Friday, January 31, 2014

Room Recipes: A Creative and Stylish Guide to Interior Design by Tonya Olsen

Home Interior Decoration
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Available Now
Source: From publisher for review
From exciting entryways to DIY dining rooms, these tried-and-true interior design recipes are the ultimate resource for homeowners looking to spice things up or decorate a space from scratch. With this book, creating a show-stopping master suite or home office is as simple as cooking dinner---just follow the instructions! Turn your house into your dream home one room at a time by incorporating these no-fail recipes for delicious designs.

My thoughts:
 The book was thought up by the author with the idea of doing home design like a recipe. This way of organization is designed to help you plan and create a room that you would enjoy. The examples are from jobs she had in the past and then she breaks down the "recipe". It is set up like this:

  • Ingredients: The major elements of the room like a wall treatment, flooring, couch, tables and other items like this.
  • Tonya's Take: Which is like her version of the recipe where she makes substitutions and where your own ideas could take off for your own recipe. 
  • Garnish: Taking an element and specifically showing you how she did it. For example, how to arrange a wall of artwork/pictures. 
You can find many examples of her work on her website: Room Recipes. She does break it down a bit more in the book.

I give this book 4 stars. Someone who does diy can take some of these ideas and run with them as well as figure out a way to organize their ideas into a cohesive room. It isn't for the complete diy'er, however. It really is a kind of book where you have a budget and create a room with the help of a professional.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

OMG... Am I A Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

illustrator: Jlicja Ignaczak
Childrens/MG (8-12 yrs. old)
Publisher: Pinwheel Books
Available Now
Source: From TLC and the author for review
April Appleton is so annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When the spell works, April realizes she has more powers than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out. She has little time, but with the help of her friends, Grace and Eve, she finds a book of magic that will hopefully reverse the spell. Will it work and will April's newfound magic save the day?

My thoughts:
 This is a cute children's book about a girl who turned her older and annoying brother into a dog. She finds she has powers and the adventure is all about getting her brother turned back into his annoying self. The book is aimed at 8-12 year olds.

I had my eye out for books I thought my little cousin might enjoy. She really loves reading and I thought the premise of the book was cute. She doesn't have an older brother but a younger sister but I think she could still identify with the main character.

The book itself has a bit of a problem with pacing. The dialog keeps going back over the same thing, but as a kid, I think they might like that. It is also short so there is no mention as to how April got her powers or why. She also doesn't really grow from the experience but she does have a conscience and feels bad about what happened.

One of the things I really did love about this book are the tiny illustrations that accompany each chapter. I think that was probably my favorite part of the book. I just had to make a mention of them.

I recommend this book to young grade school kids. I think they would get a kick out of a kid who suddenly finds herself with magical powers.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Netherworld (The Chronicles of Diana Furnval #1) by Lisa Morton

Series: The Chronicles of Diana Furnval #1
Publisher: JournalStone
Published: 1/10/14
Source: ARC from LibraryThing early reviewer program and publisher for review
In nineteenth-century Victorian England, a young widow finds that she has inherited more than her late husband’s property: The Furnavals serve as the ancestral keepers of supernatural portals scattered around the globe. When demonic entities begin crossing over from the Netherworld, Lady Diana realizes that a war is brewing, and she must be the one to confront it. 
Accompanied by a young Chinese sailor named Yi-kin, her feline guardian Mina, and a mysterious scholar, Stephen, Diana will begin a journey to solve the mystery of her husband's death and prevent the apocalypse.
My thoughts:
The book is set in the 19th century with a huge dose of the paranormal. Diana is a young woman who has been encouraged to have ideals unlike her peers in terms of religion, but yet is staunchly critical of anything that smacks of the paranormal. She meets her husband, William who, prior to engaging her, shows her a gateway to hell which quickly changes her mind. William is called away to a trap which spins Diana on a new quest. Closing all the gates to hell.

The book is filled with worldly descriptions which is both interesting but slows the book down considerably. There were times when the description seemed to go on, but I was ready for what would happen next. It did help at times when you really wanted to get a feel of things, but when it was more of the mundane parts of the book, I just wanted to move a bit quicker.

The other parts I did have trouble with was the mix of 19th century with present times. At times Diana behaved much more boldly that would have been allowed in that time. She seemed to be able to behave with men in a way that I don't believe would be acceptable then but would be chaste now. There were also parts where Yi-Kin, her side-kick, would experience a lot of prejudice. While this made sense, but he still seemed to have found a freedom I'm not sure would exist with Diana being seen as a recent widow. He is also a bit stereotypical of what you might think of as a asian sidekick.

Still with the problems I had it was an interesting ride with Diana figuring out how to close the portals. I especially enjoyed Mina, her cat, who seemed to be a bit wiser than your average feline. I give this book 3 stars. You will have to ignore some of the inconsistencies in the era and her behavior, but if you just want to have fun with a paranormal mash up of religion, faeries, and mythology you might enjoy your time here.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tell Me Something Tuesday: So You Want to Be a Blogger Edition

Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme started by CambriaHebert, but now hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings. It is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers by sharing fun stuff, discussions and more. Grab the question and post your answer on your blog and link up at Rainy Day Ramblings! Have fun!

This weeks question:

So You Want to Be a Blogger Edition: What are your tips for contacting authors and publishers for interviews, ARCS, etc.? 

I'm guessing this is mostly for the newbies... so for those of us doing it for a while, do add your tidbits in the comments.
Best way to get ARCs? 

Just go and sign up for those services and start asking for ARCs. You should have a place or places in which you review and let them know as much about you as you feel comfortable. Having a blog is the easiest way since then you can also let them know how many followers you have to entice them for acceptance of your request.

This is another place where I hear about a lot of ARCs. You often fill out a form or just ask for the book and if you get chosen, you get the book. Sort of like a giveaway but with more chances at books.

You can also just go to the publisher's website where your coveted ARC is being produced. Just look at the contact page (sometimes you need to go to the main publishing house page to find the smaller houses e-mail) and find the area for reviewers. Then just send off a request. You may get it or not. You'll never know unless you try.

The other way I get them is being asked by the author, publisher, or tour host. Pretty easy to get on the tour hosts list. Just go to the website (check out the links on the side bar to the left) and sign up.

Not much of a science and I start to not mind getting rejected even for those I really want. Why? Because I have SO many to read. Seriously, I can always pick up a book later at the library if the funds get low. :)

As for the interviews for the authors that are hard to get, often you can contact them through the publisher and be specific as to what you want. They often go as a go between so the author doesn't have to give up privacy if it is a hard to reach person.

So any tidbits to add?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Circle of Fire (Damask Circle #1) by Keri Arthur

Series: Damask Circle #1
Publisher: Dell
Published: 1/28/14 (first published: 08/20/01)
Source: NetGalley and the publisher for review
Sixteen teenagers taken from their homes. Eleven bodies recovered, each completely drained of blood. Some believe vampires are responsible. Jon Barnett knows that what’s happening is far worse. Sent by a group of paranormal investigators known as the Damask Circle, Jon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of black magic and realizes he needs help. But fate gives him only one choice. 
Madeline Smith has retreated to an isolated farmhouse, afraid of the abilities she cannot control—abilities that have killed. But when a “ghost” brings a warning of danger and her nephew goes missing, Maddie not only has to leave her haven, she has to place her trust in a man who is neither ghost nor human. As the noose of sorcery tightens, the search for the teenagers becomes a race against time. But the greatest danger to Maddie and Jon could be the intense feelings they refuse to acknowledge but cannot ignore.
My thoughts:
This is a book that was previously published but is being rereleased. This is a PNR shifter type of story with your standard HEA at the end. It has no cliffie *cheers* so it can be read as a standalone and I suspect the next book will be another couple. I enjoy those since you can read out of order (but since this is the first one, of course that isn't the issue here) and not be lost.

The story is one we are quite familiar. Trouble starts we have to opposing and flawed characters, neither of whom are looking for love. As they are forced to work together we see the sparks fly and they try to balance solving the issue as well as trying not to fall for each other. Something we know is inevitable. Okay, so it is predictable, but still fun to see how they do it in the specific world created here. We are also introduced to knowing the Damask Circle exists, but nothing more. Something to build upon in the coming books.

I give this story 3 stars. It is a fun PNR where you want to sometimes kick both characters in the arse for not dealing with the emotions they obviously have for each other. You will probably enjoy this one if you are in the mood for a PNR with a bit of action.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Published: Jan. 28, 14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny. 
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. 
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. 
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her. 
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
My thoughts:
Yep, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Best which is probably my favorite story for retelling. Not because there is a beauty or even a beast, but often because the girl/woman has a brain. It is also often her kindness and not her beauty that captures the beast. In this tale it is no different but there are some major character differences I both loved and hated.

I loved that the beast was not 100% cruel. He was just charged with not having a pure heart. Even though they never defined what a pure heart was for this world, I didn't see how anyone could achieve such a thing. We are all a mix of both cruelty and kindness, purity and well... not so pure. :) So, I did enjoy that both characters were charged with being cruel and kind. Even that purity was discussed, I think it centered more on fear and bravery.

The difference I didn't love was with Nyx. She kept berating herself on her "evil" thoughts. It became so much I just wanted to tell her to "chill" a bit and give herself a break. No one is so perfect that they never have a negative thought. However, she is young and is trying to be the best person she can, so it was also easy to forgive her... but I still wanted to make her relax from time to time.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed this story. It keeps pretty close to what we know about the story and so it isn't unpredictable. I didn't mind that but it did make me want to yell at Nyx so she could see what she was missing in the puzzle she was trying to solve. Sometimes those are fun. I recommend the book to fans of the story Beauty and the Beast as well as fairy tale retellings.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Scarlet

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!
My submission this week:

by A. C. Gaughen
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. 
It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
I have the second coming up for review and I'm so glad I have this one... yes, I plan to read in order! :D I can't wait to dive into this series.

Any first in a series books on your tbr? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kissed by a Dark Prince Book Tour with giveaway!

Excerpt from Kissed by a Dark Prince

It’s great to be here at Books and Things today as part of the Kissed by a Dark Prince Book Tour celebrating the release of the first book in my new Eternal Mates series of paranormal romance novels.

Today, I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from the book.

But before we get to the main event, I want to introduce myself. I’m a British paranormal romance author and a USA Today best-seller. I have been writing since 2005, and went indie in 2006. I love to write big worlds, populated by vampires, shifters, demons, fae and angels, and I have several series. This tour is about the Eternal Mates series, which is actually a spin-off from my Vampire Erotic Theatre series. That series focused on a family of vampires at one theatre in London but it had glimpses into the wider world outside the theatre. It’s that world of fae, dark elves, demons, witches, shifters, and other incredible species that the Eternal Mates focuses on.

Now, on with the show…

Kissed by a Dark Prince – Excerpt
Olivia folded her arms across her chest. “Your enemy could have killed you rather than dump you at my door. I still don’t get why you haven’t just killed him before. You’ve been at war for four thousand years. There must have been opportunities.”

“I almost succeeded once.” He began pacing again, long strides eating up the stone floor with ease. The man couldn’t keep still whenever he felt agitated and watching him pace only served to agitate her. It showed off his body in far too good a light and gave her a terrible excuse to stare. “I came close to killing Vail’s ki’ara... it would have given me a chance to capture him.”

Olivia didn’t miss that he had said capture him. Not kill him. Now she knew why they had been fighting for so long. The prince couldn’t bring himself to kill this psychopath. Why not?

“What’s a ki’ara?” She figured it was safer than probing about his reasons for not killing his enemy.

He glanced across at her. “It is our term for our fated female... our eternal mate. You are my ki’ara. The dark witch named Kordula is Vail’s ki’ara.”

So his enemy was another elf, and he had a fated female too, and the prince had tried to kill her.

“Do you get like a harem of them... or is it a one-time deal?” She hoped he didn’t say that each elf only got one ki’ara, but the solemn edge to his purple eyes warned that he was going to shatter that hope the moment he spoke.

“We have one fated female.” He looked away from her again, his head lowered now, his focus on his knee-high black boots.

Whatever this ki’ara thing was, she had the impression that elves placed a lot of value on it and it wasn’t something they gave up lightly. She couldn’t imagine having just one shot at true love. The prince was five thousand years old and now he had found his ki’ara, in her, and he didn’t need to say it aloud for her to know that he was thinking about giving her up. He didn’t act or look like a man who was happy to have found his soul mate and was going to fight to keep her.

“What happened with Vail and his ki’ara?” Olivia said and he stopped pacing, his gaze on the floor and his eyes widening.

He frowned and spat out what she could imagine was a vile curse.

“I am a fool. I have been looking at this all wrong.” He threw his head back and growled, his fangs sharp and ears pointed again. “Vail will seek you out and torture you to drive me to the brink. He is seeking revenge and desires me to suffer as he had. He will use you to hurt me.”

Olivia’s blood chilled to sub-zero temperatures and she stared at him, struggling to get past the part about this madman torturing her. 

She managed to reach the end of what he said and realised that what he had told her earlier hadn’t been something romantic or noble at all. He had meant it literally. If someone hurt her, then he would feel it. He would share her pain.

Olivia couldn’t comprehend that. It was too much. She couldn’t breathe as the weight of it pressed down on her and the thought of being tortured closed her throat. Her head spun, the room viciously turning with it.

“Calm yourself!” he bellowed, a dark commanding snarl. 

No. She was damned well going to have herself a major panic attack and he could damned well deal with it. She was sure that a panicking woman wasn’t on his list of things he enjoyed dealing with, but he had just announced that someone was out to torture her and considering this man had beaten the crap out of the prince, she felt her demise at his hands was somewhat inevitable.

“Female,” the prince gritted out and Olivia tried to focus on him.

He wobbled into focus and she frowned when she saw he was clutching his chest and was paler than ever, on the verge of collapse too.

Oh my God. He didn’t only share her pain.

His knees gave out, sending him crashing to the floor, and he whipped out a vicious curse in English this time, his handsome face contorting, revealing how much he despised what was happening to him. Olivia rushed to him and crouched before him. He inhaled hard, his shoulders heaving with each breath, struggling for air just as she had been a moment ago. She laid her hand on his shoulder. He was shaking like a leaf.

Olivia ran her hand along his jaw and lifted his chin, and studied his eyes. She tilted his head towards the light and away, monitoring the responsiveness of his pupils. 

“What’s wrong?” She checked his pulse, pressing her fingers against his neck. It was fast, far quicker than it had been when she’d had him hooked up to the machines in the lab.

She dropped her hand away. 

It matched hers.

“Not used to the pace,” he ground out. He was talking about his heartbeat. Her heartbeat. She swallowed, stunned by the reality before her.

The bond between them was so deep that it affected him physically. It linked them right down to their hearts.


He sat back in front of her and drew in slow breaths and her eyes widened when her pulse began to slow. He was the one making it happen. 

Olivia tried to help him, seeking calm amongst the raging storm of her feelings, but it was hard. She was in a strange environment, felt threatened and overwhelmed, and someone was out to torture her. Just thinking about that had her pulse picking up again.

“Calm yourself.” He was back to commanding her again.

“I’m trying... it’s... I can’t... it’s too much.” Olivia’s panic spiked, her hand shaking against his face.

He looked deep into her eyes and then she was in his arms, held close to him, and they were kneeling together on the floor.

Familiar scents swirled around her and she instantly felt more relaxed. “What did you do?”

He drew back from her and she found that he had taken her home and they were kneeling in the middle of her small living room on the cream carpet, between the beige sofa and the TV. 

The prince brushed cool fingers across her brow. “You feel better now.”

She nodded, her heart levelling out again, the soft feel of the carpet beneath her knees and the familiar surroundings making her feel comforted and safe.

He sighed.

“I cannot remain here... and that means you cannot either... but I will not rush you,” he said in a low voice, one laced with a solemn note.

She appreciated that because she could see how difficult this was for him. He was a man used to issuing orders and having someone instantly obey. He was a man unused to having a weakness and she knew that was what she was. She didn’t want this bond between them either. She wanted it undone or broken or just gone somehow. She didn’t care how.

“Is there a way to undo it?” she whispered, afraid to hope that there was.

“It is possible it may fade if we do not complete it. I will have my men look into it and we will know soon enough if it is possible to break the bond. If it is possible, you will be free to go.”

She didn’t like the sound of that. “And if it isn’t?”

“If it is not possible, then my only choice will be to complete the bond. Completing the bond will restore my strength, because it will make you immortal, stronger.” He held her gaze, unflinching as she glared at him, thinking about giving him another piece of her mind. “You must understand... I must defeat my enemy and to do that, I need to regain my strength, whether that is through breaking or completing our bond.”

In other words, she wasn’t getting a choice. He was just going to make that decision for her.

I hope you enjoyed this brief peek into Kissed by a Dark Prince!

Be sure to follow this fantastic tour to learn more about the passionate heroes and sassy heroines in the Eternal Mates romance series! You can also find yourself in with a chance to WIN a $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Certificate if you follow the tour. More details, including how to enter and a full list of stops, are available at the Kissed by a Dark Prince Virtual Book Tour page: 

Kissed by a Dark Prince is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Also available in paperback. Find the links to your preferred retailer and a downloadable 6 chapter excerpt at: Felicity Heaton Kissed by A Dark Prince Page 

Kissed by a Dark Prince (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 1)
Felicity Heaton
Olivia thinks it’s her lucky night when a dangerously handsome unconscious fae ends up on her inspection table. He’s her chance to redeem herself with her employer, the demon-hunting organisation, Archangel. But when the tall, dark and deadly immortal warrior awakes, she gets much more than she bargained for…

Attacked by his enemy in the elf kingdom, the last thing Prince Loren expects when he comes around is a beautiful angel watching over him and medical technology of the mortal realm. Hazy from his injuries, all he can focus on is the pulse ticking in her throat and the sweet allure of her blood.

One single bite reveals she is his eternal mate, triggering a bond between them that will leave him weakened until it is completed… or broken, and pulling Olivia into the crossfire of his ancient feud.

To protect his people and his mate from the machinations of a madman, Loren must risk everything by working with Olivia at Archangel to find a way to break the bond blossoming between them.

But will Loren be strong enough to place duty before desire and give up the one thing he has waited millennia for and craves above all others—his eternal mate? And will Olivia be able to resist the incredible heat that burns between them and the temptation of her dark prince’s kiss?

Books in the Eternal Mates romance series:
Claimed by a Demon King – coming February 2014

About Felicity Heaton:
Felicity Heaton is a USA Today and international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

You can win any of Felicity Heaton's backlist ebooks! The list is HERE. Just know that the newest book (Kissed by a Dark Prince) is NOT a part of the giveaway. It's an ebook, so the giveaway is international. The giveaway is sponsored by Felicity Heaton.
Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Pick Me Up Reads

Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme started by CambriaHebert, but now hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings. It is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers by sharing fun stuff, discussions and more. Grab the question and post your answer on your blog and link up at Rainy Day Ramblings! Have fun!

This weeks question:
What are some of your favorite pick me up reads?

My fave type of reads that I feel will make me smile every time are magical realism genre. The book I reviewed yesterday, Lost Lake, is one of these that I enjoy.

Lost Lake
by Sarah Addison Allen
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.
I also enjoyed another book by her:
Garden Spells
by Sarah Addison Allen
The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.
As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.
Oh yea... I do plan on reading more of her back titles when I get a chance.

I also enjoyed Of Bees and Mist in which I loved the symbolism and visuals used in this unusual book:

Of Bees and Mist
by Erick Setiawan
Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality. 
Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink. 
Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.
Of course there are many other examples of books I have enjoyed in this genre, but I do think you get the gist of the kind of books I like to pick up for a fun ride. So, do you have any magical realism titles you'd like to share with me? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Available 1/21/14
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: ARC from publisher for review
From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake. 
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost... until they are found.
My thoughts:
This is a contemporary magical realism book by the well known Sarah Addison Allen. I enjoy her tales of magical realism and couldn't wait to dive into this book. This is a story about people who have lost themselves, usually through a death of a loved one. Some find themselves again and others never look. It's also about fighting for who you are and the ending you wish to create for your life. A life with several endings and beginnings. The author's notes indicate she had a huge scare with breast cancer, so it doesn't surprise me that the book is about loss and new beginnings. Although in the book the loss is the loss of a loved one and not health, it still speaks universally to all of us. It is a journey we will all have to take when we love someone.

The magic in the book is a bit hidden at times in this book and sometimes it is up front. There is no pattern to the magic other than the ability for those listening to move along on their journey. The magic also takes many forms and it doesn't always seem to come from one source like her Garden Spells book. Still, like her other book, it was a journey trying to figure out if it was real or imagined magic.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. If you like magical realism, I do think you should try this book.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Supernatural Snark's Cover Design!

I know I often don't post on the weekend, but this was brought to my attention and I HAD to share! Jenny from the Supernatural Snark did a cover design that I LOVE. 
Supernatural Snark
Check out Jenny's blog btw (click above).

Here is the cover and the blurb:

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.


Doesn't that look good?
Btw, there is also a giveaway associated with the reveal. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Witch Fall (Witch Song #3) by Amber Argyle

Series: Witch Song #3
Publisher: Starling
Available Now
Source: eARC from author for review
With the magic of their songs, the Witches control the seasons, the storms, even the sea. Secure in their supremacy, they have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind. For the world has begun to covet their power, seeing them as weapons to be controlled instead of rulers worthy of obeisance.

Born of witches but raised among their enemy, Lilette searches for a way to heal the rift between mankind and the witches. But it may be too late to save either. For if there is one thing Lilette has come to know for certain, it’s that all things fall.
My thoughts:
 Yes, I have read this series in order... and guess what? You don't have to do that with this book. You could start here and then go to book 1 in this series. Why? Because it is a prequel. I didn't even realize that until about half way through the book. It had been a while since I had visited this world so that is why it took me so long. I was happy that it does take place in the past. It answers a lot of questions I had about the "time before". Also, if you are with me and have read these in order, I caution you... you will then want to go back to the first book and read them again.

I really enjoyed my time in this world and was quickly swept away by the characters. As frustrating as some of the parts of Lilette's life could be, I didn't find her annoying and rooted for her every step of the way. I only had one quibble with the plot. There were a few twists in the end which I enjoyed but one I just didn't believe. For the sake of not spoiling things, I will not say what that twist was, but it didn't go with the personality of one character. It didn't ring true. However, it also didn't spoil my time in the world and I didn't hate that twist. I actually liked it despite not believing it. It helped the rest of the book flow smoother... oddly enough. :)

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed this prequel and recommend it to those that like YA fantasy or even a good witchy story.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Witch Fall Excerpt

All things fall.

Even Witches.

Supreme in their dominion over seasons, storms, and sea, the Witches have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind. And among the weapons men seek are the magical songs of the Witches.

Lilette is one of the few who see the decadence and decay weakening the Witches. As an outsider amid her own kind, can she help them survive the coming war?

 ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ 

 ~ About the author ~ 

Amber Argyle is the author of Witch Song and Fairy Queen trilogies. She grew up with three brothers on a cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountains. She spent hours riding horses, roaming the mountains, and playing in her family’s creepy barn. This environment fueled her imagination for writing high fantasy. She has worked as a short order cook, janitor, and staff member in a mental institution. All of which has given her great insight into the human condition and has made for some unique characters. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Physical Education from Utah State University. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three small children. 
Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~Twitter ~ 

~ Excerpt ~ 

Han looked at her, his eyes as dark and depthless as the deepest part of the ocean. His gaze shifted to her mouth and she could have sworn she felt the pressure of his gaze on her lips. She moved forward a fraction, until there was nothing between them but sunlight. Then there was nothing between them at all. His lips were on hers, not claiming, not possessing, simply wanting. Needing.

Lilette had never known how full of need he was. How dark and empty the spaces in his soul must be. He drank her in like she was light and hope and he’d been a starving man all his life.

For Lilette, it was like his touch let her shine. Like she’d been shattered into a thousand specks of light and he brought her together—made her whole.

With a shudder that shook to his core, Han pulled away from her. He rested his forehead against hers, his breath ragged and his lips red. “Lilette.”

She closed her eyes as he said her name. Said it like he was cupping a bird in his hands and he’d set it free. She inhaled the breath that had carried her name. “Han.”

“It’s like no matter how hard I try, you’re all I can see.”

She held her hands together to keep them from trembling and betraying her. “Where does that leave us?”

“I don’t know.” Han closed his eyes and breathed her in. “You’re leaving for Haven. I’m going to stay here as an ambassador for Harshen.”

She nodded. “I’m glad.” She trusted no one else with this.
Han hesitated, and then kissed her briefly. “Be well, little dragon.” He turned and walked away.

Lilette watching him, waiting for him to move out of sight before she allowed her legs to go soft. Let herself sink into the loam. She didn’t cry. She just waited for the aching to fade enough to get to her feet and keep moving.

Get Witch Song (Book One) FREE!! 
Bloggy note: My review of Witch Fall is set for tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Witch Rising (Witch Song #2.5) by Amber Argyle

Series: Witch Song #2.5
ebook only
Publisher: Starling
Available Now
Source: From the author for review
A ship burns, sinking into the dark sea. There is only one survivor—a child hunted for the power of her song. Hidden away on an isolated island, Lilette buries her power deep, convinced it caused the deaths of those she loves. 
But she can’t run from who she is. And when her secret is revealed, the only thing that can save her is her song. It’s time to rise up and become what she was always meant to be: the most powerful witch ever born.

My thoughts:
I have read the other 2 books in this series, Witch Song and Witch Born. I was surprised that this series went on as the other 2 books were complete. This novella is really a prequel to the upcoming Witch Fall and this really stars a whole new main character. Therefore you can start with this book if you wish and not be lost. Those that have read the other 2 books will find themselves in the same world.

Although this is very short, it really does introduce the new character, Lilette well. We understand what happened to her and how she was in the situation we find her in the upcoming Witch Fall. You don't need to read this one to fall into the new book, but I really recommend it as it does seem to really set the stage for the new book. These are the kind of novellas I do enjoy. The kind that give us insight to the story we are engaged.

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend the novella for those that are fans of this series and I recommend the series to those that enjoy a good witchy tale. :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: Something to Prove

"Every once in awhile there are covers that just make you say Oh My! Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, and sometimes it is head scratching. The point of Top Off Tuesday is to show you the ones with their Tops Off! Seriously y’all hunting out Top Off Tuesday covers is one of my favorite pastimes and you should join the fun!" ~from the Geeky Blogger

I have been enjoying this meme on Felicia's The Geeky Blogger's blog and have finally found some time to join in. The other players are Amanda from On a Book Bender, Christi from Smitten with Reading. Button made by Missie at The Unread Reader

My submission: 

Something to Prove
Series: The O'Leary's #3
by Shannyn Schroeder
Publisher: Kensington
Two ambitious people team up to prove themselves to their families—and find there may be more to their partnership than just business... 
Elizabeth Brannigan is determined to show her father she's capable of running the family business. Saving his struggling Chicago bar seems like the perfect project. But she'll need a little help dealing with the rough crowd. Who better to assist her than the handsome co-owner of a thriving Irish pub? Of course, with so much work to do, there are bound to be a few late nights... 
Colin O'Leary's father passed away before he could prove to him that he wasn't a screw-up. Now he wants to show his brother he's responsible enough to own a bar of his own—and Elizabeth may be able to help him. But when their professional aspirations clash, tempers—and passions—flare. Are they mature enough to mix business with pleasure—or will they have to choose between the two?
I was innocently checking my e-mail when I saw this cover. I immediately thought... ToT! So here it is! Although, he doesn't look to happy showering...
What is on your "clean" ToT? 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Audio Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #1
9 hrs, 12 min.
Narrator: Kate Simses
Publisher: Harper Audio
Source: Library and Overdrive
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
My thoughts:
I've heard many people either love or hate the prose in this story. Some even fall in the middle. I have to say I enjoyed the prose, but I may have felt differently if I had read the story rather than listened to it. I understand this is a visual book with some of the words scratched out. There was a scratching sound for each sentence or word scratched out and it worked quite well. I wasn't so sure at first, but it just made sense for me.

I felt transported into this world through Juliette's eyes. In no means was this perfect as she frustrated me quite easily at times for being so naive. He background just didn't lend itself to that kind of naivety even if she is so young. Still, I did feel captivated in what was going on and what would happen next. I didn't want to leave the world to do ordinary things.

The narration by Kate Simses was well done and I enjoyed her voices. Her male voices worked for me and didn't feel too feminine for me to see the person in my mind. Her pacing was good and he really has Juliette's voice for me. I think I'll be hearing the rest of the books in audio with her as the narrator.

I give this book 4 stars. It's an interesting story with an interesting way of telling Juliette's POV. I think I would suggest to those that feel that the prose may cause them headaches to try the audio. You felt like you were really in Juliette's head.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Series: Splintered #2
Published: 1/7/13
Publisher: Amulet
Source: NetGalley and the Publisher for review.
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of. 
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs. 
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind. 
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
My thoughts:
 Read and loved the first book, Splintered. I have to say that this is the first YA series where a triangle actually works. I think it works because there are 2 distinct sides of Alyssa and so each guy compliments that side well.

My biggest problem with this book is Alyssa. Oh she frustrated me for most of the book with her attitude toward Morpheus. Yes, he is exasperating, but everything he does is more like coyote of legend. He tricks her to get out of her own way and help her on her journey. He also seems more self sacrificing even when he is being selfish. It is an interesting combination and the reason he is my favorite complex character. At least Alyssa does learn from her mistakes in the end.

I do warn you of the ending. It is cliffie-ish. It does stop at a logical place, but still so much is left to be done. Seriously can't we have a 800+ pg book? I mean the Harry Potter series proved that kids can do that and so can older kids known as adults who enjoy this series. Gimmie all of the story! *sniff* Okay, off my soapbox. :)

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. Despite my frustrations with Alyssa, I found myself really enjoying my time here. This is, so far, my fave retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

AimeeKay Review: Moonsongs Series 3-5

~Book 3 - Dark Prelude~

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Unfortunately, a lot of on-the-job training is required to be a monster hunter, and unlike her computer repair business, this gig could literally kill her.

Dark Prelude finds the feisty protagonist, Jenny, searching for her best friend Marshal's missing father in the midst of a freak, West Texas winter storm. To survive the frigid night, she'll have to deal with a hated town rival, face a monstrous creature no Moonsong hunter has ever encountered before, and undo a mysterious curse. Can she keep everyone alive? If not, who will pay the ultimate price?

~Book 4: Dragon's Game~

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...

Dragon's Game, Moonsongs Book 4, finds Jenny out of her rural West Texas element, searching for an evil witch in an urban Houston nightclub. After attempting to help a handsome and mysterious stranger out of a jam, she finds herself on the run from a ruthless gang who are even more dangerous than they initially appear.

Forced into a twisted game of life and death, Jenny must navigate the complexity of a budding relationship, and somehow survive a night filled with unexpected horror and paranormal mystery.

Dragon's Game is approximately 14,000 words or 45 pages of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fourth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.

~Book 5- Vampire's Ball~
Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Being a girl of action, she has found herself particularly capable when it comes to battling the werewolves, trolls, and other supernatural denizens lurking in the Texas night. Until now.

Vampire's Ball, Moonsongs book 5, finds Jenny and her best friend Marshal in their most harrowing adventure yet. Traveling by boat to an extravagant masquerade party located at a Galveston Island mansion, Jenny must parlay with an ancient vampire in order to secure the release of the dragon princes, Isis. The unexpected return of an old "friend" turns the evening into chaos, and leaves Jenny and company once again fighting for survival amidst a sea of supernatural foes.

Vampire's Ball is approximately 12,500 words of humor, horror and paranormal mystery. It is the fifth volume of the Moonsongs Books, an ongoing series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes by author E.J. Wesley.


AimeeKay's Thoughts (condensed review for all 3!):

So I have to say I’m still lovin’ the Moonsongs series! While I’m still not sure about the covers, the writing is amazing! Each novelette is a fast paced episode in the adventures of Jenny and Marshal.

I love Jenny and Marshal. The characters work well together and even though the books are told from Jenny’s pov, I still feel just as attached to him as I am to her. They have an awesome friendship and watching them interact is just plain fun.

I also love the authors writing style. Wesley pulls you in and keeps the pages turning. Plus the author somehow stuffs a ton of story into only a few pages. In these three installments Jenny and Marshal’s friendship is put to the test, Jenny might actually have met her match in the relationship department, AND there are dragons! DRAGONS! To name some of the new creatures that Jenny and Marshal are introduced to in their quest to translate her grandfather’s book and fulfill her legacy.

None of these is really stand alone, so if you haven’t read the first two books in the series I definitely recommend picking them all up and diving in! They are like chips, you can’t eat just one!

While you are here don't forget to go to the intro page to the whole series. There is a giveaway at the end that is international! Some great g/c's are being given away!
Go HERE for the post.