Friday, October 27, 2017

Spotlight Blog Tour: Alone by Cyn Balog ~Excerpt + Giveaway~

Alone
By Cyn Balog

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: November 7, 2017


Synopsis:
This must-read for lovers of Stephen King's The Shining will leave readers breathless as Seda and her family find themselves at the mercy of a murderer in an isolated and snowbound hotel.

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda's almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it's fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city...or Seda's friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They're about to be cut off from the outside world, and she's not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality...




Advance Praise for Alone

“Even careful readers will be caught off guard by twists and unexpected but divine surprises. This first-rate thriller delivers everything a thriller should, and adds more. With a wink and a nod to Stephen King’s The Shining, Balog provides a shocker for the young adult crowd.” –VOYA Magazine, VOYA Perfect 10 Review

“This is the perfect premise for a chilling tale, and Balog fills every inch with classic horror references, red herrings, and uncertain motivations. As Balog gradually builds tension and paranoia, she manipulates reader expectations to set up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with a shocker. This is fantastically creepy psychological horror.” –Booklist

"A bloody, wonderfully creepy scare ride." –Kirkus Reviews


About The Author

Cyn Balog is the author of a number of young adult novels. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.cynbalog.com.

















Excerpt from Alone
     Sometimes I dream I am drowning.
     Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.
     And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.
     I’m in my bed at the top of Bug House. The murky daylight casts dull prisms from my snow globes onto the attic floor. My mom started collecting those pretty winter scenes for me when I was a baby. I gaze at them, lined neatly on the shelf in front of my window. My first order of business every day is hoping they’ll give me a trace of the joy they did when I was a kid.
     But either they don’t work that way anymore, or I don’t.
     Who am I kidding? It’s definitely me.
     I’m insane. Batshit. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Of course, that’s not an official diagnosis. The official word from Dr. Batton, whose swank Copley Square office I visited only once when I was ten, was that I was bright and intelligent and a wonderful young person. He said it’s normal for kids to have imaginary playmates.
     But it gets a little sketchy when that young person grows up, and her imaginary friend decides to move in and make himself comfortable.
     Not that anyone knows about that. No, these days, I’m good about keeping up appearances.
     My second order of business each day is hoping that he won’t leak into my head. That maybe I can go back to being a normal sixteen--year--old girl.
     But he always comes.
     He’s a part of me, after all. And he’s been coming more and more, invading my thoughts. Of course I’m here, stupid.
     Sawyer. His voice in my mind is so loud that it drowns out the moaning and creaking of the walls around me.
     “Seda, honey?” my mother calls cheerily. She shifts her weight on the bottom step, making the house creak more. “Up and at ’em, buckaroo!”
     I force my brother’s taunts away and call down the spiral staircase, “I am up.” My short temper is because of him, but it ends up directed at her.
     She doesn’t notice though. My mother has only one mood now: ecstatically happy. She says it’s the air up here, which always has her taking big, deep, monster breaths as if she’s trying to inhale the entire world into her lungs. But maybe it’s because this is her element; after all, she made a profession out of her love for all things horror. Or maybe she really is better off without my dad, as she always claims she is.
     I hear her whistling “My Darlin’ Clementine” as her slippered feet happily scuffle off toward the kitchen. I put on the first clothing I find in my drawer—-sweatpants and my mom’s old Boston College sweatshirt—-then scrape my hair into a ponytail on the top of my head as I look around the room. Mannequin body parts and other macabre props are stored up here. It’s been my bedroom for only a month. I slept in the nursery with the A and Z twins when we first got here because they were afraid of ghosts and our creepy old house. But maybe they—-like Mom—-are getting used to this place?
     The thought makes me shudder. I like my attic room because of the privacy. Plus, it’s the only room that isn’t ice cold, since all the heat rises up to me. But I don’t like much else about this old prison of a mansion.
     One of the props, Silly Sally, is sitting in the rocker by the door as I leave. She’d be perfect for the ladies’ department at Macy’s if it weren’t for the gaping chest wound in her frilly pink blouse. “I hate you,” I tell her, batting at the other mannequin body parts descending from the rafters like some odd canopy. She smiles as if the feeling is mutual. I give her a kick on the way out.
     Despite the morbid stories about this place, I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse.
     As I climb down the stairs, listening to the kids chattering in the nursery, I notice the money, accompanied by a slip of paper, on the banister’s square newel post. The car keys sit atop the pile. Before I can ask, Mom calls, “I need you to go to the store for us. OK, Seda, my little kumquat?”
     I blink, startled, and it’s not because of the stupid nickname. I don’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. My mom had me driving all over the place when we first came here, but that was back then. Back when this was a simple two--week jaunt to get an old house she’d inherited ready for sale. There wasn’t another car in sight, so she figured, why not? She’s all about giving us kids experiences, about making sure we aren’t slaves to our iPhones, like so many of my friends back home. My mother’s always marching to her own drummer, general consensus be damned, usually to my horror. But back then, I had that thrilling, invincible, first--days--of--summer--vacation feeling that made anything seemed possible. Too bad that was short lived.
     We’ve been nestled at Bug House like hermits for months. Well, that’s not totally true. Mom has made weekly trips down the mountain, alone, to get the mail and a gallon of milk and make phone calls to civilization. We were supposed to go back to Boston before school started, but that time came and went, and there’s no way we’re getting off this mountain before the first snow.
     Snow.
     I peer out the window. The first dainty flakes are falling from the sky.
     Snow. Oh God. Snow.

Giveaway 
Win a copy of Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog!
U.S. and Canada Only

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New Book Releases ~YA Fiction~ Week of October 24th


Here are some new young adult fiction releases for the week of October 24th!

*This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon affiliate and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my affiliate links.  Book photos from Goodreads.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon affiliate and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.



Everything You Want Me To Be
by Mindy Mejia
Publication Date:  January 3, 2017
by Atria Books
Genre:  Fiction; Mystery; Thriller
Pages: 352
Source:  Netgalley eARC
Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 Stars)



No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?


Everything You Want Me To Be is a good mystery/thriller that I found intriguing and surprising.


I knew from reading the synopsis that this would be an interesting mystery/thriller that I would likely enjoy.  A young girl is murdered and there are multiple suspects.  Who killed Hattie?  Why would someone want her dead?  Who can be trusted?  Who is keeping secrets?  This was such an intriguing story. 

The story is told from three perspectives: Hattie, an impulsive teenager who is found murdered; Peter, the high school teacher who becomes a murder suspect; and Del, the town's sheriff who investigates Hattie's murder.  I liked that this story was told in multiple perspectives because it gave me more of an in-depth look into the lives and personalities of the characters, and it helped to reveal the motives behind the characters' actions.  I found the story easy to follow, even though there are multiple point of views.

I thought the main characters in this story were all well-developed and interesting, especially Hattie, who was a very multi-layered character.  She could be very manipulative and cunning, but she also seemed lost and vulnerable, and it was sad to read from her perspective knowing what her fate would be.  Peter was another interesting and complex character.  He had many sides to him; he could be charming and kind, but also cold and deceptive.


This was a well-crafted mystery that held my attention and kept me guessing until the very end.  I definitely recommend this book if you are looking to read a great mystery/psychological thriller.  I look forward to reading more from Mindy Mejia.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

*I received an advance reading copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review.  This did not affect my opinion or the content of my review.  This post contains affiliate links.  I'm an Amazon affiliate and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.


There's Someone Inside Your House 
by Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date:  September 26, 2017 
by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre:  Young Adult; Horror
Pages:  289
Source:  NetGalley eARC
My Rating:  ⭐⭐1/2 (2.5/5 Stars)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New Book Releases ~Adult Fiction~ Week of October 10th


Here are some new adult fiction releases for the week of October 10th!

*This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon affiliate and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.  Book photos from Goodreads.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blog Tour: Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green ~Excerpt + Giveaway~



Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green.  
Check out an excerpt from the book below and enter the giveaway!

Ultimate Sacrifice
S.E. Green
Publication date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Horror, Young Adult


Synopsis:
Vickie has always lived a quiet, ordinary life in an equally quiet and ordinary small town. Yet one fateful night a child turns up dead in the woods behind her house in a ritualistic slaughter. Vickie and her family are suddenly thrown into a national spotlight. But as the investigation unfolds, she begins to realize her family isn’t so ordinary after all. Evil is inching closer to those she holds dear and Vickie isn’t sure who she can ultimately trust.







S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of the thriller, KILLER INSTINCT, the spy series, THE SPECIALISTS, and the romances, THE SUMMER MY LIFE BEGAN and SHADOW OF A GIRL. She lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog. ULTIMATE SACRIFICE is her debut YA horror, due out October 2017. 







 I’ve always been an average, ordinary girl, born to an equally ordinary family. Mom is an elementary teacher, and Dad and Uncle Jerry are partners in a home improvement business. I go to church once a week at First Baptist. I run track. PaPaw used to be a child psychiatrist and now he’s retired and enjoying his goat farm that I help with when I get a chance. Aside from my numerous freckles, there is nothing unique about me.

Yes, average and ordinary . . . until now.

Travis pulls his old Chevy truck into the student parking lot at County High. It’s Monday morning, just twenty four hours since Michelle was found in our woods.

“You okay?” I ask Travis. “Because Dad was right. We don’t have to be here today.” When Dad told us that this morning, I was completely on board with the idea, but both of my brothers wanted to come, so here we are.

“It’s better than being at home,” Kevin mumbles before wedging open the passenger door and heading across the rows of vehicles to join a few of his ninth grade friends.
Travis doesn’t respond at all. He simply turns the ignition off, opens his own door, and is out and walking toward the student entrance, leaving me sitting in the center of the bench seat alone. Of the three of us kids, he is usually the most talkative. Perhaps that’s why his complete and utter silence unsettles me so.

“Hey, you coming in or what?”

I glance up to see Honey, Travis’s girlfriend, smiling at me through the open door. I like Honey, always have. Everything about her is sweet—her name, her smile, her personality. She and Travis have been together since we were all freshmen. They are “the” couple. So in love.

She gives Travis’s retreating back a quick glance. “He called me last night and told me all about it.”

“Did he? Good. Because he hasn’t said a word to me. To any of us.” I slide across the seat and jump down, and together, we start across the parking lot.

“How’s your family doing?” she asks.

“Awful. Dad was up all night sitting on our porch with a shot gun. Mom was nervously pacing. Kevin and Travis were in their rooms. I was in mine. All of us are just scared, I guess. I mean, my God, whoever killed Michelle is out there, you know?”

Honey shakes her head. “That poor little girl.”

“I know,” I whisper as morbid thoughts start to swirl in my head again. “I hate that Travis found her.”

She squeezes my arm. “Me, too. Just be there for him. That’s all any of us can do.”

I open the door to the student entrance and to a hallway crammed with people. No one says a word as everyone stands, all eyes upward to the flat screen monitor that has local news playing. Honey and I wedge our way in and turn to see what is holding everyone’s attention. It’s footage of our property, and the words along the bottom read:

LOCAL GIRL MURDERED IN POSSIBLE SATANIC RITUAL



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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review: The Recovery Letters: Addressed to People Experiencing Depression, Edited by Olivia Sagan & James Withey



The Recovery Letters: Addressed to People Experiencing Depression 
Edited by James Withey and Olivia Sagan
Publication Date: July 21, 2017 
by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 232
Source: Edelweiss ARC
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 Stars)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Blog Tour: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed ~Review + Giveaway~

Hi everyone!  Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.  
Check out my review below and enter the giveaway for a copy of the book (US Only)!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Book Releases ~Adult Fiction~ Week of October 3rd


Here are some new book releases in adult fiction for the week of October 3rd! 😊


*This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon affiliate and I may receive a very small commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.  Book photos and synopsis from Goodreads.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What's In The Box?! Super Late Owlcrate Jr Unboxing, July 2017


I've been an Owlcrate subscriber for a long time so I thought I'd try out their middle grade version, Owlcrate Jr.  This box had so many cute items and the book looks adorable.  This is the perfect box for young children or adults who enjoy middle grade books (I do!  I'll admit it.  No shame. 😁)  This is a monthly box that comes with one middle grade book and several awesome goodies.  Check out Owlcrate Jr. for more information.

See below for everything I received in the July Owlcrate Jr.!  I'm not going to comment on the items that came in the box because I just want to show you the items so you can decide if you'd like to subscribe.  I did love everything that came in this box!

Monday, October 2, 2017

New Book Releases ~YA Fiction~ Week of October 3rd


Here are some new young adult fiction releases for the week of October 3rd!
I've placed this symbol (✨) next to the titles I'm highly anticipating.
There are a ton of new releases this week!!

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