on Nov 24, 2013
Blurb: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gaitlin has ever seen,
and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for
generations.  But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and
crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret
cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gaitlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Genre(s): Young Adult / Paranormal / Romance

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I first heard about this book at work, I do in fact work at a library, but I was disappointed, especially after the hype surrounding the novels and movie.

To be honest the book was alright. It was neither very bad, nor was it very good. It reminded me in many ways of Twilight. It seemed expertly written for teens, with the easy, well-flowing writing and teens that never really seem to act like actual teenagers.

I enjoyed that this book was written from the male point of view. Ethan is an interesting main character, he has always been popular but has never felt fulfilled by the clique politics of Gaitlin high school. But that also brings me to the abundance of stereotypes in this novel, it lead to very flat characters, even Ethan and Lena were so predictable at times. I know it is a common complaint of girls in YA fiction but for goodness sake Lena never seemed to be able to make up her mind about anything.

I guess to sum it up this book was nothing special to me. If I hadn't had to watch the movie at my 'real life' job or if there wasn't quite a bit of hype surrounding the movie release then I would never have read this novel. Another novel that's an easy read for teens but has very little substance.

Spiolers: Near the end of the book we discover that Lena was destined to make the choice all along, and for some reason, that this reviewer has yet to decipher none of her relatives would tell her that. That's all fine and good but instead of choosing good (kind of obvious wouldn't you think?) she becomes both good and bad??? This felt like a cheap way to ensure there would be a need for a second book. The whole novel builds on her fear of becoming evil, and yet at the end she's somehow perfectly fine with being half evil...say what!?!

One final note, if you are considering watching the movie, I would strongly discourage it. Beautiful Creatures (the movie) or as I like to call it "Trueblood Lite" is just as ridiculous as the comparison suggests. Filled with all the stereotyping, racism and meaningless sexual encounters and/or innuendos of the HBO show, yet directed towards teens. Especially disturbing given that the two main characters spend the majority of the movie being FIFTEEN. Yeah, the movie was bad, like 'beg for those two hours of your life back' bad.

About the Reviewer: M. A. Bronson is a bookworm, book reviewer, and aspiring author. Since 2012, she has been reviewing indie and traditionally published books at runawaypen.com. She spends her time reading, drinking tea, writing, and ardently shipping RumBelle. M lives in Upstate New York and works at a library, happily surrounded by thousands of stories. Connect with her on twitter and instagram @theprincessmab
on Nov 21, 2013
Rating: 5 / 5

Genre: Graphic Novel


In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father’s failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s abandoned barn — a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes — and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes. With phenomenal pacing, sensitivity, and a sure command of suspense, Matt Phelan ushers us into a world where desperation is transformed by unexpected courage.


It's been a while since I read a graphic novel, and even longer since I was so deeply impressed by what I read--or saw, in the case of this book. The Storm in the Barn is probably geared towards middle graders, telling the story of an eleven year old boy and his family living on a desolate farm during the Dust Bowl. As an adult, it was captivating. This story has almost no words; this is a story of silences, words unspoken, and fears both spoken and dreamt. The young hero, Jack Clark, must face bullies, a deep sense of failure in meeting his father's expectations, a dust-related illness that leaves his eldest sister bedridden, and a deep sense of hopelessness. That's a lot for a child, and in some ways Jack is older than his years--believably so. He's had to grow up a little too fast, and it shows. But as he begins to uncover the mystery of the presence in the abandoned barn on the next farm over, Jack begins to come into his own. It's a beautiful, gripping story--and a very quick read for adults. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Matt Phelan made his illustrating debut with Betty G. Birney’s The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster). Since then he has illustrated many picture books and novels for young readers, including Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli (Dial), Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle (Harcourt), and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (Simon & Schuster) winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal.

Matt studied film and theater in college with the goal of one day writing and directing movies. But his first love was always drawing, and the more he saw the wonderful world of children’s books, the more he realized that this was the place for him. Being an illustrator is in many ways like being an actor, director, cinematographer, costumer, and set designer rolled into one.

Matt writes: “I have a fascination with the decade of the 1930s. The movies were learning to talk (and in the case of King Kong, growl), the music was beginning to swing, and the nation was thrown into tremendous turmoil. On one hand, you see a level of suffering documented in the dramatic and gritty photography of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. On the other hand, consider what the American public was flocking to see in the movie theaters: the glamour and grace of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing in a series of perfect musicals. For my first book as both writer and illustrator (coming in 2009 by Candlewick Press), I naturally gravitated to this complex decade, specifically the strange world of the Dust Bowl.”
on Nov 19, 2013
Rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Epic Fantasy

Exiled to the last outpost of the Empire... "Wren could not remember the glorious city, and could not regret the quiet way she had been raised. But she knew Sky longed for nothing more than to return to the capital. Obviously, she was willing to do anything, even leave Wren behind, to return there."

When a stranger arrives from the capital, Wren is faced with a decision that will change her life forever as dark forces from across the mountains compel her to act.

Can Wren let her sister go, restore honour to her family, and come to grips with the world of magic unfolding around her?

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble (print only @BN)


I picked this book up during a 99 cent sale, and I would happily have paid full price for it. It's a wonderful foray into a fantastical land reminiscent of medieval Japan. Ms. Willard's knowledge of Japanese culture and customs serves to give this story a sense of authenticity that is rare indeed. She has also done a brilliant job characterizing her two main characters, including (especially) Wren's struggles to come to terms with her own feelings, her hopes and what she is willing allow herself to dream of. I did wish that some of the minor characters that we see initially--especially Wren's sister Sky, for whom Wren is willing to do anything--were more well-rounded. Sky seems vapid at best, and it's hard to understand why Wren doesn't see this, or loves her sister more than say, the servant Mimi with whom Wren clearly has a strong rapport.

I loved the fairy-tale aspects woven into the story. I loved how Wren--without any magic--saved the day again and again, using a combination of wits and quick instinct. She's smart but not sassy (well, not really), brave but not arrogant, clever but kind. What's not to love? And then there's her companion, the stranger alluded to in the blurb--loved him. He's got a dark family history, and that history is still alive and kicking--and working to destroy all that he and Wren hold dear. It's a great plot with lots of twists and turns, right up until the very end.

I would have happily, happily given this story five stars, but for two issues that detracted from the story overall. First, I was frustrated with the exaggerated change in personality of a known character who betrays Wren, and then eventually repents. Both his personality during the betrayal, and his portrayal afterwards, did not ring true with the long history of Wren's knowledge of him. This isn't to say that people you know can't or won't betray you, just that betrayals are for more believable and frightening when a personality doesn't change, just your understanding of it.

However, this was a minor annoyance compared to my disappointment in the last two chapters. While I realize there's pressure on authors to wrap up a story after the major climax has been reached, I really, really, wanted an extra chapter here. Things wrapped up too fast and the final conversations and working out of issues that I was so looking forward to was all but glossed over. If I could have my druthers, I'd ask Ms. Willard to take another go at those last chapters and give us a little more time to enjoy the end of the book.

All told, an intriguing story with surprises around every corner and a pair of main characters I won't forget for a long time. 

About the Author

Triana Willard was born and raised in Missouri, USA, moving to New Zealand at the age of 19 to attend University of Canterbury, where she studied Japanese Language and Literature. Triana lives in Rangiora, New Zealand with her husband and four children. Now that the children are all in school she is writing full time.

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on Nov 18, 2013
Blurb: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.
First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire-and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.  
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Genre(s): Historical / Paranormal / Steampunk

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Review: This is a novel that stands on its own.

I raked my mind for books to compare it to, but nothing pops up. I've never read a series to full of unique, bold characters and a mixing bowl of genres, elegantly put together. What other book has combined vampires, Victorians, werewolves, scientists, steampunk, fantasy and London society so magically?

The cast of characters are similarly diverse. From the powerful and attractive Lord Maccoon, to the intelligent, yet silly Lord Akeldama , to Alexia Tarabotti, the soulless one herself. Alexia does take some getting used too, her soulless state depletes her of many common main character attributes. She is not particularly kind, giving, or selfless, and she routinely complains about her whatever displeasing situation she is in.

I did enjoy the love story between Alexia and Conall. I think they compliment each other very well, and this was my favorite plot of the story.

There is also a graphic novel adaptation of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It enhanced the novel and provided good visualization for many of the characters.

About the Reviewer: M. A. Bronson is a bookworm, book reviewer, and aspiring author. Since 2012 she has been reviewing indie and traditionally published books at runawaypen.com. She spend her time reading, gaming, drinking tea, gaming, and wearing Victorian style jackets.  M lives in Upstate New York and works at a library, happily surrounded by thousands of books. Connect with her on twitter and instagram @theprincessmab
on Nov 15, 2013

How much would you sacrifice for a love that wasn’t yours?

Hadassah managed to befriend her kind’s worst enemies and save her brother and the human girl he loves from the Vampiric King—once. After a month spent in quiet hiding under the protection of the Huntsmen, a surprise attack from a band of Kaiju shatters their brief reprieve. Faced with new challenges and new threats, Hadassah and the others must once more fight for her brother and the girl who stole his heart. And this time, the Vampiric King isn’t the only one they need fear…

Action, suspense, humor, and romance collide in this anticipated sequel from teen author, Elisabeth Wheatley.

About the Author

Elisabeth Wheatley  is a teen author of the Texas Hill Country. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, or hot guys in armor, she is wasting time on the internet, fangirling over indie books, and training her Jack Russell Terrier, Schnay.

on Nov 11, 2013
We’re thrilled to celebrate the release day of young adult dystopian novel, “Liberty’s Torch” today. You can get your copy of the novel from Amazon today!

All it takes is one spark to ignite the flame of liberty.

Six months have passed since Dana and Kenny parted.  Forced to live as a wanderer, Dana discovers a crashed drone and learns of the chaos within Dystopia and what President Klens has planned for the resistance. Realizing that she must go back, Dana acquires the help of a seventy-year-old man and an old friend.  Upon her return, she finds that rebellion is in the air as the government continues to eliminate dissenters.

Forced to disguise herself, Dana searches for the resistance to tell them of President Klens’ plans.  After a few run-ins with the officers and narrow escapes from Colonel Fernau—his obsession with her growing each day—she learns that the people of Dystopia yearn to be free from their oppression.  What they need is a leader.  Knowing that everyone she cares for will never be safe so long as the government reigns supreme, Dana must decide how far she is willing to go achieve freedom.

About the Author

Ms. McNulty began writing short stories at an early age. That passion continued through college until she published her first book: Legends Lost: Amborese under the pen name of Nova Rose. Since then she has gone on to publish a mystery series, children's books, and even a dystopian series.

Recently, her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's causing her to visit her grandparent's and record her grandfather's memoirs before they become lost. The final result is Grandpa's Stories: The 20th Century as My Grandfather Lived It. She did this to preserve her family history before it becomes lost.

Ms. McNulty currently lives in West Virginia where she enjoys hiking, being outside, crocheting, or simply sitting around and doing nothing. She continues writing. She is finishing up her dystopian series (the second book, Tempered Steel, is to be published in August 2013 and the final one, Liberty's Torch, in November 2013).

on Nov 9, 2013
Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) Cover

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of)

The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper, she has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would flirt with death just to turn her head. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan. Still, Cassie’s an optimist. More prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, she’d rather fight a corpse than be one, and she won’t leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places to find her, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might just love him, too. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-format novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.

Cover Chatter

I love what this cover does. Right off the color scheme and the menace of the shadow work together with the first part of the title to give a sense of horror. Then you clue into  the parenthetical at the end of the title and the name-tag for the author's name, and it starts getting kinda funny. Horror comedy. As far as I can tell, this cover is not only eye-catching in its simplicity and uniqueness, but it also perfectly reflects the genre of the book. You can't do cover design much better than that. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this read!  

About the Author

F.J.R. Titchenell Head Shot

F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult Sci-Fi and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and currently lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.

The "F" is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) is F.J.R. Titchenell’s debut novel, to be released May 6th, 2014. It is a Young Adult Horror-Comedy.

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on Nov 5, 2013
Rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Epic Fantasy

Janir had the misfortune of being born with one of the hated Argetallams for a father. But unlike other Argetallam children, she was mostly granted a normal childhood, away from the rest of her family. It looked as if she would live a relatively normal life as the foster-daughter of a powerful lord. Until one critical day Janir's powers awakened and she became entangled in a young enchanter's quest for a long-lost treasure called the Key of Amatahns...


What a fun, engaging, quick read! In her debut novel, teen author Elisabeth Wheatley delivers up a wonderful first installment of what promises to be a fascinating series. Janir is a likable and compassionate heroine--and while many heroines manage to be likable nowadays, compassion isn't something we see modeled that often, so she proved to be a wonderful find. I also enjoyed the fact that, although she can hunt, she is not a ninja, nor does she attempt to turn into one. Janir fights when she has to, but she'd rather not, and she certainly isn't a wizard with a blade.

Speaking of wizards, I would like to personally thank Ms. Wheatley for giving the world the young enchanter Karile. He is the most wonderful depiction of obnoxious but lovable younger brother material I think I've ever come across in this genre (note: he's not actually Janir's brother, he just has that feel. Janir has a younger brother and lemme tell you, he's a piece of work!). Karile is the perfect comic relief, and yet he comes through in more serious moments, gets Janir into the best of scrapes, and then, sometimes, out of them, and...well, you'll just have to read The Key to enjoy him yourself.

Ms. Wheatley's writing is generally very strong. The characters are well-rounded and each have their own unique voice, the plot has a few twists that will surprise you, and for as evil as a villain as we meet, we're left with a sense of complexity when it comes to understanding him. I did notice some passages that were awkward, and a couple places where the pacing was off, but it was not enough to take away from the read. I am looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

Recommended for: fans of epic fantasy, strong heroines, younger brothers, and sword and sorcery.

About the Author

Elisabeth Wheatley is a teenager of the Texas Hill Country. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, or hot guys in armor, she is reading copious amounts of fantasy, playing with her little brothers, studying mythology, and training and showing her Jack Russell Terrier, Schnay.

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on Nov 1, 2013

Today is the last day of the Awesome Indies Monster Sale. Make sure you visit and support the indie authors who are doing it well. Just click on the badge below.


For the final day of the party you have a chance to win one of 14 paperbacks that are up for grabs, as well as pick up some freebies. So if you're interested in paperbacks, don't miss this great opportunity.