Win a Mystery Box!

Enter to win a sweet mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing!

Remember that time I read and reviewed a rad YA novel called Serenade?  Well the book has officially been published as of today and the author and the publisher are doing a GIVEAWAY!!! Click below to enter to win a sweet mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing. The giveaway ends on APRIL 23RD so make sure to get you entry in fast!

Read further for an excerpt of Serenade and for more information about this up and coming Canadian author. Don’t forget to pick a copy Serenade!

Available at:
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Serenade
Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.

Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.

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EXCERPT:

This was it, now or never.

I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.

I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…

I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…

Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.

“Stop fighting,” he said.

His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.

“Stop… please,” he begged.

His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.

“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.

We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.

“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.

He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”

He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.

“I promise,” I said.

Author Bio:

Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.

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Serenade by Heather McKenzie

Ah to be rich… but restricted in life and in love. McKenzie is a promising author that is going to give readers and powerhouse trilogy that will be sure to be successful.

Set in an iconic Canadian setting, this novel is an action-packed YA romance.

4/5 stars.
Read from December 20 to 21, 2016.
ebook.

Cheers to Heather McKenzie for providing me an ARC edition of this book for an honest review. I love to read and support new authors! It has been a while since I’ve read a YA novel and even longer since I read one with some substance so this was a refreshing read.

Kaya Lowen, by all appearances, lives the life that every teenager dreams about: She is the heiress of a billion dollar company and lives the life of luxury with her family in a castle in Banff, Canada. However, Kaya’s life is anything but easy as there are those that wish to assassinate her, meaning that Kaya is heavily guarded at all times and is nearly a prisoner in her own home. Smart and stubborn, Kaya is constantly at odds with those around her in a fight for her independence. Thankfully Kaya has a close bond with the people who protect her. Stephen has become more like a father to her since her own is never around and the youngest guard, Oliver,  has begun to catch her eye. As that intrigue turns into love, Kaya meets a stranger on the evening of her 18th birthday that leaves her questioning her relationship with Oliver and the idea of love. Confused and distressed, Kaya’s world comes apart when she is kidnapped and starts to discover some of her family’s darkest secrets.

Kaya is a likeable and down to earth character, however she is naive which, considering her upbringing, makes sense. One of the things I loved best about Kaya is that she is an endurance runner. The first chapter drew me in with the descriptions of her running. The author must also be a runner to be able to describe that feeling so well. Kaya even wants to run the one of the most iconic Canadian ultras, The Death Race, which is a 125 km run in the Rocky Mountains.

As a Canadian living abroad it was also wonderful to get such beautiful descriptions of Banff, a place I have run and visited many times. It made me miss home. What was also great about this book was the intense pace it kept. There were no lulls in the story or with the romance and the scenes were adventurous and exciting. The last quarter of the book is riveting and the twist about Kaya’s father is jaw-dropping; that bastard is selfish madman!

Additionally, the author, whether on purpose or not, shows what the beginnings of a controlling  and unhealthy relationship looks like. Oliver eventually outright claims Kaya and strips her of her independence and makes her believe it is for her own safety. It was refreshing to see Kaya come into her own as a character in these aspects.

There were two aspects of this novel I wasn’t keen on, one is the title. It doesn’t seem to relate well to the novel but the story line is going to become a series so perhaps that will make a bit more sense later, or perhaps the author is going a similar title approach to the Twilight series. The second aspect of this novel I wasn’t keen on was the love at first sight that was introduced with the mysterious stranger that Kaya meets. I mean, I get it. It seems wonderful to think that you can be that swept of your feet and in love but it was a bit over the top for me. However, I seriously struggle with most romance as it is so for those that are more into romance than myself the author did a great job.

McKenzie is a promising author that is going to give readers and powerhouse trilogy that will be sure to be successful. I would recommend this novel for YA and romance lovers, as well for readers who are runners. The novel is due to be published in April 2017 so keep your eyes open for it!