Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blog Tour: Frey pt 2... with more giveaways!

Hey! Due to a hiccup in communication, I missed a couple of details about the Frey Blog Tour. I totally missed the author bio (below, but still no picture) and the fact that Frey can be downloaded for free from Amazon at the moment.  Click here to get your copy!

Author Bio:
Melissa lives in the Midwest with her family (including a few spoiled dogs and horses), loves to travel but always misses home, and has little to no spare time. If she ever manages to find some, it's spent painting or outdoors (but never at the same time). Frey is her first novel, but she's been bitten by the writing bug, so expect many more to follow. 

Get to know Melissa better by visiting her on Goodreads or

Melissa Wright is offering a grand prize in addition to the giveaway that is being run! Woo hoo! More ways to win Frey is a beautiful thing. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter (click here if it's being shy).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ebooks for libraries

I found the following information on my local library's website.  I followed the link and signed the petition asking publishers to make e-books available to our libraries.  Here's what they shared:
Libraries are having trouble getting ebooks from the largest publishing companies. These publishers are adding restrictions and price increases, or simply not selling ebooks to libraries at all:
  • Penguin recently ended ebook lending to public libraries.
  • HarperCollins has a 26-checkout limit on each ebook … and then the library has to buy it again.
  • Random House allows unrestricted access to ebooks, but recently raised prices – in some cases tripling them.
  • Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette don’t sell ebooks to libraries at all.
This means that library customers can get a print copy of a book from a library, but can’t get that same book in an ebook format. But that’s not what our customers want. Our customers are readers – and our readers want books, in all formats, from libraries.
Here’s our goal:
  • Get readers to fill out our petition, telling publishers that readers want books, in all formats, from libraries.
  • Once we hit 10,000 signatures, we will snail mail the petition to publishers (we think paper will be more dramatic and effective, ironically enough).
  • Why? We want to communicate directly with publishers through this petition process, with the intent of establishing formal and consistent communication between publishers and readers.
Our ultimate goal is to get books, in all formats, to our readers. This helps authors, publishers, libraries … and most importantly, our readers.
Please stop by ebooks for libraries to find out more.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review:The Curse Girl by Kate Avery Ellison

Published: May 14th 2011

When Bee is imprisoned in a magical, cursed house because of her father's selfish choices, she has just one plan... escape! But she must solve a riddle and help her fellow prisoners break the curse that binds them all before she can leave, and that is proving more difficult than she originally thought thanks to the bitter young master of the house, Will.

Will wants nothing to do with Bee or her help (and he certainly isn't planning on falling in love with her), but he might have underestimated just how determined and clever--and irresistible--she can be.

Genre:  YA Fantasy
Publisher Type: Indie
My Rating: *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
First thoughts:  Holy cow this was good!  I could hardly put my kindle down long enough to feed my kids or even sleep.  What a fun ride!!!

So, here's the skinny:  Yup, I'm clueless, I didn't even realize that this was a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story.  Had I known, I would've been a bit leery.  Classic stories retold can turn out cheesy, but this wasn't the case at all.  In retelling the story, yes, there's an element of predictability, but Ellison's shockingly creative with it.  Creative and unique elements rank high on my happy meter :)  Every facet of the story was twisted and altered in a way that made this story new and surprising (yes, plot twists that leave you saying "I did not see that coming!").  My favorite twist was the magic that surrounded the origami.  That gave me shivers. **happy sigh**

I love Bee.  She's an amazing character.  Strong, yet vulnerable, Bee is thrust into the extraordinary while still struggling to hold onto her average teen life of friends, school and a sort-of-boyfriend.  I loved how she explained herself: "I wasn't a hero, and I wasn't admirable.  I was simply stubborn enough to keep going even when everything seemed to be falling apart."  Then there's Will.  Oh, Will.  He's such a complete jerk at first.  Truly a beast.  I loved the back and forth between these two.  I loved how Bee called him "Beast Boy."  Their dialog created many a giggle. 

Overall, my only complaint is that, due to the nature of the story, this is a stand alone book.  There's no more.  I will indeed re-read this book; I'll miss these characters and will need to revisit them.  I really, really loved this book!!!

Cover Art:
This is a cover that makes a girl want to read a book without so much as a glance at the description.  It's so beautiful!!!  It's mysterious and magical, perfectly representing what you find inside.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway with Charade's Cambria Hebert

Woo!!! Hoo!!!  I'm so excited that's it's finally my turn on the Heven & Hell blog tour celebrating the recent release (May 18, to be exact) of Charade, book 2 in this awesome and crazy unique series!  See what I thought of the book here, but of course you already know that I LOVE it!!! And now you have the chance to win an e-copy of this amazing book AND a set of signed bookmarks! Wheeeee!!!!  So whithout further ado, I will turn over this post to Cambria...

So, you have all heard people say that writers aren't always stable peeps. Those people you see talking to themselves in cars or on the street…Yeah, they’re probably writers.

I, myself, have been told I have multiple personalities, am spacey and forgetful. All of which I agree I have a tendency to display. LOL.

BUT in all writers’ defense everywhere, we are just creative!!! LOL. We have to mutter to ourselves and forget where our car keys are because if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to focus on the worlds that live inside our heads and write them with such clarity (well, I can only hope I do that).

Sure, I have been interviewed. People ask me what it’s like to be a writer. BUT what is it like to be MARRIED to a writer??

I have been wondering about this myself so I decided to interview my husband. Let’s see exactly what he has to say about being married to someone who writes for a living and lives inside her head.

Let’s hope for his sake that he gives the RIGHT answers or ELSE! He he he he

*Disclaimer – no husbands were harmed in the making of this post.

Me: So for everyone out there, tell them how long we have been stuck – I mean married to each other.
Shawn: 10 years in June, and I still love you ;-)

Me: When you first met me did you think that I would become a writer? If not what did you think I would become?
Shawn: My mind really wasn't thinking of the future when we met…Although you always mentioned that your favorite subject was English and with your strong personality I knew that you were destined to be successful in whatever career path you chose…and there have been many along our journey!

Me: What was your reaction when I first told you I was going to write a book?
Shawn: A book? I thought you were very ambitious and I specifically recall your reaction when I suggested that you start small and submit a few newspaper/magazine articles for starters…let’s just say those articles never got written…and congratulations on your novel success!!

Me: Did you know that getting published was such a hard thing? Did you ever think that I should just give up? That it wouldn’t happen?
Shawn: Oh my, I still need therapy for all the rollercoaster emotions we encountered…I had no idea that publishing a book was so difficult…if I did, I would have been more persistent with suggesting writing the small articles. There were several times that I recall suggesting you to just put the book aside and move on but I knew that you didn’t have it in you to just give up. I knew one day that you would succeed. You definitely deserve props for all your hard work and sleepless nights!

Me: Do you think that I have multiple personalities, am forgetful or spacey? If yes, can you give examples?
Shawn: LOL! There are so many to choose from…Yes, yes and yes…I may be sleeping on the couch after you read this…but, you have to admit that there are several different personalities/moods that come out of you on a daily basis…too many to name…but I love them all…even the grouchy one ;) You are very forgetful; if it weren’t for your iPhone I believe you would be even more lost…I recall several appointments that were missed not to mention that we got this upgraded phone because you “lost” your last one while shopping with the kids in a department store…all this while I was deployed 6 thousand miles away…thankfully you came home WITH the kids! Spacey?! I like to call your happy place “Cambriaville”…you spend A LOT of time there…sometimes you have me thinking what I did wrong and why I’m getting the silent treatment but that’s when I throw some off the wall question at you like “did you hear that?” and then I realize that you’re just “not there at the moment”…then I smile and enjoy the silence or sing along to my favorite song with the kids. Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars…this is definitely us…I will never understand what goes on in your mind…nor would I ever dare to try to understand…lol!

Me: Do you like to read? Have you read any of my writing? If so, which books?
Shawn: Our daughter likes to read more than I do…I am fortunate that you set the good example in our family for reading! I have read a lot of your writings…I’m not sure what titles I can list but I have read one series during one of my deployments and a few other titles too…I have to say that I am rather fortunate to be able to see the works in progress and read the books even before the beta readers see them! ;)

Me: Thoughts on Heven and Sam?
Shawn: They kind of remind me of us ;) I laughed a lot when reading because there were so many similarities. I like them both.

Me: How do you deal with my love affair with Sam??
Shawn: You can have your love affair with Sam…I have mine too with Emma ;)
(Note: Emma is a character in my unpublished werewolf series)

Me: As a guy do you like reading the young adult paranormal stuff that I write or would you prefer to read something more “manly”?
Shawn: What is “manly” about reading? I like pictures sometimes…I like your books too ;)

Me: What is it like to be married to a writer? Any advice for other writer spouses out there?
Shawn: What is it like being married to a writer or to you? Another loaded question…Being married to you is the best thing ever! Your writing personalities and spaciousness is a bit to reason with but I see the end results and I can understand “where you go” sometimes…My advice to other writer spouses out there is…get a hobby...and get her an iPhone if she doesn’t have one already…maybe even get a therapist on stand-by…remember to enjoy life and if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Me: Okay, so everyone probably wants you to tell them something about me that no one else knows.
Shawn: You’re very artsy, creative and mother-henish…which is quite contradictory to your fear of chickens…you are 100% girl…you love to shop, talk and your idea of camping/roughing it would be a night at the Hampton Inn. Although you played softball as a pitcher in high school, I see none of those athletic abilities…especially when we play Frisbee with the children…I’d like to thank your Grandmother for spoiling you - an only child and teaching her the “right way” to play Monopoly…I think we played one time and you couldn’t understand why I never let you buy park place when it was my turn and I was going to buy it...we do have fun playing scrabble though…even though it’s hardly a matched challenge…You are a very bad driver; don’t ever let her back her vehicle anywhere near a telephone pole or a mailbox…fortunately we have good insurance!! You are fascinated with Chalene Johnson and obsessed with eating healthy and working out daily. You also love your tart and sour candy…and leaving your wrappers lying around EVERYWHERE except in the trash can…I will never understand because other than the wrappers, you insist on a clutter free and immaculate house…if anything is out of order or there is a change in your routine than your whole equilibrium is thrown out of whack…I like to constantly remind you that a common trait in centennials is adaption to change…
Me: Allow me to clarify this seemingly endless answer of all my endearing qualities… ha ha ha. I am a VERY GOOD driver.

Me: What are my bad habits (if you can think of any because I know it will be really hard.)?
Shawn: None honey ;) however, I direct you to the last question and I’ll let you choose from the list…
Me: I’ll give you a list…. Of ways to be more comfortable when you are sleeping on the couch!

Me: From what you see what do you think the hardest thing about being a writer would be?
Shawn: Organization. I have no idea how you keep all the characters, their personalities and the plot straight…and all this is usually done while you concurrently read several other books, write reviews and spend time with me ;) It’s amazing to read your writings and see your works of art. It’s hard to believe that it all flows and there’s no rough draft, outlines or scrap paper before the final product.
Me: There is always scrap paper and notes. Not really an outline though. 

Me: What is the best thing about being married to a writer?
Shawn: Definitely not the pay check…we’ve spent quite a bit more than you've made on your profession…I think the best thing about being married to a writer is being able to tangibly see your accomplishment and the smile on your face knowing that you “can do it” ;)

Me: Well, thank you for answering all these questions so honestly. Now, about that driving…

So everyone, that was my interview with my husband, Shawn, and what he thinks it’s like to be married to a writer. Clearly he deserves a medal. LOL.

About Cambria:

Cambria Hebert is the author of the Heven and Hell series and several other stand alone novellas. You can find her sipping a latte, stalking the aisles at her local bookstore and listening to the voices in her head. If you see her running and screaming there is probably a nasty chicken nearby and if you see her pulling out her hair it’s because someone gave her math to do. You can find her books where all books are sold.

About Charade (released May 18):

If you cannot breathe, I will breathe for you.

If your heart will not beat, mine will beat harder.

If you do not live, neither will I.

Dying at the hands of a psycho was a shock. Having my life returned to me by an angel was incredible. Being named a Supernatural Treasure and being given Sam as my guard was pretty darn awesome. Acquiring a debt for it all—well, I should have seen it coming.

Now here we are, fighting demons from Hell, caring for a boy that I just don’t trust, and traveling to faraway places to return a treasure to its rightful place. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone wears a mask; everyone puts on a charade. It’s up to us to separate the truth from the lies and reality from fiction. A hard task when my new reality involves fallen angels, witches and dragons… and did I mention Hell?

Anchoring me down through it all is Sam. Sam, who must face tragedies of his own and is put to the test again and again.

If we fail in our task, life as we know it—life as you know it—will end. Forever.


Alright!  You know the drill, fill out the Rafflecopter form below (click here if it's playing hide 'n' go seek)...

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Eternal by J. A. Belfield

Release Date: July 2, 2012

An unmarried woman living in a house of men breeds heresay and lore. If only the villagers knew the truth.

It’s not Jem Stonehouse’s marital status that brings unwanted strangers to town. Rather, it’s that she is the only female werewolf in existence — a prize to any pack.

Sean Holloway, the love of Jem’s life, has gone to great lengths to protect her. As a new attack becomes imminent, Sean realizes he must take greater measures with Jem’s safety or risk losing her forever.

His first task must be to marry her, but a force greater than the largest werewolf stands in his way.

Her mother.
Publisher Type:  Indie
My Rating:  * * * * *

My Review:
I love, love, love the Holloway Pack!  They are fast becoming my all time favorite wolf pack, and that's saying something!  And now with Eternal ... wow, just wow.  This book is so full of romance and action and suspense ...yes, I know it's a novella, but still... it's got it all.

The story opens up hot and steamy.  Belfield wastes no time letting us know how passionately in love Jem and Sean are.  I love that!!!  I also love that I got more of Jem's family in this installment (Jem's mom rocks).  You really get a feel for who Jem is by knowing her family's story better.  It's perfect that this story has that great historical feel without the overwhelming details historical fiction can sometimes bestow on the reader (slowing down the action and boring us less intellectual readers).  Better yet, this story oozes romance.  Sean screws up royally and is completely clueless about it but he does a beautiful job of making up for it.  Plus the clueless thing was adorable (it's only adorable when it's not your significant other being clueless).  And the wedding! **happy sigh**  But the best part of the book was getting to see how exactly Jem and Sean came to be bound for eternity.  It was so wonderfully done. **more happy sighs**

It really made me long to re-read Darkness & Light.  I think I'll wait a few months, closer to when Blue Moon comes out in December.  I'd hate to re-read it now and then be jonesing 6 months for my next hit of Holloway.

Cover Art:
I gushed about this cover when I got to reveal it to you in January.  Click here to re-read it :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Dime Store Magic

Dime Store Magic 

Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world's most powerful elite organizations- the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige's wildest antics can't hold a candle to those of her new charge- an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil... and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder- and frame Paige for the crime. It's an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.

Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher Type: Traditional
My Rating: *  *  *  *

My Review:
I had a hard time getting into this one.  Armstrong's writing is fantastic and her stories always pull the reader in from the get go, but I drug my feet reading this one because it was about Paige.  We met Paige in book 2, Paige is not a likable girl.  She's pretty darn annoying.  Her Coven is annoying.  I probably wouldn't have read this one if not for the reading challenge.  Especially once I hit the faux Satan worship set-up in Paige's backyard.  That was too much for a girl with an imagination like mine.  Luckily I pushed on.  This is a fantastic read.  I almost missed it.

Much like in Jane Austen's Emma, our mc requires a great deal of character growth to become someone readers will like.  In both cases this growth is slow and takes most of the book.  I did feel sorry for Paige with all the crap that is thrown at her, but I often found myself thinking, "This girl is too stupid to live."  As Paige deals with betrayals and insecurities, she partakes in a huge amount of personal growth.  I love to see a character wrestle with preconceived notions and beliefs and come out a better person for it.  This happens with Paige.  I liked where the book took her.  I especially loved the showdown with Leah that emphasized these changes, but still showed Paige to be Paige.

Dime Store Magic is fast-paced and well written with a great plot chop full of interesting characters.  Even our villains are well-developed and not just pure evil.  Lucas was amazing and though we saw very little of him, Kristof Nast, peaked my curiosity.  I really enjoyed Savannah's and Paige's growing relationship, especially how their losses echoed one another's.  

Despite my initial issues, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to more of Paige's story in Industrial Magic, which is up next.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway with Frey's Melissa Wright

I'm super excited to be a part of the Frey Blog Tour!  
I'm also very glad you stopped by to share my excitement
and hopefully win a paperback copy of Frey
or e-copies of the series thus far (Frey, Pieces of Eight and Molly)!!!
Yay!  Woo Hoo!

First, here's my review of Frey as originally posted in December:

Frey thought her biggest problem was figuring out who the dark haired stranger was. Unaware of those that pulled her strings to gain the power she unknowingly held, she was led astray.

But they couldn’t have known the events it would set into motion, that happenstance would destroy the pawns in their game, that Frey would escape before judgment, that she would stumble across the one person who could sabotage everything and reveal their motives.

A past she doesn't remember, a council that aims to watch her to burn, and an intriguing stranger who's been assigned her watcher, she is nearly hopeless. Until she discovers a secret of her own and it changes everything. Bound by those who feared her, she fights alongside a group of strangers to regain her mind, her memories, and her magic.

When the balance of power is shifted, she has what she needs to gain freedom from the bonds that keep her from her true self. If only she knew who to trust.
Rating: * * * * *

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Review:
This story is told completely from Frey's point of view. It's very effective as much of the book deals with the mystery surrounding Frey. It's extremely frustrating for a curious bird as myself, but not bad frustrating, it's more like being tickled: aggravating and fun at the same time.

As the story begins, the lack of information is just annoying. Frey is just going along with her normal daily activities giving the reader no sense of setting. I found myself re-reading the description hoping for a clue, but nope, none.  Later you realize that the author purposely leaves so much ambiguity.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  It made me concerned about how the rest of the book would progress.

Luckily for all involved, the rest of the book proved to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I read this in two days because it was so hard to put down after those first few chapters.  The reader is taken on this run-for-your-life quest with Frey, all the while only getting glimpses on the whys and what-fors.  Poor Frey, no one will give her a freaking straight answer, and she is so determined.  I loved her character.  The characters who become part of her journey are also well written and likable.  The whole book is so well written and this is one of those 99cent downloads!!!

So, concerning the ending... how do you feel about cliff hangers?  As the book concludes, I got some of the answers for which I had been squirming, but not all.  Again, I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Overall it's a  good thing, but it's kind of like getting a small piece of the perfect chocolate cake.  Sure, you should be satisfied, but really you want more.

Again, luckily for all involved (I'd hate to have to stalk the author and bug her until she finished it), the sequel is out and is only another 99cents: The Frey Saga Book II: Pieces of Eight.  As a matter of fact, I stopped mid-blog to go buy this.  Really, do yourself a favor and just buy both books at the same time.  It will keep you from yelling bad words at your Kindle (hee hee).

Cover Art:

This is a new cover for this book.  The other's nice, but the new one is so pretty I want to squeal (perhaps I do get a little too excited about books and book art).  I wish the model had been photographed in a dress matching the description in the book, but I think that would've messed up the overall coloring of the book and the title wouldn't have popped as it so nicely does here.  Alas, we can't have it all, can we?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Now, without further adieu, may I introduce our shy (couldn't find a picture anywhere!) author, Melissa Wright, who is going to give us a peek into her writing process...

I'm certain the writing process varies for every author, but here's a glimpse of how the Frey series came to be. The first thing (aside from the desire to tell a story) is the premise. The idea for Frey came from watching a lot of Sci-fi and a few hilarious conversations with friends. It was pretty much "good elf goes bad" and though I had a general design for the plot, there were very few details. Some authors do outlines. I can't stick to anything charted out, as many of the characters write themselves and after a while the story takes on a life of its own. But I had a heroine and a plan.

Now the fun part. Frey needed a villain, a mentor, and a romantic interest. Junnie was easy. A little older, a lot wiser, and seemingly perfect in every way. Chevelle was very enjoyable to throw in: tall, dark, and handsome. He appeared to be out of her league, and totally obsession worthy. But there was plenty she didn't know about him. And villains. There are more than a handful of villains, large and small, in Frey's story. If she could only figure out who (I'm not going to spoil it for you). Then I sprinkled in a good helping of supporting cast. Steed was my favorite to write, though Ruby comes in a close second.

I tried to round out the characters; no one is purely good or evil. I had fun with light and dark, with council and the north. Everyone plays a part, but each is neither all bad nor completely innocent. Though there are many elements of traditional fantasy in the series, I switched things up, had a little fun with them. And I went for mystery and threw in a few twists, because I hate it when I guess the plot or can call the ending a quarter of the way through.

I have a few beta readers to maintain balance: a male gamer who tells me when the romance is getting too heavy, a female romance lover who gets yucked out by too much or too graphic violence. These readers get a chapter by chapter version as I'm working to help keep me in line. Once the story is finished (and proofread, edited, and revised), a few more beta readers get the whole story to read straight through. And they do, bless them. They pick up any missed details or typos, let me know if they have questions. And that's it, the final version is ready to go. It sounds painless, I know. But all the hard work and long hours are pretty much forgotten when the finished product is finally out there, and nothing beats the email from someone who just has to tell you (usually at 4 am after they’ve stayed up reading) how much they loved it and that they can’t wait for more.

And trust me, Melissa's book is well worth missing shut eye over!!!  Well, onto the giveaway.  just fill out the rafflecopter form below (click here if you don't see it) and then cross your fingers!
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Cover Reveal: Make Believe by Belfield, Eaton, Ford, Rochenski, Said and Young

This is the next collection of short stories from J. Taylor Publishing featuring one of my all-time fav authors, J. A. Belfield ...and one of my newest favorites, Kelly Said!  Yay!!!  Isn't a gorgeous cover?!?  The authors used the cover picture to inspire the works within.  Cool, huh? 

Release Date: December 3, 2012

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.

With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford

There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death.

After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.

Birthright by Lynda R. Young

Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

Petrified by Kelly Said

A mysterious storm has replaced summer with winter, devastating crops and smothering Castle lands in snow. Prince Sterling August stands alone as a leader, lost in personal grief as well as a desire to help his people but with an inability to do either.

The answers he needs await him, but without Lochlyn, a woman who’s just as isolated as Sterling, he’ll never see what stands before him, cloaked in illusion.

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton

Emily is a Red, a woman whose sole purpose in life is to produce offspring. When her husband dies and leaves her childless, she risks her life and forsakes the safety of Terra—a disease-free city born after the nuclear holocaust. Beyond its boundaries, she knows, survives a man with whom she can be properly paired.

The Outside, though, holds secrets the government struggles to keep, and what Emily discovers on her quest for a mate will change her life forever.

Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield

From a charity auction, to a stroll in the park, to the craziest night of her life. Nicole Harrington can’t help but wonder how a simple event went so drastically wrong.

Of course, the male escort she booked is wholly to blame. Not only charming but shrewdly intelligent, Benjamin Gold drags Nicole into a platoon of unimaginable problems—ones from which she’ll have to find the courage just to survive.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review: Tidal Whispers by Adams, Gillian, Reece and Said

Expected publication: June 4, 2012 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher Type:  Indie
Rating:  * * * *

My Review:
I've never been a huge short story compilation fan.  I find short stories hard to get into because, well, they're short. But these four stories were so just so satisfying, kind of like a slice of key lime pie.  This is the PERFECT summer read: a sweet seaside breeze, warm sand between my toes and romantic reminisces.  Here's the individual story descriptions with my individual rating and my thoughts:

Heart’s Desire by Julie Reece
After a terrible accident, Tessa returns to her family beach house to heal. She doesn’t expect to see her first summer crush from seven years before. Cameron, though, reappears and ignites a relationship that’s far more intense than ever before. The only problem? Summer is once again coming to an end, and this time, Tessa will have to decide whether to choose life with Cameron or to never see him again
My Thoughts:  Julie Reece has a breath-taking gift for description.  This story opens with one of Tessa's dreams.  I could read this scene over and over again, it is so beautifully written.  I was there, truly there with Tessa.  I was a bit disappointed with the ending here because our hero should have known Tessa well enough to realize what she would be willing to do (sorry, no spoilers here).  Nonetheless, a beautiful and creative story.  Individual Rating:  * * * *

The Sweetest Song by Claire Gillian
Under Poseidon’s rule, Circe is the most destructive siren in the Pacific ocean, her songs luring ships and their crew to their watery graves. Not Otis, the best halibut fisherman in the Alaskan waters. His ship, the Calypso, has avoided disaster each time Circe set her sights on him.

Given one last chance to deliver Otis to Davy Jones’ locker, Circe takes to land to waylay the handsome captain. Instead, it may be Otis himself who hooks the Siren.

My Thoughts: It's hard to pull off a story using such well known characters as Poseidon and Circe without it getting corny.  There is a bit of that as the story starts off, but it soon became a sweet and tender romance.  I love what blooms between Circe and Otis and his heroism in the end.  The conclusion held a little more of that aforementioned corniness, but a good finish regardless.  Individual Rating: * * *

Pearl of Pau’maa by Kelly Said
Should Miki choose to wed the local wealthy boy she doesn't love, her stomach will stop grumbling. Her soul, however, will suffocate. With one last opportunity before she must concede, she sneaks off for a final dive to her hidden crate at the bottom of the seabed. What waits for her is more than a captured lobster. It's a treasure she cannot claim without great sacrifice or true love.
My Thoughts: By far my favorite story, this has all the romance, suspense and mystery of a full length novel.  I loved Miki, she's smart and brave, a perfect match for our hero, Harmon.  I loved everything that happened in these few short pages and can only beg for more.  I'm hoping this is a prequel to what is to come.  It seems Kelly Said has only published short stories to date.  What?!?!  Kelly, please write more!  A full length more!!!  Individual Rating: * * * * *

The Undergarden by Jocelyn Adams
Nixie, a water sprite, lives a solitary existence as she struggles to understand the strange world beyond her waters. When she meets one of the pink ones, a curious boy named Wyatt, their friendship blooms into a love that can exist only upon the sands that divide his solid ground from her underwater paradise. Some love, though, once born, cannot be undone, even in the face of death.

My Thoughts: I can sum up this story in two words: beautifully bittersweet.  The most dramatic of the four stories, Nixie's story is both wonderful and tragic.  Whereas I'm not a huge fan of sadness and drama in my books, this was still a lovely and well-told story.  Individual Rating:  * * * *

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society.

The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Traditional
My Rating: *  *  *  *  *

My Review:

Ever since Harry Potter, readers of all ages have been scouring bookstores' middle grade shelves looking for the next great magical adventure and Ordinary Magic is it!  Two words to describe it?  Crazy Fun!

I really can't help but continue on the Harry Potter thread here because if  you took HP and turned it inside out and upside down, the results would be Ordinary Magic.  Here we are introduced to a world spilling over with magic.  So common is it that people don't know how to function without it. Magic can negatively affect children, so families are careful to avoid their children being touched by magic until they are twelve.  At that point their level of magic is tested.  And the worst thing ever is discovered.  Abby is without magic.  She is labeled an Ordinary.  With the social stigmatization of being diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, Abby's family is encouraged to toss Abby out like trash or sell her like property.  She is considered a curse, less than human, maybe dangerous, treated as contagious.  Luckily, much unlike the Durselys, Abby's family loves her and views her as they always have, an adored daughter and sister.

It would be easy for me to continue on telling you of the plot.  It's such a fantastic story!!!  Alas, this is a review not an extended synopsis.  Sigh.

So onto the review...
Incredibly well written, the OM world is vividly described and every character has depth and personality.  Even our antagonists are well-rounded  and not merely BAD.  I love, love, love Abby's family.  Each member is unique and special and I really want to know them more.  Abby is a brave and tough, but in a very twelve-year-old way.  There's lots of adventure and suspense and a few hints of romance.  I enjoyed every moment of this book and would happily stand in line (as I did for Harry Potter) for the sequel.

Cover Art:
I'm sort of indifferent to this cover.  I don't know that it would grab my attention enough to pick it up at a bookstore.  I was actually drawn to the title most of all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cover Re-Reveal: Darkness & Light by J. A. Belfield

So this is a new cover from one of my very favorite author's J. A. Belfield and though I love the original cover, this is a fabulous change.  It fits the rest of the series covers perfectly.

You can see my review here :)

Darkness & Light

Release Date: July 1, 2011
ebook Re-Release Date: June 1, 2012 (with bonus scene content!)

Target Reader: Adult

Back of the Book

Jem Stonehouse, a housewife with a neurotic husband bent on keeping her in line, dreams about werewolves in, what she believes, is a bid to escape boredom. 

Sean Holloway is a werewolf, living a charade within the human race, whose mind drifts to a bond he shares with a woman he hasn't met — at least, not in this lifetime. 

Apart, the two are safe but live unfulfilled lives. 

Together, they'll become prey to rival packs just as they have been for hundreds of years. 

When their worlds collide, and not for the first time, instinct takes over. Dreams become reality. Futures are uncertain. To keep history from repeating itself, Sean must teach Jem about his heritage, convince her of her role, and win her love. 

Can Jem accept her destiny before it's too late, or is her inner wolf buried too deep to save her future with Sean?

The re-release of the Darkness & Light ebook will include three bonus scenes from Sean Holloway's perspective.

Double Bonus!
For the month of June (June 1 - 30, 2012), Darkness & Light will be on sale for just $.99 USD.

Other Books in this series include:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: The Hollow of Mont Noir by Jennifer Krey

Seventeen-year-old Allison Spencer thought her life was completely normal - or as normal as it could be for an animal empath known as "Crazy Animal Girl." But when her older brother disappeared and her parents moved the family 400 miles away to try to find some answers, she discovered friendship and love in a supernatural world she never knew existed and learned some shocking truths about herself and her family.

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
Rating:  * * *

My Review:

The Hollow of Mont Noir has a creative and intriguing premise.  I loved the addition of an animal empath to the story's other supernatural element (of which I'm purposefully vague to avoid spoiling).  Though a bit predictable in moments, I enjoyed how the story unfolded with mystery of Riordan's secrets and Allison's brother's disappearance.  The story had a slow and steady pace and I was kept interested throughout.  

The story is told in first person from Allison's point of view.  I liked experiencing the story through Allison.  She is mature and strong, gracefully dealing with both big problems like her missing brother and the normal high school drama of mean girls and lost friendships.  While I liked Allison, I missed the dynamic element of character growth in the plot.  I also felt that the book did not have a YA voice.  It's very much an adult telling the story and I was disappointed in that.  

Riordan, our hero, was a great character I enjoyed getting to know.  I loved the creativity that went into building his world, though I had trouble buying why he was sent to Mont Noir and the lack of communication with his parents.

The other characters in the book are equally likable.  I appreciated the focus on Allison's parents, their relationship and how their son's disappearance affected them.  Their relationship was really well done.  Even smaller characters, like the gym teacher, were given background stories.  I didn't like the addition of Allison's ex-boyfriend and former best friend's "situation" at the end.  It seemed to say "bad things happen to bad people" and felt spiteful.  Hopefully that "situation" (sorry, trying not to spoil!!!) comes into play in book #2 and wasn't as nonsensical as it seemed.

The Hollow of Mont Noir was an enjoyable read.  I did feel the author tended to tell rather than show the reader what was happening.  This slowed down the pace and gave us a more passive heroine.  Regardless, I had fun reading this book and will continue with the series when the next book comes out.

Cover Art:
This cover has great beginnings, but could benefit from some tweaking.  I love the individual elements, but would suggest each be enlarged. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout ( #DaemonInvasion #DaemonsDemons )

Goodreads Description:
Starting over sucks.When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.And then he opened his mouth.Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me.You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.

Genre:  YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal Romance
Publisher Type:  Indie/Traditional Hybrid
My Rating:  *  *  *  *  *  *

My Review:
So, yup, you didn't count wrong... I gave this one 6 stars.  I've never done this before on my blog (which has only been around Since October) as I prefer to adhere to Goodread's simple 0 to 5 whole star rating. But this book may be one of my all time favorites, up there with Harry Potter and Twilight.

So now, I've stopped hugging my kindle and giggling feverishly over how fabulous this read was only to tell you all about it.  Why did I love this book so much?  Let me count the ways...

  1. Snarky dialogue that left me snorting with laughter (which caused people around me to stare)
  2. Crazy chemistry between characters: there was a total Twilight feel of brooding guy with secrets acting bipolar toward his love interest (not a criticism as I loved Twilight); I liked the realness of Katy and Daemon's mixed emotions and the author really knows how to write H E A T  in that suspenseful place of tumultuous feelings
  3. Smart protagonist:  Girlfriend has backbone!  She's witty and brave while still being vulnerable, realistic and relate-able.  Though she's melting on the inside, she stands up to Daemon.  I loved how Katy handles herself at the end of the book (I won't spoil by saying more).
  4. Unique and creative plot:  Aliens!  Who knew they could be so very yummy!?!  And this book was so chopped full of action, I hardly put it down.  Great story!!!  Great supporting characters!  W O W!!!
Cover Art:
The cover is just amazing.  The type of cover that'd have me buying this book without even reading the back.  The cover model, of course, is quite hot and a perfect picture of Daemon.  And I love the stormy background.  The only issue I have is that the woman on the cover fits Dee's (Daemon's sister) description, not Katy, who has light brown hair (light enough that Daemon asks about the color saying it's neither blonde nor brown).  It's still a great cover!

Some Fav Quotes:
Swimming was the last thing I wanted to do.  Drowning him?  Maybe. (pg 40)

"In your dreams, Kitten."  He smirked. "Oh wait, I'm already starring in those, aren't I?"
I rolled my eyes.  "Nightmares, Daemon.  Nightmares." (pg 97)

He slowly lifted his head, placing his other hand on mine.  "Remind me," he paused, drawing in a stuttered gasp, "to never piss you off again.  Christ, are you secretly a ninja?"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Announcement: #DaemonInvasion #DaemonsDemons

I'm super excited 
and just wanted to share 
with you guys that 
I'm part of the 
Daemon Invasion!!! 

Got questions?  Check it out here on Jennifer L. Armentrout's site!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Charade by Cambria Hebert

Super Important and Exciting Announcement:
Cambria Hebert will be here on Monday, May 28th!!!  
***Fangirl Squeals***
And there will be a giveaway of Charade!!!  Woo Hoo!!!

Beware ... Here be spoilers for earlier books ... Arrrr

Expected publication:  May 18th 2012

Dying at the hands of a psycho was a shock. Having my life returned to me by an angel was incredible. Being named a Supernatural Treasure and being given Sam as my guard was pretty darn awesome. Acquiring a debt for it all—well, I should have seen it coming.

Now here we are, fighting demons from Hell, caring for a boy that I just don’t trust, and traveling to faraway places to return a treasure to its rightful place. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone wears a mask; everyone puts on a charade. It’s up to us to separate the truth from the lies and reality from fiction. A hard task when my new reality involves fallen angels, witches and dragons… and did I mention Hell?

Anchoring me down through it all is Sam. Sam, who must face tragedies of his own and is put to the test again and again.

If we fail in our task, life as we know it—life as you know it—will end. Forever.

Genre:  YA Paranomal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
Rating: *  *  *  *  *

My Review:Holy cow, Batman!  Hold on to your tights!  This book is CRAZY GOOD!!!  Okay, so I'm a dork.  Now you know.  Let's move on...

Cambria Hebert hits her full stride in book 2 of her bewilderingly creative Heven and Hell series and you do not want to miss out on the action, oh and the romance, oh and the suspense...

As much as I've loved everything up to this point, this book brings it all together and sets it afire.  I'll admit I felt the beginning was a touch slow, but that's not all that unusual for a book so chopped full of suspense.  And the suspense is overflowing, let me assure you.

Then there's the romance. **Chill bumps** Cambria Hebert knows how to write love. You know those deep feeling for which you can't seem to find words, yup, she's found those words. Here's some quotes:

Sam (pg 84): "If you cannot breathe, I will breathe for you.  If your heart will not beat, mine will beat harder.  If you do not live, neither will I."

Heven (pg 103): "I loved this boy.  more than myself.  More than life.  More than anything.  Tears leaked from beneath my lids because my feelings were so intense that they had nowhere else to go, there just wasn't room in a single body for how I felt for him."

I loved the balance of action and emotion in this book.  Heven continues to grow and I love where she is by the end of book.  I really liked this quote from her on pg 111:

Heven (pg 111): "Sam was my strength.  Some days it felt like he was the only reason I could put one foot in front of the other.  I reminded myself that those feelings were wonderful but I couldn't allow myself to lean on him so heavily.  I was stronger than that.  Even without Sam, I could get through this.  But it was sure nice to have him around."

And speaking of the ending of this book... W O W !!!  There's shocking betrayals and crazy plot twists galore.  Sure, there's a moment or two of "Ah ha!  I knew it!" but there were more "I so didn't see that coming."  And then there is the cliff hanger.  Of course I won't tell you anything about that.  Well, let's just hope the author is furiously typing book 3 now.  She needs to.  We need her to.  I don't know how I'm going to make it.  Please type faster, Cambria!!!