Mosaic by Chris Keaton and Rick Taubold

Summary

Twin girls discover a mystical world contained within a crumbling mosaic, and they must restore it before an evil witch seizes its power, even if doing so could tear their family apart.

Secrets. It all started while looking for secret passages. Chloe Tozier’s impulsive twin, Zoe, insisted that all old mansions had them. Grandma denied the existence of any here. Except for the boarded-up service elevator that she conveniently forgot to mention before the girls discovered it, the elevator that didn’t seem to go anywhere. They had been living in this private museum with their grandparents since the death of their parents during an archaeology trip to Egypt.

Mysteries. Why have a museum in a tiny town in the middle of Kansas when what’s on display is nothing unusual? Sometimes packages arrived wrapped in plain brown paper that the girls never saw again. Grandpa disappeared overnight and they haven’t heard from him since. And before going to Egypt their parents had mentioned something about a mysterious mosaic. Maybe Zoe was right about family secrets. Maybe it was time to dig further.

Characters

Chloe and Zoe are super cute but very much cookie cutter characters. I never felt like they really broke out of their shell and were very two dimensional characters for most of the book. I also struggled with the story being primarily from Chloe’s perspective and almost not at all from her sister’s. That being said as the book progressed they grew on me. There are a plethora of supporting characters but most of them are amazing! Favorite character by far was Severin. He saved this book in the character department for me! I would read an entire book with just his story! The villain was a little flat, but decently evil.

Plot

This is for sure a YA plot. I loved the back story and was totally engaged in those chapters. Totally swept up in them and transported to a land before magic was taken. The plot was wrapped around a big baddie escaping and two twin teens being the only ones who can set everything right. After a wonderful opening chapter the rest started off a little slow but that was because it felt like the origin story to a series. Once you get past that introductory piece the plot focuses on the Mosaic and that is when the real fun begins. I consumed the last 40% of this book in one sitting because I JUST HAD TO KNOW!

Overall

The world building and originality of the plot behind the mosaic was this book’s strength. It is a whirl wind adventure for the second half of the book and you won’t want to put this book down once you reach that part. The writing was easy to follow and written for a YA crowd but adults who enjoy YA would enjoy as well. Vivid fantasy characters/creatures were woven throughout the book that were awesome! There were scenes that I could see playing as a movie in my head.

I was totally sucked in for the second half of the book! I’d get excited every flash back or Severin chapter showed up. They were by far the highlights of the book. The history of the Mosaic and their guardians is well with the rest of the book. If you’d like a fun adventure with a YA feel, but sure to pick this up!

My personal opinion was this would have made for an epic adult book and was actually limited by its YA characters. Although cute and fun it could have easily competed with other wonderful books had it shed its YA skin. Its YA main characters and YA friendly villain drained some of the excitement and originality of the story.

Rating

4.5 Stars

This is a solid 4 star book and well worth the time, particularly if you love YA books and characters that are tried and true. Overall a fantastically original plot/idea, but not very original heroines so I just couldn’t give it 5 stars.

This is a voluntary review.

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The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

Summary

It’s more than just her imagination—she’s fading away…

Painfully shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia Moss is no stranger to living life in the shadows, pushed aside and unnoticed by both her large family of nine and her fellow classmates. As her “symptoms” of invisibility increase, she uncovers an old family mystery leading to her Great-Aunt Angelica, who vanished curiously at Zylia’s age. If she’s going to save herself from being erased from the canvas of this world, she’ll have to travel far outside her comfort zone—maybe even to another dimension.

Characters

Zylia Moss is so vividly painted, it is as though the author conjured her from a real person and not imagination. Very rarely do I read first person and think ‘this was done right!’ This painfully shy girl is in many ways a reluctant heroine but for sure the heroine of her own story. The subtle interactions and internal thoughts built Zylia into a very real character. Supporting characters like her family and Terra. Everything was painted from Zylia’s point of view and it was expertly done, bringing alive a world not so different from other disjointed but loving families.

Plot

This book makes you question what is real and what is not. Is Zylia really fading or is there something else happening? I won’t ruin it for you, but I absolutely loved the way the author went with the story. Between the mystery and the coming of age aspects, I really enjoyed the development of this story. The plot was enjoyable but the real powerhouse of this story was the characters.

Overall

Fantastic writing, interesting plot, and stellar character that practically leaps out of the page! The way Zylia slowly blossomed and came into her own was amazing to see. I loved her friendship with Terra, it was perfect in every way and felt so real! I have very few negatives at all about this book, it was wonderfully executed. Biggest issue was how slow it was. Although I can’t pinpoint anything that could be left out, this is not action packed, it was a biopic approach to story telling.

The second really isn’t a negative but I felt like this wasn’t for my age group. I’m in my late twenties and at times I had a really hard time remembering how awkward it was in middle/high school. This is 100% perfect for young teens and high schoolers and I highly recommend it to those age groups. I think even those in college who are socially awkward will just love this, but as an extrovert who doesn’t mind being the center of attention, some of the nuances of the story that would normally have struck a cord…simply struck out.

Rating

5 stars

If you are between 10-25 and like coming of age stories with a nice twist this is a MUST READ! Zylia will feel like a real person by the end of the book, that is how well she is written.

This is a voluntary review of an advanced readers copy.

Zendar #Giveaway – #Fantasy #romance #book TODAY ONLY

Update 12/10/2017: Winner was Brandee! Congrats!

If you love romantic fantasies, this is a must enter for you. You’ll get a kindle copy of Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand just in time for the holiday season! The giveaway is today only so act fast!

Zendar Giveaway

Summary:

Can enemies become something more? Find out in the steamy romantic tale on the sandy planet of Zendar. 

Blood is how it all began, and only by blood can it end. Chaos has reigned in Zendar for years since the rise of the seven Bloodlines. The Liege Aleron Corvinus ruthlessly seeks revenge for the mistreatment of his ancestors. His ambitions will only be sated when he claims the world under his family’s name; he will only stop when all of Zendar is his and the other six Bloodlines pay their weight in blood.

Azel Undel was born into this world of blood and sand. She is of a dying Bloodline, a feared one, but most coveted. Promised, in exchange for money, to a man she had never known; Azel travels across Zendar. Her ship is attacked and she alone survives, setting the wheels of fate in motion. She did not expect to become her enemy’s captive or that he would demand her submission to him.

Loyalties are tested, secrets are uncovered, and Azel will have to make a choice: remain loyal to her family and everything she ever stood for or be loyal to her own heart.

Also, for the next three months Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand will be on Kindle Unlimited! Check it out here: Amazon.

Happy Holidays!

 

Wandering Storm by Noor Al-Shanti

Summary:

Loud banging resounded throughout the house. The housekeeper pushed a servant aside and wrenched the door open angrily. A man stood on the threshold, dripping rain and mud and blood. A stormy night brings Wandering sailors to a sleepy farming town in the High Kingdoms. (Short Story in the Tales from the Circle Series)

Overall

This had a very interesting setting, on the high seas, but some of the imagery of the setting was lost on me. After the rocky beginning some of it cleared up and I was able to connect more with this fantasy based novel. This seems like it was a short story meant to go to a bigger story and without knowing the bigger story, this was not as clear or enjoyable.

I enjoyed the second half of the story more, even though I was still a little lost, I was captivated! This is where the author’s ability really shined. The settings, the plot coming together, and the characters taking on more life. It was an interesting narration. I wouldn’t say this is a young adult, but it is clean enough that young adults could easily enjoy.

Rating

3 stars

It was okay. A little unformed, but vividly fascinating! I think if I had read the main book and then this one, I would enjoyed this more.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#giveaway for The Sixth Gate

I’m giving away a signed copy and sewn bookmark for The Sixth Gate!

book1_the_sixth_gate_frontl.jpg

You could win these!

In July, The Sixth Gate released and I’d like to send a copy to someone who loved the prequel!

All you have to do is these three things:

  • Acquire a copy of The Gate Guardian’s Daughter (you get a free copy when you sign up for my MAILING LIST);
  • Read The Gate Guardian’s Daughter; and
  • Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (both to double your chances)!3

I’m only giving the opportunity to those who are on my mailing list – so make sure you sign up! You could win a copy of the book and the hand stitched bookmark.**

You have until September 30, 2017 to submit in a review. I’ll select (using a random selection program) and notify the winner the following weekend.

**If you live outside the United States (US) you can only win an unsigned copy of the book (not the bookmark).

 

Cover Reveal – The Sixth Gate (The Gate Trilogy #1)

I am proud to announce that the cover for The Sixth Gate has been fully finalized.  The Sixth Gate is due out July 7, 2017 – exactly two months away. I’ve also finished the back of the book text – welcome to the first of The Gate Trilogy, a dark fantasy.

The interplanetary gates have existed between the five planets and the Netherworld for as long as living memory.

Dr. Elisabeth Avery is a woman caught between two worlds. Little does she know that others like her, other half-breeds, are being hunted. When a creature drags a princess into the Netherworld, Elisabeth is determined to save her.

Meanwhile, on the planet of Hystera, a Keeper and his assistant investigate a grisly string of suicides. The Gate Guardians know something is coming, know that the Netherworld has begun to bleed through to the planets, but not why.

Will Elisabeth be able to come to terms with what she is so that she can face the coming evil?

Here is the full cover wrap:

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What do you think? Can you feel the eeriness – the dark world I built? I’d love to get your thoughts!

Interested in a sneak peak? You can get the pre-order prequel to the entire series HERE. Get to know Elisabeth as a child and what put her on her path. Want a free copy? Sign up HERE for my mailing list and you’ll get a free eBook copy.

 

Asahi Art.jpgI also want to give a special shout out to Asahi Art who designed this amazing cover. As you can see I was fortunate to find someone so talented. He is diligently working on the cover for the second and third books so they all match! I highly recommend him.

See more of his amazing art HERE.