Friday, January 31, 2014

Always and Forever by S.P. Cervantes

Always and Forever (Secrets of Shadow Hill #1)Book Description:
This is an Young Adult Fantasy Novel

Twin sisters Ava and Hannah were ripped from their peaceful seeming lives into a whirlwind of attacks and war only to learn the real truth about their existence. 

Nothing was as it seemed anymore and may never be again. They had already lost their father in childhood now they have to cope with their mother’s kidnapping as they watch those sworn to protect them risk their lives.

My Thoughts:
I completely adored this book.  Dalton has been sent out on his first mission.  He and his best friend have been sent to New Jersey to make sure twins, Ava and Hannah are not taken against their will by a rival magical coven.  The twins know nothing of the magical world they are abruptly thrown into, but Ava does know that her connection with Dalton makes her feel guilty about her relationship with Patrick.  
I really enjoyed the story in this.  The characters are really developed well and they feel like friends.  Ava is the loyal, rule abiding twin.  Hannah is more of a free spirit.  They feed off each other and are close like most twins are.  Dalton lost his family when he was quite young and has never forgiven their rival coven since he believes they had something to do with the death.  Dalton and Ava are instantly drawn to each other but she has a recent ex-boyfriend that still loves her and who is in danger.  That slows their romance but only slightly.  I really did enjoy getting to know all the residence of Shadow Hill!
I rate this a 5/5.  Literally read it from start to finish in one evening.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young

Anybody's Daughter (Angela Evans #2)Book Description:
Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains. 

Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She's about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn't exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers- turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria. 

Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard. 

Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring his reign of terror to an end. 

While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts. 

As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?

My Thoughts:
Oh my gosh!  This was an intense book.  Dre is trying to get back with his ex when he gets a phone call that his niece is missing.  Dre has always considered Brianna like his own and will do whatever he has to, to get her back.  He has help in his search to find her but the Shepherd is a powerful player and he is who has Brianna.  Human trafficing is a big deal and makes a lot of money so the Shepherd sees no reason this little 'nucance' should cause problems but he doesn't know just how much Dre is willing to do.  The question is can he do it in time to save Brianna?
This horribly wonderful book and I know that sounds like it conflicts but really it is true.  It is a wonderfully written story about things that happen all too often in real life!  Brianna meets a 'boy' on facebook and goes to meet him.  When she does, she gets kidnapped and thrown into 'the life'.  Dre has plenty of history on the streets and isn't above calling in old favors to get his niece back.  His sister is falling apart, his girlfriend is a lawyer, and the only people he can really trust to do what needs to be done are from his past.  I can't imagine how terrified Brianna was in this book but the author did almost too good of a job making a fictional story seem absolutely real.  I know things like this happen daily but this was an eye-opening book.
I rate this a 5/5.  It is something everyone who has a child or loves a child should read just to realize better what can happen.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult themes/language**

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)Book Description:
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven't given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.
And now their most threatening enemy yet - the chaos snake Apophis - is rising. If they don't prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it's a typical week for the Kane family.
To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.
First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?
Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride.

My Thoughts:
This was a great continuation of the series.  Sadie and Carter have released the gods.  Now they have to deal with Apophis rising and figure out how to stop him.  The much questioned decision to wake tie sun-god, Ra is what Sadie and Carter are determined to do.  Sadie is still struggling with her feelings for the young death god and now Walt.  Carter is still trying to find his pseudo girlfriend.  They have to find Ra, travel his path and stop Apophis from rising, just an every day Kane mission.
I still love the Kane siblings.  With the deadline of Apophis rising, the gods wanting someone to take control, deciding to wake Ra and several side trips the Kanes are stretched thin.  I did like their new recruits though.  It was great to see the help they got and the quirks their help had.  I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the book, though I was super curious how it was all going to turn out.  I cannot wait for the final book in this series!
I rate this a 5/5.  This author's writing style is addictive!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Author Interview with Kelly Preston!!!

AW: Tell us about yourself…
First, thank you for hosting this interview. My name is Kelly Preston, no not John’s (Travolta) wife that is the other Kelly Preston. I published an award winning book, Real Dogs Don’t Whisper, based on my life story with four special need dogs. In the beginning, I thought I was rescuing them, when in fact; they rescued me, learning from them about life and myself. As a child, my late brother had Down’s Syndrome; later in life I discover the parallelism between my childhood and caring for special need dogs.

Displaying real dogs dont whisper.JPGAW: Tell us about your book.
Real Dogs Don’t Whisper is about second chances; whether a pet or human, it is about opening one’s heart up to the possibilities; accepting angels that God brings into your life; and learning to live in the moment as each passing moment is simply priceless. Now of course, my co-author Mr. MaGoo, will tell you that his (note his) book is about enjoying life to the fullest, every day there is fun to be had and he makes sure that the reader experiences fun and humor along the way. Yes you guessed it; Mr. MaGoo is my little clown of my pack, full of life and fun.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?
Great question! I would have to say Betty Boop; she was against all odds from the moment she was born, she was born with hydrocephalus with a very bleak future. As the years passed and Betty Boop was still beating all medical odds, I would keep receiving the question “why, do you keep her?” It was at that point; I decided to share my life with four special need dogs, to help raise awareness for rescue dogs, especially with special need. The goal, to enlighten and hopefully inspire others, maybe even helping others that are facing challenges and sharing how I overcome so many obstacles.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
I do not, since all four of my dogs are characters, they each have a favorite place in my heart. You will meet, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae and of course, Mr. MaGoo. Betty Boop I shared a brief background; Buffy was badly beaten and abused, she has Cushing’s Disease and cancer; Carla Mae came to me severely abused and I share our journey together learning to trust each other. And Mr. MaGoo, oh my, he is my puppy mill rescue and a hand full. He truly thinks I would not survive without him, even goes as far as calling me “The Crazy Lady” in the book. Each bring their own challenges, personalities and each will have the reader falling in love with them as I do.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Yes I did, opening up and sharing my life, not an easy task to do. There is a balancing act between sharing too much and not sharing enough. How does on share their life story without sounding self-centered? How
does one even begin to share and determine what stays and what goes? These were all questions I asked myself.

AW: What are some items that one should know about living with special need dogs?
Living with special need dogs takes patience, lifetime commitment, dedication, loyalty and above all, unconditional love. There will be times when it truly will be a priceless experience, leaving you with a warm fuzzy feeling. And, there will be days that it will feel like your heart was ripped out; just know, those moments are actually the growing moments. You will learn how to overcome challenges; you will discover strengths/skills that you may not have known you had. Caring for special need is a sacrifice; you just can’t whisk off to do this or go there, but know this from the bottom of my heart, the love you will receive (and give) will leave you in puddles of your heart melting when you look into their eyes. Or, when they come over to give you a kiss, be forewarned, your heart will melt.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
I took the story line from Real Dogs Don’t Whisper and wrote a children’s picture and activity book, Mister Spunky and His Friends; I wanted to reach out to children and took the theme and placed it in context for them (5 yrs. and older). Much like Real Dogs Don’t Whisper, Mister Spunky discusses the importance of love, friendship, helping others and anti-bullying/abuse.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?
Best advice I can give, if you have a dream or passion to write, follow it. You just do not know until you try. If worried about where to begin or how to proceed to the next step, there are so many resources available that are free to point you in the correct direction. I had no clue what I was doing, I reached out for help and the amount of help that came my way was (still is) bountiful. Three simple words “Just do it!”; you will be so happy that you did. Remember, we all have a story to share, why not share it and inspire others?

Displaying 10571045568926640590.jpegAW: Where can we find you?
 Our website is
Facebook is
Mr. MaGoo has a blog
Twitter handle @KellynMrMaGoo
We are out on various social media channels, even ones that are not mentioned above.

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book?

Thank you for asking
Our website:
CreateSpace: (use code 8SPQ272F)

The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala

The Curl Up and DyeBook Description:

A brand new Southern women's fiction from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala who has 1.5 million books sold.

Wally Lamb meets Steel Magnolias in this story of LilyAnn Bronte, the Peachy-Keen Queen, which in Blessings, Georgia, was the epitome of success. After losing her fiance in the war in Iraq, her zest for life went into decline while added weight crept on. When a new guy arrives in town, LilyAnn embarks on a quest to remake herself from start to finish only to discover that love was always just right next-door.

My Thoughts:
This was a good one!  When her fiance was killed in Iraq, LilyAnn let herself go.  She didn't take care of herself, her hair, her clothes...nothing!  When a new guy comes to town and LilyAnn is attracted to him, she decides to change all that.  Mike has always been a friend, even at the worst of times.  He has always loved her but if he doesn't step up his game, he realizes he may lose her forever.
I want a neighbor like Mike!  He is buff, caring, attentive...just wow!  I liked how he didn't let LilyAnn get away with putting herself down.  LilyAnn was a good character.  She was a bit dense, especially not seeing how Mike loved her, but as they say 'love is blind'.  Mike noticing all the changes to LilyAnn should have been a big clue for her, but it goes to show how we put people in certain categories and just leave them there.  He was protective of her and wasn't fooled by the new guy in town!  Good, sweet story.
This was a 4/5.  It was a good book that I will read again.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

Dare to Love Again (The Heart of San Francisco, #2)
Book Description:

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

My Thoughts:
Refreshing historical romance!  Allison has been hurt several times and doesn't have rose colored glasses when it comes to love.  She is independent and smart, not to mention well-to-do.  Nick is a detective and has been hired to teach Allison self defense.  He has issues with the wealthy but he and Allison develop a friendship and more.
I adore Allison.  She was just spunky and the kind of person you want for a friend.  The banter between her and Nick was laugh out loud funny.  I liked catching up with the rest of the family and the little side stories that developed along the way.  Nick was very realistic and awesome once you get past the rough exterior.  Heart of gold!  I cannot wait to see what happens in the third book in this series.
I rate this a 5/5.  It is the second in the series and can stand alone but you will want to meet this family and get to know them all!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker

Eyes Wide Open  (Eyes Wide Open #1-4)
Book Description:
Who am I?

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die. I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I’m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don’t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you?

In a return to the kind of storytelling that made Showdown and Three unforgettable, Ted Dekker drags that question into the light with this modern day parable about how we see ourselves.

Humming with intensity and blindsided twists, Eyes Wide Open is raw adrenaline from the first page to the last pure escapism packed with inescapable truth. Not all is as it seems. Or is it? Strap yourself in for the ride of your life. Literally.

My Thoughts:
Ted Dekker does know how to write suspense.  Christy manages to get herself into a psych ward.  She can't convince the people that she doesn't belong there but has to rely on a phone call she made before her phone died.  She'd left a message for her best friend but when he shows up, neither of them can convince anyone that they don't both belong in the psych ward.  They are admitted under different names which begs the question.  Who are they?
I completely enjoyed the first three parts of this book.  The psychological spin the author puts on his work leaves you questioning everything.  You are just waiting for the next 'ah-ha' moment.  The two main characters, caught in  the same problem with completely different personalities definitely handle themselves and react in distinct ways.  I know I would have been freaked out, especially not being sure what was reality and what was a figment of your imagination!  Thought provoking and surprising, this fiction book will leave you with plenty of real questions.  I wasn't thrilled at all with how it wrapped up, but I'm guessing that reading other works with the 'conclusion' character in it will clear up everything.
I rate this a 4/5.  I really liked it all up until the ending and it was just kinda done.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wind and Shadow by Tori L. Ridgewood

Wind and Shadow (The Talbot Trilogy #1)Book Description:
Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn't count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot...or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.

Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger...but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it's too late?

Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen ("Mist and Midnight", Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed the majority of this book.  Rayvin was run out of her home town of Talbot years ago with everyone thinking she was a cold blooded murderer.  Now she has come back out of necessity, but also to be closer to her best friend.  She has never forgotten Grant Michaels or how he, like everyone else in town, had glared condemningly at her as she walked out of town.  Grant had never wanted anyone as much as he wanted Rayvin, but she was off limits.  She'd tried to kill his best friend so it didn't matter that she made his blood boil every time she was around.
I liked the tension between Rayvin and Grant.  It was obvious from the start that they would either kill each other or fall in love.  The vampire was a creepy character and I really wanted to know the back story on him, it is eluded to but I think I may have missed a book explaining how he got trapped to begin with.  The problems starting in town the moment Rayvin arrived only made people more sure that she was trouble and made her determined to not give a dang!  Overall, Rayvin was a great female lead and I loved her, up until the last few chapters and then her character seemed to change quite a lot.
I rate this a 3/5.  I will read the next in the series to see where it goes because I'm hoping the heroine is just 'suppressed' at the moment.
Thank you to the Author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult themes/language**

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dissension by Katie Salidas Cover Reveal!!!

Dissension – Chronicles of the Uprising: Book 1

The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.
But not all survivors were human.
In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising...and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.
Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision - to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind.  The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.

Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Secrets and Lies by Christine Amsden

Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot, #2)Book Description:
Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents' betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn't letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.

To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness. Book 2 in the Cassie Scot Mystery series.

"Christine Amsden unleashes her brilliant storytelling magic as the adventures of Cassie Scot escalate to the extreme. Rife with betrayal and a debt too deep for money to clear, Secrets and Lies plunges the reader into an utterly believable world where villains and heroes spring lifelike from the pages. Brace for a whirlwind ride of sorcery, romance and knife-edge peril. A truly original urban fantasy. Not to be missed!" –Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series

My Thoughts:
I really loved the characters in this book.  Cassie owes a life debt to Evan.  He saved her life and she owes him everything.  He is in love with her but there are some big issues to work through (if that is even possible).  Her family is a big problem with disowning and lies.  Not to mention she and Evan have teamed up to find two missing girls....
I loved that this was a magical book set in a contemporary setting and not in another realm/time/world.  Cassie is struggling for independence but at the same time, there are too many things going on for her to be completely independent.  Evan's predicament is loving Cassie.  Keeping her safe and alive is a job in and of itself.  Time is of the essence as they race to find the girls, but they also find answers to many questions and past family feuds that leave us wondering what will happen to them in book 3!
I rate this a 4/5.  It was really good standing alone but there were parts that were obviously left over from book 1 that continued on and I think would be easier to follow if I'd read book 1 first.

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne

Book Description:

A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn’t believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she’s forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches—and Indira’s sacred calling.
Yet there’s something even Tomas doesn’t know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he’s come to love—and saving the world.
Destiny has but one beginning...

My Thoughts:
This was an intriguing book.  Indria is a witch, well she was a witch until she decided it wasn't real and stopped practicing.  She wanted to find her soul-mate and none of the spells she cast brought him to her.  Father Thomas comes into her life as the horrible dreams she is having become a reality.  Not only is she dreaming that she is being pushed over a cliff but has the marks on her wrist and back to prove it.  
I really liked Thomas.  He was such a good guy.  He had to realize that demons were real but that there were ways to combat them.  I didn't like his mentor at all.  He bothered me on several levels.  I loved Indy and her attitude toward everything....just pretend none of it was real.  The attraction between the two was forbidden, but unmistakable.  I really liked that Indy wasn't completely alone through any of it, but her friend was there and giving her strength.
I rate this a 4/5.  It was a good one, first in a series!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult themes/situations**

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Calling (Inn at Eagle Hill #2)Book Description:
Twenty-year-old Bethany Schrock is restless. Her love life has derailed, her faith hangs by a thread, and she is spending the incredibly hot summer days wading through a lifetime’s accumulation of junk at the home of five ancient Amish sisters. About the only thing that holds her interest is the spirited and dangerously handsome Jimmy Fisher–and he seems bent on irritating her to no end.
When the sly old sisters and a guest at the Inn get Bethany involved in running the local soup kitchen and starting a community garden, she suddenly finds herself wondering, Shootfire! How did that happen? Despite her newfound purposefulness, a gnawing emptiness about a childhood mystery continues to plague her. Encouraged by Jimmy Fisher, she will seek out the answers she craves–and uncover a shocking secret that will break her heart, heal it, and point her to love.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher delivers her trademark twists, turns, and tender romance in this delightful and exciting visit to the deceptively quiet community of Stoney Ridge.

My Thoughts:
This was a good book, and the second in the Inn at Eagle Hill series.  Bethany is working at the Sisters' House, trying to sift through years worth of stuff.  She has questions about why her mother left her.  Questions that drastically change when she discovers some hidden secrets.  Add to that, there are two men in her life, she gets drawn into community work, and worry about what may happen to her.
I really liked getting to know Bethany better in this book.  She is a strong, thoughtful woman who craves answers to questions that have plagued her.  The author did a great job of making her and her issues realistic.  There are points in it where things make more sense if you have read the first book but there is enough rehashing that you won't feel left out if you haven't read the book.  The author did a wonderful job with the touchy subject of mental illness, handling it with care.  I would really love to visit this community if it were real!
I rate this one a 4/5.  It was good and you can read as a stand alone, but I liked knowing who the characters were from the 1st book in the series.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The League of Skull & Bones by MJ Fletcher

The League of Skull & BonesBook Description:
Jess Grimm has the ability to travel to any dimension in the multiverse. There’s only one problem... it’s killing her. 

Jess is a in a race against time to find a device that can slow the progression of the power inside her, but she isn’t alone. Others want her power, and they don’t care how they get, or if she is dead or alive when they do.

The only person willing to help her is the mysterious Ronan Sparrow a member of the League of Skull & Bones, one of the very groups that want her power. But what does Ronan want in return? Can Jess trust him or will she find herself alone with enemies on all sides?

The League of Skull & Bones, Book 1 of The Grimm Chronicles

My Thoughts:
This book is the first in a new series but the series is a spin-off of the Doorknob Society books written by this author.  Jess is one of the 'Old Kind', she can use her power to travel.   The difference is, most people us a key or conduit for their power and she is the conduit for hers.  The power she has is slowly killing her and she must find an artifact that will stop it.  Jess doesn't know who to trust because everyone wants her power and they don't care how they get it.
Jess is such a strong female character and it was great!   She has changed so much since first discovering that she has power, she is no longer the girl we first met but I don't think she is completely developed as a character either.  Through the story she grows and changes, learning and coming more into herself.   She is plagued by nightmares from battles in the past, but that doesn't control her life.  She is so powerful that others want her power to wield as their own.  She isn't sure who she can trust but has to have help to survive.  
I rate this a 4/5.  If you've read the Doorknob Society, this is a must read.  It can stand alone but I preferred knowing the back story of Jess.

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinion stated above are 100% mine.

Treacherous Slopes by Terri Reed

Treacherous SlopesBook Description:

A champion ski jumper, Nick Walsh wants one thing: to win the gold for his late brother. Nick has always blamed himself for his family's tragic loss and so does everyone else. To complicate things, sweet and shy reporter Julie Frost insists on doing a story about him. But as Nick gets closer to achieving his dream, someone will do anything to stop him. Somehow, Nick must keep Julie from getting too close as they confront a threat that can destroy them both. Julie and Nick are on the verge of discovering the truth about his brother's death unless an unknown murderer finds them first.

My Thoughts:
This was a good one.  Julie was always the quiet 'nerdy' girl with glasses in school.  Nick was always the good looking and talented athlete.  Now, she is a budding reporter and he is a ski jumper who doesn't want to be interviewed.  The media tore his younger brother apart when he died.  Claiming he was on drugs, and all sorts of other things.  Nick has no desire to be put in that position, but Julie needs his help.  Add to it, someone is trying to kill him and he may be finding out more about his brother's death than he'd ever imagined.
I liked Julie.  She was so spunky and mostly unsure of herself but determined.  She knew she had worked hard for her chance.  Nick was still hurting so bad because of his brother's death.  It was so sad.  He blames himself because his brother was trying a move that was just beyond him.  With someone trying to kill him, Nick doesn't want to put anyone else in danger.  He is sure his parents blame him for his brother's death, he does and knows others must too.  I liked that he wasn't sure of Julie and she wasn't sure of him, it was very realistic as to what happens in real life.  Overall, I loved the characters and the plot.
I rate this a 4/5.  It was a good winter read!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

Book Description:

In a stunning new series, Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain…
In The Heart Of Darkness
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer, murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channelling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.
Lies The Kiss Of Death
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.

My Thoughts:
Duncan is a cop who is good at what he does, and right now he is investigating a murder.  Unlike most of the officers he works with, Duncan doesn't have a prejudice against the freaks/high bloods...well not as much of a prejudice.  He is more than willing to let Callie Brown come in and see if she can see the victim's last moments with her gift.  Duncan has had many sleepless nights dreaming about Callie and what all he would do to/with her, but she doesn't even seem to know he is a man.  Callie can't see the last moments of the woman's life.  Instead she is blocked by a powerful, creepy man whose plans put them all at grave risk.
I completely loved Fane.  His interaction with Duncan was priceless.  Duncan doesn't like the idea of anyone but him being bonded to Callie and Fane being her protector, the testosterone in the air is thick!  Fane and Callie's bond was so strong and they were a really great team.  I really liked that Duncan wasn't exactly what he appeared to be.  The bad guy was beyond creepy with his abilities and plans.  I was thrown a little by the twist toward the end because I was focused on something else entirely!  The story was good and the scenes between Duncan and Callie were hot!
I rate this one a steamy 4/5.  I was a good story with great chemistry. 

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book (via netgalley).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**Contains adult content/situations**

Thursday, January 9, 2014

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

No One to Trust (Hidden Identity, #1)Book Description:
Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she's been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband--and answers--takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn't know who to believe.

My Thoughts:
Kyle Abernathy isn't exactly who his wife thinks he is.  She learns this when she wakes up and a man is pointing a gun at her.  From this man, she learns Kyle isn't even her husband's real name and that he is mixed up in some serious business.  Kyle/David knew the one thing Summer never wanted him to do was lie to her.  Now that the truth is out there and she is dragged into the middle of the danger, his lies may tear them apart but he knows he has to keep her safe.
I liked Summer.  She was a caring, strong, loving woman.  She could also hold a grudge pretty well.  Her anger when she learns Kyle is really David and has lied to her is palpable.  You can't blame her but at the same time, she has to trust him for her and her sister's life to be safe.  I liked Kyle.  It was easy to understand why he couldn't tell her everything and you could see that he wanted to.  The supporting characters were great, all developed well and realistic.  There was some romance in here but it was more trusting God and working through issues than 'falling in love' romance.  
I rate this a 4/5.  It was good suspense and you weren't sure 'who done it' until the end.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Author Interview of James Shelley

Q. Tell us about yourself…

I was born in Los Angeles, but my family moved to Toronto when I was eight years old. My father's family is from the United States and my mother's family is Canada. Even as a very young person, I can still remember being wholly intrigued by the cultural differences between the two sides of my family -- though I obviously had no idea that the word 'culture' even existed then! Growing up in a very religious home also taught me about the intimate and powerful influence that beliefs can have in a person's life. As I grew up I began to realize how much culture and belief had shaped my understanding of the world, and it began to dawn on me that everyone -- regardless of their specific creeds and customs -- were shaped by their own heritage too. And that sparked my curiosity. How do other people see the world? How do they understand the nature of truth? In my twenties the whole world suddenly became a huge invitation to learn.

Q. What genera do you write and why?

My genre is a quirky amalgamation of historical journalism, meditative poetry, and scientific nonfiction. It's an endless dance between rationality and empiricism. It's like mixing a love for rock-solid evidence with a willingness to learn from any hypothesis. When I research a topic, I simply let my curiosity take the lead, and the words to capture the ideas morph into whatever stylistic form they need. Whether narrative, prose, or poetry, my first interest is in presenting compelling ideas. Concept first, genre second. Ideas lead, form follows. The writing format is subservient to the idea. Presenting an engaging portal to the idea is the main priority. The genre is impossible to pen sometimes: stanzas and APA citations are allowed to collide into one another.
Q. Tell us about your book….
This is the most recent addition to an ongoing compilation of reflections, brought together under the broad theme of 'compelling and provocative ideas'. It includes sixty readings that span the arts, sciences, and humanities. It is intended for people who love coming across new perspectives. The vigorous, interdisciplinary approach provides some new routes and a compass to anyone who is looking for new discoveries.

Q. What was your inspiration for this book?

A recurrent thread throughout the diverse range of topics is the relevance of 'today'. The book asks: "How do our ideas about the world shape our experiences of living the next twenty-four hours? If we change our ideas, do we change our lives?" I'm perennially fascinated by the question, "So what?" The inspiration for this book is the fact that each one of us are just one out of billions to experience conscious life on this great planet: what ideas and thoughts did those other folks have about being human? If we wrestled with some of their ideas, would our lives be the better for it?

I remember one day, many years ago, listening to a lecture (on an audio cassette; age: demonstrated) while driving home from college. The lecture was about Søren Kierkegaard's theories on the nature of time. I was astounded. I think it was one of the earliest moments that I can consciously remember thinking to myself, "I have never, ever, ever, evening imagined of thinking this way before!" Even though the lightbulb-in-the-head analogy is painfully overused, that's exactly what it was like! In an instant, I suddenly realized there was not just one way of looking at the world, but millions of different perspectives. Peering through those new perspectives became an obsession. To this day I am still helplessly intrigued and mesmerized by those moments I encounter new ways of thinking.

I would trace the inspiration for the whole Caesura Letters series back to this animating discovery: the discovery that endless new discoveries await. If I can contribute anything through writing, my hope is that the Caesura Letters introduces someone else to this exciting realization as well.

Q. Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

I constantly feel like I'm pushing the boundaries of what I should be allowed to write about. For instance, I do not have any formal science education, so the envelop of my research must always stay a few steps ahead of my writing. This is the cause of perpetual trepidation. What if I fall behind? What if I mess up an obvious scientific fact? That said, a little bit of fear goes a long to motivating rigorous effort. I try to leverage my ignorance to inspire my own learning.

Q. What project(s) are you currently working on?

I am presently working on the next book in the Caesura Letters series. Now that I am this many volumes in, I can begin to see some very interesting threads and broader themes emerge that I expect will one day warrant more focussed investigation. For now, however, there are no other specific plans in place other than to continue to build upon where the periodical has come thus far.

Q. Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

I absolutely love public libraries. They are definitely my favourite place for research and writing. Furthermore, I think libraries represent something important a culture's values: they are public institutions that reflect a society's commitment to informal, self-directed education and self-betterment. Of course, none of us can force each other to become anything we do not want to be, but when we collectively pool our resources (i.e. pay taxes) to fund public libraries we are declaring that we cherish the establishment of a place where all people (regardless of socioeconomic status) are invited to the pursuit of knowledge. I find libraries incredibly synergistic places to work.

Q. Do you have any advice for writers out there?

To be entirely honest, no. If I was to give one piece of advice, it would probably be this: stop looking for advice. Sure, there are terrific books on writing out there, but when do you stop reading about writing and actually start writing? Truth is, no amount of reading about writing will help write one single word -- you just have to do it. The "writer advice industry" is almost like a vacuum: I fear that the more time you spend reading about writing, the less time you will spend actually writing.

Q. Where can we find you?

Q. And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? (your website, publisher, amazon, etc)

Keep Breathing by Alexia Purdy

Keep BreathingBook Description:
‘The past doesn't define me. It's just a place I've been.’

Seth Kingston is back in town with years of regrets. Regrets for the way he left things with Penny, the hurt he caused her, and the future they could have had together. He had his reasons and now all he wants is to make amends and have a second chance at love. 

But Penny wants no part of what he’s offering. She’s accepted that life is hard, love is an illusion, and you can’t trust men. Especially men named Seth Kingston. And yet… he’s so tender with her. He’s patient, and caring.

Is it possible that he’s changed? Can they really try again?

The past has a tendency to embed its vicious talons deep into a heart, never to let go again. Penny has enough tragedy to last lifetimes and isn’t willing to let anyone scale her walls.

Can real love survive anything, even an unforgiving past?

My Thoughts:
This was a sweet romance!  Penny and Seth were perfect together, or so she thought.  Then he broke her heart and left her hurting.  That was six years ago and now he is back and wants her to give him another chance.  Penny doesn't want to even consider taking him back.  He shattered her heart and there is no way she could ever trust him again...right?  Problem for her is he is the same and yet different.  He is strong, sensitive, caring and just the whole package!  Can she forgive him enough to see if they have a future together?
I liked how Penny was capable and strong, but she had her flaws.  Like most of us, she settled in a job and that was it.  She took no risks, hadn't fulfilled her dreams in the least and wasn't dating at all.  Seth wants Penny because she was the only one he ever loved.  A lot changed and happened in his life but that never has.  I loved how persistent he was, even tracking her friend down.  Oh and Penny's best friend is wonderful!  She is going to do what is best for Penny, regardless of what even Penny says/thinks.  
This was a 4/5 for me.  I loved the sweet romance.

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult situations/language**

Monday, January 6, 2014

Savor by Kate Evangelista

Savor (Vicious Feast, #1)Book Description:
Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you've got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this book!  Dakota is a photographer with an eye-patch.  For her final project in school, she must do a photo spread that captures the essence of something/someone.  While photographing the opening of a new club, she meets Vicious.  They are the biggest band out there and she wants to photograph Luka for her introspective.  The thing is, after shooting the band at the opening, she decides she wants to do her introspective on the WHOLE band.  Now she is living with them and trying to contain her feelings for Luka.
Oh I have so wanted to see these characters again!  They are different from when I first met them but oh still so wonderful.  I liked Dakota.  She was determined, talented and almost fearless.  I am interested in her dreams and want to know where all that stems from.  Luka is sensual, hot-tempered, and well just HOT.  I loved seeing Dakota's view of the band.  They really are a unique group and loved the descriptions of her photos!  I would love to see those in real life.  I also really liked how Dakota didn't overly coddle Luka.   When he acted like a child, she told him so, but at the same time, she was completely pulled to him and couldn't resist.
I rate this a 5/5.  I cannot wait to read the next one!

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

**This book contains adult themes, situations, and language.**

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Author Interview Joseph M. Rinaldo

AW: Tell us about yourself… 
I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife and daughter. We like to go boating as a family, and I jog to stay fit. My daughter has Down syndrome and competes in Special Olympics powerlifting, bowling, and basketball. I'm an assistant basketball coach and helper "coach" for powerlifting. My arms are so tiny they make Barney Fife look strong. 

The actual impetus for me to begin writing came while I was reading Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. When I got to the part where he received a million-dollar advance, I thought, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

As for my writing career, I have published three other books that are available on Amazon. A Spy At Home is a memoir of a former spy who near the end of his career comes to the realization that his life's work of promoting rebellion in third-world countries for American interests was a waste. Out of bitterness, he steals over nine million dollars on his last mission. The money was meant for a pro-American rebel group in an impoverished country. His retirement is spent learning what he missed at home with his family and wondering if the CIA will figure out he has their money. Hazardous Choices describes the difficulty a young man has trying to fit in during his first year of college. In Chicago he was a gangbanger with the vicious Neptune Knights, and in a small Kentucky town where he received a scholarship to play division two football, he tries to fit in with the other students. His understanding of the world doesn't make much sense in this environment. A Mormon Massacre tells about a young man in his early twenties who had been raised hating the Mormon church. To fight what he believes is a cult, Jeremiah goes undercover as a convert to rescue women from abusive plural marriages.

 AW: What genera do you write and why? 
This book falls into the Romantic Thriller genre, but I hope it's more dynamic than is described by those two words. Hopefully readers will finish a scene where something goes wrong for Valerie and think about how they might handle the same situation. At one point Valerie and Franco feel like they just don't have any good options. That leads them to make extreme choices. What would have to happen in your life for you to commit a felony? How bad would things have to be? That breaking point is the driving focus of Valerie's Retreat
Displaying V.R. book cover for Kindle.jpg

AW: Tell us about your book…. 
Valerie's Retreat puts Valerie's crisis management skills on display. You'll get to know her pretty average life. Her job as the head teller at a bank, her one bedroom apartment, and her exceptionally lazy cat give the impression that she could be anyone you meet in your daily life. However, when things start to get rough, her first reaction is to run. An abusive childhood you learn about as the story proceeds left her with shaky decision-making skills. Franco, her boyfriend, doesn't know what the right answer is either. Between them they commit a little felony and leave the country.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book? 
My background has a teeny influence on Valerie's Retreat. Valerie meets a man sixteen years her junior at a local church dance. My wife and I have the same age difference and met at the same kind of place. We still smile at each other when we drive by that dance hall/community center even after fourteen years of marriage. Dang, we're cute! Seriously, like my wife, Valerie is NOT a cougar on the prowl. We met long before anyone heard that term. Valerie wasn't searching for any kind of specific man, she just happened to find Franco. He happened to be younger, and neither of them cared.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
Valerie is very likeable, outgoing, and appears to be a generally happy person. Yet, inside she has vicious demons demeaning her with bouts of insecurity and inadequacy that she hides. This constant internal stress keeps her struggling to determine where she should be and what she should do. Since Valerie is so conflicted, she's my favorite character.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
I especially hate, after I've typed it, going back and doing that first edit. That seems to take forever because that's when I find the most mistakes. Specific to Valerie's Retreat, the ending was difficult. David Pudlewitts, my editor, didn't care for the ending, so he pointed me in the right direction. For that I am very grateful. I think, in large part due to David, you'll find the ending surprising and appropriate.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
Life After Life; right now I love that title, but it might change. This is about man who thinks he's crazy because he knows he's reincarnated. In his previous life he served as the man-servant to Alexander the First, the Tsar of Russia. The Tsar's death is surrounded by mystery and suspicion. This man knows the truth. Note to anyone who may be thinking about stealing this idea and writing it themselves [yes, I mean you, Stephen King and James Patterson]: I've already received confirmation of the copyright from the U.S. Library of Congress.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
You can decide if this is a quirky way to write a book. I usually start with a very brief outline: abusive childhood - works as a head teller - boyfriend 16 yrs younger. I type in Word with the outline a few blank lines down from the line I am currently writing in the book. As I finish a scene in the outline, I delete it. Of course, from time to time I forget to consult the outline, and I throw in a plot twist that requires either the outline be revised or the plot twist discarded. I rarely know how a book will end while I'm writing it [is that normal?], so my outlines often only cover the next chapter or two. Sometimes I finish all the scenes on the outline and finish the rest of the book without one. I always start with some kind of written agenda, but not with a whole lot. I want the characters to go where they go without being handcuffed to the original idea.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there? 
You really need to find someone who will tell you if your work stinks. Most people won't. In fact, it's very hard to find someone honest enough to do that.

AW: Where can we find you? 
Displaying Headshot Joe Rinaldo.jpgMy website is
my Twitter profile can be found at
The YouTube book trailer for Valerie's Retreat is at If you are in a book club and plan to discuss one of my books, I'd be glad to join your session. Please give me at least a week's notice.
AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? 
The Amazon link for Valerie's Retreat
the ebook, is
and the link for the paperback of Valerie's Retreat is
I understand people's hesitation to buy an unknown author. All I ask is that you give me a chance by reading the first chapter or so at Amazon's Look-Inside. When the book grabs you in those initial pages, and it will, then buy it.