Thursday, February 28, 2013

0 Review: Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels

Title: Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels (Real Mermaids #3)
Author: Helene Boudreau
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jaberwocky
Published: February 1, 2013
ebook, ARC
ISBN-13: 9781402264580
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Source: Netgalley
recommended age: 9 and up




Goodreads Summary:

The only thing that terrifies Jade more than the ocean is dancing at the Fall Formal. Because Jade has two left feet—er, flippers. Who knew being a high school freshman is even more awkward than being a plus-size aqua-phobic mer-girl? At least her only drama is of the human variety...
Or not.
The Mermish Council has just declared that all land-dwelling mers but return to the ocean. Pronto. But there's no way Jade is going to let her mom, or Luke, her...boyfriend? mer-guy-friend?, disappear into the deep, dark ocean. Again. After all, a girl's got to have a date to her first dance.
If Jade can stop mer-mageddon, finding a plus-size dress that doesn't look like a shower curtain should be a piece of cake.

My thoughts:
Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels is the third book in the Real Mermaids series. If you've not had the  opportunity to read this series yet, you should. It's a cute series about a girl named Jade who finds out she's  half-mermaid. She not only has to deal with the problems of being a mermaid, but also the problems of being a pre-teen. It's a great series for kids, or older, who like mermaid tales. This is a series I would recommend that you start with the first book, Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings.
This book begins with Jade and her BFF, Cori, on their first day of High School. They're both racked with nervous energy. Jade is thrown for a loop when her Gram stops by the school to enroll Serena, a fellow mermaid, into school. Jade must help Serena acclimate to her life as a human. Luckily she has great friends to help her. On top of that there's a school dance coming up, and she's not sure if Luke will ask her. However all this seems to take a backseat when the Mermaid council demands that all mermaid land dwellers must return to the ocean. This is a huge problem considering that her mom and her boyfriend are both mers.
I have really enjoyed reading this series. I love Jade's character. Her character has grown a lot since the first book, but she still struggles with insecurities. Boudreau writes her character in such a way that most girls would be able to identify themselves with Jade. I also love the relationship themes in this series. The author stresses how important friendship is as well as family dynamics. Jade is loyal and would do anything for the ones she loves. I liked this book as much as the first. I really hope the author considers writing more of the series because I would definitely read it!
For the parents out there: This is a clean read. There is an innocent chaste kiss, teen angst, and drama. If it were a movie, I'd rate it PG.
My rating:

Other books in the series:
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings
Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

0 Guest Post: Cari Kamm


For Internal Use Only

For Internal Use Only is a modern-day romance that uses social media and modern technology. It deals with the sensitive fact that it’s not always a given that we know everything about a person just because the information is more readily available. With the ability to be whoever we want to be, ambiguity has never been higher. The story is told through a unique social commentary, and although entertaining, it also debates the pitfalls of today’s level of transparency.

Inspired by the notion that women grow up with ideas of true love and destiny, For Internal Use Only approaches those ideas with a decidedly twenty-first century viewpoint. By incorporating problems inherent with today’s dating world, this book is meant to enlighten readers to stop chasing fairytales and start creating their own. My goal was to write a humorous love story with an edgy and dramatic twist that gives each of us a new fairy tale to look forward to; our own.

Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.

Chloe’s circle of friends include: Kate Watts, a.k.a. Kit Kat: who preferred to be solo, breaking off the male pieces that attached to her. The word soul mate almost made her nauseous. Stephanie and Alexander Cudney: who met and married with fairy tale love. Emma West: who saw signs and soul mate potentials everywhere.

Oh! Let’s not forget about the mysterious International diplomat . . . Christoph Kostas.

I feel we should have our own philosophy when it comes to love and dating. Mine is super simple! When it comes to all things love, especially dating . . . my philosophy is For My Internal Use Only! I believe that we should follow our own rules, listen to our own head, and follow our own heart. Dating is an emotional investment and I don’t think any rules truly apply.

Excerpt

Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.

In Chloe’s emotional rollercoaster to having the greatest love story ever told, she’ll learn that like her photography she must use the negatives in life to develop and prove that she’s a strong woman who found her way to love through light.


In this excerpt, Chloe is anxiously awaiting for the envelope to arrive that contains her destiny. To continue, you can view the book trailer here: http://tinyurl.com/bdr7bfn.

Chapter 2 
My love for photography had led me down an unimaginable career path. Most currently, it led me to anxiously sitting on a stoop outside the New York City mid-rise building that contained my overpriced one-room apartment. I closed my eyes, allowing the morning light to calm me while I took in the delightful bird chirps and excruciating taxi beeps of the East Village, ignoring the slight smell of urine that accosted my senses.
I started my afternoon again with stalking. I eagerly awaited the mailman’s arrival between 1:06 and 1:13 p.m., while he transported paper fate, sporting his pale blue polyester trousers, tucked in long-sleeve shirt pressed, and Converse sneakers.
We lived and loved through technology, so I was frustrated that my fate was arriving via snail mail and the timing matched every part of the description. Technology was the trusted source of banking transactions, meeting your husband, ordering your groceries, making restaurant reservations and even spying on your pets through a kennel cam while sunburning on a beach. But today, this life-altering letter crawled its way to me by a government official, a man I rarely saw, and never exchanged words with. I was waiting to hear if my dream would come true, and dreading it would never be.
 “Good afternoon,” I said, with a smile, merely able to stare at the navy stripe that lined his pant leg. The clock showed that it was 1:11 p.m. I made a wish.
“What a surprise,” he muttered, while he manhandled the heavy stack wrapped with a thick, green rubber band and passed by me. I studied him meticulously stocking the empty boxes, one by one, approaching my slot.
“Do you mind if I just grab the mail for three-C, please?” I interrupted.
“If that’s what it’ll take,” he moaned.
Between my J. Crew catalogue and my electric bill was a fancy rectangle of heavy stock ivory paper with gold trim. I squeezed the four-by-six response card. Contained in this saliva-sealed envelope were the words that would inevitably change my life. The weight of those words was heavy in my fingers and I was hesitant to open it. Without the answer the card contained, I still was able to hold onto hope.
 My destiny was in my lap with the warmth of the sun counteracting the fresh chill October presented while I flipped from sweating to freezing like an on/off switch. I reassured myself it was only rejection. I had my health and photography. Whether it was amateur or professional, it was still my first love. Even if it was a two-letter response, I would remember my love for art, and how every time I shot I searched for the immense beauty that existed within the balance, tone, and temperature of my tiny frame. Having an image worth a thousand words was never my intention. I wanted to capture one word to describe each photograph. One word can define everything, love being a true example. There is something compelling about visualizing a picture and capturing it. There is nothing compelling about the words, We regret to inform you.
My fingers trembled and taking a couple photographs would be soothing. Photography to me was the perfect cocktail: one part heart, one part head, a dose of imagination, with a splash of patience.
The tearing of the envelope felt like scratches on my heart. I proceeded with caution, hoping this document wouldn’t be only a keepsake to remind me what if.
Inch by inch, I slid out the card to reveal the twelve-point Apple Chancery font and held it to the light, observing the maker’s name in the watermark. Rubbing my index finger over the engraved symbol, I was impressed. The brand, Smythson of Bond Street stationery, supplied paper to the British royal family. I was holding the same stationery as the Queen.
________________________
Dear Miss Kassidy,
We write to inform you of your acceptance into the exclusive Bruce Smith Gallery as part of our exhibit for emerging artists, hosted by curator Grayson Gates. You will be receiving your review and luncheon date via e-mail. Please be prepared to present your theme for the Love Through Light exhibit within the deadline. You will be required to exhibit three pieces.
Opening Night & Reception
Friday, February 7, 8:00 p.m.
Bruce Smith Gallery
504 West 22nd Street
________________________
I read your acceptance at least ten times, intoxicated with excitement and then Love Through Light offered a swift sobering sense of reality. I began to panic. I couldn’t deny the exhibit theme made me uncomfortable.
The Love Through Light exhibit was inspired by the word photography itself and its Greek meaning, writing with light. As the emerging artists in Grayson Gates’s exhibit, we were to create stories of love. Instead of ink, we would be writing with our three photographs.
 I composed a text to Stephanie, Kate, and Emma, my inner circle. I’m in!
Our bonds from beginnings to endings were unbendable. Each our own elements, but together our friendship made a rare metal.

Cari Kamm has worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, building brands, working behind the scenes, and even selling her own skin care line. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University. Kamm currently works in corporate social media management with clients in the beauty, fashion, and restaurant industries. Living in New York City with her mutt Schmutz, Kamm loves finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, being a novelist, and convincing her fiancé that ordering takeout and making dinner reservations are equal to cooking. More information can be found on her website, CariKamm.com. To check out the book trailer, click here: http://tinyurl.com/bdr7bfn.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

0 Review: Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day

Title: Eve of Darkness (Marked #1)
Author: S.J. Day
Publisher: Tor
Published: January 8, 2013
Paperback, 348 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3748-1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Urban Fantasy





Goodreads Summary:

Years ago, Evangeline Hollis spent a blistering night with a darkly seductive man she can’t forget. But that evening of addictive pleasure has become a disaster of biblical proportions: She’s been branded with the Mark of Cain.
Thrust into a world where sinners are marked and drafted to kill demons, Eve’s former one-night stand, Cain, is now her mentor—and his equally sexy brother Abel is her new boss.
Now Eve has become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history...
Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work.

My thoughts:
I was drawn to Eve of Darkness by the mention of Cain and Abel, the oldest feud in the history of the world. It was interesting to see the twist that Day put on these two infamous characters. The first chapter confused me a little. It jumps right into the story, and I was unsure if I was reading the first book in the series. However the second chapter rewinds to six weeks earlier when Eve Hollis's life is changed forever. She becomes a Mark. She is now destined to hunt demons.
The first few chapters of this book had quite a bit of sex in it. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I was beginning to wonder if this book was more on the erotic side than urban fantasy. However after a few chapters the story line really began to roll. Eve has to come to terms with her new situation. She didn't choose it for herself, so it takes a lot of adjusting, physically and mentally. She's attracted to and has a past with Cain, but he's hurt her in the past. She tries to keep him at arms length. Abel is also drawn to Eve. He's like her boss, and he has to try to keep her in line. He has his own motives though. Which brings an interesting conflict to this story.
Overall I liked this book. It took me a few chapters to get my barrings, but once I did I was taken by the story. Eve of Darkness ended with quite a bang, and leaves you wanting more. I will definitely be continuing with this series.
My rating:


Monday, February 25, 2013

0 Give@way: Kaylee's Ghost




ABOUT THE BOOK
Grandmother Miriam, thrilled that her granddaughter, Violet, seems to be psychic, wants nothing more than the chance to mentor her the way her own Russian grandmother, Bubbie, had done with her. But Cara, Miriam’s daughter, a modern businesswoman who remembers all too well the downside of living with her psychic mother, digs in her heels. As things become more fractious in the family, Violet, a brilliant and sensitive child, is torn between her mother and grandmother, until Miriam’s gift back fires, bringing terrible danger to those she loves. Can Miriam put things right in time, or is it already too late? A mesmerizing story about life here on Earth and after we've passed on, Kaylee’s Ghost is also a domestic drama spanning five generations, a tale about forgiveness, letting go and discovering who we are meant to be, no matter how unusual
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is giving away three books to three of my readers. This giveaway is limited to Canada and US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. Good luck!

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0 Guest Post: My Character is a Phone Psychic Like Me


My Character is a Phone Psychic Like Me
by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro. 

Writing classes tell you to write about what you know, and I do. Miriam Kaminsky, my heroine for Kaylee’s Ghost, is a phone psychic with clients from every walk of life, and sometimes every crawl or trot if an animal is involved. She also had a Russian grandmother like me from whom she inherited her psychic gift as I did. I sense her around me at all times. I smell the lavender talc she powdered on her creased neck, see her sit at my dining room table, sipping a glass of tea, the steam rising steam fogging her silver-framed glasses.
Kirkus Review says, Kaylee’s Ghost is “a mix of family drama and contemporary fantasy.” But I can tell from the types of books posted on this site and comments by readers that most of you would feel that Kaylee’s Ghost is well-grounded in reality because you’ve had these experiences yourselves.
Wouldn’t you think that as a psychic I could just channel the book? Be a typist for the spirits rather than having to do the arduous work of a novelist? Well, luckily there were many scenes and people and events that came to me like psychic information: detailed motion picture clips with dialogue and even scents and textures. Oh, it was thrilling. But then I had to organize everything, make decisions like what order to put things in, etc.
What gave me the greatest pleasure was creating a world that I invite the reader to join me in. I hope you spend some time inside the covers (or the ebook) of Kaylee’s Ghost and live the experience with me.
You can read more on my blog at http://rochellejewelshapiro.com
Follow me on twitter  @rjshapiro

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is a phone psychic. Articles have been written about her psychic gift in such places as Redbook, The Jerusalem Post, the Dutch Magazine, TV GID, and the Long Island section of the New York Times. She’s chronicled her own psychic experiences in Newsweek (My Turn), and The New York Times (Lives.) Her first novel, Miriam the Medium, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry and published in Belgium, Holland, and the U.K. and was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. Besides her psychic practice, Shapiro teaches writing at UCLA Extension and blogs for the Huffington Post and writes a monthly article for Authorlink.  

ABOUT THE BOOK
Grandmother Miriam, thrilled that her granddaughter, Violet, seems to be psychic, wants nothing more than the chance to mentor her the way her own Russian grandmother, Bubbie, had done with her. But Cara, Miriam’s daughter, a modern businesswoman who remembers all too well the downside of living with her psychic mother, digs in her heels. As things become more fractious in the family, Violet, a brilliant and sensitive child, is torn between her mother and grandmother, until Miriam’s gift back fires, bringing terrible danger to those she loves. Can Miriam put things right in time, or is it already too late? A mesmerizing story about life here on Earth and after we've passed on, Kaylee’s Ghost is also a domestic drama spanning five generations, a tale about forgiveness, letting go and discovering who we are meant to be, no matter how unusual. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481033263

Saturday, February 23, 2013

0 Give@way: The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen




The Ghosts of Nagasaki: A Novel
New Novel Explores Pain, Memory, and Spirituality in the Backdrop of
Nagasaki, Japan

The numerous workdays have taken a toll on Tokyo investment banker Pierce Williams. Each day he wakes up, and each day the weight where his heart should be grows heavier. One morning, without knowing why,
he sits down at his desk and begins typing something. Soon he realizes that without meaning to he has begun typing the story of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago. As he types he realizes that the words on his screen are more than he could have imagined. Instead of simply remembering the past, he is reliving it in ways that fundamentally alter his present. In his manic writing are the ghosts of his past, a chilling vision of his future, and the possible key to his salvation. Somehow he must solve the mystery of four years ago. A
mystery that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a native writer, and an oppressive ureaucrat/samurai bent on crushing his spirit.

Daniel Clausen is generously giving away three copies of his book The Ghosts of Nagasaki. This giveaway is open to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. 

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Friday, February 22, 2013

0 The Book of Lost Fragrances is now available in paperback!


Paperback Publication Date: March 13, 2013
Publisher:  Atria Books
Paperback; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621485 

SYNOPSIS: A Secret Worth Dying For.

Jac L’Etoile is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind when her brother, coheir to their father’s storied French perfumery, makes an earthshattering discovery in the family archives, and then suddenly goes missing— leaving a dead body in his wake. In Paris to investigate his disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend of the House of L’Etoile. If there is an ancient perfume developed in Cleopatra’s time that holds the power to unlock memories of past lives, possessing it is not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

Fusing history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris, this marvelous, spellbinding novel comes to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.

Read an EXCERPT.

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Praise for THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2012 Indie Next List

Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Mystery/Thrillers Spring 2012

"Compelling... suspenseful tale. Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted". —Associated Press

"Rose has entered another realm and written what is bound to be one of this year's best books." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"From 18th-century Egypt and France to present-day Paris, New York, and China, Rose's deliciously sensual novel of paranormal suspense smoothly melds a perfume-scented quest to protect an ancient artifact with an ages-spanning romance. Rose imbues her characters with rich internal lives in a complex plot that races to a satisfying finish." —Publishers Weekly, Starred and Boxed Review

"Amazing... utterly engrossing. Elegantly written, with unforgettable characters. Will keep you up all night—and leave you with powerful feelings of revelation, wonder, and the infinitude of human possibility." —New York Times best selling author Douglas Preston

"A simmering brew that mingles the erotic sensuality of Patrick Suskind's Perfume with the dark and timeless obsessions of Rider Haggard's classic, She." —New York Times best selling author Katherine Neville

About the Author

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com.  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

0 Review: Loving Miss Darcy

Title: Loving Miss Darcy (Brides of Pemberley #2)
Author: Nancy Kelley
Publisher: Smokey Rose Press
Published: January 23, 2013
Ebook, ARC
ASIN: B00B3NPJEK
Genre: Pride and Prejudice Variation, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Author





Goodreads Summary:

Georgiana Darcy watches daily as her brother and his wife fall more deeply in love and dreams of similar love and a home of her own. However, after the disaster years ago with Wickham, she does not believe that any man will have her; thus, the idea of a Season in London holds no appeal for her.
Richard Fitzwilliam was tasked with watching over Georgiana and seeing her married to a deserving gentleman. The problem is finding a gentleman he approves of; not even his closest friends are deemed worthy of her hand.
When scandal breaks and all Georgiana’s worst fears seem to come true, will Richard realize in time how deep his affections run, or will they lose their chance at happiness?

My thoughts:
Loving Miss. Darcy is the second book in the Brides of Pemberlye series by Nancy Kelley.  I really enjoyed the first book, His Good Opinion. So I was eager to read this latest book. Georgiana Darcy is the sister of Mr. Darcy. She's lived most of her life sheltered by her guardians, her brother and Richard Fitzwilliam. However she is now old enough for a season of her own. Together with Elizabeth and Kitty the Darcy's embark on London. Georgiana is terrified and really doesn't want to go, and the fact that she's in love with someone else doesn't help either.
I always enjoy reading novels about minor characters in Pride and Prejudice, and this book is no exception. Georgiana was quiet and unassuming in P&P. Kelley breathes life into her character and she blossoms throughout this novel. I like that Richard struggled with his feelings. He was falling in love before he even knew that it was happening. Loving Miss Darcy is an endearing story that will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I really hope that Nancy Kelley continues with this series. Perhaps she will write about Kitty next. One can hope!
My rating:


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

0 Q&A with Dan Andrews


1. Please describe your memoir, Sons of Suicide, in three words. In three words, Sons of Suicide is cathartic, emotional, and helpful.

2. Why did you decide to write a memoir about this painful time in your life? My main motivation for writing Sons of Suicide was that I encountered a great deal of people struggling with tragedy. As a result of these encounters, though, I discovered that no one had written a book dealing with the topic of suicide in an intimate and personal manner. Everything I could find was generally taken from a how-to or psychological approach. So, realizing that I had an opportunity to share my particularly unique insights and stories, I set out trying to help and fulfill a need for people.

3. You're donating $1 for every book sold to the Will to Live Foundation. Why is this organization important to you? The Will to Live Foundation is special to me because they are focused on preventing teen suicide and bringing attention to the epidemic that is currently taking place in our country. It seemed congruent to pair with their specific organization since a large portion of Sons of Suicide takes place in my teen years.

4. What advice would you give some who has lost someone to suicide? This is always difficult to answer simply because the grieving process takes so long and can vary so much from individual to individual. My advice would be that, although someone you loved could not find any more reason to continue living life on earth, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a reason. If you can find no other meaning to living your life in the face of such a personal tragedy, at least find meaning in the fact that right now your job is to suffer well and proudly and to carry the memories of the person that you loved.

5. What's next for you? Right now I am currently in the process of publishing the journals of a young man who committed a school shooting. The current working title is The Journals of Taylor Hart. It should be available sometime this spring.

6. Where can our readers purchase Sons of Suicide? Sons of Suicide can be purchased at:
Amazon http://amzn.com/0615729118 and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sons-of-suicide-dan-andrews/1113982169?ean=9780615729114
as well as the Apple Bookstore, Kobo, and Smashwords.

You can also feel free to get in touch with me at http://www.facebook.com/sonsofsuicide, www.sonsofsuicide.com, and on twitter @thedanimal1991

About the book: "An insightful, viscerally emotional memoir, Sons of Suicide relates the story of a young man's life after losing his Mother to suicide—and succeeding, in spite of experiencing one of the most devastating tragedies known to man.
At eleven, Dan Andrews was abandoned by his Mother. Fatefully, she made the timeless drive down Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago, parked her car alongside Buckingham Fountain, and, after sitting and smoking a few last cigarettes, drowned herself in Lake Michigan.
His Mother's grave decision has given Andrews the ability to perceive and contemplate loss in a way not written about in recent history. Shared with brutal vulnerability and skill, sprinkled with humor and sexuality, Sons of Suicide masterfully entertains and enlightens the reader— serving as a catharsis to the feeling of loss, a feeling to which all humans relate.
The author, Dan Andrews, has also pledged for every copy of Sons of Suicide that is sold, one dollar out of his personal royalty will be donated to the Will To Live Foundation, visit their website for more information about this wonderful organization that is spreading awareness and helping with the teen suicide epidemic. Purchase today to help put an end to suicide."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1 Review: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

Title: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
Author: Syrie James
Publisher: Penguin
Published: December 31, 2012
Paperback, 422 pages
ISBN: 978-0-425-25336-6
Genre: Fiction
Source: Publisher



Goodreads Summary:

The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…
Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes--or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire." Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?
Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work--until she mentions its possible million dollar value.

My thoughts:
Finding a missing manuscript by Jane Austen is any fan's dream come true. I often think it's a tragedy that we didn't get to have more books by Austen. Even though she only finished six books, her influence is still alive today. I've also read and enjoyed the writings of Syrie James. So of course with my love for all things Austen and my admiration of James, I couldn't help but find this book appealing in every way.
Samantha McDonough is the protagonist of this story. She travels to England with her boyfriend. He's attending a medical conference. This gives Samantha the perfect opportunity to do some sightseeing. While out shopping, she impulsively buys an old book of poetry. She later finds that it has a letter pressed between its pages. She is in no doubt that the letter was penned by none other than Jane Austen. After reading the letter a mystery starts to unfold before her.
This book is a story within a story. Samantha does find the missing manuscript of Austen. Syrie doesn't leave her audience hanging though, half the book's contents focus on the manuscript.  I enjoyed reading this story as much as the other one. Syrie took quite a few characteristics from Austen's life and books and put them into 'Austen's' new story. As for Samantha's story line, I really enjoyed that as well. Who doesn't love a good mystery? I love the characters, the conflicts, and the resolutions. It did not disappoint.
Overall, I really like this book. It was fun to read, and I didn't want to put it down. If only this book were based on a true story, then is would be perfect.

My rating:


Monday, February 18, 2013

0 Let's start this Monday off right -- With a give@way!



Summary: Upon unifying the seven warring states under one banner, the First Emperor of China began solidifying power for what he envisioned as a thousand-year reign.

Using those he conquered, the Emperor began a series of arduous projects, Including the first Great Wall, the Linqu Canal, and a national system of highways. Ignoring the physical and emotional toll exacted upon the people, his insatiable desire to further his own power has led to a growing, and secretive insurgency.

One such organization is the Dragon's Spite who wishes to usurp control of the throne by nearly any means. But first they must marshal their forces strewn throughout the kingdom. More importantly they seek out three extraordinary girls who hold vast supernatural powers that can tip the balance in their favor. But do these unknowing heroines realize the talents that they possess? Will the Dragon's Spite reach them before the agents of the Emperor?

Thanks to Troy Jackson I have 5, yes 5,e-copies(.pdf, .epub, or .mobi) of The Elementals to give away to my lucky readers. This giveaway is open to all, but you must be at least 14 years old to enter. . Good luck!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

3 Gabriele Wills Guest Post and Give@way


My Favourite Places to Visit in Canada
By Gabriele Wills


I crave being by water, and the ruggedly beautiful lake district of Muskoka is where I go for soul food. Its allure stems not only from the island-dotted lakes carved out of the sparkling granite of the Precambrian Shield, but also from the unique history that is still evident in the architecture of the summer homes and the ornate boathouses that shelter antique mahogany launches, many of them built in Muskoka in its heyday. Wealthy and powerful North Americans have been summering there for well over a century, including U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, and these days, Hollywood stars like Goldie Hawn and Tom Hanks. You can still experience some of Muskoka’s elegant past with a cruise aboard the 125-year-old R.M.S. Segwun, the oldest operating steamship in North America. It’s little wonder that National Geographic Travel editors selected Muskoka as the #1 summer destination of 2011. Because my “Muskoka Novels” are set there – and I’m planning a 4th - I have plenty of excuses to visit. You can see lovely photos of the lakes in my book trailer.

My favourite city is Ottawa, where we lived for eight years. There’s a tale, which claims that when Queen Victoria was asked to choose a capital for the fractious colony of Canada, she stuck a pin in a map, randomly selecting a brawling lumbering town in the middle of the wilderness. But as the new seat of government, Ottawa eventually outgrew its raucous past, and is an enchanting, people-friendly city, with plenty of parks and miles of trails for bicycling or skiing. It lies alongside the broad and sometimes turbulent Ottawa River, with a backdrop of the picturesque Gatineau Hills of the French-speaking province of Quebec on the opposite shore. The city is bisected by the Rideau River and Canal – the latter a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which becomes the world’s largest skating rink in winter, stretching 7.8 km.

Our sojourn in the Ottawa area inspired my novel Moon Hall. Set in the present as well as the past, some characters experience life in the fledgling capital in the 1870s, mingling with the charming, popular Governor General, The Earl of Dufferin, and his adventuresome wife. Since 1867, the official residence of the Governor General, who is the Queen’s representative, has been Rideau Hall. It’s the Monarch’s home when she’s in Canada, and is open to the public.

I’m drawn to places with a sense of history, and 400-year-old Quebec City is surely a treasure. Once you pass through the fortified “Vieux-Québec” walls into the narrow streets lined with ancient stone buildings, you feel as if you’ve stepped back a few centuries into Europe. Yet it has a character and flavour all its own. Here you can really savour the French-Canadian culture and cuisine.

Lord Dufferin had his second vice-regal residence at La Citadelle, and fortunately prevented the city from tearing down the historic old walls.  As a result, Vieux- Québec, known as “the cradle of French civilization in North America”, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before leaving Canada, Dufferin designed the Terrace that bears his name. It’s a broad boardwalk along the St. Lawrence River, affording magnificent views. Like most immigrants who came by sea, my family first set foot on Canadian soil in Quebec City, although I was much too young to remember. My novel, A Place to Call Home, is about Irish immigrants arriving in 1832 along with a devastating cholera epidemic, which decimated the community.

It’s always a pleasure to visit the Maritime Provinces where the friendly locals make you feel so welcome. On tiny Prince Edward Island, we once stayed at a farmhouse B&B that overlooks Cavendish Beach, in the area made famous by L.M. Montgomery in her Anne of Green Gables books. How exciting it was to discover that our hosts were her cousins! They took us into their hearts as well as their home. A couple of my characters meet L.M. Montgomery in my latest novel, Under the Moon.

In Nova Scotia, you get a sense of the rich Celtic heritage through the toe-tapping music and lilting accents. Exciting Halifax has the dubious fame of being the site of the largest accidental man-made explosion in history. That happened in 1917 when a munitions ship collided with another vessel in the harbour. It completely leveled part of the city, damaged every other building, was heard hundreds of miles away, killed 2000 people, and injured 9000. There’s a scene in my novel, Elusive Dawn, which is set there just after the explosion.

Lake Louise and Banff, Alberta, in the Rocky Mountains, are breathtaking, and I enjoyed what little I have seen of Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada is such a vast and varied land, so I still have plenty to explore!

*Giveaway*
The giveaway is for the winner's choice of The Summer Before the Storm or Elusive Dawn.  Those in the U.S. or Canada can choose from print, Kindle, or Kobo.  International can choose from Kindle and Kobo. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

2 Review: Elusive Dawn

Title: Elusive Dawn
Author: Gabriele Wills
Publisher: Mindshadows
Published: September 2012
ebook
ISBN13: 9780973278095
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Book Tour




Goodreads Summary:
It happened slowly at first. Thread by thread, the fabric of privilege and complacency enveloping the Wyndham family began to unravel. A carefree summer at their island house, disrupted by the arrival of long lost kin, ended in tragedy, betrayal, and war. Now, in the compelling sequel to the acclaimed epic, The Summer Before The Storm, Ria and her friends find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control. It's late summer, 1916. While some members of the Wyndham family revel in the last resplendent days of the season at their Muskoka cottage, others continue to be drawn inexorably into the Great War, going from a world of misty sunrises across a tranquil lake to deadly moonlight bombing raids, festering trenches, and visceral terror. For Ria, too many things have happened to hope that life would ever return to normal, that innocence could be regained. Caught in a vortex of turbulent events and emotions, she abandons the safety of the sidelines in Britain for the nightmare of France. Her fate as an ambulance driver remains entwined with those of her summer friends, all bound by a sense of duty. Living in the shadows of fear and danger awakens the urgency to grasp life, to live more immediately, more passionately amid the enormity of unprecedented death. Together, their lives weave a tale of liberation and loss, evolution and redemption. Those who survive this cataclysmic time are forever changed, like Canada itself.Impeccably researched, beautifully written, Elusive Dawn will resonate with the reader long after the final page has been turned.

My thoughts:
Elusive Dawn by Gabiele Wills is the second book in The Muskoka Novels. This book once again follows the lives of the Wyndham family and their friends. In the first book, The Summer Before The Storm, the story ended with Ria finding out that her husband had not only had an affair but had also fathered a child with a french woman. Ria is heartbroken. Elusive Dawn picks up with Ria grieving over her husband's unfaithfulness. She's feeling restless and useless and decides to join WATS, which is the Women's Ambulance and Transport System. Ria is close to the front line, but she's not only in mortal danger, she's also in danger of losing her heart to the handsome Major Lance Chadwick.
When the last book ended I was on the edge of my seat. This book picked up where the last left off with only a little lapse in time. The tempo of this book is a little more fast paced than the last book. There is a lot of action going on with the war and such. Wills writes her characters in such a way that you literally feel like you're on this journey with them. There are a plethora of characters, but it is not at all confusing. I must admit though, I have my favorites. I was glad to see them all again, but perhaps I should warn you not to get too attached. Wills does have to kill off a few. After all it is a war.
The second book in this series is fantastic. It's fast paced, full of action, and of course there is no shortage of romance. The more of the Muskoka novels I read, the more enraptured I become. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Under The Moon. 
My rating:



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2 Highland Defiance Blog Tour and Give@way





Thank you so much for having me over. As promised at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on Monday, I will continue to interview Adlin and Mildred, the hero and heroine of Highland Defiance, here today at To Read or Not to Read.
Allow me to share a bit of their backstory. Though older and far wiser in the original MacLomain Series, Adlin and Mildred clearly share a strong love that withstands time. As requested by readers, I’ve finally started to share all those untold MacLomain love stories in my new, MacLomain Series- Early Years. Naturally, first on the list to have their tale told was Mildred and Adlin.
Though each of them was interviewed separately, their responses are listed one right after the other. Let’s see how well they really know one another!
SKY:   Reflecting more on that first moment you met, share the very first thing he/she said to you.
MILDRED: How could I forget? He said, “It took you long enough, lassie.”
ADLIN:  I can’t quite recall. My mind was too focused on making her feel welcome.

SKY:  Ah, love is in the air. What is the single most romantic thing he’s/she’s done for you?
MILDRED: *Hand to heart* He turned the moonlit North Sea bathwater warm.
ADLIN:  She tried to protect me from the enemy. Some might not consider that romantic but for a wee lass I thought it quite amazing.

SKY:  You and he/she just don’t see eye to eye on what issue?
MILDRED:  Whether I should stay with him or return to my own time.
ADLIN:  She needs to return to her own time where she’s safe but she’s being stubborn.

SKY:  How do you think he/she would answer the following… Our favorite thing to do together is…?
MILDRED:  *Blushes* I can’t answer that question in decent company.
ADLIN:  Nay, I can’t answer that question unless this blog has a content warning. *winks*

SKY:  If you could undo one thing that has happened since you met, what would it be?
MILDRED:   That first dance with Adlin after the MacLeod had declared me for himself. Even though I understand why he’d been so cold, it still wasn’t easy watching Adlin be so indifferent to me.
ADLIN:  That Mildred was ever in the same room with Bruce MacLeod. But had she not been, we wouldn’t be where we are today. ‘Tis the way of things, I suppose.

SKY:   He/she said one thing to you that you’ll never forget. What was it?
MILDRED:  How could I forget it? No man had ever been so honest. He told me that he was a man who needs to be loved.
ADLIN:  I’ll never forget it. She said, “Because you’re supposed to lead me to him yet here you sit with me on a secluded beach at the tip of the Highlands.” She paused for several, excruciatingly long seconds, and then said, “Which leads me to believe that you will only be leading me to one man… you.”

I hope you enjoyed the interview. Be sure to swing over to Butterfly-o-Meter Books (http://butterflyometerbooks.blogspot.com/) to read the first half of the interview.
Best Regards,
Sky



About the Author:
Sky is the best-selling author of seven novels and several novellas. A New Englander born and bred, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth and legend. When combined with a love for nature, romance and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books. Readers have described her work as "Refreshing" and "Unforgettable."

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com. Interested in keeping up with Sky's latest news and releases?

Visit Sky's Website, www.skypurington.com, to download her free App on iTunes and Android.
Website:   www.skypurington.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/skypurington
Twitter:   www.twitter.com/skypurington
Pinterest:   www.pinterest.com/skypurington
Blog:   www.skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com




Highland Defiance
The MacLomain Series- Early Years
Sky Purington
Genre: Time-Travel Romance
ASIN: B00AVKFQ8K
Number of pages: 125 pages
Word Count: 47,000
Cover Artist: Tamra Westberry

Book Description:
Mildred, a young woman living in New England during the onset of World War II, worries about her family. What is to come? How will life change? Little does she anticipate change is to come not from war, but from an unexpected trip back in time to medieval Scotland.

Adlin, Chieftain of the MacLomain clan, will never forget the moment he lays eyes on her. Though he rules one of the most powerful clans in Scotland, Mildred redefines the man he thought he was. Her quick wit and perseverance humble his natural arrogance. Her sensuality cripples his defenses.

The maddened determination of a rival chieftain threatens their very existence. Caught together in time, they must find a way to evade the mighty MacLeods and keep peace in the Highlands. But lust, rage, and potential war simmer on the edge of their every move.

Will Mildred and Adlin find true love despite the odds? Find out in HIGHLAND DEFIANCE.

Stories from the original, MacLomain Series, include The King's Druidess (Prelude), Fate's Monolith (Book I), Destiny's Denial (Book II) and Sylvan Mist (Book III). Also available in The MacLomain Series Boxed Set (Books 1-4)

~Giveaway~
Tour wide giveaway

What's up for grabs:
$25 Amazon gift card
5 eCopies of Highland Defiance and a
6 winners total- eCopies of Highland Defiance available  in PDF or gifted to Kindle/Nook winner’s choice

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

0 Review: The Lies That Bind by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Title: The Lies that Bind (The Liar Society #2)
Author: Lisa and Laura Roecker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: November 6, 2012
arc paperback, 316 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4022-7024-6
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult
Source: Publisher





Goodreads Summary:

Just when Kate Lowry thought she had life at elite private school Pemberly Brown figured out, she cracks open a fortune cookie to find a message from her best friend Grace--who's supposed to be dead.
Another Sister Gone
A classmate has gone missing, and Kate soon realizes that the disappearance is tied to the secret societies that rule her private school. Her best friend died for their secrets, and there's no way she'll let them get away with it twice. It's up to quirky outsider Kate to get some answers, but in a school where every answer leads to more questions and nothing's as it seems, who can she trust?

My thoughts:
*Spoiler Alert* This review will contain spoilers for the first book, The Liar Society.
Lies That Bind picks up where The Liar Society ends. After solving the mystery of Grace's death everything should settle back down with Kate, right? Well, where's the fun in that? Kate's life get's turned upside down again when she receives another message from 'Grace'. After a classmate goes missing, Kate vows to not let the same thing that happened to Grace, happen to this other kid. However Kate learns that the situation is even bigger than she thought. Once again Kate has to use her deducing skills to solve this mystery before it's too late.
Once again I fell in love with the second book of this series. Lisa and Laura Roecker are great story tellers. The secret societies that run the private school are back with a vengeance. Kate is not about to let the societys get away with anything. However, they have friends in high places. Kate is caught in a web, and she doesn't know who to trust. This is a great second book to a series. I don't always like the second book in series because they lack the same 'wow' factor as the first. I didn't lose interest in Lies That Bind at all. The story sucked me in from the beginning, and it had a great twist at the end. This is one of those books that you don't want to end, but you do because you want to know the outcome. If you're a fan of mystery and suspense, I believe you'll like this book.

My rating:


Monday, February 11, 2013

1 What the World in Panoptemitry Is Like: Guest Post By Sarah Baethge




What the World in Panoptemitry Is Like
By: Sarah Baethge
Panoptemitry at first seems like it takes place in a very future universe, yet the story is disconnected from the Earth in such a way that it could be happening now. I suppose I can’t say ‘A long time ago… far, far away…’ but it’s the same basic premise.
At whatever time the story happens, the action is carried out within our own galaxy. At the forefront exist two major factions; those who gratefully use the S.Y.M.A.C.{Stellarly Yielded Manipulation Algorithm Computer} network (a galactic internet), and The Caytalan Church that opposes this far-reaching network.
Within my story, these two ‘teams’ are officially at war, but have been for so long without any significant progress by either side that their disagreement has more drawn out into endless disagreements and refusals in trade than any ongoing tactical threats.
Of course, this whole uneasy peace lingers on the verge of ultimate collapse because of the actions taken by Emilija Lithuan, one of my main characters. She has been charged with the task of collecting information for S.Y.M.A.C. You see, because the expanding network is large enough to encompass the entire galaxy while still in its early construction, one of its starry-eyed creators has proclaimed that the machines will eventually hold all knowledge in existence.
The reason that The Church doesn’t like this is because they see this amassing of data to be a threatening attempt of the S.Y.M.A.C. creators to build their own God. They are terrified that a false creation might come about that could rival their own god, Caytal. Wanting to prevent such an event, they steadfastly refuse to let their own sacred texts become part of S.Y.M.A.C.
I’m sure you wouldn’t deny that an object you can’t have suddenly becomes more valuable because of the fact that it’s out of reach. At the beginning of Panoptemitry, Emilija finds herself on a horrible prison world kept by the worshippers of Caytal because she has been caught trying to steal The Churches secret religious texts for their uploading onto S.Y.M.A.C.


Book blurb:
With a goal as high and lofty as the unspecified pursuit of knowledge, there may not be a clear point at which to stop. Acting as one has been taught to can seem to hold just as much purpose as the actual reason for taking those actions. When the growth of technology begins to hold the same powers as religious doctrine has declared divine, does the simple recording of events become blasphemous? Who's to say we even understand that 'so-called' divinity?

On a research mission to provide information for a great galactic computer network (called S.Y.M.A.C.), Emilija Lithuan and her assistants run up against the higher ranks of the Caytalan Church. The punishment that these religious leaders try to stick them with, could possibly have a greater effect than was ever intended.
When their escape saddles them with a famous outlaw, a careful reassessment of what is right and wrong can't be avoided. How much of what is 'common knowledge' is even actually true?
And if it's not, just how much perceived reality is built upon a lie?

Author Bio:
Sarah Baethge was born in 1982. She was going to college in 2000 on a National Merit Scholarship when a car wreck left her in a coma for 6 months. She now lives on a donkey ranch in central Texas where she writes most days.
Author blog: http://sarahbaethge.blogspot.com/
Panoptemitry  Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Panoptemitry
Sarah at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Baethge/e/B009WVBI0O

Friday, February 8, 2013

1 Siren Vs. Vampires Guest Post and Give@way





SIRENS VS. VAMPIRES
By: Cat Adams

A lot of readers have asked whether it would be more fun to be a vampire or a siren. I guess, for me, it depends on which version of vampires we’re talking about. The vampires in Dracula are very different than those in Twilight, while the vampires in Celia Graves’s world are very different than in other series. With a very few exceptions, the vampires in the alternate Los Angeles in the Blood Singer series are feral. They have no memory of their former life as a human and attack people in dark alleys like packs of wild animals.

Celia’s siren family, on the other hand, has a lot of characteristics of vampires in other series and movies. They’re charismatic, beautiful, long lived, and have psychic and influential abilities that can make people voluntarily do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Celia is frequently disturbed by how the ability to influence can affect the moral compass. If a prisoner has information that can save lives, should a siren work with law enforcement to make them “confess?” What about someone about to commit a crime? Should a siren influence the law breaker to put down the knife, or walk away from the window just broken, when they can? Where should one cross the fine line of free will?

Since “Cat Adams” is a combination of two people (I’m the “Cat” of the name), I guess I’d like to be one of the rare vampires who retain their mind. Ruling the night world would be very cool, even if I’d have a limited diet. But I doubt Cie (the “Adams” of the name) would feel the same. The problem I’d have with being a siren is that it would be too easy of a slippery slope. At least as a vampire, there’d be no question which side of “good vs. evil” debate I’d be on. No moral dilemma when you know that you’ll burst into flames inside a church. LOL!

Would evil be fun? I’ve never tried, so I don’t really know. But I really do hate moral dilemmas. They give me heartburn, which isn’t my idea of a great way to live for multiple centuries. How about all of you? Vampire or siren?

If you want to read about Celia’s ongoing moral dilemmas, pick up The Eldritch Conspiracy (or start with Blood Song, way back when she was a plain old human.) Want to read a sample chapter? Drop by our website at http://www.catadams.net

Siren or vampire? The debate continues...


About the book:
Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren. 
Not every bride needs a bridesmaid who can double as a bodyguard. But Celia's cousin Adriana is no ordinary bride: she's a Siren princess, and she's marrying the king of a small but politically important European country. She's getting death threats from fanatics who want to see the whole Siren race wiped out—including Celia herself, who is half Siren.
Luckily, Celia is on duty when a trip to a bridal salon is interrupted by an assassination attempt, so everyone survives. When Adriana returns to the Siren homeland to try to prevent a coup, Celia is free to hunt for the terrorists and the vile mage who is helping them (while keeping her eyes open for the perfect maid-of-honor dress). 
Assuming the bride and groom both live to see their wedding day, this will be one royal wedding no one will ever forget.

About the author: CAT ADAMS is the author of the much-lauded Blood Singer series, Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, and The Isis Collar. Adams is the joint pen name of C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, who live deep in the heart of Texas. They are USA Today bestselling authors with their Sazi and Thrall series.

*Giveaway*
Thanks to Tor/Forge I have a copy of The Eldritch Conspiracy by Cat Adams to give away to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.




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Thursday, February 7, 2013

0 Review: Whip Smart by Kit Brennan

Title: Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards
Author: Kit Brennan
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
Published: January 1, 2013
Ebook, arc
ISBN13: 9781938231476
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher




Goodreads Summary:
A wild and sexy romp through history based on the real-life adventures of the audacious, Lola Montez. It is 1842, London, and the gorgeous, ever-capricious 22-year-old Eliza Gilbert, (aka Lola Montez) is in deep trouble and seeks escape from a divorce trial. Desperate to be free, Lola accepts an alluring offer of a paid trip to Spain, if she will only fulfill a few tasks for Juan de Grimaldi—a Spanish theatre impresario who is also a government agent and spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina. Lola soon finds herself in Madrid, undercover as a performer in a musical play. But when she falls dangerously in love with the target, General Diego de Léon, Lola becomes a double agent and the two hatch a plot of their own. Disaster strikes when the plot is exposed, Diego is captured, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in hot pursuit.

My thoughts:
Whip Smart is a story about Lola Montez a.k.a Eliza Rosanna Gilbert. There's a period in Eliza's life that little is know about her. That's where Kit Brennan's story begins. Lola is a fascinating character. I think whip smart is an accurate description of her. Eliza was the kind of women that led life on her own terms. In today's society that's not such a big deal, but in 1842 it was huge.
Eliza was looking for adventure, and she desperately wanted to be a dancer. When an opportunity opened up to go to Spain to achieve her dream, she grabbed it immediately. Eliza was very free-spirited, and very spontaneous. Before she knows it she's caught up in a political uprising. She has to be on her toes, and watch her back constantly. However the heart wants what the heart wants, and her heart wants the dangerous Diego de Léon. This decision leads her into a luscious affair that is rewarding but perilous.
I didn't know a lot about Loa Montez before I read this novel. About 1/3 through this book I had to find out more about her. Brennen seems to capture the spirit of the real Lola Montez between these pages.Lola is quite a personality. The story line is entertaining. It has adventure, suspense, and, of course, romance. I was cheering Lola on the entire story. Although this book is fiction I think the author really does Lola Montez justice. In real life she lived life on her own terms just as she did on these pages.
My rating:


0 Audio Book Review: Island of Silence by Lisa McMann

Title: Island of Silence (The Unwanteds #2)
Author: Lisa McMann
Narrated by James Langton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: September 4, 2012
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
ISBN-13: 9781442353077
Source: Publisher





Goodreads Summary:
Following the life-altering events at the conclusion of The Unwanteds, the stark world of Quill and the magical haven of Artimé are now home to whoever wants to live there, whether they are Wanteds, Unwanteds, or Necessaries.
In Artimé, Alex Stowe and his friends continue to hone their artistic magical spells while welcoming newcomers, wondering how long this peace between Quill and Artimé will last. Alex is stunned when Mr. Today comes to him with a very special request—one Alex questions his readiness for, until circumstances offer a dramatic answer.
And back in Quill, Aaron Stowe, Alex’s twin, faces a very different path. Devastated by his loss of status after Justine’s defeat and seething with rage toward Alex, Aaron is stealthily planning his revenge and return to power.
Alex and Aaron’s separate stories proceed with suspenseful pacing, colliding in a stunning climax that elevates sibling rivalry to epic proportions and leaves the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance.

My thoughts on the audio:
I enjoyed listening to this book on audio. James Langton does a great job with the narration. He gives each character a unique voice and he's pleasant to listen to. I really hope he continues to narrate this series.

My thoughts on the story:
Island of Silence is the second book in The Unwanteds series. It picks up where the first book left off. The walls of Artime` have been figuratively removed. The Wanteds, Unwanteds, and Necessaries have to figure out how to continue on now that so much has changed. So much of the story still surrounds the twins, Aaron and Alex Stowe, who are still on opposing sides. Alex is still feeling insecure about his magical abilities, and Aaron still wanting to rule the world.
This book really threw me for a loop! Lisa McMann really took me on a roller coaster ride with this book. So much happens in this book that I just didn't expect. And she left it at a huge cliff hanger too. I don't like spoilers, so I can't tell you a lot about it. However it's a great book. It has a lot of action, adventure, and magic. People of all ages will enjoy it.
My rating:


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

0 Review: The Lady Who Broke The Rules by Marguerite Kaye

Title: The Lady Who Broke The Rules (Castonbury Park #3)
Author: Maguerite Kaye
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Published: October 1, 2012
ebook, arc,
ISBN13: 9781426876738
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley



Goodreads Summary:

'Your rebellion has not gone unnoticed...'

Anticipating her wedding vows and then breaking off the engagement has left Kate Montague's social status in tatters. She hides her hurt at her family's disapproval behind a resolutely optimistic façade, but one thing really grates... For a fallen woman, she knows shockingly little about passion!

Could Virgil Jackson be the man to teach her? A freed slave turned successful businessman, his striking good looks and lethally restrained power throw normally composed Kate into a tailspin! She's already scandalised society, but succumbing to her craving for Virgil would be the most outrageous thing Kate's done by far...

My thoughts:
The Lady Who Broke The Rules is part of the Castonbury Park series from Harlequin. All the books are written by different authors. I read a prequel of sorts many months ago. It wasn't my favorite historical fiction, but it was enjoyable. I haven't read the first two book in this series either. One of the things that I like about this series is that you don't have to start at the beginning to understand the characters. There are cross-over characters in this book, but you get enough explanation to understand the story.
The two main characters in this book are Kate Montague and Virgil Jackson. Kate has recently upset her family by breaking off her engagement. Virgil is a freed slave that now has a successful business. Kate and Virgil's paths cross, and their attraction to each other cannot be denied. I applaud Kaye for her unique spin on this romance, but I had a few problems with the story line. Most of my reservations lay with the historical accuracy in this book. I don't mean that a book has to be 100% accurate to be believable, but I can only suspend my disbelief so far. All though Kaye does mention the hardships the couple will have to face, it's not really stressed upon especially for this time period. Not only of being different social classes, but also that the characters are different races. However overlooking that aspect of the story, it's enjoyable. It's more of a novelette at 169 pages than a full-length novel. I think if the author added another 150 pages she could have built a more believable story line. As it was it's an okay read. I'm a huge fan of historical romance, but this book fell a little short for me.
My rating:



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

0 Live Chat with Pam Jenoff


Who:  Pam Jenoff
What: BookTrib LIVE CHAT with international bestselling author Pam Jenoff, the author of The Ambassador’s Daughter.
Where: BookTrib.com -- of course!
When:  Tuesday, Feb. 5, 3:30 p.m. ET


LOVE, LIES & WAR: Like the PBS/ITV hit show “Downton Abbey,” international bestselling author Pam Jenoff’s new novel has it all. The Ambassador’s Daughter delves deeply into a time period and world war not often explored in books and movies—Paris in 1919, just after the end of WWI.

Tune into BookTrib.com  Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m. to chat live with Ms. Jenoff about the mystery and foreign intrigue of the period, her new novel and her fascinating background. Oh, and they'll be giving away copies of  The Ambassador's Daughter too! Hope to 'see' you there.




Monday, February 4, 2013

0 Review: The Little Book of Heartbreak

Title: The Little Book of Heartbreak
Author: Meghan Laslocky
Publisher: Penguin
Published: December 31, 2012
Paperback, 353 pages
ISBN: 978-0-452-29832-3
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Publisher




Summary:

What's the best way to mend a broken heart? Forget ice cream, wine, or weepy movies. Award-winning journalist Meghan Laslocky advises: read through the pain. From divorce cases in ancient Rome to the art of crafting the perfect “I'm over you” mix CD, The Little Book of Heartbreak is a whirlwind tour through love's most crushing moments, including:
• How Ernest Hemingway cheated on his wife and then stole her job
• Painter Oscar Kokoschka's attempt to win back an ex by creating (and having liaisons with!) her life-size replica
• Morrissey's personal creed about how sex is useless
• What to watch, listen to, and read to forget an ex faster than you can say “rebound"

My thoughts:
I knew from the first sentence, "The older I get, the more irked I become that time travel is not an option." I would really like this book. Why? Because I often think the very same thing. Throughout the book the author really gives you a sense of who she is. It's as if I could hear her voice coming off the page telling me the story of heartbreak. This book may sound a little depressing, but I can assure you it is anything but that. As a history buff myself, I really enjoyed this book.
The Little Book of Heartbreak is split into five sections: History, Culture, Music and Art, Film and Literature, and Conclusion and Practical Advice. Loslocky has found some really interesting facts and stories about some people you might have heard about and others that you haven't. I love that she includes a book alert or movie alert to help further illustrate her point or to help the reader learn more about the subject matter. Each section was interesting as well as entertaining. If you're getting over a break-up or you know someone who is this might be the perfect book for them. The author seems to say 'you think you got it bad? Take a look at what happened to this chick!" She also gives some good advice, as well as some things to watch or listen to while you're recouping from your heart break. However even if your heart's not broken this is still a great read. I learned a lot including there were some real jerks way back when.
My rating:


 

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