Book Review: Demons Lie (A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting, #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin

Demons Lie by Sherry D. Ficklin

Aria Dupree is a bad-ass demon hunter whose senior year could be her greatest challenge yet.
Aria is traveling the world, closing gateways to the demon realm while on the hunt for the demon who killed her mother. In Red Prairie, TX she has two goals: end the demon she senses there and graduate high school. Both prove a challenge as high school is…well, high school, and the demon is a bit different than the ones she’s used to. But, Aria can’t let surprising alliances and cute boys distract her from getting revenge for her mother’s death.
Demons Lie (A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting) is a witty, fast-paced action. It’s easy to relate to the main character–or, I imagine I could relate if I were a demon hunter with a bone to pick. Aria is clever and sassy, I love the banter between the characters. Can’t wait to read the next in the series.

I received an ARC of Demons Lie in exchange for an honest review

Get Demons Lie (A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #1) from Amazon 

 

Sherry D. Ficklin Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website, or stalk her on her Facebook page

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Book Review: Watch You Burn by Amanda Searcy

Watch You Burn by [Searcy, Amanda]

WATCH YOU BURN is about Jenny, a teen with a bad history related to fires–as in she has a tendency to start them. Jenny has just been sent to live with her dad, a contractor who is renovating an old motel in New Mexico, because there’s an arson investigation back home in Ohio, and things have gotten a bit, er…hot.

Even though she has the best of intentions, Jenny can’t fight the “itch” to start fires. One little fire, what could it hurt? Unless someone saw her. And now, that someone is lurking outside her room at night and Jenny is sure it’s just a matter of time until she’s turned in.

But then the man she’s certain witnessed her starting a fire is murdered. And another murder follows, and soon Jenny realizes she’s surrounded by people she doesn’t really know and everyone is a suspect…including her dad.

WATCH YOU BURN is a deep, dark descent into the world of girl who is deeply troubled and finds herself in a bad situation. There were so many red herrings that, even when I was certain who the “bad guy” was, I kept doubting myself. It was an intriguing book that kept me turning the pages, anxious to find out what would happen next. I can’t say I liked Jenny, but I empathized with her enough that I wanted to know what would happen.

Overall, a good read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read WATCH YOU BURN

I received an ARC of WATCH YOU BURN in exchange for an honest review of the book

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Author Spotlight: Happy LaShelle

Name:   Happy LaShelle 

Author of:   According to Audrey (Clean Teen Publishing)

 

Can you tell me about the first piece you remember writing?

Well, like a lot of writers I stapled and taped my own books together when I was a kid. My mom saved a bunch of them and they’re kind of precious to me. One of my favorites is The Donkey Advensher wherein a girl takes her donkey on a ride through the forest and finds a rabbit, a frog, and a silver dollar (ha!). But my first serious project as an aspiring author was a little historical chapter book about a young girl enamored with the London stage in the early 20th century.

Is there anyone who went out of their way to help or advise you during your journey to becoming a published author?

Yes, and I’m so grateful forever to her! I happened to start following author Susan Dennard on Twitter back when she had just received her first book deal on her first series. She had tweeted about how to write a query letter, and when I followed her advice I started getting requests for my manuscript. I emailed her to say thank you, and it began a lovely friendship/mentorship for me. She would check in every few months to see how things were going for me and offer advice. She’s an incredibly generous person who gives back to the writing community in every way. She now has a whole following of writers who learn from her posts and newsletters.

How long does it generally take you to write a first draft? How long do you spend on revisions?

Honestly that’s a great question I wish I knew the answer to. According to Audrey took me years of writing, rewriting and revision, but there was a big learning curve there, so now that I’m diving into writing the sequel I’m hoping for the best. I think every book is different. If I’m guessing I would say 6-9 months to write it and 3-4 months of revision, so… 9 months to a year, maybe.

Can you describe the preparation/research you do for each book?

I like to have a general outline in my head of the plot, but it’s amazing how it takes on a life of its own and starts twisting and turning, and then (sometimes) serendipitously comes together in ways I could never have planned. I have a YA historical project that I’ve only written a bit of, but I’ve done weeks of research on the details of the time period. A historical calls for that, though. For my contemporaries I’ll just stop sometimes in the middle of writing and look up questions that arise.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (The things you’d never want anyone to know?)

I don’t think so? I was at a writing conference once and for fun you were supposed to share if you had, say, a lucky pen or a superstitious quirk in your writing routine. And I was thinking… no… not me. And then later I realized – yes! – I totally do have a favorite pen that I use for everything. Something about it feels happy and magical to me, and it makes my writing look pretty. It’s this special light blue color and I used to be able to order it in bulk. Now I have to buy a pack of 10 colors just to get one of my special pens! I do love the act of actually writing my drafts with a pen, though. I find my ideas and thoughts flow more fluidly than they do when I’m typing.

Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage-or any interesting research-for your novels? If not, do you have a research destination bucket list?

Last summer we visited Great Britain and I was bombarded with so many fun ideas for my next book. History is my passion so I love to travel and learn and soak in the stories of the past. My great-grandparents on my mom’s side came from Scotland and my dad’s grandparents emigrated from England so I feel this close connection to the culture. Let’s just say that it’s not a coincidence that the sequel to According to Audrey is set in England and France.

Do you have a specific genre you prefer to read? What are your favorites?

I enjoy reading most categories and genres but… no surprise here… historical fiction is at the top of my list.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find or know the real inspiration for?

No secrets really, but in According to Audrey I did include some symbolism for myself that I didn’t think anyone would necessarily pick up on. For example, on the opening page Dove is sketching a tethered sailboat in the harbor, then in the last pages she admires a painting of a sailboat bobbing freely on the open sea. Also some foreshadowing – like in Chapter 4, Leo tells Dove that if she gets too close to the fire the flames could burn her. Little things like that.

As a writer, which animal would you choose as your mascot/avatar/patronus?

 I cast a St. Bernard in Pottermore and I really love my patronus! It’s described as warm, bright, playful, thoughtful, positive, adventurous, sensitive, and offering a ray of light in a dark world. I’d like to think that innately my best self is these things.

Is there one thing you, as a writer, should be better at, but secretly struggle with?

Yes, I wish I were way better at deep POV. I’m making progress but I feel like I’m always relearning how to delve deeper into the point of view of the character in order to better immerse the reader into the story experience. I’ve leaned a lot from Susan Dennard’s written teachings on this subject, actually.

What is one word of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?

Keep going. The process can take a long time, but let your passion propel you forward. Let the rejections (and there will be many) make your work better, and don’t take no for an answer. Do something for your writing everyday – for me, reading about writing and the writing life is hugely inspiring. One of my favorite writing mentor books is Page After Page by Heather Sellers. Her funny, straightforward style is charming, and her wisdom is so encouraging to everyone on the author path.

In what ways do you pay it forward to help other aspiring writers?

I read and critique works-in-progress for fellow writers trying to get published. I also chime in on writing blogs and websites where people post their work for review. I think it’s so important for us all to support each other. If we’re further along on the path, it’s our duty and honor to turn around and offer a hand up to the person right behind us.

Want to know more about Happy?

Visit her at her website

Visit and like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/happylashelle/

Follow her on Twitter

Check out the pics on Happy’s Instagram

See what Happy is reading—and writing—on Goodreads

 

According to Audrey

What would Audrey do?

Cautious and introverted, seventeen-year-old Dove spends most of her free time pursuing her one true passion: painting. The twinkling lights of Balboa Island, the ferryboat to the peninsula, the fire pits on Big Corona Beach…these have long been the subjects of her canvases as she daydreams about finding an Audrey Hepburn-film kind of romance.

A hotshot jock is exactly not the type of guy she’s been looking for—but when Leo Donovan drops his cool act to show his vulnerable side, Dove begins to question everything. But first she’ll have to navigate her way through claim-staking mean girls and disapproving parents—and still keep her focus on attending the art school of her dreams.

Being in love turns out to be more complex than the average silver-screen classic. Can Dove follow her heart (and Audrey’s cues) to create her own perfect Hollywood ending?

Fans of Audrey Hepburn and the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s will love this fun coming of age story.

Get According to Audrey from Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

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Blog Tour: I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

 

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, authors of Sanctuary Bay and the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong, are back with a story that features their signature plot twists and uneasy ever-changing alliances. I DO NOT TRUST YOU (Wednesday Books; September 11, 2018) is a thrilling journey at every turn that asks – what would you do to save the
ones you love?
Memphis “M” Engel is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.
Ashwin “Ash” Sood is a little too posh for M’s tastes, a little too good looking, and has way too many secrets. He desperately wants the ancient map M inherited from her archeologist father, believing it will lead him to a relic with the power to destroy the world. M obviously can’t trust
him.
Equally desperate to find the relic for reasons of her own, M forms an uneasy partnership with Ash. From the catacombs of Paris, to a sacred forest in Norway, to the ruins of a submerged temple in Egypt, together they crisscross the globe in their search. But through it all, M can never be sure: Is she
traveling with a friend or enemy?

In their latest collaboration, Burns and Metz prove once again the magic that happens when two talented mystery authors work together. Going on M’s journey will have readers’ hearts race with every page. With its dangerous secrets and dark mythology, I DO NOT TRUST YOU is irresistible to any fan of YA thrillers.

Excerpt from I Do Not Trust You:

“You should’ve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period,” Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”

“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.

M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”

“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that?” Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?”

“She’d debate him in German, in German,” Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, she’d switch to Greek.”

M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.”

“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”

“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.

“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I can’t stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.”

“He knows you hate it,” M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.”

“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.

“You think he’s coming to the party tonight?” Brianna asked.

“Probably. Everyone else is,” Inez replied. “Even Memphis.” M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No offense.”

“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”

Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.

“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didn’t bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his co- logne hit her nostrils, spicy and warm.

“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it,” Nick said.

Me too, thought M, wishing she didn’t agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didn’t care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, she’d asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archeology program she wanted and would’ve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.

But her guardians said no. They said she needed stabil- ity and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.

“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys?” Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for M’s collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, be- fore his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.

M froze. Hes just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nick’s eyes were wide with panic.

“Sorry.” M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”

“Freak,” he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlook- ers. “Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.

“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”

“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”

Her friends were silent. She’d freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts training? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.

M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. No- body understood her life.

“You kinda push all the guys away,” Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .”

“I don’t do romance,” M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.

They all ate in silence for a minute.

“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.

M: You up?

MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.

M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.

MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.

M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.

MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.

M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.

MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.

 

About the Authors
LAURA J. BURNS and MELINDA METZ have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary
Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for
the TV shows ROSWELL, 1-800-MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North
Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

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Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

My first thought about Sadie was “DAMN!” That’s it. That is, quite literally, the only word I could find that effectively describe what I felt when I finished the book.

This book quickly shot to the top of my favorite reads list!

Sadie, by Courtney Summers, is an intense novel about love and vengeance.

“And it begins, as so many stories do, with a dead girl.”

Sadie lived a hard life. At the age of six, when she held her baby sister Mattie in her arms, Sadie felt her purpose in life: to love and protect Mattie. Sadie survived her hard-partying, emotionally manipulative mom and the succession of men that she brought home. She also endured verbal and sexual abuse at the hands of some of those men. But, as long as Mattie was happy and safe, Sadie felt a sense of accomplishment, pride in a purpose higher than herself. When their mom left town without a word Sadie assumed responsibility for raising Mattie

Then, a passerby found thirteen-year-old Mattie’s lifeless body in a field. The police have failed to find her killer and now, Sadie has gone missing.

Sadie is determined to avenge her sister. Armed with few clues, she follows a series of isolated roads through anonymous towns looking for the man who killed Mattie.

West McCray is a podcaster working on a series about the decline of small-towns in America. He was filming a segment for his show when he heard about Mattie’s death. A year later he receives a call that the girl’s sister Sadie has also disappeared. The only clues are a missing photo and the girl’s abandoned car. West, initially hesitant, begins an urgent search for Sadie in the hopes of finding her before it’s too late.

Sadie is told in alternating viewpoints. Sadie’s experience is raw as she journeys through a series of small towns, and is off set with a professional, detached reporting style in the transcripts of West McCray’s episodic podcast, The Girls.

Courtney Summers’s writing propelled me through the pages. Even as my heart splintered, and my stomach sickened at what has happened to this girl, I kept turning the pages to see what other revelations awaited me. Be forewarned, this book deals with some deep, dark issues (for those who prefer trigger warnings, the topics are sexual assault, rape, pedophilia, abuse, and assault). However, I was completely submersed in this book, and my mind is just blown!! Highly recommended.

*I received an ARC of Sadie from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Get SADIE from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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