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Thursday, May 10, 2018

ARC Review: Owl Eyes by Molly Lazar

Nora knows three things: she is a servant, her parents are dead, and she lives in the kitchen house with her adoptive family. But her world is torn apart when she discovers that her birth father has always been right there, living in the house she serves.
This discovery leads Nora to more questions. Why was she thrown in an ash-covered room for asking about her father? Why is a silver-bladed knife the only inheritance from her birth mother? Why is magic forbidden in her household—and throughout the province of the Runes? The answers may not be the ones Nora hoped for, as they threaten a possible romance and her relationship with the adoptive family she loves.
With the announcement of a royal ball, Nora must decide what she is willing to give up in order to claim her stolen birthright, and whether this new life is worth losing her family—and herself.

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

I want to give this novel four or five stars so badly. This was a Cinderella retelling in the best way. The author was brilliant with her characters and her world building.

Nora was a great character and each line was chosen with care and consideration. This was a unique and magical book. I was hesitant at first because the opening line isn't all that great, but once I started reading this I couldn't put it down.

The magic in the book is different then what I've seen before and I wish Nora had embraced her mother's lineage. This novel doesn't end the way a Cinderella story normally does and it was refreshing. 

I really enjoyed reading this.


**warning for spoilers****
The ending, ugh the ending. It was so rushed, it didn't feel like the rest of this magical book. It left dozens of questions unanswered but wrapped up enough that there's no need for a sequel. I think the author should seriously consider rewriting the last few chapters, adding some scenes. Like Nora getting back her mother's necklace, how people react when they find out who Nora actually is. How does she break the news to Edward she doesn't want him, and get the king to be ok with it?  How do her sisters react knowing they are her sisters and her cousins?  I needed another ten pages or so to make me feel like the story truly ended. 

Aside from that, I would recommend this book in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

GUEST POST:Shari Lopatin for The Apollo Illusion

Odd Inspiration: Babies, Tablets and a Dystopian Novel

By: Shari Lopatin

Some of the best ideas that spark a book snatch your mind at the most random moments. Like babies
and tablets. During Rosh Hashanah dinner.

That’s how it happened for me, with The Apollo Illusion.

Let me rewind for a moment. I used to be a daily newspaper reporter, like a serious journalist.
Journalism is a mission to me, so when I had to leave the profession in 2007 as the economy crashed, I
promised myself I’d return one day.

I never did.

Instead, I worked in public relations and watched the rise of social media stump traditional journalism’s
return. I started wondering how this change would affect the information filtering to the public, and one
day, possibly the outcome of elections.

Then came Rosh Hashanah dinner in September 2013. While munching on noodle pudding and rotisserie
chicken, my mom mentioned a news story she’d seen about babies learning the swiping motion of
tablets before learning to talk.

“What will that mean for the future of our society?” she asked, and my writer’s brain had a conniption.
That week, I started the frenzied first draft of my dystopian suspense novel, The Apollo Illusion. I
couldn’t wait to bleed all the issues floating through my brain onto the page:

 Control of information
 Sociological effects of over-digitalization
 The power of propaganda
 Loss of privacy
 The thirst for truth

I’m excited to say that The Apollo Illusion is publishing this month, on May 19, 2018. It evolved into a
story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

Music and the Writing Process
I didn’t work from an outline, never could. I had a general story arc in my head, knew the direction I
wanted to run, but the I’m the sort who needs creative space to roam.

I allowed my characters to develop organically, and sometimes they surprised me. Actions they took,
secrets they discovered. Music helped everything unfold. When I wrote The Apollo Illusion, I listened to
dark, gritty songs like “Dangerous” by Big Data, “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones, or “Howlin’ for
You” and “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys.

I sometimes struggled with details of getting from Point A to Point B. I’d get burnt out, or start writing
stale, but then I’d watch some documentary or read a stimulating dystopia, and the creative mania

My Favorite Scene
I often get asked, “Shari, what was your favorite scene to write from The Apollo Illusion?” My answer is
this: it’s a surprise plot point, so I can’t discuss it, but I can talk about the why.

This scene is an emotional discovery in the book, one that I cried while writing. It deals with a theme I
value deeply: family. In a way, I was writing a “wish” that I have for a loved one in my life, and this was
my way of waving my magic wand and giving this person something I know will not happen in real life.

Babies and Tablets
At the end of the day, it all boils down to babies and tablets. Who would’ve thought? A weird way to
accomplish my dream of publishing a book, but hey—I’ll take what I can get.

Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist, she writes complex and stimulating
suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Her debut novel, “The Apollo Illusion,” is releasing
May 19, 2018. Learn more at www.sharilopatin.com/books, or pre-order your digital copy for just $2.99
from Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook), or Smashwords. Want a print copy? Sign up for The
Readers Club to be notified the moment they become available!

Shari's new book will be released May 19th 2018. So support an Indie author and purchase!

Title: The Apollo Illusion

Catalog line (tagline): Nothing is ever what it seems.

Publisher: BookBooks Publishing LLC

Genre: Dystopian suspense, science fiction, young adult (YA), speculative fiction

Specs: 96,589 words, 68 chapters, 3 parts

Price: $2.99 (e-book); $10.99 (paperback)

Book website: www.sharilopatin.com/books 

ISBN-13: (E-book) ………. 978-0-9997827-0-5

                 (Paperback) …. 978-0-9997827-1-2

Book synopsis: The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.

When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

THE APOLLO ILLUSION is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world. 

Author: Shari Lopatin

author bio: Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist in her earlier years, she now writes complex and stimulating suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Shari has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, public relations professional, social media manager, and earned the title of “Cat Mom of the Year.” www.ShariLopatin.com