Book Review: After by Amy Efaw

I actually read this a while ago and drafted the review, so sorry if it's a bit on the shorter side.

Summary (as seen on Goodreads):

An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . . 

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made. Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible. She turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.

After by Amy Efaw
  • The research that went into this novel. It’s very obvious that the author took a long time researching the court system, that she has knowledge of pregnancy from her own personal life, and wrote Devon into a three-dimensional character.
  • The details in the novel. From the colors to size and shapes, especially most people descriptions, the details really helped with immersing readers into the story.
  • The supporting characters. Each of them seemed like realistic people, even though the story wasn’t from their points of view, and they are well developed.
  • The rawness of some of the things mentioned in the story. The shock for Devon as she adjusts to Remann Hall and everything following her pregnancy add to realism, and are a brave choice of details that I applaud.

  • Not every story has to wrap up every loose end. In a way, it was nice that some things weren’t wrapped up, but at the same time it felt like there were too many open-ended stories left behind, which is both good and bad.
  • Devon and Karma’s relationship. It would’ve been nice if Devon had the opportunity to tell Karma that she really didn’t have a perfect life. Perhaps there wasn’t really a place for it in the story, but this would’ve been a nice end to wrap up, at least just a little more.

  • In many respects, Devon is a mature teenager who has had a very difficult life, yet the way she reacts is a little more juvenile than expected. Her refusal to cooperate and vehement denial are important to the story, and although the author writes very well, this reader is still not quite convinced that this is a truly realistic way to behave in such a situation.
  • Devon’s mom. While she did care for Devon when she was young, she is too obviously dislikable with not enough redeeming qualities.

Overall, this is the kind of novel I would read again to do research on jail, the juvenile system, legal issues, and as a mostly good example of realism. For this one, I'll give 4 jellyfish.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day! :)

Book Blitz: Hemlock Veils by Jennie Davenport

Hemlock Veils
Release Date: 11/25/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.

Buy Links:

About the Author
Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where six guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blond sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and a black cat named Mouse. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.

Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality. 

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Book Blitz: Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Release Date: 11/25/14
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…
About the Author
Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Another bell rang. I spun wildly, searching for the source, and my foot slipped out from under me. My left foot joined my right, sliding down a rocky surface.
            A scream tore past my lips.
My brain fought to figure out what was happening as my hands gripped for something—anything—because I was falling. My head swiveled.
            I couldn’t comprehend the giant, gaping crack I’d fallen into. A fissure in the ground at least eight feet wide. My fingers sunk into the cracked concrete, barely holding on. Sliding.
            Then I looked down.
            No end in sight. An abyss.
            Everything around me blurred, and all I could see was black. And in that blackness was the one thing I was terrified of: death. My stomach pitched and my chest heaved, but no air moved in or out of my lungs. I was suffocating.
            Ripping my eyes away from the darkness, I focused on my hands, still grasping at the gravely terrain crumbling beneath them. My right foot slipped, and my fingers dug deeper into the ground. It was a mixture of rock, and mud, and I didn’t know what. It felt like glass shards were being shoved under my fingernails.
I dug in with my toes, using the muscles in my legs to slow my descent. I slid to a halt, but the rocks and substrate continued to crumble beneath me. I searched blindly for a sturdy foothold. My foot found a rocky lip, but as soon as I thought it was safe, it gave way. My right silver flip-flop plummeted into the darkness so eager to swallow me.
Attempting to force my gaze upward, I focused on the contrast of the dark surrounding me and the bright light above, the line where they met. Technically, I’d die in broad daylight.
“Think, Josie.” The voice was strong, demanding. It took a second for it to register. “Josie, look at me.”
Reid. Reid was here. That’s where I was. I was at Reid’s place. I’d come here to train. I’m an Oculi. It all became clear as I broke free from the terror.
I wrenched my head toward his voice, my gaze meeting his. He crouched above me at the surface, his eyes my lifeline because he didn’t offer a hand. He wasn’t about to coddle me. That wasn’t his style. He said, “Breathe. Think.”
Dragging in an uneven breath, looking into his clear eyes, something clicked in the far reaches of my mind.
I Pushed with no effort. No headache, no nausea. I blinked, and stairs carved themselves into the side of the chasm, jutted out as if they’d always been there. With great hesitancy, I climbed the stairs on all fours, close to the wall. I could see the surface, right within my reach.
The stairs were gone.
I felt myself tumbling, falling. Flailing along the wall of the abyss with nothing to stop my descent.
“React, Josie!”
I focused on the surface, on the light growing dimmer the farther I skidded. Earth. Ground beneath my feet. I Pushed. And Pushed.
Pain. Nausea. Dizziness.
Thunder sounded below, like the darkness of the chasm was rising up to swallow me whole. Something hit my feet so hard that it tossed me in the air.
Up. Up. Into the light.
My thoughts didn’t coalesce clearly, but I felt myself rising. The pain behind my eyes made my vision waver. I shot to the warehouse floor. Reid reached for me as I collapsed.
My lungs rebelled, and tears burned trails down my cheeks. Dirt covered my hands and caked beneath my fingertips. One fingernail had broken to the quick. It bled sullenly. I wasn’t about to look weak in front of him, though, so I held out my arm to ward off his offer of help. I stood tall on trembling legs.
Reid closed the gap between us, his arms extended like he would embrace me. “Josie—”

The light streaming through the warehouse windows dimmed and flickered. Darkness edged my periphery. I balled my trembling fist and slammed my knuckles into his cheek. White heat shot through my hand before everything went black.

Book Blitz Organized by:

Book Blitz: Gideon Lee by Lisa Orchard

Gideon Lee
Release Date: 10/21/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Lark Singer’s relationship with her mother is prickly to say the least. As she enters a musical competition that could launch her career, Lark also searches for answers her mother would rather keep hidden. Throw into the mix the fact her best friend Bean has been acting strangely, and Lark finds herself launched into uncharted territory. Will her quest for answers sabotage her musical aspirations?

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links: (only $.99)

About the Author
I am the oldest of four children and grew up in a small town in Western Michigan. I grew up reading mysteries, starting with "The Bobbsey Twins" and "The Nancy Drew" series.
By fifth grade I was writing my own mysteries and illustrating them as well. I've always known that I wanted to be a writer and I tucked that little piece of information into the back of my brain; determined to take it out and use it when it was time.
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree, I landed a sales job. I was on my way! After spending 13 years in the Insurance industry, I met my husband. We soon married and had two beautiful boys. I decided to stay home with my kids. A tough decision, but one I don't regret.
I did, however, miss the hustle and bustle of work - and working toward a goal. That is when the little voice inside my brain said, "It's time to write."
So I did, and "The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer" was born, followed by my new book, "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber."
I am very excited as I begin this new "chapter" in my life.

Author Links:



Francine went all out for Bill. Resentment rises in my throat and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
“Sit down, Birdie,” Francine says as she carries the steaming bowl of sauce to the table. She sets it in the middle and then moves toward her chair.
Bill pulls it out and says, “There you go, Franny.”
He called her Franny again. The bile rises in my throat, but I force it back. If I’m throwing up, there’s no way I can put my plan into motion. Resisting the urge to wade right in, I plop down in my chair. This has to appear natural, spontaneous. So I let my irritation fester, hoping I can relieve the itch soon enough.
I sit down across from Francine and Bill sits on my right. It’s awkward. I can tell already that I want to get away from here as fast as I can. I start with the salad and avoid Bill’s gaze. He starts with the spaghetti noodles. He keeps looking at me, sizing me up, I’m sure. Am I going to be his ally in this mess, or an enemy? A problem child he has to contend with? The questions dance in his unwavering stare. There’s a calculating look in them too and I don’t like it. I keep my face neutral, as if the only thing happening is an evening meal. I need the element of surprise to pull this off.
“So, Franny,” Bill starts. “Did you know that Betty has given her two-week notice?”
Francine’s eyes brighten when she looks at him. “No. I didn’t. Why is she leaving?”
“She wants to retire a little early,” Bill says as he ladles some sauce over his pile of noodles.
Don’t fall for it, Francine. He dangles this carrot in front of my mother and it pisses me off. What a total creep. I can’t believe he would come here, eat our food, and mess with my mother like this.
My anger starts in the pit of my stomach, a raging fire that spreads throughout my body. I’m livid by the time Bill finishes covering his noodles with sauce.
He sure eats a lot. Pig.
My eyes narrow as I wait for him to put the ladle back into the bowl. “Pass the noodles, please.” I keep my voice calm. There’s no tremor indicating the fire burning inside. Bill hands me the noodles and our eyes meet over the bowl for a brief second. His have that calculating look and they narrow as he tries to read my expression.
“When will you be posting the availability of the position?” Francine asks, unaware battle lines are being drawn, and the opponents are sizing each other up.
Bill turns away from me, but not before, I see a flash of wariness creep into his eyes. He must have seen something in my expression. I must have given something away and I silently curse myself. I was counting on the element of surprise. Scooping noodles on my plate, I listen to the conversation, pretending I couldn’t care less, but I think Bill knows better.
“Probably in about a week. I want to make sure we have the date of Betty’s last day firmed up before I post it.” Bill twirls a pile of noodles around his fork and shoves them into his mouth.
Total pig.
He chews with his mouth open and it totally grosses me out especially when I hear the sound of his lips smacking as he chews. Maybe Francine will notice and will be as disgusted as I am. Maybe I won’t have to put Operation Sabotage into play. Glancing at her, I inwardly groan. She’s oblivious. She’s always like this when someone new comes into her life. Blind.
“I’d be interested in that position,” Francine says. She puts her fork down, and a faraway look fills her eyes. “Francine Singer. Head Teller. I like the sound of that.” She picks up her fork and gives Bill a secret smile. His eyes twinkle when he meets her gaze and I know it’s time to put my plan into motion. Squash this train wreck before it even leaves the station.
I glance at Bill, and give him my most innocent smile. “Does this mean you’re going to be my new dad?”
He starts coughing and quickly grabs his glass of water. His face turns red, and I can tell he doesn’t know what to do or where to look. Finally, he picks his fork up again and twirls another pile of spaghetti noodles onto it; he shoves the forkful into his mouth, while keeping his eyes on his plate.
That’s right. I think to myself. Eat. Fill your face.
Then I look at Francine. I can feel her body growing rigid with rage. If her eyes could shoot lasers, I’m sure Francine would shoot them at me right now. But they can’t, so I’m safe for the moment. I move forward with Operation Sabotage.

“I’ve never had a dad,” I say with fake girlish excitement. I gaze adoringly at Bill, while inside I just want to hurl. Bill clears his throat and squirms in his seat. He glances at me, and his lips flutter as if he’s trying to smile, but just can’t do it. I’ve got the advantage and move forward like an army overtaking a bunker. “Yeah, Francine had me when she was sixteen and she won’t tell me who my dad is. So you can be my new dad.” I give her a measured look across the table. I know I’ve lobbed a grenade at her and declared open war. But I’m prepared and wait for her to fire back. I don’t have to wait long.

Blog Tour Organized by:

Book Blitz: Kissing Frogs by Alisha Sevigny

Kissing Frogs
Release Date: 11/18/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
Popular party girl and high school senior Jessica Scott has a secret: she used to be a nerd — a big one; a goody two-shoes, grade-skipping, all-state spelling bee champ. But she lost the braces, put on some contacts, and applied all her academic genius to studying and imitating the social elite. Now she rules the school from the upper echelon of the high school realm. With her cool new friends and hottest-guy-in-school boyfriend, life’s a beach — and that’s where she’s headed for Spring Break. That is, until her teacher breaks the bad news that she’s failing Biology — and her only chance to make up the grade is to throw away the culminating trip of her hard-earned popularity and join the Conservation Club in Panama to save the Golden Frog.

Unable to let go of her faded college dreams, Jess finds herself in a foreign country with a new social crew, and one handsome face that stands out as a blast from the past, threatening to ruin her queen bee reputation. Travis Henley may have grown up, but he still likes to play childish games and as payment for retrieving Jess’ lost ring from the bottom of a jungle pool, he wants three dates. While Jess does battle with spiders, snakes, wildfires and smart mean girls, she desperately tries to hang on to the last vestiges of her popular existence like the Golden Frog from its webbed toe. But as she starts to care about something more than tanning and texting – a species on the verge of disappearing forever – she may realize the worth of her inner nerd, and the one frog in particular that could be her prince in disguise.

Set in the lush and tropical El Valle de Anton, this modern fairytale re-imagining of “The Frog Prince” is toe-curling contemporary romance with an environmentalist heartbeat, in the tradition of Stephanie Perkins.

Available from:

About the Author
Alisha Sevigny holds a degree in Sociology and Professional Writing from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent and current Social Media and Communications Director for an award-winning English school. A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a recent trip to Panama with their new daughter, Alisha fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog. She was inspired to write her first Young Adult novel, Kissing Frogs. Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, Alisha has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. She now lives in Toronto with her family.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

I flop down on my bed, gripped by a sudden fierce home sickness, wishing I had my phone. I have no idea what’s happening with Miles. Alyssa, Ky, and the rest of the crew are probably lounging by a pool having a grand ol’ time, not even missing me one bit. And I’m trapped in a foreign country with people who can barely tolerate me. Not to mention my former nemesis.
Twisting the ring around my finger, a picture of my old self pops up, entering a classroom, late and puffing, red-cheeked and frizzy-haired. The door slams behind me and everyone looks up. In the frantic run to find my class my shirt has come untucked. I look down and see a white splotch of toothpaste on my red pants. So not the impression I want to make on my first day of middle school.
I look around for a seat, feeling awkward and like a total loser. My gaze lands on a familiar face: Travis Henley. He’d been a year ahead of me in elementary. He gives a cool nod of acknowledgement. Probably still sore I’d kicked his butt in the school’s Spelling Sensations contest. I’d won with “inoculate.” He’d spelled it with two n’s. The lingering smugness fades as I realize the seat next to him is the only one empty. Everyone’s staring. I scurry over, arms crossed tightly over my books.
“Anyone sitting here?” I whisper.
“Well, well, look who’s too smart for sixth grade.” He looks me up and down, taking in my disheveled appearance. “Have a seat, Messy Jessie,” he drawls.
And the name stuck. He’d teased me mercilessly right up until graduation, when he’d stuck some toilet paper on the back of my gown as I walked up to receive my award of academic achievement.
Fortunately, we’d gone to different high schools—though apparently not anymore—and I spent that summer before freshman year reinventing myself. Luckily I was a quick study, and during that first year learned to hide the fact that I had a brain. It seemed to make people feel more comfortable. Sophomore year was marginally better, and by junior year “Messy Jessie” was long gone. I applied my book smarts to carefully analyze the formulas for popularity and through strategic learning and hard work, clawed my way up out of Geeksville and into the realm of the Socially Acceptable. Thanks to my mom’s Pilates connections and a bit of luck, I’d managed to befriend the popular crowd, miraculously landing in the stratosphere of the high school hierarchy.
And now it all could be ruined because of some stupid frogs. And Travis, if he decides to spill the beans about my former self. I’m sure Chrissy and Kiki would love to share the news with the rest of Cassels. Nothing like outing the phony.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Book Blitz: Reluctant Prince by Dani-Lyn Alexander

Reluctant Prince (Kingdom of Cymmera #1)
Release Date: 11/03/14
Kensington Books/Lyrical Press

Summary from Goodreads:
Betrayal lies cloaked in shadow.

Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.

Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.

Available from:
AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

About the Author
Dani-Lyn Alexander lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping--especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She's an incurable insomniac and has an addiction to chocolate.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A rhythmic rocking comforted Ryleigh. She couldn’t open her eyes, but that was okay. She would just float in peaceful obscurity.
“Ryleigh.” A man shook her shoulder. “Ryleigh, can you hear me?”
Yes. She wanted to answer, but she couldn’t form the words. Humming, familiar, though she couldn’t quite place it. Something pricked her arm.
“Ryleigh, can you answer me?”
“Mmm hmm.”
Pressure against her head. Oww. Why did her head hurt so bad? Why wouldn’t these people leave her alone? A flicker of memory teased her. Rocking, bumping, the floor moving. Was she moving now? She reached for consciousness, only to be dragged back into oblivion.
A bright light shone against her eyes. She lay still for a moment, enjoying the orange and black swatches of color that swirled behind her closed lids. The blackness began to take on shape, the oranges and yellows merging to form a halo around a human shaped silhouette. The silhouette of a guy, his broad shoulders.
“Ryleigh.” The man spoke louder this time.

She struggled to respond. The dreamy image dissipated the instant her eyes fluttered open, but the memory plagued her, followed her into consciousness. Everything hurt, as if she’d been run over by a truck. Background noise intruded on her confusion, beeping, talking, footsteps, more beeping. Bright light burned her eyes, added to the already thunderous headache threatening to overwhelm her. Bile surged up the back of her throat.

Book Blitz Organized by: