Tag Archive | YA

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

False Flag by Rachel Churcher ​​

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

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My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

 

The Author:
Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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The Coven History by Lily Luchesi

The Coven Series Book 4

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The dead hold the key to saving the King.

LILY2When the Coven King falls deathly ill, Harley must search through his history, and the history of everyone she once knew, in order to find the cure.

As a child, Salem Sinclair was never meant to amount to much, until he met a girl named Daphne Fraser. As Light as he was Dark, he fell in love at first sight and would do anything to please her, even if his love makes him a target.
But there is a Darkness growing, and Daphne is at the centre of the conflict. Salem must pick a side and do what is right to save the girl he loves.

Meanwhile, will Harley find out how to cure her father or will the Coven once again lose its leader?

Available now for only $2.99
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Excerpt:

         “Murder?” Caelum asked.
“What do you mean, murder?” Draven demanded, face pasty white.
“I believe he is trying to say that someone has died by nefarious means,” Salem said sarcastically.
“Where? What happened?” Daphne asked, ignoring the boys.
“In a house just up that way,” the man said, still unblinking. “We have to alert the PID!” And he dashed off without another word.
“What do we do?” Draven wondered.
“We go see what happened. I can feel the Darkness,” Daphne said. “It’s getting stronger and stronger with each step we take in this direction.”
That was the deciding vote and the five of them kept walking, guided by Daphne’s Fraser senses. With each step, it was Salem who was now filled with foreboding, however. Because they were closing in on the house he and Robert lived in.
His fears were confirmed when they reached the end of the road and found a group of magicians gathered around his house, 109 Dahlia Lane. Voices were murmuring and people seemed generally spooked.
“What happened here?” Salem asked the first person to meet his eyes. She merely shuddered and left.
He grabbed someone else by the collar of the cloak, a fellow student whose name he couldn’t place. “Hey, you. I live here. Tell me what happened this instance!”
The poor boy stuttered and couldn’t say a thing.
“Salem!”
Salem turned to see Robert near the doorway of their house, his face somber. “It’s Ms. Stanton. It’s bad. Really bad.”
Daphne clutched her head and said, “My body can already tell that much.” She began to walk toward the house and Salem grabbed her by the sleeve.
“Is it wise for you to go inside? With the way your head is already?”
“Yeah, I have to agree with Sinclair. Don’t go inside,” Michael said, arms crossed.
Daphne whirled around. “You, Mike, don’t ever tell me what to do. Sal, I appreciate the concern, but I have to know what’s happening.”
Salem nodded and let her sleeve go. “All right. Come on, then. Robert, did you call the PID? Or go to the castle?”
Robert said, “That bloke who ran off was going to call. Figured someone who lived here should stick around. Come on, if you guys really want to see. I wouldn’t.” He turned around and the five teens followed him into the house.
“Something smells awful,” Draven said almost immediately after he crossed the threshold.
Salem didn’t smell anything at first, until they got past the foyer. Then it hit him. When he was a boy, a few older boys had killed a small deer and left it to rot in some underbrush near a stream. During the summer, the heat had risen and cooked the rotting carcass. This sickly sweet, gaseous smell was similar to that.
Ms. Stanton was in the living room, on the sofa. She had been knitting when she’d been murdered. But the only reason Salem knew it was Stanton was because he recognised her grey and pink ombre robe, which she wore constantly. The body was decayed to the point where only a magician with the PID could have identified her with magic.
Her skin was wet and greenish, broken open in parts where old blood and Gaia knew what else was leaking out. Her mouth was open, lips blue, tongue black and lolling out the side. One of her eyes was normal, the other hanging from its socket on a long, sticky string of sinew.
“I’m gonna be sick,” Michael said, dashing from the house.
“Me too. The smell,” Draven groaned, following Michael.
Daphne whimpered. “It’s not the corpse making me sick. It’s the Dark magic.”
“The Decaying Curse,” Salem said softly. “The Darkest spell ever created. No wonder everyone in Clan Fraser was sick. That curse hasn’t been used in the Coven in over a century.”

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Book 1 is FREE and books 2 & 3 are 99c each!

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My Review:

The Coven History, book 4 of The Coven Series, is another fantastic read from author, Lily Luchesi.

In this installment we learn the details of Salem’s life as a youngster at the coven. His daughter, Harley, journeys back through his memories to find a cure to prevent his death.

Harley witnesses the hardship and taunting that Salem endured, but also sees her the love and romance between her mother and father. There are twists and surprises for both Harley and the reader.

Does Harley find the cure for Salem? What does she discover about her father and her friends? You’ll need to read this book to find out.

Lily Luchesi is a brilliant author who continues to impress me with her writing, her plots and her characters. Her books grab you from page one and you live alongside the characters, sharing the same range of emotions as they do.

I loved this book and I love the series. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

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Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.

Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively.

She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Arizona. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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The Coven History by Lily Luchesi

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Cover reveal for the penultimate book in the #1 bestselling Coven Series!

Coming August 27th from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi
Published by Vamptasy Publishing
Cover art by Rue Volley

 

The dead hold the key to saving the King.

When the Coven King falls deathly ill, Harley must search through his history, and the history of everyone she once knew, in order to find the cure.

As a child, Salem Sinclair was never meant to amount to much, until he met a girl named Daphne Fraser. As Light as he was Dark, he fell in love at first sight and would do anything to please her, even if his love makes him a target.

But there is a Darkness growing, and Daphne is at the centre of the conflict. Salem must pick a side and do what is right to save the girl he loves.

Meanwhile, will Harley find out how to cure her father or will the Coven once again lose its leader?

LILY2

Pre-order On Kindle!

 

Excerpt:

         Once the parchment had soaked up all of the blood, it began to gather in the centre. Harley watched, with Caelum peering over her shoulder, as a word began to form in vivid red: “Apocynaceae.”
         “Is … is it broken?” Caelum asked. “I don’t even think that’s a word.”
         “It’s a family of plants. They’re known as dogsbane because they were once used to poison dogs,” Harley said. “But … if that’s the case, he should wake up in five minutes. The potion can cure any of the plants within that family.”
         Unless you brewed it wrong, her mind taunted her. It did that sometimes, reminded her that she wasn’t as talented or special as others might make her believe. It was one of the many drawbacks of having depression and anxiety.
         I brewed that potion perfectly, she said, trying to push the irrational part of her mind back. Something else is going on if he doesn’t wake.
         She moved back and crossed her arms tightly around her middle, almost as if she was trying to subconsciously hug herself and get comfort. Caelum moved closer and put his arms around her, over her own. Harley revelled in his comfort, wishing that she didn’t need it so damn often. It had only been two days since they had taken down the organisation known as The Zoo. She had barely had a chance to breathe.
         “Madam Maysa, what if…” She couldn’t say it.
         “If it doesn’t work?” she asked. “Then we have to find out why. It could be something in his past, some abnormality within his physiology.”
         “How the Hell am I supposed to do that?” Harley asked, forgetting her manners.
         “There’s a way, but it’s complicated. Mrs. Donahue can show you,” Maysa said.
         “And how long will it take? How long … how long does he have?” she asked. She could hear the desperate edge in her voice and hated it. She hated always being unable to control anything that happened in her life. Sure, she pretended to, but she was always a victim of fate, ever since she was conceived, and she despised it.
         “Five hours, give or take, and this shouldn’t take that long,” the Medic replied. She checked her pocket watch. “You have three minutes. I will go and fetch her.”
         It was obvious that the Medic did not believe that Salem would wake within three minutes any more than Harley did.
         Five hours. Salem only had five hours to live. Harley’s stomach roiled and she could feel her fingertips going numb from fear and worry. If not for Caelum, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to stand.
         “We’re going to figure this out,” Caelum said softly. “I promise, I’m not going to let you do this alone. We’ll save Salem, you’ll see.”
         “How are you so bloody optimistic?” she asked, her voice barely a gasp as tears began to gather in her eyes.
         “Because once upon a time, I lived through actual Hell. Optimism and sarcasm are the only defences I have,” he replied. He turned her around to face him and held her face in his hand. “I believe in you, Princess. You can save him.”
         The three minutes ticked by, and there was no change in Salem. He was still sweating, feverish, and wheezing. Mrs. Donahue entered the sickroom then, looking a bit more put together than she had when she’d initially gotten Harley. She carried a long white candle with peculiar markings along the side.
         “Oh dear,” she muttered, looking at Salem as he lay there. Donahue was in her eighties, she had been Salem and Caelum’s teacher when they were children. “Madam Maysa told me you needed to see into the past, to see why he can’t be cured by the potion?”
Harley nodded.
         “Then come with me. Both of you. But first you need something of his. A lock of hair will do,” she said.
         Harley turned toward her father and stepped up to his pillow. “Praetrunco,” she cast, and a lock of shiny ebony hair was severed into the palm of her hand.
That done, the two of them followed Donahue down the castle stairs and into the courtyard. Harley noticed that the party had broken up, her brother and his friends were nowhere to be seen.
         Harley wasn’t a person who asked a lot of questions. She found that, more often than not, when you stayed silent, you got the answers you wanted without ever having to say a word aloud.
         As Donahue led them across the grounds, Harley saw where she was taking them: the Watchtower. The Watchtower was built before the magicians had made this their Coven, and was used during the First, Second, and Third Clan Wars to signal for help or exchange information with undercover magicians.
         It was also, apparently, haunted.

 

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Meet The Author:

hhsale2Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.

Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively.

She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.

She was born and raised in in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Arizona. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Light the Way by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 2)

 
Light the WayIn the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside.

MaryAnn Hunter has crossed over to become a fugitive on the Outside. Hiding out in the Union headquarters MaryAnn is slowly coming to terms with the lies she has been brought up with.

But when a friend asks for help MaryAnne finds herself on a dangerous rescue mission that takes her on a terrifying journey back into the desperate clutches of the Director and the Light.

MaryAnn faces a fight for survival. It’s a fight she must win against insurmountable odds – but is it one she is willing to win at any cost?

Light the Way is the second book in The Union Trilogy.

Set in a dystopian future The Union Trilogy is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown.

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My Review:

A brilliant follow up to Blinded by the Light. This time, in addition to MaryAnn’s point of view, there’s Charlotte’s point of view, which doesn’t detract from the main character and definitely adds to the story, as MaryAnn can’t be in two places at the same time.

In this book, we once again join MaryAnn, who is growing from her experiences and is no longer the spoilt rich kid we met at the beginning of book one. Although still uncertain as to whether or not she wants to join The Union, she doesn’t hesitate to help when one of the Unionists family members needs rescuing from The Light.

MaryAnne and her friends undertake a dangerous journey and rescue attempt, even though it puts their lives at risk, and MaryAnn within reach of the Director of the Foundation again.

I hoped for a lot from book two and was not disappointed. I can’t help wondering whether MaryAnn and Peter will ever stop arguing for long enough to realise that they have feelings for each other.

I am more than ready for book three. Fingers crossed, I won’t have to wait for too long.

  

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. The weekly Meme wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading.

  • Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Light the WayPeople rarely spoke about life before the virus, even those who were adults when the disease broke out. We’d been shown broadcasts at school about how people used to live, but it was definitely not considered acceptable dinner conversation.

~Light the Way by Joe Kipling

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Awaken by K.S. Marsden

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Title: Awaken
Series: Northern Witch #2
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: YA Fantasy LGBT
Release date: 20th August 2018

 
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Mark has everything he ever wanted. He is training to be a fully-fledged witch; and he is dating the hottest guy at school.

But events from last winter have set things into motion that he is not prepared for.

Witches, demons, and danger come together to prove that this… this is only the beginning.

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Excerpt:

      Mark’s attention snapped back to the present, as his horse sharply leapt aside. Lulu’s ears were flat back and her muscles tense, and Mark hurried to steady her before she bolted.
      “What’s happening?” Damian’s voice was laced with panic.
      Mark looked around them, trying to find the source of Lulu’s unease, but there was nothing he could see that would upset the horse. Perhaps it was the scent of a predator, that spurred on such a violent reaction; but Mark had never seen anything bigger than a fox up here.
      “Dunno, it’s fine now.” Mark answered, finally turning in his saddle, when he was sure his horse wasn’t going to take off. He looked at Damian, whose bright blue eyes were wide with fear, and his hands gripped the front of the saddle again. Good old Holly looked remarkably relaxed. The little mare ignored Lulu’s antics, and was quietly grazing, waiting for her rider’s next command.
      Mark sighed, maybe they should turn back now, before he scared Damian off horses forever. And, he had to admit, before he scared him away completely.
      Mark looked at their surroundings. They had left the main track, to take a shortcut to the river. There was nothing but grass underfoot, and rough bushes hovering low to the ground.
      Mark looked closer, through the dead-looking thorns at his side, and saw a lump of stone. It was pockmarked and worn from hundreds of years in the elements, but its shape was too geometric to be accidental.
      It wasn’t unusual to come across the remains of old buildings up here, but Mark had never spotted this one before. He-
      He thought he heard a voice, deep and constant, reverberating through the air. Mark couldn’t make out what the voice was saying, the words deformed, and lost to time. Everything about him went still. The wind dropped, and the birds were silent. Mark strained harder, sure he could understand the voice, if he just tried hard enough…
      His horse suddenly squealed with fear, and reared, throwing Mark off balance. He tried to pull himself straight in the saddle, but Lulu was blinded by panic, and bolted.
      Mark felt the air shift around him, he thought he heard his name being shouted, and then with a heavy thud, everything went black.

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About the Author:

35486042_602790366769190_1403381745084006400_nKelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

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