Friday, October 31, 2014

October 2014 Wrap Up

Goodbye October, and welcome November! It's the season of delicious food, warm fires, and lots of family/friends time. I love this time of year! Before we say goodbye to October officially though, let's take a look at what I read this month. Shall we?


(C) = Children / (YA) = Young Adult / (NA) = New Adult
(A) = Adult / (MG) = Middle Grade
** Books read in previous months

Books read and reviewed in October:
(YA) The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry - Review (4/5)
(YA) A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley - Review (2/5)
(YA) *GN* In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang - Review (3/5)
(A) The Demeter Code by Russell Brooks - Review (4/5)
(MG) *GN* Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke - Review (5/5)
(YA) *GN* Cardboard by Doug TenNapel - Review (3/5)
(A) Dog's Don't Look Both Ways by Jane Hanser - Review (4/5)
(YA) The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts - Review (2/5)
(A) Love Thy Neighbor by Sophie Wintner - Review (2/5)
(A) A Kiss of Cabernet by Pamela Gibson - Review (4/5)

Total books reviewed: 10
Toward month totals: 10

Books read but not reviewed:
(MG) Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville (3/5)
(MG) The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill (5/5)
(A) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (4/5)
(A) Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King (4/5)
(YA) Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (3/5)
(MG) The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau (3/5)
(YA) The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbot (4/5)

Total books read but not reviewed: 7
Grand Total: 17

Reading Progress: COMPLETED! I've read 178 out of 175 books.

Favorite book of the month?

Well this month was actually a little bit lacking in the high reviews department, but I have to say that Zita the Spacegirl and The Witch's Boy both stole my heart! It's a toss up between those two.

How did you do this month?

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

Today's spotlight is on a book that I've been eagerly anticipating since I first heard that it was on its way. Not only is it written by E.C. Meyers, who is a wonderful author, but it's a techno thriller will all the markings of a book that I'll love. Want to see if it's for you as well? Here's the synopsis! Check it out!

"What is the Silence of Six, and what are you going to do about it?"

These are the last words uttered by 17-year old Max Stein’s genius best friend Evan just moments before he kills himself after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential Debate at their high school.

Haunted by the unforgettable image of his best friend’s death, Max’s entire world is upended as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting for his own innocence, Max is on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver through the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances and virtual identities — all the while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late.

A thriller with computer hacking and tons of twists? You have my attention! You can add this book to your Goodreads, Amazon, or BookLikes list. Make sure you don't forget that it releases on November 5, 2014. Now, please enjoy a trailer and then scroll down for a giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, two winners will be taking home a finished copy of The Silence of Six.
U.S. mailing address only please! Giveaway will run until 11/7/14.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: A Kiss of Cabernet

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: A Kiss of Cabernet
    *Series: A Love in Wine Country Novel
Author: Pamela Gibson
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Pages: Kindle; 188
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genre: Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love books set in wine country, and feisty characters with big hearts.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
The sweetest vintage of all is the one you can’t have…

Napa Valley vineyard manager Paige Reynoso is furious. After a six-year absence, her boss—big-city entrepreneur Jake Madison—has returned, only to announce he’s selling the vineyard. Paige has always dreamed of buying Garnet Hill, which sits on land where her ancestors first settled, but without the cash, she’s out of luck. And then there’s an even bigger problem…she has a serious thing for the surprisingly tempting man who’s just destroyed her dream.

Jake’s in a tight spot. With his other business ventures struggling, he needs cash—fast. The last thing he needs is the too-lovely Paige convincing him the grapes are an effective long-term investment. Or needing Paige herself, whose spirit and heart bring his to life. But as their attraction grows, Jake knows he’s not in a position to offer her anything beyond this moment. Because Jake has a big secret…and it has nothing to do with sour grapes.

If there was one place I could loose myself forever, it would be Napa Valley. The beauty of this area alone is enough to make you want to stay. Then you try the wines, and everything settles into place. I never pass up an opportunity to devour a book set in this seductive background. Especially when it's a romance. What better place for love? What I was most excited about, in this instance, was that Paige didn't just live in Napa Valley. Oh, no. She worked the land. I couldn't wait to be there, right beside her, and she worked the land and her way into Jake's heart.

Now it's no secret that I love a strong female character, and Paige Reynoso fits that perfectly. Warm and intelligent, Paige has a passion for her job that is contagious. It's easy to get caught up in her excitement. I had no idea that I'd not only be treated to a love story, but also learn a thing or two about wine! It's evident that Pamela Gibson knows her vineyards. Each time Paige talked about the process behind growing excellent grapes, I was rapt. It added another level to this story, and I ate it up.

Let's not forget about Jake though. It was hard for me not to fall for his knowing smirk, and his deep loyalties to his employees. I adored the fact that Jake wasn't just another gruff businessman. He was so much more than that. Every thought he had, he was considering others. Even when I didn't quite agree with his decisions, I couldn't help but sigh in defeat. He's just too sweet, and it came as no surprise to me that he and Paige had sparks between them. These two were just perfection.

If you're looking for a book to curl up with, and devour in one afternoon, you've found it. A Kiss of Cabernet is the type of story that is impossible to put down until it's done. I know that I fell in love with the characters, and with the stunning setting. It's my hope that you will too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Musings

Happy Wednesday friends! Today you get an adorable squirrel stealing a pumpkin because 1) it's almost Halloween and 2) cute animal pictures cheer me up. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love seeing how creative people can be with their costumes. The more detail the better in my opinion, even though I'm pretty terrible at costumes myself. The costumes that don't fit through doors always make me laugh because I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must be to have to turn sideways through every doorway you walk through. Since it's only one day a year I suppose it isn't that terrible but it still makes me giggle.

Hubby and I don't currently have plans for the festive day so we may just be passing out candy to the neighborhood kids or watching scary movies. My job apparently goes all out with pumpkin carving, lunch and a costume contest so it'll be fun to see what my coworkers are dressing up as.

Do you have any Halloween traditions? What is the best costume you've ever seen? We want to hear what you do!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giveaway: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories

It's one week of the year that we dedicate to all things spooky, and I can't think of a better time to host a giveaway of this classic story! For those of you who don't know, Penguin Classics has recently released The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories. It's a new package for Washington Irving's classic stories, with an added introduction and notes by Elizabeth L. Bradley


Perhaps the marker of a true mythos is when the stories themselves overshadow their creator. Originally published under a pseudonym as The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW AND OTHER STORIES (A Penguin Classics Original; On-sale date: September 30, 2014; $11.00) gave America its own haunted mythology. This new collection of larger-than-life tales contains Washington Irving’s best-known literary inventions—Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Rip Van Winkle—that continue to capture our imaginations today, and features an introduction and notes by Elizabeth L. Bradley, author of Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York and literary consultant to Historic Hudson Valley, the caretakers of Irving’s Tarrytown, New York home.

The setting of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is renowned for the supernaturalism that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors. The most infamous specter in the Hollow is the Headless Horseman, said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during the American Revolutionary War, and who “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head.” The “Legend” relates the tale of Ichabod Crane, a superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with townsman Abraham Van Brunt for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer, Baltus Van Tassel. Crane sees marriage to Katrina as a means of procuring Van Tassel’s extravagant wealth. Bones, the local hero, vies with Ichabod for Katrina's hand, playing a series of pranks on the jittery schoolmaster, and the fate of Sleepy Hollow's fortune weighs in the balance for some time. The tension among the three is soon brought to a head.


WASHINGTON IRVING (1783–1859) is generally credited with being the father of the American short story and was the first American writer to achieve international renown. He debuted in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, and is best known for his short stories Rip Van Winkle (1819) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He has written several historical works covering figures such as George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

ELIZABETH L. BRADLEY, the author of I, serves as literary consultant to Historic Hudson Valley, the caretakers of Sunnyside—Irving’s Tarrytown, New York, home. She also wrote the introduction and notes for the Penguin Classics edition of Irving’s A History of New York.

Please enjoy the book trailer that Penguin has so kindly sent along, and scroll down to the bottom for the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories. U.S. and Canada only please. Good luck!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: Love Thy Neighbor by Sophie Wintner

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Love Thy Neighbor
Author: Sophie Wintner
Publisher: Entangled: Lovestruck
Pages: Ebook; 199
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genre: Romance

HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy characters that start out broken and slowly change.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
He's designed for delicious trouble...

Interior designer Nikki Norris is at the end of her rope. She's lost her business, and her fiancé who called off their engagement. Now she's broke and on her own, living in a loft apartment she can barely afford. But something in her feng shui must be working, because her new neighbor across the hall is a sexy Brit fashion photographer...and he has just the thing to turn Nikki's bad luck around.

Dallas is tired of stick-thin fashion models with no personality. So when his curvaceous new neighbor, Nikki, seeks his help in making her ex jealous, Dallas is only too happy to oblige the woman who sets his libido on fire every time she walks into a room. Dallas, not being one to make commitments, thinks all he wants is a little taste of Nikki. But will it be enough?

Just as Nikki and Dallas hatch their plan, the wicked chemistry between them—growing more irresistible by the second—complicates things. Now the lines between make-believe and making love blur. Have Nikki and Dallas found a perfect arrangement... or have they designed the perfect plan for disaster?

It breaks my heart to announce this, but I've finally found an Entangled romance book that I just didn't click with. I know, it's devastating. You all know that I always review honestly though. So please excuse any rambling below as I try to let you know why this book just wasn't for me.

I'll start with Nikki. She was such a hard character for me to like. Understandably, she's rather broken up at the beginning of the book. After loosing both her business and her fiancé, she's just trying to pick up the pieces. When I first found out that Nikki's character was so self-deprecating, I let it go and chalked it up to her recent experiences. However as the book went on, even after Dallas started to show interest in her, it just kept up. Hearing Nikki constantly call herself "fat" and "chubby" started to grate on my nerves. Meshed together with her inability to let her ex-fiancé go, it created an image of a weak woman in my mind. I didn't hate Nikki. Not at all. The problem for me was that, for the first half of the book, she just refused to listen to reason. I can only take so much negativity.

I would have been willing to ignore this, for the most part, if it wasn't for the fact that Dallas also had his fair share of what I like to call "broken character syndrome". Coming into the relationship with his own baggage, Dallas was more likable than Nikki but definitely just as critical of himself. This was hard for me. No matter which chapter I read, no matter what character was telling the story, self loathing and the inability to change took center stage. Yes, I completely understand this was necessary for the rest of the story to work. I also see that it was meant to build tension for later. It just didn't work for me, as a reader. I wanted to shake some sense into both of them and I couldn't connect with their personalities.

Not everything about Love Thy Neighbor was a miss for me though. I definitely loved the chemistry between these two, and applaud the fact that Dallas worked so hard to make Nikki understand how much she was worth. The fact that Sophie Wintner uses Dallas as a means to show that men do truly enjoy natural beauty, made me smile. He was such a debonair guy, and I have nothing but love for the steamy scenes that he shared with Nikki. They may have been short, but they were absolutely perfect. If only the characters and their story had been easier for me to connect with, I know I would have liked this book more. I know that there will plenty of people out there who adore Nikki and Dallas' journey. I just wasn't swayed.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Crushed by Gina Robinson

Are you ready for some more bookish goodness this week? I hope so, because this blitz is definitely ready for you. In the spotlight today is Crushed, the second book in The Rushed series by Gina Robinson. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom! There's a giveaway down there for you!

Goodreads | Amazon
Some loves can’t be… Crushed

Have you ever done something stupid? Like get drunk and hookup with a guy because your heart was broken by someone else? Like his best friend. And then done something really dumb, like fall in love with your hookup? Hookups aren’t stick-around guys. I’m hoping Dakota will be different. But hoping has gotten me in trouble before.

The absolute last girl I want to see in my court-ordered alcohol and drug information school, the girl who landed me here in the first place, walks in. After we hooked up, I thought I’d gotten Morgan out of my system. So why is my pulse racing? I can’t afford to screw up right now. I know I should avoid her. Morgan has a way of messing up my life. But she’s the only one who understands.

     Alcohol is a big, fat liar. It seduces you with its charm and then whispers sweet lies, like, You look really hot doing a keg stand in a skirt that shows off your butt cheeks and new pink thong. Totally forgetting that you have the flattest butt on the planet. And it's impossible to back arch in that position to accentuate your butt's very few positives.

     Or, Yeah, scooping jam directly from the jar with your bare hands and slathering it on your face in an attempt to find your mouth is really going to impress the house guy you've been in love with forever. He's totally going to fall in love with you now.

     Or, It's a great idea to sleep with the house guy's best friend out of revenge. That will show Zach. He'll notice you now. And, Telling Dakota all your hurts and deepest private thoughts is perfectly reasonable. He's a sympathetic guy, right? His lips are sealed. Never mind that he's Zach's best friend from high school and the president of the top frat on campus. And could ruin you without giving it a second thought.

     Or my personal favorite, Go ahead. Lie down in the alley behind the frat and Dakota's car. You should totally sleep there. It's comfy and safe.

     Liar. Liar. Liar!

Gina Robinson is the award-winning author of the contemporary new adult romances Reckless Longing, Reckless Secrets, and Reckless Together, and the Agent Ex series of humorous romantic suspense novels. Rushed, the first book in her new college-set new adult series will be released on July 3, 2014. She's currently working on Crushed, the second book of this series featuring a surprising couple from Rushed. Look for Crushed in early fall 2014.

Enter to win a copy of Rushed, the first book in the series, below!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Bodies We Wear
Author: Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: September 23, 2014 
Source: Publisher
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darker reads with twists and turns.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye's plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she's become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?

The biggest compliment that I can give The Bodies We Wear is that it starts strong. It truly does. The Faye I met on page one was electric. She was vengeful and strong. The initial world-building drew me in. The idea of Heam as a drug, especially as a whole drug culture, had me interested. Even the supporting characters caught my attention at this point. What was built up in the first few chapters was something that I wanted more of. Unfortunately, it never actually delivered on any of that.

I'll start with Faye, since this is her story. The entire plot hinges around the fact that Faye wants revenge. After being forced to take Heam as a young girl, we're told that she's lived the life of an addict since. That the only recompense, for her, is to kill the men who made her this way. Here's where things get a little fuzzy. First off, Faye doesn't act like an addict at all. Other than a few vague mentions of want, it doesn't seem to affect her at all. She goes to school, wanders the city, exercises daily, and I can't remember one point where her addiction really came into play. According to the story line, all addicts suffer horribly. Even if they quit, they still always want it. That just didn't come through.

Added to this, is the fact that Faye claims to want revenge, but (again) it just doesn't actually come through in the story. She says it, but there's no feeling that she means it. In fact, she spends most of this story feeling sorry for herself. It's a pity party for one, and Faye is the only attendee. I wouldn't have blamed her at all for feeling down. It's obvious her life has been tough. The problem is that she claims that revenge is her life. That if fuels her. I felt like there should have been more rage and purpose in her character. The way she's written makes her a tough character to believe in.

Then Chael came into play. In an effort not to spoil this for any potential readers out there, I can only tell you that this whole piece of the book was very odd to me. Writing fiction allows for a lot of rule breaking. I love that authors can build places where anything is possible. The only thing I ask is that you explain to me (even vaguely) how something is possible. In this case, Chael's very existence was just something that was assumed to be viable. Once I figured out his purpose, I was happy that this wasn't an insta-love story. Still, it opened up a whole new set of issues and questions for me. His character was okay, just confusing.

Which brings me to the ending of The Bodies We Wear. I was hoping that, despite the fact that I'd been feeling slightly off about this book so far, things would pick back up. I wanted Faye to get her revenge, wanted things to at least moderately tie up, and was hoping for some more explanations so that I could get my footing once again. Suffice it to say, this ending didn't meet my expectations. It wrapped up in a way that I just couldn't wrap my head around. For a story that started so strong, I was deeply saddened that it didn't stay that way. Great premise, but I just wanted more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Someday Maybe (Entangled Embrace) by Ophelia London

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Someday Maybe
   *Series: Definitely, Maybe
Author: Ophelia London
Publisher: Entangled 
Pages: Paperback; 344
Release Date: October 20, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genre: New Adult

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Entangled Embrace fans and romance readers

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Some guys are impossible to forget.

Rachel Daughtry has a 10-year plan that leaves no room for mistakes. Or not-so-serious boys--including Oliver Wentworth, the freshman boyfriend she's never forgotten. Now she's back in San Francisco with an awesome-slash-scary new job. Unfortunately, The Plan doesn't cover things like meeting her best friend's new "secret" guy...Oliver.

Fortunately, no one knows that Rachel and Oliver were ever together, and endless bikini wax torture couldn't make Rachel hurt her friend. But it's killing Rachel. She's not over him. Not even a little. And as her 10-year-plan crumbles around her, Rachel realizes that maybe--just maybe--Oliver feels the same way.

Now Rachel is on the verge of losing all control. And her best friend. And the love of her life...

Freshmen year of college Rachel fell in love with a boy and in doing so lost herself in the relationship. She didn't know how to keep the rest of her life in balance because she was so very smitten with the gorgeous Oliver. Her grades start slipping, her overprotective older brother finds out and Rachel decides the only solution is to break things off with Oliver.

Fast forward a few years, Rachel moves back to her college city where her bff Meghan and older brother still reside. Despite a few bumps in the road, her 10 year success plan is off to a decent start right up until she realizes the job she moved back for isn't quite what she expected. Things get interesting when Rachel's bff introduces the new boy she's chasing, none other than Oliver himself.

Based on the premise I had high hopes for this book. The dialogue was witty and the characters well developed, which I really enjoyed. My frustration though, was with the way things resolved with the "love triangle" of Rachel, Oliver and Meghan. I expected some drama, some hurt feelings and perhaps even a silent treatment. As someone who has fought with her best friend over a boy, there is always a little bit (or a lot) of drama and this story just didn't feel very realistic without it. It was all a little too clean and happy for me.

London does a great job with the character development and chemistry between Rachel and Oliver. There were some unexpected events which kept the story flowing smoothly and made me not want to put it down. Even the supporting characters had interesting dialogue and background which makes me want to read more from this author.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giveaway: The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts

I hope your weekend was fabulous, all you bookish people! I know things have been a little spotty over here. I'm currently on vacation and, as I'm currently residing with my blogger partner in crime, we've been more lax on keeping up with this :). Sometimes vacation just needs to be filled with slacking off and enjoying yourselves.
I do, however, have a giveaway for you! The review for The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts will be up tomorrow, but in the meantime here's a giveaway of that same book for you to win!
Open to mailing addresses in the U.S. and Canada.
Giveaway is for two physical copies of the book, one each to two winners.
Ends 10/26!
Good luck!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Magic of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain

For most of you, it's extremely close to Friday. The weekend is almost here! Let me ease that transition a bit with a lovely cover reveal, shall I? I have to say, when I first saw this cover I had a serious case of cover love. Magic of the Gargoyles is right up my alley, and might be up yours too. I'll be reviewing this in a few days as well, but here it is!

Someone has kidnapped a nest of helpless baby gargoyles and is using them as pentagram focuses, devouring their magic—and their lives—for a horrific, illegal power boost. Swept into the dangerous underworld of black magic, Mika Stillwater must cobble together her limited resources and skills to have a chance at being the hero the baby gargoyles desperately need. If she fails, the city will be at the mercy of the gargoyles’ murderers and their overwhelming destructive magic.

But pitting herself against powerful black-magic villains is proving just as deadly for Mika as for the gargoyles.
Pre-order this: Amazon

The small lump of rock opened his toucan-shaped mouth and released a high-pitched cry that wrenched my heart. The baby gargoyle didn’t look to have the strength to lift his thick neck, and his long, spindly tail lay lifeless.

“Can you save him?”

I jumped, having forgotten all about the gargoyle panther. She pawed at the chalk circle, careful not to cross it.

My caution morphed to horror when I realized the significance of the hatchling’s placement. Using a magical creature as a pentagram focus drained the creature of its own magic and its life. Rumors said the average magical creature doubled a person’s power when used as a focus, but gargoyles were natural elemental enhancers when they chose; a scumbag who used a gargoyle as a focus would get a far greater boost. The idea was repulsive in theory, enraging in reality. It was black magic, punishable by nullification.

I examined the injured gargoyle closer. Unlike the panther-shaped hatchling, this one’s body was mostly rose quartz, with sporadic coils of blue dumortierite. Jagged patches marred his otherwise smooth sides, and his entire stomach looked like raw, unpolished crystal. Acting on instinct, I reached for earth energy, refined it to resonate with quartz, and probed the baby gargoyle as if I planned to work the quartz. The sensation was like trying to capture an echo. The gargoyle was quartz, but he was also so much more: He was alive. I twined fire around the earth magic and trickled wood, air, and water into the mix until I had the right magical resonance. I pressed the mixture into the hatchling. A backlash of pain and fear ricocheted through the magic—not from my actions, but from the horror the gargoyle had already endured. The gargoyle’s feet and wings ended in acid-eaten, eroded lumps. Gasping for breath, I eased my magic out of the hatchling. My stomach heaved, but there was nothing to vomit up.

Rebecca Chastain is the internationally selling author of A Fistful of Evil, an urban fantasy novel. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old, and she’s incapable of stopping. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats. To be the first to know about new releases, sales, and freebies, sign up for Rebecca's newsletter:

Find Rebecca:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review: Invisible Children's Book Instruction Manual: For Owners, Readers and Caretakers of Invisible Children's Books

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Invisible Children's Book Instruction Manual: For Owners, Readers, and Caretakers of Invisible Children's Books
Author: Nicholas Alan Tillemans
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 25
Release Date: October 5, 2014
Source: Author
Genre: Instruction Manual- Humor

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Parents or Future Parents of young children

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes

"It is a significant fact that nearly all invisible children's book owners have little or no practical experience with invisible objects. Yet, by varying degrees, these parents/owners succeed in delighting their children with the ever-changing story contained within the book's invisible pages."

"If you own a copy, congratulations on becoming the owner of the world's first entirely weightless work of fiction, requiring no reading device or even any electricity or light to read."

"(P)eople everywhere are setting their paper books and electronic readers aside in favor of the advantages afforded by invisible books. As with any new magic or technology, the publishing industry is a slow adopter and many nostalgic consumers are resistant to change. So, thank you for giving this a chance. You won't be disappointed; and your child will thank you. As soon as you have given your invisible book a chance, the advantages will become apparent."

It's not often that I read instruction manuals but this one sounded too good to pass up. It did not disappoint. In this thorough instruction manual for invisible books, Tillemans walks us through his process in creating a story with his son that is born from the imagination and takes a new turn with each night's events. Ideal for the 3 to 4 year old in your life, the invisible book is the best of bedtime stories because it engages you and your child in an imaginative world where only your child knows what comes next. This 25 page manual gives all of the best tips for starting this bonding process over reading an invisible book and how to stay on track when you get lost in your imagination.

I would highly recommend this book to parents and future parents alike, because what could be more fun than diving into the imagination of your youngster while teaching them the love of "reading"?
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Day Zero by Summer Lane

Listen up bookish people! It's time for another book spotlight, complete with excerpt and giveaway! Are you a fan of dystopia fiction? Love your YA with a little drama? Well here's a book that you might just want to add to your reading list.

Goodreads | Amazon
Elle is a survivor.

Since the collapse of modern society, she's been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.

And then everything changes.

After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.

They are alone, but they are ready.
Day Zero begins today.

Day Zero is a novella, the first installment in The Zero Trilogy, a novella series complementing the international bestselling Collapse Series.
Santa Monica Pier 

Don’t ask me why, but the idea of a post-apocalyptic Santa Monica/Hollywood always fascinated me. From an author’s perspective, the story setting of places like that for a post-apocalyptic environment is very alluring. There are so many potential stories tucked into the buildings and streets of the city. Personally, I found the most interesting part of the city at the Santa Monica Pier. 

Looking over the silhouette of the pier against the sunrise years ago, the thought crossed my mind that I should integrate the pier into a novel someday. I finally got my wish in Day Zero. Because Elle’s story begins in West Hollywood and Santa Monica, she is able to visit the Santa Monica Pier. 

In order to write realistically about the pier itself, I visited the area. I mapped out step-by-step routes for Elle to take in the city, and I wrote down the names and titles of all of the restaurants and souvenir shops on the pier. I studied Muscle Beach and drove down streets like Moomat Ahiko Way, Ocean Boulevard, Pacific Highway One, and Wilshire Boulevard. Hands-on research is inspiring, and gives authors the tools they need to make their story more believable. I loved every minute of researching for Day Zero, and can’t wait to continue to do so for the rest of the trilogy!

Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series, which includes State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion and State of Pursuit. The fifth installment, State of Alliance, is releasing January 2015.

Summer is also the author of The Zero Trilogy and an upcoming survivalist/science fantasy series coming in 2015. She owns WB Publishing, Writing Belle Magazine, and is an accomplished creative writing teacher and journalist.Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, dates to the movies, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Funday

Terra Mystica
Happy Sunday my lovely bookworms! I don't know about you, but by the time Monday rolls around I almost always ♫ ♬ wish it were Sunday, 'cause that's my Funday ♫ ♬ 

There are many reasons to love Sundays: the promise of a new week, the relaxation of a day off, or extra reading time. If you are like me, you enjoy several hobbies, Sunday can quickly become a board game filled, rum cake baking extravaganza   Whenever I find myself waist-deep in a reading slump I tend to spend a day or two indulging myself with a host of other diversions in order to re-energize. 

My hubby and I are avid board gamers and spend many a weekend lost in the excitement of a new game. I played Terra Mystica for the first time this weekend and really enjoyed it. If you like resource management type games (think Settlers of Catan meets Small World) I would highly recommend it. I am looking forward to introducing Jessica and her hubby to it this next week.

I'd like to hear your Sunday Funday activities, dear readers. 
What do you do to prepare for the week or destress with? Shout out in the comments!

  Chocolate Rum Cake-mmmmmmm


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