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Review: Bodyguards: Quicksilver Codex, Book 1 by Kallysten

Review: Bodyguards: Quicksilver Codex, Book 1 by Kallysten

Today I am pleased to host another offering by Kallysten:  Bodyguards: Quicksilver Codex, Book 1.  I will have a review, and you will be able to find what others thought about this book by checking out the Tour Stops. 

What if one day, shortly before you turned 20 you were suddenly thrust into an alternate universe, told you were heir to the throne, and that people wanted to kill you? That is exactly what happens to Vivien, and the resulting story shows us Vivien’s journey and her struggle to understand all of these new changes.

I love the way this author creates a character; providing depth and a sense of the struggles that are detailed with heart and well described emotions and events.  Worlds are created with enough similarities to be familiar and yet different, and the fantastical pieces are defined with a majesty that brings forth a vivid picture to the reader. Read more of this post

Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic by Kate Policani : Review, Author Specials and Giveaway

Today I am happy to present another independent author, Kate Policani and her book
Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic.   You will have a chance to read about the book, see information on upcoming installments in the series, read a review and find out where to see more by this author.  Additionally, two international readers will have a chance to win their own eBook copy!

About the Book:

Colleen is a normal girl. She loves shoes, chick flicks, and cute clothes. The only thing abnormal about her is that she’s just become a magician; not the disappearing bunny kind, but the power-shooting-out-of-your-hands kind of magician.

Her problem now is that she doesn’t believe in magic. Well, she believes in it. She’s seen it shoot out of her own hands, but she opposes it in a moral sense; no hexes, no spells, no incantations, no potions, no amulets, no tomes, no casting circles, no eye of newt, none of that. She has to be very clear because people pressure her about it. Whatever they say about “how it’s done,” this is a morality issue for her and she will not cave in to their pressure.

Join Colleen at Seattle Pacific Regional University, where she becomes a part of The Convergence. She’ll learn the freaky side of Work Study, Financial Aid, and Vyxhepiocht. Seriously, she’s never seen so many hot guys. It’s going to be wild!

The Review:

This was a clever and funny, page-turning read.  Once you get past the lack of vowels in the various names for magic, spells and witches that the Convergence have deemed as “politically correct”, the story continues with the unique twist on the basic witchcraft / wiccan paranormal story.

Colleen is addicted to books, considers herself a Rubenesque redhead with hazel eyes, and is planning on relaxing during this last summer before starting at community college.  All that changes when she finds a book that opens a whole new world to her, and her ‘hidden powers’ are revealed.  Far from being a smooth transition, Colleen is poofed off to the SPRU to begin her adventure.

Written with a smooth hand and a sense of humor that instantly endears Colleen to the reader, we are treated to her sarcastic quick wit that never quite leaves her even in times of stress. Characters are introduced and developed in a way that both serves the plot and develops them with characteristics that are found in many people you would meet on the street.  In addition, the author has included photos from sites around Seattle that decorate the pages as well as provide an “I didn’t know that” moment to readers who may not be familiar with the city.

This is a book that is perfectly suitable for a young adult reader as well as adults: while there are romances, they are mostly chaste and reside in the realm of adoration/flirtation rather than adult situations.  Colleen also is far different from other newcomers to witchcraft that we are previously acquainted with, as she refuses to speak spells preferring not to mess with the natural order of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, giggled often as I was reading, and will anxiously await the next steps in the story.

 I give Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic  5 Stars!

Where to find the book in paperback and eBook format:

Create Space §  Smashwords   §  Amazon  §  Barnes & Noble

 

Or – enter this Rafflecopter to win your own eBook copy

 

Don’t Judge a Book by its Magic
Kate Policani
194 Pages
ISBN:  9781301431533
Paperback and eBook

*I received an eBook copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

To see more about the upcoming installments and learn about the author, Read More Read more of this post

Not just a reviewer – she cooks.. Free Holiday Cookbook available via FreeBooksy

Back in late September, FreeBooksy put out a call for holiday themed recipes. I debated about submitting any, since I have been horrid about maintaining my food porn blog
Watermelon and Sea Salt.  But, I found 3 recipes and sent them in.

This past Tuesday, the book became available.  And, I have 2 recipes in it!  So very exciting because there are tons of recipes that look spectacular.

So – you want some new ideas for the holidays? Want some new recipes? How about want both of those things for FREE?  Even when it’s not priced at free – it’s only $0.99 – so it’s a bargain that way too.  Go Get your own copy!!

Where to find the book:     Amazon

Where to find FreeBooksy for all of their great offerings

Website  §  Facebook  §   @FreeBooksy

My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard

 

Today I have a fun offering: the novella My Vampire Cover Model by Karyn Gerrard.

Title: My Vampire Cover Model
Author: Karyn Gerrard
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Format: eBook
Words: 22000 / 70 pages.
Purchase:   Decadent Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Stars:  4

Book Description:  Life changed for Deanna Brooks the night she attended a book signing for her aunt’s best-selling paranormal romance series. There she met Burney ‘The Cover God’ Sheridan. The model for the series’ fictional vampire hero, Burn is beyond handsome and has an overabundance of Irish charm. He’s too good to be true.

Burn Sheridan, a man with scores of past lives, has a secret: he is a vampire. Meeting Deanna is agony because for the first time in over two hundred years, Burn experiences the rarest of vampiric needs—the mate-of-the-soul connection. Keeping people at a distance has been Burn’s existence for centuries, but Deanna makes his pledge of staying detached impossible.

Many obstacles lie ahead and the biggest of all may be Burn himself. Can Deanna and Burn overcome them and find lasting love?

See what other’s thought by checking out the Tour Stops …then be sure to
Enter to win one of 6 eBook copies of My Vampire Cover Model  at Rafflecopter

My Review:  

Delightfully accepting of the campy nature of the PNR stories, this novella is a light, quick and fun read with engaging characters and a cute story line.  Lightly reminiscent of the Lestat  as rockstar scenes  by Anne Rice:  we meet Burn who now is posing as a romance cover model.  His current assignment is for a vampire series, and he is on a signing tour when he meets his destiny in the form of the author’s niece.

This story works well as a novella, while there are some holes in characters and history, it feels more like a ‘taste of things to come’ and that taste has me craving more.  It accepted many of the stereotypical traits of vamps, without creating a ton of new ideas: which seems to take the reader’s prior experience and knowledge into account and is not at all a negative.  It embraces all that we know, while creating a wish to see more from this pair: the perfect set-up for a series of stories about paranormal cover models.

I received an eBook copy from Full Moon Bites for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

To read more about the author, and get a taste of the book with the excerpt  – read more

Read more of this post

Review and Giveaway: A Practical Arrangement by Nadja Notariani

Today is a Review and a Giveaway:  A Practical Arrangement by Nadja Notariani

Title: A Practical Arrangement
Author: Nadja Notariani
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Indie Published
Format:  eBook
Pages:
195 (approx)
Purchase:  Amazon
Stars: 4

Book Description:  ۩ A Practical Arrangement, Nadja Notariani ۩
Miss Evangeline Grey, intelligent and sensible, has no desire to marry, her reluctance born from the dire warnings of her overly emotional mother. Her father has other ideas, however, and decrees that unless she weds by the spring, he will choose a husband for her.

Prim and proper Evangeline accepts her father’s issue with little more than mild alarm. Knowing herself plain of face and sharp of tongue, she believes herself capable of warding off any perspective suitor. Her plan goes awry when the scandalous seducer, Mr. Thomas Masterson, visits her family’s home, for Thomas has learned that he must procure a wife to receive his full inheritance.

When he discovers Evangeline’s predicament matches his own, Thomas determines to orchestrate a practical arrangement. A war of wit and word results, and Thomas finds himself ever more beguiled by the soft heart he discovers under Miss Grey’s stern, inhibited exterior. Patiently, he endeavors to gain her respect and awaken her passions. As tenuous trust blooms between the rake and the reluctant, unfortunate events – and Thomas’ past reputation – threaten to destroy the peace and happiness he has found within the bonds of his Practical Arrangement.

So – you can enter to win one of 2 Kindle copies of A Practical Arrangment by Nadja Notariani by going to the Rafflecopter link until December 12.

And, see what others said about the book by checking out the other Tour Stops

My Review:  

This book is reminiscent of a Regency Romance: with the era-appropriate repression of women and their intelligence, and the deference to males as ruler of all things.   But that is where the resemblance ends, and this is a well-crafted, clever story that approaches the society’s appropriate conventions with humor, grace and uniquely drawn characters.

Evie is an intelligent yet naive heroine, with a fear of intimacy and a mistrust and dislike of the traditional role that she is expected to occupy.  Thomas was a rake, and is essentially tricked into wanting to know Evie better as he is told she would never be interested in the likes of him.  Evie makes Thomas want to be a better man and husband, and he allows her to explore her interests and express desires to him, without pushing her to tell all.  What develops is a sweet romance that is not without bumps in the road, but to say more would spoil the fun.

Secondary characters are also well crafted, which creates a true fullness to the story that utilizes them to such effect. Additionally there is a character with apparent mental health issues that is not put away in the cupboard, but is a character that is interacting – a true twist from similar books of this era (Austen, Bronte) and a welcome diversion.  Conversations are witty and often cleverly laced with humor or snark, depending on the tone of the discussion. The author has created a wonderful read, and I hope to see many more from her.

*I received an eBook copy from author for purpose of honest review for FMB Tours. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

About the Author:  Nadja Notariani was born in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Her upbringing included very diverse environments, affording wide and varied richness of ethnic and

religious tradition. Raised in both an Italian/Mediterranean American home and a traditional German household, Nadja gleaned the unique benefits of viewing the world through two widely different lenses.

Nadja resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, ever embracing new adventures with her husband, three sons, and faithful German Shepherd. She also boasts two daughters, who have flown the nest to pursue their own adventures.

Within her titles, readers can find romance and adventure, from contemporary to paranormal to historical, always with a happily-ever-after. Nadja enjoys hearing from readers and can be found at her website, on Facebook, Goodreads, and at Romance Novel Center. Readers are welcome to contact her via email.

Find Nadja at:

Website: An Author’s adventures | Email: nadja.notariani@gmail.com | Goodreads | Romance Novel Center |

 

Underground Nest by Kathleen Maher

Every now and then I get a request to review a book where the author realizes that I have a fairly eclectic range of books that I read and review.  This was one such request and today I am pleased to present my review of The Underground Nest a novella by Kathleen Maher.

About the book:

Never marry a Boy Scout.

When Zachary Severins, dedicated Scoutmaster and community leader, is caught cheating on his wife, she divorces him, his children lose respect for him, and his mistress spurns him. As Zach’s personal life crumbles, his professional career begins to follow. Only after Zach loses everything does he start to learn the true meaning of friendship, love, and responsibility.

Underground Nest, a short novel, is contemporary fiction with a sharp sense of humor but a soft heart for its characters.

My Review:

If one were to judge all Boy Scouts with the behavior, personality and approach of Zach the organization would have been defunct within a handful of years.  Zach is a character that you will find difficult to sympathize with, more than once I caught myself rolling my eyes at his calculated, practiced behavior and his inability to take responsibility for his bad acts.  The mind of a nine year old trapped in the body of an outwardly successful, upwardly mobile professor of political science, with a ‘need’ for traveling ‘off-path’ when it suits his sexual desires, he is hardly a likable character.

This is a read that develops a gripping need to know what steps he takes next, just to see if he finds the light and sense to apologize and make amends or continue on the path of self-destruction.  While Zach is the main character, he is developed with a facile hand with no judgment or justifications, his misdeeds and insecurities lay out clearly and evenly.  Honestly, I had near visceral reactions to his smarmy aura and calculated interactions; they were so well defined and described by the author.  He was not completely without redemption however, and those small moments of neediness laced with the honesty of his unguarded reactions did help to improve the overall impression when the story ended.

This is a completely different take on the adultery story that we are commonly used to reading: from the point of view and voice being the perpetrator rather than the cheated on spouse, his insecurities and justifications, and even his arrogance all provide an interesting perspective.  This is no story of a mea culpa, even as the world as he knows it comes crumbling down and perhaps that is what makes it feel more pertinent and applicable to the real world situations that many might face.

I received an eBook copy from the author with request for honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

I give The Underground Nest 5 out of 5 stars

To purchase your own copy of The Underground Nest go to:

Amazon

About the Author:

Kathleen Maher is a lifelong writer with a number of short stories published in literary journals. She has written several novels that to date are unpublished. Five years ago, after becoming frustrated with the traditional publishing industry, she began a fiction blog, Diary of a Heretic, to post her work in progress and engage with readers.  The novella Underground Nest, which began in serial form on the blog, is her first e-book, and she plans to publish more. She is married, the mother of two grown children, and lives in New York City.

Follow Kathleen at:

Diary of a Heretic  §  Twitter  @kathleenmaher  §  Facebook

 

Death is a Bitch by Cate Masters

Today’s review is a delightfully clever read: Death is a Bitch by Cate Masters. Enjoy!

Title: Death Is A Bitch Author: Cate Masters Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance Publisher: Decadent Publishing Format:  eBook Pages: 113 Purchase:  Decadent Publishing | Amazon | B&N | All Romance Ebooks | Stars: 5 Book Description:  Eternity can suck when it’s all work, work, work. Death harvests souls even when they stack up faster than pancakes in an all-you-can-eat-buffet. No wonder she can’t shed the Grim Reaper rep. As the patron angel of death and dying, Azrael works closely with Death but is dying for true intimacy. She’s the only immortal who’s ever aroused such powerful emotions in him. One taste of her leaves him needing her like humans need air and food, but will a demon’s lies leave a bad taste?  No one escapes Death – except King Sisyphus. Twice. With the help of Damien the demon, Sisyphus tries again, and she’s determined to have justice. Some say Death’s a bitch, but only when she has to be. But will the price of justice be a broken heart? This is an all-review tour – be sure to check out the tour stops to see what else was said. Or enter to win an eBook copy (your choice) of Tonight you Belong to Me or A Hard Day’s Night by Cate Masters at Rafflecopter Read on for my review, discover more about the author and to read an excerpt. Read more of this post

Chasing the Trickster by April Grey

Today is a uniquely different paranormal story; Chasing the Trickster: Cernunnos Series,Book 1 by April Grey.  Read on for info about the book, my review, and more about the author!

Title: Chasing the Trickster
Series: The Cernunnos Series #1
Author: April Grey
Genre: Dark, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Eternal Press
Format: eBook/Paperback
Pages:
236
Stars:  5

Purchase:  Amazon | Eternal Press | Barnes and Noble |

Book Description:  One Man, Two Women, Two Gods…who will survive the Trickster’s snare?
Ghostly images materialize in Nina Weaver’s photos. Goons try to kidnap her. When her photographs are stolen and her best friend is shot, she realizes that she has no one to turn to but her ex-lover, Pascal “”Goofy”” Guzman. Together they go on a desperate road trip in search of answers. The truth is darker and more terrifying than Nina could ever have imagined. After their love re-ignites, they fall into the Trickster God’s trap.

Sounds Interesting doesn’t it?  See what others thought by looking at the Tour Stops

My Review: 

What a fun twist on a paranormal mélange of Native American and Old European lore to create a uniquely new dark fantasy, and bring readers something new and different in this popular genre.  This is not a book that ‘feels familiar’, nor is this author’s style reminiscent of any others that I have read. It is unique – and delightfully so.

The characters are cleverly and tightly crafted, with plotting and timelines being far more variable and “Dr. Who” than one usually encounters.  This adds some delightful twists that keep the reader wondering just what is next, while a surprisingly satisfactory conclusion leaves the reader both satisfied and ready to know more.  Fortunately, I believe the author thought that would be the result, so a tidy epilogue ties up the ends and sets the stage for a whole new adventure with this Trickster god.

There is tons of goodness neatly wrapped in prose, clever dialog and the engaging style of the author – making this one of the quickest and most satisfying low-calorie treats out there.

I received an eBook copy from FMB Tours for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Read more about April Grey and where to find her:
Read more of this post

Angel by Laura Lee

The best part of being a book blogger is encountering those books that demand you read them twice or more to truly find all the words to describe them properly for a review. Those books also manage to stay on the shelf, to refer back to, to read again and again, for they are so beautifully crafted and speak to different thoughts at each reading.  Today I am pleased to present such a book for you:  Angel by Laura Lee.

About the book:
Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago, minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his religious duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the church lobby and encounters a radiant, luminous being lit from behind, breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment Paul is so moved by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees and pray. 

Even after he regains his focus and realizes he simply met a flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction for the young man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through this vision, and Paul must determine what God is calling him to do. 

Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul’s ministry but put him at odds with his church as he is forced to examine his deeply held beliefs and assumptions about himself, his community, and the nature of love.

My Review:

While presenting a beautiful and enticing story to read, the author also forces you to re-evaluate and examine everything, as you get to see Paul and his journey of discovery. Paul is forced to examine his beliefs after realizing that the angelic man who he stumbled upon in the narthex was occupying his head and his heart in a way nothing had before.  Contrasting what he now feels and knows, against the proclamations of his church, and the disapproval of his congregation; one crisis in Paul’s life is being replaced with another that will adjust his entire view on the world forevermore.

To simply label this book Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, GBLT Erotica, General Erotica and Religion & Spirituality Romance, as well as Contemporary Romance does not acknowledge the emotional impact of the story, nor do the writer justice. It truly is literary fiction, with multiple influences, great impact and a message for love being present in many ways, and from many sources.

This is not a GBLT erotic novel – the sex is not detailed, and although there is a love between two men, the more graphic and impactful scenes are brought by the poetic writing and descriptions of the emotional intimacy achieved between the two characters.  However, it seems to be a need of publishers and readers to narrowly define genres, and most books with M/M intimate relationships seem to carry this marker.

What emerges is a surprisingly complex novel, able to incite discussion and evoke thought. The placement of excerpts, some theological others from historic texts but all focusing on mountains: their meaning and religious significance as the story progresses, subtly indicate the content and impact of each chapter as the story progresses to reach an inevitable climax.

I give Angel by Laura Lee  5 of 5 Stars

To Purchase Angel, go to:  Amazon  Φ  Barnes & Noble

About the Author:
I am the author of more than a dozen books, the novel Angel, and numerous non-fiction titles including The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation (Black Dog and Leventhal), now in its third printing and published in France under the title Le Dictionaire des Contrairites; Arlo, Alice and Anglicans (Berkshire House/W.W. Norton), which tells the story of the church made famous in Arlo Guthrie’s song and movie Alice’s Restaurant; The Name’s Familiar: Mr. Leotard, Barbie and Chef Boyardee (Pelican Publishing), a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection and its sequel The Name’s Familiar II; the 100 Most Dangerous Things in Life (Broadway Books/Random House), which was featured on Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning; Blame it on the Rain (HarperCollins), The Elvis Impersonation Kit and A Child’s Introduction to Ballet (both Black Dog and Leventhal), Schadenfreude, Baby! (Lyons Press), and Broke is Beautiful (Running Press).
You can find her on her blog: Author Laura Lee

**I received an eBook copy of Angel from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Desert Rice by Angela Rice

Today I am pleased to present a contemporary work of fiction, Desert Rice by Angela Rice, as well as a giveaway and review.  Enjoy!

Title:  Desert Rice Author:  Angela Rice Format:  Paperback and eBook Publisher:  Evolved Publishing Pages:  190 ISBN:  978-1622538544 Source:  Author Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, YA 16+ Stars:  4 Buy Now:  Paperback  §  Kindle  §  B & N About the Book: Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother. Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking. Interested? You can enter to win one of 5 signed print books (US Only) or one of 10 eBook copies by simply using this Rafflecopter link. Find out what others had to say about this book by looking at the other Tour Stops Read More to find my review and to learn more about Angela Rice Read more of this post