Monday, August 21, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Night Realm

About the Book:
Title: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver #1)
Author: Annette Marie
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: 
Clio would love nothing more than to go home. But as the illegitimate daughter of the nymph king, she’s stuck in the human world, exiled until she can earn a place in the royal family. Then her half-bother offers her a chance to prove herself. All she has to do is acquire some magic … by stealing it from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld.
Lyre prefers to go unnoticed, which is a tricky objective for an incubus. He can’t hide his looks or his coveted spell weaving skills, but he’s learned to mask his true intentions. As an unwilling pawn of the tyrannical Hades family, he stays alive by keeping one step ahead of his masters.
Now he’s been assigned to watch over a visitor from the Overworld—one who’s definitely hiding something. And with her unholy talent for triggering chaos and catastrophe, his job just keeps getting more perilous. Clearly, she’ll never survive this world.
The thing is, he’s no longer sure he can survive it either.

Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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~Cassie

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book Review: Too Late

Too LateAbout the Book:
Title: Too Late
Author: Colleen Hoover
Pub. Date: November 19, 2016
Publisher: Hoover Ink
Pages: 394
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

Sloan will go through hell and back for her little brother. And she does, every single night. 

Forced to remain in a relationship with the dangerous and corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to make sure her brother has what he needs. 

Nothing will get in her way. 

Nothing except Carter. 


Sloan is the only good thing to ever happen to Asa. He knows this and he never plans on letting her go; even if she doesn't approve of his lifestyle. But despite Sloan's disapproval, Asa knows what it takes to get what he wants. He knows what he needs to do to remain on top. 

Nothing will get in his way. 

Nothing except Carter.

Review:

“Love finds you in the forgiveness at the tail end of a fight. Love finds you in the empathy you feel for someone else. Love finds you in the embrace that follows a tragedy. Love finds you in the celebration after the conquering of an illness. Love finds you in the devastation after the surrender to an illness.” 

I originally read this book as Colleen was writing it on Wattpad and then obviously had to read it again when it was released. The first time I read it, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would, but the second time made me love it a lot more. Is it my favorite read from Colleen Hoover? No. But I still love it a great deal (I mean, I read it a second time so that should tell you something) and would highly recommend checking it out! I honestly don't think it's possible for Colleen to write a bad book, and this story is very captivating. I will say that Too Late is for mature readers. It has some very dark, twisted things featured in its pages, and it's not your typical Colleen Hoover book. So just be aware of that prior to reading.

“He's not safe. He's the shark-infested deep end of the sea and if I agree to go out with him, I'd be walking the plank, right off the boat and into his dark depth. How am I supposed to do that when I don't even know if I can swim?” 

Sloan is our main female lead and I loved her! There were times she got on my nerves a little bit, but overall she was an excellent female protagonist. Despite her thinking, she is much stronger than she realizes, and is a very realistic character...which is something that Colleen always has done best. Sloan knows the right thing to do, but there are many outside factors preventing her from making that decision. One of which is her brother, Steven. If Sloan leaves the person she is most scared of, her brother has nothing and won't be able to receive the help he needs. I honestly commend Sloan for being as strong as she was because I don't know anyone who could put up with the physical, mental, and sexual abuse she did. 

“I cried because I realized that no matter who he’s become, a part of me is still in love with him...because I don’t know how not to be. 

Asa, Sloan's boyfriend/captor (because let's be real here...that's exactly what he is), is a grade-A asshole. Seriously, I have never read a character I hated as much as I did Asa. And you're supposed to. He is evil, sadistic, and absolutely insane (I mean that literally). I actually loved that we were able to read from his perspective because it really helps readers understand the situation that Sloan has had to deal with for so long. Asa's mindset and thinking shows just how far gone he is, and there is no fixing that kind of crazy. Even though he's fictional, I was even afraid of Asa. There are many things that he does during the story that are absolutely shocking, and the sad (and frightening) truth is that there are many people like Asa out there in this world. 

“The journey from first breath to death has nothing to do with miracles, how much you pray, coincidences, or divine intervention.” 

Sloan isn't alone in this crazy, messed up situation though. Enter, Carter (or Luke when he's not undercover). He saves Sloan in every way a person can possibly be saved, and I fell in love with his character right from the get go. Luke certainly didn't expect Sloan to enter his life, but once she did there was no turning away from her. Even though Sloan knows she's in a bad situation, she still does think that she loves Asa...but Luke makes her realize what love actually is and how love should actually feel. It shouldn't feel like an obligation or a punishment, it should allow the person to feel safe and secure. 

“I guess that's the difference in being loved the right way and the wrong way. You either feel tethered to an anchor...or you feel like you're flying.” 

While I did enjoy the many many epilogues, at one point it felt a bit much. And the fact that the actual conclusion to the story left a big thing up in the air made me a little upset. It's really not that big of a deal that one thing is left unresolved, but it kills me that the truth of the situation is what I think it is because I want Sloan and Luke's lives to be free of Asa in every form. But Luke utters the best couple of sentences that will make every girl swoon so in the end, he's there for Sloan no matter what and that's really all that is important.

Overall, this is a very gripping and dark novel by Colleen Hoover that is sure to appeal to many readers. While it's not my all-time favorite novel by Colleen, I still enjoyed it a great deal and think that any fan of hers will enjoy it as well. It's definitely worth checking out when you get the chance!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #111

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Cassie's Waiting On: 

Warcross (Warcross, #1)Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Synopsis:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.


Marie Lu is writing a new series?? Ummm...count me in!! I didn't even need to read the synopsis in order to know I'm going to read this book, but since I did I seriously can't wait for this book to come out! It sounds like such an epic sci-fi thriller that is going to put an interesting spin on gaming.  Can't wait!

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno 
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017 

Synopsis:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship: 

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?


I didn't completely love the first Katie Cotugno's book I read - 99 Days. But I will say one thing about it, it was completely addicting. It was definitely a guilty-pleasure kind of read. I'm hoping this read will be just as addicting! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Review: RoseBlood

RoseBloodAbout the Book:
Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Pages: 432

Rating:  2/5 stars

Synopsis:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Review:

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It kills me to write this review, and for awhile I wasn't going to. I was just going to let my rating speak for myself. Because here's the thing, I love A.G. Howard. I have loved all the books she has written thus far, and I am always captivated by her gorgeous prose. But this book? This book was an invariable mess and I don't even know what I read. I tried with this novel, I mean I really tried. I stopped reading it for a bit because I thought, "Maybe I'm just in a bad mood."So I restarted it a couple days later when I was really in the mood to be reading a dark twisted tale on Phantom of the Opera. But was that time successful? Nope! It just got worse. Let me tell you, the only reason I didn't DNF it was because of my loyalty to this author, and it was my loyalty alone that kept me trudging through this overwritten story. I'm sure plenty of people will love this book, but this was a huge miss for me and it definitely broke my heart a bit.

description

I don't even know where to start with this because there is just so much wrong. So let's start with the writing shall we? It's overwritten, bloated story that is filled with description upon description that makes even the smallest detail become a huge thing. Like I can't even tell you how many times the word gothic was used in this story because it was probably at least used 6 times on each page. And if you didn't notice, this book is a whopping 432 pages. That's a lot of "gothic's". On top of that every single thing is described very richly. Normally, I wouldn't mind this, but when it takes you about 10 pages to describe a single scene...that's going just a tiny bit overboard, don't ya think? I mean by page 300, I could care less what the rug in the bathroom off the main entrance looks like because I'm sure it's just as gothic as the rest of the gothic furniture in the gothic opera house/school that Rune attends, which is (if you couldn't tell) super gothic-y in all it's wondrous gothic gothic-ness. 


description

I mean at one point I was just straight up laughing at how detailed this story was. Why you ask? Well, it would be one thing if these descriptions were normal people descriptions, but that certainly wasn't what this was. The descriptions in this book look like the author decided to use every single imaginable word in a thesaurus and just spit them out on the page. And that obviously makes for some very weird and very bizarre sentences. Honestly, you could open this book to any page and be weirded out by a sentence. And there are way too many examples to even list. 


description

Rune (our MC) is just mind-numbingly boring. Obviously she's gorgeous (but doesn't know it!), and is super special for some unbeknownst reason. I never once connected with her, and when her life was repeatedly in danger (as it always is in these types of books), I couldn't bring myself to care even the tiniest bit. She's honestly nothing special in my eyes, and is like every other dew-eyed heroine out there. Rune has special abilities (shocking, I know...who would have thought?), and even more shockingly, she is the key to everything . Bet you didn't see that coming, because I sure didn't. Nope, not in any way. I honestly can't tell you anything about her because she is that forgettable. And that makes me really sad because Ms. Howard usually writes such amazing characters. Now I have to move onto the unfortunate love interest...Thorn. A quick side note, he's also equally as gorgeous as Rune, and even though he hides himself behind a mask and has lived in the sewer (every girl's dream right?) in France for his entire life, Rune feels like she knows him. Moreover, when they finally meet, she's swept away instantly because he just knows and understands Rune like no one else. 


description

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Personally, he was Creepy McCreepster in my eyes and I literally had to suppress the shivers any time he opened his mouth. I honestly wanted to shake Rune and tell her, "Honey, if someone is spying on you through the vents, watches you sleep because he's calmed by your breathing, and has dreamed of you since you were 6 (which obviously makes you soul mates because duh!), maybe you should rethink the whole love thing." Just a thought. I mean maybe that's just me, and because I'm not singing and living in a gothic opera house I will never understand true love and soul mates. But I digress. 

description

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I will say that I did think the author did give a unique and creative spin on the original Phantom of the Opera story, but I have a hard time thinking whether it was a good creative or a bad creative. Because there was a lot of times (and I mean A LOT of times) where I was just lost as to what was happening and why I was even reading this book. I mean I lost it when the Opera Ghost signed his initials O.G. because literally all I was thinking was "Original Gangster" and me imagining Erik as some hip hop wannabe chilling under the sewers waiting for his time to shine in baggy pants and chains around his neck. And just for good measure (since this book obviously wasn't weird enough), Jepetto was thrown in because why the heck not? I mean at that point, he wasn't even close to the weirdest thing in this book, so I just kinda went with it. 


description

This entire book was sad to read because this could have been utterly fantastic! I have been waiting for a good creative retelling of Phantom of the Opera and I thought that A.G. Howard would have been the perfect person to achieve this. But I was sorely mistaken, and was left very very disappointed. If you can't tell, I could never, in good conscience, recommend this book when the only good thing about it is the stunning cover.



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Blitz: Crescent Calling

About the Book:
Title: Crescent Calling (The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
Author: Axelle Chandler
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: 
Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.
Or so she thought.
When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.
Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.
More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.
Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.
She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.
Whether she likes it or not.
The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.
EXCERPT:

That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.
When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.
Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.
Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.
He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.
“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”
“Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!”
Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.
He howled in pain and retreated across the room.
“Pervert!” I shrieked.
“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.
“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!”
“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”
“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”

Author Bio:
Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.

GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #110

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Cassie's Waiting On: 


Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) by Jodie Meadows 
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017

Synopsis:
Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.


This sounds absolutely fantastic!! Honestly if you just mention dragons in the synopsis, I going to be excited.  I have read from Ms. Meadows before, so I know that her world-building is amazing and that she knows how to tell a great and exciting story.  The cover is gorgeous as well.  Hopefully I'll have a new series to be excited for!


Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne 
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017 

Synopsis:

Lately, Athena Windham has been spending all her spare time in her grave.

Her parents—owners of a cemetery in Upstate New York—are proud of her devoutness, but her younger sister, Laurel, would rather spend her time exploring the forest that surrounds the Windham’s’ property than in her own grave.

The Windham girls lead secluded lives—their older sister died in a tragic accident and their parents’ protectiveness has made the family semi-infamous.

As the new school year begins, the outside world comes creeping in through encounters with mean girls, a new friend, and a runaway boy hiding out in the cemetery. Meanwhile, a ghost hangs around the Windham property—the only grave keeper never to cross over—plotting how to keep the sisters close to home and close to her . . . forever.


I love paranormal novels, but lately it just seems like they have kind of fallen by the wayside as fantasy takes on a bigger role. I can't wait to see Ms. Byrne's takes on ghosts, especially so close to Halloween. I hope this becomes a staple spooky book to read around fall! 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Blitz: The Woodlands Series

About the Books:
Title: The Woodlands Series Box Set
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis: 
Do you dare enter the Woodlands? 
As the last livable spot on Earth, it’s the only home Rosa and Joseph have ever known. But now they need to escape, or Rosa will be trapped forever in a horrific government program. A dystopian page-turner with over 750 five-star ratings on Goodreads. The Woodlands Series is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, and The Jewel Series by Amy Ewing. Readers can purchase this boxed set at a significant discount over the cost to purchase each novel individually. This is a complete series boxed set.
The Woodlands is an Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Young Adult” category of the USA Best Book Awards, as well as a Semifinalist in The Kindle Book Awards by the Kindle Book Review.
“Lauren Taylor’s writing is powerfully descriptive; she is a master of words and similes.” – Author Erica Kiefer
“It seems so rare these days to find a dystopian with an original vein in it. The Woodlands Succeeds.” -Author Pauline Creeden
“I went into this story with my own ideas, but they were obliterated by what I found instead. I was so happy to be wrong because this story touched my heart deeply in a way that I never expected.” – Reviewer Amber Douglas Mcallister
“This book was fantastic! Spectacular! It had everything I look for in a book: Action, Adventure, and even romance!” – Reviewer Jocelyn Sanchez
EXCERPT:

The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.
Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey-washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.
My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.
My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.
They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.
“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.
“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”
He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.
Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead.

Author Bio:
Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.
She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.
Guest Post- The Writing Process

When I started writing The Woodlands there was no slip of a concept that it would be a book. I had the simple idea, what if you woke up pregnant and didn’t know how it had happened?

There was no plot outline, or even an idea that it would be a book. I wrote the whole story around the one scene where Rosa was surrounded by creepy doctors in a sterile, stale environment, that ended up being right in the middle. I wrote that scene first then the first chapter and then went back to writing from the middle of the book again. I wrote back and forth until I caught up to the middle and then wrote the last quarter.

I know it sounds very confusing and it was for a while but it gave me a good idea of where I wanted the story to go since I already had a pivotal scene to aim for.

I was a woman possessed, ignoring the three children tugging at my arms and then pulling my wheeled chair away from the computer, screaming ‘feed me!” I completed the first draft for The Woodlands in eight weeks. The bath overflowed several times, pasta was often over cooked and the kids watched way too much TV in that time but at the end of it I had this massive stack of paper. A book 320 pages long.

I handed it to my sister nervously and waited for her to read it, making her send me texts after she’d finished every chapter. She finished it, she loved it, and I thought, ‘ok, I’ve written a book. I guess I should get it published.’

I wish I had known more about the publishing industry before I tackled it. I knew it was a rough draft but I thought that’s what editors were for. I didn’t realize my manuscript needed to be polished and perfect before I sent it off. So of course, what followed were several rejections. But I was lucky, I wasn’t getting form rejections, I was getting the ones that said ‘your writing has potential you just need to work on dot, dot, dot…’

After devastation came the realization that personal rejections were unusual and that this was good sign. I took the criticisms I was offered and set about revising my manuscript, expanding my first chapter out over four, adding dialogue and fixing up plot points. Doing this word-by-word polish was tedious at times but gained me an intimate relationship with my characters and my writing. But I still start sentences with ‘but’ and I still forget where the commas go!


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~Cassie