Monday, December 31, 2012

New year, new look, new goals

Happy New Year everyone! Well, almost anyways.  I've decided that for 2013 I wanted the blog to have a new look and a new feel.  It's not finished, there is still some tweaking to be done to the design and layout.  What do you think so far? I'm also going to be way more organized and have a variety of different posts.  I've got some ideas that I'm pretty excited about and I can't wait to get started on them.

Besides the blog renovation, I have some personal goals (resolutions, if you must) that I have in mind for myself as well.

Find a local organization where I can volunteer
Get back home to Chicago to visit
Eat healthier (which is so hard when you are financially strapped!)
Get active again (and hopefully more fit)
Make a dent in my TBR pile!

I set a goal for myself to read 60 books in 2012 and I just surpassed it with 67.  I started off the year strong reading like 15 or 16 books in January but then my reading  tapered off a bit.  This year I'm going to try for 70 books.  I'm not lacking for reading material, that's for sure.

What about you guys, what do you have planned for the upcoming year?

Here's to a happy and healthy 2013!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Sons of Titan by Joe Russomanno

I'm cheating here and using the synopsis from Goodreads as I didn't think I could summarize accurately (due to the scope of the story) and not give anything away!

A World Besieged, Lost in Darkness, Awaits a Champion... The Bloodwraiths. They are the most terrifying weapon at the command of King Arorahn: resurrected fallen soldiers, now undead, with superhuman abilities and an appetite for flesh. There is one defense against them - the Phoenix Strike, known only to the exiled Axendrei Knights. Gideon, a blacksmith's apprentice whose dreary life is illuminated by his devotion to his beloved, Crysta, has no idea what lies in wait for him when he is conscripted into King Arorahn's army. He doesn't know that his father, Hadrigahn, a fugitive Axendrei Knight, has been training him in secret, using a suppression spell to block Gideon's knowledge. On the eve of his conscription, Gideon learns there is to be a battle that Crysta and the other villagers plan to watch. Hoping to see his beloved one last time, Gideon sneaks away to watch ... not knowing that once his innocence has been broken by witnessing acts of grotesque violence, the spell on his mind will also break. Captured by the Bloodwraiths, Gideon is thrust into a world of gladiatorial combat. He must rediscover his true self, while guarding the secret of the Phoenix Strike, which has the ability to save his world. Will Gideon remember the truth of who he is, and regain the power to combine all aspects of his essence, which will give him the superhuman strength of an Axendrei Knight? And will Hadrigahn succeed in training a group of fledgling Knights to battle the Bloodwraiths rampaging across the land? Sons of Titan: Rise of the Bloodwraiths is the stunning epic opening volume of a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Join Gideon on his quest, and prepare to be enthralled from the first page to the last.

This book took me over a month to get through which is unheard of for me. If I'm struggling to get through a book I will give it two or three tries at most and then I throw the towel in. That's just it, I wasn't struggling through Sons of Titan, there was just so much going on in the book that I needed to take my time. There are several characters to get familiar with. There are also a number of smaller stories that tie in to the bigger picture. I almost feel that 'Sons' could have been divided up into at least two novels. Even though there was a lot going on, I really enjoyed the story. It was very entertaining, and kept my interest throughout. I was definitely invested and genuinely cared what happened to the characters. There was an Arthurian feel to the book in the beginning and I picked up on a couple of biblical references as well. Now whether those were real or imagined....that's the question.

One element that I found confusing was the passage of time. Certain paragraph breaks and new chapters made it difficult to determine where on the time line I was. There were also some minor editing concerns (at least in my version) but nothing so drastic that it took away from the story.

I do have two suggestions that may help readers clarify certain aspects of the story:

1. a map of the areas involved in the story shown somewhere in the book

2. a complete list of characters (with descriptions) for the reader to refer to

I am excited to find out what's next for this cast of characters and look forward to seeing more from this author.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Review: This Book Does Not Exist by Mike Schneider

Once again my awesome husband, Jason, from Invasive Species Radio and Dead Man'z Kassette has stepped up to the plate and provided me with a review (because I have been seriously slacking lately!).  I'm going to start integrating more of Jason's reviews because he and I have different tastes when it comes to reading and that will provide you (my wonderful followers) with reviews for a larger variety of genres.  Jason also does music reviews on his blogs (check out the links above) if you care to take a peek.

On to the review......

Ok you know that whole “recommended for you” section on Amazon? Within this advertising assault on my wallet was a blurb for a $0.99 self-published titled This Book Does Not Exist by Mike Schneider. The title and the cover depicting a Polaroid style photo with the eyes and mouth obscured by what looked like a vandal's marker intrigued me. Plus, it was cheaper than the 44oz Diet Pepsi at the local gas station, so what the hell.

This book is your standard 20-something love story. Boy meets girl, boy starts long distance relationship with girl, boy loses girl in alternate dimension which then spills out into our reality inadvertently causing WWIII.

Ok maybe it's not that standard.

The story starts off with a first person account of how the author met a girl named Naomi (by the way, witnessing a suicidal idiot jump off a roof together is not a great omen for romantic success) and continues on for the first ten percent of the book detailing the troubles and tribulations of trying to get on the same page. When finally Naomi agrees to move into the author's apartment in L.A. (he's a struggling screenwriter), he goes to meet her at the airport and she doesn't get off the plane. Worse, she doesn't answer her phone, and anyone the author texts, Facebook messages, or tweets about it has no idea either. Then a few days later he gets a friend request from a mysterious gentleman named Geppeto W with the message: “I can help you find Naomi, but not unless you come to Ohio.” Which happens to be where the couple grew up.

Geppetto turns out to be the keeper of something called The Door, which I type in bold here because The Door for some reason is always typed in bold in the book. The Door appears for people when they “are falling in or out of various stages of love”. Seems like Naomi had some doubts and wandered through, and Geppetto found her suitor to test his resolve about the relationship. Thus begins a whole bunch of screwy scenarios involving the author trying to find Naomi, or find out if he's even really in love with her, or find out if he's just been slipped some really bad hallucinogens.

The book has some really interesting concepts about perception and reality, and had at one point a really interesting e-book technique of breaking down the “fourth wall”, where the author/protagonist talks about posting a YouTube video, and instead of describing it, the link for the video is right there on the page, just a finger tap away on my Kindle Fire. These technical and conceptual ideas however, are sadly more thought out than any emotional storytelling or character development. The author always drops cultural references in the story. What music he's listening to, or movies he's seen, as if what a person likes is the same as what a person is like. Also I wish the nightmare scenarios of The Door were more creative and tied to the character's past, but instead the author uses some recent historical incidents as a backdrop. I can only guess this was done as a way to make us identify with the character and recognize what he's going through, but it feels to me as a lost opportunity to define the character more.

Overall it was an interesting book, but nothing to really rave about. It was a great idea, but a great idea does not make a great story. Whatever door the author decides to go through next, I can only hope he decides to take a different hallway.

Two red-white-and-blue Bic lighters out of five.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Hi everyone!  I am hosting a giveaway as part of the Gratitude Giveaways Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  This is just my way of saying Thank You for checking out my blog, especially since the posts have been few and far between lately.  

There are over 200 awesome bloggers taking part in this hop.  Do yourself a favor and check them out!  You can find the list of participating blogs here.

What's up for grabs you ask?  A purchase up to $15 at The Book Depository.  Who is eligible?  Anyone living in a place that The Book Depository ships to.

Winners will have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't receive a response, a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 29, 2012

I've Been MIA

Hey guys. The bad news, I've totally been stuck in my everyday life and unable to get much reading and blogging done. :(  The good news, that will change shortly. I am going to have some reviews and some giveaways posted in the near future so please stay tuned!

In the meantime I pose the following question to you all:

How do you feel about series that have seemingly endless numbers of books in them?

 Feel free to get as detailed as you want!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Blade Song by J.C. Daniels

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

Kit is Aneira, a dying breed of assassin. Well she is half Aneira, half human and that is something that her deceased mother's family just could not forgive. Her grandmother tried to beat the human half out of her until Kit was old enough to escape. Now Kit is on her own and working as a private investigator when in walks Damon with a job that she wants nothing to do with. Kit doesn't like working with shifters, especially the cats. Unfortunately Damon's boss knows that Kit's weak spot is kids and she plays on that to get Kit to work her case. Can Kit beat the clock, her inner demons and a sociopathic client to save a kid and her own skin?

I really enjoyed this book and in the beginning I wasn't sure that I would. At first it felt like being thrown into the middle of the story. The author alludes to earlier events but gives no details almost as if the reader should already be familiar them. The author does eventually go into more detail about the past in the form of dreams and flashbacks, but it was a little off-putting initially. (I also did find a short story prequel on the authors blog, A Stroke of Dumb Luck, which is free) There is a good cast of characters in this story with Kit and Damon as main characters. Kit and Damon seem to have a love/hate relationship which spirals from hate to love at supersonic speed. Damon comes off as your typical brooding, sexy shifter although he is a little too rough with Kit in my opinion, at least early on. Kit is tough and nails and can definitely hold her own. If I had to guess I would say that her astrological sign is a Taurus because she is super stubborn and most of the time just does not know when to give up. I thought the secondary characters were great and at times liked them more than the main duo! I'm hoping to see a lot more of them in the series. Even though I had a couple of concerns the story was well paced and I had a hard time putting it down. I definitely intend to find out what kind of trouble Kit can get herself into next.

As a side note, I'm not a fan of the cover art. This is not at all how I pictured Kit, she looks too soft and nothing at all like the tenacious assassin I imagined.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cover Reveal: 'Reaping Me Softly' by Kate Evangelista

I am super excited to be involved in the cover reveal for Kate Evangelista's highly anticipated next novel, 'Reaping Me Softly'. The cover reveal and subsequent blog tour are hosted by AToMR Book Blog Tours.  If you are interested in being part of the blog tour sign ups open today at AToMR Tours.

Now, on to the good stuff!


Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

Expected release date is October 30, 2012.  I can't wait!!!!!

Are you ready to see it???  

Beautifully intriguing isn't it?  You can add it to your Goodreads shelf here.  While you are at it do yourselves a favor and visit Kate at her blog

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Review of 'John Dies at the End' by David Wong

Big thanks to Jason from Invasive Species Radio and Dead Man'z Kassette (and he also happens to be my hubby!) for writing the first guest review!

I only recently learned about the book John Dies At The End by David Wong, ironically enough from a movie blog, as the adaptation was discussed finally finding distribution after a number of problems. Not even an hour later a Facebook friend mentioned the book in a status update. Said friend is a professional musician/visual artist and has an uncanny knack for digging up the weird sh!t, so I popped open the Kindle Fire, hit the buy button, and had all my free time sucked away for the next few days.

Our main protagonist is David Wong. Yes. Same as the author, and fittingly enough is told in first person flashback. Dave and his best buddy John, live in a southern Midwest town near the Kentucky border that they never refer to by name, working crappy jobs, playing video games, and indenting the seat cushions at the local Denny's. Until one night when John's half-assed band plays a party that gets slightly outta hand, when Dave is questioned by a dread locked guy who knows way more about Dave than he should. And it's not just Dave, he seems to have all the secrets on everyone at the party. Well, John and some more of the party people head over to the mystic Rastafarian dude's place and Dave, rightly getting a bad vibe, doesn't.

That's when he gets called by a freaked out John the next morning (several times actually, and receiving them not exactly in the order dialed), about some beast in his apartment, and that they need to get to Las Vegas as soon as possible. And this, dear reader is just the tip of the weirdberg. At the party, Rasta boy came clean about how he came by his knowledge. Seems he came by an illicit substance that they nicknamed Soy Sauce, that alters your perceptions, and shared it with his guests. However, it's not a hallucinogen. The user gets a window into things mankind was not meant to see, and the problem with windows is that while they let you get a good look out, they also provide ways for nasty things to get in.

This is a book of twisted ideas that throws a lot of horror conventions on it's head. For one thing it's pretty damn hilarious at times, which makes the horror more horrifying when facing our loveable losers. Try imagining Jay and Silent Bob wandering into a Clive Barker story, or H.P. Lovecraft's take on Bill and Ted's excellent adventure and you can kinda get close to the feeling this novel evokes.

There's a lot of things left unexplained (the bratwurst, and Molly the car driving, immortal canine for starters), which makes sense if you consider the characters. Not elite paranormal investigators, or centuries old children of the night, just a couple of foul mouthed f*ckwits living in nowhere America, trying to make sense of what strangeness has set up camp in their lives. I loved this book, was gobsmacked at the twists in the story, and the black humor spread throughout kept me laughing out loud and wanting more. On October 2nd, I'll get my wish, when Wong's next book comes out: This Book Is Full of Spiders (Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It).

Jason's Rating: 4 trans-dimensional jellyfish outta 5.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pledged Trailer, Review and Giveaway

Pledged was finally released on September 1st!  To help promote the release I am posting the book trailer along with my review.  And to celebrate the release I have two e-copies of Pledged to give away.

The Trailer:

* Just a comment on the trailer- not how I pictured Erin and Seth at all! LOL

My Review:

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

Wow, there is a lot going on in this story, there really isn't a dull moment. There are a few elements of the story that are common to young adult novels but in Pledged they are anything but typical. There is no shortage of romance, but it is in no way sappy which I was thankful for. And the love triangle makes an appearance but it masquerades as more of a love square. The characters are definitely colorful, I was worried that Seth was going to fit the mold of tortured soul, miserable, teenage boy but he doesn't. Sure, he has his moments but his 'up' moments break those up nicely. Erin is a strong, fairly independent female character and she compliments Seth's character nicely. The supporting cast is well rounded, filled with people you love and people you love to hate. There is a classic Good vs. Evil conflict, but there are so many twists and turns to the plot that sometimes you have to wonder if the Good guys are really good. There is no question that the bad guys are evil.

The stage has been set for book 2, Sacrificed, which is due to be released January 2013. I am definitely looking forward to finding out what is in store for Seth and Erin.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

The Giveaway:
  • Giveaway is open to everyone 13 years of age and older.
  • Prizes will be provided by author, winners' information will be provided to author or her representative.
  • Winners will be chosen on September 12, 2012.
  • Winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond, if there is no response after 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.
  • Entering is easy, leave a comment on this post explaining how you feel about soul mates.  Also leave your e-mail address for contact purposes. It's that easy!
Good Luck!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dark Passage by M.L. Woolley (Chosen #1)

The house on the Dark Passage of Puget Sound in Olalla, Washington has a very dark past. The forces of Good have decided that it's time to reclaim the house so they start recruiting, but the forces of Evil aren't giving it up without a fight. Bill heads to Olalla while working on a new book and is inexplicably drawn to the house, so much so that he decides to buy it. While in the house tragedy befalls Bill with a little help from his demon controlled cousin, Lisa and her current lover Dr. Winter. Bill winds up in a coma and his friend Peter, a lawyer, arranges for his client, Jen to live in and take care of the house. It's a perfect opportunity for Jen, who is trying to divorce John, a very violent, abusive husband. Jen's friend Ivy convinces her to take the house sitting job, helps her move and occasionally stays with her. Ivy herself has a troubled past and is fighting inner demons of her own. The stage has been set, sides have been chosen. Will Good triumph over Evil, or has Evil grown too strong?

I really wanted to like this book but there were a few issues that made Dark Passage difficult for me to get through. There were quite a few editing issues (I have the kindle edition) along the lines of misspellings and grammar mistakes but the major one for me was the character mix-up. There was a particular part in the book where the author is clearly talking about Peter but then all of a sudden he's being referred to as Bill. The other difficulty I had was with the several points of view that the story was told in. There were seven POVs in all and they seemed to change suddenly. This made following the story quite confusing especially with the kindle edition as page and paragraph breaks were off kilter. That being said, I really did like the story concept. I thought it was very interesting and unique. There were some religious undertones and normally that is a bit of a put off for me, but they were minor and appropriate for the story.

This is the first book of the Chosen trilogy and book two is currently in the works. As a first in the series, Dark Passage was a bit shaky. I think the trilogy could have great potential if the editing gets cleaned up. For that reason I will be checking out book two when it is available!

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Thursday, August 16, 2012

White Witch by Trish Milburn

* I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.

Jax Pherson's family is going to be the death of her. Literally. Jax belongs to a family of powerfully evil witches. The family is extremely strict and does not tolerate insubordination or withdrawing from the family. The punishment is a slow, excruciating death. 16 year old Jax does the only thing she can think of to keep her sanity, she runs away. After years of careful preparation it seems that Jax may have finally found someplace to start over, away from her family. She's even kept pretty close to her promise of not using any magic, after all she wouldn't want her family to trace the magical footprint that she would leave behind. But things aren't going so smoothly for Jax. Sure she has made a couple of friends but most of the girls in her new school seem to hate her because of the attention the boys are giving her. The one boy she feels a strong attraction to just happens to be the Hunter that was after her on one of her first nights in Baker Gap, North Carolina. Oh and there is that pesky part about hiding her abilities from everyone even though she is supposed to be getting stronger, and living with the fear that her family will find her. Can she keep her true self hidden from her friends and the family that hunts her? What will happen if she can't?

I loved this book! I wish it hadn't sat in my review pile for a few weeks. Award winning author, Trish Milburn knocks one out of the park with 'White Witch'. This is the first book of the Coven Trilogy and it provides a solid foundation for what looks to be a fantastic series. The story is fresh and piqued my interest throughout. The author shows great attention to detail but doesn't over explain things. Characters are really well written and I especially like how their histories aren't crammed together in one section but introduced to us over time. I feel like I'm get to know the character better that way. The story clipped along at a great pace and while there weren't many plot twists the story was not at all predictable. I am excited to delve into book two and find out what's next for Jax, her friends and her enemies.

Book two of the trilogy, 'Bane', was released May 2012. 

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pledged Excerpts 3rd and Final Day

Enjoy getting to know Caleb and Talitha in the last installment of 'Pledged' Excerpts.  If you like what you've read over the past 3 days you can enter for a chance to win one of three e-copies of 'Pledged'.  Click here to go to the post containing the rafflecopter!

Erin flicked her hair behind her ear and watched Caleb straighten his clothing. He took a deep breath and entered the hut. They followed right after him, drifting through the closed door as if it didn’t exist. Seth laughed, holding his hand up to Erin for a high-five – until he noticed that Caleb’s Gefallen had also wafted into the cabin with them. Even though he had no idea how to defend Erin from a ghost, he stepped in front of her to protect her. But the wraith ignored them and sailed over to Caleb.

A tall, blonde-haired girl with almond-shaped brown eyes was waiting for Caleb. For Erin, the recognition was instantaneous; it was Talitha. “She’s so beautiful!”

“She’s okay,” Seth replied, looking her over critically. “But I don’t think Caleb’s here for her looks.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You said yourself that Caleb’s a good-looking guy. I bet he could have any girl he wants around here.”

Erin frowned; then she smiled as understanding dawned. “So, in guy-talk, you’re saying he loves her?”

Seth chuckled as he picked up Erin’s hand and put it on his heart. “Tell me what you’re feeling?”

Erin gasped at a disconcerting pulse thrumming in Seth’s chest, over-riding his own heartbeat. “It’s . . . no . . . It’s not possible.”

“I’ll bet it is. It’s Caleb’s heart beating.”

“How do you know it’s him? It could be Talitha.”

“It started the moment I saw him. It’s like it’s there to stop me denying that he and I were once friends. And I was watching Talitha when he walked in. She smiled, and it felt as if someone had just shot a thousand volts through him.”

“It’s amazing you’re so connected that you can feel him.”

Seth wasn’t so sure he agreed; it made being here just a little too real.

Erin felt her own heart and could faintly discern Talitha’s heartbeat; it was nowhere near as strong as the thump in Seth’s chest, but then, she figured, she wasn’t in denial the way he was.

They fell into silence as Caleb opened his arms to embrace Talitha. She draped her arms around his neck, twisting the dark curls tumbling onto his shoulders. He kissed the nape of her throat and ran his lips up her neck, over her chin to her mouth.

“This is awkward,” Erin murmured, looking away.

“You don’t say. All this way just to watch them making out.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pledged Excerpts Day 2

As promised yesterday, here is the second excerpt from Pledged by Gwynneth White.  This snippet introduces us to Jared and Sophia.

Jared nodded at Sophia and Kezeah without any sign of recognition. With two of his Pledged up front and two at their rear, he marched them down the corridor to a flight of stairs. Once at the bottom, he ducked beneath an archway, opening onto to a gloomy, narrow tunnel. Erin, never keen on dark, claustrophobic spaces, took a deep breath and paused.

“C’mon,” Seth said. “The sooner we walk through it, the quicker we get to the other side.”

“What happens if what’s on the other side is even worse?”

“Then you’ll know for sure that the dead guys are leading this expedition,” Seth said, wanting to deny the painful burning in his heart that reconnected him with a cursed Jared. He grabbed Erin’s arm and pulled her into the passage.

They’d taken no more than two tentative steps along the uneven floor when Sophia stopped. “Commander, I am not walking through this snake-hole!”

Jared turned back to look at her. With none of the fear or diffidence Erin and Seth expected from a boy with limited to exposure to girls – especially beautiful ones – he answered, “Of course, my lady. You’re from Norin, where I understand you live in grass huts.” He gave a sardonic smile. “But don’t despair, you’ll soon get used to bricks. Even our own Outcasts have learnt not to flinch at the sight of them.” He continued down the passage.

Seth’s mouth dropped at Jared’s rudeness; this was so foreign to the Jared he had seen just moments ago in his vision. It just added to his anger at Reuel’s Curse.

The Pledged at Sophia’s rear prodded her back; she gave him a fierce look and started walking.

For Seth and Sophia, both taller than Erin and Kezeah, negotiating the tortuous twists and turns of the tunnel was no easy matter. Stooping, cursing each time they bumped their heads on the rough ceiling, they struggled after Jared, but he kept up the merciless pace until they reached a dark staircase.

Her temper now as short as her breath, Sophia stopped walking and locked her arms across her chest. “Having just cracked my skull open, you now expect me to scramble up those treacherous stairs too. No doubt hoping I’ll fall and break my neck. Well, forget it. I’m not moving.”

“Sophia!” Kezeah whispered, jabbing her in the ribs as she stepped gingerly onto the first narrow step.

Sophia ignored her. “Only savages and rats live in places like this.”

Jared’s eyes narrowed. “Savages and rats, you say, my lady?”

Sophia set her face into a cold stare, locking her hypnotic blue eyes on his.

He surprised her by holding her gaze. “I hate to disappoint you, my lady, but Lord Rustus, Lord of the Household, under the direction of the Overlord himself, has chosen your apartment. Surely you don’t question their judgment in this matter?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

“In that case, I’ll gladly pass on your concerns. If that’s what you really want.”

“Enough, Sophia. This isn’t a fight you can win.” Sophia’s Guardian had joined them.

The release date for 'Pledged' is September 1st.  You can enter to win one of three e-copies of 'Pledged' by completing the rafflecopter at the end of yesterday's post.  Click here to get to that post.

Pledged Excerpts and Giveaway

Sorry about the unexpected hiatus from blogging.  I just moved out of state and life got a little hectic.  I should be posting more regularly now. :)

As part of the Pledged tour for the next three days I will be posting excerpts from the book that introduce the main characters.  As a bonus I will be giving away 3 e-copies of Pledged!  Please see giveaway details and rules after the excerpt.

The first excerpt introduces us to Seth and Erin:

Despite the heat, Seth felt icy. Dread could do that to him. Or so he had recently discovered. Deep breathing usually calmed him, so he sucked in a lungful of desert air and told himself to relax. It didn’t help. By the time he’d walked from the aircraft to the immigration hall he’d ripped off a jagged piece of thumbnail, already bitten raw. He handed his US passport to the Botswanan border official, and, after a frown, and a stamp, he joined the crowd at the baggage carousel. Botswana in southern Africa was the last place on earth he’d ever have picked for a holiday destination. But he wasn’t here on holiday. Not even close.

  His backpack was slow in coming. Tired from his long-haul flight from New York, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. Almost as if to mock him, the hated vision that had brought him to Botswana burst into his mind. In an instant he was back in ancient times, watching a man he knew only as Gideon. As usual, Gideon was huddled on a windswept hill with his band of hopeless soldiers, waiting to be slaughtered by a huge army gathered in the valley below.

Seth snapped his eyes open to stop the battle from waging in his mind. It wasn’t that he was particularly squeamish; he’d watched enough movies to iron clad his stomach against gory visuals. But no movie had ever left him icy with dread the way Gideon’s battle did. And the reason for that was simple. The moment the visions had started, he had known that the war, fought so long ago in a place he’d never heard of, was far from over. And, as reluctant as he was, he too was being enlisted to fight in a cause he didn’t understand or want.

He forced himself to focus on the present: Erin, who waited for him in the arrivals hall; his brother Kyle, whom he’d come to Botswana to visit; Kyle’s expedition to find the Lost City of the Kalahari . . .
He ripped off another piece of fingernail. Thinking about the search for the Lost City was almost as bad as the war-vision. I hope Kyle never finds the damned place. He slapped his hand on his thigh. Enough! Grabbing his backpack off the carousel, he set his face into a smile and strode into the arrivals hall.

The first hurdle was finding Erin. She was due to arrive an hour earlier on a flight from Cape Town in South Africa, one of Botswana’s neighbours. He’d never met her, although they had spoken over the phone once. Then she’d described herself as “a short, seventeen-year-old (a year younger than him) with a mass of ginger hair.” She’d sounded nice. Meeting her was the one ray of brightness in this otherwise dark picture.

He stopped to scan the crowd. A petite girl with shoulder length, reddish-blonde curls, dressed in skinny jeans and a purple blouse, immediately caught his eye. It had to be Erin. Nice legs. What’s it with girls that they always under-sell themselves? He studied her face with his artist’s eye. Vermeer would’ve killed to paint her. Suddenly wishing he didn’t look so grimy after his three plane-changes,
he walked over to join her. 

“Hi, I’m Seth. You’ve got to be Erin. My brother’s just married your sister Izzy.”

“And after only knowing each other for about a week.”

Her dimpled grin was infectious, making him crack his trademark crooked smile. “Madness.”

“Mysterious.” Erin cocked her head to one side, seemingly appraising him. He knew he had been accurate when he’d told her he was tall and dark-haired. But what he had failed to mention was what girls had often said they liked about him: his strong, angular face, softened by expressive brown eyes. He watched her eyes rove over his grey Muse: Resistance t-shirt, taking in his broad shoulders and chest. From there they darted down his black camo-pants to his boots. Amused by her blatant assessment, he cocked his head to one side, watching her. Suddenly Erin giggled –was she embarrassed? – and picked up her bag.

“We’ve yet another plane to catch. My fourth in the last twenty-four hours,” Seth said, hoping to explain away his rumpled appearance. “To a place called Maun.”

“So we do. Let the adventure begin.”

Giveaway details:
  • Please join by filling out rafflecopter below.  No cheating please. I will be checking entries regularly and deleting those that haven't completed the tasks.
  • e-books will be provided by the author. Winners' information will be sent to author.
  • I will email winners and they will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response another winner will be chosen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's Next? #1

What's Next is a weekly meme hosted by Hafsah at IceyBooks. What's Next is way that your followers can help you choose which book to sink your teeth into next. It's a great idea for those that are indecisive like I am!  If you would like to find out how to join in click here.

And our three contestants are:

Jen hides in a rundown mansion when her life falls apart, has vivid experiences with a beautiful male entity who longs to be her soulmate, and must choose reality of living or dead. Her childhood friend Ivy 19, from a rough past, can communicate with the dead, and other supernatural gifts emerge. Ivy will resist the evil that would separate the lovers.

“With one final glance behind her, Jen urged her horse forward, and toward the safety of the mountains. Her heart was heavy and she immediately thought of the other realm. Her hope was that they were aware of what had happened and would help. Chaos was already breaking out; and the world was in danger of slipping back to a time of great darkness, reminiscent of the Middle Ages."

Witchcraft Is Her Family’s Business.No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It. “Jax” Pherson has power, enough power to know her future will end in service to the dark coven her father controls. Unless she can stay hidden in a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. She must find a way to live without magic and deny the darkness she feels welling up inside her—the same dark power that fuels the covens around the world. All she wants is a normal life. A boyfriend. Friends. Some place to belong, but all too soon Jax’s barely begun new life hangs in the balance when she discovers that the boy she’s attracted to is sworn to kill her kind. He’s a hunter with good reason to kill everything that goes bump in the night. Even the most fleeting use of her power is tantamount to signing her death warrant and will bring both hunter and coven down on her. But can she walk away when her friends are threatened by an old evil? Something created by the magic of witches? Jax’s only hope of survival is to convince the boy she loves to forget everything he’s ever been taught and help her find a way to fight the covens. To believe there is some good in her.

Welcome to the Half-Light City.

Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely...

I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place amongst her kind. They called me "soulless." An abomination. Perhaps they're right...I'm a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the service of a Blood Lord who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I'm nothing more than a slave to my master, and to the need that only he can fulfill...

Then he orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of his magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, Simon shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that's one thing my master and his kind will never allow.

And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadow into the light isn't as simple as it sounds...

So, which one of these gets your vote?

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

*I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher. 

Shadow of Night picks up exactly where Discovery of Witches leaves off. Diana and Matthew time-walk to Elizabethan England in search of knowledge, information and the elusive Ashmole 782. It’s a dangerous time to be a witch or to be fraternizing with one. Can they survive long enough to find what they seek? Will they like what they find?

In the second book of The All Souls Trilogy author Deborah Harkness introduces us to an array of colorful characters. Humans, witches, daemons and vampires are all represented. One of the great things about several of these characters is that you may already be familiar with them. The author takes historical figures and unveils their paranormal sides. While I really enjoyed the story, it did take me a little longer to find my rhythm with this book. There really weren’t any ‘big’ scenes in this book as there were in Discovery of Witches. Shadow of Night progressed more like a slow burn, it took a little bit to reach the correct temperature, but once it did it stayed steady. With the author’s attention to detail it was easy to imagine myself in each locale experiencing events along with the characters. I think incredibly cast of characters was my favorite part of the book. The development of the different characters was subtle, I didn’t realize how familiar with a character I had gotten until some small event would make me say to myself “I really love this guy” or “I hope he gets what’s coming to him”. There are two characters that I would say are my favorite in this novel, Philippe and Gallowglass. I can’t actually choose just one! They both seem a certain way when you first meet them but they are actually multi-faceted, even more so than other characters. The author gives us a little peek at each side of these men and I hope to see more of them in the third and final book.

This was a great book and I’m really looking forward to the wrap-up of the series. This is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, romance, paranormal and mystery genres. 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Showcase #5

This sizeable haul was amassed over the last three weeks.

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The purpose of Showcase Sunday is to show off our newest books or book related swag whether you bought, borrowed or received as a gift or for review. If you would like to participate in Showcase Sunday click here to learn how.


For Review:

Free e-Books:


I won Ancient Canada through a giveaway at Simply Infatuated.  Thanks Jessica!

I won this awesome swag bag full of The Mortal Path Series goodies from author Dakota Banks. In addition to the swag bag, she also donated $50 to Feeding America

I won Saving Mary: The Possession through a giveaway on Walking on Bookshelves. Thanks Steph!

What's in your haul?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pledged Blog Tour

I am honored to be part of the Pledged Blog Tour!  It's my first blog tour so I am super excited.  Pledged is being released on 9/1/12 and the tour is running through September.  There will be lots of things going on, interviews, trailers, reviews and giveaways (I missed the cover reveal!) so make sure that you check back often!  For a list of the other bloggers hosting the tour please click here.

The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

*I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.*

Roslyn Byrne hit rock bottom, hard. Three back to back tragedies force Roslyn to seek solitude on Manny's Island, where she's hoping to search within herself for answers. It's not solitude that she finds once she lands on the island. For the summer she has rented a house that is shrouded in mystery and rumors. She reluctantly finds a friend in her landlord's sister Ivy, an admirer in Ivy's son and a ward in Damascus, who happens to be her landlord's troubled 10 year daughter. And then there is Urey, the landlord that is as esoteric as the house itself. Through her relationships with these people, and others on the island she finds that she isn't the only one with problems. Helping the islanders work through their issues may just help Roslyn find the answers that she seeks.

This book was nothing like I expected it to be, which isn't a bad thing. I had a hard time getting through the story at first as it seemed slow moving. I also felt a little confused by certain flashback scenes, I couldn't tell which direction the story was headed. Once I got used to the author's writing style and character dialogue the smoother everything flowed . I really liked the premise of the story and the fact that everything was not always sunshine and roses. Aside from the fact that some of the drama seemed a little overdone, I think the characters were realistically portrayed. I enjoyed the way the characters developed throughout the book, learning more about the kind of people they were by how they managed their situations. There is quite a bit of Southern charm that comes through in Kimberly Brock's writing as well as a Southern way of life. I think this is a debut novel that shows a lot of promise.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Taste Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a copy of 'Taste' by Kate Evangelista.  I LOVED this book (you can see my review here) and now I want to share the love!  Kate was generous enough to offer an e-book copy of 'Taste' for a giveaway.  Be on the lookout for an interview with Kate in the next few days. :)

Here are the details for the giveaway:

  • Giveaway is open to everyone, provided they complete the rafflecopter tasks listed below (I will be verifying that the tasks have been completed.  If you haven't completed the tasks your entries will be deleted.
  • Winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond.  If after 48 hours there is no response, a new winner will be chosen. Cycle will be repeated until I get a response
  • Contact information will be shared with author Kate Evangelista as she will be sending your prize directly to you
That's it.  Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 29, 2012

Win the chance to create a character!

As you may or may not know, indie author Solitaire Parke has been releasing his book 'The Emerald Dragon' one chapter at a time on his blog.  If you read the recent interview with Solitaire this is old news to you.  What I failed to mention (because I am a slacker!) is that Solitaire is sponsoring an awesome contest that will be hosted by Alexia and Ritesh at Alexia's Chronicles.  Two very lucky people will get the chance to create a dragon rider and a dragon that Solitaire will feature in 'The Emerald Dragon'! How cool is that?  But wait, there's more!  (Were you hearing the cheesy voice in your head just then??) The winners will not only receive a signed copy of the book once it's released but they will also be mentioned on the dedication page. That's pretty amazing right?  Details and rules of the contest will be released on June 30th at Alexia's Chronicles.  Do yourself a favor and go check it out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Taste by Kate Evangelista

Phoenix McKay has bounced around when it comes to schools. It figures that once she finds a school she actually like she may have to leave. She broke the ONE rule of the Barinkoff Academy, no students allowed on campus after curfew. Granted, she broke that rule on accident but Phoenix is so stunned by what she discovers that even though she got away with it the first time, she risks expulsion by breaking curfew a second time. How could she know that the things she witnessed and the people she encountered would drastically change her life?

I loved this book, it is a page turner and I had a hard time putting it down. I found that the story line was imaginative and the history behind the flesh eaters was a refreshing change of pace from those of similar 'creatures'. The characters were very well written and easy to relate to. The pacing of the story was perfect, there were no lags or dull moments. The romance aspect of the story was creatively handled and not overdone. The only thing I wasn't overly fond of was Phoenix's reaction to being separated from Demitri. Phoenix is introduced as a strong-willed, independent girl/woman who, in my opinion kind of turns into a moody pile of mush. Then again, her experiences through the book change her and maybe that is exactly how the author wanted to portray her, as a woman who finally lets someone in. I really liked both Demitri and Luka and had a hard time deciding whose 'team' to be on. To be honest I still don't think I've come to a decision. Phoenix's character on the other hand I wanted to punch several different times. My first opinion of her was spoiled rotten rich girl but my opinion changed somewhat as the story developed.

I like that the title not only refers to what the flesh eaters do, but that Phoenix is able to get a 'taste' of what it's like to live a different life. Added bonus, the cover is gorgeous!

I think that Kate Evangelista did a tremendous job with Taste and I'm eagerly awaiting her next releases! 

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Showcase Sunday #4

Again, this Showcase Sunday is for the last 2 weeks.  I'm still moving, therefore behind in my blogging!

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The purpose of Showcase Sunday is to show off our newest books or book related swag whether you bought, borrowed or received as a gift or for review. If you would like to participate in Showcase Sunday click here to learn how.


For Review:


My awesome friend Marie gave me the Fifty Shades Trilogy (in addition to helping me pack!). You rock Marie, thank you soooo much!


I won this through the Dark Passage Giveaway at fuonlyknew.  A big thanks to Laura for hosting the giveaway and author M.L. Woolley for providing copies of her book as prizes

What sorts of goodies did you snag this week?  Feel free to post a link to your book haul post.