Blog Stop: Ferocious by Paula Stokes with a Giveaway


Ferocious by Paula Stokes 

Vicarious #2

August 15, 2017 – Tor

4 stars 

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

The Link for the giveaway is at the end of the post.  Do you like book trailers? You’re in luck, there a Book Trailer for FerociousBook Trailer for Ferocious!

Today is my stop for the blog tour, if you want to check out other stops click here!


Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for vengeance.

When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter―finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.

Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?

Praise for VICARIOUS

“Combining elements of sci-fi and mystery, Vicarious is an expert blend from an author gifted with the ability to jump genres and stick the landing every time.” ―Paste Magazine

“A total mind-bending thrill ride, with a heroine who’s as smart as she is strong. Readers will love Winter!” ―Lindsay Cummings, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zenith and The Murder Complex

“Reading Vicarious is like tiptoeing across a field of landmines. Blindfolded. Stokes delivers enough adrenaline to make readers beg for mercy.” ―Victoria Scott, author of Titans and Fire & Flood“An action-packed thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end–I couldn’t put it down!” ―Kristi Helvig, author of Burn Out and Strange Skies

“Vicarious by Paula Stokes is a fast-paced thriller that grabs your attention on page one and doesn’t let go. The main character is a fresh take on the usual heroine in YA novels.” ―Julie Bond, Sales &Marketing Manager/YA Specialist, Read Booksellers

“This is the thrill ride you’ve been waiting for all summer.” ―PopCrush

“Pulse-pounding adventures and high-tech blend masterfully with romance, intrigue, and current issues, making this book completely captivating for any audience.” ―VOYA, starred review

“Stokes delivers fans of suspense a story full of twists and turns…The author admirably handles graphic and disturbing material in a subtle way.” ―School Library Journal

“A powerful kick-ass girl caught up in a high-tech, twisty mystery…Buckle up, this thrill ride travels at breakneck speed.” ―Justine Magazine

“Smart twists and turns…smart sci-fi worldbuilding. Complementing the mystery is a slow-burn love story between Winter and Mexican-American Jesse Ramirez, a fellow stunt artist. Their relationship is tender and complicated, with enough tension to sustain itself and enough heat to pop when things pay off.” ―Kirkus Reviews

My Thoughts:
I am not sure what I was expecting or hoping would happen. But, I can say that I got more than I expected.  And I am not sure what I can talk about without giving anything away.  So, I will do my best to be as thorough as possible, but really you should check this series out.
Book 2 picks up right where the first book left off. Winter is still trying to deal with everything that happened and all of the new information that she got-literally pages from the end of the first book. So, I am very glad that I already had the second book and could jump right in.  This new information takes her from St. Louis to Los Angeles to Seoul.  Along the way Baz and Jesse join her, and offer her their assistance in her mission.
Man, it so much harder to not give things away than I thought that it would be. I enjoyed this book so much more than the first one. The stakes were raised immediately from the beginning and that tension was well-maintained throughout the story. I like Winter in this one, she is more real. She struggles trying to figure out who she is in this world now that she knows that what she thought was true isn’t. The attraction between her and Jesse is cheesy at times, but for the most part it is stuttering and awkward -as it should be.
Thought the content of the books make it weird to say that I enjoyed it, I did. And I will be keeping my eye out for more from Stokes.
Always Shine!

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Photo Content from Paula Stokes

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 10 Winners will receive a Copy of FEROCIOUS by Paula Stokes.




First Impressions: The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne

The Paradise Prophecy

The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne 

July 21, 2011 – Dutton

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.


This is about the war in heaven continuing on Earth. It sounded really good when I read the synopsis. When I finally started reading the book though, I knew that I wasn’t going to finish it. Within the first twenty pages there were two sexual encounters for no apparent purpose. It was awkward and pulled me out of the story.  I have no problem with sexy times in a story, but if it’s not a romance then there should be a reason why it’s there. It should fit into the story and not ” Oh I don’t know what else to write so I’ll throw in a sex scene!” Maybe there was more to this story, but I lost interest in finding out.

Always Shine!

Featured Book Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

Featured Book of the Month: Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

August 8, 2017 – Amulet Books

Purpose: Review

Source: Publisher, Netgalley

 5 stars

Goodreads Summary

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Genie Lo is your typical seventeen-year high school student. She studies extremely hard and is doing everything that she can to ensure that she can go to a top-tier school and get herself out of the Bay area. Then she meets, Quentin, a very strange new student who has set his eyes on her.  And the multitudes of demons that are trying to overtake her town. Quentin than begins to clue her in that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Okay, so the premise of a teen suddenly discovering that they have powers and are expected to become the savior of the world is not all that original. Do not let that deter you. Because this book is so much more than that. This book had me laughing out loud while reading this. Even if I was in public. Genie Lo is, by far, one of my favorite characters this year.  Her biting humor pulled me into her orbit, making me wish that she was a real person. Then there is Quentin, the monkey king has returned to Earth because of the increase of demon activity in the Bay Area and because he recognizes Genie Lo’s aura. This story is steeped in Chinese folklore and culture. Sometimes discussing the culture, or the stereotypes of the culture with humor.  Genie Lo bumbles around destroying demons as she re-discovers her powers. Quentin is awkward initially, but we soon see it’s just a ruse.  Genie’s interactions with Quentin were hilarious and warm, like joking around with a long -time friend. He’s an awful teacher, but a pretty decent friend. Even if he is a bit stalker-ish and creepy at times. It’s okay because it’s Quentin, and as you get to know him, this explanation makes sense.

In this story, the side characters had their own distinct personalities and added their own bits of humor.  They flow in and out of the story the same way that they flow in and out of Genie’s life. But they are no less important. They make this book, Genie’s purpose, a little more grounded.

This is one of the few books that impressed me and made me want to read it over immediately.  I wish that I had so many copies of this books so that I can hand it out to everyone I encounter. I am looking forward to this release so that I can add it to my own collection.

Since this is August’s featured book, there will be other posts inspired by and related to Genie Lo. So stay tuned for those.

Always Shine!

Tour Stop for The Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil + giveaway

I am a tour stop for The Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil. Jean Book Nerd has organized this tour and you can this website for other tour stops.

Graveyard Shift

The Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil 


Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut 

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.

Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, race relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodierthan any the world has ever seen.

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
My Thoughts:                                              3 Stars ***

I believe that this is Tor’s first foray into urban fantasy, and that this is Haspil’s debut novel. And to both I say good job. While this may not have been the absolute best UF that I’ve read, it was still pretty decent. It makes me optimistic about any future projects that Tor or Haspil undertakes in UF.

The premise of the story was very original, and immortal pharaoh with a story that I definitely want to know more about and an ancient vampire that is cloaked in mystery. They are sent off to investigate the causes behind vampires going into a blood frenzy, but are distracted into several smaller cases that are in need of their attention. If you are familiar with the urban fantasy genre, then you know that the smaller issues all tie into a much bigger plot point. And if it is the beginning of a series then you know that the bigger plot point only leads to something much bigger at play.  And Graveyard Shift follows this formula, and for the most part not in a bad way.

This story is told from multiple viewpoints, and this is only confusing in one scene. It works to give the bigger picture of the world, the key players and how they all connect. Because we don’t know the characters very well, and some we don’t know until the make a formal entrance into the story (even though they are at work behind the scenes), it is hard to see how all of the pieces fit together. At times the pacing is a bit off, and the action sequences don’t carry enough of a punch-for me. Other times I am fully engaged in the action and I’m able to see how it all works together.

Overall, I did enjoy the story and I am looking forward to the next one.


Always Shine!

Michael F. Haspil

Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he had the opportunities to serve as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch director at Cape Canaveral. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul.

When he isn’t writing, you can find him sharing stories with his role-playing group, cosplaying, computer gaming, or collecting and creating replica movie props. Lately, he devotes the bulk of his hobby time to assembling and painting miniatures for his tabletop wargaming addiction.
Michael is represented by Sara Megibow of the KT Literary Agency and Adrian Garcia of the Paradigm Talent Agency.

He has collected and made replica movie props for over twenty years and enjoys the way a particular collectible lets an individual connect with a meaningful story.

He spends entirely too much time gaming or thinking (some might say ‘scheming’) about strategies and tactics in all kinds of gaming be it board games, computer games, or his passion, tabletop wargaming. He devotes the largest share of the gaming pie to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. He has collected and played Grey Knights, Space Marines, Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Necrons, and Space Wolves. Michael is a regular contributor to “The Long War” a premiere podcast and webcast dedicated to tabletop gaming, but especially to Warhammer 40,000.

Photo Content from Michael F. Haspil

You know you want a copy of the book… click here to enter the  Giveaway!
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

– 5 Winners will receive a Copy of GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Michael F. Haspil

Review with Spoilers: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon


**Spoilers** Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

September 1, 2015 – Delacorte Books for Young People

Source: Personal Collection

Purpose: #offmybookshelf

1.5 stars

There is so much that I want to say, and to explain what I am thinking this review will contain spoilers. But first off, I want to say that I think that this book is stupid. Reviewers often try to convey this very basic thought by providing constructive criticism. But, let’s be honest. This book has been out for 2 years, and while they went back and corrected a typo (Nurse sticky note I am looking at you), they are not going to rewrite this book based on anything that I say.  Because it’s just my opinion and obviously since it’s got a movie deal behind it an additional paperback release with a movie cover, and it’s a bestseller, my opinion is in the minority. Besides this is not a book I received for review, I purchased this book with my own money. And before anyone comments that it’s not okay to bash an author, let me make this clear I think that Yoon is a very good writer, she has a beautiful way with words. I believe that her writing skills has no place in this book, because they don’t match. But writers write the books that are in them, so I can’t really fault her for it.

Now on to my review. I picked this book up not because I had been meaning to, but I had been hearing more and more about this book and the movie was coming out. I wanted to see the movie, but it’s my habit to read the book first. And well, if I had not paid for this book I would not have finished it. But in a way I am glad that I did finish it.  In case you don’t know what this book is about let me tell you. Madeline, who is conveniently turning 18, has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency also known as SCID. This means that she is allergic to everything. She is completely happy with her life, has reached a mature level of acceptance of her fate.  And here is the first thing. If she was unhappy with her fate now would have been the time to see it. We are seeing the world through Maddy’s eyes, we are enlightened to her thoughts and feelings. And she has no signs of being unhappy.  Until Olly moves next door. They start talking via messages written on the window, email and then finally IM.

Second thing, Carla the nurse breaks all of the rules and possibly more by letting Olly in to visit with Maddy, as long as he stays as far away as possible.  As a nurse, are you really going to risk the health and possibly life of you patient over teenage hormones?  AND are you really going to trust these same hormone crazed teenagers to stay far apart and not touch each other? You trust them so much that they are allowed in a room by themselves with a closed door? And you, as a nurse who is already breaking the rules, don’t bother to check to make sure that they comply? And as a nurse, you encourage your patient to lie to her mother? Oh and the mom! The mom is your doctor and NO ONE questions this? I don’t believe you.

Then, and this is really the part where the story unraveled for me, at the first sign that Olly is being hurt Maddy runs outside to make sure he’s ok.  Let me put in this perspective. Maddy, who has been told all of her life that if she was going to outside she could die because she is allergic to everything, runs outside to check on a boy that her mom knows nothing about. She doesn’t think that she may make herself sick. She doesn’t think that she may get her nurse, her friend in trouble. She doesn’t think that the secret that she’s worked really hard to keep from her mom has just been revealed.  None of this goes through her mind. She just reacts. Again, I don’t believe you.

Because of this taste of freedom and the fact that she knows that she loves Olly, Maddy runs away and buys two plane tickets to Hawaii. Yep you heard me – Hawaii. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!!!!!!!!

While in Hawaii, Maddy decides that she wants to experience everything, especially since she might die. So, with the first boy she’s gotten to know and has fallen in love with she sleeps with him.  She has amazing, true love romantic first time sex. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!!!!!!!!

The whole time she is in Hawaii, she is feeling fine. She has not had an allergic reaction. But no one, not Olly, not Carla, and not Maddy.  No one stops to think that maybe she’s not sick. Even before she makes it to the airport to get to Hawaii, someone should have had this thought.

Then conveniently at the end of their stay, when her mom is due to arrive to take Maddy back home, she gets sick. She dies, well her heart stops.

Moving on to my next point. We will ignore the fact that she decides that she loves Olly so much that it hurts and there’s no way to go back to the way it was before so she cuts him off and out of her life. Yeah, we will ignore that because it’s stupid.

The doctor that treated Maddy in Hawaii emails her. How did she get Maddy’s email address? Why didn’t she email the mom? Tells her that she is not sick, that does not have and has never had SCID. Also tells her that doctors should not treat family.  This email, coupled with Carla’s comment that her mom has never gotten over her dad and brother’s death, alerts Maddy that something is not right. Finally!!!

The book quickly wraps up after this discovery. And in short, Maddy leaves to find Olly in New York, and even though she has ignored him since they have returned from Hawaii, they get a happily ever after. A happily ever after that is not earned or deserved.

You could very well accept this story as a sweet little romance, and settle for the ooey gooey ending. You could look at this as a glimpse into the world of someone with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) for this is what Maddy’s mother suffers from, though it is not named in the book. You go through the trouble of naming and explaining SCID but you can’t name or explain the cause/reason for the whole book? Lazy.

But I am not choosing to settle for any of this. I have read/ seen shows where the SCID disease is used as a plot point. Not only is it done respectfully, it is done believably. I have even seen shows/movies where MSBP is used as a plot point, and it blew my mind.

Everything Everything had potential to be a truly romantic story, or to go behind the curtains of a seldom discussed but all too common mental health issue. Instead, this book skirts around all of its potential and lands in a mire of yuck that treats the reader as an idiot by not posing any truly believable possibilities and fails to make the most of the author’s skills. Someone, somewhere along the line between critiquing, acquiring and publishing should have found these flaws and at least attempted to fix them. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe, maybe not.

Would I recommend this book? I think that it is stupid, and layered with flaws and failure. If fixed or adjusted it does have the potential to be a decent YA Contemporary Romance. But as it is, I couldn’t recommend this book.  And while I know that this is a piece of fiction, and authors creates the situations for magic-whether dark or light- can happen. Since it is contemporary, my biggest complaint is that there is no way for this book to be believable. I wish that I had liked this book. I wasn’t even going to write this review, but it’s not just that I didn’t like this book. It’s that I didn’t like it so spectacularly.

Review: Dark Exodus by Thomas S. Sniegoski

dark exodus

Dark Exodus by Thomas S. Sniegoski

The Demonists #2

July 11, 2017 – Roc

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley

4.5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Mild spoilers for the first book

Wow! This book turned everything that I knew or assumed on its head. In this installment, John and Theo have realized that what happened the previous Halloween wasn’t an accident, someone had manipulated them to be at the house and to find the jar of demons there. Now they are trying to find out who it was and why, while other infernal incidents vie for their attention. New characters join John and Theo’s team, old characters have bigger parts and the infernal side gathers new followers and minions.

But, everything isn’t as it seems.  In this one, as the story progresses we get more backstory for a couple of the characters. This allows us to see more of the bigger picture, and all the reasons that we make it to the ending the way that we do. We also see that the clear line between the infernal and the divine is not as clear as we suspect it to be. Each of the characters are faced with their own set of challenges and obstacles, as the infernal manipulate and move along in the background.

And I loved every minute of it.  I was surprised at some of the things that were happening, wondering how I had missed so much. While almost everything seemed to be wrapped up at the very end, it’s not. There are seeds for what is going to happen, some of the challenges/temptation that the characters will face in the next book. And I have to say that I can’t wait for it. This was just as engrossing as the first book, if not more so. More emotional strings were pulled and while other sides may or may not be clear, I was still rooting for John and Theo’s unconventional group to save the day.


Always Shine!

Review: Pinned by Sharon G. Flake


Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

October 1, 2012 – Scholastic Press

Source: Personal Collection

Purpose: #offmybookshelf, #blackwritersmatter

4 stars

Autumn is the only girl on the wrestling team.  She is a super star on the mats but failing in the classroom. Adonis is the team manager and an exceptional student. But, he was born without legs. If I had to describe the book with one word it would be real.  The writing had a nice rhythm. The characters were distinct and relatable. Adonis was a bit conceited, but still understandable.  Both of the characters have their own issues that they need to work through. Autumn and Adonis are both soaring in one area and struggling in others. Autumn’s issues stems from her inability to read. This is due to the fact that her parents were always moving around during her educational foundation years, and they didn’t really care.  So it doesn’t appear that she is dealing with a disability. But Adonis is living with a physical disability. He is accepting of it, but overcompensates by attempting to be perfect in every area of his life. Flake handles both of these issues realistically and respectfully, as far as I can tell from an outsider’s perspective. This was a pretty quick read but it was packed with  so much.