Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stuck in a Good Book Blog Hop


It's time for another blog hop. I love these! I'm always stuck in a book, some are great...others not so much. By this time of year, my TBR list is completely out of control. So I'm giving away an Amazon gift card. Pick a book or two from your TBR list and let me know how you liked it :)

Recently I got stuck in several books:
Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn
The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton
Descendants of the Rose by Juliette Harper
&
The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl
by Leigh Statham

Don't forget to hop over to the other blogs on the Linky when you're finished here :)


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Must Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez




Must Love Ghosts
A Banshee Creek Romance

Ani Gonzalez

Paranormal Romance
September 7, 2015


Abby Reed believes in folk songs, faery tales, and ghosts, but she doesn’t believe in love. Her fiancé died while deployed in Afghanistan, but she still has her music, her crazy ghost-filled town, and her pen-pal-slash-best-friend, Mike Stone. But when Mike arrives in Banshee Creek after his last tour of duty, Abby starts to have doubts, about music, ghosts and, most importantly...love.

A steadfast soldier, Mike Stone follows the rules, and Rule #1 is: Don't Fall For Your Dead Buddy's Fiancée. His relationship with Abby has been strictly platonic, and will remain that way, if he has anything to say about it. But when he arrives in Banshee Creek, a town where the impossible is an everyday occurrence, he'll find out that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Looking for a fun romp in an interesting paranormal town with lots of heat to steam up the pages? Must Love Ghosts fits the bill quite well. This fast-paced novella was a great introduction to the town of Banshee Creek-- a place I'd move to in a heartbeat were it real.

Though the romance between Abby and Mike followed a rather predictable path, they were both enjoyable characters and there was no denying the heat between the two. Of course, Mike did that whole "guy thing" at the end, (which always annoys me, BTW) so I liked him a tad less for his cowardice. Abby's reaction-- I liked the way she handled the oaf.

Best part of the novella? The introduction to the strange town of Banshee Creek. Filled with legends and intriguing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about everyone. This is definitely a series I'll add to my watch list. Who can resist a mysterious town with paranormal fanatics for residents?

About the Author

Ani Gonzalez loves sexy stories and quirky towns with spooky houses.  She currently lives in Minnesota with her family, and she’s still trying to adjust to the cold. 

Contact Information
Blog: www.AniGonzalezBlogs.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Release Alert: Queen of Always by Sherry D. Ficklin + Excerpt




Queen of Always
Stolen Empire #3

Sherry D. Ficklin

YA Historical
Clean Teen Publishing
September 15, 2015

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN

If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it’s that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress’ health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy. Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival.

When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter’s reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she’s ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed.

Don’t miss this breathtaking conclusion to the Stolen Empire series!

Queen of Always is a YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great. Fans of the hit TV show REIGN will devour this scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most dynamic women in history.




Excerpt

Once everyone has filed in, Peter stands.

“I have gathered you together to witness a momentous occasion.” The crowd hushes. “This week, my son and heir was taken by those who would seek to destabilize our beloved country. Those men have been executed. But before their deaths, it was discovered that one of them had ties to Danish court.”

I watch on in horror as his eyes lock on to Alexander in the crowd. “While I cannot prove he was acting on orders from Danish court, I have decided that a show of force is necessary. And so this week, I am dispatching troops to Demark. We will take the country and any who oppose us will be razed to the ground.” He lifts a glass as if to toast, but the room is silent. I stand, leaning over and whispering.

“Peter, you can’t declare war on Denmark with no evidence. They are our ally, if you attack them unprovoked—“

I don’t get to finish my thought. His hand shoots out, slapping me in the face so hard I pitch forward and roll down the small staircase.

My ears are still ringing when he slowly climbs down and takes a handful of my hair in his fist, lifting me to my feet.

“There may be some of you who question my decisions. But I am sovereign Russia. This country, and everyone in it, belong to me. I decide who we will be at war with and I will decide who to call my wife.”

He’s shouting, spittle flying from his mouth as he takes two steps forward, dragging me with him. When he finally releases me, I stumble but manage to keep my feet under me.

“George, take her to the cells!”

I blink, steeling myself to be taken into custody. But to my surprise, George doesn’t move. He simply lowers his head.

“Mikahil!” Peter yells, looking for support from his oldest friend. Mikhail rushes to Peter’s side and whispers furiously. Peter waves him off in an angry fit.

“Guards, take her!” he orders. Two guards near the rear door move, only to be met with a line of Nobles blocking their path. My own guards rush in, swords drawn, and circle me.

I can feel the rage radiating off Peter in waves. Straightening myself I hold up my hands.

“No, please. Let them through.” Then to Grigori, “Let them take me, that is my command.”

Reluctantly the Nobles step aside, and my guards retreat. But before his guards can touch me Peter screams and they freeze.

“No! You will not obey her. You will obey me!”

For a long moment no one moves. Battle lines have been drawn and it’s as if the entire assembly might erupt into a bloody massacre right here in open court. My breath is coming too fast, I realize, forcing myself to still against the rising panic. Unsure what else to do to defuse the situation I turn to Peter and curtsey deeply.

“Yes, we will obey our king!” I say, my voice as steady as I can make it. Around me, others do the same, some even dropping to one knee.

Finally, Peter takes a deep breath, seeming to calm. But it’s a menacing sound, one I know all too well, and goosebumps break out across my skin. It’s the sound the wind makes before it blows, the sound of waves an instant before they crash to the shore. The sound of inevitability. While I realize that nothing can stop him now, I know I must try anyway, I must try to contain the damage.

“Punish me, if you will, but leave the others. It was only their deep sense of chivalry that drove them to defend me, nothing more,” I plead.

The side of his mouth curls up as Peter nods.

“Yes, you must be punished. You publicly challenged my authority and your punishment will be equally public.”

I swallow hard. A flogging, if I’m lucky. Or perhaps simply a few days in the stockade. He will punish me, but he will not kill me, not even for this. I sag, a moment of relief washing over me, but he sees it, and in his eyes, I see something change.

Moving slowly across the room he grabs a crystal flask of liquid, each step, each gesture exaggerated like a court fool might. When he moves back to me, he holds it close enough for me to smell, swirling the clear liquid inside. Vodka? My confusion lasts only a moment.

Slowly he begins pouring it down my shoulders, into my hair, and down my white feathered gown. The liquid is cold against my hot flesh, soaking into my heavy damask gown. The heavy odor fills my lungs, making each breath sting. Around me people watch, looks of shock and horror etched onto their faces. I find Sergei in the crowd and hold his gaze. His blue-green eyes are narrow, his hand hovering inches above the long knife attached to his waistcoat. I shake my head, imperceptibly, and he blinks, still not relaxing. He’s trying to decide if he’s going to come to my rescue, but I know that if he does, Peter will kill us both. His jaw clenches, but finally, he drops his hand. I feel myself relax, just a bit, as Peter begins speaking again, drawing my attention to his face. He’s excited, like a child about to play his favorite game. It’s then that the real fear hits me.

“My Aunt didn’t believe in executing her enemies. She understood that death was a privilege, that there were far worse things.” He pauses, sweeping the room with a glance. “Let me be very clear. I will not tolerate any disloyalty.” He replaces the now empty flask on the tray and picks a lit candle from the nearby candelabra. I hold his gaze as he walks slowly toward me, each footstep echoing in the deathly still room. The pulse beats in my ears so loudly it drowns out all other sounds, my heart flutters in my ribcage like a hummingbird. I will not let him see me afraid, I decide, steeling myself. I will not give him the pleasure. I would rather die in flames right now than to let him break me again. I lift my chin, refusing to falter.

Once he’s close enough he leans in close, whispering into my ear.

“I have wanted to do this for a very long time, wife.”

He touches the flame to my gown. All I can do is scream as chaos erupts around me.


About the Author

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs. She is the author of over a dozen novels ranging from contemporary romance to science fiction. In her spare time she co-hosts the Pop Lit Divas radio show and is a contributor for Fangirlish.com.

You can see more about Sherry and her books at her official website, sherryficklin.com

Author links:


Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: Inspector Dewey by Kristen Heimerl + Giveaway


Inspector Dewey

Written by Kristen Heimerl
Illustrated by Irene Bofill

Children's Picture Book
August 2015

My name is Dewey--Inspector Dewey.

I live in the big green house on Hampshire Avenue with my family: Thumper, Lily, and Anna. I am the Big Cat—responsible for keeping everyone safe and in order. I do this quite well, in spite of the fact that managing my family is like, well, herding cats!

Mostly our life is peaceful. But one night it wasn’t. That was the night the bad guy showed up on our block. Of course, I knew exactly how to outsmart the outlaw, but—miserable mullet!—would Anna and the police understand my instructions?

To find out how the adventure ended, you’ll have to read my book. But I’ll give you a hint: there’s a reason I’m called Inspector Dewey.

Fifty percent of the profits from the sale of this book will fund veterinary care for pets whose families are in financial need, so that the animals can remain in their homes and out of the shelter system.

BECAUSE PETS BELONG WITH THEIR PEOPLE™

To learn more, visit threenorwegians.com


Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Absolutely adorable. Yep, that describes Inspector Dewey to a tee. Charming characters, a fun plot, and beautiful illustrations make this children's story a winner in my book. The copy I received for review is huge and very high quality-- and this is a galley copy. I'm assuming the read deal is even nicer.

The story was fun and exciting. I loved that the kitties' owner helped them stop the crime. How cool is that? So many books have the animals working together, but the adults are always in the dark. Not in this story. Owner Anna crawls right along with Dewey, Thumper, and Lily to help the police catch a criminal.

I loved the illustrations. They were soft and beautiful. The cats just looked so happy :) I love reading a book that leaves me smiling!


About the Author

Kristen Heimerl

Marketing Officer, Strategy Expert, Innovator and Brand Builder, Kristen’s business career spans 20+ years serving the biggest brands in industry and the biggest hearts of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Kristen revels in bringing compelling products and services to life and helping leaders and individuals with big dreams realize their big goals.


Kristen’s life joys include her 2+ year obsession creating the most beautiful self-published picture book possible, the breathtaking forests and lakes of her Minnesota birthplace, the family that really does love her no matter what, and her three magnificent Norwegian Forest Cats who together, with Kristen, helped catch the bad guy on their block that inspired her upcoming book (stake out and high speed chase included!)

She holds a master of science in eCommerce from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas. As the great transformer in her life, Kristen supports others’ education and literacy as an adjunct professor of business and strategy and, more recently, through her children’s book, Inspector Dewey (Available September 2015).

Kristen’s site for her work “Inspector Dewey” will be premiering on May 31st, 2015. In addition, you can read more about Kristen’s work at threenorwegians.com, also live on May 31st.

Connect with Kristen:   Website  ~   Facebook Author  ~   Facebook Inspector Dewey 


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