Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: Because of Him, The Mind Breaker Accounts #2

When we last left the Mind Breakers, there were many questions unanswered and numerous troubles looming in their midst. Denni's relationship with Jack has hit the pause button due to a special friend from Jack's past. Amos is either missing or dead--no one's quite sure. Liz is still trying to convince the others that she can be trusted. And as for Alivien, we've yet to really see what this rambunctious redhead is capable of. 

Now that Cox Anderson has been taken into custody, there are rumors surfacing that there's someone else picking up where he left off. Liz seems to know the secret, but Jack is weary to hear that the double agent could very well be one of his closest friends. 

There's a new threat lingering in the distance, and it stinks of betrayal.

**I received an ARC of Because of Him from the author. All opinions are my own. It's worth noting that my copy is not a final copy of the book, and things may have changed in the final printing.**

Thanks for the extra goodies, Megan!

At the beginning of Because of Him, tension runs high as the Mind Breakers are forced into hiding by the government and Cox's successor. In the second book, there were new alliances forged, old romances rekindled, and surprising betrayals.

One of my favorite parts of the story was Liz's character development. She was originally very cold and sealed off from the group, even hostile, but by the end I could see she was an incredibly interesting and complex character. I look forward to seeing even more of the "real" Liz in book three. That's not to say Liz was the only one with development: Avery also made great strides. I originally wrote off Avery as a filler character, only existing to create a cliche love triangle. I was so wrong. She was full of independence and emotion in this book, and it was a breathe of fresh air.

If possible, I loved Because of Him even more than Without Me (Book 1). The story unfolded at a quick but comfortable pace. Rather than solely focusing on the romance between Jack and Denni, BoH saw more of other characters, from Alivien to Amos, learning about their lives and personalities. The new characters were also full of potential, and just as well written as the characters I knew and loved. Makenna in particular captured my heart, and I wish there had been more about her in the book. Maybe this could be material for a short story, Megan?

Because of Him deserves 5/5 stars, hands down. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and when I got to last page, I only wished there were more. I can't wait for the third and final book in the series. Once again, thank you to Megan Duke for sending me this ARC! You can purchase Because of Him on Amazon.

Favorite Quotes

“He’s beginning to feel apprehensive. The nerves that were raging from excitement are now turning into fear. I’ve always known the people we control are aware of what’s happening, but I’ve never taken the time to feel it.

He’s scared.

I try to imagine what it would be like for my body and mind to make decisions without me. Guilt washes over me. I’ve never felt this way before. Suddenly this isn’t worth it.” - Liz

'Throughout the years, I've watched as he corrupted the souls of good people and tricked them into believing they were gods that answered to no one and nothing but him. For the four of us that worked in the operation, it was extremely hard to fight that urge and not show everyone just how powerful we could be.' - Jack 

"I'm myself when I'm with you," I tell him breathlessly. "And I can't thank you enough for that." - Denni, to Jack

'As I look around at everyone smiling with confidence at putting our plan into action, I realize that I'm a part of it. I've become a part of this group. I'm a Mind Breaker now, and these people have become my friends.' - Denni 

"They need to know what they created. They need to know we're not just experiments, doomed to fail and die without a purpose.” - [spoiler]


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August 2015 Favorites

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I've posted on this blog, and even longer since I've posted about my favorites. I should stop promising I'll write more often, because realistically, that's not going to happen.


My first favorite this month is Halsey's new album, BADLANDS. I'm not usually one for pop music, but I recently heard of Halsey and fell in love with her dark, yet ethereal, style of pop. Her description of BADLANDS is that the Badlands are a mental place much like Vegas, full of debauchery and sin. The album tells a story of her journey through the Badlands, and her decision to leave. Songs about love, mental illness, power, and finding a sense of self leave you feeling as though we can all leave our personal Badlands.

Coloring Pages

Being a person with an anxiety disorder, there are often times when I need to take an hour, focus on one meaningless task, and clear my mind. Lately that's meant picking up a box of crayons and an adult coloring sheet, and going to town. It's the perfect distraction for me, because it requires my full attention, but there are no consequences if I mess up. Bonus: it's free. Just a quick google search for "adult coloring pages" will yield thousands of results for you to print out. I like to print several at once and keep them in a box for bad days.

Updated Wardrobe

I recently went on a shopping spree for the upcoming cooler seasons, and two things I fell in love with are this floral skirt from Forever 21 and these combat boots from Hot Topic. They look particularly great together, and it's a nice change from my go-to look of jeans and a T-shirt.


Over the last few weeks I've become obsessed with the web series Carmilla, based on the novella of the same name by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Carmilla takes place at a university in Austria with a small... supernatural creature problem. There's romance and adventure, with a diverse and talented cast. One of the most interesting things about the series is the narrative: much like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the entire story is shown from the viewpoint of one character's webcam. You can watch the entire series here on youtube.

What were your favorites in August? Tell me in the comments!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Without Me by Megan Duke (The Mind Breaker Accounts #1)

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mind?

For 21-year-old Denni, there is no doubt in her mind that Amos is the one. That is until Jack manages to catch her attention. When she discovers it isn’t just a crush causing this stranger to intrude her thoughts, a secret world of mind control is unleashed around her. It is revealed that both Amos and Jack belong to a special breed of humans called Mind Breakers, and over time Denni learns that the last two years of her life have been controlled by their influence. Soon she realizes that the people she thought she knew, and the life she has most recently grown accustomed to, might not have ever been real in the first place. Her thoughts, emotions, and physical actions are all at stake.

**I received an ARC of Without Me from the author. All opinions are my own**

Remember when I was part of the blog tour for the release of Infinite Limits by Megan Duke? Well, Megan’s done it again with her new book. Without Me is the first novel in her upcoming Paranormal Romance/NA series, The Mind Breaker Accounts. The first book is the story of Denni and her discovery of a secret group of humans called Mind Breakers. These are people who were given a drug at birth and can now influence and control others’ thoughts and actions, with very few limitations. At the beginning of the book, Denni meets Jack, one of the original seven Mind Breakers. Jack reveals that the last two years have been a lie created by her boyfriend, Amos Beckett. When Denni is unwillingly given a form of the original MB drug, she and Jack go on a search to find out why she was chosen. Along the way, they meet the rest of the original seven and must figure out who they can trust.

I was blown away by Without Me. This is paranormal romance done right, with just the right amount of emotion and action mixed with well-written characters. I give it 5/5 stars! Check it out on Goodreads here or preorder it here. I can't wait to see what happens in the second book!

Favorite Quotes:

“None of this would have happened without me,” I say. “My own choices are what started it all.”  -- pg. 4, Denni

“She’s lost,” he speaks quietly. “Her world’s been scarred and the vision around her is unclear. In everyone else’s mind, she’s perfect, but she can’t see that because she’s surrounded by imperfections. In all reality, she wishes to see what they see. She wishes to see beauty and not damage.” -- pg. 96, Jack

“Cox wanted us to be a sort of secret weapon. We could help settle negotiations between countries at war. We could stop crime and keep everyone safe. We would be the answer to the puzzle of world peace. It sounded great, ya know? I mean who wouldn’t want something like that? We’d be creating our own utopia. But it didn’t stay that way.”  --pg. 124, Jack

“This wasn’t fate. It was forced upon us. If they wanted this so badly, then I’m going to give it to them. I’m going to show them exactly what they created.” -- pg. 152, Liz

“We were brainwashed. We were brainwashed into believing that who we were and what we could do had a purpose. We were meant to use it. We were all tricked into thinking we were heroes, when really Cox wanted us to be villains.” -- pg. 221, Jack

It’s their fault. If human nature didn’t propel us to be selfish and never satisfied with what we have, this never would have happened. Innocent children would have never been born into a life predetermined for destruction. Families wouldn’t have broken apart. No one would have had to die for something that wasn’t his or her fault. -- pg. 251, Denni

Q&A With The Author

Q: You wrote the first two books of The Mind Breaker Accounts when you were 17, and just recently took them off the market to rewrite. What inspired you to do that?

A: This series is something I’ve kept on the back burner for a long time. It originally started as a contemporary novel, but it slowly developed into something much bigger. I think in a way it intimidated me. That’s why I kept changing it and putting off taking it seriously. I self-published the first 2 books in 2012, just to see what happened, and at that point no one knew who I was. My family and friends bought copies, but it never went any further than that. After publishing Small Circles, I learned a lot about writing and publishing. I decided to take The Mind Breaker Accounts down and approach it with a fresh and newly educated perspective. The original version of this series is terrible. I promise. I know so much more now and feel ten times more confident as a writer. This was basically a project 3 years in the making.

Q: The second book of the series comes out this August! Are there any non-spoilers you can give us?

A: You will hear from more characters in book 2, including Alivien and Liz. There are also several new couples you will be introduced to.

Q: You’ve gone from writing your YA series, Small Circles, to the Mind Breaker Accounts, which is Paranormal Romance/New Adult. Do you feel your writing style is different when writing New Adult, versus Young Adult?

A: I honestly don’t know. Writing NA is not that much different than writing YA. You have a lot less restrictions when writing for an older audience, so I felt as if I had a bit more freedom. However, going from contemporary to paranormal is a huge stretch. People that read the original drafts of TMBA said that it read like a contemporary but still tossed in bits of action and excitement along the way. I was worried about that at first, but then I decided to roll with it and keep the contemporary feel. Maybe that’s my style: making even the paranormal feel somewhat realistic.

Q: And finally, describe Alivien Basinger, character of the day, in a few sentences.

A: Alivien is a fireball. I like to think of her as a grenade with the pin just pulled. She’s always seconds from going off, but she still has a disturbing calm about her. She’s brutally honest and tough. She’s strong and has a very dominant presence amongst the other characters.

More about the character of the day:

  • Name: Alivien Renae Basinger
  • Hair: long, red
  • Eyes: blue, navy
  • Dreamcasting: Emma Stone
  • Powers: controlling people, objects, and elements without contact
  • Born in Virginia, but lives in Boston after the trials
  • Her stepsister is FBI Agent Echo Rendez
  • She is one of the original seven Mind Breakers, but did not continue training after the trials
  • Her closest friend of the group is Jack Touns

You can keep up with the tour by checking out Living In A World Of Book Quotes tomorrow!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe: Healthy 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bites (With Coconut Oil)

Back in my February/March Favorites post, I talked about my healthy 3 ingredient chocolate bites. Today I'm finally sharing the recipe! The recipe takes a healthier approach to your average chocolate, thanks to the magic of... coconut oil (Here's a great reference post about the benefits of CO). Obviously, your tastes may differ from mine, so feel free to adjust the amount of each ingredient to your preference.


1 cup unrefined coconut oil

- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1:1 ratio of coconut to cocoa for milder chocolate; add more cocoa for stronger taste)

- sugar, to taste. (You can use either refined white sugar or raw sugar. I used raw for this batch.)

- Optional: 1 drop peppermint essential oil -or- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine your ingredients in a glass bowl and melt either in the microwave or a double broiler/bain marie. Once it's liquid and mixed, pour or spoon your delicious chocolate into an ice cube tray, and put it in the freezer to harden. Wait an hour, pop your chocolate bites out of the tray, and enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments about how you liked it, or any changes you made to it!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

February/March 2015 Favorites

I feel like I've abandoned this blog lately! Don't worry, I've got some great posts lined up for the next few months.

Remember how I planned to do monthly favorites posts this year? I'm still doing that, but since I only had one or two favorites in February, I decided to put my February and March favorites into the same post.

Back in mid-February, I read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor on the recommendation of Megan Duke (who loves the series so much she has one of the the quotes as a tattoo). I was blown away! I tend to stay away from Paranormal YA, simply because a lot of authors put too much emphasis on the supernatural aspects of their characters, without bothering to create a realistic setting for the story. Daughter of Smoke & Bone doesn't have this problem. Everything about it pulled me in from the beginning, and it has everything you could want from a good series: 3-dimensional characters, romance (but not so much as to overpower the message of the story), character development, humor, and yes, loss. 5/5 stars!

My next favorite is something I'm really excited about - my healthy 3 ingredient chocolate bites! They're delicious, especially with strawberries, they only take about 5 minutes to make, and they're super healthy! Bonus: you can make as many or as few as you like. Full recipe coming soon.

I'm a big Disney fan, and when I finally got around to watching Big Hero 6 with my favorite kiddo, I loved it. There was plenty of action, but also some really emotional moments that had me tearing up. I'm a baby; at one point Mackenzie reached over, patted my shoulder, and said "It's not that sad, Lainey. Baymax comes back". It's a great movie, whether you watch it with kids or by yourself.

A few weeks ago, in an effort to cut down on the number of toxins I willingly put in my body, I purged all of my makeup. All of it. Everything that had a rating higher than a two on the EWG Skin Deep Database was either chucked into the trash bin or passed on to one of my friends. As you can imagine, that left me in need of some new, all natural makeup. After doing some research, I decided to take a chance and buy the Southern Belle Cream Foundation, Concealer, and Mineral Powder Foundation (plus some samples) from Cowgirl Dirt. All of their products are completely natural, and they're great! Since I've started using Cowgirl Dirt instead of my chemical laden products, my skin has cleared up drastically, and I need far less makeup.

 (hey, short hair!)

My last favorite is this Stripe It Lucky Skirt from Modcloth. I snagged this last month on sale for $20, and since then I've started wearing it with everything. I like that I can dress it up with heels and a blazer, or dress it down with Converse and a henley, plus it's adorable without being too preppy!

What have you fallen in love with this month? Let me know in the comments.