Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis

Title: Bold
Author: Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
Received by: Authors

Bold is an original approach to the readers of the young adult genre. Swift and Landis focus on the idea of what is possible for their characters Will and Sasha if they step out of their boxes. The books format was very refreshing to read. It is written in the two perspectives of the lead characters and offers a real view into the thoughts of these young adults. I did a great amount of highlighting while reading on my Nook because I loved so many passages.

I was also impressed with the timeline of Will and Sasha’s story. Their first meeting and the events that follow are natural and I didn’t second-guess their feelings for each other. They do get into a dangerous situation that threw me off a bit, but it only helped the story develop into a meaningful lesson that I think will benefit readers. I hope that the people who read Bold who might feel like they are weak, shy, and unseen will stop and think about how others may actually see them. Other people may see these same people as strong and fantastic original individuals. Bold is about when a person starts to realize this and embrace it.



Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.

Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?

Sasha is a shy girl but with a loud personality that few get to see. She’s a girl that is already so strong but has to catch up to this part of her to see it. She has realistic thoughts that every girl has at any age. I loved her sort of confessional when she see’s a group of girls primping in the mirror.

Favorite passage in Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
“Sometimes I walk by the mirrors in the crowded girls’ bathroom at school, and it’s always crowded because those girls are always staring at themselves, primping. I do not want to be them. But sometimes I catch a glimpse in the mirror of all the girls and then walk out and realize I didn’t see me. If I could see the mirror, then the mirror could see me and I should have seen me reflection. But I didn’t.”  

When Sasha meets Will she starts to factor out things in her head more. She asks the right questions on Will’s motives towards her and decides to just go for it because she made a promise to herself to live more. Her first step in this process is to help Will when she sees him in a vulnerable position. When she meets Will is the moment when readers get to see the real Sasha. He sees her strong soul and admires it more than his own. She serves as an example of what he wants to be himself.

Will is a confused young man who wants answers about his father’s death. He decides that he wants to be a journalist like his father and in doing so comes across Sasha. His tactics may not go over so well with readers but that’s Will, an honest person who makes mistakes. He’s new at school and is trying to find his place. Will is confident in his skin but through Sasha I saw his “shy soul”. Sasha senses Will needs her for something and talking about her own near death experience enables Will to become more focused as a character. Will’s thought process is just as real as Sasha’s. He knows when he’s making a mistake but does it anyway because I think he craves reaction. He always wants to know why things are the way they are, a natural journalist.

Another favorite passage from Bold by Julia Swift & Andrew Landis
“Prove you have a soul. I have a soul, it just doesn’t like to come out, show itself all the time. It’s like, shy. I have a shy soul sometimes. Not like that girl Sasha, who almost died. The one with the toe ring. Her soul is fierce, it knew it wasn’t time. Her time. She fought back.”

My favorite moment in the book is when Will and Sasha go hiking. It’s when they seem the most comfortable and are able to forget everything that they feel is wrong in their lives. They are in a private bubble that will pop, but when it does they both learn more about themselves in the process. When reading Bold I was reminded of authors Tom Leveen and Jon Skovron. They are both writers who put their characters outside the box and explore unique options available in the world. If you’ve read any of their titles you’ll probably be into Bold and appreciate authors Julia Swift and Andrew Landis’ originality on what it’s like to take a risk in life and be Bold.
Trying something new and posting my song pick with the review. This song describes Sasha a bit more than Will but I think it fits along with her near death experience and her determination to try new things. Sasha and Will both have a strong feeling for each other but are on the fence about whether or not its worth a chance. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Song of The Week!

I've been holding onto this song only because I was planning on writing a short story inspired by it but that's just gonna take too long since it's still a WIP. 'Heart Beats' is a great dramatic song with unique drum beats of all sorts in the background. If a song has beats like this one does I'm automatically drawn to it. Plus the two singers of the group Johnnyswim seem to have a lot of passion when singing their lyrics, maybe because they're married which I think is adorable! If my husband and I could sing like these two, you better believe we would! They also have another song titled 'Make' that there isn't an official video for but a teaser trailer is available for their EP that's available now. I've included it below as well and hope you enjoy it! I personally feel they have a Mumford and Sons, and Lumineers vibe that's a bit different. So if you like those guys, you may like these guys. :) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Beautiful Fate by Cat Mann is why readers flock to Young Adult.

Title: A Beautiful Fate
Author: Cat Mann
Received by: Author
Published: Self-published

Another fun read from a self-published author. Cat Mann is a pretty awesome writer. She’s channeled right into what I feel the YA and NA audiences love about a good romance. Ava and Ari are two characters that readers will enjoy reading about. They both do some growing in the book and evolve together in less than 300 pages. Did I mention A Beautiful Fate has Greek mythology and that I LOVE Greek mythology? Cat Mann incorporates the mythology aspect of the book well and differently than other books I’ve read. It’s not pushed in your face and set as some secret universe somewhere in the clouds. It’s like a secret society within families and friends and each have duties to uphold that have been passed down the bloodlines. Some of these duties, like Ava’s, are heavier to do than others.

I read this book in a couple of days, so it does have decent pace. It may have slowed down around where the book takes place in London but that could be because a certain character wasn’t there anymore. Another fun character steps in named August, who I’m sure readers will adore. It was almost like reading two books at this point, which is good because I wanted to find out what would happen with Ava. I never needed to take a break from this book. I was always thinking in the back of my mind when I could read about Ava and Ari again. I need to also add that this book had great music references that set up memorable scenes such as the ‘Pink Moon’ one did for me. Love when music can be weaved in a book. 



Obsessive and driven by nightmares, Ava Baio is uprooted from her Chicago home after the untimely and tragic death of her loving mother. Taken across country by her antagonistic grandmother and placed as a boarding student at a school in Dana Point, California, Ava struggles with isolation and the loss of her mother and her grandfather. Faced with having left her beloved brownstone behind and attending a new school, surrounded by new faces and unfamiliar scenery, she finds herself sorting through unfamiliar and uncharted feelings with a strange and beautiful boy, Ari – a modern day Adonis. After an unconventional start to their relationship, Ava becomes intensely absorbed by her love for Ari, and with his help and the help of his family, she discovers who she really is – a Fate descended from Atropos. She learns that the Greek mythology she grew up reading is not comprised of myth after all.

Ava faces constant challenges both in her relationship with Ari and with the fact that she is being hunted by six threatening and ruthless men who want nothing more than for her to die so that they can live forever. She has no choice but to stand up for those she has come to love. In doing so, she becomes something she hates, a killer.

A true page-turner, A Beautiful Fate is Part One of The Beautiful Fate Series. The novel is full of suspense, romance and the allure of ancient Greece. Ava and Ari will leave the reader hoping the story will never end.

Ava, the heroine of A Beautiful Fate is a character that is shadowed by obligation from her heirs. I wont discuss that obligation but it’s impossible to not feel sorry for Ava and her fate. She’s burdened with nightmares that have no explanation that are so terrifying they have her screaming at night. I felt bad for her because she’s lost her parents, and her only living relative sends her off to boarding school. She’s alone with her nightmares and has no one to confide in. Until Ari knocks on her door one night just as scared after hearing Ava scream in the middle of the night. Author Cat Mann starts Ava off as a victim with solid curiosity of her families past because her dreams are laid out like clues. What I liked about Ava is that she makes a decision when she realizes how damaging her fate can be to her loved ones. She becomes more independent midway through the book and instead of having someone else fight her battles she takes on the responsibility.

Ari may not be liked in the beginning because of the games he seems to be playing with Ava. But I like that Cat Mann put him in this light for young readers to show what you shouldn’t stand for in a relationship. But his concern for Ava and her nightmares is sweet. When she doesn’t tell him what they are about he instead asks her a series of random innocent questions that calm her back to sleep. His reasoning for his games does turn out to be noble and I did feel bad for who he was protecting. I suppose what Ari gives to Ava is security, not financial, but love and family. He shows Ava that she can have people close in her life again and that she is part of something. Ari’s connection to her family was brilliantly done by Mann and sad at the same time. There is a lot of tragedy that winds up coming full circle and in a good way.

I can’t talk about A Beautiful Fate without mentioning Ari’s family. They are a picture perfect family, slightly “twilighty”, but they are far more modern. Ari’s parents talk about everything with their kids and hide nothing. It made for fun dialogue when it came to teen and parent discussions in the book. I would say because of them they make the book seem more like a fantasy. Not everyone lives extravagantly like they do and it isn’t entirely realistic but very whirlwind. The way they love extravagantly is realistic and is why I enjoyed them in the book.

This book is written for a large audience that reads romance, fantasy, contemporary, and supernatural. Cat Mann has created a group of characters that offer fun, drama, and thrills that may have you torn on which is your favorite. I know that when I read A Beautiful Fate and came to the last page I did say, “NOOOOO, why Cat Mann, why?” The ending I guarantee will have you wanting the sequel at hand.

Bio from Goodreads:
Cat Mann has lived her entire life in central Illinois, but her interests and passions span the planet. She loves skiing, French music and working with the written language.
A self-proclaimed hermit, she is happiest at home reading, writing and scouring the far corners of the internet for new musical artists -- artists she skillfully weaves into her tales of the offspring of ancient Greece. She is happily married to her amazing and awe-inspiring best friend, Derek Mann, and together they have created two beautiful daughters.
A Broken Fate is Cat’s second novel in The Beautiful Fate Series. The third installment of The Beautiful Fate Series, A Forsaken Fate, will be available summer 2014.

Only $1.99

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Song of the Week!

Oh how I love this song! When listening to 'The Artist' by Shelby Earl, I can't help but laugh when the chorus pops up. This is a love song about someone else's ego that captures the essence of "You're So Vain," by Carly Simon, but maybe a bit more peppier. It has a fun retro beach vibe and I think the flow of each lyric is smart because it's a surprise. 

"I remember when you used to share the, mirror."
"I'll make the bed while you're off to shoot the moon."

These are my favorite lines of this song. If you like this song you may want to check Shelby Earl's other song 'Swift Arrows', it's a hauntingly good song with tragedy written all over that sucker. It actually inspired a story I plan to write in the future. Listen, enjoy, and comeback. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Heroes of the Horde Book One: Unleashed by Jennifer Hartz

Title: Heroes of the Horde Book One: Unleashed
Author: Jennifer Hartz
Received by: Author
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing

The first thing people discuss about Jennifer Hartz’s Unleashed is how spectacular the cover is. So let’s just get that out of the way. It’s a superhero cover done right and is what intrigued me about the book. You see normal kids in a stance that would have any readers curious but even more so when you see their reflection. The cover in the same sense is exactly the way it’s written. It reveals just enough about each teen character at a great pace. Plus it’s always great when you can get a story this big within a page count below 150.

There are a lot of characters in Unleashed and rightfully so. I love books that have a solid group like this. Each character is clearly defined and identifiable for its young audience. Heroes of the Horde is a series that a reader can grow with. It is written differently than other books from this genre because it’s written in each of the six characters perspective. I may have been a tiny bit confused in the beginning during character introductions but then I started to read Jennifer Hartz’s work like a collection of short stories that meet up in the end. It flowed pretty well after that for me. Remember every reader reads differently so all readers may not have my same quirks.  




Six mismatched students at Deacon Proprietary are about to discover the demonic legend of their school's origin is actually true. Not only have they obtained amazing powers, but they've also unleashed the demonic Horde. Now it's up to these six high school freshmen to stop the Horde before its evil spreads throughout the school and beyond.

Unleashed has many characters, but my favorite character combo was probably Cooper and Shelly. Cooper and Shelly have common abilities but I like how they play into their relationship. Shelly can read minds and Cooper has great strength. Only Cooper lacks the strength and confidence to tell Shelly his true feelings and Shelly lacks the ability to see Cooper’s feelings, even though she can read minds. That’s probably due to Cooper’s keen sense of controlling his thoughts around his crush. This particular couple had a sense of a real comic book tormented romance. Two characters who are very strong alone but make each other crazy when together.

My favorite character of all was Cooper because of the reasoning behind his ability. It made sense and it was heartfelt. He struggles with a disability and Chapter two of the book serves as a great origin story for him. He portrays a noble guy who values every friendship he makes. Even though he is made fun of at school he still knows what he has and appreciates it. Maggie is pretty great as well. She’s the dedicated art student with a standout eclectic look. I thought her dialogue with Jimmy about the team name was smart and point on. She’s not afraid to call people out on their ideas or opinions.

Jennifer Hartz does a remarkable job at getting an unlikely group of people together and making it believable. Unleashed is like Breakfast Club meets the X-men, which I’m sure will entice a lot of readers. The book encompasses good verses evil with the detail of the many battles the group fights but also has a place for teen angst and social drama that makes the Hartz’s characters real. Unleashed is a short read at 133 pages and will satisfy contemporary lovers as well as action junkies. It can be shared among teens and discussed like an episode of any popular CW teen drama.  

Purchase Heroes of The Horde Book One: Unleashed below

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Free Book Alert!

Wanted to get the word that Bold by Julia Swift and Andrew Landis is free until September 8th through Amazon. I haven't started this book yet but plan to next week. I'm very excited to start this read because of the writers. They wrote a couple of episodes of a little show called Smallville, you may have heard of it. Plus I adore books that have two writers behind it. I don't think I've ever read a bad book that's been by two authors. The writing is sure to compliment each other with talents like Swift and Landis. Read the summary below and download it now by clicking the link below. 

Download here:


Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.

Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?