Saturday, January 31, 2015

REVIEW: Strange Academy by Teresa Wilde

***This book was originally reviewed for GraveTells.***
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Summary:

Determined to uncover the secret behind her eccentric aunt's mysterious death, Sadie Strange, a quirky substitute teacher with a Master’s degree in comic book superheroes, takes a job at isolated private school Strange Academy. Her biggest obstacle? Haughty hottie Lorde Gray, the chemistry teacher who looks down his Roman nose at her as he tries to get her fired.

Undercover demon hunter Gray vows to use his spell-brewing powers to protect Strange Academy's true purpose—educating extraordinary children with paranormal gifts. If the world knew the school's secret, it would start a war that would destroy humanity. Gray won't let a feisty mortal threaten that, no matter how much she swishes her heart-shaped butt.

When fate throws them together, strange allies Sadie and Gray seek to uncover the hidden forces behind her aunt's death before they destroy Sadie—and the school. But when the demon hunter forbidden from associating with mortals and the mortal woman who can't trust her own judgment around alpha males find themselves falling for each other, love is going to get a little strange...

Thoughts:

Other than the tension and romance between Sadie and Gray, the biggest element in this book is the mystery. The mystery starts on the very first page and builds to hold you riveted until all the questions are answered and loose ends tied up. I was never at any point bored with the story and it kept my guessing which I greatly appreciate (since I feel like it happens so seldom).

Because of the way the author builds the world and the sets up the atmosphere for the school, it has a very distinct Harry Potter meets X-Men feel, but manages not to feel like a cheesy copy of either. There’s all kinds of magic involved, such as spells and potions and the like, (occasionally becoming a little confusing, but easy enough to keep up with) and everybody has their own unique “talent” – aka power or ability. You’ve got your vampires, shifters, mages, mutants, psychics – you name it! It leaves a lot of opportunity for the story to go anywhere, or even plenty of room for a series if the author so chose.

Naturally however, no matter how much I enjoyed the mystery and paranormal elements, it’s the romance that holds my attention the most. Gray and Sadie clash hardcore and it makes for spectacular sparks. They made me laugh, they made me blush, and they ultimately just had me glued to the page. I only have two complaints about them though. Sadie stays blinds to the goings on around her when I feel like she should have clued in, but I suppose there’s a reason for that too (even if I still grumbled about it). Gray though was my biggest obstacle. There were times that I didn’t like him at all, but flaws do make a hero more relatable and endearing (especially when they have to grovel to make up for them).

The secondary characters also make up a good portion of this book. Sterling in particular, because he plays a big part in bringing Sadie and Gray together, as well as making Gray that much more lovable. Between the three of them, this story is about more than just magic, mystery, and romance, but about family and self discovery. If it weren’t for the sex scenes, I’d say the message contained within this story is good for young adults to read, but either way it’s really a very sweet read.

This unique book kept me awake into the early hours of morning because its sensuality and mostly light hearted tone left me unable to put it down. Invoking a wide range of emotions that include laughter, anger, and fear, and driving you deeper into the story with compelling characters and nail biting plot lines, Strange Academy is a must read!


Friday, January 30, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Eggnog Kisses by Mireille Chester

Thanks to Wickedly Innocent Promotions for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing a little about Mireille Chester's Eggnog Kisses today. Happy reading!

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It’s been six months since Kaley’s fiancĂ© called things off, disappearing with barely an explanation, and the thought of spending Christmas alone is causing feelings of hurt and loneliness to ruin her holiday cheer. Tall, dark, quiet, and ever the gentleman, her next door neighbor has been sneaking into her thoughts more often than not lately. When she decides to ask him to go to a Christmas party on a spur of the moment whim, she has no idea she’s about to unleash a whole new dimension on her usually normal life.

Born in Quelondain, Sean is no stranger to a broken heart. Though it’s been years since the one he loved fated to his best friend, the ache is still present and crossing over to the other world hasn’t helped like he’d hoped it would. When Kaley asks him to accompany her to a Christmas party his gut tells him to stay away. It’s not that he isn’t attracted or tempted, but how is he supposed to explain his past and what he is. Of course, it’s just one evening, right? What could possibly happen in one night?

Two broken hearts…

Two worlds…

One fate…


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~EXCERPT~

She managed to get into her apartment while keeping a curious JJ from escaping. The fluffy white cat purred and rubbed himself against her ankles.

“Hey, bud. Did you miss me?” Kaley went to the cupboard and pulled out a few Whiskas treats for him. She looked around her small apartment and suddenly, she didn’t want to be there alone. “I’ll be right back.”

She didn’t bother putting on shoes before closing her door behind her. Sean answered his door and smiled at the sight of her.

“What can I do for you, neighbor?”

“I…” This was stupid.

“So, what brings you over here?”

“I just…” Kaley’s good mood vanished.

His smile softened. “First Christmas since Gale left?”

She took a deep breath and blew it out of her nose. “It’s stupid, I know.”

Sean shook his head. “Not at all. I know the feeling. I wasn’t engaged, mind you, but my first holiday after my girlfriend left I was a wreck. We’d been together four years.”

“I’m sorry.” She looked at the ground. “What happened?”

He cocked his head to the side. “I was just about to have a rum and eggnog. Want one?”

She was tempted to turn him down, but curiosity got the better of her. “Sure.”

He held the door opened wider so she could get in and directed her to the couch. “It was your typical breakup. We were young and life had other plans for us.”

She watched as he mixed the drinks and brought them over. “Thanks.” She took a sip and he took a long swallow of his drink. “Anyway, it wrecked me when she left.”

“What did you do?”

“I moved here.” He smiled.

Kaley frowned. “That worked? It helped?”

“Not even a little bit. The only thing that helps is time.”

She couldn’t help the depressed look that took over her face. “Five years, eh?”

Sean laughed. “It’s been that long, but it didn’t take that long. I’ve had a few other girlfriends since, I just haven’t found anyone else I want to settle down with, that’s all.” He raised an eyebrow at her glass. “Want another one?”

“Please.”

“So where’s your party at tonight?”

“Mel’s boss is throwing a bash for their office. He rented the Rex Hall.”

“Cool.”

Kaley noticed him glancing at the clock on the wall. “Do you have something to do?” She turned toward the door as someone unlocked it from the outside and he stood.

“Sean!” The dark haired woman dropped her duffle bag and ran into his open arms. Kaley watched dumbfounded as he hugged her close. He had a girlfriend.

“I was getting worried.” He took her coat from her and hung it up.

“My bus was delayed. There was a crash on the highway and we got caught behind all the traffic. I don’t think it was too bad. I mean, there were ambulances and stuff, but the cars looked to be in not bad shape when we were finally able to go by.”

“And you didn’t think to phone?”

She shrugged. “Ooh! Are you having rum and eggnog without me?” The woman finally turned her attention to Kaley. “Since Sean has zero manners, I’m Reese, by the way.”

“Um, Kaley.”

“Let me guess. He didn’t tell you I was coming?” She took the drink Sean handed her and settled on the cough beside Kaley. “And he says I’m forgetful. You’re getting old, big brother.”

He scoffed. “And you get more immature the more years you put behind you.”

“Mom’s going to flip when she hears you finally have a girlfriend. It’s about time you got over that stupid bitch.”

“Reese!”

“Well, what? By the moons, she was. None of us could figure out what you saw in her.”

“You were sixteen when we split. Don’t tell me you gave a shit.”

Reese pounded back her drink. “Of course I cared. How many big brothers do I have?”

Sean rolled his eyes. “Four.”

“Right. But you were always my favorite.” She skipped back to her knee high leather boots, slipped them on, and shrugged on her coat.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m meeting Heather.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “I have my key. Don’t wait up.”

“Just remember I’m leaving at eight tomorrow morning. With or without you.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Reese grinned. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too. Brat.”

She closed the door with a wave at Kaley.

“She’s, uh… she’s one of those high energy people.” Sean smiled and went to refill their drinks.

“No kidding. I had no idea you had a sister. Or three brothers for that matter.”

“What about you?”

Kaley shook her head. “Only child. Your mom and dad?”

“Both alive and running the farm. You?”

“My parents died when I was fifteen. Drunk driver. I went to live with Mel and her folks.”

“But you don’t do Christmas with them?”

“They’re not around since they retired. Mel gets on a flight tomorrow to join them in Mexico tomorrow morning. They invite me every year, I just… Christmas needs snow. You know?”

He grinned. “I agree.”

Kaley found her gaze moving to his mouth. He had a great smile. Had they really been living next to each other for almost six years? How had she never noticed?

“What?”

“Nothing. I was just thinking that I can’t believe we’ve been neighbors all this time and we know nothing about each other.”

His smile softened. “Yeah. I guess that’s life. Everyone’s too busy.”

She looked at her watch. “Shit. I have to go get ready.”

Sean stood and walked her to the door.

“So, you’re just home alone tonight?” She looked up into his dark green eyes.

“Seems like it.”

“I was just thinking… Mel is bringing a date tonight and I’m going to be the third wheel. Want to come along?”

“I don’t think…”

“Come on. I’ll owe you one. There’s this guy that works there that always gets drunk and hits on me. You can pretend to be my boyfriend.” Sweet mother of fuck. Had she actually just suggested this? She was thirty four years old for shit’s sakes. Her face turned a deep shade of red. “Sorry. That’s so highschool. I’m just going to leave before I make myself sound any more stupid. Thanks for the drinks.”

Kaley rushed out of his apartment and back into hers. Good god! How many eggnogs had she had?

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About the Author
I'm a wife, mother, and author. I love to get lost in my own little world and tend to do it more often than some people might consider normal... but that's ok. This is my little place where I can talk about books I like, the ones I've written and the ones I'm working on. I tend to write little stories about some of the things that happen to me (these usually involve my children, or as I like to call them, my mini spawns of satan). If you feel like a good chuckle, a cry, or a sigh, then come along and join us. :D

Find me here.