Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Blitz: The Queen's Gift by T.R. Allardice

The Queen's Gift by T.R. Allardice

About The Book:
 Add To GoodreadsRelease Date: December 15, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
The Queen's Gift by T.R. AllardiceFifteen-year-old, late-bloomer Jean Elliott dreams of becoming a Genie like her mom. When her family relocates to Tokyo, Jean is forced to use sleight-of-hand tricks to fool everyone at school into believing that she’s a normal Preternatural or risk expulsion. When her power finally appears, it comes in the form of the Queen’s Gift–an unspeakable magic that strips power from all Preternaturals and heralds the arrival of the new queen.

After an absence of two hundred years, not everyone wants the monarchy to return and they’re willing to go to great lengths to keep the status quo. When buried secrets rip Jean’s family apart, she has a choice to make: Walk away and hope for the best or embrace the power that’s known to lead to madness in order to save her family.

Jean’s greatest dream has turned into her biggest nightmare and no matter how hard she tries, there’ll be no wishing the Queen’s Gift away.

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About The Author:

T.R. Allardice writes young adult, new adult, and humorous horror stories. Most of what she writes incorporates several genres. The content won't always be 'safe'. What's the fun in that? She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Novelist Inc. and the Author's Guild. She has thirty-one books published under another pen name. To find out more about her upcoming work, go to:

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Everything I know about Tokyo can be found on page two hundred and fifty-seven of the Preternatural’s Travel Guide to Japan. It consists of three paragraphs—a whopping one hundred and fifty words—and in no way prepares anyone for the crushing size of the city or the cultural whiplash.
Despite the upheaval that a move from Chicago to the other side of the world created, my first day at Tokyo International Preternatural School wasn’t much different from any other school day. 
I was late.
To add to my humiliation, Mom personally dropped me off outside the administration office.
“Jean, I know you don’t want to be here.” My mom, Queen of the Understatement, Ruler of the Obvious. 
There was no good way to respond, so I kept my mouth shut. When I’d begged my parents to let me attend a Preternatural school, Tokyo wasn’t what I had in mind. I thought we’d stay in Chicago. Near my friends. Near my old school. In case things didn’t work out.
She brushed my long hair back to get it out of my face. “Do you have everything you need?”
Mom didn’t mean lunch money or school supplies. She was referring to my magical contraband. The items I use to trick Preters into believing that I am just like them. I’m not. Not yet anyway. It’s my hope that being around other Preters will jumpstart my powers. Until then, I’d have to fake it.
When pressed, Mom says I’m a late-bloomer. I had my doubts...but I was ready. I’m always ready. It was one of the stipulations for attending this school. To prove it, I patted the hidden compartments sewn into my shirtsleeves. “Good to go.”
“That’s my girl.” She gave me a peck on the cheek, then rushed off to her classroom.
Did I forget to mention that my mom’s a teacher here?
I know. Lucky me.
Mom glanced back, when she reached the elevators, and said, “Make a wish,” then snapped her fingers and disappeared. A plume of glitter-like substance appeared in the air where she’d stood, then quickly dissolved.
Make a wish. Same principle as ‘break a leg’. Three simple words that when combined seemed harmless enough. Most people associated them with birthdays or falling stars. Happy moments. Special moments. Magical moments.
Not me.
I hate those three little words. All they do is remind me of just how common I am. No offense to humans. They’re born as Commons. They don’t know any differently. I do. And I’m reminded every night when I sit down for dinner with my Preternatural family just how much being common sucks.
My backpack slipped. I shifted it higher onto my shoulder and glared at the heavy wooden doors that stood between the admin office and me, wishing I could snap my fingers and disappear, too. 
The red dragon handles on the doors were warm to the touch, as if the dragons recently breathed fire. Maybe they had. Or maybe the school cast a truth charm on the doors. Wouldn’t be the first school office that used one. Wouldn’t be the last. Not that it mattered. The spell wouldn’t work on me. One of the few perks of being powerless.
The doors were intimidating, but not half as much as the administrative office itself. Located on the fiftieth floor of a high-rise, the office had floor-to-ceiling windows that framed Tokyo and made it look as if the city floated amongst the clouds.
“Elliott-san, we’ve been expecting you,” a woman said as I stepped into the room. Small, with delicate features, her dainty bones seemed at odds with the inch-thick glasses perched on her tiny nose. The lenses magnified her eyes until they looked three times their normal size.
“Not Elliott-chan?” Chan was often used to address young girls, or so I’d read.
Her lips curved into a smile. “Are you a child?”
“No,” I said.
“My name is Ieto-san.” She gave me a bow. 
Mom told me on the flight that bowing was another way to say hello and show respect, but I didn’t understand how deep or shallow I was supposed to bow. The whole thing made me feel uncomfortable. I gave Ieto a quick nod.
Her nose crinkled and she sneezed.
With a flourish of my hand, I produced a tissue and handed it to her. It looked like it appeared out of thin air, but actually it had come from my shirtsleeve.
“Doumo arigatou,” she said.
“You’re welcome.”
“Sorry, but your transcripts have been delayed.” I expected this. “Should be finished with temporary schedule in moment.” Ieto’s imperfect English trumped my knowledge of the Japanese language.
Transcript mix-ups came anytime you magically doctored school records. Mom hadn’t finished working on them yet. Of course this school didn’t know that, and I wasn’t about to volunteer the information. The last thing my family wanted was for anyone to know I’d transferred in from a Common school. Preters didn’t go to Common schools—ever. 
It was too dangerous…for the Commons. Preters didn’t have total control of their powers until they reached adulthood. I hadn’t attended a Preter school since the fifth grade, not since the…incident.
That was also the year that Mom and Dad finally acknowledged that the powers—my powers—they’d been insisting were simply slow to develop were in fact totally nonexistent. Coincidence? I think not.
Ieto stared at me, her nose twitching, as she waited to see if I had any questions. I didn't. As the perpetual new kid, I never had any questions. Her nose twitched again and she blinked several times. I wondered if she was a mole Shifter, but that question was impolite to ask in any country.
After an uncomfortable silence, she pointed to an empty chair. “Your Gakusei escort should be here soon.”
Obviously nobody trusted me to get to class on my own today. I parked myself in the chair.
The language may have changed, but despite the fact that this was my first Preter school in five years, it would be like all the others. I'd do my homework. Keep my head down. Kill time until we moved. It wouldn’t be long. Never was. I’d learned a long time ago not to get too comfortable. It only made moving harder.
This was what you wanted, so suck it up.
I opened my backpack and pulled out a notebook. The orange binder had the names of my two best friends from Chicago carved into its battered face. Three other sets of names had already been crossed out, marking the other cities that we’d lived in over the past couple of years. I ran my thumb over the newest names and swallowed the bitter taste of homesickness that welled in my mouth.
Ieto went back to typing, my presence already a footnote in her memory. The rhythmic clack, clack, clack poked holes in the silence. 
My phone flashed the time. Least it was good for something here in Japan. I’d missed most of first period, but it hardly mattered. Today was orientation. I wouldn’t be attending any real classes until tomorrow, so I put in my ear-buds and cranked the music.
A girl walked into the office and stopped in front of me. Before I could put my notebook down, she plucked an ear-bud out of my left ear and said, “Cell phones aren’t allowed in school. Neither are mp3 players or headphones of any kind. You must be Jean Elliott.”
Yay, my student escort had arrived.
My gaze locked onto a pair of greenish-purple knees the size of giant doorknobs that poked out from beneath a pleated black uniform skirt. The boney joints undulated beneath her skin as she shifted her weight.
I’d worn my favorite pair of low-rider blue jeans and an over-sized gray Chicago sweatshirt. No one had said anything about having to wear a uniform. Mom conveniently forgot to mention it. This school just kept getting better and better.
The girl cleared her throat. “You are Jean Elliott, the spell-casting, wish-granting Sensei’s daughter, right?”
Sensei was Japanese for teacher. Why couldn’t she just say that?
“That’s me.” My gaze rose and rose until it latched onto a Ghoul’s beaming face.
I shrieked and pushed off with my feet. My shoulders slammed against the back of the chair, knocking it into the wall. It clanged so loud that Ieto jumped. The move didn’t put me out of reach of the Ghoul, but at least I had a chance of escaping if she attacked. I tried not to stare, but I’d never been this close to a Ghoul. Like ever!
You would’ve stared, too.
All Ghouls are big. This girl was no exception. At six feet and counting, her shoulders were wide enough to shame an American football player in full uniform. Her earth brown hair hung in two fat braids next to her ears. Dark blue-framed glasses bisected her flared nose. Her smile revealed a mouth full of razor sharp teeth encased in shiny silver braces. 
“You look like her.” She sniffed. “You smell a little like her, too. But I guess all Genies carry that flowery jasmine scent.”
Did I forget to mention that my mom is a Genie? And not just any Genie, she’s one of the best wish-granters and spell-casters in the world.
As I watched, the Ghoul pushed her eyeglass frames up with a thick finger and smiled wider. Visions of being swallowed whole flashed through my mind. I’m not very big. I had no doubt she could unhinge her jaw and polish me off in three or four bites without breaking a sweat.
“My name is Karen Kim. Most people call me Kim-gakusei or Kim-san, but you can call me Karen.” The Ghoul stuck out her hand.
I stared at the meaty catcher’s mitt with fingers and thought about the story of a poor shark that had, had the misfortune of attacking a Ghoul off the coast of Australia. By the time the thrashing finished and the blood cleared, all that was left of the Great White was a lone fin bobbing on the surface of the water.
Was it safe to shake her hand? Ghouls weren’t known to eat other Preters, but they would if they were hungry enough and I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a normal Preternatural.
As if on cue, Karen’s stomach growled...and growled...and growled.
“Please don’t eat me.” Had I just said that aloud? My eyes closed and I groaned.
Karen laughed.
Not the reaction I expected.
“Relax,” she said. “I’m not going to eat you.” She tapped the fashion magazine under her arm. “I can’t go around eating random Preters. Not if I want to be a supermodel.”
It took me a moment to tear my gaze away from her stomach. Did she say model? I blinked. Was that supposed to be some kind of joke? I gave her a small smile and continued to stare. No way would I comment on Karen’s declaration. Let somebody else break it to her that there weren’t any size eighteen Korean Ghoul supermodels. And if there were, they’d never graced the cover of Magical Vague or any other fashion magazine. Ghouls only came in two sizes, big and gigantic.
Before anyone thinks I’m being harsh, they should know that at five foot two I won’t be a model any time soon either.
Karen's brow furrowed. “Am I your first Ghoul?”
I grunted noncommittally. It was either that or lie. Did Ghouls attack if you insulted them? Didn't know. Didn't want to find out. I looked to Ieto for help, but she steadfastly ignored my silent pleas. What kind of sadistic school was this?
Karen snorted. “You look like you're going to be sick.”
"Sorry." Nice Ghoul. Easy Ghoul. Stay calm. I pulled the other ear-bud out slowly and shoved the phone into my book bag. I’d heard that sudden movements might accidentally trigger an attack response.
She shrugged. “I’m used to it." Karen’s gaze dropped away and her cheeks turned Granny Smith apple green, a Ghoul’s version of a blush. "Most people aren’t so honest about their feelings. I think we’re going to get along just fine.” She glanced over at Ieto, probably to see if she’d noticed, but the woman was immersed in her work. Karen cleared her throat and got back to business. “The school has assigned me to be your student guide for at least a week. I’ll show you where everything is, help you find your classes, and introduce you to some people. If you—”
A bewitched radio roared to life on Ieto’s desk, interrupting Karen’s spiel. The broadcast started out in Japanese, then automatically switched to whatever language the listener spoke.
“The Common news reported another sighting of the white monster. This brings the total number of sightings to seven. It was spotted last night near the electronics’ district of Akihabara. This is the latest in a rash of strange creature sightings from around the world. An emergency meeting of the Assembly has been called. Steps are being taken to detain the creature. A reward has been offered for any information on its current whereabouts. No further details are available at this time.” The broadcast ended abruptly.
I rolled my eyes. “Some Common probably caught sight of a were-lion, were-dragon or were-something in mid-change.” Surprising, sure. Shocking, maybe, but hardly what you’d call news in the Preter world. “Must be a slow news week.”
“No.” Karen shook her head, making her braids flop. “It’s not a Preter. That’s already been confirmed. And it’s not the same creature showing up all over the world. The descriptions vary from location to location.”
Contrary to what she thought, I still believed the creature was a Preter having a good laugh at everyone’s expense. “If it’s not a Preter, then what is it?”
“Nobody knows.” Karen’s dark brown eyes glowed with excitement. “That’s why a bunch of us are going monster hunting tonight. Want to come with?” All that was missing from the question was I dare you.
I’ve been the new kid more times than I could count. I have had several self-appointed “friends”. Some even became real friends. Most resented the job and took pleasure in hazing me every chance they got. The question was, what type was Karen?
“Sure, I’ll go.” I didn’t have a clue what I’d agreed to, since technically we were the monsters. No doubt tonight would turn out to be a pointless snipe hunt and I’d be the one left holding the butterfly net.
“Great!” Karen flashed a frightening smile. “We could really use someone with your powers.”
“Yeah.” I laughed nervously. “My powers are fierce.” They were so fierce they hadn’t bothered to show up yet. Was it too late to bow out? If Karen’s grin was any indication, then I already had my answer. I sighed. Some girls dream of having big boobs. I dream of being a Genie. Until that day happens...
Sucks to be me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Insanity 2 by Cameron Jace

Insanity 2 by Cameron Jace

About The Book:
 Add To GoodreadsRelease Date: December 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Series: Mad In Wonderland Series

Insanity 2
After her encounter with the Cheshire Cat, Alice Wonder can hardly tell reality from imagination. But when kids have their head chopped off and stuffed in watermelons all over the city, it’s clear that another Wonderland Monster has arrived, possibly scarier than the Cheshire. Alice, along with Professor Pillar, have to solve the killer’s puzzles before a catalytic event threatens the death of millions. Then Jack Diamonds appears again. This time, Alice must know who he really is.

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About The Author:

Cameron JaceWonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters      I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales.      I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

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“I open my eyes to an endless darkness. A blinding kind of darkness I haven't experienced before. Many times have I slept in pitch black in my cell in the asylum. This present darkness is different. It seems as if it has a soul, a substance. It feels too close and invasive to my privacy. It's as if I am wrapped between its octopus arms. A claustrophobic kind of darkness.
No explanation comes to my semi-numb mind right now.
Where am I?
My body is numb, enough to chain me in temporary paralysis. Each of my limbs is heavy enough that I don't bother lifting any.
Somehow, I am sure this will subside.
A slow train of memories arrives. It's slow but noisy and heavy, like a locomotive breath.

Finally, I remember. I know who did this to me."

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Blitz: The Token by Natasha Rogue

The Token by Natasha Rogue

About The Book:
 Add To GoodreadsRelease Date: December 2, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult

Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around.

He pulled the front door open. “That’s how it’s done.”

I rolled my eyes and made my way through the crowd that had spilled into the hall, muttering. “That’s how it’s done. Yeah? Where? In the jungle?”

“Yeah.” James’ breath on my nape sent a chill down my spine. “Something like that.”

Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?

Find The Book: 
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About The Author:

Natasha Rogue is a Canadian author who's been writing for most of her life. After penning novels behind math textbooks all through high school, she attended Dawson College in Creative Arts with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. The best teacher she ever had took her aside and told her to go back where she belonged. To her roots with the books she loved to write.

Eternal Neverland (Steps Before the Fall) was one of her first complete novels. There are seven books in draft form completed in the series, but they gathered dust until experience and contacts with the right editors and crit partners gave them what they needed to be shared. However, A Breed Apart: The Token, was released through a small press in 2012. The book will be rereleased shortly.

You may find Natasha at several signings throughout the year as she writes multiple genres. Don't worry, she doesn't bite. But she will happily chat with you about the hotties who do. And shamelessly admit to liking Charlie way more than she should.

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A long soak in a bubble bath, hot enough to give me a head rush when I first submerged my whole body under the steaming water, did wonders for stiff muscles and stiffer resentment. James had been with me for days. He was entitled to a break. I was not going to be a pathetic, needy girlfriend. I was a strong, independent young woman, perfectly capable of fending for myself.

That conviction lasted the whole ten steps between the bathroom and my room. When I opened my bedroom door, I became someone who needed and was needed. And nothing could make that wrong.

A large, black cat stretched across my bed. James had come back at some point during my bath. While waiting, he'd fallen asleep. All I could do was stare. The beauty of him left me in awe.

Careful not to wake him I inched past the door, pulled it closed behind me, and turned the lock slowly to muffle the click. Every sound amplified in my ears as I tried to make my way across the room without waking him. My socks were like sandpaper on the carpet. My shallow breaths like heavy gasps. I heard it all, as I was sure he would. Humans were noisy things.

One black ear twitched, and I stopped and bit back a curse. The velvet of his fur glistened in the dim light as he stirred, but his eyes stayed closed. His huge form covered my bed, draped from one corner to the other, a piece of the exotic laid out in stark contrast to my very ordinary room. So alien to the surroundings, yet somehow so right.

I didn't want to wake him up, but at the same time I couldn't fight the need to get closer. Instinct flared up in warning, demanding I stay where I was. There was no denying the potential danger. Claws the size of my fingers peeked past his huge paws, little black daggers hooked into the delicate threads of my comforter. Without meaning to, he'd torn little holes in the cloth. Those claws would pass just as easily through flesh.

One step and then another, each one a struggle not to turn and run the other way. Again and again I reminded myself that this was James. He would never hurt me, not even in this form. He had control I couldn't match, and truthfully, I was the more dangerous of the two of us. All his life his family had taught him how to deal with what he was. There was no one to teach me how to deal with what I'd become.

Not seeing myself as a frail, helpless thing got me past the last few steps. Careful to avoid his tail dangling over the side, I eased myself onto the bed and curled up beside him. The warmth of his big body seeped over me, his familiar presence stealing away the fear of having sharp fangs inches from my face. I laid my hand over one massive paw and placed my head on my arm so I was facing him. Lids still closed, James shifted his head and rested it over my hand. Enveloped in perfect comfort, I prepared to surrender to the night.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Blitz: Walled by Anne Tibbets

Walled by Anne Tibbets

About The Book:
 Add To GoodreadsRelease Date: December 1, 2014
Genre: Dystopia, New Adult
Series: The Line #2
Publisher: Carina Press (HQN)

Freedom means making brutal choices.

Walled by Anne TibbetsRebel lovers Naya and Ric have survived one year in hiding, raising Naya’s twins from infants to toddlers in the shadow of the brutal Auberge dictatorship. They’re alive, and they’re together, but the city is crumbling around them and the haunting memory of Naya’s dark days on The Line have never fully left them. Living in isolation won’t be an option forever.

When a mysterious revolutionary seeks their help to infiltrate Auberge’s electronic heart and shut it down, it’s an opportunity—it’s risky, yes, but if it works they’ll get out of the city and taste freedom for the first time. Naya needs this. They need this.

Beyond the broken walls of Auberge, Naya and Ric find the paradise they’ve always longed for. But with anarchy reigning and Naya’s children lost amidst the chaos, they’ll need to forfeit their post-apocalyptic Eden…or commit an unspeakable act.

Book two of two.

Find The Book: 
Amazon ! Barnes & Noble )

About The Author:

Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

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Author Blog Post: I Love “Good” Bad Reviews

Crazy, right?
Who is their right mind would love bad reviews?
Honestly, I love the “good” bad reviews – the what? I mean the ones that have actual issue with the book itself and not the ones that just hate the author, or hate the main character’s life choices, or hate the concept as a whole, and you wonder why they read the book to begin with? I’m talking the “good” bad reviews that find plot holes, don’t buy the character arcs, or have issue with world-building, structure, and style. An actual critique, even if the reviewer hates my work?

Love those!

Now, this is not an invitation.
I’m not asking for you to go on GoodReads and rip apart my writing line by line. That would probably devastate me, let’s me honest. But, done well, a “good” bad review challenges and creates a fire within me.

It burns. It hurts. It even leaves scars. But the fire also teaches me something and I can’t not appreciate a good learning experience, even if it leaves a mark.

So critique away. Go for it! I welcome it.
Just do me one favor: make it a “good” one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley

Rites of Passage by Joy HensleyAppropriate For: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 416 Pages
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Narration: First Person: Sam
Genre: Military/Contemporary
Series: Stand-Alone
Book Trailer: Here

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

Goodreads  Website  Twitter

 Add To Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

My Review:
Boot camp full of dudes. First girls ever to enroll. Now this...this had entertaining written all over it. I was very close to squealing after I read the synopsis. It was a little out of my usual range of genres, but how exactly do you say no to a synopsis like that? Heck, I was about to grab a bag of popcorn to top it off.

So in the beginning of the story, we're introduced to a girl named Sam. Sam was raised in a military family with a dad who lived and breathed military. He was the type of guy to think that girls were weak and dependent, and because of this, Sam was determined to prove him wrong. Did she ever. I cannot even begin to explain the the utter crap that this girl had to put up with. *Insert nonsensical rambling here* There were an infinite amount of times when I just wanted to knock heads together. Especially Matthews. How I hated, how I excreted disgust from my very pores for this boy. I had to get up and kick air for a few moments, because this guy flipped my bitch switch.

Back to Sam. I had to give her props. I'm used to leading female roles who are strong and fierce because of their magic superpowers, but Sam was relentless through sheer force of will. Like I said, the absolute crap she had to deal was enough to drive any person insane. On top of that, she fought back without ever really fighting back. This is the military. You can't yell at your higher ups because things are unfair or you don't agree with what they're doing. Yet she stood up for herself in the simple fashion of not letting anything phase her. They yelled at her. She nonchalantly did what was asked. But at the same time, she wasn't some unfeeling robot who always triumphed. She had feelings. She had emotions. She endured failures. She almost caved a couple of times under the pressure, but she kept herself together.

However, despite how much I loved her, I also felt like she thought the world revolved around her. When everyone else had issues, she gave it 2 seconds of thought and got over it. These are your supposed friends. They've made mistakes, yeah, but there might be reasons or circumstances why they did. She just jumped to the conclusion that everyone was evil and out to get her. Admittedly, there were an awful amount of people out to get her, but still. Towards the middle to end, very rarely did I see her ask about other people instead of being wrapped up in her own issues. In the beginning, she looked out for her friends, but that sort of just disappeared. I know she had a lot on her plate, but it struck the wrong chord with me.

The romance between Drill and Sam was unique. Unlike many YA stories, it didn't happen straight off the bat. They saw each other a bit; there was that initial physical attraction, but it didn't go anywhere. The romance sparks around the middle of the book. This rushed it to an extent, but it was still nice to see something new. Drill was definitely drool-worthy. I think I fell in love with him myself. Throughout the book, he seems so much older than he actually is. It was nuts. They mention that he's 17 often, but you can't help thinking that he's at least 21 or something. 

When the story started, I literally had my eyes glued to every page. I think that was mostly because I was so excited to see everything go down. It was intriguing to learn about all the military rankings (Kind of got mixed up on those) and all of the traditions and various uniforms. However, the pace started to slow for me around 65%. There were still tons of things going on, but it wasn't as heart-racing as it was in the beginning.

In conclusion, this is a must read. So far, I believe it's still a stand-alone, but Rites of Passage is definitely set up for a series. There are so many things unresolved, relationships open ended, and people who still have karma coming for them. The writing was excellent, the theme unique, the protagonist diverse. Plus, who can skip out on a book with a synopsis like that? Grab the popcorn. This is going to be a good one.

Heroine- 4/5
Romance- 4.5/5
Action- 3.5/5 Tapered off in the middle
World-Building- 4.5/5
Loved learning about the military world
Writing- 4/5
Overall- 4/5