Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 January Wrap Up


And so, the first month of 2015 has already come and gone. I'm not certain how time flies so fast, but it definitely does. I measure my months in books :). It's the best way.

************

(C) = Children / (YA) = Young Adult / (NA) = New Adult
(A) = Adult / (MG) = Middle Grade
*GN  (Graphic Novel) *AB (Audio Book)


Books read and reviewed in January:
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls #1) by Deborah Harkness - Review (4/5) 
The Recipe Hacker by Diana Keuilian - Review (4/5)
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke - Review (2/5)
The Hidden Gallery (ICOAP #2) by Maryrose Wood - Review (5/5)
Mr. Tucker & Me: A Short Story by Gregor Xane - Review (4/5)
One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis - Review (3/5)
The Rosie Effect by Grame Simsion - Review (4/5)
The Flesh Market by Richard Wright - Review (5/5)
Suffer the Children by Craig Di Louie - Review (3/5)
Wish (Indigo Dreams #1) by Grier Cooper - Review (3/5)
The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller by Ethan Reid - Review (3/5)
Severed by Gary Fry - Review (2/5)
Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman - Review (2/5)
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede - Review (4/5)
The Catalain Book of Secrets by Jessica Lourey - Review (2/5)
The Deep by Nick Cutter - Review (3/5)
Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock #2) by Faith Hunter - Review (4/5)

Total books read/reviewed: 17


Books read but not reviewed:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (HP #2) by J.K. Rowling (Re-read) - 4/5
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green - 3/5
Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) by Faith Hunter (Re-read) - 4/5
Mitosis (Reckoners #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson - 3/5
Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Stories by Terry Pratchett - 3/5

Total books read/not reviewed: 5
Grand Total: 22

Reading Progress: 22 out of 150 books completed (14%)


Favorite book of the month?

I think that The Hidden Gallery takes the win! I definitely loved The Flesh Market equally as much, but Maryrose Wood can do no wrong in my mind :). Either one would be an amazing choice to add to your reading list!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Feel Good Friday



Picture of the day:

Tea is my best friend this week. Lemon tea, orange tea, green tea... all of the teas!

You see, it is the season of germs and silly me thought I could avoid catching the hubby's cold. No such luck :( 

It's times like these that I would love to stay in bed with my cup of tea and read all day. Sadly adult responsibilities make that a near impossibility. Between work obligations and trying to keep the house at a tolerable level of clean, I'm in bed by 9 pm every night out of pure exhaustion. I'm so thankful for my delicious tea because without it I would have no voice at all!

What are you go-to drinks/food when you're under the weather? Do you take meds or try to sleep it off? 

I hope all of you are staying warm and healthy during this germ filled season. Being sick is no bueno! Regardless, at least it's Friday!

Friday makes everything better! Happy reading bookworms!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Author Spotlight + Giveaway: Deceived by L.A. Starkey


Good morning bookworms! It's time, once again, for a new book to be in the spotlight. L.A. Starkey is touring Deceived, the beginning of the Soul Keeper Series, and I'm please to be one of the stops! The concept of soul mates has always intrigued me. Since that's the basis of Starkey's new book? Well, I'm pretty well excited.

They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.


Does this sound like a book right up your alley? Well, I have some good news! L.A. Starkey has not only graciously agreed to answer my Top 10 List questions, but has also provided a giveaway copy just for you! So scroll on down, enjoy the post, and don't forget to enter.

Top 10 things I love to do!

1. Spend time with my family – I have two teenage daughters, a nine year old son and love spending time with all of them. My hubby is my best friend, so we do everything together from cooking dinner to movies to running a few businesses. I love, love, love my family.

2. Writing books – I used to put reading books here and where I still LOVE to read, my focus has shifted a little thanks to all of the voices running around in my skull that want a moment of immortalization via my books. :-)

3. Trying new food – I’m a total foodie. My hubby and I love trying new things, both in going out to a new restaurant or in the kitchen. I grew up in a house where it wasn’t, “What stores are we going to today on our shopping trip?” It was, “Where are we eating lunch and then we’ll plan the stores around that.” Being a foodie is in my blood and I love it.

4. Sleep – oh man do I love sleeping. Slipping into cold sheets and leaving the world of to-do’s and to-done’s to find a handsome vampire and rule the world together? Are you kidding? So there…

5. Singing – I lead worship at church and enjoy almost every type of music, so it’s rare to find me not listening to something and of course – singing along.

6. Creating – My mind works in a wild sporadic pattern of creating almost constantly. Yes I’m tired most often, but I spend a lot of time creating new things. Whether it be a new book, or a craft project, or a business, I’m usually always thinking up something new.

7. Ride rollercoasters – the bigger and faster – the better. I’m all about riding a rollercoaster. We live about 4 hours from Dallas and 4 hours from San Antonio, the only two cities near us that have rollercoasters. Every summer we usually buy season passes to the parks and drive the 8 hour trip just to ride rides all day. Crazy, I know…

8. Read a good book – There is just nothing better than curling up somewhere (my bed in prep for a nap – hellllllo vampire king) and reading a great story. I started writing stories simply because as a reader of SO many books, I realized that I could give the same pleasure I received by reading simply by writing for others. I love reading my own books and can’t tell you how good it feels to hear from other readers that my books have taken them from the drones of reality from time to time.

9. Going to the Movies – I love going to see a new movie on the big screen. The theatre just down the street from our house just did an upgrade and now all of the seats are leather and huge! I feel like queen of the hill in there. (Clap, clap… “Bring me a martini” – or popcorn and soda will do.)

10. Going on Vacation – our family tries to take 2 mini-vacations a year, one being bigger than the other. The first is always after Christmas. We take the whole family, including my mom, dad and brother with us somewhere. This year is was San Antonio for two days to eat it up and see the lights. The bigger vacation is usually Branson, San Diego, Florida – somewhere fun for the kids and a longer break for me and Jacob.


Laurie Starkey is the author of the upcoming Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Jacob and three beautiful kiddos.

She is a CPA by trade, a church planter and entrepreneur at heart; however, writing and reading are passions she just can’t help but indulge in. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.



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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (1/28/15)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. It's hosted by Breaking the Spine.

***

This week I thought I'd share a Middle Grade book that I'm absolutely giddy over! 

I am, and always have been, a huge fan of fairy tales. Everything about them makes me remember what it was like to be a young reader, and fall head over heels for the magical place that books would take me. So when I saw that Sourcebooks was publishing Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School, a book about trying to reform fairy tale villains? Well, I was sold. I can't wait for this one!

Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run- down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School- where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

Publishing March 3, 2015


So there you have it, Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School is what I'm excited about this week! What are you eagerly waiting on?




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Thirty Days to Win His Wife by Andrea Laurence


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Thirty Days to Win His Wife
Series: Brides and Belles #2
Author: Andrea Laurence
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Pages: ebook; 192
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Source: Netgalley
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Genre: Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy strong stubborn characters and great chemistry

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

Even with a baby on the way, Amelia's holding out for the perfect husband. Tyler has thirty days to prove he's the one.

Best friends Tyler Dixon and Amelia Kennedy eloped to Vegas on a whim. But before they can deal with their quickie divorce, she confesses: she's pregnant. Now there's no way Tyler will agree to go their separate ways. He wants them to stay married, raise their child together, share a house—and a bed.

Yet Amelia has always dreamed of a perfect marriage…and she doesn't think this self-made millionaire is lifetime material despite their friendship. She's given him just one month to prove her wrong…
This was a quick read for me and I finished it in a few hours. I really enjoyed Amelia and Tyler as characters and their chemistry was well written. This started as a "what happens in Vegas stays in  Vegas" type romances, but when Amelia learns she's pregnant from her wedding night everything changes.

Amelia represented a pretty typical type of girl for me: the girl that has planned every detail of her wedding since she was 5 years old and obsesses over finding the "perfect" husband for her perfect wedding. While this is basically the opposite of who I am, I definitely had a few friends who fit this stereotype. Amelia's obsession with the perfect relationship is a huge barrier to her relationship with Tyler and I think it was a poignant topic for the author to address. Fairy tales and perfect marriages don't exist.

There could have been a bit more character development, especially on Tyler's side, but overall it was a well rounded story about two friends coming to terms with their feelings for each other under unusual circumstances. I have to say, without a never ending checkbook to make things happen, I feel like Tyler would have been far less successful in his romantic endeavors towards Amelia.  While I understand that having a great job and a demanding career aren't unheard of, the amount of money thrown around by Tyler took away from the story for me.

I'd definitely recommend this light, fun read if you're in the mood for a romance with lots of passion.

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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: The Flesh Market by Richard Wright


Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Flesh Market
Author: Richard Wright
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 376
Release Date: February 10, 2014
Source: Author
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Genre: Thriller / Historical Fiction

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darker tales, with a hint of history hiding underneath.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
"Doon the wynds an' up the streets,
Where revenants sought souls tae eat,
The Butcher called for twitching meat
An' Burke an' Hare did answer." -anon.

1827. A year after the Cadaver Riots tore the heart from Edinburgh. Fear still chokes the Old Town, for though the revenants were driven back with shot and steel, they still lurk in the city's shadowed closes. When night falls, they strike.

In dissecting rooms anatomists slice twitching flesh as they dream of cures and glory. For the greatest among them, Robert Knox, there is no price that cannot be met in the quest for knowledge. Behind closed doors he trades in walking death, dealing with devils to keep the flesh market supplied...

Set between the slums of 19th Century Edinburgh and the ivory towers of its academia, The Flesh Market is an almost true story of murder, mad science, obsession, and the restless dead.


It's no secret that I adore the way Richard Wright weaves his stories. Thy Fearful Symmetry, a story about the very brutal end of the world, shocked me. Craven Place, an unsettling ghost story, wooed me with its setting. I don't quite know what it is about Wright's writing, but I eat it up every single time. He has me in his grasp, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

The Flesh Market was no exception to this rule, and definitely my favorite so far. A stunning mixture of historical fiction and dark suspense, it focuses on the Burke & Hare murders of 1800's Edinburgh, Scotland. Fascinating stuff, that. A lack of medical cadavers means good money to those who deliver them in secret. A person could get wealthy off of "finding" bodies for the doctors. Except, in Richard Wright's novel, sometimes delivering those bodies isn't as easy as it seems. Sometimes, the dead don't stay dead.

Ah, I loved this! Anything that can breathe new life into the zombie craze is my hero, but Wright does it with a flair all his own. At the forefront of this novel are our anti-heroes, Burke & Hare. One, a man who simply wanted a better life for his family. The other, already touched with the madness that would allow him to commit such atrocities. I watched as Burke slowly circled the drain, heading deeper into Hare's clutches. Even if the undead had been completely left out of this story, I would have been hooked. These two, and the darkness that creeps in around them, was terrifying in its own right. It's unnerving what two men can be reduced to.

That being said, the undead added an underlying tension to this story. Wright expertly used them as means to keep this sense of dread going throughout. They aren't the main facet of this story, but neither are they unnecessary. Their presence serves to remind the reader where it all began, and to highlight exactly why Burke, Hare and Knox are covered in darkness. Each character was perfectly placed, each event expertly crafted to allow optimum intrigue. It got to the point where I couldn't put this book down. Literally. I'd be reading with one hand while ironing with the other. There's a slow burn at the beginning, and it leads to something wonderful.

I'm not sure how else to say it. Read this. Especially if you're a fan of historical fiction. While this is definitely a dark story, it isn't over the top gory or violent. If you're not a big fan of horror, don't be put off by the title. This is well worth your time.



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, January 22, 2015

Book Spotlight: The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell



It's time for another book spotlight! Evil conspirators are trying to overthrow the King of England, and one man is trying to help, but at what cost. Let's take a peek shall we? 



England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take
action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry's traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell's acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.
Grab it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!
Palmer ran across the deserted courtyard, headed for the silent bell that hung high in its centre. The sharp smell of smoke cut the damp night air.

‘Fire! Awake!’ His shouts echoed into the silence as he undid the neatly coiled stout rope and twisted this way, that, looking for any sign that folk in the many buildings had heard. He pulled down hard, and the big bell swung above him in the first peal. ‘Fire!’ He shouted again, tugged hard on the rope to make as much and as loud a clamour as he could.

Lights flickered at windows—one, two, then several at once. People were stirring, throwing shutters open.

Palmer pulled hard and fast on the rope, his shouts drowned out by the bell’s loud call.

He tipped his head back to check the tower. The glow had brightened in the windows. A lick of flame shot from one and dropped back. The fire was gaining in strength. He dropped his gaze to the main door of the tower. Firmly closed. No sign of Rosamund, no sign of anyone fleeing from within.

Over the clangs of the bell, he heard faint shouts from the main part of the palace. But still no stir from the tower. He flung the rope from his hand, the bell’s work done in waking folk up.

Palmer ran to the tower’s door and turned the large metal handle. Unlocked. Good for him to get in. But bad that no one had come out. Rosamund was up there, and Geoffrey had said he’d posted guards. Nothing could be holding anyone back except the flames. He wrenched the door open. Inside, smoke hazed the air. A wooden spiral staircase led upwards from the narrow vestibule.

Cupping his hands to his mouth, he shouted upwards. ‘Wake up! Wake up! The tower’s afire!’

Nothing from above.

He filled his lungs for another shout and drew in smoke. He coughed it out and shouted again. ‘Awake!’

Still nothing.

Palmer looked back out to the courtyard. The bell hung silent now. Should he ring it more, push the urgency?

A few sparks drifted down in the darkness, the start of a lethal blizzard.

Faith, Rosamund was only a girl. She could be cowering where she thought she was safe, not realizing that smoke brought death as sure as the flames. He had to go up.

Palmer climbed the curving wooden staircase, two, three steps at a time.

‘Guards, stir yourselves!’ The smoke thickened, stung his eyes and nose as well as his throat. And still no response.

He climbed on, breath fast and deep with his exertion as his lungs pulled in dirty air. His spittle thickened, along with water streaming from his eyes. He knuckled at them, trying to clear them. Each step up became harder, his legs weighing more as he raised them again and again.

Finally: a landing. Though he could scarce see through the hot, stinging fug, he could make out a smaller staircase at the other end. He must be close now. Stumbling the few steps across it, his foot caught on a large object. He bent low and his fingers found the metal of chainmail. One of the guards, face down on the floor.

‘Stir yourself!’ A storm of coughing broke with the effort of his words. He shook the man hard but there came no reply, no movement.

Palmer peered around.

Another form lay close by. Surely not? He moved to it, keeping low, heartsick at what he might find. A large body. More chainmail. Another guard, this man as unmoving as the other.

The smoke must have felled them suddenly. Too suddenly. But even if they yet lived, he couldn’t save them. They were too far gone. His own chest tightened worse than ever. And he still hadn’t found Rosamund.

Searching the nearby floor with careful quick hands, his fingers closed on what he sought. The handle of a sword.

As he went to carry on, he heard a shrill scream from above.

‘Rosamund!’ He shot to his feet into thick smoke and bad air. Doubling over, he retched his stomach empty of sour bile. ‘Rosamund!’ He ran low and swift to the next staircase and looked up.

A worse challenge than the smoke. Fuelled by air from narrow windows, flames ate at it, the heat pulsing at his face and head.

‘Help me! For the love of God!’

Rosamund. Her screams held pure terror.

Palmer ducked, his forearm across his face. He charged up the burning stairs, fire stinging his flesh and singeing his hair in a hissing stench. He stumbled from the top step onto a small corridor, a closed door facing him. He flung himself at the handle, sleeve pulled over his hand to grasp the hot metal. It wouldn’t budge.

‘It’s me, Benedict!’ His voice came hoarse. ‘Open the door!’

‘I can’t, I can’t! It’s locked!’

Palmer swore. The guards must have the keys. But he couldn’t waste time fighting his way back down. ‘Stand back from the door, Rosamund. Stand well back’. He raised the sword high and hit it against the door.

The wood gave.

Coughing hard, he swung again. This time, he broke through. Raising a boot, he kicked three, four times. Then he was in.

‘Benedict’. Rosamund cowered beneath the window, wearing only her shift, her eyes streaming from terror and smoke. ‘You came for me’. She choked into rasping coughs and sobs.

Palmer strode into the room and grabbed her by the arm. ‘We need to get out of here. We have little time’.

‘Back through there?’ Her eyes widened in horror as she stared past him at the burning staircase.

‘Yes’. He yanked a small, heavy wool tapestry from the wall. ‘Cover your head with this. Hair catches the worst’.

She followed his order but still didn’t move. ‘I don’t think I can’.

‘You can’. He flung an arm across her shoulders and hauled her from the room towards the top of the stairs.

The flames leapt fiercer, higher then when he’d ran through just minutes before. He hesitated for a moment.

The burning wood gave a loud creak, followed by sharp, loud cracks. Then the staircase collapsed in a cascade of burning wood, throwing out sparks and a wave of intense, new heat.

There was no way out now.

E. M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS), International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as a reviewer of fiction and nonfiction for the HNS.
Her latest book is the historical mystery/thriller, THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT.

E.M Powell's contact:  


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review: Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Flirting with Disaster
 *Series: Girls Night Out Book #2
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: ebook, 384
Release Date: February 1, 2015
Source: Netgalley
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Genre: Romance

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of hot sex scenes and eclectic small town characters

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon BookLikes

Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs . . . except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied U.S. marshal threatens to unearth secrets she's spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster.

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.
A hot U.S marshal shows up on your doorstep and the rest, as they say, is history....unless of course you happened to be in hiding. This story has a few unexpected moments, but overall is a fairly typical romance story. 

I really enjoyed the small town characters and back-woods type atmosphere in Jackson, Wyoming. Few neighbors, even less social engagements and a gorgeous scenery sounds pretty ideal for an artist. Nobody would notice if she kept weird hours or stayed up all night painting. This was the life for Isabelle, not to mention there would be few people asking questions about her past. 

The introduction between Isabelle and Tom was pretty funny. I enjoyed their ongoing banter and flirtatiousness and it made it an enjoyable, light read. I've been reading a fair amount of new adult romance lately and it was kind of nice to skip a lot of that young ignorance since these characters are in their 30's/40's. The chemistry was hot, hot, hot between them and Victoria Dahl certainly knows how a write a good love scene. 

I'm not sure why this book didn't quite connect with me. I guess I felt it was a bit predictable at times and I would have liked a little more context to their characters. We do get some glimpses into their past but the majority of their interaction is based on a mutual attraction, which while great, doesn't always lead to a happily ever after. 

If you're in the mood for some fun banter, hot bedroom scenes and a bit of mystery, I recommend picking this up! 


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, January 20, 2015

Author Spotlight + Giveaway: Prince of Demons by Victoria Danaan

Prince of Demon NYT

Well ladies and gents, you've made it to Tuesday! Congratulations, you're on step closer to Friday :). Are you ready for another book spotlight? Today's spotlight is a little special, because it's on a new full set of The Order of the Black Swann by Victoria Danaan. For those you who don't know, these came out as three separate novellas at first. Now they're all together for the first time.

Read on, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!


AmazonPOD_Cover
Title: Prince of Demons (The Order of the Black Swann #1-#3)
Author: Victoria Danaan
Release Date: January 19th, 2015
Publisher: Andromeda LLC, dba 7th House Publishing  




23471163
            BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.

After Dallas finance manager, Atalanta Ravin, was left standing at the altar in a publicly humiliating jilting, she quit her job, sold her house, gave away her furniture, and set off in search of a new life living on a boat in Boston Harbor. She got the adventure she’d always secretly longed for, but not in a thousand dreams could she ever have imagined that her fantasy lover might turn out to be a prince of demons.
Buy the Book



23924761
    TOO MUCH STORY TO BE CONTAINED IN ONE BOOK!

As the witches say, A Fear is an Unrequited Wish…

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.

In the second part of this short release trilogy, Lana wakes after a night of too much song, dance, and pub red ale to find herself in a demon dungeon sleeping on top of a fellow prisoner who happens to be seriously drool worthy. When the cryptic stranger proposes an escape plan, she goes along and gets the adventure she’d subconsciously longed for, whether she wants it or not.

Buy the Book


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 WISHES ARE MYSTERIES FILLED WITH SHADOWS and LIGHT. 

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.

The third and last part of the Prince of Demons trilogy. Lana seeks out The Order's best witch tracker for help. She hopes to reunite with Brave for a calmer, quieter courtship, the goal being a happily ever after for a prince of demons and a Dallas finance manager turned adventurer.

That's when the adventure really begins.


Buy the Book
 

About the Author
  Victoria120x180 
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

2013 Winner in the categories of:
  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES - Knights of Black Swan
  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (GENERAL) - A Summoner's Tale
  • BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (Vampires & Shifters) – Moonlight

My early work (eight-years-old) would be called fan fiction today. I began by writing my version of Bobbsey Twins novels on legal pads that my dad brought home from the office. As an only child - in the days before children became little electronic receivers - there was often not much to do other than seek amusement in my own head.

Childhood fantasies involved being the only girl (for some odd reason) at a ranch for wayward boys. Yes. I do realize this sounds vaguely familiar. T hose fantasies were supported by real life events because the boys included me in the afternoon neighborhood games whether it was cowboy/Indians or G.I. Joe.

When I left the Bobbsey Twins behind I didn't write again until I was married with children and in my mid-twenties. I completed a paranormal romance and gave it to my spouse to read. After hearing his criticisms I didn't write again for decades. At the time I didn't understand that he's the absolute farthest thing from my audience.

It turned out to be a blessing because during that time that I didn't write, I lived an extremely full life. I traveled a lot, raised a family, got an education (I have an M.A. in Psychology.) and explored my compulsion to be a spiritual seeker. The fantasies were a constant companion throughout. The faces and names of the characters changed as I matured, but they remained a source of comfort. They helped me through hellraising teenagers and three near-death scares.

By the time I started writing again, I had something to say. I write cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

If you're interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock. This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I'm the utility player which means I play rhythm guitar, keyboards, sing back ups and a few leads. I authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for fifteen years. I live in T he Woodlands, Texas, which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods. Married. Four children. One very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (2015 - #1)



Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


First Stacking the Shelves of 2015! 

I used to do this often, but then all my books ended up as digital ones, and I kind of just stopped. This year though, I've vowed to get back to print books. Digital books have their perks. The fact that they don't take up any space in our small apartment is one of them :). Still, I love the feel of a real book. I love being able to give them to people after I'm finished, and of course collecting the ones for my shelves that I really love. Plus, well, the library will always entice me. Here's what I got this week.


Purchased:

My goal for 2015 is to get back into reading Science Fiction and Fantasy regularly. I also want to read them in print. So I went to B&N to scout out some options. I left with The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, and The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks. Two very highly recommend books by my bibliophile friends!

ARCs:

This week I was lucky enough to receive two amazing ARCs in the mail! Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver excites me because I love everything she's ever written. I also received Seed by Lisa Heathfield, a book about a girl living in an isolated community. I love books like that!

Library:

No matter how many new books I have, I always visit the library. I can't help it. I happen to work right across the street from the Central Library in Los Angeles and it's HUGE. They everything a bookworm could want, and you couldn't keep me away. I borrowed Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Werde and Among Others by Jo Walton.


So that's it for me this week! What did you add to your shelves? Any new books you'd like to share so I can go raid the library yet again? ;)


Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: The Fairy King by Laura Gilfillan

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Fairy King
Author: Laura Gilfillan
Publisher: Gilfillan House
Pages: ebook; 260
Release Date: July 31, 2013
Source: Author
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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy nature and fantasy creatures.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes

Elora has unwittingly attracted the attention of the fairy king because of her kindness to his subjects. Not that Elora was ever aware that the fairy king even existed. Or that there was really any such thing as magic.
That sweet oblivion comes crashing to an end on what starts out as an ordinary day, spent working in her garden. A couple of fairy goons snatch her from her very own yard, shrink her down to the size of an ant, and abandon her in the ant tunnels. A favor from the fairy king. And only the beginning of her troubles. For now that she has his attention, the fairy king is going to turn her world upside down.
Balance is important in life. Everything we do and don't do creates this delicate balance of the earth. Sometimes that balance gets thrown off and the consequences can be devastating, especially if you are the fairy king.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened this eclectic story. There is something for everyone. A young girl experiencing her first love, lots of magic, mythical creatures and friendships that defy "normal". While fairies, unicorns and elves aren't things I generally look for in a novel, I'm very glad I decided to give this a try. 

Laura Gilfillan creates a vivid world for us. From the tiniest ant hill to the expanse of the arctic glaciers there is no moment that falls flat. Each transition from location to location brings new and exciting characters, imagery and understanding from Elora. We view the world from her eyes and it is terrifying and beautiful at times. 

Elora is a subtle character, full of wonder and young ignorance. She has this sense of undying curiousness that fuels her exploration into these other places. Even when she feels most alone, she ventures out to find answers. 

The fairy king is a mysterious character and we don't learn a lot about him, but we know enough to know his intentions are good. There is a balance of light and dark in the world (literally and figuratively) and it is his job to help maintain the balance. He intentions are good, but execution is terrible when it come to his affection for Elora which leads to some interesting adventures for both of them.

A light, fun adventure filled read, recommended for lovers of fantasy and nature!

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, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Wish by Grier Cooper

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Wish
   *Series: Indigo Dreams #1
Author: Grier Cooper
Publisher: Dancing Poodle Press
Pages: Paperback; 274
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy contemporary narratives, and especially those who have a passion for dance.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet so she can begin her ballet dance career. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders, the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.

But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. But life with an alcoholic parent is unpredictable. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.

Wish gives us a look at the life of a young girl who is struggling to hold it all together. Indigo has a lot on her plate. School and dance. Friends, boys and a family that's feeling a little frayed along the edges. All of that set against the backdrop of her big dream: to get into the New York School of Ballet. How do you balance everything, all alone? That's what Grier Cooper aims to share with the reader, and I think overall it came through pretty well.

As main characters go, Indigo was enjoyable enough to follow. Although I never felt completely attached to her, I think she had just enough depth to allow the reader to insert themselves right alongside her. Her passion for ballet came through with a brilliant intensity. Readers who feel the same way she does about dance will definitely appreciate the attention to emotion here. It's clear that Indigo doesn't just want to dance ballet, she has to dance ballet. It's a big part of her, and one that she loves wholeheartedly.

The writing in this story was also very well done. It ebbed, and flowed, following along with the highs and lows in Indigo's life. I never felt like it was forced or over dramatic. What lost points for me were the relationships that surrounded Indigo. See, this story is two-fold. Part Indigo's deep passion for dance, part family narrative. I think that one of these would have done quite well on its own. Life balanced with passion is hard enough. Adding in Indigo's mother and her alcoholism made this a lot to deal with all at once. There was no opportunity for me to feel invested in her struggle. Her family life, mixed with her often vapid friends and love for a boy that she only just started dating, all ended up landing flat for me.

That's not to say that this isn't a well-done story. I think that if I was younger, more the target audience, I probably would have enjoyed it much more. The older I get, the more I realize that I've forgotten how emotional dealing with high school drama mixed with everything else life throws at you can make someone. It's entirely possible I just wasn't able to fully connect with Indigo because I haven't been in her shoes. Keeping that in mind, and because this really is a quick and enjoyable read, I'll happily give Wish a three star rating.

 





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, January 13, 2015

Book Review: The Price of Love by Maggi Craft


Media Type: Ebook 
Title: The Price of Love
Series: A Price Novel Book1
Author: Maggi Craft (Author), Laura Meehan (Editor), Kristin Thiel(Editor)
Publisher: Swift Eleven Publishing
Pages: ebook, 254
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Source: Author/MBM Book Publicity
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Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of romance

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon BookLikes
Arden Simms—an average twenty-five-year-old med student—is headstrong, independent, and spends most of her time consumed by her studies. The last thing she wants is a romantic relationship that could cause her life to veer off track.

Slayde Price is gorgeous, kind, and well on his way to fame and fortune. But the shallow people he’s surrounded by in Paris have started to bore him, and he’s contemplating a way out of his contract so he can return home.

Their worlds collide when Arden flies to Paris to visit her sister—and finds that her selfish younger sister has struck again, leaving Arden alone in a strange city with no place to stay. When Slayde bumps into Arden, his ex-girlfriend’s sister, on a crowded street, he decides he may just want to stay in Paris a little longer.

Before long, Arden realizes that ignoring her feelings for Slayde isn’t as easy as she’d thought it would be.
As you can tell by the rating, this book was not my cup of tea. I had a really hard time getting through it and it almost went into the do not finish pile. I did finish it, and though there is a teaser (sorta cliffhanger?) at the end, I won't be reading the sequel.

Arden was an impossible character: her insecurities and inability to deal with life really frustrated me. I understand that everyone has insecurities and things to learn and grow from, but Arden never did. She runs from her problems and constantly second guesses her relationship. Right up to the last page she was second guessing every decision and that did not sit well with me, especially for a character who was in medical school for 8 years. Diligence, hard work and decision making are required to be a good doctor, and Arden's personality in her relationship contradicted all of those things.

Slayde was an okay character, there wasn't a lot of exciting moments for him. Aside from his love of Arden he seemed like a typical guy. Sweet, attentive and down to earth. I guess I didn't understand why he kept pursuing Arden after her repeated terrible behavior. I understand that he loved her, but being a punching bag for someone's tantrums and misunderstandings would be grating and it seemed like he was the only one invested in the relationship for most of the book.

All in all, this book wasn't for me. I couldn't connect with the characters and the constant drama (break up, make up, break up, make up- ugh) just frustrated me instead of building that lovers tension that the author was going for. If you enjoy a lot of drama, then this book is for you.

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.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Kybernos by M.J.A Watney


Media Type: Paperback (ARC)
Title: Kybernos
Author: M.J.A Watney
Publisher: Self
Pages: paperback, 274
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Source: Author
-------------------------------------------
Genre: Adult Fiction/Thriller

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of thrillers with a theological element.


Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon BookLikes
The Willderschen, a shadowy alliance of some of the most powerful people on the planet, are dead, killed in an explosion. But why should that matter to Bertram, a lonely middle-aged Physics teacher, to Anita, an overweight schoolgirl escaping her bullies, or to Charles, a toff with more money than sense who thought he was just out on a boozy stag-week with his mates? And who exactly are the Kybernos? And why do they need the help of this motley trio to, quite literally, save the world?

Do you believe in coincidence? Kybernos is a beautifully crafted piece of art that takes you to the edge of reason, jumps over, and then gleefully brings you back. Even when I thought I knew where the story was headed, another plot twist had me guessing again. It is hard to put this book into a specific genre, but if you are a fan of The DaVinci Code then you should give this book a try.

There are no chapters in this book, it flows from character to character with ease. Watney does a great job immersing you into the scene and building a sense of the world around you. From the street markets to the lovers lane, each scene is built uniquely from the characters perspective. Though there are several characters to keep track of, after the first quarter of the book it gets easier to relate to them.

Bertram, Anita, Charles and their motley crew of friends somehow weave their way into your heart and make you cheer them on. Nothing in this book is quite as it seems and there were moments where I didn't quite understand what was happening, but that was intentional. By the end of the story everything was revealed and it made me appreciate the earlier chapters even more. I enjoy books that keep me guessing and don't turn out they way I expect them to.

There was so much going on throughout the short time frame that it was impossible to put the book down. With the world's health at stake, I was unsure if our unexpected hero's would make it. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I will just say that if you enjoy mystery/thrillers with a theological element, I highly recommend this. Right up until the conclusion, I was still being surprised.

 All in all it was a great read, with well built characters and an interesting story line. I look forward to 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.

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