4.10.2018

COLLIDE: BOOK THREE is Available Now + Giveaway Update!

So, I'm admittedly late on posting this. (Seriously, I'm terrible at marketing!) But Collide: Book Three is officially out, and I'm super excited to share this installment with all of you. I'm nearly finished with the fourth (and final) installment. I have about a week worth of writing left, and then it'll be on its way to InkSpell for review. I'm nervous. Not just because it's the end on a series I started years ago, but because there are some big things that happen in this final book and I'm scared about how people will react.


One night changed everything between them.
When Gemma drunkenly admitted her feelings to Ben, she never imagined they’d have a future together -- let alone, that he’d feel the same way for her. And yet, fate put obstacles in their path…
Overcoming family trauma was hard enough but with a brand new relationship? It was even more delicate. And they’ve come out the other side stronger…
Now a new obstacle rears its head as Molly, Ben’s sister, faces her past and must rely on them. With all the family drama going on, they must determine where their future is headed...

But will they have the strength to take the next step?

Excerpt:
If it wasn’t for Ben, and the comfort of his arms, I was sure I would have driven away as soon as I’d pulled up. He understood how to respond when it came to my anxieties, how to help talk me out of my own head. The moment I found him, I knew my scattered thoughts would settle enough so I could enjoy the night—so long as I stayed far away from the alcohol.While the liquid courage had worked wonders for me the last time, I wasn’t willing to chance it again. There was a difference between spilling your guts to the guy you loved, and trying to get into your now-boyfriend’s pants while out in public. Thanks, but no thanks, alcohol.My phone vibrated within my grasp and I glanced down to see Ben’s name flashing upon the screen.B: Everything okay?Was it? Maybe. I mean, everything around me was more than fine. Things had settled down. My mom was slowly, but surely, getting better, and Wanda had become a part of our lives yet again. Things were good. Me, on the other hand? That was still questionable. The joys of coping with anxiety. 
Purchase Links:


An update on the giveaway: Believe it or not, I have been going through entries -- it has just taken a lot longer due to health issues. Because a lot of entries didn't properly follow instructions, I wanted to be sure I was picking winners that actually *did* follow the instructions. So I'll be contacting winners over the weekend. Keep an eye on your e-mails!

<3
Nicole

2.26.2018

Movie Review: Love, Simon is a Teenage Delight



I’m one of those folks that firmly believes in reading a book before I see a movie. While the book takes you on one adventure and gives you a sense of what to expect from a film, it also allows you to explore the possibilities of where the filmmakers can take a project on the big screen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda before attending a screening of Love, Simon, however, in this instance, that may have been a good thing. While most studios have been eagerly attempting to recreate the box office magic of the Twilight and Hunger Games films, they’ve essentially ignored the quality vs quantity approach and instead delivered fast-tracked films that offer little to no substance – or share very little in common with the books they’re based on. With Love, Simon, though, this doesn’t appear to be an issue. This is easily one of the strongest film adaption of a YA title I’ve seen in recent years, and one that I would have no problem re-watching because it’s so damn enjoyable.

I went into Love, Simon having a general idea of what to expect – a story about a gay teen protagonist. But the film is so much more than that. Yes, Simon is gay and that is addressed from the get-go, but the story goes beyond the character’s sexuality. It’s a story that all teens can relate to because it’s all about self-identity and coming to terms with the person you are. This goes for not just Simon, but essentially all of the teen cast in the film. The amount of character development in this film is insane. While it's fantastic to see Simon grow from this uneasy character to someone who is fully comfortable in his skin, it's even more impressive seeing how they opt to tackle the antagonist of the film. You'll hate him after everything he does, yet, you'll find yourself feeling sorry for him in the end because writers Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker take the time to add layers to his character.

What makes super producer Greg Berlanti's directorial debut most impressive, though, is how wonderfully it handles Simon's story. You'll find yourself grinning as he tries to flirt, laughing as he daydreams about a future in college, and crying as everything seemingly falls apart for him in an instant. It's an emotional rollercoaster, yes, but one that's worth riding because it delivers in the end.

And while the film is more than Simon's sexuality, the character's sexuality is a damn important part of this story. At a time when many -- including myself -- are eager to see more representation in all forms of media, Love, Simon delivers. It's a wonderfully crafted teenage romance that puts a gay duo front and center. That shouldn't be a rarity in 2018, but it is, and it's something worth celebrating. I can only hope the film performs well at the box office because it's important that Hollywood take more chances on adapting material like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda going forward.

To sum it up? Expect to smile, to cry, and to leave the theater wanting to dive back into Simon's world.


Possible spoiler? There's a small musical number in the film that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.


Director:

 

Writers:

  (screenplay by),  (screenplay by) 
In theaters March 16.

1.20.2018

Book Review: DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster! by Shea Fontana

DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster!DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster! by Shea Fontana
Review Copy: Provided via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon
Release Date: February 6th 2018 by DC Comics

Description from Goodreads:

From the highly successful multimedia pop culture property comes DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: DATE WITH DISASTER!, starring one of its most popular characters, Batgirl.

Catwoman is out alone on the prowl one night when KABOOM--an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs rouses the other girls from their slumber. Star students Batgirl and Lois Lane both know the lab incident is fishy, and they meet later to share clues. But nothing could've prepared Batgirl for what they see next--Batgirl's dad on a date!

Batgirl is grossed out until her friends convince her Dads get lonely, too. And with the school dance coming up and everyone pairing off--heck, even Principal Waller has a date with a guy named Deadshot--maybe it'll be okay just this once. The girls place a personal ad for Commissioner Gordon while they delve deeper into the mystery surrounding the explosion, but they're about to discover more than who is behind the attack on S.T.A.R. Labs. Could it be that posting an ad looking for dates for the commissioner is like advertising catnip for criminals?

DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: DATE WITH DISASTER! continues to develop the relationships forged in DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: FINALS CRISIS, HITS AND MYTHS, SUMMER OLYMPUS, PAST TIMES AT SUPER HERO HIGH and OUT OF THE BOTTLE. Written by Shea Fontana, this Batgirl-centric story is perfect for girls ages 6-12.

The DC Super Hero Girls line is an exciting new universe of super-heroic storytelling that help .

My Review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been on my to-read list for a bit now, and given that I'm stuck in bed sick, I finally had time to give it a read.

What's so wonderful about the DC Super Hero Girls series is that it presents fun and relatable heroes for the younger demographic to look up to. The ability to tell stories about overcoming difficult situations, accepting who you are, all while keeping a light hearted tone is important and that's where this book succeeds. There are some matters that could be relatively dark, and yet, it's not presented in a scary matter because it understands its audience. These characters behave like actual teenagers. They know their limitations, they're awkward, they screw up, but most importantly, they learn to accept their faults.

I'm baffled as to why it has taken me so long to check out these books, as I've been excited ever since it was announced DC was doing a Super Hero Girls line focusing on their popular heroines, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. And more importantly? I can't wait to check out further installments.

With wonderful art and a fun, thrilling story, Date with Disaster! is easily worth a read for DC Comics fans.

View all my reviews

12.29.2017

GIVEAWAY: 3 eBook Copies of Collide 1 & 2, Plus an Ani & Alex Bracelet!

2017 was a rather crappy year, unfortunately. I had plenty of health issues -- from fracturing multiple fingers to getting my gallbladder removed, etc. -- and losing not only a family pet (my dog, Buddy) but also my grandfather who I grew up with? Yeah, it has been a hard year to get back into writing and reviewing books. With that said, I've decided to try and end the year on a positive note.

As you're probably aware, Collide: Book One officially released from InkSpell Publishing this month and I'm pretty excited. This is something new for me. It's a contemporary romance story meant for New Adults. There's no science fiction. No dystopia. None of that. Yes, it deals with heavy subjects, some of which are based on my own personal experiences, however, it's very much something readers have yet to get from me. (Decoding Evie is close, though.) Even better? The second installment is already available for pre-order and is set to hit in January. Because of this, I've opted to giveaway three sets of Collide (with each set including the first two books). The eBook giveaways will be open worldwide. However, I'm also throwing in an Ani & Alex bracelet for one lucky reader. (The bracelet will be US only due to shipping costs.)

To keep it simple, I've decided to use Rafflecopter for the giveaway. Don't worry, I'm not forcing you to do a lot of stuff, I promise.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close on January 12th, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST.

As usual, all entrees must be eighteen years of age or older to enter.

Happy new year!

<3 Nicole

12.23.2017

Mini-Reviews: "Kim Reaper: Grim Beginnings" & "Faith and the Future Force"

Kim Reaper: Grim BeginningsKim Reaper: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley
Review Copy: Provided via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon
Release Date: March 13th 2018 by Oni Press

Description from Goodreads:
Part-Time Grim Reaper. Full-Time Cutie!

Like most university students, Kim works a part-time job to make ends meet. Unlike most university students, Kim's job is pretty cool: she's a grim reaper, tasked with guiding souls into the afterlife.

Like most university students, Becka has a super intense crush. Unlike most university students, Becka's crush is on a beautiful gothic angel that frequents the underworld. Of course, she doesn't know that.

Unaware of the ghoulish drama she's about to step into, Becka finally gathers up the courage to ask Kim on a date! But when she falls into a ghostly portal and interrupts Kim at her job, she sets off a chain of events that will pit the two of them against angry cat-dads, vengeful zombies, and perhaps even the underworld itself. But if they work together, they just might make it... and maybe even get a smooch in the bargain.

My review:

I wasn't sure what to expect from KIM REAPER, all I knew was that I loved the cover and wanted to read it. And now that I have? I'm curious as to what took me so long.

This is exactly the type of book I love to read. It's lighthearted -- even though the titular character is a grim reaper! -- and features two wonderful female leads. Yes, the writing is a bit much at times, but even then, it's always fun. There were moments where I wished the artwork was a bit tighter, however, it's quite enjoyable.

I do wish Becka was a bit more developed. Yes, she does come to terms with Kim's job over the course of the book, but we also don't really get to see a side to her outside of the dorky Kim obsessed student who accidentally follows Kim on a reaper job. The instalove is a bit off-putting, and the timeline isn't necessarily clear as one moment they hardly know one another and the next they're working together in a bakery. Still, despite my issue with the book, I can truly say I enjoyed it and will be picking up a copy for my shelves.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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View all my reviews Faith and the Future ForceFaith and the Future Force by Jody Houser
Review Copy: Provided via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon
Release Date: December 6th 2017 by Valiant Entertainment

Description from Goodreads:
Every second counts as acclaimed writer Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Star Wars: Rogue One), explosive artist Stephen Segovia (NINJAK, Action Comics), comics legend Barry Kitson (Fantastic Four), and special surprise guests push Faith into a centuries-spanning fight for existence alongside the greatest heroes of the valiant universe…past, present, and future!’Faith “Zephyr” Herbert – former member of Unity, current Harbinger Renegade, and Los Angeles’ #1 superhero – is the universe’s last, best chance at survival! Centuries from today, a devious artificial intelligence has unleashed a blistering attack on the very foundations of time…one that is the unwriting history from beginning to end! Now, with her options exhausted, Neela Sethi, Timewalker – the self-appointed protector of what is and will be – has returned to the 21st century to recruit Earth’s greatest champions of today and tomorrow to oppose this existential threat…and she needs Faith to lead them! But why Faith? And why now?

Fly to the farthest edges of the future right here in a death-defying race to save time itself as Faith leads the charge alongside Valiant’s greatest heroes…and becomes a new legend for the ages!

My review:

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading stories with Faith over the past year or so, however, this installment felt very rushed to me. While I understood the need to repeat scenes due to the time travel aspect, the constant repeating took away from actual character development. Yes, Faith ultimately saves the day -- although, not in the way one would expect -- but the story seems like it's struggling to make sense of itself along the way.

And the story is not the only part that suffered. The artwork in the second half was choppy and inconsistent. Given that one of the important aspects of Faith's character is that she isn't your typical hero -- she's overweight, and that's okay -- it was a bit unfortunate when towards the end, her face was drawn to be thinner. It was rather distracting and took me out of the story.

Thankfully, although I had some issues with this story, it was fun to revisit Faith and read a story featuring a bunch of fantastic female characters.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

12.15.2017

Happy Release Day to Collide: Book One + Cover Reveal for Collide: Book Two!

Today is the day! Collide: Book One is officially available from InkSpell Publishing and I'm beyond excited.


The first in a series of four novellas has been released by InkSpell Publishing, and I'm beyond excited for you guys to delve into this new world. The characters are some of my favorites, and it's unlike anything I've written before. It's fun, flirty, and meant for a New Adult audience.

Here's the description:
Three simple words were all it took to change their lives forever.
Losing a loved one is hard. Learning to survive in their absence? That’s even harder. For Gemma Michaels, life had become difficult following her brother’s death, but the one thing that kept her afloat was the one thing she knew she shouldn’t have desired – her best friend, Ben.
He’d made a promise to her brother – to protect her, no matter what. For Ben, that had meant that she was off limits. But then she slips and tells him the three words he’s been waiting to hear.
Love happens when you least expect it.
Grab your copy now through Amazon!

Even better? You can also pre-order the second installment now. ;)


Collide: Book Two will be released on January 15th, 2018!

Here's the description:

Even the best of us fall. 
One phone call was all it took to disrupt the happiness Gemma Michaels had come to know. Instead of basking in the glow of her newfound romance with Ben, Gemma is forced to watch as her mother fights to overcome her grief, while struggling to deal with her own. When all hope seems lost, Gemma Michaels will find a way to move past her grief and allow herself to be happy. 
In the end, love is all that matters.
You can pre-order it for $1.99 through Amazon now!

12.09.2017

Why REBIRTH is Coming Later

Life is full of the unexpected. Unfortunately, sometimes the unexpected is nearly crippling.

As I'm sure you know by now, I've pulled REBIRTH from release for this month. I posted a short explanation on Facebook, however, I feel I owe you all a better explanation. See, in late November, I lost someone near and dear to me. It's been really freaking hard since then to try and focus on REBIRTH. Why? Because like THE EMILE REED CHRONICLES, the book focuses heavily on death. Trying to edit and force myself to care about marketing when the LAST thing I wanted to think about what death just wasn't going to happen.


Unlike COLLIDE, which is still very much on track for release this month through InkSpell Publishing, REBIRTH is all me. I don't have someone to pick up the slack when I don't want to be bothered with it. Because of this, I've opted to push it to February. The simple reason is because I need time; to grieve, to process everything.

To make up for it, I've posted some unedited chapters on Wattpad that you can read right now. Who knows? Maybe I'll post it for free before I list it everywhere.

For now, I'll be working on COLLIDE #4 -- or at least, trying to -- and taking time to myself.

<3 Nicole