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I know… I have more movies to share and I have been tagged in another blog hop, but FIRST…

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Carys Jones released her book Dare to Dream on February 17th!

I am proud to showcase this new book… give you a taste (an excerpt from the book appears later!)and my thoughts.

Yes! I have read it! And you might just want to too!

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The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

Buy DARE TO DREAM by Carys Jones today!

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Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo. When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science-fiction films or playing video games. She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything. To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

Find more of Carys Jones on her website, like her on facebook or follow on twitter.

And here is an exclusive Dare to Dream Excerpt!

Maggie just couldn’t settle as she sat in registration. She didn’t hear her teacher drone out the names of her classmates to record their afternoon attendance. Her mind was racing, her eyes focused on the ebony skies. Her unusual behavior went unnoticed by everyone except Andy Greene, who watched her from across the room. Maggie was oblivious to his attention. She knew she had slowly been falling apart for a while; she was starting to get accustomed to people eyeing her warily. Maggie wasn’t even pretending to listen to her teacher; she had given up on conducting a charade of interest.

“I just have a few things to go over with you,” Miss Foley, their form tutor, began. She was young, barely out of school herself.

“I need to talk to you all about the girls’ toilets out by the sports hall,” Miss Foley continued. No one was really listening; people were subtly playing with their mobile phones, which were contraband. Others were whispering amongst themselves, delivering the latest lunchtime gossip. All of these Miss Foley ignored, as they were acceptable levels of disruption, but when Maggie Trafford abruptly got up from her seat and proceeded for the classroom door, she had no choice but to challenge the girl.

“And where do you think you’re going, Miss Trafford?”

Maggie stopped and sighed in annoyance before turning back to face her teacher.

“I’m leaving.”

“Leaving?”

“Yes, I’m leaving school, right now. I can’t stay any longer.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll be doing no such thing—now sit back down,” Miss Foley said as sternly as she could. Though her eyebrows bunched together, her tone lacked the true conviction to make Maggie take her seriously. Miss Foley was the kind of teacher who cared about being liked by her students, but Maggie was in no mood to appease such a desire. Maggie would be mean to Miss Foley if she had to be: there was too much at stake to waste time being pleasant and obedient.

“No, I’m leaving.”

“Maggie Trafford, you will do as I say! Now sit back down.”

“The world is about to end!” Maggie cried, gesturing to the black sky beyond the classroom windows. “And I for one am not going to sit here and wait for it to happen!”

“The world is not ending. Don’t be absurd. Now, sit down.”

“No, I told you, I’m leaving. Expel me if you like—it makes no difference. Tomorrow, none of this will be here.”

“You’ve clearly lost your mind, Margaret. Please stop disrupting the rest of the class with your insane ramblings.”

“She’s not insane! She’s right, and I’m going with her!” Dawn declared, rising to her feet and heading over to her friend.

“Miss Brady, your loyalties to your friend are only going to land you in trouble. Both of you, sit down.”

“No, we are leaving,” Maggie said calmly, turning away and opening the classroom door.

“Then leave,” Miss Foley said from behind gritted teeth, her patience wearing thin. “But walk through that door, and I promise you—”

“Wait!” a male voice called out from the other side of the room. The other students had now ceased to text or gossip, transfixed instead by the drama unfolding before them. Everyone turned and stared at Andy Greene, who was now on his feet, his eyes locked on Maggie.

“Miss Foley, Maggie’s just sick. She’s been unwell for a while. Don’t be so hard on her.”

“Since you’re also intent on being so vocal, perhaps you should leave too.” Miss Foley scowled, angered by the growing disruption in her class. “And I’ll see all three of you in detention later.”

“What?” Andy looked both horrified and devastated at the same time.

“Well, let’s go, then,” Maggie ordered, not quite knowing what to say. She had not anticipated followers.

“There’s the door.” Miss Foley pointed fiercely at the exit. “Anyone else who has a desire to leave before the world ends can see me in detention at three.”

Andy slowly stood up and placed his bag on his shoulders as, around him, some of his friends made teasing sounds. He never got in trouble—his record was as golden as Maggie’s.

“Today, Mr. Greene!” Miss Foley said cruelly, her eyes still narrowed. “Apparently, you don’t have time to waste.”

Andy reluctantly navigated his way through the maze of desks and joined Maggie and Dawn at the door.

“I’ll see you all at three, since the world won’t be ending, but your bad behavior will be!”

“I’d say go to hell, Miss Foley, but you’ll be there soon enough,” Maggie said, her voice deadpan. Then she turned and left the classroom, feeling empowered.

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As I mentioned, I have read this! I was given a eARC, for my chance to read and review.

I am giving this book four stars.

After reading this excerpt, you wonder… does the world end? How does Maggie know?

It began with a dream, Maggie’s dream, of red lightning flashing from a dark sky, turning buildings to ash. A dream that shook her to her core. It began with the falling of the massive structures of Stonehenge, one by one.

The image of the dream will stay in my head forever. Just so cool.

Warning… spoilers may appear…

The book is told through Maggie, but switches point of view, nearly omniscient POV. We end up in the mind of the therapist, the news reporter, Maggie’s mother, and friends. The switching did bother me a little, keeping me from really connecting to the characters, leaving me wondering why I needed to see into the mind of the therapist for that one moment, or get a view from the head of the news reporter a few times. However, when we move into her father’s mind, I was intrigued!

I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Maggie’s family life, the chaos of five kids and a single mom living in a small house felt true. The need Maggie had to find her absent father, certain that he could fix everything, made my heart ache. Maggie’s struggles in school, and not grade-wise, people, she’s a smarty-pants, but with her peers made me remember high school (and not fondly). Her best friend, surprisingly a popular girl, hung by Maggie’s side, even believed her when she spouted crazy talk of the end of the world.

And when the world ends, cause it does… she saves her friend and one other, a boy who has had a crush on Maggie forever. The dreams give her an image, a place to go, lead her to safety. They walk miles and miles, slowly realizing what has really happened and the impact it has on their lives. Their reactions are all different and believable.

And the alien orbs flying through the wreckage… completely creepy and awesome.

The way Maggie immediately connects the falling of Stonehenge to her dreams seemed fast to me. Her certainty that they would be safe at the caves, which she had seen in her dreams, bothered me a bit. I guess I needed more there.

However, I continued to read, because I needed to know. What had happened? Why? The scene with her father… well, he better not be dead, because I need more of him)… yeah.

And the final scene. The final line of the book sent my heart a flutter. I love it when books do that. And when she publishes the sequels, she has told me there will be (cause I asked), I will read them.

Because there are things I need to know.

Happy reading, everyone!

 

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