Enthrall by M. R. Reed

Enthrall by MR Reed
Blog Tour
February 1-12th, 2016

Published: 12th October, 2014Goodreads badge
 Self Published
Pages: 312
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction
★   ★  – 2 Stars

After years of being a helpless witness to his alcoholic father’s abuse towards his family, seventeen-year-old Miles Boswell has just about reached his breaking point. He dreams of the day where he can leave everything behind and begin a new life on his own — that is, until he discovers that he has the ability to control people’s minds. Suddenly, the odds are overwhelmingly in his favor.

But what begins as the answer to all of his problems soon causes him to question his every thought when he captures the attention of August Sylvan, who seems to be the girl of his dreams. As someone who has limited experience with girls, Miles can’t help but wonder — where do his powers end, and where does reality begin? 

At the same time, he finds himself at constant odds with his morals and his potentially warped sense of justice…and soon discovers that nothing is as simple as it seems.

This book contains strong language, violent scenes, and some sexual content.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review.

I could possibly bump my two stars up to a 2.5 on the basis that while the story wasn’t unenjoyable, I came away feeling unsatisfied. I finished it feeling like things were unresolved, left unanswered, and even taking into account the surreal moments and strange quality the story had, it felt as though something was lacking.

Enthrall tells the story of Miles and August, a pair of teenagers who fall in love and both have families they would rather avoid for varying reasons. The pair seems perfect for one another, but when Miles discovers he has developed a strange ability, it is the start of a dangerous downward spiral for both of them.

I started this book with a nice warm feeling. It was so sweet to see the two characters attracted to each other but thinking the other one was out of their league. Seeing August become nervous around him and Miles awestruck, it was cute. Both were semi social outcasts and had an attitude that made people avoid them. But when they become a couple they join forces to become a team of pretentious and moralistic teens who feel superior to the world which turns you off them a bit.

I liked the story, the characters had depth, they were teenagers and did teenage things. I loved their complicated home lives and the school drama, it was an enjoyable story. The concept Reed’s explored is interesting, and it certainly was an interesting experience watching Miles’ struggle. There were just a few things that didn’t sit right. One of the biggest disappointments was the lack of explanation. Even if there wasn’t a detailed explanation, something would have been better. Reed offers hope towards the end, but even then you end up more confused than anything, trying to see if you’ve missed something. The mystery would have been ok to deal with if it didn’t hint throughout that you were going to get a reason.

Reed writes with the voice of a teen and each character tells their story as if speaking to the reader, which is fine, but it takes a few chapters to get into the swing of it. The dual narration works really well and seeing both sides of the story and both experiences adds meaning and offers a different perspective on similar events. It’s also a great chance to see the gradual downfall and changes of each character, Miles in particular.

As a character Miles is someone who is hard to figure out. He seems sweet, but arrogant; he is incredibly selfish and as you watch him descend further into the mess he’s made for himself there is not pity whatsoever because you’ve seen how he’s brought it on himself. I found myself at times comparing him to punk version of Holden Caulfield, he doesn’t think everyone is a phony per se, but he is quite judgemental of others and pushes his moralistic agenda over everything and judges those who do things he doesn’t approve of. August does this as well, but to a slightly lesser extent.

As fun as unlikable characters are though, I was sad I didn’t connect with him because Miles actually does some good things when he isn’t being selfish. But because I didn’t care about him I couldn’t feel that proud of him for what he was doing, and it didn’t really suit his character when he did.

Reed shows Miles’ decent gradually, and you can see his mindset change as time goes by. Some things he did I felt were quite a big leap, and a few characters reactions were not that realistic, but it didn’t take too much away from the story. Overall it was a good read, you take enjoyment from the characters and their lives, and while there isn’t a satisfactory conclusion, the story being told is quite enjoyable.

You can purchase Enthrall via the following



Our formative years are the ones that stick with us the most–you know, those tirelessly frustrating yet unforgettably magical moments that shape us into the people that we will become. The music that I liked as a teenager, the books that I read, the relationships that I created (and destroyed)…those are the things that I think truly formed the adult that I am today. I still love those things. I still think about those things. I still harbor a lot of anger in relation to the events that I experienced as a teenager, and it does nothing but fuel my creative spirit.

And that’s what I like to write about: Teenagers, and all of their idiosyncrasies, and concerns, and that whole unintentionally egocentric view that they have about their worlds. I find it fascinating. I’m thankful every day that I’m no longer a teenager, but I have to admit that it’s a interesting time to look back on.

Miles and August encompass a lot of me, and my experiences, and my observations. The music, books, and beliefs that I held at that time inspired me to write about the events that take place in Enthrall. My intense hope is that somebody reads it and is able to relate, or get through a difficult time, and just know that somebody understands what he/she is going through (at least a little bit.) That’s what music and books did for me. I hope to pay it forward.


Land of the Giants (#2) by D. M. Almond

Today I am pleased to participate in the blog tour for David Matthew Almond’s new novel Land of the Giants, the second book in the Chronicles of Acadia series, thanks to Sage’s Blog Tours! You can read my review of the first book, Secret of the Elders, here.

Published: 25th March 2015Goodreads badge
Pages: 555
Format: Ebook
Genre: Epic Fantasy
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Ages long past, forced to abandon the surface, mankind descended into the core of Acadia, fleeing impending xenocide at the hands of the cruel invading ice giants, the Jotnar. There, under the light of the Crystal god, Baetylus, they settled a new homeland among the deep forests and wide caverns of Vanidriell.

~Enter the Fourth Age of Acadia.~

The highly anticipated second chapter in the Chronicles of Acadia is here. Follow the Walker brothers and their stalwart gnome companion Bipp as they journey to the surface of Acadia in search of the mysterious Isaac, the one person who may hold the key to overthrowing the dark sentient Crystal. Along the way they will forge alliances with brave new allies and cross paths with some of the deadliest forces they have ever faced in the Land of the Giants.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review.

The second book in the Chronicles of Arcadia series follows on with the Walker brothers’ journey to save their city but it brings in new characters, a new aspect of the world, and new elements to the story that add mysteries, dangers, and assistance in their quest. What starts off as one quest to save their city soon turns into many as the brothers team up with others along the way to help each other out and fight for a common cause.

The story continues on from the one set up from the first book, and though there is information provided about what has happened beforehand, it is fairly limited and scattered, but not too hard to understand if you haven’t read the first book.

A lot of the narrative is drawn out with the focus on what happens on the way rather than reaching their destination. Although seemingly pointless at times there is a reason and it isn’t until the last part of the book do you realise the things that have been put in place and what has been cleverly set up.

That is not to say that these moments during the journey are not interesting at the time. The numerous discoveries and interruptions on the way are interesting in their own way and Almond is skilled at making sure that while there are constantly new discoveries or distractions the story remains on track and does not detour too far. This means that the main story is kept on track but it is not straightforward, simple, or dull.

While many characters from the previous novel make an appearance there are a lot more introduced. With new species and races being introduced Almond is imaginative with each society in terms of their laws and practices and beliefs. The characters are quirky, cheeky, and often unusual but they each add something to the story and surprisingly all play a part in the overall scheme of things.

With multiple points of view as well as numerous quests and storylines to follow there is a lot to take in, but Almond balances it well, introducing new perspectives only when needed and alternating between them at the right times, keeping the story fluid and not too jumpy. Keeping track of new characters and what is happening with each storyline can be hard at times but it was good because it provides you with insights into what is happening to others, as well as a greater understanding of Acadia as a whole, showing many sides of the same world.

There is slight humour in the narrative, not predominantly and mainly through character dialogue, but enough to make it light while remaining suspenseful and adventurous. The character banter is also natural and it helps portray the varying levels of friendship between each person whether it is old friend, sibling, new friend, or enemy.

Almond is creative in his construction and development of surface Acadia with numerous intricate details giving it form and a solid narrative to explore the new locations and elements naturally. Descriptions are vivid and Almond uses words and dialogue to illuminate the world and various landscapes quite well. The use of comparisons not only helps to describe a scene or location but Almond cleverly uses them to also demonstrate cultural differences between characters.

The story ends with clear intentions of a third book with cliff-hangers that draw you in and tempts you to continue with the next stage of the journey, but Almond also concludes many of the problems and events raised in this novel rather nicely. Being an epic fantasy means a lot of patience is required whilst reading to allow things to develop and be put in place narrative wise, but as with the previous book the payoff is at the end when it all comes together with excitement and action, and all the pieces fall into place to make a intriguing conclusion. The next instalment of the Chronicles of Acadia is set to be an interesting read and no doubt fraught with danger as the brothers continue their quest, putting their new skills and determination to the test.

You can purchase Land of the Giants via the following


Amazon Aust


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Author Bio:

D.M. Almond has been working in the restaurant and IT industry for the last 19 years. Over the last two, he has made time to focus on his true passion, writing stories. D.M. grew up in the small Upstate NY city, Utica (home to such rare delicacies as Tomato Pie, Utica Greens, Pusties, and Chicken Riggies) and attended “Buff State” in the amazing city Buffalo NY, where he would eventually return to run his bakery café, meet some of the best people in the world, and fall in love with his wife Julie. D.M. currently lives in beautiful Monkton, Vermont and would love to hear from you…

Traveling Left of Center Blog Tour

A few months ago I was lucky enough to review the short story collection Traveling Left of Center by Nancy Christie. Now, in honour of her birthday, Christie is having a blog tour of her book to celebrate! Visit her website to discover other stops on the tour or you can check out my review of this great collection!

The Book

There are some people who, whether by accident or design, find themselves traveling left of center. Unable or unwilling to seize control over their lives, they allow fate to dictate the path they take—often with disastrous results.

TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES details characters in life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared. Their methods of coping range from the passive (“The Healer”) and the aggressive (“The Clock”) to the humorous (“Traveling Left of Center”) and hopeful (“Skating on Thin Ice”).

The eighteen stories in TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES depict those types of situations, from the close calls to the disastrous. Not all the stories have happy endings—like life, sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.

In these stories, the characters’ choices—or non-choices—are their own. But the outcomes may not be what they anticipated or desired. Will they have time to correct their course or will they crash?


(From “Traveling Left of Center”)

“Girl,” my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, “on the highway of life, you’re always traveling left of center.”

Mama was always saying things like that. She had a phrase for every occasion, and would pronounce them with a certainty that, in my younger days, I accepted as gospel. But that time, I didn’t pay her no mind. I just went on painting my nails “Passionate Purple,” hoping that the sexy polish would catch the doctor’s eye.

I was justifiably proud of my hands, especially since, at that particular time, they were the only part of me that was skinny. A girl’s body sure takes a beating from having a baby. It had taken me at least a year to get my shape back after Robert Nicholas, and it looked like Rebecca Nicole wouldn’t be any kinder to her mama than her big brother had been.

(From “The Sugar Bowl”)

Chloe would tell men that the slightly battered and tarnished sugar bowl was a legacy from her grandmother.

“Granny,” she would say, her eyes fixed on a distant spot in the small apartment, “had to sell all her possessions to keep my mother fed and warmed. But she saved the sugar bowl for better times. And when she died,” here, her voice would quiver and a brave smile would slip across her face, “she left it for me, for my ‘better times’.”

The story always worked on those older men who would bring her home after a pleasant dinner in a quiet, expensive restaurant. They would listen to her story as she poured freshly-brewed coffee into delicate porcelain cups, her light brown hair falling softly around her face.

And they would be overcome with feelings of protectiveness for the young girl, so unlike the hard brittle career women they were used to. It would be almost obscene, they would find themselves believing, to think of taking this fragile flower to bed.

Instead they would kiss her chastely on the cheek and then leave, never understanding that it had all been carefully orchestrated—the dinner, the story, the quiver in the voice.

And if they should call again, she would be politely unavailable. Chloe could not support a return engagement. Her story was only strong enough for a single run.

(From “Watching for Billy”)

The sound woke her from her usual afternoon sleep. One of the curses of old age was the need to nap at odd hours of the day, coupled with the inability to stay asleep during the dark hours of the night. And since Roger died, it was even worse. Agnes found herself nodding off at mid-morning while the game shows played on the television screen, during the afternoon courtroom dramas, after the soup-and-sandwich dinner that almost always constituted her evening meal. Why not? There was no one to talk to and nothing else to do.

Brad said that she wouldn’t be bored if she moved into one of those retirement homes. But she didn’t want to leave her home and go live among strangers—even if sometimes the loneliness was more than she could bear.

“I’ve lived here more than 60 years and I’m not leaving now,” she had told her son. “There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind.”

“Fine,” he answered, an unmistakable note of irritation in his voice. “But if you won’t move, then you need to at least have an alarm installed. There have been too many break-ins in your neighborhood lately.”

Agnes agreed reluctantly… was dutifully attentive when the technician explained how the alarm worked and what each noise and light represented.

During the long summer days, she didn’t bother to activate it until bedtime, trusting in the safety of daylight to keep thieves and robbers from her door. But as winter drew near and the days grew shorter, she found herself turning the alarm on at the first sign of dusk, feeling for the first time a little unsure, a little vulnerable, in the house where she had lived for six decades.

About the Author

NANCY CHRISTIENancy Christie is a professional writer, whose credits include both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her fiction collection, TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER, and two short story e-books, ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (all published by Pixel Hall Press), her short stories can be found in literary publications such as Wild VioletEWR: Short StoriesHypertextFull of CrowFiction365Red Fez, WanderingsThe Chaffin Journal and Xtreme.

A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG) and creator of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, Christie hosts the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, Ohio.

Visit her website at www.nancychristie.com or connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or at her writing blogs: Focus on FictionThe Writer’s Place and One on One.


You can purchase Traveling Left of Center via the following

eBook: Amazon  Apple iBookstore  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million Kobo

Trade Paperback: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million and select independent bookstores

 *February 2015 only — Birthday Blog Tour Sale Price [Click here for link to BIRTHDAY SALE OF AUTOGRAPHED PAPERBACK]*


Nancy’s Blogs:

Focus on Fiction www.nancychristie.com/focusonfiction/

The Writer’s Place www.nancychristie.com/writersplace/

One on One www.nancychristie.com/oneonone/


All Your Bits and Pieces Needs







The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons

Today as part of The Sense of Touch Blog Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book, I have a review to share with you all. The Sense of Touch is a collection of short stories by Ron Parsons about  transformation, finding yourself, and hope. In the eight short stories we see the lives and experiences of a range of people, with each story offering the characters and the readers something to take away with them. The book is available as a paperback or as an ebook so check it out!

About the Book:

The Sense of TouchOld friends uncomfortably reunited and lovers who cling to their distance from one another; disappearing fathers, fiercely loving grandfathers, and strangers who pass through and radically change lives…These are among the characters who populate the rugged Midwestern landscapes of the mesmerizing fiction world of Ron Parsons. In his debut collection, THE SENSE OF TOUCH (Aqueous Books; May 1, 2013), Parsons captures people of various ages in the act of searching for meaning and connection and themselves. Firmly set in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan, the lush but often brutally cold heartland of America, the eight stories explore universal themes–loneliness, betrayal, transformation, hope–in fresh, sometimes fanciful, sometimes comical, sometimes jarring, and always moving and memorable ways.


Ron Parsons 2About the Author

RON PARSONS is a writer living in Sioux Falls. Born in Michigan and raised in South Dakota, he was inspired to begin writing fiction in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and venues, including The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Storyville App, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion. His debut collection of stories, THE SENSE OF TOUCH, was released by Aqueous Books in 2013.

All Your Bits and Pieces Needs
Author page
Buy on Amazon
Sense of Touch Tour Page
Goodreads Virtual Bookclub


Published: 1st May 20133349b-goodreads-button
 Aqueous Books
 Short story/Literary Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Note: I was given a copy of this book to review

The Sense of Touch is a collection of short stories that capture the lives and the landscape of the Midwest. The stories in the collection are all different, but in some ways they are all the same. They all tell stories about men and women and their lives, however extraordinary or otherwise. They show that the lives of the seemingly ordinary can be complex, that they can be both mundane and filled with passion or excitement at the same time.

What occurs in these stories shows that the seemingly ordinary can be quite extraordinary not just for the people involved, but for the reader as well. Parson is quite skilled at lulling you into a story only to turn it on its head. And while this does not occur in every story, or even in an obvious way, you never know when one will happen. It is a sudden turn you were not predicting in the story, and the style in which Parsons introduces is clever, sneaking it upon you, or casually throwing in a sentence in among a seemingly ordinary paragraph. A line, a word, a piece of dialogue can change everything and leave you questioning what has happened or shocked and engrossed in the change or new piece of information.

Short stories have the ability to capture an entire life in a short space, whether that entire lifetime is covered or not. How people are portrayed in short stories reveal so much about them as people, about the relationships they are in, they are quite skilled and powerful at telling you an entire story while not telling us an entire story. Parsons does this well, the lives of the everyday are captured and highlighted, in the remarkable and unremarkable, in the public eye and in the intimate. The characters in this collection bring their own essence to their story, whether it is the contemplations of man’s life with his grandfather, a woman trying to find herself in the city, or a man reigniting a friendship with a school friend.

What was interesting about this collection is that there are not always conclusions or final answers about things. The open ended nature of the stories isn’t unsatisfying though; there is a sense of completeness where you do not need to know any more. You understand the characters will either continue on as they are, no sign of change, or there are heart-warming moments that make you realise they are going to be ok, even after all they’ve told you. A few unanswered questions allow the readers to make up their own minds, and even those with hints at conclusions still allow you the same opportunity.

With a total of eight stories making up this collection Parsons’ gives us people who could be anybody and who in some way can be related to by everybody. The absurd stories are beautiful and engaging, while offering an insight into the lives and mind of others, with a touch of the unspoken, and certainly one of lasting impression.

Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum

Today I am very excited to share with you my review of the young adult paranormal/romance Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum as part of the blog tour hosted by Spencer Hill Press. Links to purchase the book and find our more information on Heather and the book are after the review.

Goodreads badgePublished: March 25th 2014
 Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 376
Format: ebook via Netgalley
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.

I am going to be vague and secretive because I don’t want to give anything away because finding out is the best part of this book so you’ve been warned.

I adored this book, I simply adored it. There is no other way to explain it. The story McCollum has written is one that is filled with mystery and intrigue, and a brilliant combination of magic and reality that brings this paranormal romance to life.

From the beginning I was enthralled by the narrative and I fell in love with the characters. There is an ideal balance of secrecy and unanswered questions that tease you as you read and as we follow Jule in her experiences we learn as she does, though we are also not told everything either.

The paranormal element McCollum has in this book is excellent, the siren aspect is wonderful on its own but couple with everything else it’s marvellous. There is an excellent balance between the paranormal and the real, there is no domination of either and while the paranormal plays a large part in what is happening through the story, we are not actually given a large or overloaded exploration of it either. With first person narration by Jule this is understandable, but even when it becomes more prominent story wise, we are given exactly what we need to know in order to understand the story and the history of events, just as Jule is to understand what is happening around her.

Having only read a few paranormal romances I didn’t know what to expect but at the same time I had an expectation in mind. This, I am pleased to say, was nothing like what McCollum delivered. I have nothing against other paranormal romances, as I say I’ve really enjoyed a few, but for me the paranormal side of this young adult novel was fresh and new, certainly unexpected and brilliantly executed.

Initially I thought that Jule was not asking enough questions in the beginning when she saw strange things, I certainly thought some things required asking for an explanation, but as the story progressed I started to understand the possible reasons why. If like Jule you live your life not believing in the impossible or magical, then you may not recognise it immediately. Logic takes over and you use real world examples to explain away what you heard or saw, and while it may seem odd, your mind does not assume it is supernatural.

What I found interesting was that when Jule does discover the truth she is quite accepting. After a reasonable yet quite restrained reaction to what she finds out, she then listens quietly and doesn’t react as you expect. She asks direct questions, establishing the validity in what she is being told and doesn’t let them go unanswered or avoided. Her determination is what I love about her, she isn’t passively accepting things around her but she is willing. I think this understanding is helped by the fact there is clear evidence to substantiate the claims being made and while Jule remains wary on the surface she can’t help but believe what she sees. Though to her credit, while she seems to believe the circumstances around her, there is an underlying scepticism that rears its head every now and then as she doubts what she’s been told. This questioning is also evident regarding her connection with Luke. With all the facts behind her she does not assume that everything is as it appears and what feels real may be masked by magic and short term.

Her understanding of the magical elements in her life was not lost on her and while she goes along with these feelings for Luke she never forgets that they may not be real or everlasting. This is just another reason why Jules is a wonderful character. Her friendships and her common sense are excellent tools in this story, but she also has a sense of responsibility and she is willing to do things for the greater good.

Each of McCollum’s characters are excellent and intriguing, they pull you into their world and lives so completely you struggle to leave. Each character is their own entire person, and through their actions, their relationship with others, as well as what is said and left unsaid we are shown a great sense of who they are which only adds to the story as a whole. When the characters in a story feel complete and real, regardless of their role played, you can find yourself having pity and sympathy for characters with even the smallest part. It is truly wonderful.

I think one of the reasons I was kept up until three and four in the morning reading this book was the fact I didn’t want to stop and I needed to see where the story was headed and what was going to happen. I think if I’d had the time I definitely would have happily read it in one sitting, though having the excitement drawn out over a few days made it that little bit better.

There are some of the best sentences in the book as well. Two of my absolute favourites are “Loved with obsessive devotion, hated with barely controlled fury” and “The bravest warriors scream inside while fighting for what’s right”. The way McCollum tells this story is filled with suspense and secrets and wonderful explanations. They are unique, creative, and the ideal balance that makes then filled with tension and drama and the kind of writing that makes you gasp with excitement and your heart pound with uncertainty.

The conversations and dialogue are great through the book. There is just something about Luke’s portrayal as a character and the dialogue he delivers that is divine. Even the characters pick up on it, he is clever and funny, and he knows the right thing to say in the right moment with the touch of humour and restraint that make it so enjoyable to read.

There is humour threaded through this story which makes it fun to read. There is a humour that comes from characters that have had a long time to accept their situation and there is also a humour where the newly initiated try and make things less terrifying than they appear, a way to diffuse the tension. This is equalled beautifully by the serious moments that grab your attention so suddenly that you aren’t sure what is happening until you’re halfway through it. This is where McCollum excels, through the exquisite depiction of power and danger, magic and love, friendship and family. The kind of amazing writing and narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat, sitting upright in bed, holding your breath while still managing to squeal and gasp as you read.

The reason this book was hard to put down was the fact McCollum has created a novel that not only pulls you long by the strength of her characters, but also with a plot that will not let you walk away willingly. The desire to keep going, to find out the secrets, and see how it is resolved is powerful and one I found very hard to ignore. Siren’s Song captures the beauty, the danger, and the seemingly mundane into a story that stays with you even after that last page.

 In honour of the release of Siren’s Song, Heather is giving away two One Direction lawn tickets to the 28th September show in Charlotte, NC. You can read the Terms and Conditions and enter through Rafflecopter here


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