Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review of A Life of Death: The Golden Bulls by Weston Kincade

Fifteen years of ritual sacrifices that began before Alex Drummond joined the force have become an anomaly in Tranquil Heights. For most residents, anger at the unsolved murders has turned to disappointment with the small police force. Now citizens hope this year’s sacrificial lamb won’t be one of their loved ones.

Alex Drummond’s ability to relive victims’ traumatic murders has not been enough. There are misguided links to Egyptian funerary rights, but without evidence and the murderer’s identity, no one outside of Drummond’s tight circle will believe him, let alone make an arrest and stop the vicious killings. After an anonymous tip, Detective Drummond discovers an annual visitor, a local who moved away years before with a similar flare for murder. He follows her to Washington DC after watching the woman burn her husband alive. His high school friend, Jessie Arturo, who settled in the large city after a failed baseball career, assists with the investigation. In such a large place, unsolved murders abound like cobwebs under abandoned guest beds.

September 20, the serial killer’s anointed date, is only days away. How has the murderer proven so elusive, even from Alex’s paranormal abilities? Is he in over his head, or can Detective Alex Drummond save the ghosts calling to him and decipher this network of brutal, ritual sacrifices before someone else is burnt alive?

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I loved this book. It's the sequel to A Life of Death, which I've reviewed previously. I thoroughly enjoyed that novel and this was the same. Fast paced and captured my attention from the get-go! I like trying to solve a mystery and this book's mystery was unique and interesting.

While reading books in a series is always helpful to start with book one, I feel a reader could pick up this book on it's own and still enjoy it just as much as if they had read book one. The characters in both books are well developed and it was nice to see how Alex had grown up. Alex is a great character and fun to read about, so you really can't go wrong with this book!

Goodreads  /  Amazon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review of Portals, Passages & Pathways by B.R. Maul

When a portal to another world cracks open just outside the small town of Riverside, it sets off a series of events forever changing the lives of two boys; one boy is chosen to lead a world to peace while the other one is chosen to tear it apart.

Simon Whittaker lives an ordinary teenage life until his best friend, Jessica Wells, and her family takes him on a last-minute camping trip. There, amongst towering pines, Jessica confesses a secret; her family has been watching over Simon his entire life because he is the key to another world’s salvation, and now someone has come from that world to kill him. Amidst a whirlwind of unanswered questions, doubt, and curiosity, Simon is given the Ring of Affinity and then is led through a magic portal into the land of Magnanthia.

In the faraway land that’s in the midst of a brutal war, Simon must place his life in the hands of a swordsman, ranger, cleric, and wizard sent to teach him how to wield the power in the Ring of Affinity and to help him become the next guardian of Magnanthia. The ring, Simon is told, has chosen him, a rare and honorable event. But no one knows why he was chosen.

Meanwhile, the once peaceable king of Magnanthia, King Elderten, has ordered death to Magnanthia’s nine guardians, the nine he helped to assemble and now believes is responsible for the death of his queen and the kingdom’s devastation. If he can stay alive long enough, Simon will become the first guardian of Magnanthia to be chosen by the Ring of Affinity, instead of appointed by mere men. Simon remains the only hope for those who believe the guardians are innocent.

Jak Jakobsin, another teenager from Earth, has been pulled through a portal by two of Bedlam’s demented soul seers sent to capture Simon. The soul seers were impressed with what they saw in Jak, so they offer him up to the overlord. Jak is given the ultimatum, do or die. Obsessed with his discovery of magic spells, power, and control, Jak quickly acclimates to his new environment. Bedlam’s overlord plans to use Jak, along with Bedlam’s undead army, to build a force so powerful that the great King Elderten will perish and Magnanthia will be his forever.

Prepare for a breathtaking climax as two different paths are set in motion. 

PORTALS, PASSAGES & PATHWAYS is a teen young adult novel that creatively combines fantasy fiction and real fiction like C. S. Lewis' beloved THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. It delves deep into an epic adventure in a fantasy world rich in magic and wondrous creatures, much like J. R. R. Tolkien's THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. A must-read for any sword and sorcery fantasy fan!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book started kind of slow for me at first, but as I kept reading I found myself thinking of the the book and getting excited for when I could read it some more. The characters are well developed and this book just makes you want to keep coming back for more. 

It begins in present day, which at first threw me off since I thought, "hey isn't this a fantasy book?" Once the characters go through the portals though, the fantasy world begins and the roller coaster ride continues! 

I also enjoyed how this book was written. They writing style fit the story nicely. There was just enough dialog to keep you going and enough description to paint the picture in your mind, but not overwhelm you. I never found myself skipping over some parts just to get to "the good part." It was all good!

While I think teens and middle grade readers would very much enjoy this book, I, a almost 30 yr old woman, thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. It's a great tale and totally worth reading! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review of Believe by S. F. Malik

"They are the most brutal Empire we have known for generations. 
I am a seventeen year old slave boy, who must endure a life of servitude and sacrifice to keep my family alive. 
They took away my mother, my sister, my friends, everything I have cared for including my love. 
I inadvertently struck out and my actions started a chain reaction which led to war and a full scale rebellion. 
They have sent two armies to crush our resistance. 
I have an army of 300 maltreated slave children. 
They have an army of 5000 battle hardened men. 
I have hijacked an armoured State train. 
They have a limitless arsenal of the most sophisticated weapons on the face of the earth. 
I have promised my army of slave children to get them to freedom or die trying. 
They have vowed to kill every single slave child and have promised to handsomely reward the one who brings my head. 
I have made a pledge to my younger sister and will cheat death as many times as it takes to fulfil it. 
They are planning victory celebrations as a foregone conclusion, and have ordered ingeniously gruesome deaths for my soldiers and our families. 
What they don’t know is…we have a stolen nuclear warhead in our possession and we intend to deliver it to the Emperor’s doorstep." 

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading this book. It thoroughly surprised me. I read it in a little over a day, granted I was traveling so that gave me plenty of time to read. This book moves along as fast as the train the characters are on. You quickly get caught up into the action and wanting Joseph to succeed. 

This book reminded me of The Hunger Games, so if you enjoyed those novels this one would be right up your alley. This book is darker, and deeper I feel though. The fact that those being persecuted are religious people is deep, as it has happen in real life. Malik does a great job developing his characters and having the reader feel for them. As a reader you become connected without even knowing it. You have to keep reading to see if Joseph can win and save his wife. 

Read this book, you will not regret it. It's well written, fast paced and makes you think. It's a quick read as well. 

Goodreads  /  Amazon 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cover Reveal for Harp's Song by Cassie Shine!!

I'm thrilled to take part in the reveal for the new cover of HARP'S SONG by Cassie Shine! Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments. Then be sure to enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win a signed copy of HARP'S SONG, and a $25 Amazon gift card!
HARP'S SONG by Cassie Shine | Publication date: November 5, 2013
In just a few months Harp Evans will be officially coming of age and graduating from high school. She will be free from the mother that never wanted her, the house that never felt like home, and the disappointment of the last seventeen years. What she doesn’t know is that her mother has been holding onto a secret that has the potential to derail her dreams and destroy her already faulty sense of self. A self-proclaimed recluse, Harp spends most of her time practicing the cello, in the hopes of earning a full scholarship that will grant her freedom, but will also send her away from her best friend Connor Williams, who is becoming more than just a friend. As revelations are made, will Harp still feel the same way about leaving everyone that cares about her behind? Or will she continue to pursue the life she’s been dreaming of for as long as she can remember?
Add HARP'S SONG to Goodreads

What do you think of the cover?

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Goodreads
Cassie Shine released her debut young adult novel, Harp's Song in November 2013, finally finishing the short story she started in her college creative writing class … many, many moons ago. She has always been an avid reader and lover of music (yes, she was in the high school marching band). While she has a weak spot for all things teeny bopper, especially boy bands, she also loves classical, country, rock and well, pretty much everything. After living in St. Louis for more than ten years, she and her husband packed up a U-Haul and headed west. They currently live in Orange County, CA with their furry kids Finnegan and Molly.


Enter to win a signed copy of HARP’S SONG with $30 Amazon gift card! (US/CA only)
Jen Halligan PR

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Trip to Oregon

My husband and I have been exploring the city of Eugene Oregon these past few days. My husband is wanting to go to school at the University of Oregon. As excited for this trip as I was, I never expected to connect with the city the way we did. From our first moments there till the very end we we certain this is the place for us.
I love nature and trees and Oregon is full of just that! The trees are Huge!! 

The locally owned resturants and sense of community make this town wonderful. The thought of going back to Kentucky is hard, but knowing that in a few more months we will be back here for good will keep me going. 
On campus at the University of Oregon

Mt. Hood outside of Portland, OR

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review of Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone. 

This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin. Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I freakin' loved this book!! I stayed up way too late on several occasions to finish it. Way to hard to just put down. It's a long book, but don't let that scare you. Totally worth reading. I was so captivated from the beginning and the pacing was great! For a larger novel, it felt like a short one due to the pacing of it. 

The ending was totally unexpected and I was really caught off guard. I had to stop and think for a little while and just kind of take in what was going on.  Foster is an amazing character and fun to read about. Seeing her come out of her shell and grow was wonderful. All of the supporting characters helped the story along very well. 

I would say this isn't a typical young adult novel. There's more depth to it than just your average teen drama. Yes, a young adult would enjoy this novel, but as a 29 yr old so did I! I think we could all learn something from Foster Kelly.

Goodreads  /   Amazon 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blog Blitz for Awakening by Laura Greenwood!!

About the Book: 
Cursed before she was even born, Keira is destined to either be the greatest Queen that the Kingdom has ever known...or the Worst. On her 18th birthday she falls into a deep sleep, if she awakens naturally after 100 years then she will be as human as she was before, but if she was awoken before then the consequences will be vastly different...

When her destiny is one of two opposites, which path will Keira's life take her down. And what choice will she have in the direction.

Sleeping Beauty with a paranormal twist!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I've been reading bits and pieces of this book since Laura began writing it. It is instantly captivating and since it's not a long read, just a novella, you burn through it so quickly and are left wanting more! 

I love this dark sexy twist to such a pure story as Sleeping Beauty is. Laura is not afraid to break the bonds of this traditional story and push it to new limits. This story left me with the feeling, "But wait, that can't be the whole thing! I want to keep reading!" 

I greatly look forward to more work from Laura! It's worth the time and money to check out this fun sexy little story!!

About the Author: 

Laura is a self-confessed book and tea addict, you will rarely find her without one or the other (and often times both) even when she should be doing work towards her degree! Laura's been reading from a young age, and has been writing for years, though Awakening is the first thing she has had the courage to publish! 

You can follow Laura on her blog trips down imagination roadFacebook or Twitter

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guest Post by Cathi Shaw author of Five Corners

As a published author and a college writing instructor, I often get asked for advice about writing. I have loads of tips and advice but I think they are all overruled by one piece of common sense: if you want to be a writer … write!

Ah, such simple advice and yet so difficult to stick with (even for someone like me). Writing is hard work and, for me, it’s like exercise … good intentions don’t really yield any results. You have to just do it!

The exercise analogy actually works really well when you think about. After all, writing (particularly fiction writing) is a work out for your imagination! So the best way to unleash your inner writer is to set a time every day to write.

This worked really well for me with Five Corners. I actually signed up for Nanowrimo (if you haven’t checked it out, you should:! Writing a novel is a month is a great way to start a writing practice. Choose a goal and then stick with it. So you could commit to writing 50,000 words in a 30-day period (or a 60-day period or whatever is realistic for you). Or you could challenge yourself to write every day for 30 days. And then celebrate when you’ve actually achieved your goal! (I firmly believe that celebration is very important).

The biggest thing for me once I’d committed to Nanowrimo goal was that I did not go to sleep at night until I had written something. It didn’t matter how much, it just mattered that I got some words down on paper and increased my word count before going to bed.

The other big piece of advice I give to writers is to save editing until later. Don’t go back and start reading what you have written until you’ve reached your goal (whatever that may be). The danger with reading over your draft as you go is that you will jump into the editing role before you finish getting the story down on paper. So what’s wrong with that, you might ask? Well, there is the real problem of the internal editor taking over and killing the creativity. When that happens it makes it almost impossible to write.

So challenge yourself – get that first draft down on paper and then start another one! Find a system that works for you and then write every day.

+Cathi Shaw is the author of Five Corners, Book 1 of the Marked Ones. Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.

Cathi loves to hear from her readers! You can follow her on Twitter,  Facebook , Tumblr  and Goodreads 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: The Convenience of Lies by Kimberly Castillo

“It doesn't matter if it's right or wrong. All that matters is if you can. If you can do something, what difference does it make?"

Based on a true story, The Convenience of Lies is a novel that keeps readers up past midnight with its story of friendship, mystery, crime, sex, and betrayal. Set in a suburban town, this story is told through the eyes of a high school junior, Mackenzie, who describes her crush on a "bad boy," Ramon and her relationship with her best friend, Kira. During the course of the story, Mackenzie does her best to attract the affections of Ramon while her friendship with Kira evolves. Eventually, the different characters' property starts getting vandalized and a mystery develops as Mackenzie and Kira try to get to the bottom of who is behind the vandalism.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange of my honest review*

Overall I liked this book a lot. I think it brings the reader so closely inside the mind of the character you almost become lost in the chaos around her as well. I loved how Kimberly was able to write the characters thoughts and ways of speaking, it really reminded me of a teenager. So many times you read a book about teenagers but they sound like adults. No so with this book, their worries about what others think, how they look and are perceived are all there. 

I liked Mackenzie and wanted her to see what the others around her saw, but her infatuation with Ramon lead her down a bad path, which is sad. This book is a great example of how easy it is to become involved with someone who is abusive. Mackenzie didn't realize it until it was too late and had lost all her friends in the process. This story is a grave warning to teen girls and women of all ages to help bring awareness of how easy it is to fall prey to someone. 

Trust your friends. As someone who has gone through similar things as Mackenzie, I don't think I could write out how the process of getting involved with someone who is abusive is as well as Kimberly has. It can happen to anyone and if your friends and family are telling you something it's best to listen to them, even though its hard.