FREE Audiobooks for Summer 2016

SYNC ~ Returning May 5

SYNC is a program that gives away TWO complete audiobook downloads each week throughout the summer program — a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title.

This is an outreach from the Audio Publishers Association. It’s entirely free – all you have to do is enter your name and email address in order to download the two titles each week.

I took advantage of this opportunity for the previous two years, and I can vouch that they do not use your email address for anything other than an authentication. You do not receive a confirmation email, or any promotional emails either.

You can also get a text notification when the new week’s books are available to download. Text syncYA to 25827 for title updates and alerts when the new books are out.

Why Audiobooks? 

Photo Cred: Audiobook Sync

SUMMER 2016 SYNC TITLES

The SYNC program returns May 5th and runs for 15 weeks through August 17th. Below are the 30 titles for this year.

May 5th 

May 12th 

May 19st 

May 26th 

June 2th 

June 9th 

June 16th 

June 23th 

June 30th

July 7th 

July 14th 

July 21st 

July 28th

August 4th

August 11th

Will you be downloading any titles? What do you think of the choices for this year?

FREE Audiobooks for Summer 2015

SYNC

SYNC is a program that gives away TWO complete audiobook downloads each week throughout the summer program — a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title.

This is an outreach from the Audio Publishers Association. It’s entirely free – all you have to do is enter your name and email address in order to download the two titles each week.

I took advantage of this opportunity last year, and I can vouch that they do not use your email address for anything other than an authentication. You do not receive a confirmation email, or any promotional emails either.

You can also get a text notification when the new week’s books are available to download. Text syncYA to 25827 for title updates and alerts when the new books are out.

Why Audiobooks? 

Photo Cred: Audiobook Sync

SUMMER 2015 SYNC TITLES

The SYNC program returned May 7th and runs for 14 weeks through August 13th. Below are the 28 titles for this year.

May 7th 

May 14th 

May 21st 

May 28th 

June 4th 

June 11th 

June 18th 

June 25th 

July 2nd 

July 9th 

July 16th 

July 23rd 

  • MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Audio)
  • LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott (Listening Library)

July 30th

August 6th

What do you think of this program? Will you be downloading titles? What other FREE summer resources have you found?

Book Review: Rebels Divided

????????????????????Title: Rebels Divided
Author: Lance Erlick
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 294 pages
Series?: Rebel #2
Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopian
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Rebels Divided was written as a standalone dystopian action story. It is also part of the Rebel series, three years later. [Read my review of Rebels #1, The Rebel Within, here.]

The first time he sees her, they meet as enemies and she doesn’t kill him. That’s worth something. Geo (19) is a rugged frontiersman who hungers to see more of the world than the impoverished Outland glen where he and his pa hide from local Rangers. To prove himself, Geo fights Union Mechanized Warriors and Outland Rangers to protect friends, neighbors, and refugees fleeing the Federal Union. Annabelle (19) is a tough yet fragile tomboy who lost her parents at age three to the Mech Warriors. Then she’s forced to become a Mech.

After the Second American Civil War, the nation divides into two ‘utopias’. The Federal Union enforces Harmony and an all-female society with the help of EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors based near Knoxville. The Appalachian Outland promotes rugged individualism, but Thane Edwards holds a monopoly of power with his Rangers, loosely modeled on the legendary Texas Rangers. The Union’s Tenn-tucky governor and the Outland warlord conclude a secret deal, pledging Annabelle to the warlord to provide him heirs, and putting a bounty on Geo and his pa.

When Annabelle refuses the arranged marriage, Thane Edwards kidnaps her and her beloved sister. She escapes, but can’t find her sister without help. That’s when she tracks down Geo, a sworn enemy she feels connected to. While trying to survive, and pursued by their own and opposing military forces, Geo and Annabelle wrestle with attraction and mutual distrust as enemies. Yet, only together can they confront Edwards to rescue her kidnapped sister and gain justice for the murder of Geo’s pa. Time is running out.

Review

Annabelle has grown up in a world where females have weeded out the men and boys from their society and their lives. Her adopted mother, a Tenn-tucky state senator, still remembers the husband and son she sent into the Outlands to protect. Annabelle has grown up believing her brother George is a monstrosity of a boy. 

This novel picks up three years after the ending of The Rebel Within (read my review here). Annabelle is still paired with Dara in the Mechanized Female Warriors, and still is trying to evade and brush off the amazon’s advances. Her younger sister Janine has now joined their ranks, and they are sent on a mission into no man’s land, the strange common ground between the female Civ society and the male retreat of the Outlands.

Governor Battani is still pressing forward with her own political agenda, the mechs are amping up their border patrol and missions, and Senator Scott is still opposing Battani on many issues…until Battani gives Mama Scott an ultimatum she can’t refuse.

Annabelle and Janine are both captured in the Outland and held hostage, but Thane Edwards has underestimated Annabelle’s resourcefulness. She must impost her much-hated mech presence on the very thin hospitality of those trying to sustain a life during the hard times on the frontiers of the Outlands. She’s not leaving without her sister, even if it means taking a stand against the much feared and well-trained former mech Thane Edwards.

The novel’s chapters alternate between Annabelle’s world and a young Outland man’s world, until they eventually find each other in the Outland.

Annabelle and Geo are both betrayed by their people, fighting against both of their worlds to do the right thing, and forging something new of their quickly deteriorating civilizations before civil war can strike again and take its toll.

This is not a novel to be missed! While the first was hard for me to get through at times, this novel pretty much lays it all out on the table. The past of Annabelle is fully explained, the truth of George’s banishment is shown clearly, and shows the strength and willpower of young individuals, which is something I find quite lacking in today’s time.

Annabelle continues to grow as an individual, even deceiving Geo along the way for his help. She shows a softer side in this novel, as does her mech commander, Sam, which is totally out of place based on the hard-nosed character she was portrayed as in the first book. Geo is a character that grows throughout the novel in so many ways. He is a young man trying to be a man but is oppressed by the societal structures of the Outland and the cause his father has taken up to protect others. I loved Geo’s character; he has a heart to match Annabelle, even if he was unfocused at times.

I am intrigued to see how Annabelle and Geo will build a new Appalachia, in hand with their mother and Sam, and how their relationship will progress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third book!

About the Author

600388_10201010092153744_210253767_nRaised by a roaming aerospace engineer, Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven. Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

Lance received his BS in political science and his Masters in business from Indiana University, before studying creative writing at Ball State, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Numerous detours along the way included solving business problems for companies ranging from automotive, to electronics, kitchen cabinets and boats. This involved significant professional writing, supplemented after hours by writing science fiction. Now a refugee from the business world, he is focused on writing.

Lance lives with his wife in the Chicago area, where he’s working on his next novel. He writes speculative fiction, science fiction, dystopian and young adult, and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: The Rebel Within

perf5.500x8.500.inddTitle: The Rebel Within
Author: Lance Erlick
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
Release Date: March 2013
Length: 270 pages
Series?: Rebel #1
Genre: YA/Science Fiction/Dystopian
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Forced to grow up quickly, Annabelle (16) faces adult dilemmas and a fight for her life. Orphaned at age three when the elite military corps took parents, she’s a tomboy who rebels against a conformist society. The state pushes her to become a cop intern to catch escaped boys. Then she’s forced to choose between joining the elite military unit that took her parents or being torn from her beloved sister and adoptive mom.

The Rebel Within turns our male dominated world upside down. After the Second American Civil War, the Federal Union pursues a utopian society without men by rounding up the remaining males, and enforcing Harmony. Central to their plan is EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors based near Knoxville.

In this world, Annabelle faces a cop intern boss who hates her, a military commander who demands too much, and an amazon bully who won’t leave her alone. She meets a handsome boy who escapes prison. As she tries to survive rigorous military training and hunt for her imprisoned birth mother, Annabelle must choose between capturing the boy and helping him escape, while she wrestles with the consequences of her actions.

Review

I don’t like people bringing up family connections, as though the sins of the mothers fall upon the daughters.

Annabelle is a strong young woman, not at all deceived by the utopia that political officials paint. She works as a cop intern, and sees the daily grind of what the reality of her all-female society is really like. Of course, it doesn’t help that her mother holds an opposing view to that of governing officials and is a state senator.

Mom says women stopped having boys because of high rates of autism, violence and social disruption, and they didn’t read. That made it hard for them to adjust to our knowledge-based economy. After the war, most of the males fled. Then the city zoned our neighborhood and school to exclude them. Harmony Director Surroc and Captain Voss say liberated women don’t need men. Governor Battani says the only way to make females safe is to eliminate the source, men. 

And that’s just what they do. Boys, even as a young child, are strictly forbidden from being outside of their “zone,” with rezoning happening constantly, and consequently catching usurpers of the law. The women of Annabelle’s society fear boys and men, and the lucky boys are regulated to all-boys boarding schools that are highly regulated by the government and surveillance industries.

Who knows what men are really like? Most fled to the Outlands before I was born. 

Annabelle’s society, the Federal Union,  was created after “21st century right-wing extremists tried to turn back the clock.” Obviously, they failed and thus seceded, causing the Second American Civil War. The result was the split between the Federal Union and the Outlands (Appalachia and TexSoCal), where men take off to hide and escape persecution.

During this process, Sam Hernandez came to have a powerful position by mechanizing female warriors – literally making them almost indestructible and amped up on illegal performance-enhancing drugs of a new generation. Given how much Annabelle’s society has regressed, it is surprising, as well as some of the technology that is mentioned throughout the book. This new all-women society has even come up with a solution to reproduction without using males: EggFusion Fertilization, where one woman’s egg fertilizes another. Sam has continued this program, Mechanized Female Warriors, in the state of Tenn-tucky. Just as in Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games, mech tournaments (which include a variety of mech vs. man and mech vs. mech fights that also include fights to the death) are televised every six months.

It’s horrible to have to wear a choker like a dog, which is how cops I work with track males. 

This all-female society is surprising in the fact that women are allowed to take multiple wives. Annabelle has two other mothers, each with three children. She has two younger sisters that are her mother’s children – but she’s adopted. Her younger sister Janine, who seems heavily dependent on Annabelle, wouldn’t understand that she’s adopted. Truly, Annabelle and Janine’s mother fights for a cause – the very reason which landed Annabelle with her, and the reason behind her losing her own husband and son. Annabelle hasn’t forgotten what the Federal Union has done to her family, and neither has her mother. They are bent on gaining more information, helping boys escape, and seeking justice.

On top of everything else, the government regulates everything, right down to the “harmony” of one’s clothing, one’s ambiance in a place of business, and the food choices and food content of restaurants. No sugar, no caffeine, no MSGs – in other words, the bland cardboard that is now being pushed in public schools today. Annabelle hopes of opening a restaurant to avoid the unpleasantness of her society, and it’s a lot of work. Governor Battani makes sure that Annabelle’s dreams of her future are shut down. The book also mentions that some things that are a normal part of our lives today are banned in this future society, like the King James Bible and The Diary of Anne Frank. I would be interested to know what else is restricted in their society.

Annabelle really gets in a scrape when she stands up for her sister at a school basketball game, and is embroiled in a fight with the other team. She has two choices: go the the Resocialization Facility in Nashville…or join the Mechanized Female Warriors. Annabelle is in a hard spot: be put far away where she won’t have access to information she needs to seek justice or her family, or join the group responsible for her family’s downfall?

I stare at the retreating boy, a scared mouse caught in a trap. You don’t treat humans like this. 

Annabelle has to make some very difficult choices, and put aside her own opinions of her world in order to further herself, gain trust of others, and hopefully get what she’s wanted all along. Despite joining an organization that discriminates against men and the weak and going through weeks of tear-down and build-up exercises, Annabelle retains all of her heart, spirit and opposition of her society. She supports her sister warriors, roots for them, and ultimately shows the compassion her society is sorely lacking.

About the Author

600388_10201010092153744_210253767_nRaised by a roaming aerospace engineer, Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven. Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

Lance received his BS in political science and his Masters in business from Indiana University, before studying creative writing at Ball State, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Numerous detours along the way included solving business problems for companies ranging from automotive, to electronics, kitchen cabinets and boats. This involved significant professional writing, supplemented after hours by writing science fiction. Now a refugee from the business world, he is focused on writing.

Lance lives with his wife in the Chicago area, where he’s working on his next novel. He writes speculative fiction, science fiction, dystopian and young adult, and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Warrior’s Oath

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Warrior’s Oath

Title: Warrior’s Oath
Author: Jennifer Hines & Mindy Bigham
Publisher: Smashwords
Release Date: October 2013
Length:  264 pages
Series?: Sacred Promises #2
Genre: YA, supernatural, romance
Format: e-book
Source: Hines & Bigham
Challenge: n/a

Synopsis: 

With war raging between the last two ruling families, the Skye’s and the Fino’s, Abbey will be forced to step up and announce herself as the rightful queen to the world of Elementals sooner than expected. At which time, her chosen advisors will also be declared. Including the person whose oath she unknowingly accepted to stand by her side.

Beginning her journey by traveling to Iceland to meet Garik’s family, and ask their blessing to put him through the trials to be her First, brings forth an entire new world. She dives deeper into the world of a warrior and what it means to have a family.

After a vision of destruction Abbey must make a decision to save a school or let it fall to Fino’s army. Saving it will mark her identity, but letting it fall would mean the loss of many innocents. Either way, her life will never be the same after her decision.

Review

A rift had been forming between the last two ruling families, the Skye’ s and the Fino’s. Their desires for power were now strong enough that there was only room for one. 

Nathan has gone and done it now. He’s used the powers of his Chosen Mate bond and cornered Abbey into admitting some very serious feelings. Little did Abbey know that Kaleb had followed in her wake and overheard this whole conversation.

Kaleb has been missing for two months. Not one single word from him. Abbey cannot shimmer to him any more. Nevara is not being very helpful either. The bond with Nathan is wearing on her every day. It’s getting harder and harder to resist him, and Kaleb is showing no signs of manning up and standing by her side.

I was not a bystander. I would not stand there and do nothing while watching innocence fall. 

While Abbey’s personal life is falling apart, so is their world. Fino has disbanded the Knights of Noir Council, and is enlisting and drafting Warriors as his own soldiers. He’s even gone so far as to draft Warriors from one of the other sister schools of Maramec.

I knew I could not take the world by myself. 

Just as in Sacred Promises, Abbey must make some very tough decisions, but this time she must make them almost instantaneously. There is no time to wait, and no time to lose. She must gather her chosen warriors and advisors, and fully mark them as her own.

What had this day become? Was this what my future held, a life full of fighting and death where even the lines between family loyalties became blurred? 

Kaleb finally comes around after a very blunt conversation that Abbey has with Nevara, which leads to her extending the oath to him. Unfortunately for them both, it’s a drunken night filled with Elemental punch, and neither can remember what happened…but Nathan has a pretty good idea. He no longer shares the bond with Abbey, and it isn’t hard to deduce why.

Abbey rallies her Divine Order around her, and those who will stand by her, to protect the sister school at Machu Piccu against Fino and his red soldiers. But then he comes to attack her very own school – and there’s nowhere for them to be protectively hidden from his wrath. Indeed, there are some traitors in the midsts.

This book eventually lands Abbey, Kaleb and Nevara back in her tribe and a lot of her history and marriage are explained. Will the animosity of years gone by, bad blood, and scorned love prevail in order to save Kaleb?

Sometimes no matter how much you think you know someone, you honestly have no iota of a clue. 

Traitors do run rampant in this novel, and I totally didn’t see the ending coming. Garik’s sister, Rowan, has been taken by a traitor who was once near and dear to Abbey. I’m sure this is where the next book, The Divine Order, will open. It will be available sometime in the spring.

Despite the wonderful spin put on this book, I do feel like this book was more rushed than the first in the series, that some of the finesse from Sacred Promises was lost along the way just to get the storyline across, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

Find my review of Sacred Promises here.

About the Authors

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Jennifer Hines

Jennifer Hines is a wife, mother, and indie author. She loves reading, writing, and taking long road trips.

She enjoys reading and writing mostly fantasy, paranormal romance, romance, and basically anything with vampires (the sparkly and/or sexy kind and not so much the freaky and scary kind), shifters, or magic – YA through erotica. Her favorite books/series include The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Scanguards Vampires by Tina Folsom, and the Crossfire Novels by Sylvia Day.

Friend her on Goodreads to follow all of her reviews both requested and personal, and to see what she’s currently reading.

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Mindy Bigham

Mindy Bigham is a wife, a mother, and an indie author. She loves reading, writing, and vacationing anywhere there’s a beach.

She enjoys reading and writing mostly fantasy, paranormal romance, romance, and basically anything with vampires (the sparkly and/or sexy kind and not so much the freaky and scary kind), shifters, or magic – YA through erotica. Her favorite books/series include: The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Bloodlines Series by Michelle Mead, and The Breathless Trilogy by Maya Banks.

Friend her on Goodreads to follow all of her reviews both requested and personal, and to see what she’s currently reading.

Find the authors: Website| Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads – Hines | | Goodreads – Bigham

Author Interview: Jennifer Hines & Mindy Bigham

Consider this an early Christmas present, from me to you!

The two lovely ladies, Jennifer Hines and Mary Bigham, sat down for a nice chat about the series, Sacred Promises, they co-wrote. Read my review of Sacred Promises here.

Tell your readers something unique about yourself.

Jennifer: This can be a difficult question to answer about one’s self so we decided to answer for each other. Mindy says it’s my imagination. That it can sometimes go way out there. Personally, I think it’s the crazy things I do with my kids, like teaching them to write legibly with their feet.

Mindy: Jen says it’s my non-judgmental and limitless friendship, and that those are very rare qualities that make me unique.

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Mindy (L) and Jennifer (R)

Jennifer: This one I blame completely on Mindy. She has been my inspiration and the one responsible for the literary monster I’ve become. I loved reading when I younger, but once I had kids the only books I seemed to have time to read were more along the lines of Dr. Seuss. Then after relentlessly trying to get me to read a series about sparkly vampires my excuses of not having any free time finally fell away, and I gave in. Reading four books in five days was only the beginning. We started perusing the book stores at lunchtime in search of new series to read.

A few months later I woke up from a dream and thought oh, that would make a good book, and so I got up and started writing it down. I brought it to Mindy to ask what she thought and the rest is history. We’ve been writing together ever since.

Mindy: I have always enjoyed reading. I can always pick up a good book and just relax and get lost in a story. I had Jen read a series (after about a week of convincing her that she could find time) and not long after we decided we can do this. It’s my hope everyone enjoys our stories and wants to read more.

How did you connect and start writing together?

Jennifer: Some of this I kind of explained in the previous question, but I’ll add on to it. We’ve worked together at the same company for a long time, and though we’re in different departments our personalities drew us together. We’ve been best friends ever since. In some ways we’re the same and other we’re polar opposites. I think that’s why we work so well together. And it sometimes makes our collaboration process very interesting.

Mindy:  Writing together is something we both really enjoy, and I like to think I bring out the best in Jen as she also does me as our minds can tend to drift off to daily living. We keep each other’s minds going, and keep each other on track with writing, editing and finishing in a timely manner. Sometimes we both need a push from each other.

What inspired your debut novel, Sacred Promises? What makes it special?

Jennifer: Abbey and Kaleb started as characters in my head and they developed into something greater than I had initially imagined. Together, Mindy and I decided this one would be perfect for our debut. It has an intriguing storyline and we thought readers would enjoy it.

Mindy: We actually started a series before writing Sacred Promises, but are not completely happy with it yet. Once we started writing Sacred Promises we just fell in love with the storyline and knew this was the one to start with.

Jennifer: The characters make Sacred Promises special. They have a life all their own, which pull readers into their world…or at least that’s my opinion, though it may be a little bias.

Mindy: I’d like to say we both truly love all the characters and have instantly formed a bond to each and every one of them since from the very beginning as I hope our readers do as well.

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Book 1

Jennifer: My mind has a difficult time thinking in “small” terms. There were so many things I wanted to happen that they simply wouldn’t fit into only a single book.

Mindy: I love to read series. Single books are too short for me to read or write. Guess I like more details.

Jennifer: There will be three books in the Sacred Promises series. The first one is an introduction into Abbey’s world. The second, Warrior’s Oath which is scheduled to come out early Fall 2013, will dive more into the hardships Abbey will have to overcome in order to become the greatness she’s destined for. The final book (yet to be named) will wrap up all the lingering mysteries that occur in the first two books.

Mindy: I think the series could go on and on and as much as I would love for it too I think  three books provides enough for the readers to be satisfied once finished…I hope.

What’s the best part about writing this series?

Jennifer: For me, it’s the characters. I love how they develop from what I thought they were in my head, to what they actually become once they were on paper.

Mindy: I agree, but I also love the interaction between Abbey and Kaleb, and the struggles they must face. They want to be normal and have a normal relationship but have so much responsibility on their shoulders.

Could you tell us a little about your main character, Abbey?

Jennifer: Abbey is a normal teen, or so she wishes. She’s born into a position that doesn’t give her many options as to what she can do. Her responsibilities outweigh her personal wants and desires, and leave her stuck in a constant battle with herself to do what’s right.

Mindy: She wants to be a normal teen, but has so much responsibility, and tries not to forget that. It’s awesome to watch her grow as a person as the story unfolds.

Do you have any other books in the works? What are your future goals as writers?

Yes. Warrior’s Oath (Book #2 of the Sacred Promises series) is currently in the editing stage with book three in layout form. We also have an adult paranormal romance series called Dreama’s Destiny coming out in late Fall 2013.

Jennifer: I would love to make it to the NY Times Best Seller’s List, but until that time comes I plan on continuing to write books that also stimulate the reader in me. There’s nothing like reading your finished book and getting caught up in it like you’ve never read it before.

Mindy: I agree. I just want to continue to write and have people enjoy what they are reading and just relax. However Jen and I are not really the relaxing type and have more books planned long before we finish one. As long as our imagination works we will continue to write.

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Book 2

Jennifer: The literary and publishing worlds are always evolving. Whether you want to be a published author or an indie one, the options available today are limitless. My advice would be to never take criticism to heart, yet use it constructively in order to grow as an author. Always follow your dreams and never give up on something you love doing.

Mindy: Do what you love. If you love to write, don’t stop. Get some reviews so you have honest unbiased opinions. Never give up on anything that you love doing, even if it is just for fun.

Where do you like to write?

Jennifer: I love to lock myself in my bedroom, put in my earbuds, and leave reality behind.

Mindy: In reality, anywhere it is quiet in my house. Having children can make you be creative with where you find that so majority of the time I am in my room. However, in my dream world I am sitting on a beach listening to the waves.

Which do you prefer: longhand or laptop?

Jennifer: Definitely laptop. Although any time an idea pops into my head I have to write it down. Because of that I have sticky notes and papers up all over the walls surrounding my desk at home.

Mindy: Laptop, but when one is not around I usually use the notepad in my phone.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Jennifer: I love YA, but I’m also becoming addicted to paranormal romance. Anything with magic, vampires, werewolves, shifters, etc. mixed with a good love story and I’m very interested.

Mindy: I agree with Jen on this one.

What are you currently reading?

Jennifer: I just started the Mortal Instruments series: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. My son wants to go see the movie, but before I can take him I had to read the books first.

Mindy: I have books that I would love to read and have them marked on Goodreads, but we have just started the editing process with Warrior’s Oath, and have Dreama’s Destiny to finish so they will have to wait a little while.

Who are a few of your favorite authors? What are a few of your favorite books?

Jenifer: Richelle Mead, Lauren Kate, Tina Folsom, and Maya Banks

Mindy: Richelle Mead, Sylvia Day, Maya Banks and even a little James Patterson

Jennifer: I loved the Night World series by L.J. Smith, but I’m still waiting on the final book that’ll tie it all together. My favorite YA series has to be Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, along with the spin-off series Bloodlines. Oh, and I loved Tina Folsom‘s Scanguards Vampires series. Those books rate pretty on high on my “will definitely reread” list.

Mindy: My favorite has to be the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, along with the spin-off series Bloodlines. I recently fell in love with The Breathless Trilogy by Maya Banks, this is a series that I wish would have gone on and on.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

Jennifer: Without trying to get all sentimental, I’d have to say it was meeting Mindy. She and I have a friendship that goes beyond most. She’s always been there when I needed her and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her in my life.

Mindy: Awww, I agree with Jen. We have a very “sacred” friendship that most people never get to experience in their lifetimes. The best thing is we can work together doing what we love and still make time to hang out or go on vacation. We keep everything balanced to make sure our friendship stays grounded. I would not be where I am today, or doing this interview, if it wasn’t for Jen and our shared love of reading and writing. (Good thing I finally got her to read that sparkly vampire series…lol)

Look for my review of Warrior’s Oath soon! 

Find the authors: Website| Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads – Hines | | Goodreads – Bigham

 

Book Review: Sacred Promises

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Sacred Promises

Title: Sacred Promises
Author: Jennifer Hines & Mindy Bigham
Publisher: Smashwords
Release Date: April 2013
Length:  292 pages
Series?: Sacred Promises #1
Genre: YA, supernatural, romance
Format: e-book
Source: Hines & Bigham
Challenge: n/a

Synopsis: 

Most children grow up in loving homes, with parents who tell them bedtime stories. Not Abbey. She spent her childhood training for a battle that always seemed too far away to ever become real. 

In a world of Elementals, now corrupted and misguided by the ruling families, a queen must rise up and make right the wrongs her people have had to suffer through in absence of a true leader. After spending her entire life secretly training with her guardian, eighteen-year-old Abbey must now join the Maramec Conservatory as a student, entering into a world where she will meet other Elementals, Mystics, Watchers, and Warriors. Being surrounded by the people she will someday rule over, she must keep her identity as future queen from being discovered, while managing to create friendships and deciding whom she can trust to stand by her side both now and as queen.

Review

Teenage Abbey has grown up in secrecy with her guardian, Nevara, who has taught her everything she could possibly need to become the queen. Nevara has prepped and trained Abbey for this moment: entering the Maramec Conservatory in the guise of a student, where she will study with other Elementals, Mystics, Watchers and Warriors. Nevara has versed Abbey on the school as much as possible, but the rest is up to Abbey.

Watchers and Warriors are housed together and known as the Knights of Noir, protectors of the people, and kept separate from Elemental, who have a range of abilities with one of the four elements and the very rare Mystics, gifted with sight and healing.

Abbey has to keep her identity a secret and her cards close. She must navigate the troubled waters of the Conservatory where so many students of different backgrounds converge – and avoid detection from students of the ruling families. Every 50 years a new queen is born with specific marking on her back, and in the last 200 years there hasn’t been a queen that’s surfaced – meaning only one thing: someone is finding the queens…and getting rid of them.

Seeing and living were two completely different things.

Abbey can’t afford to make enemies, but she can’t allow anyone in either. As her roommate soon spills all the gossip, Abbey finds she is the center of attention. Quickly she finds herself locked in stalemate with her mentor – fellow student Kaleb Storm, who has some unsavory rumors circulating about his past and his heritage. Kaleb takes his duties in the highest regard, yet there’s also something about Abbey…and someone else notices.

Soon Abbey is found in the middle of a love triangle, and things get ugly. One night could have ruined everything – her, her role, and the future of her citizens. Abbey’s new barrage of defenders are taking her safety seriously: she must have someone from her group with her at all times. This complicates things as Kaleb, and Abbey’s rescuer Garik, are also on the hunt. Kaleb and Garrik are both Knights of Noir, warriors meant to protect the people.

Abbey has to face some hard decisions. Does she tell Kaleb the truth? Does she tell her friends? Then comes a third guy into the picture, vying for Abbey’s heart – and he instinctively knows who she is, and that they are destined to be together. Nathan’s not making it easy on Abbey, as she struggles to stay true to Kaleb and out of the grips of the stalking wolf-changeling Darrian, who always seems to be one step ahead of Abbey’s posse of protectors. Meanwhile, Abbey learns the true identity of her guardian, who is connected to Kaleb.

This novel was so much more than I expected, and I was amazed at the range of change and growth in the main characters. Abbey struggles with many decisions throughout the novel, and the more problems that develop, the harder it is for her. Through the narration, readers are privy to the change in Abbey that reflect that she will be a kind, just, but strong queen. Abbey’s character is one who must come to terms with the fact that she’s not normal: she’s the queen in hiding, and while reading all I could think when I read narration from Abbey’s thoughts was how graceful she was in her attitude and mentality.

The novel was also unique in that a few chapters are denoted to be told from Kaleb’s point of view in first-person, so readers get insight into his thoughts and can understand his emotions. There is a chapter where this differentiation from the narration is crucial, so I applaud the authors’ use of this technique.

It is a wonderful, thrilling read and I could not put it down. I fell asleep with my Kindle several nights. The novel ends in somewhat of a lurch, but in a nice way, which I expect is going to open the conflict in the sequel, Warrior’s Oath. I’m looking forward to great things in Warrior’s Oath. I expect Hines and Bigham to deliver, and I am betting I won’t be disappointed.

About the Authors

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Jennifer Hines

Jennifer Hines is a wife, mother, and indie author. She loves reading, writing, and taking long road trips.

She enjoys reading and writing mostly fantasy, paranormal romance, romance, and basically anything with vampires (the sparkly and/or sexy kind and not so much the freaky and scary kind), shifters, or magic – YA through erotica. Her favorite books/series include The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Scanguards Vampires by Tina Folsom, and the Crossfire Novels by Sylvia Day.

Friend her on Goodreads to follow all of her reviews both requested and personal, and to see what she’s currently reading.

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Mindy Bigham

Mindy Bigham is a wife, a mother, and an indie author. She loves reading, writing, and vacationing anywhere there’s a beach.

She enjoys reading and writing mostly fantasy, paranormal romance, romance, and basically anything with vampires (the sparkly and/or sexy kind and not so much the freaky and scary kind), shifters, or magic – YA through erotica. Her favorite books/series include: The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Bloodlines Series by Michelle Mead, and The Breathless Trilogy by Maya Banks.

Friend her on Goodreads to follow all of her reviews both requested and personal, and to see what she’s currently reading.

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