BEHIND THE COVER, Vol 1: Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield

BehindTheCover

Welcome everyone!

Today I’m excited to start a new feature on the blog. As you may (or may not) know, I wear many hats in the publishing world. Sure I dabble in writing (someday I’ll finish my book. I promise!) My biggest contribution to the publishing world, however, is book cover design.

 

Since 2011 I have been honing my talents as a cover designer for a small press called Melange Books, LLC, as well as their subsequent imprints, Satin Romance, and Fire & Ice YA Books.

It’s been five years and hundreds of covers, and I’m still evolving as a digital artist.

As a cover artist, I am charged with creating an eye catching cover design that accurately represents the theme of the book, while remaining visually captivating to the potential reader, and satisfying the author.

In this series of blog posts, I’m going to showcase some of my cover designs and explain what inspired them; why I chose the elements/images I did, and how they relate to the books theme or tone.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments below!

 

With many of the covers I design, as is true with most if not all cover designers, I have not had the opportunity to read the books first. That was not the case with SWIMMING ALONE. One of the many hats I wear with the Melange Books is that of acquisitions editor for the teen / new adult line of books, Fire & Ice.

While reading Nina Mansfield’s manuscript submission, I already had some ideas swirling around in my head as to what I imagined the cover to be. When it came to actually sitting down and coming up with a design concept for the cover, I was very fortunate that Nina was on board and receptive to my vision.

This cover was created using three pieces of stock art – the woman on the towel, the stormy beach, and the ripped newspaper.

Because SWIMMING ALONE is a mystery, I knew it had to be a little dark and foreboding, so I chose to go with a stormy sky over the turbulent waves. This also worked because the book takes place in a small beach town, while also setting the tone for a mystery. I kept the colors bright and vivid to appeal to the teen audience.

The main character, Cathy, is a teen girl with long dark hair, who longs to spend her days on the beach, but instead ends up working in a bookstore. I used the sunbathing model both to represent Cathy, as well as the Sea Side Stranglers victims, because they were found on the beach and share Cathy’s physical description.

With this book, I really didn’t want the text to appear as though it was just slapped on. One reason being that the text could easily get lost amidst the lightning, the other reason being this would be a lost opportunity to tie more elements of the story into the design.

I went with the torn newspaper look because in the book Cathy reads about the Sea Side Strangler in the newspaper. I aligned the title and byline to appear as though it literally was ripped from a newspaper, even going so far as to research which font faces are typically used in news print, and finding one that was similar and worked visually for this cover.

With the subtitle, we didn’t want potential readers to assume this was an adult novel due to the bikini clad woman on the cover. I think she looks like a teenager, but others may not. We made it very obvious by stating that this is A YOUNG ADULT MYSTERY. There’s no surprise when you open the pages, you get exactly what you expect; a young adult mystery. Place text in this location also eliminates dead space on the cover; it adds balance.

And there you have it! Scroll down to learn more about SWIMMING ALONE and Nina Mansfield.

You can see more examples of my covers on my website: www.carolineandrus.com/design/covers.html
And my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CarolineAndrusDesigns
I’m also available for hire. Shoot me an email or Facebook message!


SWIMMING ALONE by Nina Mansfield

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe.) Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again?


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READ AN EXCERPT

 

The Sea Side Strangler Strikes Again!

 

Leave it to my mentally unstable, common sense impaired parents to ship me off to the only town in America with an active serial killer on the loose. I could so easily have the life squeezed out of me by some deranged killer. Now that would be the ultimate revenge. I mean, talk about a guilt trip—not that I’d be alive to benefit from it. And quite frankly, I’d prefer to die peacefully, in my sleep, at the age of one hundred and eight, thank you very much.

But seriously, what kind of psychos send their only daughter, their bundle of joy, the light of their lives away to a town where dead bodies keep washing up on shore? My parents, that’s who—all so they could strangle each other without having to worry about me getting in the way. Not literally, just legally. You know—the “d” word: Divorce. The week before they shipped me off, Mommy dearest smashed one-half of the Tiffany china when she found a foreign thong in Daddy’s glove compartment. Now the lawyers are trying to figure out whose half she smashed. (I’d find the questionable thong far more intriguing if I wasn’t totally skeeved.) These are the atrocities they are trying to shield me from.

Serial killers weren’t exactly on their radar when they decided to ship me off.

This particular serial killer wasn’t on my radar either until I saw the headline splashed across the front page of the Beach Point Gazette.

Beach Point, Rhode Island. My current abode. On my own? No such luck. I’m fifteen, but my parents still think I’m five and need a babysitter. I’m staying with my Aunt Bobbie. You might know her as Roberta McCabe, mystery writer extraordinaire. Yeah—that Roberta McCabe. She decided to rent a bungalow this summer here in Beach Point—lock herself in to complete her current masterpiece. I know what you’re thinking—bungalow, beach, mystery writer. Cool, right? Except, there’s a catch.

No TV. No internet. Landline long since disconnected. My only beacon to the world beyond: Aunt Bobbie’s cell phone, which is A) hers, and B) usually off and in her purse and not loaned out to her niece. That would be me—teen girl. Stranded. Cell phoneless. (Long story. There was a toilet involved.) I’m jonesing for a text. I can literally feel my thumb muscles atrophying.

And if that weren’t bad enough, I’ve been forced to find a job. What is the point of spending my summer by the beach if I actually have to work?

The rationale behind this inhumane treatment: “So you stay out of Aunt Bobbie’s hair.” She made it sound like Aunt Bobbie would spontaneously combust if I interrupted her flow of creative juices. But a job? Thanks a lot, Mom. Turns out all the good jobs in Beach Point were already taken. I tried the Smoothie Shop. The Taco Shack. The skeevey guy at the Speedy Link Internet Café wouldn’t even stoop to look at me. He was too busy drooling over his computer monitor. Can we say porn much? (And yeah, who knew internet cafés still existed. I guess it stuck around for all those people who thought they could unplug for the summer, and then realized they couldn’t.)

That’s how I ended up at Ocean View Books one lovely June morning, staring at the aforementioned headline and a picture of a bright-eyed brunette who had apparently washed ashore just days before. The caption read: “Pauline Krystal, 19, Rhode Island State University freshman found dead last Thursday.”

Last Thursday I’d been arguing with my parents. “What do you mean you won’t get me a new cell phone?” I had figured divide and conquer would work. It didn’t. One too many lost or damaged cell phones apparently. The ’rents wanted me to learn some responsibility. And when I had a job (they reasoned independently of each other), I could afford to buy my own.

“But…but…” The whining hadn’t worked. Neither had the stomping to my room and the dramatic slamming of my door. Staring at the newspaper though, I felt lucky…lucky to be alive. Breathing. Not front-page news, gory details of my demise entrancing total strangers. And I was entranced. So entranced I didn’t hear her.

“Can I help you?” I finally heard her say. It must have been her third time or something. She seemed annoyed.

I looked up at a freckle-faced girl who was forcing her lips to curl into a smile and raising her eyebrows as if to say, what’s your problem? The freaky thing was she looked remarkably like the girl in the picture, sans cap and gown and cheesy senior photo smile. For a moment, I thought I was staring at a ghost.

“I know, the resemblance is uncanny.” She sighed, like she’d already heard it a million times. “Is there something I can help you with?”

She seemed peeved with my presence. I was going to have to get on her good side fast. “Um, yes, actually…” Total brain freeze. I stalled for time, setting the newspaper back on the rack. She began to straighten it.

“Sorry,” I muttered. She ignored me. I tried to Zen out. Deep breathing. Unfreeze my brain. But now the girl was just ignoring me, so like some un-socialized primate, I stared at the back of her head.

“Look, I know I look like her, but I’m not Pauline Krystal,” she spat when she finally turned around.

“No, it’s not that…I saw the sign in your window. I’m looking for a job,” I managed to blurt out, terrified I’d fail to make meaningful contact.

The girl let out a snort and then a smile—kind of devious—the way Mr. Grady, my history teacher, used to do right before he gave us a pop quiz. “You want a job here? Why?”

“Well, I like books.” Wow, that sounded lame.

“Good answer.” She batted the sarcasm in my direction with her too-long lashes.

“No, really, I do.” I was beginning to sound desperate. Who was I kidding? I was desperate.

“Yeah, that’s what they all say.”

“So, there’ve been a lot of applicants?”

“Uh…no.” Smirk. Squint. Bitch or cool, I couldn’t decide. “Here, fill this out.” She pulled out a clipboard with an application from behind the counter.

It looked just like the last three I’d filled out right before being told, “We’ll keep this on file in case anything opens up.” I was seriously beginning to develop a callus from all this unnecessary writing.

“You guys are actually hiring, aren’t you?” I asked. I wanted to be sure this time.

Sigh. Nod. “Yeah, we are.”

Made me wonder if they were replacing someone.

I borrowed a pen that was practically dead. I scribbled it back to life in the margins. I parked myself outside on a bench and began to fill in my life story:

Name:  Catherine (call me Cathy—let’s leave out the middle name) Banks. (Used to be Bankovsky, but it got shortened way back when on Ellis Island.)

Date of Birth:  Gemini. Old enough to have a job.

Address:  Upstate New York, but currently, somewhere off of Broad Street in Beach Point, Rhode Island.

Former Employer: None. (I’m 15!)

School/Degree:  Just finished the 9th grade.

Why would you like to work at Ocean View Books?  Mom and Dad told me to get a job this summer. Why they care what I do when they aren’t around, who knows. Oh, and the only other place I’ve spotted with a help wanted sign is a burger joint, and I’m a vegan (except for ice cream).

Favorite Author:  Well that’s easy—my aunt!

Availability:  Unfortunately, totally open.

I think you’re intelligent enough to figure out that isn’t what I really wrote, but you get the picture. All those impersonal blanks, and they were going to decide my fate for the summer. Seemed unfair. And then I thought of Pauline Krystal again, and I decided to cease and desist with the negativity. At least I could apply for a job, even if the rejection was starting to get to me.

When I’d dotted my last “i,” and crossed my last “t,” I handed the clipboard back to that girl, who stood with this condescending look frozen on her face—like she was the queen of books and I was just some peon who didn’t stand a chance in hell of getting hired.

“Hi, Catherine. I’m Lauren. Lauren Spade.” She extended her hand and…was that a smile I detected?

“You can call me Cathy.”

She gave me a once over before slipping into the back room, leaving me by my lonesome to check out the store. There wasn’t much to check out. It looked like a bookstore. Rows of books, displays in front, the notorious magazine and newspaper rack off to the side. It had this nautical color scheme going—blue and white with a splash of pale yellow. Exactly what you’d expect from a beachside bookstore. The place was small, not like those mammoth chains. Homey, clean, air-conditioned. If I had to work, I figured this place wasn’t the worst place in the world to slave away.

Lauren returned empty-handed. “Mr. Hopper will be right out.” At this point, she had turned on her customer service personality, which I chalked up to the impending appearance of her boss.

We stood there for a moment, waiting. I wondered if I should say something, and what I should do with my hands.

Lauren broke the awkward silence. “My birthday is in May, too.”

My first thought: she’s psychic. She was infiltrating my mind using the top-secret knowledge she’d acquired as a sleeper cell agent for some international terrorist organization. Either that or she wasn’t entirely human and possessed all sorts of powers I would never fully comprehend. She was actually waiting for me to read her mind but realized I was just another pathetic human—OK, I’ll admit it now. I have a slightly overactive imagination at times. It usually helps make life a little more interesting—but then I figured out the mundane reality, which, to anyone but me, would probably have been pretty obvious:  She’d read my job application.

“And I noticed Roberta McCabe is your favorite author.”

“Actually, she’s my aunt.”

“No way! I loved The Private Lives of Serial Killers.”

“You read it?” The true extent of my aunt’s fame never ceased to amaze me.

“Yeah. I mean, there’s something about serial killers—crime in general. You wonder why people do it, what motivates them to kill.” Her eyes blazed, like someone had lit a match inside them.

“I know what you mean.” The truth of the matter is, murder is one of the few things that keeps my attention these days. I’ve read every FBI profiler book out there—and of course, all of my aunt’s mayhem-inspired fiction. But Lauren actually seemed more into it than me, if that was possible, which was either cool or freaky. I couldn’t decide.

“Your aunt—is she working on a new book?”

“She always is.”

“What about?”

That, I didn’t know. I never knew. Aunt Bobbie never divulged the details of her handiwork until she’d printed out the last page, so to speak. “Couldn’t tell ya,” I said to Lauren, then added, “She keeps it secret,” so she wouldn’t think I was being a bitch. “I’m staying with her this summer, and I honestly haven’t the foggiest idea what she’s writing about. She thinks it’s bad luck to reveal even the tiniest detail, like it will spin her into serious writer’s block.”

“No way! Roberta McCabe is in Beach Point this summer?” For a second, I thought Lauren was going to hyperventilate. I imagined a brief, yet disturbing, vision of her face turning blue. But she contained herself and continued. “Well, she’s come to the right place if she’s writing about another serial killer.”

Before I had the chance to respond, Arnie Hopper slithered onto the scene.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 Tammy Marie RoseNina Mansfield is a Connecticut based writer. Swimming Alone is her first young adult novel. Nina began her writing career as a playwright; she has written numerous plays, which have been produced throughout United States and in Canada, Australia, England and Ireland. Her short plays have been anthologized in Smith & Kraus’s The Best Ten-Minute Plays (of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014) and YouthPlays’ Middle Schoolin’ It.  Her one-act play Clean is published by Original Works Publishing.  A collection of her plays entitled Three More Marriage Plays, along with her plays No Epilogue, Crash Bound, Text Misdirected and Missed Exit are available from One Act Play Depot. Her short mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Mysterical-E. In addition to writing, Nina enjoys reading, seeing theater, practicing yoga, traveling and spending time with her husband and daughter.  Nina is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Nina Online:

 

REVIEW: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

In case you missed it, JUNE IS HERE!

School is winding down for the kids, and I’m neck deep in JuNoWriMo (it’s like NaNoWriMo, but in June – the goal being to write 50K in just 30 days.) I’m making progress on the sequel to my labor of love, Blood & Magic, as well as starting a brand new novel.

On top of all that, I also started a new part time job.

So basically, I’m all over the place here!

It’ll probably be a while before I post a new review. Right now I’m making my way through A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. (Better known as Game of Thrones.)

I do have an idea I’m toying with for the blog, which I may implement soon enough. You’ll have to wait and see. 😉

Annnndddd……. I’ve been meaning to share since FOREVER! I finally uploaded to YouTube the video I took of my favorite redhead Richelle Mead at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN last month. (Yay!) And, after the video, scroll down to read my review of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by my other favorite redhead, Felicia Day.

 


 

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Read: May 26 – 29, 2016

Format: Hardcover

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Memoir
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Felicia Day fan. She’s my girl crush. She’s my patronus. She’s me, but way cooler. In like, a super geeky way, or whatever.

Here are some similarities between myself and Felicia Day: We both enjoy the smell of gasoline, we’re both recovering WoW addicts, we’re both a little socially awkward but feel at home on the Internet, and we both want to please the people around us.

Okay, so if you have no clue who Felicia Day is, I’ll clue you in. She’s the writer/creator/star of ‘The Guild’ web series, founder of ‘Geek & Sundry’, starred alongside Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, and oh yeah, she also played a recurring character named Charlie on a little show you may know, Supernatural?

So yeah, Felicia Day is all around amazing. And this book gives the reader a glimpse into how she got there. Fun fact: Felicia was homeschooled (but not for religious reasons). She was raised very liberal in the deep south. Her mom had great intentions for homeschooling, but that sort of went out the window and Felicia and her brother were basically allowed to do whatever they want. And you know what? Even with that incredibly casual learning environment, girl went on to college (without even having her GED mind you!) and earned TWO degrees – in violin and mathematics, all on a violin scholarship.

I loved that this book gave a little glimpse into what it’s like to be an aspiring actor in Hollywood. And, how to make a TV pilot with a teeny-tiny budget.

What I loved the most, however, was seeing more of who Felicia is as a person. Her addiction story is crazy similar to mine. She got started with an old PC game called Ultima. My first gaming addiction was World of Warcraft (aka WoW), which was also the big one that nearly destroyed her life. WoW was also my last gaming addiction, because I just don’t allow myself the chance to get sucked in any more, because chances are I will be. She talks about how depression affected her and her relationships. She got deep at times. And it was awesome.

I wish this book was longer though. I want to know more. I loved the little stories, but I didn’t feel like we were getting a complete and clear picture. She jumped around to different points in her life, which is all good and well, but at times she wasn’t clear on what timeframe it took place in. Was she 7 or 17 when that happened, I just don’t know!

So, what I need from you Felicia, is a sequel – You’re Still Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) perhaps? I’d also like to read some fiction because you have a wonderful, quirky author voice.

End thoughts: If you’re a fan of Felicia Day, read this book. If you’ve never heard of her, but you’re curious to read about a funny woman and her unusual upbringing and her rise to (situational) fame via the Internet, read this book.


QUOTES

 

On Childhood:

Ballet, tap, jazz dance, youth orchestra, martial arts, watercolor at the local community college (me and a bunch of eighty-year-old rocking’ the stand of maple trees!), cross-stitch, poise class (held in the back of a department store, for REAL!), my mom basically trained me to become a geisha.


(From young Felicia’s diary)

“Do you know what I would like more than anything (except environmental and biological stability forever) in the world? I would like to travel in time like in Quantum Leap. It would be so wonderful.”

 

The only kid, in real proximity to me was Erin, a thirteen-year-old who lived next door. She taught me that owning a trampoline was the most glamours thing a girl could have, and that jelly shoes were haute couture. I learned all this through spying on her through my bedroom window, because she didn’t like me and wouldn’t spend any time with me, physically.

 

My weirdness turned into my greatest strength in life. It’s why I’m who I am today and have the career I have. It’s why I’m able to con someone into allowing me to write this book. (Hi, Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuster!)

 

On Addiction:

(If I did drugs, I would totally be a sniffer. Gasoline and Magic Markers, I gotta fight against getting my nose all up in there.)

 

I tend to obsess over things easily. Like eating oatmeal every morning for a year, wearing a pair of sneakers over and over again until my big toe pokes out, and having an unhealthy fixation on the martial arts personality Jean-Claude Van Damme.

 

On Her Career:

 With zero dollars and incredibly high standards, I had to look in creative places for set decorations.

Thus began my obsession with trash.

 

And that’s how we made four more seasons (of The Guild) with Xbox. Because I dug my heels in and was unreasonable, and got rewarded for it.

 

I love it when people tell me I’m doing the wrong thing, or that something isn’t possible, or just straight dismiss me. That lights my fire in a perverse way, like a two-year-old who deliberately touches a hot stove after you tell them not to. But compliment me or expect something big? That’s the perfect way to destroy my confidence.


 

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Deja Revu – June 5, 2016

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Déjà
Revu
is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book
review blogs.
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General
Fiction

 

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Contemporary

Fantasy

General
Fiction

Graphic Novel

Horror

Paranormal

Science
Fiction

 

Romance

Science
Fiction

Woman’s
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Dystopian

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Humor

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REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Read: May 14 – 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy Teen

 

I heard a lot of good things about this series so I had really high hopes when I began reading. I read Stiefvater’s book Shiver in the past and enjoyed it, though I didn’t love it. That ended up being the case with Raven Boys.

Basic premise: Daughter of a psychic (Blue) is told all her life that if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. So she doesn’t date or kiss boys. Ever. Meanwhile, a group of boys over at the prestigious Aglionby Prep school (aka raven boys) are on the hunt for some magical “ley line” which is supposedly going to lead the leader of the boys (Gansey) to some dead guy who will give him something he really wants. I didn’t really understand all the ley line talk.

Alright, so that’s that. The book starts out in Blue’s POV and I really liked her. She had a unique POV being the daughter of a psychic and living in a house full of other psychics as well. Meanwhile, she’s not even remotely psychic. All was going great, I was loving the book! Then….

We switch to Gansey’s POV and we’re inundated with talk of these ley lines. I was so confused. I was bored. I didn’t care. I just wanted to go back to Blue’s POV!

Finally after about ten chapters Blue and Gansey finally meet and the story REALLY starts. I did end up liking all of the boys by the end, there was a mystery surrounding one of the boys that was really eye opening once revealed. Had I not been bored so much in the beginning I’d be tempted to go back and re-read it just to look closer for the clues.

Finally the book ended. And it was…. Okay. I didn’t hate the ending, but at the same time I wasn’t left with a burning desire to read the next book. Chances are I will read the next book, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get my hands on it any time soon.

In all, this book was meh. There were good and interesting characters, but it took too long to get to know some of them so I didn’t really care what was happening to them, and what was happening to them was interesting, but… again, I just didn’t care.

I’m curious to see what other people thought of this book. I do think Ms. Stiefvater is very talented and has a lot of great ideas, I just haven’t found a book from her yet that really resonates with me and leaves me wanting more.


Quote worthy:

When it finally happened, when she finally saw him, it didn’t feel like magic at all. It felt like looking into the grave and seeing it look back at her.

 

Blue had two rules: Stay away from boys, because they’re trouble, and stay away from raven boys, because they were bastards.


He said, “I’ve always liked the name Jane.”

Blue’s eyes widened. “Ja—what? Oh! No, no. You can’t just go around naming people other things because you don’t like their real name.”

“I like Blue just fine,” Gansey said. “…However, I also like Jane.

“I’m not answering to that.”

 

“Aquamarine is a wonderful color, and I won’t be made to feel bad for wearing it,” Gansey said.

 

“Blue. My name’s Blue Sargent.”

“Blair?”

“Blue.”

“Blaise?”

Blue signed. “Jane.”

“Oh, Jane! I thought you were saying Blue for some reason.”


GET THE BOOK

(At the time of this review, the ebook edition of this book is only $1.99)

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Crossing The Barrier by Martine Lewis – Book Blitz + GIVEAWAY

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Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Genre: Upper YA Coming of Age Contemporary Romance with a touch of Paranormal

Published:  March 22, 2016

Publisher: BMJ Chanapi Press

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29107100-crossing-the-barrier

Amazon: http://goo.gl/DJ2w6n


Crossing the Barrier will be FREE on Amazon May 26th through May 30th!

 

High school student Malakai Thomas, star wide receiver of the varsity team, collides with band member Lily Morgan on his way to football practice. As days go by, Malakai cannot get the petite clarinetist out of his head.

Lily Morgan can feel everyone’s emotions. She loses her ability to shield herself against them the day Malakai runs into her. Now she must try to maintain her sanity in the emotional jungle that is high school, as well as deal with her growing feelings for Malakai.

Can Malakai get over the social stigma and his own internal struggle to be with Lily? Is Lily’s secret too big to accept, even for him?

 

 


About the Author:

Martine Lewis is a forty something who was born and raised in the French speaking province of Quebec, Canada. She spent her childhood looking forward to her summer vacations at the farm, which were a nice escape from the suburbs where she lived.

Her first written endeavor was a 200-page handwritten Duran Duran bandfiction which she wrote when she was eleven years old. Of all her written work, this is the only one she no longer has.

All throughout high school, Martine wrote more bandfictions and some original work, then she went to write fanfictions in the Star Wars, Buffy and Harry Potter universes. Her fanficiton in the Potterverse are mostly centered on characters of her own creation and can be found on fanfiction.net.

Following her viewing of Roswell on Netflix in 2012, Martine wrote book two and three of the Gray Eyes Series, then went on to create the Gray Eyes Series universe in which she has been playing ever since. She writes contemporary coming-of-age romance fiction (young adult/new adult) with a twist.

Martine is an avid reader and rollerskater. She loves sushi, hot chocolate on a cold day, and the beach. But what she loves above all else is to curl on her chair with her computer and write more stories for her readers.

Martine currently lives in Houston TX with her two cats.

 


 

AUTHOR LINKS

website: www.martinelewisauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/martinelewisauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorMartine

Instagram: www.instagram.com/martinelewisauthor

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/martinelewisauthor

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/martinelewis

 


 

GIVEAWAY

Follow the link to enter to win a copy of Crossing the Barrier on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/186041-crossing-the-barrier

Crossing the Barrier is also FREE on Amazon! GO GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

Amazon sell link: http://goo.gl/DJ2w6n

 

Deja Revu – May 22, 2016

 

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Contemporary

Fantasy

*SATIRE*

 

*SATIRE*
Paranormal

Romance

 

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Romance

 

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Fantasy

Graphic Novel

Horror

Mystery

Non-Fiction

*SATIRE*
Religious

Romance

Science Fiction

Woman’s Fiction

 

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Romance

Woman’s Fiction

OTHER

 

 

 

REVIEW: Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

So, last Thursday I got to meet my all time favorite author, Richelle Mead. It was amazing. I actually recorded all 20 minutes of her speaking and Q&A which I keep forgetting to upload to YouTube, but when I finally remember, I will share it with you all. Until then, check out this fabulous Instagram post I made that night.

 

 


 

Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

Series: Thunder Road #2

Read: May 1 – 7, 2016

Format: ARC Print Book

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary YA Romance

 

I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, even in YA books. (Though, I feel like I have been reading more lately…) And I really have no interest in motorcycle clubs, I tried watching Sons of Anarchy but it didn’t hold my interest. So imagine my surprise when I sat down to start reading Katie McGarry’s Walk The Edge with the intent of “just one chapter” and ended up reading the first six instead. And I would have kept going, had it not been so late at night. This book is a page turner.

Despite being a book about a guy in a motorcycle club, something I don’t really ‘get’, I loved this book. The characters, Thomas aka “Razor” and Breanna, are both so real. They’re flawed and relatable and I was rooting for them the entire time.

 

“There are lies in life we accept. Whether it’s for the sake of ignorance, bliss, or, in my case, survival, we all make our choices.”

Razor is “the boy everyone sees but nobody knows.”

Born to ride with the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, Razor is one of the newest members, but the club is keeping secrets from him. They say once he’s proved he trusts the club, the club will then trust him in turn with its secrets. This doesn’t sit well for Razor. His mother drove off a bridge years earlier and everyone in town says she killed herself to get away from Razor’s father and his club. Razor wants the truth, and he’s afraid the Terror played a role in his mothers death.

 

“I’m overjoyed by their faith in me, but on the inside I’m a rose wilting fast forward on the vine.”

Breanna is “the girl who everybody knows, but nobody sees.”

She refers to herself as “5 of 9” because she is the 5th child in a family of 9 kids. Her older siblings do their thing, her younger siblings do theirs. Then there’s Breanna, alone in the middle. She’s the responsible one, often left to parent her younger siblings. She’s never fit in due to her uncanny ability to remember and regurgitate random facts. Once a puzzle is in her head, she can’t move on until she’s solved it. She’s a freak and has been treated as one by everyone her entire life, including her siblings. She just wants to be accepted.

Razor finds Breanna’s brain remarkable, but she’s too good to be with a guy like him.

Though he starts as just her bodyguard, Breanna quickly realizes there’s more to Razor than meets the eye, and she’s falling for the boy her parents would never allow her to be with.

When these two unlikely people come together, will they find what they need in one another?

 

“Yeah, I know. I’m supposed to be this twenty-first century woman and obsessed with a man desiring me for my massive intellect. I am woman, hear me roar, and all that stuff, but once, it would have been pretty freaking awesome to be the girl in the pretty dress let alone with the gorgeous bad boy who wants to kiss me.”

 

 “She should be worried,” he breathes into my ear.

“Why?”

“Because you’re alone with me.”

 

If you’re in the mood for a realistic romance between total opposites who compliment each other perfectly, this is the book. If you’re looking for a romance that also has a bit of a mystery to uncover, again, this is it. If you’re looking for a book with characters who grow and change as the story progresses, look no further.

This is the second in a series, and I have not read the first. Everything was set up so the book can be read as a stand alone. I plan to get my hands on the first book eventually, as well as the third book when it releases sometime in 2017.

So far, this is one of my top picks for 2016. Go grab a copy!

 

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads First Reads.

 

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REVIEW: Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

GUESS WHAT! In 3 hours I’m meeting my fav author – Richelle Mead!!!

To keep me occupied until then, I’m posting this review for your enjoyment. (I’ve been putting off writing it for a few days now. Along with another review.)


BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM GOODREADS:

Award-winning author Tracy March follows up Should’ve Said No (“Wonderfully quirky . . . a pleasure to read!”—Laura Drewry) with this enchanting novel set in Thistle Bend, Colorado, a magical place where old wrongs are righted, and adventure leads to true love.

Real estate lawyer Holly Birdsong’s hike in the Rockies takes an unexpected turn when a smokin’-hot stranger tumbles off his bike and into her path. Turns out he’s purchasing the abandoned Lodge at Wild Rose Ridge, and Holly agrees to take him on as a client—despite her family’s traumatic history with the previous owner, who shamelessly abused the town’s goodwill at every turn. But when their professional relationship turns personal, Holly must reconcile the past with her hopes for the future.

Adding the rustic lodge to his portfolio of adventure properties isn’t just a business decision for Bryce Bennett. The rugged mountains also offer a killer setting for his extreme-sports camps for at-risk teens. What’s not in the blueprints is finding a kindred spirit in his irresistible lawyer, even if she seems apprehensive about getting involved in the deal. Bryce’s plan to ease her mind just might work, as long as no one discovers his secret. Yet he can’t stand hiding the truth from the woman who makes him want to build something permanent: a happily ever after.


REVIEW

Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

Series: Thistle Bend #2

Read: May 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

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

 

Last September I had the privilege of reading Should’ve Said No, book 1 in Tracy March’s Thistle Bend series. I was impressed with a romance novel full of likable characters and a mystery to boot!

I was excited when Just Say Maybe appeared on NetGalley because why wouldn’t I want to follow up that fabulous 4-star book 1 with the sequel?

Well, I think I liked book 1 so much that I was let down by book 2. While book 1 featured the mystery as the center plot, this one is very much romance centric. Sure, Holly says she doesn’t want to be with Bryce if he’s not going to stay, but it was barely an obstacle. There was a misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions that had me rolling my eyes as well.

I did like the characters, they were interesting and believable. The hotel storyline was somewhat interesting, but I would have liked this book more if that was the central story, and not the romance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the romances to be built around the plot. If that makes sense. And this book felt like the plot was built around the romance.

I think those who like traditional contemporary romances will enjoy this book. I’ll probably read book 3 as well, but I doubt it will live up to book 1.


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REVIEW: Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun

Read: April 18-29, 2016

Format: ARC Print Book (Goodreads First Reads)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: YA Fantasy


BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.


MY REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

This is my first Amanda Sun book, and I really wanted to love it. There are so many wonderful things about it.

  • Floating continents in the sky.
  • Monsters
  • Monster Hunters
  • Dragons
  • Royalty

And yet….. Something fell flat. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, I did enjoy the story, I just couldn’t get completely engrossed in it.

The story starts slowly, with Kali, the heir to Ashra—the floating world—alone in her favorite isolated place on her continent. We’re introduced to her BFF. We learn she is betrothed to a nobleman she feels nothing for. We learn that her people worship the Phoenix, who brought Ashra and the other islands to the sky. She sneaks off to the library and overhears talk from the elders that sounds bad. Blah blah blah.

Then she falls to the earth, and even that felt rushed. We know she’s going to survive, there couldn’t be a whole book told in first person if she didn’t survive. So then I thought, yeah! Here come the monsters! And we do see a couple monsters right away, but it was sort of anticlimactic. Then we meet Griffin, the monster hunter on earth, and… again, I waited for something big to happen, and though they did meet monsters, everything seemed so easy. (Yes, I know, Griffin has been hunting monsters all his life, but still! They’re killer monsters!) There was one particular monster scene (it’s in the water, I won’t say more) that was really awesome. Kali had a chance to really prove her worth there, and it was exciting and dangerous and I was eagerly flipping pages to see what happens. Then more stuff happens, then we get to the big finish.

I think what most prevent this book from being a WOW book for me was twofold.

  1. This book is in present tense. In most cases, I despise present tense. It feels so awkward to read in the present tense, I’m sure some authors use it to give a sense of urgency to the reader, but for me it feels forced. It took me a really long time to look past that in this book.

And…

  1. Most fantasy / dystopian / etc. YA books of today are not stand alone novels. In most cases they’re trilogies, giving time for a lot of world building and plot development. I really did like the world building in Heir to the Sky. In fact, I could easily picture what was happening, it was just enough detail for me. However, I think the plot could have been fleshed out more. There could have been more death defying challenges. The entire last section of the book, with the rebellion stuff, could have taken an entire book to really pull the reader into it and make us care about Ashra. Even when all was said and done, I think there’s room for another book with the aftermath, but maybe not.

This is still a good book, it’s just not a great book for me. I think younger teens would really enjoy it. Parents don’t need to worry about sex or language, there’s a kiss or two, but that’s it. And the violence is basically all monsters, and nothing graphic. So, I will hang onto this book for my daughter to read in a couple of years when she’s about 12 or 13.

 


 

MEMORABLE QUOTES

“I don’t have a chance to survive, but I refuse to die.”

 

“He looks the way I used to think of myself—invisible—before my fall and pathetic attempt at survival.”

 

“I am the wick and the wax. My life isn’t my own.”

 

 “I was ready to let myself burn for you. But now I burn for myself.”


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REVIEW: Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

Read: April 24-26, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
After witnessing the devastating events of September 11th firsthand, Olivia Van den Berg turned to drugs in hopes of burying the horrifying memory of her parents’ deaths. Nine years later, she’s sober and back in New York for the first time to visit her dying grandmother. With no other heirs, the family business will fall on Olivia’s shoulders, but is she strong enough take her rightful place at the head of a multi-million dollar corporation?

Duncan McMurray is a FDNY firefighter and a hopeless mess. He lost so much that fateful day – his family, his department brothers, his will to live. Years later he’s still struggling to come to terms with his survivor’s guilt and he does it with any substance he can get his hands on. One thought keeps him going … the girl with the chestnut hair he saved as hell crashed down around him, the only proof he wasn’t a complete failure.

A strange encounter reunites Olivia and Duncan once again and the two feel an instant connection. As Olivia falls in love with the man from her past, doors to her future begin to open and she must decide which path to follow. Who I Am With You is a story of love, fear, addiction and coming to terms with who you are and who you are supposed to be.


MY REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Who I Am With You is not a typical romance novel, it’s far more.

Olivia and Duncan are both broken people. It’s been 9 years since the Twin Towers fell on September 11th and both are still dealing with the trauma of being at ground zero. Olivia was meeting her parents, who were in the second tower. Duncan was a firefighter, rescuing people from the towers. On that tragic day, Duncan saved Olivia.

In the nine years since the towers fell, Olivia ran away to California, abandoning her responsibilities as the heir to her families company, and turned to a life of hard drugs to numb the pain of her PTSD. Clean and sober (for the 2nd or 3rd time — I can’t remember which) for a little over 10 months now, Olivia is forced to face her past and return to NYC when she learns her grandmother, the only relative she has left, is dying of cancer and doesn’t have long to live.

Duncan has remained a NYC firefighter, dealing with his own PTSD and survivors guilt with prescription drugs and a hero complex, taking chances on the job he shouldn’t. His actions in the years since 9/11 have distanced him from his family, he’s now separated from his wife and doesn’t spend much time with his two children.

But when Olivia has dinner with her BFF and Duncan walks in, everything changes. He’s never left her mind, nor she his. They never thought they’d see one another again. It was like fate, like they were meant to meet again. And so they begin a relationship. But is it healthy for Olivia to be with a man who is still so angry and broken, when she’s doing so well on her path to sobriety? Will he lead her astray, into yet another relapse? Or perhaps, can she save him, just like he saved her all those years ago?

This story is so beautifully written. I’ve been a fan of Missy Fleming for years now and I’m always so excited to read her next book. Her teen Savannah Shadows series is toward the top of my all time favorite books, so when she offered me a chance to read this book I jumped.

This book has a beautiful love story with twists and turns along the way. There’s sadness and joy, grief and anger. I don’t recommend reading most of this book in public. I cried more than once. Anyone personally affected by 9/11 will probably have trouble as well. It’s obvious the author did a lot of research. I felt like I was at the base of the towers, watching the aftermath. I felt the dust and ash on my skin as I read the words, I felt Olivia’s fear and pain.

I can’t recommend this book enough. So, go grab it. It’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited, or only $1.99 to buy. That’s a steal.


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