Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Summer #TBR - A Sinners Series

It's time to jump on the #31DaysofSinners bandwagon before July ends. What better way to spend mid-summer, than reading an action-gripping dystopian, where people are branded by a corrupt government with a tattoo in the color of their sin. There's no innocent until proven guilty in the Hole. I've added this pair to my Summer #TBR list, don't miss out?

1.  Branded (Book 1)

Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

2. Hunted (Book 2)

It’s been three months since the revolt against the Commander’s fifty-year-old regime failed. 

Under a new ruler, things were supposed to change. Get better. 

But can anyone really be trusted? 

Lexi and Cole soon find out, as life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. 

In this ever-changing world, you must hunt or be hunted. 

Lives will be lost. 

Dreams will be crushed. 

Fears will be realized. 

Secrets will be exposed. 

When Cole is once again faced with losing Lexi at the hands of a monster, one encounter will change everything. 


Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure. Find out more here.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Wednesday's Writing Prompt: Four Houses

Photo Credit Vanessa Barger.

Four houses sit above the door
Flag are flapping, winds ashore
Taste the salt upon my tongue
In the air, little ones.

These houses, old, are quarter none
They make a whole, each every one
For if you look upon their face
You'll see their markings far from trace

The yellow eagle sits in first place
He spent his time keeping face
But in the end he came to be
No different then the rest in peace.

The red lion roars with might
He rules with bark worse than bite
But even strong can fall from high
When one speaks not listening, nigh.

Next blows past a crest of sea
Great ships venture onto thee
Forging through your skin so bare
Waves can overtake anywhere.

And last there sits the beast of old,
Fire breathing, scales so bold,
With blood that runs not hot nor cold
The dragon's beady eyes keep hold.

Four lords, they watch o'er kings gate
Protecting the one who leads their fate
Will you enter? Dare you chance?
Under watch, the banners dance.
-- Melanie McFarlane

Find other great stories inspired by this picture:

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Saturday, 11 July 2015

My Summer Reads #TBR List: The Other Side of Ghosts

After talking about campfire ghost stories last week, I thought it would only be fair I give the ghosts a voice of their own. This week I'm recommending you read Michelle Reed's Atman City Series. It gives a great look into the afterlife through the eyes of Dez, a teen who dies in a car accident. These books are page turners, so you might want to put aside time to finish them, because I didn't want to put them down!

LIFE, A.D.: Life, After. Dez.
In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences. Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish. Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger. Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.

M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative. In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life. It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers. In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman. Death was only the beginning.

Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Wednesday's Writing Prompt: Faces of Freedom

This week's blog ring post inspired the poet (amateur) in me. It's not often I turn to poetry, but sometimes it just feels right. Enjoy! If you want to particpate, add your poem below.
Photo Credit Vanessa Barger -
 Faces of Freedom
They walked, like ghosts
along the moor.
Silent footsteps
We sat and watched
parading souls
where apparitions
proudly strolled.
The meadow green
the flowers bright
Gunsmoke clouds
bursting with light
Scarlet dampened
ground no more.
Freedom faces
scarred by war.
- Melanie McFarlane -
Find other great stories inspired by this picture:

Vanessa Barger

Mary Crockett

Want to participate? Post your story in the comments below or contact Vanessa Barger to join our blog ring.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

My Summer Reads #TBR: Ghost Stories for Campfire Season

If you're like me, a Canadian who enjoys 4-6 months of good campfire weather, then you take advantage of the season when it comes. Nothing adds to a great campfire like a good ghost story. For this Canada Day, post fireworks, check out these two scary reads. As I mentioned before, I have a hectic schedule between work, family, school, and writing. So when it comes to reading, what I appreciate are recommendations. Here's mine, and every week this summer I will be recommending 2 book's I've read from Month9Book's fine selection of #YAlit.

1. Vanessa Barger's, A WHISPERED DARKNESS
When Claire Mallory's father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house. The old house creaks and whistles, and smells...well, like it's been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age. Just as things start to pick up in Claire's love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for very different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move. They aren't content to moan and scream inside Claire's house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and they'll use Claire to get it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it's all over?

2. Jessica Arnold's, THE LOOKING GLASS
Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth's old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B—before she becomes the inn's next victim.

I hope you enjoy these two reads as much as I did. Don't forget to wait until the sun sets and the ghosts come out to play!