Amid Stars and Darkness: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

Amid Stars and Darkness
Chani Lynn Feener
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Book Synopsis:

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Get lost Amid Stars and Darkness, in this YA sci-fi romance from debut author Chani Lynn Feener.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

Book Review:

This book is probably one of the cutest books I have ever read. Feener pulls you in from the beginning with an amazing problem: Delaney’s body has been turned into that of an alien princess and the princess’s body guard, Ander Ruckus, takes Delaney from Earth, thinking she is the alien princess, to bring her back home. Of course by the time he realizes his mistake they are already across the stars and almost to his world. As they near the planet Ruckus realizes how he needs Delaney to at least pretend she is the princess in order to keep a war from happening. She agrees to help, but of course, nothing is ever that easy. Someone wants to kill the princess Olena. But who has ordered the hit?

Do I have you reeled in yet? Doesn’t this book sound like a must read?

What can I say about this book besides it’s so damn cute?  As I write this review I’m finding it hard to explain how awesome this book is because of all the cuteness that is wrapped up in a perfect package for a star-cross love story. There’s mystery, suspense, futuristic coolness, a love story that makes your toes curl and leaves you wanting more. Ruckus was perfect for the main love interest. I was drawn to him instantly with his protectiveness and noble demeanor. As for Tristan, Olena’s betrothed, I love how he was all rough edges and coldness. As the story continued I found myself more and more intrigued with Tristan, the alien prince. And I’m very eager to see how this interesting love triangle plays out.

Feener has given us a true charm with her first book of the Xenith trilogy. Amid Stars and Darkness is a must read for anyone looking for that super cute love story that makes you smile when you least expect it and leaves you wanting more and more. I am very much looking forward to Feener’s sequel to Amid Stars and Darkness. Be sure to check it out!

Author Bio:

Chani Lynn Feener has wanted to be a writer since the age of ten during fifth grade story time. She majored in Creative Writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, and graduated in 2012. To pay her bills, she has worked many odd jobs, including, but not limited to, telemarketing, order picking in a warehouse, and filling ink cartridges. When she isn’t writing, she’s binging TV shows, drawing, or frequenting zoos/aquariums. Chani is the author of Amid Stars and Darkness and the teen paranormal series the Underworld Saga, originally written under the penname Tempest C. Avery. She currently resides in Connecticut, but lives on Goodreads.com.

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Gybe: Promo

Gybe


Kristi M. Turner


Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction


Release Date: August 28th 2016



 

Summary from Goodreads

Nicole is an 18-year-old, juvenile delinquent who desperately wants to take control of her life but must find a way to overcome her own self-sabotage and a judge who won’t easily let her escape her past. She keeps food on her plate and clothes on her back by stealing. It is far from the life she wants, but she has known little kindness in her life and, therefore, gives little back. When Judge Newton charges her for the first time as an adult, Nicole recognizes a separating path: She can stay on her path to destruction or she can accept the unexpected generosity of the Kutcher family, whose house she is charged with burglarizing.

Child psychologist, Cynthia Kutcher, believes she can help Nicole confront her anger and build back the self-worth she lost when her father abandoned her to a drunken uncle after her mother’s death. 
Along the way to building a more valuable life, Nicole meets Keagan, an affluent young man with whom she begins an often overwhelming love affair despite the conflicts their disparate pasts bring.


FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

About the Author

 

Kristi M Turner lives in Alabama where she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

She is a lover of music and a Netflix addict. Her favorite place to be is sitting in the sand on a beach, any beach. She is currently working on her second novel starring Bailey and Jay.

Author Links

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One Broken Day Promo and Giveaways

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One Broken Day
by Melissa MacVicar
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: May 18th 2017

 

Summary:

After a notorious school shooting leaves her a shadow of the girl she once was, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Beringer moves to Nantucket Island. There, Lizzie vows to hide her identity as the shooter’s sister. All her efforts to fly under the radar, however, are complicated by her P.T.S.D. and the attention she receives from two competing boys. While fending off the not-so-subtle advances of popular athlete Michael Wickersham, she must also deal with her growing feelings for her shy lab partner Gage Pike. Gage may act like he’s all wrong for her, but the pull between them is undeniable.

Under the threat of discovery and the possibility of testifying in a televised trial, Lizzie fights to keep her secrets and start her life over.

One Broken Day is a brilliantly imagined story exploring the ways we are all broken and at the same time, offered redemption in the most unexpected of places.

 

 

Excerpt:

Lizzie

My brother should be dead. Death was what he wanted, and his death might have made everything that came after that day less painful. After succeeding in so many terrible things, however, he failed to complete this one final act.

Despite these harsh words, I do not take the possibility of his death lightly. Even now, when the thought of it enters my mind, I resist it, and immediately following the shooting, I hated myself for it. My insides ached, and my head throbbed. He was my brother. My baby brother. I was supposed to love him, not wish him gone from the planet.

Standing in his room before we left for Nantucket, I considered what to take. I wanted something of him. A talisman. An object from the scene of this crime, my own personal family tragedy, that would allow me to remember him as the boy he was before. The boy who laughed at sitcoms on Nickelodeon and swam in the pool with neon green floaties. The boy who called me Wizzie. The little brother who couldn’t possibly be locked up in a jail cell for murdering four people.

The room itself was not special—double bed, blue walls, built in book shelves stripped of their contents. Boxes littered the floor, filled with the personal items that populated Thomas’ life.  Out his windows, the picturesque view of the pool and the fir trees beyond was still lovely.

I forced myself to try to see it as a stranger, like someone who only heard about Thomas on the news. Were there clues in the paint color? The books he read or the framed poster of Tony Hawk? No matter how hard I searched, no answers to my infinite questions were revealed. Nothing there explained what happened to us.

I spotted it then, atop a pile of books in a still open box. The horseshoe. I forgot all about it until that moment, but I knew instantly it was what I’d been looking for. We both received one on the vacation at the dude ranch with Dad although I had no idea where mine was anymore. On that trip, we rode horses and square danced and ate all our meals together.  Good times. We had some good times. The rust speckled piece of metal, satisfyingly heavy in my hand, was my proof.

Turning to leave, I caught a glimpse of Thomas’ cork board. Removed from the wall, it leaned against the side of a box near his old desk. Weird drawings of scary faces, death metal concert leaflets, and a few pictures of a scowling Thomas were pinned haphazardly across it. In one corner, however, an unexpected pop of color peeked out.  Without thinking, I reached to expose it.

Thomas—a four-year-old Spiderman, me—a six-year-old Cinderella. We both smiled as we clutched our bags of trick-or-treat candy. With a little effort, I unpinned it from the board and gazed down at our grinning, childish faces. When exactly had Thomas stopped smiling for pictures? When was the precise day and time that occurred? That was the day I should have known. I should have noticed. I should have realized that something was not right with my baby brother.

 

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FREE short story on Amazon from July 17th-21st!

 

 

About the Author

Melissa was born and mostly raised on Nantucket Island, and she currently lives there with her husband and two teenage children. When not being a wife and mother and teaching writing to seventh graders, she enjoys binge watching shows like Big Little Lies, House of Cards, and Outlander. Despite the rumors to the contrary, she does not actually wish she was a teenager again, nor does she see ghosts like the main character in her first novel, Ever Near. She does, however, love to hear from readers so send her a message on social media or at her email: melissa.macvicar@gmail.com

 

Author Links:

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Nostalgic Rain: Excerpt and Giveaway

Nostalgic Rain: Galaxies Away
by A.S. Altabtabai
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 1st 2017

Summary from Goodreads

What seventeen-year-old Leland finds in the abandoned basement of his house is something he will never forget.

Leland lost his father when he was seven. Since then, he has successfully adapted to the awful life of being a student, the man of the house, and a father figure to his two younger siblings. All of that changes when he and his best friends stumble upon a secret in his deserted basement, and fall into another dimension with three moons, foggy woods, and an ancient castle-Oremanta.

Learning who he really is, how he came to this remote planet, and the shocking, ugly mystery of Oremanta aren’t as bad as the quest he finds himself obligated to complete-killing someone he never thought he’d meet in Oremanta to save everyone.

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon!

Excerpt:  

Chapter One

Voices

The ceiling, barely visible in the dark room, greeted Leland. He didnt know how long hed slept, but that didnt matter much. It was summer. A thump resounded in the atmosphere, and it mixed with the squawking of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers. Leland rose from the sweat-soaked sheets of his bed and went to the window overlooking their small house garden. The sky was a mixture of red, orange, and yellow on one side, where the egg-yolk sun rose, and black on the other. In between the two, various degrees of blue adorned the horizon. Its dawn.

Be it summer, spring, winter, or autumn, all dawns in Temblewood City were cold. Leland put on his red hoodie, the one he got last year on his sixteenth birthday from Jennifer, his best friend, and stomped down the wooden abodes creaky stairs. Lelands heavy-lidded brown eyes skimmed the familiar dilapidated furniture of the living room, but he didnt dare complain. It was his grandfathers house, and he had lived here with his mother and two little siblings for ten years now since his father had died.

Today, he didnt want to drink coffee. Drinking coffee meant staying awake and alert for a long period, and he didnt want any of that. He wished he could sleep for the rest of this summer. Instead of coffee, Leland headed to Jaimes Café, a place more popular than Starbucks in Temblewood City, and bought a cup of hot chocolate. The cup was so hot he had to wrap it with two layers of napkins.

This summer was different from the last. Last year, hed seen Jennifer and Dylan almost every day. Hed gone hiking and horse riding and fishing, and hed camped on Mount Lamen, which wasnt a good ideathey had ended up lost for two days with cops searching for them. But now he was running from everyone and everything. Jennifer and Dylan were calling every day, and hed been creating excuses to be alone. But he missed them. A lot. The most awful thing in life is changing into someone worse but not realizing it.

Leland sat on a wooden bench not so far from Jaimes Café and gazed at the road, which was gradually getting more crowded with cars and people. A young man wearing a black suit and a red tie sat beside him. The man, who genuinely smelled good, scrolled down his phones screen, checking his Twitter timeline. Yeah. Thats what normal people do. They work and they socialize and they live. Leland missed that. Fear can paralyze ones mind and create thousands of fake barriers.

A raindrop fell on Lelands cup. He stared at the gray clouds in the sky, and an army of a million other drops flooded the ground. Thats why he hated Temblewood. It would rain any time of year, and Leland despised rain. He knew it was going to be a bad day. All rainy days are bad. The day his father died had been a day of heavy rain and dark memories he wished he could forget. But that was impossible because it was impossible not to have rain throughout the year. And every time it rained, a powerful resurrection of that day occurred.

Leland realized the suited man beside him had left at some point during his deep and useless thinking session. It seemed Leland was the only one on the street now. He put the hoodie cap on and walked underneath shop awnings on his way back home. Now that he thought about it, Leland hadnt learned much from his absent father.

But there was one sentence that kept ringing in his head. Leland wasnt even sure how or when or why his father had told it to him: The more you feed your fear, the more you become imprisoned by it.

***

Karla and Fred giggled and ran in the corridor. Theyve grown up really fast. I cant believe theyre starting to write and read already. Karla opened the door wide and nestled between Lelands arms. She curled and made herself comfortable in his hands.

You cant touch me now! she told Fred, sticking her tongue out.

Youre cheating! Fred replied, his palm on his waist.

Hey, you two, Leland said. Youre supposed to be in your beds now, arent you?

Were waiting for Aunt Abbey! Karla said. Mom said we can stay up late tonight.

Leland had totally forgotten that. His aunt, Abbey, was coming back to Temblewood from Todland, a city five hours away by plane. She worked as a nurse there. The last time hed seen her was a year ago when she came for New Years Eve. Shed brought them two bags of Made-In-Todland-Only candies. Leland hoped shed bring them again this time.

Lelands room was the smallest in the house. In one corner was his bed and in the other was a desk and a bookshelf with many Xbox games and a few novels. The only good thing about the room was the window that overlooked the street.

Fred toured Lelands room. He flipped the pages of a book he could barely carry and then dropped it when the doorbell rang. It was more of a noisy croak rather than a musical sound.

Abbey had arrived.

***

Lelands grandma, glued to her usual spot on the worn rocking chair shed bought right after Lelands birth, glimpsed him for a moment and then rolled her eyes back to the TV.

Where have you been all day? she complained, switching channels. Your aunt is here, for Gods sake.

On the table in the living room sat a cake with Welcome Home written on it. The living room was lit by an old, handcrafted chandelier, but it did its job quite well. Leland hugged his aunt. She hadnt changed much.

Hows everything? Leland asked.

Perfect! She replied, taking a bite of her cake. Everything is too perfect!

Great. Im glad. He took a seat beside her. Fred and Karla were on the ground playing rock, paper, scissors. His grandfather, Richard, was listening to the news, his ears touching the radios speaker.

What about you? Abbey asked.

Im fine, Leland replied, faking a smile.

No, hes not, Lelands mother said, cutting cake for Fred and Karla, pretending not to care much about the issue. Somethings wrong with him. He hardly leaves hisvroom.

Lelands face flushed. He felt stupid for not realizing his mother must have felt something was wrong with him. This meant Dylan and Jennifer, his friends, likely also noticed.

No, its just—” Leland said, attempting to fake an excuse.

Is he always alone? Abbey asked.

Almost, Maria, Lelands mother, replied.

And hes not eating a lot?

Yes.

Lelands heart raced. Theres no way Abbey would know what hed been through lately. Shed been away, and he made sure no one knew.

And he doesnt talk much? Abbey asked.

Yeah. Only a little, Maria answered.

Abbey clapped her hands and cried, Hes in love!

All eyes turned toward Leland. But he was relieved. She knew nothing after all. Leland pretended her assumptions were correct. He gazed down and said nothing in reply.

Theres nothing to be ashamed of, Leland. Weve all been through this before, Aunt Abbey said, and then her voice dropped to a whisper. And dont chicken out. Women hate that.

Leland didnt know how to reply, so, rather awkwardly and loudly enough that everyone stared at him again, he said, I like her.

Okay. Thats enough for today. Leland had paid his social dues and now he had to leave. Embarrassed, Leland said, I gotta go.

And he went back to his room.

***

Leland collapsed into his bed with Les Miserables in his hand. Hed bought it a month ago from Harrys Bookstore, a local shop at the end of the street. Leland read a book or two per year, but he wished he could dedicate more time to reading. He read some pages then put the book on the bedside table. With the lights on and the window opened, Leland dozed off without realizing it. Deep in his sleep, Leland woke up, sweating and trembling in fear. His breath quickened and his heart hammered against his chest. It had happened for the fifth time this week.

Voiceshundreds of thousands of throatswhispered in Lelands ears and mumbled words he couldnt understand. And it seemed he was the only one hearing them.

For Gods sake, what the hell is going on?

About the Author

Medical student, writer & travel passionate.

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Fiery Passion: Excerpt


Fiery Passion (The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles #3)
by Alec John Belle
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 2017

Summary from Goodreads:

After the unexpected events at the end of Shadow People, Heather, Hayden, and their friends are trying to move forward with their lives. While trying to hunt down the new vessel of the Darkness, and trying to avoid a very complicated relationship, Heather thinks she can keep everything under control.

Until she’s taken by a demon named Ziminiar.

As Hayden, Kadin, Philip, and Kristen try to find their friend, Heather unravels many truths about the world she lives in, the core of her being, and the true origins of the Monster Hunters. 
In the third installment of The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles, secrets will be exposed, relationships will be tested, and the ultimate betrayal will leave fans breathless.

Because in a world where demons exist, nothing is ever as it seems.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon

 

Excerpt:

The sun disappeared as clouds rolled through the sky, creating an overwhelming darkness that I could find no words to explain. Lightning flashed in the sky, reminding me of Kadin.

I let out a scream when men started falling from the sky—big men, wearing suits of armor and wings outstretched for all to see. When they landed, the ground shook beneath them.

They were Angels.

The townsmen pulled their arrows back, shooting at the Angels, but within seconds, the they pulled out their weapons—giant swords that gleamed in the dark. I watched in horror as one of the Angels swung their weapon, beheading a man in seconds. More Angels fell from the sky, chasing after the women.

“What the hell are you doing?” I wasn’t entirely sure why I shouted, but I couldn’t watch the attacks happen trying to do something to stop it.

Right after I said it, one of the Angels looked at me—smiling a mischievous smile—and said, “You have a lot to learn, little Neph.” Although I couldn’t make out his features, that smile couldn’t be forgotten.

Other books in the series:

                                         

                                                                                                     

 

About the Author:

Alec John Belle resides in Carson City, NV, where he is currently attending high school for his senior year. At the age of 16 he wrote his first novel, Before I Break. His hobbies include reading, writing, and obsessing over Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, bullying, mental illness, among other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal. Despite writing such topics, he is a very cheerful person who enjoys looking for the best in life, while trying to help others do the same.

Author Links:

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Chasing Evaline: Excerpt and Giveaway

I am so excited that CHASING EVELINE by Leslie Hauser is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Leslie Hauser, be sure to check out all the details below.
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a finished copy of the book and swag courtesy of Leslie and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About The Book:
Title: CHASING
EVELINE
Author: Leslie
Hauser
Pub. Date: July 11,
2017
Publisher: Pen Name
Publishing
Pages: 300
Formats: Paperback,
eBook
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High
School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with
album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989,
this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of
her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her
mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s
one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the
only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with
help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music
enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no
road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers,
tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the
four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to
try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the
present.
Excerpt:
 
They say music is the key to the soul. Or maybe it’s the heart. I can’t
remember exactly what my mom said that day she danced into my room with a new
record for me to hear. I was only in the fourth grade, but I became a believer.
I remember so vividly how the drums rattled deep within my chest and the lyrics
I didn’t even understand seemed to whisper secrets meant only for me. The song
lingered inside me for days. My mom swooned and told me that’s why music must
be shared.
So when I saw the desperate school blog post calling for a volunteer DJ
at tonight’s Back to School Dance, I jumped at the chance. The music my friend
Matt and I plan to throw into the mix is a giant master key. I just hope it
will open the teenage hearts in this musty gym and linger inside them long
after the last balloon deflates. This music is important to me.
 
I nudge Matt, whose face is glued to the computer screen at our DJ table.
A vibrating speaker to our left thumps out music, so I yell into his ear, “Is
the set list ready?”
 
He tilts his head toward me. “Geez, Ivy. I just plugged in the flash
drive.”
 
“Okay, sorry.” I step away. He sweeps his blond hair out of his eyes and
returns his focus to the computer.
 
I pace behind him, a nervous left followed by an excited right and back
again. The musical brilliance of the greatest guitarist of all time will soon
weave through these bodies and drift into every ear. My heart floats up with
the blue and yellow balloons hovering like a latex fog.
 
My hand strums on my thigh while Matt continues to fuss with the
computer. Near the gym entrance, Principal Henry stands with Narc 1 and Narc 2,
and a wave of yawns travels across them. The newbie freshmen line the walls and
cluster in groups. The scene resembles a casting call for an acne medication
ad.
 
The dull atmosphere isn’t helped by the annoyingly synthetic pop
noise blasting through the speakers. After I offered our free DJ services to
Karen, the Dance Committee Chairperson, she gave us a mix of music tracks to
play. She was grateful to have saved some precious dollars for this year’s
prom, but 
 
I’m not sure she trusted two no-name juniors to get the job
done. 
 
However, after listening to thirty minutes of her set list, I’m seriously
questioning the cool factor of the popular crowd. Karen’s mix features some of
the worst radio music of all time. Every song is a mere echo of the previous
one—peppy beats and vacuous lyrics about hook-ups and partying. I can’t even
tell if the voices belong to boys, girls, or machines. 
 
I tap Matt’s shoulder. “Are you almost finished?” I nearly have to
scream.
 
“Yeah. I’m just making sure we have the songs in the right order.” He
turns around and leans toward me. “Ivy, you really want to do this?”
 
I smile at him and hope he doesn’t see all the tiny cracks waiting to
splinter. “We’re just sharing some great music. It’ll be fine.”
About Leslie:

I am a YA writer and
middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree
in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently
reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.
When I’m not
living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances,
torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I
dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning
a cookie delivery service.
My debut
novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.
Giveaway Details:
(1) Winner
will receive a finished copy of CHASING EVELINE & Swag, US Only.
Ends on
February 9th at Midnight EST!

A Matter of Trust: Review

A MATTER OF TRUST

Montana Rescue Series, Book 3

By SUSAN MAY WARREN

  Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: July 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson was at the top of his game when one of his fans crashed and died—a death blamed on Gage. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, Gage had no choice but to leave the limelight behind and search for a new life.

Although Gage is now working as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team, he still can’t find peace—or forget the woman who betrayed him.

As a former attorney and one of the youngest senators in the country, Ella Blair is used to being in the public eye. But she does have one secret that has remained hidden—a secret that could have saved Gage his career. Wracked with regret, she’ll do almost anything to atone for her betrayal of him.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, the last thing Gage wants is to let Ella join the search. Not only will he have to find her reckless brother, but he’ll have to keep her safe as well. But Ella is undeterred, and suddenly Gage finds himself in a high-stakes adventure on a mountain with a woman who could cost him everything—again. In a world of dangerous heights, devastating injuries, and blinding snowstorms, Gage and Ella must put aside the past and learn to trust each other if they hope to survive.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series

“Exciting rescues and an old mystery offer a thrilling, roller-coaster plotline and plenty of drama to keep the pages turning.” —Bookpage on Wild Montana Skies

“A fast-moving, high-stakes romantic adventure set against the backdrop of Glacier National Park, which will leave longtime fans and new readers alike anticipating the next book in the series.” —Publishers Weekly on Rescue Me

Purchase Links

Baker Book House Amazon | Christianbook.com B&N

iBooks Kobo Lifeway 

A Matter of Trust is a mix of high tension, suspense, drama and forgiveness. As I usually lean towards the more fantasy action genre, I’m always really surprised and excited to enjoy books like these. Especially when it sparks my interest for other novels the author has written. Susan Warren has an amazing sense of character and scenery.

Despite Gage and Ella’s own upended history, Gage puts things aside and sets off to rescue her brother. Struggling with his faith in her and own spiritual faith, their journey has many twists and turns that keep the reader well engaged in their story. This book also follows other characters, or duos as it were, in the team. From previous books, we’re given glimpses of their own complex stories and what’s to come. Since I wasn’t as familiar with other characters in the series, I did tend to focus more on other areas with the main characters, Gage and Ella. Gage is a wonderfully engaging character with his own doubts and growth throughout the book. Ella was a bit harder to connect with, especially since she is trying to redeem her past decisions and making new difficult ones along the way. I still enjoyed their interactions and dynamic that pushed the boundaries of usual relationships you tend to see or read in stories.

I’ve never been good at skiing but I love snow. The way Warren described it was fun and lively to the point where I’m tempted to retry it again…on a bunny hill. The wintery scene of Montana was really well done and made me want to travel there someday. Well, when it’s a tad warmer of course. I definitely recommend this great summer read! Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Susan May Warren is the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.

WEBSITE  YOUTUBE  

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————————————————— 

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GRAND PRIZE: Huckleberry Coffee, Pair of Bookish Mugs, and Full Montana Rescue Series.

PRIZE TWO: A Matter of Trust + $25 Barnes & Noble GC.

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Amanda Gernentz Hanson’s Top 10 Writing Tips to Create an Amazing Character

Amanda Gernentz Hanson, the author of Something Beautiful, shares with us how she creates her awesome characters. Check out her great writing tips!

Top 10 Writing Tips to Create an Amazing Character

Here’s the thing about writing compelling characters—they are complicated, and messy, and (generally) human. Character creation needs to be well-rounded and consistent in order to work in a story, which is definitely the hardest part. I am a plotter—I can’t fly by the seat of my pants when I’m writing. Therefore, my characters are often mapped out ahead of time, from start to finish. Here’s a general map of how I create characters when I’m writing:

1. Pick a great character name.

I don’t know if all writers feel this way, but I put a lot of stock in names. I do research. I try to plot out family trees. Sometimes, like in the case of Cordelia, one of the main characters in Something Beautiful, I look to other written works, including mythology and Shakespeare. Names mean something, and I think they require a good deal of thought.

2. Consider the family.

A person’s family influences them. It’s as easy as that. You can argue nature versus nurture all you want, but your family shapes you. I always take a character’s family into account, and I usually try to include the family in the story, as well.

3. Plot out the past.

Every story starts somewhere, but what happened before? The past is another thing that shapes how the character ends up. You don’t necessarily need to be explicit with the reader about everything that happened in the past, but know it. Know your character’s beginnings.

4. What’s the relationship status?

Again, this isn’t crucial to the text itself, but know the character’s relationship status. This will help determine what the character’s demeanor might be, who and what is motivating the character, and what the character’s desires might be. Do you have to mention this explicitly? Of course not. But it helps to know the intentions, even if they’re only your intentions.

5. Who are the character’s friends?

Much like the relationship status, a character’s friends are important when it comes to shaping the character. Who would Rory be without Lane, or Blair without Serena, or Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily without each other?

6. What is unique about the appearance?

Now. Hear me out. I don’t always describe my characters appearances in depth because I don’t think it always matters. But each character usually has a defining feature. In Something Beautiful, for example, Declan has green eyes, and Cordelia has colored streaks in her hair. In one of my WIPs, a character has a lime-green snapback that she wears to parties. There’s always something, and that helps define the character.

7. What are the hobbies?

What does the character do for fun? I like thinking about how varied people are in real life, and I try to pick one defining hobby for each of my characters. Declan plays soccer and does musical theater. Cordelia writes. Other characters have ran, and played field hockey, and been avid readers. There’s always something. Find the something that makes them who they are.

8. How does this character fit into the plot?

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what your character looks like, what they do, who they’re with, and where they’ve been. Now you have to make sure each character fits into the narrative of the story. It’s very rare that characters exist without a purpose—remember that.

9. What is unique about the character that will drive the plot forward?

Building on that note, how does the character fit into the plot in a way that drives it forward? Every character, every scene, every single part of the book should drive the plot forward—that’s always the point. Do if you’re going to create a great character, remember to use them wisely.

10. Remember everyone has flaws.

Here is something that I love about the characters I write—they’re always flawed people. Don’t even get me started on Declan and Cordelia—flawed to the extreme, they are. But that’s what I love about writing. I am a flawed person. Every person I know has flaws. That’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us interesting, and that’s what’s important for characters.

Are these tips the end-all be-all of advice for writing characters? Of course not! This is just how I map out characters when I’m writing. I hope this was helpful to you!

Happy writing (and reading)!

About the Author:

Amanda Gernentz Hanson has been writing stories since the third grade, when she turned in a five-page story about talking dogs to a local youth arts contest. She is an instructional designer by day and an everything else by night. Amanda is a proud Latina who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Hope College and her Master’s degree in Technical Communication from Minnesota State University. You can find her on the internet at browneyedtwentysomething.com and diverseladybookproject.tumblr.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @amandamariegh. If you see her in the wild, she probably has a book in her purse.

Be sure to check out her awesome debut novel, available now from amazon for $5.99!

Book Summary:

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.

However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

Purchase Links:
Amazon