her without giving away the first book sorry ya'll.

Jen is everyone's favorite wild child, she's the foul mouthed, loud, brash, blonde Texan of the group and she will keep you rolling in stitches. Here's one of my favorite Jen and Sally interaction from Prince of Wolves. This should give you some idea of how awesome these girls are together.

Then there's Sally she's the glue that holds them all together. Sally is kind hearted a bit quiet, and a little shy but don't push this introvert too far because she'll access her inner Jen and let you have it Texas Style.

I'll sum all three of them up for you with this one picture.
Let's not forgot the men either because what's a great werewolf story without gorgeous werewolves.

Fane is the crown prince of the Romanian pack the only living child of Vasile and Alina. He comes to Texas as a foreign exchange student and meets Jacque, in a round about way, his first night there. He's young and he knows it and it's a wonderful twist of literary storytelling that he actually trust his parents and reaches out to them the very first time he needs help.

Later in the story you'll meet Decebel, mmmmm yummy Decebel or Dec as Jen refers to him. There's nothing more fun than watching these two characters go head to head in verbal sparring matches. Decebel is old world dominant wolf, think silent but deadly he's the Beta of the Romanian pack right hand wolf to Vasile. Dec doesn't say much but then when you have the power to be an alpha in your own right you really don't need words to make your threats.

You'll meet so many drool worthy werewolves with hilarious acronyms courtesy of Jen you'll have a hard time deciding which one you want for yourself.

Here's a pictorial of the first few books in the series.

Let me leave you with these great excerpts from the first book in the series Prince of Wolves.

OK their all Jen quotes but really she's just so damn quotable!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Humor, Soulmates, and the Fae OH MY!

This week I'm going to focus on an Independent Author who has an established series already out. Many of you know Quinn Loftis from her Grey Wolf Series which has won YA book awards with it's humor and powerful story line. If you haven't read this series then I invite you to crawl out of whatever cave you've been hiding in and join the rest of society.

Now Quinn has begun a new series that deals strictly with the Fae in her book ELFIN. The new series has two books already out and I for one can't wait for the third.

In this first book we meet the main character Cassandra, Cassie, for short who finds herself on the receiving end of the baddest, scariest, most deadly Elf Assassin known to Fae. Tric is a dark elf who meets Cassie in, of all places, a storage room where she ducks in to hide from the light elves. 

The humor and witty comebacks not to mention Cassie's best friend Elora will have you laughing till you cry. The story line is just as powerful as the Grey Wolves story line and the cast of characters in this new series is even better put together. In this latest series you can really see the maturity and growth of Quinn's writing. 

I enjoyed this book immensely. I highly recommend it to anyone needing a literary upper after coming down from a literary downer. This is an action packed, roller coaster, free for all of adrenaline, humor and love because what's a great story without an even greater love interest. Just as in the Grey Wolves series where the wolves all had to find their mates in the Elfin the Elves whether light or dark, are all given one Chosen by the Forest Lords. The Chosen is that one special person or elf that completes you and that you'll do anything to keep, even break all the rules and tempt a whole lot of bad karma. 

My best friend Rox lives in a whole other state from me. Sad I know, and yet when I was reading this book the camaraderie between Elora and Cassie had me feeling like I was reading about me and my best friend. I felt like she was right there with me the whole time and even caught myself talking out loud to her during a few of the more intense scenes. 

Quinn Loftis has created a series so amazingly well imagined that you'll forget you're here on good ole' planet Earth and not lost in the Fae Realm along with Cassie and Elora. 

Here are a few teasers from Elfin and this doesn't convince you to pick this book up at Amazon then what the hell are you still doing reading my reviews.

"Halloween is here and once again I'm struggling to pick a costume. Once again I am trying desperately to ward off Elora's attempts to turn me into some sort of gothic princess or dark fairy. If you happen to see me strutting down the street in a halter top with wings, glitter in my hair, and three inch heels, please shoot me on sight"

If you don't catch yourself drooling over the baddest bad boy to ever grace the pages of Independent Author-dom then you my friend are simply dead inside. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014



For those not familiar with cajun Lagniappe means A little something for nothing. Today's post is this weeks Lagniappe so grab your coffee cher and kick back for some fun and exciting excerpts from C.L. Stones more mature work.

Thief is the first book in C.L. Stone adult spin off series from her Ghost Bird series. Think of this set of books as the HBO version. She pulls less punches and there aren't any "fade to black" moments. Whereas her Ghost Bird series is clearly YA this one is most definitely not.

The writing in this spin off series is more mature as are the characters. I challenge you to pick a favorite I know which one is mine ;)

Marc-he's the first one to really talk to Kayli. He has two different colored eyes one is blue and one is green. He's also the first one to make his move toward Kayli.

Raven-The tattooed Russian. I challenge you to not fall in love with this sexy mans sense of humor. Check out this quote when Kayli asks if Blake is a bad guy because she's thinking of dating him.
  "In that case, yes. He's a dealer. And a rapist. And a murderer. He murders babies. Girl babies. And puppies. And he rapes them. After their dead. Sometimes."

Blake Coalter-A sexy rich guy that the Academy group has been watching because he's under suspicion of being a drug dealer for the Cartels.

You can't not love the bad guy in this book either. It's just too damn hard. You find yourself hoping he's not "all bad" because you want him to end up being good. I'm not telling you if he is or not either you'll have to read it to find out yourself. 

Let's not forget the main character of this piece. I knew I would like her when I read her last name was the same as my t.v. crushes the Winchesters on Supernatural. Kayli Winchester is a tough, smart ass, wise cracking, pick pocket who the boys recruit to help them on a side mission. At first she's cornered in pick pocketing in the mall and mistakenly believes the guys are there to pick her up and haul her into jail. She later finds out that they were just as surprised to find out she was the pickpocket they were looking for as she was to find out that they were trying to recruit her.

One of the best moments throughout the book is Kayli's acquiring of nicknames that she gets from her interactions with the guys.
I won't ruin that fun for you by leaving her nicknames here you'll just have to read the books for them yourself. 

As I said before this is a spin off adult series from the YA Ghost Bird series so you'll see some overlap of characters from that first series. Fans of the YA series will enjoy seeing some those characters pop up in this one. It's rare for a spin off to be better than the original and this one isn't necessarily better per se it's just more mature. The story lines between the two series dovetail nicely together and if you've read the ghost bird series this one will give you a few more clues to the possible identity of Volto.

Tune in next week when we review the I.A. Author Quinn Loftis and her Grey Wolf Series.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Academy Ghost Bird Series by C.L. Stone

Amazon is known for it's promotion of independent authors and C.L. Stone shows great signs of being the next big thing in YA fiction. This is an author that is fearless in her writing. She's not afraid to push the boundaries of what society deems acceptable and will challenge the reader to expand his or her ideas of right and wrong.

The first short novel titled Introductions is exactly that, and introduction to the characters in the story. You have young Sang Sorenson a 15 year old girl with an agoraphobic, sickly mother who is isolated from society and abused by her mom and neglected by her father. The Ghost Bird series centers around Sang and her shy almost painful introduction to a group of boys who form their own cell within the Academy. She first meets Kota Lee on a windy rainy night a few weeks before school starts. The reader will find it endearing how Kota slowly introduces her to his close knit group of friends. In Introductions the reader will meet all seven of the boys and the two leaders of the team Mr. Blackbourne and Dr. Sean Green.

Remember this is a YA novel so don't expect sophisticated vocabulary. The main characters are all between the ages of 15 and 19 and as such much of their dialogue is consistent with that age group. As the series progresses through the novels you will learn more about each of the boys in this group as well as the mystery surrounding Sang Sorensen.

The characters are artfully and thoughtfully crafted. Each one of the boys fulfills a specific need in the main character Sang.

Dakota Lee a.k.a Kota is the teams leader. He is described as a nerdling but on closer inspection he is quite handsome with a heart of gold. Kota is the first of the boys to make contact with Sang. He is a bit shy about his feelings for Sang and cautious of involving her with his team. He is her self described protector. The other boys on the Academy Team look up to Kota and trust his leadership. Sang notices this right off when she sees him interact with the other two team members she meets next Victor Morgan and Silas Korba.

Victor Morgan is a piano prodigy with a generous heart and wallet. He is the only son of wealthy parents and he is the main financial provider to the team. Sang describes him as "fire eyes" because his eyes are very expressive. Victor Morgan is Sang's compassion and she is his Kindness something he has lacked in his personal life and Sang is need of compassion something she's never received in her own home.

Silas Korba is the hunky greek in this close knit group. He is the strong silent type and his first encounter with Sang is the same day as Victors. Where as Victor demands an explanation almost immediately from Kota about Sang's presence Silas takes it all in stride. He is the first of the seven boys to be Sang's self appointed protector. You don't get a real feel for Silas Korba's character until the later books. All I'll say is that it's worth the read of the other novels to discover this character unfold. Of all the Academy guys Silas is quite possibly my favorite.

These are the main three boys you meet in the first novel which is only 290 pages so it's a quick read. I've read quite a few reviews online about this series some good and some bad. The story line is good, the characters are well thought out and the issues she writes about are real and push the boundaries of what is considered Taboo in our society. The writing is sometimes juvenile with some repetition and unnecessary details but this is her first novel so some leeway must be given. The following novels certainly get better both plot wise and writing wise. C. L. Stone is definitely an author to watch out for.