Review/Giveaway | Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
By: Marlene Wynn
Publication Date: December 22, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy

*I received free ARCs of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.

Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue, Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Welcome to my stop on the Chandrea-The Return of the Avatar Queen Blog Tour! Below is my review AND a pretty awesome giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter! I have also included my Facebook page for this blog – go follow me there. 🙂
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The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 4/5 Stars
Each of these characters has their own personality, and I love that. Chandrea is a strong female character who has just been thrown for a crazy life twist. I think she handles it pretty well, all things considered. I found myself enjoying taking part in Chandrea’s story and watching how she handled different challenges. Denae is another female character I really loved reading about; she’s independent, but very caring and loyal. My favorite male character of the bunch is definitely Shawn; he’s valiant and has some great tricks up his sleeves. The other characters in this story were very well-constructed, though I would have loved to know more about Ian and Adelaide. The baddies in this book are definitely pretty bad. They had my toes curling a time or two.

Dialogue – 4/5 Stars
There were so many moments in this story that made me laugh out loud, particularly when Shawn is taking part. For me, most of the dialogue was realistic, all things considered (with it being a Fantasy novel and all.) I enjoyed the scenes that had dialogue the most, as they strengthened the story and kept it moving along. The more sinister characters were clearly identified through their words and speech patterns, which helped enhance their creep-factor.

Plot – 4/5 Stars
I love me a good fantasy storyline.. and, by George, this definitely had it. There were so many twists and turns and fun adventures. At first I was a little thrown by the quick changing of character focus in each character, but as I got the swing of things I found that I couldn’t wait to see what character would be the focus next. As things got more climactic, I had a few audible sighs at the cliffhanger chapters. Luckily, the story always picked up where it left off and gave a bit of closure.

Visual Imagery – 4/5 Stars
I don’t know why, but I always find myself setting the standard for visual imagery in a fantasy novel quite high. Maybe I do that because of the mystical creatures that take part in them or just simply because that’s how most of the best fantasy novels are written. This one was not a disappointment. I loved that everything is described well, but not too much detail. One of my favorite scenes is when Chandrea is in the La Shura Gardens; everything is described to vibrantly that I could almost picture myself there with her.

Ending 4/5 Stars
To say as little as possible, I was not disappointed. 🙂 Without giving anything away, there was a lot going on in this book, which leaves some things left to be seen. I truly can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy novels, but this one was a breath of fresh air.

Total: 17/25 Stars

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
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AUTHOR BIO

Marlene Wynn is a Utah native – fondly referred to as “Utonian” by a friend.  She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since.  Though she has worked in the Benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.

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Author links:
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Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US and Canada) – Image Below
A print copy of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
A handmade fairy
A set of character trading cards
  • Flyer - Xpresso Book Tour Giveaway

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#BookBlogWriMo Day 15/16 – My Favorite and Least Favorite Things about Blogging [and Thanks]

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#BookBlogWriMo Day 15 and 16!!

So, I was out of pocket all day yesterday, thus you have a two-in-one post!!

My Favorite Book Blogging Things

  • Getting to read – Well, I’d hope this was one of my favorite things about this process, otherwise doing it would be silly!!
  • Meeting new people – I’ve met so many great authors and bloggers through this process. Having the chance to become an editor for one of those authors was even greater and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have this blog. They’re something great about being a part of this community; we all understand the addiction.
  • Discovering new favorite authors and books – Oh my. My Kindle has SO many great books on it. I’m always finding new great books on BookHub and through book tours and recommendations.
  • Free books – Ah, does this really need explanation? This is a wonderful perk.
  • The opportunity to do what I love – I went to school for English and Journalism, so I’m happy to be able to put that to good use. I enjoy doing this. It’s fun, productive, and educational.
  • Having the chance to read books before release – Another great perk! It’s what I’d imagine going to a movie premier would be like – just without the celebrities and photo ops!

My Least Favorite Book Blogging Things

  • It can get expensive – Oh yes. Once you get hooked on an author or book series, stopping the chain of purchase is very difficult.
  • Over booking – This is so easy when there are so many great opportunities to review so many great books. I’ve recently taken a look at my methods and cut back a bit so I can get my ducks in a row.
  • Not having enough time to read everything – The plight of all major book worms.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 15 and 16

I am thankful for great friends. It’s always wonderful to look forward to fun get togethers with friends [and family.] Friends are the family we get to choose for ourselves.

I am thankful for public transportation. Sure, driving is great – but public transit allows for decompression time!

#BookBlogWriMo Day 12 – Advice for Newbie Bloggers and Thanks

advice and thanks 12

#BookBlogWriMo Day 12 – Advice for Newbie Bloggers

  • Make sure you have the time to dedicate to blogging. It’s such an easy “hobby” to lose track of and forget about.
  • Come up with a theme of some kind. I am a book blogger, but I will begin dabbling in other things at some point. I used to be a writer, so I’m hoping to bring that back out again. Some people have cooking blogs, some have scrapbooking, some have parenting advice… the list goes on and on.
  • Decide if you want to write for an audience or write for yourself. This will give you focus instead of being all over the place.
  • Join Facebook groups that have to do with your theme. I am a part of The Book Blogger’s Resource on Facebook and this page has helped me immensely as I’ve decided the path I want to take this blog.
  • Don’t try to do too much at once. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fun of signing up for blog tours and things (especially as a book blogger), but you are one person. If you are starting your blog with multiple people, plan it out. I do this alone, so my time is far less. Keeping a planner helps keep everything in line.
  • Schedule posts in advance. Or at least try to plan out what you want to post about. This is something I’m working on improving. It’s a work in progress. 🙂
  • Network – there are so many people out there who do what you do, do what you want to do, and can help you grow. There are great friends to be made, as well. I’ve met so many wonderful people through this blog that I wouldn’t have originally.
  • Stay true to you. If you don’t want to post about a specific subject or market certain product, you don’t have to! I don’t post certain things on here even though I know it will bring in more of an audience. It’s just not my thing. If you want to gear your blog to only cooking desserts, well power to you! If you only want to do cover reveals on your blog and you will NOT post reviews, go right ahead. 🙂 You do you, kid.
  • For the love of all that is loved, please check your spelling and grammar. There is nothing less sexy than a poorly produced post.
  • Keep a journal – either a real one or in your phone – to plot down ideas for posts. I used to find myself coming up with great ideas, but didn’t have anywhere to put them. Now I have Little Red – my mini journal that I keep track of everything in, from book reviews to blog post topics to story ideas.
  • Try to post at least once a week. This was something I struggled with and that’s why I try to sign up for a blog tour a week. I tend to lag behind a bit or hit a slow patch, but I’ve been adjusting. Looking back, I’d definitely have planned out some more posts in the beginning before I launched. Non-blog life does get in the way, of course. That’s ok. You don’t HAVE to post a certain number of times, but it’s better if you want to have consistent follows.
  • Do what you love so that you love what you do. If not, then what’s the point?

30 Days of Thanks – Day 12

Today I am thankful for journals. I’ve always had one, ever since I was little. I started collecting them a few years ago and haven’t stopped. I’m picky about my journals because I want to make sure they have a purpose in my collection. Sometimes I write in them, sometimes I give them away as gifts, and something they just sit there like something beautiful on my journal shelf. Journals are a wonderful place to jot epiphanies, keep your secrets, water your ideas, and keep the brain juices flowing. They’re a friend to look back on after many years, and they’re an enemy when you don’t want to remember. They’re small enough to tuck away until the time is right, and they’re a lifesaver. They’re that thing your little sister tries to find under your mattress to read your deepest adolescent secrets, and they’re the thing that you can trust when you’re little and don’t know who to turn to. They’re what you tell your first crush to and they’re what you throw across the room when you’re really angry. Journals are pretty awesome. Unless there’s an angry wizard soul hiding in one… then you’re in trouble.

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11 – My Top Ten Posts and Thanks

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11 – #TopTuesday – My Most Popular Posts of All Time

I have actually never used this feature on my blog before, so it was really interesting to see what posts have accumulated a following and what ones aren’t as popular. Here are my top ten posts so far. My blog has only recently begun gaining more traffic as I’ve been posting more, but I’m excited to see what has been doing well.

#10 C: The Four C’s to a Great Book and a Successful Review From Me – 4/4/2014 – 22 views – This is actually one of my favorite posts on this blog. It pretty much spells it all out – what I review and what it takes to get a good rating from me. I have received some great feedback for this post and it’s a great reference for authors and other bloggers who are looking for ideas on a reviewing system.

#9 Blog Tour: Book Review + Giveaway – Inevitable Detour by S.R. Grey – 10/10/2014 – 22 views – Blog tours are always great traffic drivers.

#8 Book Boyfriends and Lady Loves – Updated 2/6/2014 – 23 views – Ah, another one of my favorite posts on this blog. I haven’t updated this in a while, so I’m due for another few lovely fellers and ladies.

#7 #BookBlogWriMo Day 1 – The History of My Blog and Thanks – 11/1/2014 – 26 views – Self explanatory. From just a few days ago!

#6 Book Review: From the Wreckage by Michele G. Miller – 7/9/2014 – 29 views – For those who don’t know, I am Michele’s editor. This is awesome. Beyond awesome, really. I met Michele through my blogging, joined her street team, then the rest is history. I started editing for her on the third book in this series – All That Remains. This series is awesome and Michele is a phenomenal author.

#5 A Little Bit About Me and My Love For Books – 3/7/2014 – 32 views – This post has a whole lot of information about me in interview-ish form. Worth checking out if you’re interested in learning more.

#4 Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – 2/27/2014 – 37 views – My first ever book review! Not really a huge fan of the book, though. Ha!

#3 My First Rafflecopter Giveaway – 10/24/2014 – 50 views – Another milestone! Hoping to do a huge giveaway in January when my blog hits one year!

#2 Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway – #Nerd by Cambria Hebert – 11/3/2014 – 51 views – Part of a blog tour, #Nerd was a fun read and I’m excited that the next book will be coming out soon. 🙂 If there’s a tour for that one, I will definitely be participating.

#1 Blog Tour – Review – Unlit Star by Lindy Zart – 10/10/2014 – 95 views! – This is one of the most incredible books I have read. When I go into the search stats for my blog (aka, how people found my blog and posts) many of them have been searches for “Unlit Star” and the various characters and plot points within. I’m always on board for Lindy Zart’s book tours, as she’s one of my favorite authors.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 11

I am thankful for all of those military men and women – past and present – who put their lives on the line each day.

Blog Review Tour: “Captivate Me” and “IRIS” by S.J. Pierce

 

 

IrisCaptivate Me       AND       IRIS
By: S.J. Pierce
Copyright: 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
Format of Book: E-Books

*I received free ARCs of Captivate Me and IRIS from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

 

Synopsis of Captivate Me

“My mom had always told me – when you meet “the one”, you’ll know; they’ll captivate your heart the moment you lay eyes on them. I had always wondered, though, if my mom’s words of wisdom were finite – if they applied to everyone. Maybe those who had found their one great love were the lucky few, and maybe the rest of us would have to settle for less than earth-shattering.”Seventeen-year-old Kat Walsh is a Gifted – a human with paranormal abilities. With her mom a former Angel and her dad a dream prophet, it’s always been in her genetic make-up to be extraordinary. But, unfortunately for her, the world can’t handle the strange or unusual. So when she slips up and uses her powers at her high school in Ireland, the entire student body treats her like a freak – even the ones she thought were her closest friends.

Broken, but hopeful for a fresh start, she allows her parents to enroll her in a boarding school buried deep within the forests of a small Colorado town. At Midland Pines, School for the Gifted, she feels as though she can finally be herself; she makes new friends and even has the attention of the most popular guy in school – Levi. Everything feels normal again… or does it?

Not long after her arrival, weird dreams of an alluring boy whom she’s never met surface during the night, and the eerie, shadowy trees encircling their school seem to call to her. As these disturbing, yet enticing developments intensify, other bizarre occurrences happen – students and staff turn up missing, and mystery visitors leave gifts while she sleeps. With all of these other things fighting for her attention, a desperate Levi has to fight even harder to keep her interest. But with the dreams of the attractive boy slowly captivating her heart, Kat has to make a choice – will she settle for ‘great’ Levi, or will she search for her elusive dream visitor, possibly stumbling across ‘amazing’?

From the author of the Alyx Rayer Chronicles, comes a refreshingly different Young Adult series with plenty of love, suspense, and a new take on the Paranormal.

Recommended for readers 16 and up due to mature content.

Synopsis of IRIS (#1.5)
by S.J. Pierce
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

***This book is meant to be read after Captivate Me***Set before the events in Book One of the Captivated Series, “Iris” explores the depths of family bonds, new bonds, and the lengths a person would go to save the life of a dying sibling. In this novella, get to know Iris and her two sisters more intimately, as well as Gabriel, the first angel-human hybrid who agrees to live under her protection.

Recommended for readers 16 and up due to mature content.

Welcome to my stop on the Captivate Me/IRIS Blog Tour! Below is my review of the first book with a teaser about the next AND a giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter!

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
I really enjoyed reading the various characters in Captivate Me and then learning more about some of them in IRIS. Kat is a well-created character who has quite a bit of learning and growing up to do. This obviously sets the stage for some pretty interesting things to happen. Kat is just learning to be herself after hiding her Gift for so long. She’s quickly sought after by a very nice and popular guy named Levi. I also like Kat’s roommate Anna; she and Kat are a perfect pair. There is also a mess of other characters who I deeply enjoy, GabrielIris, and a few others.. but you’ll have to read to learn more. Pierce does a good job creating her characters and giving them enough backstory to move the story along, but leaving enough up in the air for the reader to want to learn more.

Dialogue  –  3/5 Stars
The dialogue in Captivate Me is realistic and fitting for the Young Adult reader. There is nothing overly stand-out, but it does help move the story along. I like the internal monologue, as well.

I found the dialogue in IRIS to be a lot more fun. Perhaps this is because of the characters and personalities of those involved in this particular novella.

Plot  –  3.5/5 Stars
This was a fresh take on the typical paranormal young adult books that are floating around. I haven’t seen this story before, which is part of the reason I found it so much more enjoyable. All of the characters have their own sub-story, which enables a novella like IRIS to work so well.

Visual Imagery  –  3/5 Stars
There are some really great visual moments, such as those in the woods, but I felt this story could have used more in the visuals. This would have helped drive the story farther. I wanted to “see” more colors and patterns. This is not a complaint, just a suggestion, however.

Ending  4/5 Stars
I definitely enjoyed the ending of this book. There was a lot to be said, but it was done in a wonderful way. Captivate Me ended wonderfully, opening the door to Book 2, and IRIS introduced what will be happening in 2, but should be read AFTER Captivate Me.

Total: 17/25 Stars

Why read this book?

I am a big fan of YA Paranormal books and this one was done very well. Definitely worth a shot.

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase Captivate Me:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
Purchase IRIS:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
AUTHOR BIO
Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare  time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels.Author Links:
http://sjpiercebooks.blogspot.ca/

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Cover Reveal for Unlit Star by Lindy Zart

Unlit Star by Lindy Zart
Release date: 8/29/14
Cover art by: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography

Add to your TBR list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22051310-unlit-star

Genre: New Adult

Blurb: Rivers Young was the popular guy untouchable by reality. He was like a star—bright, consuming, otherworldly. The thing about stars, though, is that they eventually fall, and Rivers Young was no different.

He fell far and he fell hard.

Delilah Bana was the outcast enshrouded in all of life’s ironies. Alone, in the dark, like dusk as it falls on the world. When Rivers fell from the sky, she was the night that caught him. In the darkness, they found one another. Together they melded into something beautiful that shone like the sun.

Only, the greater the star is, the shorter its lifespan.
Unlit Star Cover