Posts by hybridlady

Sydney girl at heart, but fell in love with a Navajo and moved to the US to marry him. Mother of a beautiful little girl. Writer of mostly NA, author of Bestselling Kiya Trilogy and more!

Bring Back the Romance!

Love Tree

Lately, I’ve been looking for good, old fashioned romance. Stuff where you go “Aww” and when you’re done, you feel lighter, and like the world isn’t such a bad place after all. Like Meg Ryan films.

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But instead, everywhere I look is sex, sex, insta-lust, and sex.

I’m a huge believer that love is more than butterflies and head spining excitement. Sometimes love is boring, and gross, and downright hard. But true love, the kind that endures, is made of those crappy moments and how people overcome them.

When reading books, I read to escape the crapy-ness of life. I want a romance that’s realistic, but ends with a promise of happily forever after. Not issues. Not abuse. Not sex. Real romance, real love, is about dignity, respect, loyalty, integrity, selflessness, and forgiveness. But it’s like everyone has forgotten that because “sex sells.” Bah! No wonder kids today are so screwed up.

So share all the sweet, heart melting, never-ending love romances my way, books, movies, whatever. I think it’s time true love was given it’s real meaning back.

Young Couple in love

 

 

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Review: Souls Entwined by Anne B. Cole

I am filling in for Heather this month as she cares for her adorable new baby and herself!

I chose Souls Entwined because it was one of our Pitcharama entrants back a few years ago. It is the first in a trilogy, and the third book is due for release next month!

From Goodreads:

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Gretta’s ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives—or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse. 



My Thoughts:

I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for a long time, but it kept getting pushed back. Anne was a contestant in Aussie Owned and Read’s Pitcharama a few years back, which is where she got this book deal. I’ve been intrigued to read it ever since.

In the beginning, we see several women in the PIT, a limbo state as they wait to be freed by their descendants. A curse has been placed on their family, and they are determined to have it broken.

Enter Sam, a smart young man who has lost his way since his mother’s death. He dropped out of college to care for his father, and lives each day missing his mother. Until Gretta literally stumbles into his life. She’s part of the cursed family, and together, they are sent back to observe the events leading to the curse in hopes of finding a way to break it.

I don’t know if anyone out there has played Assassin’s Creed, or at least knows the concept. To me, this has a similar feel. The main character are sent back in time to figure out the answers for current day problems. I love the set of the Grecian Islands, along with the action of pirates blended with romance.

My complaint would be the perspectives sometimes feel jumpy, and there were times I had to go back to figure out who said what.

I have a feeling with this open ending this is the first book in a series. If not, I’m pretty bummed. I want to see what happens with Sam and Gretta.

This book has a steady flow, slow in some places, but in general I enjoyed the pace and the action, and the characters captured my heart.

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Review: The Undead: Playing for Keeps by Elsie Elmore

From Goodreads:

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Especially once Lyla’s new talent of resurrecting the dead draws the attention of Eric, a Grim Reaper with a guitar and a chip on his shoulder.

While Lyla navigates the gossip-ridden halls, Eric works to gain her trust and discover why Death’s clients aren’t staying down. If she passes on her gift, his death-messenger destiny might be altered. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are way easier to deal with than the living.

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

 
My Thoughts:

***Note: I was the Acquiring Editor for this book***
Sixteen year old Lyla, is the daughter of the town mortician, and the family has been morticians for generations. When their cosmetologist quits and leaves her resignation painted in lipstick on a body, Lyla rushes in to fix it before all the guests arrive and see it.

But that night, the body vanishes. Everyone thinks it’s stolen, and since Lyla is already a social outcast, the mockery at school intensifies.

She has one friend, Cassie, who stands up for her. She is also close to her older brother, Ben, who she sees as her protector. He, in contrast to her, is a cool, popular, lead singer of a band.

Then, the body reappears… reanimated!

A new band member soon appears in her brother’s group. Eric seems disinterested in Lyla at first, but when she finds herself confronted with the walking body again, he saves her, and a friendship starts. Lyla even starts to develop feels for this mysterious new band member.

Talk about a great read! This is a fabulous YA read about a girl struggling with self-identity with everyone tearing her down, and things only getting worse as she discovers new things about herself and Eric. But she struggles on, despite the people she cares most about turning against her.

It’s rather gripping, and the descriptions of the walking corpses are creepy and gross. I found myself wanting to keep reading, despite needing to sleep and live.

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Review: Asleep by Krystal Wade

I’m not one to usually read spooky or horror or things like that, so it took me some digging to find something for this month’s review. But, here we go!

From Goodreads:

“To cure fear, you must use fear.” 

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be. 

My Thoughts:

How can I wrap my head around what I want to say about this book. The twists and turns definitely had me wondering throughout the entire book. I’m afraid if I say too much, I’ll give out spoilers unintentionally.

Rose isn’t exactly what I’d describe as likable, but considering the situation, I don’t think likability is important to the story. She’s made some bad choices, and ended up at the wrong end of the stick. Throughout the book she undergoes a great deal of growth, which gave me the desire to root for her.

Phillip is great, right from the beginning. He figures everything out and works his hardest to help Rose through. Despite their awful circumstances, he slots in as the perfect hero in her plight.

Although this is technically a “fairy tale” retelling, there isn’t much of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty involved, so don’t expect that at all. It’s very raw, and there are parts that are truly sad. It’s a psychological story, as you watch the people around Rose mess with her head. But she fights back, refusing to believe the lies.

I saw several things coming, but not the conclusion, Again, no spoilers!

I’d consider it a clean read, in the sense that there’s no sex or explicit violence. It does leave you wondering, what is going on? though, as almost archaic treatments are implemented.

***Thank you to Blaze Pub for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review***

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Talking with Teens About Reading

I know some great teenage girls who are smart, funny, bright, and generally pretty amazing. I contacted these teens, one who just completed her HSC last year, and the other who is in year eleven, and asked them to talk to their friends about books.

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I brought them the below questions:

Why don’t teens read very much, and what is preventing them from reading?

Miss 16: There’s not enough time anymore to fit it in with homework, extracurricular activities etc. Books are expensive, they’re big and they’re bulky. It’s difficult to find anything that is interesting, and everything feels the same and cliche.

I’m very rapidly getting sick of the good girl falls in love with the bad boy story, and all the modern dystopian love stories. I will always and forever love period dramas and fractured fairytales.

Miss 18: Senior school English. Enough said. Prescribed text. The groans of agony as every single beautiful detail is examined and analysed like a specimen in a jar. Year 11 and year 12 English taught me to dread reading- not because of reading itself, but the critical analysis and evaluation that I knew would come. I fell out of love with reading. My favourite books grew dusty, as I went through copious others that I’d never dare to pick up again. Reading lost its spark, it’s beautiful release. It became a chore.

Then I finished the HSC. It didn’t happen immediately, but when I saw a book from my favourite series on the shelves at the book shop, I knew I had to get it for my fellow Ruby Redfort lover and feaster, [my younger sister], for Christmas. It then dawned on me, that during the lapse in my love of reading, I’d missed the 4th book. What. How. Did. That. Happen? I picked it up, and read the 500+ page volume over two days. The flame was reignited. I tore through the entire series in 2 weeks (I didn’t read for 5 days while at [a church] convention, so 9 days for 5 books). I re-established my relationships with my favourite characters. I fell in love with the way that details fitting in, no loose threads hanging at the end of the book. And I couldn’t believe I’d let myself fall out of love with one of the most amazing joys in life!

But yes, agreed with [Miss 16] We don’t need anymore chick flicks recycled. Nope. I love fantasy without too many dystopian aspects-it’s just not original anymore. I hate that one gender has to triumph over the other, like weak girl vs. strong boy, or smart girl vs. dumb guy. Give me some equality, but don’t make characters identical.

Seriously…is it that hard to take a cliché and turn it on its head? Bet the girl that she can’t get the cool guy to go out with her. Make the pretty sweet best friend’s favourite subjects art and chemistry, because she loves to watch things burn and explode. Why can’t the “cool” guy teach ballet to little kids? Can we have normal characters who are just average at everything? Can we break away from the woe is me cancer story, where the main character dies and breaks our hearts? I wanna see people get to their feet and fight through their problems. I want to see characters that break the mold and are vulnerable, but aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, what is right, and what they believe in. I want it to be complicated, for self doubt to creep in, for grey areas that leave us questioning. I need a book that keeps on the edge of my seat, that makes me think, that I can’t predict the ending to (did not pick the end of Diverging Cadence at all. It was perfect). And I looooove fractured fairytales and historic fiction and time slip stories.

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What can you suggest to overcome these obstacles?

Miss 16: For bulky books we suggested ebooks. Reading classics as opposed to newer things can help break cliches. And to find time, reading during car/train/bus trips to various places can be worked into busy schedules.

Miss 18: I think kids need to be taught to read and to love reading when they’re young, and be free to read what they want as long as it’s appropriate. English teachers should give kids a de-stress lesson every once in a while to just read for enjoyment. One of the things that I loved hearing at uni the other day is the idea that you always, always, ALWAYS read a book for the first time just for enjoyment. You don’t force them to learn, or think, you just read it for fun. Fortunately, reading is also becoming a bit more of a “cool thing”, so younger people are being encouraged to read more, which is fantastic. And to those kids that can’t find the book they want to read, write it yourself! Readers are writers, and writers are readers, they go hand in hand.

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We discussed the issue of expense and how that can be overcome. Many teens don’t have ereaders, except on their phones, and even then that’s limited according to data usage. Many teens, due to school and social expectations, don’t have time for jobs, and when they do, their priority is paying for other things. An ebook that is $2 or $3 is more appealing that one that’s $8 or $9, because that extra $5 can be used on that gear they need for that extracurricular activity, but they’d be happy to spend a couple of dollars for something enjoyable to read on that bus trip, because as Miss 18 said, reading is becoming “cool”. It just needs to be affordable too.

What I gleaned from these teens is that they face the same issues I did as a teenager. I wanted to read, but I could never find anything that felt unique or interesting enough for me to spend my limited time or money reading, especially went I was forced to read and analyse the crap out of something I hated. Honestly, the only books I purchased as a teenager were the Harry Potter books. Even my scouring of the school or local library rarely came up with much. I also had to factor in the size of the book, because I had to carry the thing home along with textbooks and what-not. A hardback book was always set aside for a paperback, and nowadays, an ebook is even lighter.

I think, with our tech-savvy rising generation, access and affordability for ereaders will make a huge difference in how many teens spend their time reading.

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So, although there are more and more books aimed at teens, the ratio of teen readers doesn’t match up. The market and industry may have changed, but the lifestyles of teens, and their accessibility to books, hasn’t. Even if it is becoming cool, other factors prevent reading, like time and cost. They’ve also lost interest in what’s “trending” in the market. They want stories that are fun, fresh and exciting, not necessarily issue driven because issues are their daily lives, and with characters who are like them; just normal, everyday kids. If we want to encourage readers among teenagers, the gap needs to be closed.

 

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook, instagram or at her own blog.

Review: Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon by Rena Rocford

26829865 (2)From Goodreads:
Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.

My Thoughts:
I first saw this in our Pitcharama contest. It intrigued me back then, and so I waited for this release eagerly.
This story didn’t disappoint! Action packed, full of adventure, friendship, and a sassy heroine, this novel with an extremely long title that really grabs your attention, has the makings of a fun read for anyone seeking something for pure pleasure.
Allyson was an absolute delight to follow as she rushed through a steep learning curve. She reacted naturally, and often humorously to the situations thrust upon her, and with a heart full of fierce loyalty.
A clean read I’d definitely recommend!

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook or at her own blog.

The Month of Love: James

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To celebrate the Month of Love, Aussie Owned & Read are giving our followers exclusive content! It may be a love letter between characters, a special date, or a scene you’ve never read before.

Today, Katie Hamstead is giving an exclusive alternate perspective of Deceptive Cadence. With the Cadence Duology told through Cadence’s eyes, this scene is through James’. This is the moment he realized he loved her.

Deceptive Cadence

Twelfth grade. Man, the years have gone fast. Scanning the classroom, I took in the other kids in my grade. Some I’d been with for years, some I’d never talked to, and others I’d become close to over the last year.

Having physics first thing on Monday could be the ultimate form of torture through boredom. But Cadence was across the hall, starting her biology class. After the swimming carnival last week, I’d need to watch out for her. Something was up, and I had a feeling I knew what. Becca was up to something.

Movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. In the hallway, Cadence stood, smiling in at me. I glanced at my teacher, who was busy helping some other students, and  I headed out the door. One of the perks of being a senior; leaving without needing permission.

Cadence grinned as she took my hand and we headed out of the science corridor. I loved when she got in these playful moods. She was usually such a stickler for the rules when it came to classes and school. I was pretty sure it was because she didn’t want to disappoint her dad.

“James,” she whispered as we slipped around a corner. “Bio first thing Monday sucks.”

I grinned, touching her soft cheek. Everything about Cadence was so soft. “Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about Physics. Wanna make out to break the monotony?”

She shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Sweet.”

I planted my lips firmly against hers. Her lips, true to form, were so soft, and tasted like her favorite strawberry chap-stick. I slid my fingers into her hair, again, which was so soft, and placed my other hand in the dip of her back. I pulled her closer, holding her tight. If I could, I’d never let this girl go. Sometimes I wished we were in the same grade so I could go to classes with her.

“Mr. Gordon.”

Cadence shoved me off with a gasp at the vice principal’s voice. His timing sucked balls. “Hey, Mr. T.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be somewhere?” He folded his arms over his pale blue business shirt and tipped his head toward the building.

“I’m good right here.”

“James.” Cadence turned bright red and pushed out of my arms. Stupid vice principal ruined everything.

“Get back to class, both of you.”

Cadence muttered something about the bathroom and disappeared in the direction of the girls’ toilets. I watched her go, and edged after her.

“James.” Mr. Turnball stepped in front of me. “You should probably keep that kind of behavior off the school grounds.”

I rolled my eyes. “It’s not like I’m smoking or drinking, sir.”

“Yes, I am glad you stopped doing those things, but let’s keep this winning streak up, eh?”

“Fine,” I grumbled and turned back toward the labs.

In class, I couldn’t stop thinking about Cadence. I shut my eyes, remembering the summer together, her skin turning brown under the sun on the beach or at the pool, the late night making out in our backyards to the sounds of cicadas. I’d never had a more perfect summer, and it was all because of her.

It was weird, feeling the way I did. The girls I’d been with in the past were just fun, fleeting, and lacked any meaning to me. But Cadence was more than all of that. I trusted her more than I’d ever trusted anyone, and the way she looked at me sometimes, with those big, dark blue eyes, man, I was a goner.

As I headed out to my next class, I glanced in at her. She grinned and hurried out to meet me. “What’s up next?”

“P.E.,” I answered, taking in her bright face. I knew there were girls around that were just as pretty as her, but there was something about her, something about the way she smiled, the familiarity of the freckles across her nose, that made her outshine everyone else.

“What’s up with you?” she asked, elbowing me in the ribs. “You’re unusually quiet. Turnball give you a lecture?”

“Nah.” I brushed her hair back over her shoulder. “I’m having trouble waking up. I think I may have fallen asleep in class.”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.”

“Brat.” I flicked her ear and she laughed.

And right at that moment, as she smiled up at me, it hit me. I was in love with Cadence. Like for real in love. Not just yeah, she’s my awesome, hot girlfriend, but I could see myself with her forever. I never wanted to live without her.

I gave her a long kiss as she tried to leave me to go to her own class, and she pushed me away with a giggle. “You’re so out of it today. I’ll see ya after class.”

She waved as she turned toward the main building and I stood watching her go. I’m in love with her, and it’s the best feeling in the world. I might have been only seventeen, but I knew. The realization came without fanfare or fireworks, or any crazy explosive moment, but I knew Cadence was it. I’d never love anyone else the way I loved her.

 

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 50,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook or at her own blog.