Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Rosemary Opens Her Heart by Naomi King

Book Details:
Rosemary Opens Her Heart
By Naomi King
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published November 2012, New American Library
Paperback, 279 pages
ISBN: 9780451237972

Synopsis:
          Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri, that for everything there is a season.
Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe...and is unprepared for the changes that are coming...
Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreover, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek...and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life?
When the question of Abby's maidel status was not fully answered for in the first book in the "Home at Cedar Creek" series, I looked forward to the next book by Naomi King, and she did not disappoint. Abby and James picked up quite easily early on in the book, and their close age and maturity allowed them to fit together like it was always meant to be, even if their relationship does not take center stage in this sequel.
Rosemary is the new character that has been introduced, a young widow and mother from another town whom Matt Lambright immediately and eagerly takes a romantic interest in. Matt's pursuit of her is both sweet and entertaining, though I can't help feeling a bit sorry for Emma, James' sister, who has had an interest in Matt for some time. As a widow, Rosemary is understandably weary of any man attempting to replace her late Joe Yutzy in both her heart and her young daughter's heart, but her own family's gentle encouragement and support influence her in the right direction.
In addition to the budding relationships, the need for a new preacher in Cedar Creek also creates some havoc for the town of Cedar Creek, but opens the door for a minor character to answer to a higher calling.
I find the Amish lifestyles fascinating everytime I read books like this, for their simplicity and spirituality, as well as their appreciation for family and good food. Thank you Naomi King for another wonderful read!

The Cover: This is a lovely cover that highlights the main character of this book in the series well.

First Line: "Matt Lambright slipped out of the stream of nearly two hundred wedding guests who were filing out of the house and into the front yard after his aunt Zanna's marriage to Jonny Ropp."



*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Post: Guardian Angels by Andrew P. Weston



Today's guest is Andrew P. Weston, author of Guardian Angels. Andrew P Weston was born in the city of Birmingham, UK and grew up in the towns of Bearwood and Edgbaston, eventually attending Holly Lodge Grammar School for Boy’s where he was School Captain and Head Boy.He was an active sportsperson for the school, college and a variety of rugby, martial art, swimming and athletics teams throughout the city.On graduation in 1977 he joined the Royal Marines fulfilling a number of roles both in the UK and abroad.In 1985 he became a police officer with the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, and served in a variety of uniformed and plain clothed departments until his retirement in 2008.Over those years, he wrote and illustrated a selection of private books for his children regarding the life of a tiny kitten, called, “The Adventures of Willy Whiskers”, gained further qualifications in Law and Religious Studies, was an active member of Mensa and continued to be an active sportsperson, providing lessons free of charge to local communities.An unfortunate accident received on duty meant Andrew had to retire early from the police force, but after moving to the sunny Greek island of Kos to speed up his recuperation, he was at last able to devote time to the “Guardian Concept” he had developed over his years in the military and police.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys Greek dancing and language lessons, being told what to do by his wife, Annette, and hunting shadows in the dark.Andrew is now contracted to Pagan Writers Press for two books.“Fairy Tail”, is a dark and gritty paranormal thriller with a twist.The second book, “Guardian Angels” is the introductory book to the “Guardian Series”, a sci-fi/fantasy epic set in the near future.Further work on the Guardian Series and a new paranormal series has been completed and will hopefully be presented soon.

Take it away, Andrew!


Topic: I'm always fascinated with authors' techniques of "world-building", so how about that topic?


 “Guardian Angels” is a story that describes the adventures of a futuristic Global Emergency Service as they introduce themselves to an unsuspecting world at large.
As we get to find out, they have always been there behind the scenes, watching and waiting, itching for the time when they could reveal themselves to us at long last.

The extended blurb sums it up:
A small boy runs in front of a truck.
Miners trapped in the aftermath of a devastating underground explosion have no hope of escape.
A stricken passenger aircraft plunges thousands of feet towards the earth below.
Everyone survives!
Why?
Because they are among the first in a number of miraculous interventions that heralds to the world that, “Guardian Angels”, blessed with extraordinary powers and incredible technology, actually exist!
While society in general reacts with euphoria, not everyone is pleased!
There are those in power and those within the criminal underworld, who seek to counter the threat they feel these awesome newcomers represent.
Early confrontations ensue, leaving many hungry for retribution, and their revenge is exacted at a terrible price in lives and suffering.
The resulting deaths do succeed in creating a backlash that causes people to lose hope in their newfound friends, and which changes public opinion forever.
Is the fairy tale over before it even begins?
 “Guardian Angels” is a powerful and compelling story about the catalyst that could at last, galvanize society to unite and look towards the future with hope.
Sadly, it also reveals how fragile such a spark of hope could be.

Yes – their revelation brings suspicion, as well as welcome. A mixed bag in fact! So, it’s no understatement when I say that once I was ready to actually begin, the concept was so involved that I had to add almost 6 months of work to my schedule before it ever got to the typing stage. Let me explain.

Before I began writing what was to become the first book in the series, I had to spend those months building a realistic “world” and a “history” in which to fit the Guardians.

Included within this framework was their own personal history in relation to that of the people of earth. For example, where are the Guardians from? How did they come to be? Where have they been until now and what have they been doing? WHY did they remain hidden? What made them decide that NOW was the time to reveal themselves?

Okay – they also have special abilities and futuristic technology.
Regarding the tec…
 How was that technology developed? How far in advance of current “earthly” technology is it? Is what I devised “in agreement with known/developing theoretical science? Is it plausible that advanced science could develop in this way so the reader can relate to it without thinking…’that’s too far-fetched’?
Regarding the abilities…
What abilities are we talking about? Can people relate to them? How would they be employed? What are their limitations and strengths? How much training would be required to realistically be able to use them in a real life disaster or emergency situation?

The Guardians themselves are a disciplined service.
So, where and how do they train? What does that training involve? For how long? How are candidates selected? Where would they go for such incredible instruction? What education/schooling would they need to enhance their technical, physical, and psychic capabilities? What would be an acceptable/believable threshold?
What uniform would they have? What rank structure? How & when are they promoted? How are their ranks and abilities reflected or represented on their uniforms?


Building a realistic world, with a believable history and time-line formed a huge chunk of the preparations that took place BEFORE the story itself even began to be written. In my case, almost 6 months of planning went into this stage, so that I could add a depth and realism to my creation that really helps it stand out from the crowd.
Once it was in place, I then had to select “where” along the timeline it would be best to introduce our story, and how I would then dip from there into, eg, history, ancient history – the future or the culmination of the entire series.

I’m a firm believer in being thorough.  “World Building” allows you to achieve something wonderful.
Your story and characters reflect a richness they would otherwise lack, and the reader is helped to appreciate…”THIS is something I want to get to know and be part of”.

I look forward to introducing you to my special world over the coming years as the Guardian Saga unfolds. See what you think, and feel free to lose yourselves as often as you want.

Thank you so much for answering my question, that was very insightful!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest Post: The Navy Seal's Promise by Soraya Lane


Today's guest is Soraya Lane, author of The Navy Seal's Promise. As a child, Soraya dreamed of becoming an author. Fast forward more than a few years, and Soraya is now living her dream! Working as a freelance writer and now a professional author too, she writes every day and loves her job. Soraya describes being an author as "the best career in the world", and she hopes to be writing romance for many years to come.

Soraya loves spending her days thinking up characters for books, and her home is a constant source of inspiration. She lives with her own real life hero and son on a small farm in New Zealand, surrounded by animals and with an office overlooking a field where their horses graze.
For more information about Soraya, her books and her writing life, visit www.sorayalane.com or follow her on twitter @Soraya_Lane. She would love to hear from you.



Take it away, Soraya!

                                                             Military Heroes

When I sold my first book to my editor two years ago, it was a soldier story. Soldier on Her Doorstep was the first in my Heroes Come Home series, and my current release, The Navy SEAL’s Bride is the third. It’s a theme that I’m becoming familiar with and I love it.
I’m often asked why I write about military heroes (and heroines!) and it’s a hard question to answer. When I wrote my first book, I had no idea that I’d go on to write so many soldier-themed stories, but my editor keeps asking me for more! Right now I’m working on edits for my eighth book, and yes, it’s a military romance.
There is something about a military hero that I love, and if I didn’t I wouldn’t write them. Could I fall in love with a soldier? Absolutely. So long as he was also handsome, kind and loved animals! For me, any hero I write about has to be a man I could personally fall for. Soldiers are special because they have to be strong, professional, intelligent and committed, and those all happen to be characteristics of any great hero. Add to the mix a broken heart or a traumatic past, and suddenly I see a man that needs his story told.
So how about you? Do you like reading about military heroes? How about military heroines? And if so, what is it that makes you fall in love with them?


Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Book Details:
Inside Out
By Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult
Published April 2010, Harlequin Teen
e-book, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780373210060

Synopsis:
          Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.
I got into this book because I loved Maria V. Snyder's Study series, and I even enjoyed the Glass series. I've been reading alot of dystopian literature in the past year or two, and this fit right in. Honestly, this book resembled Beth Revis' series in many ways, only simpler in design.
Trella is the typical teen, unaware of the people around her and how she affects them, but her uniqueness among the citizens of the lower levels makes her stand out no matter how she tries to hide in the pipes. Her curiosity causes her to uncover many of the secrets the run her world, especially when she finds a romantic interest in Riley. The character of Trella seems to resemble the main female leads of Snyder's other books, but I haven't grown bored of it yet.
Many of the rules that govern Trella's world are not far from what is occurring in current events, such as the Uppers' rule about number of births allowed. This very rule is one of many to rock her understanding of the way her world operates, and serves to propel her to seek out the mythological "Gateway". Though I was able to predict what this actually is, I was still saddened by the outcome. Trella's reaction is very realistic, though, coming from her very sheltered existence. I cannot fathom which direction this revelation will take Trella and the other members of her society in the next book, Outside In.

The Cover: The cover is enticing, but vague. I originally thought the girl was ripping paper, but after reading the book, only metal would make sense.

First Line: "A vibration rippled through my body."
That opening line brings to mind many things, so of course I need to know more.

Favorite Quote: “Exactly. You can shoulder all the blame and become a martyr. Provided anyone knows what or who you're martyring for. Or you can accept that some things are important enough to fight for and realize there will be sacrifices along the way.”



Read For: Young Adult Reading Challenge, Dystopia Reading Challenge 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest Post: Shamrocked by JoAnne Kenrick


Today's guest is JoAnne Kenrick, author of Shamrocked, the second book in her Irish Kisses series. Born n bred Brit, JoAnne Kenrick grew up in a wee sea-side town in North Wales and has enjoyed a variety of vocations such as holistic healer, window dresser, and ghost tour guide. Having lived in Wales, England, and Scotland with her dear family, she finally escaped the dull British summers to reside in sunny Australia. After two years, they moved to the States where she endured three harsh winters in Minnesota. She now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids and two puddy cats. When they aren't demanding her attention, or jumping on her head, she strums away on the keys of her little laptop, creating worlds and adventures she could only ever dream of. Come across the pond and faraway....with JoAnne Kenrick! Find out more about JoAnne by visiting her website http://www.joannekenrick.com and get exclusive sneak peeks at her new and upcoming releases by signing up to her quarterly newsletter here http://tinyletter.com/joannekenrick


Thank you for stopping by, JoAnne, and take it away!

          If there's one thing Devlin Kinney from the Irish Kisses series is known for--besides his smooth Irish accent--is his toy box. So how about we take a peek inside and see…what's in his box for SHAMROCKED….
                  
Japanese silk rope: Sublime pleasures of restraint also known as Kinabuku ("bondage"), or Kinabuku-bi ("erotic/beautiful" bondage), Japanese rope bondage dates back hundreds of years and was originally used as punishment or torture. The technique eventually transformed into a respected art form and means of erotic delight.
Rope bondage titillates both the mind and body, exerting indirect and direct pressure on erogenous zones, squeezing the areas and creating  immobility and submission.

Nipple clamps: Intense and delightful pain can be applied to the nipples via small clamps. They work by restricting blood flow from erect nipples by applying pressure to them. Mostly used in BDSM activities, and are a gentle place to start.  The Kama Sutra-- a book on sexual practices and behavior believed to date back to 400 BCE-- encourages pinching body parts.

Vibrating butt plug: A sex toy designed to be inserted in the back passage Similar to a dildo, but they are shorter, and have a flanged end to prevent the device from being lost inside the rectum. Some wear them to prepare for anal sex, others for a 'full feeling' during regular intercourse.

BLURB: Devlin Kinney is focused on his Irish Rock band, Shamrocked. Between that and tending bar at Bell's Irish Pub, he's rushed off his feet. Still, he's envious of Shaun who found his perfect woman through Madame Eve's exclusive agency, 1Night Stand.

Pushed for time, he follows his friend's lead and hopes to be matched with a woman ballsy enough to share in his fetish for things that go buzzzz.

At the event of the year for soap stars, Elizabeth Grant meets Devlin and mistakes him for her soon-to-be co-star on The East End. Before she has a chance to confess she's not his 1Night Stand as he seems to think, the silver-tongued smooth dancer proves irresistible. He seems perfect...for one night of pleasure. She's ready to play the role of her life!

Will his Irish charm and toys be enough to hold onto his leading lady, or will his heart be shamrocked into next week?

Available in most major e-book stores, including but not limited to, these:
BUY LINKS

AMAZON USA: http://www.amazon.com/Shamrocked-Night-Stand-Series-ebook/dp/B008LMLNGE
BOOKSTRAND:http://www.bookstrand.com/shamrocked
ALL ROMANCE: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shamrocked-882341-168.html
SMASHWORDS: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/205448

WhSMITHS UK:http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/eBooksProductDetails.aspx?productID=KB00105924617
AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shamrocked-1-Night-Stand-ebook/dp/B008LMLNGE

Author Links:

www.joannekenrick.com
www.twitter.com/joannekenrick
www.facebook.com/joannekenrick
Quarterly newsletter: www.tinyletter.com/joannekenrick
Amazon profile: http://www.amazon.com/JoAnne-Kenrick/e/B004FMUJMS

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: Wingless and Damned by Dawn White


Today's guest is Dawn White, author of Wingless and Damned. Dawn White resides in southern CA with her husband and three daughters. She has always been an avid reader and seems to live a busy life as a wife and mother. In between home schooling her children and taking care of the house she finds a few minutes at a time to write her novella series. Wingless and Damned will be available October 1, 2012.



Take it away, Dawn!

          My name is Dawn White; I am the bestselling Author of Wingless and Damned, a dark paranormal fantasy. I was honestly terrified before my release of Wingless. I literally absorbed myself into the writing of the second book to alleviate the stress of my release. It has helped and I can honestly say I am so much closer to having my second Wingless book in y’alls hands.
I never expected my first book to have the reception it has had. I have enjoyed this ride so much so far. I don’t think I could have had a better publishing family behind me. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly publishing has been so amazing and supportive in every way. I received my first large blog review the other day and I was literally floored by the love the Blogger showed me.
Honestly I can say that I have felt so honored every time someone has added Wingless and Damned to their personal library.
I try and help any indie artist out as much as I can. I can be contacted on Facebook on my Author page : https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/WinglessAndDamnedByAuthorDmWhite
If you would like to talk to me about anything or simply just become my friend I promise I don’t bite too hard. ;)
Thank you for stopping by, Dawn, and congrats on your success!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post: Morganna Cork Series by B. Jane Lawson


Today's guest is B. Jane Lawson, author of Over the Cliff's Edge and To the Cliffside. B. Jane Lawson lives in Los Angeles where she is a business woman by day, writer by night and cyclist on the weekends. Her obsessions include Starbucks soy chai lattes, fashion, and music. B. Jane is the author of two novels in the Morganna Cork series.
She has had a life long love affair with novels of all kinds. B. Jane's favorite genres include paranormal romance, historical fiction and true crime. Her favorite authors include Amy Tan, Karen Marie Moning, Pat Conroy, Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. She loves to travel and her dream vacation is a safari in Africa.



Thank you for stopping by and take it away B. Jane!

          Twenty-four year old Morganna Cork moves to Puesta del Sol after being kicked out of her childhood home. Upon moving into work at the Cliffside Inn, owned and operated by her cousin Maeve Cork, she discovers that Maeve is part of a community known as Magicks. Employed as the chef and with the help of side-kick cum housekeeper, Anya Demidov, Morganna finds herself soon tumbling down a proverbial rabbit hole.
Morganna’s many secrets of the town – not least of which the ominous return of her aunt and villainess Aiofe.
The first two books follow Morganna as she becomes involved with a Magick war, discovers new powers and is lured deeper into her attraction to Callupo Stone, werewolf and candidate for pack leader.
Many fans have asked me about Morganna, and have even gotten a chance to vote for who would play her in a movie on her Pinterest board here. Today, I’ve shared with you the stats on the Morganna Cork “Player Card” to get to know her better.

Morganna Cork: Character Stat Cards
Age: 24
Location: Puesta del Sol, California
Occupation: Head Chef, The Cliffside Inn
Magick: Healing, Invisibility, Telepathy
Love Interests: Callupo Stone, Niko Vargas, Conleth Duffy
Favorite Band: Mumford & Sons, U2, Sufjan Stevens, Velvet Revolver
Favorite Movie: Hope Floats, all things Sandra Bullock
Favorite Season: Winter
Siblings: None
Alcohol: MacCallan
Favorite Food: sweet butter-poached maine lobster tail, preferably from The French Laundry
Favorite Food to Cook: Beef Bourguignon
Favorite Book: Anna Karenina

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Cliff by Christie A. Gucker


The Cliff by Christie A. C. Gucker
Steamy Romance
Release: Sept. 28, 2012

The Cliff is a riveting tale of love and betrayal that surrounds the lives of three lifelong friends: Lanie Rhodes, Grant Bennett & Dane Voight. They have grown up with each other from birth in their homes on an isolated cliff. As adults, they still live in their respected childhood homes, while sharing the family business started by their parents.
The story revolves around a pact made between our three main characters as children, to always remain like family till death. But another, more secret pact was made between the two boys that day, to never vie for Lanie’s love.
Now, all grown up, more-than-friendly feelings start to emerge between Grant and Lanie, who have secretly been pining for one another since they were teens, never acted upon so as not to break the pact. When they finally admit their feelings for each other, what ensues is a twisted tale of deception, as Dane has been squelching his feelings for Lanie as well. The story weaves around this uneven love triangle as Dane does everything he can to throw a wrench into things on a whole new level of evil, all the while, Lanie and Grant fight to keep their love whole.
The Cliff is an emotional rollercoaster, with many hot and steamy love scenes. The sexual tension between Grant and Lanie as they break ‘the pact’ has just the right amount of ‘sweet’ and ‘hot’ mixed together. You’ll find yourself cheering on Grant and crying a little for Lanie, while the treachery caused by Dane will literally have you gasping with shock! It is a whole new level of depravity. What will happen to the pact? Will friendships be destroyed? Will lovers emerge? Every chapter of The Cliff ends in a cliffhanger. You won’t be able to put it down!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post: Dreamworkers Behind the Veil; Night Shift Dreams by Meredith Smith


Today's guest is Meredith Smith, Thanks to over 35 years of personal experience and exploration in the dreaming realm, Meredith Smith naturally receives messages from the dream realms to help guide others through their own personal healing process. She has studied and trained in dream Interpretation, archetypes & symbolism, past life regression & hypnosis, Shamanic energy work, and Usui Reiki via workshops, classes, and trainings.
Meredith Smith is an intuitive reader of dreams, images, spirits, and energy--- with her specialized training entwined with her own natural gifts -- she believes that dreams are pieces to one’s own personal soul’s journey (past, present, & future), Meredith Smith guides each dreamer through the process of putting together the symbolic pieces of their amazing magical travels through the astral realms. She is a dream translator, a dream intuitive, a dream traveler, a spirit rescuer, an empath, and a energy healer; Meredith speaks in dreams.




On to you, Meredith!
          It happened to me again. I awoke in a frenzy, popped out of my bed, and stared into the darkness of the night. Eyes wide open. My breath slowed, which made me question if I had even returned back to waking or if this feeling was just another aspect of the dream. Yes, this time it was different; as it was not some family member of someone from Sunday church I barely knew. This time every piece of the dream was peculiar, it was me right there in the same room where someone I knew died. He spoke to me as if we had been great friends for years – but I only recall nods of hello and a quick high school drunken kiss one night at some party (that one moment in time he made my waking reality just a fantastic dream). No… no Meredith… this dream was inconsistent to the others. Maybe because I knew him slightly better. Maybe because he ran in the same circle of friends I hung with when I would go out dancing on a Saturday nights. Maybe it was because he was the boyfriend of someone I knew -- friends of friends --- that one girl I went to school with I always admired; her simple beauty, down to earth personality, in-tack family functioning foundation, and her ability for everyone to listen when she spoke. Or maybe this dream visitation happened because I was one of the only few that appeared to be ‘different’ from the crowd… that is it, it was not the dream that was distinct from the others, but rather it was me that was mismatched living in waking reality. By no means was I normal back then, I hid this in-normality – like an ugly growth sprouting from the side of my stomach, I probably could not hide this oddness within me as well as I would of liked, but no one knew what went on during the darkness of the night ---when they all laid asleep I was roaming through realms beyond our waking life dimensions. Yes, this popular boy I once knew created tragedy for everyone around his death….except for me, and except for him. He was free now, that is what he told me.
I found myself lurking through a dark hallway, only lit by my eyes, towards a door that entered into a bathroom. I knew I had never been here before, and I knew I did not end up here by a happy accident. I felt a pull to walk through the door and into the bathroom. There was a shimmery dull yellow light, but the atmosphere felt slightly heavy. Again I felt an unexplainable pull to move towards the shower curtain; my eyes drawn to stare at the off-white colored 80’s style dark yellow print just hanging there. Ok. Why am I here? I felt a presence, behind me. I spun around to visually see who he was, just like I had always remembered him – gorgeous, sweet, but now I saw that he once was a tortured soul. I smiled feeling a little frightened as he flashed his beautiful smile back.
What is going on? You see you are dead.
Yes.
Why am I here? I know I did not come searching for you.
I called you here.
Why? How did you know to do that?
They told me. And well I figured it out. You are like me.
And how is that – we are far from alike. You barely even acknowledged me alive.
Yes true. If I connected with you then the truth would exist and I was not sure if the truth was true… or even meant to exist.
Ok, well…. what happened?
Thank you for asking. I committed suicide, right in this room.
I shivered.
See let me show you.
And there he was just as he died -hanging from the sturdy shower pole. I turned my head in fear. Why are you showing me this?
I need you to tell my family I am sorry. Tell them I love them but this lifetime was not for me. Let them know I am free. I feel good and I need to move on. They need to move on.
You just died how can they move on so quickly?
I will not be able to cross without them letting go. I will remain until their grief subsides. Can you do this for me?
No. Everyone will think I am insane. You are freaking me out. Can I go now?
You understand this. Why run from it?
Are you scared?
Not anymore. I always thought you were kind, don’t get caught up in the cross fire of this physical life.
You did.
Yes, but this was my exit out and I took it. What they teach is not all true. You know what this is all really like. We both do. Please they will never “see” me. Help me tell them I am happy and free.
He paused for a moment as I felt a vibrant vibrational field rise above me. The dull yellow lit room did not feel as murky as when I first entered it. I could feel he was different now. Thank You, Meredith. And with those last words he disappeared before my eyes. With a quick spin around the room I was sucked out of the vortex of his energy and thrown back into my own existence.
I woke up. I laid back down scared out of my mind. I had no one in my life to talk about these dreams that appear before me… to share this ability to speak in dreams.
I am not sure how it began as I have always known myself to be this way. I am not sure why I was granted dreaming abilities, as over the years I have just accepted it as part of my life. I wrote DreamWorkers Behind the Veil; Night Shift Dreams as a window into these types of dreams. Sharing this simple fact: Many dreamers do float out of their bodies, astral travelling through realms far beyond the view of our waking minds.  Many of us speak, heal, and help other souls while their physical selves lay deeply at rest.  

Thank you for stopping by, Meredith!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Autumn Winds by Charlotte Hubbard

Book Details:
Autumn Winds
By Charlotte Hubbard
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2012, Zebra Books
Paperback, 324 pages
ISBN: 9781420121704

Synopsis:
          Winds of change are blowing through Willow Ridge, and they're bringing a stranger to the Sweet Seasons Cafe. At first, widowed Miriam Lantz has misgivings about Ben Hooley, a handsome but rootless traveling blacksmith. But as she gets to know the kind-hearted newcomer, she wonders if his arrival was providential. Perhaps she could find love again - if only there weren't so many obstacles in the way. With Bishop Knepp relentlessly pursuing her hand in marriage and the fate of her beloved cafe at stake, Miriam must listen to God and her heart to find the happiness she longs for, and the love she deserves.
I've been anxiously awaiting the sequel to Summer of Secrets, and this book was worth the wait. A few matters that were left unfinished in the previous book are accounted for here, such as Rachel and Micah's wedding, and the humbling of Bishop Hiram's brash behavior. The introduction of several new characters, such as Ben's two maidel aunts, served to add color to the community of Willow Ridge and even added a dash of humor to the several romance-heavy sub-plots.
I thoroughly enjoyed following along in the lives of Miriam Lantz and her daughters, especially when reading about all of the mouth-watering food that the Sweet Seasons Bakery and Cafe served up everyday. I plan on trying out of a few of the recipes in the back of the book, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a bread recipe that I've tried among those listed.
The background of Amish culture I have also continued to find fascinating, as I learned more of the nuances in speech, behavior, and traditional beliefs. While I find some things too restrictive, such as the clothing and lack of electricity, the adherence to gender roles, the respect they give to one another, their beliefs in the Bible, and their use of wholesome and naturally-grown foods are all things I greatly admire. This book only serves to bring it all to life and make it that much more appealing. I look forward to reading more of this series.

The Cover: The picture of the Amish woman and the background with autumn pumpkins is fitting for the context of the book.

First Line: "Lord, if this rain's gonna cause another flood like Ya sent Noah, I hope you'll give me a sign to get to higher ground."
Both a humorous way to begin a book, as well as a reminder of its religious roots - nice hook.

Favorite Quote: "We've been blessed with each other, so how can Hiram or anybody else spoil a single hour of our life together? We just won't let them."



Read For: Read Your Own Books Reading Challenge, TBR Pile Reading Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Vampire Hunter's Daughter by Jennifer Malone Wright


Today's guest is Jennifer Malone Wright, author of The Vampire Hunter's Daughter. Jennifer Malone Wright resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children. Between the craziness of taking care of her children, whose ages range from fourteen all the way down to six months, and being a homemaker, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on freelance work or her beloved fiction.
When she grew up, Jennifer always had her nose in a book. She has been writing stories and poems since grade school. This love of the written word and her strong interest in the paranormal is what has led to her first novel “The Birth of Jaiden.”
In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Jennifer is also a very proud military wife. Moving around the country for the last ten years has made her a bit of a nomad and she finds it difficult to be in one place for too long.
Jennifer is also the author of The Birth of Jaiden, a paranormal novel filled with action, suspense, and even a love story.

Website/ Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page

Here is the synopsis for her new book:
          This special edition of The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter contains parts I-VI, the complete collection. Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters.
Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community. When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets.
Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder. With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her.
Experience the world of vampire hunter’s, vampires and mythology with Chloe in this exciting series.
And here is an excerpt from the book:


I took the first book off the stack and examined the cover. It was titled Vampires throughout History. The cover was leather and so old it was stiff and cracked in spots. The pages showed signs of age too, yellowing and stiff to the touch. There was no table of contents, so it looked like I was going to have to scan the entire book for what I was wanting. I flipped the pages carefully, so as not to tear any of them.

After an hour of scanning and about half way through the book, I found something referring to vampire children.
~~~
Although extremely rare, the natural-born offspring of vampires exist throughout the world. These rare beings are called the dhampir. Dhampir are usually the product of a vampire and mortal. The most common of these unions is a male vampire impregnating a mortal woman. Vampires, both male and female, are seductive in nature and some mortals came willingly to these unions. However, the majority of dhampir born were produced through an act of rape.

Solitary by nature, it is uncommon for a vampire to settle with any one mate for long. The children of vampires, the dhampir, more often than not exhibit all the characteristics of their vampire parent. The strength, speed and agility are the usual hereditary traits that the children develop. They are not always born with these traits but develop them as they grow into adulthood.

The dhampir are day walkers. Some of these children are sensitive to the sunlight but will not perish in the direct rays. Most have no sensitivity at all. Drinking the fresh blood of mortals is also not usually required of the dhampir; however, some have a liking for it. Very few actually need it to survive.
Most dhampir are rejected by the vampire species because of their mortality and weaknesses. Mortals often reject the dhampir, as well, due to their vampirism, so they frequently remain outcast.

Dhampir are known for becoming vampire killers. Their closeness to the vampires and their vampire characteristics make them powerful vampire hunters. The unique ability to track and kill vampires is specific to only the dhampir and the mythological race of vampire hunters.

Historically, dhampir became vampire hunters as a trade. Towns and villages became plagued by vampires who were terrorizing their homes and killing their people. The dhampir accepted contracts in exchange for monetary payment and used their likeness to their vampire counterparts to exterminate the vampires.
~~~
Holy crap, that was a lot to process. The more I read the passages, the more I understood that my being a hunter was more than my heritage; it was my history and my future. Everything about my bloodlines had hunters involved.

Part I of The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter is FREE. You can find it FREE at the links below.

Buy Links for The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter Complete Collection:

Giveaway
The Author is giving away a $100 gift card from Amazon as the Grand Prize throughout the tour. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Book Details:
The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield
Genre: Fiction
Published 2006, Atria Books
Hardback, 406 pages
ISBN: 9780743298025

Synopsis:
         Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise—she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.
Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.
This book is like several stories woven together - Margaret's story, Vida Winter's story, and the story that Vida tells to Margaret. There was so much to keep track of that I really took my time reading and digesting the book.
Before Margaret meets Vida, the reader learns about Margaret's childhood filled with books, growing up in an antique bookstore with a book trader for a father - so many things for a bookworm to envy! Her love of nineteenth century literature seeps through the pages of the book in subtle ways, and I doubt I picked up on all of the hints.
Vida draws Margaret into her world through secrets, ghosts, and promises of some greater truth. Margaret is suspicious enough of Vida's story to do her own investigative work into Vida's past, which reveals more secrets and ghosts, as she is also battling with her own personal ghost.
The "thirteenth tale" is the big mystery and hook for Margaret, and very little of the book is predictable, so I was just as surprised by how it all ends as Margaret is. Margaret's dedication to Vida' story and her past goes way beyond that of a simple biographer, and I can't help but root all her varied efforts in tying up all the loose ends before Vida expires.
The over-riding theme of the book is the duality of twins, which makes for a very interesting concept and plays into so many sub-plots throughout the book. Without giving it away, uncovering the big revelation is worth the 400-plus page read!

The Cover: The cover captures me immediately, since it is a stack of books - I love books!

First Lines: "It was November. Although it was not yet late, the sky was dark when I turned into Laundress Passage."
There is nothing particularly interesting about this opening line, not even attractive, so this could have been done differently.

Favorite Quote: "All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you."



Read For: Alex Awards Reading Challenge

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Destined For an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Book Details:
Destined For an Early Grave
By Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Fantasy
Published July 2009, Avon
e-book, 287 pages
ISBN: 9780061583216

Synopsis:
          Her deadly dreams leave her in grave danger
Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.
Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.
This book throws some new twists into the series with the introduction of Gregor, Cat's almost-first husband, whom has been conveniently erased from her memory by Mencheres. Mind-boggling, I know. This book kind of revived the series for me, as it answered a few questions and finally forced Cat to make a monumental decision about her future. It's hard for me not to say that I loved everything about this book, but it comes pretty darn close. I especially liked Vlad's role in this as Cat's platonic support system, despite how it ticks off Bones. Of course, the big lesson for the book is how important communication is - if Cat and Bones had just bothered to talk to each other, much of the conflict could have been avoided. I'm all ready to read the next book, This Side of the Grave.

The Cover: The cover fits in with the previous covers, but tells virtually nothing about this book in particular.

First Line: "If he catches me, I'm dead."
This fits in with the same familiar dramatics that I know so well from the series.

Favorite Quote: “Then you remember the dream,” Mencheres stated. “That bodes ill.” The fear of that made my reply snappy.
“Hey, Walks Like An Egyptian, how about for once you drop the formal stuff and talk like you live in the twenty-first century?” 
"The shit’s gonna splatter, start buggin’, yo,” Mencheres responded instantly. I stared at him, then burst out laughing, which was highly inappropriate considering the very grave warning he’d just conveyed.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guest Post: Forge by T.K. Anthony



Today's guest is T.K. Anthony, author of Forge. T.K. Anthony grew up in Pennsylvania, has lived in Illinois, Virginia, Upstate and Central New York, and Massachusetts, and now resides in Texas with her wonderful husband and two cats. Her first novel, FORGE: Book I of the Thrall Web Series combines epic SF with sweet romance.





Take it away, T.K.!

          Since I was a child, I’ve loved books. One story that captured my imagination, even before I could read, was “The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams. The love of a little boy for his toy, in the end, makes the velveteen rabbit “real.”
Once I could read for myself, my circle of friends included Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Rick Brant, and Chip Hilton. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March played well with Lassie and her boy, Joe Carraclough. Soon I was reading C.S. Lewis, Georgette Heyer, Louis L’Amour, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, Katherine Kurtz, Lois McMaster Bujold.... And the list goes on, and on, through the decades and a raft of genres.
As a reader, I appreciated the authors who fed my voracious appetite. But I never realized how important I—the reader—was to the author.
Then I began to write. “Forge” emerged out of the pressures of a traumatic time in my life. At first, I thought I was only writing for myself, and my own sanity. Then my sisters began to snatch the raw draft of the story out of my hands. Bolstered by their enthusiasm, I gathered up my courage and posted an early version on a critique site. The comments I received were grist for my mill, and when people I’d never met started demanding the next chapter, I was elated, and honored.
This was a revelation, giving me an entirely new insight into writing. Appreciation, I discovered, is a two-way street. The authors of all those books I read needed me, just as much as I needed them. And not only because I was willing to plunk down hard cash for their stories—although I’m certain that was part of it! As an author, I love readers...people who sprinkle the magic pixie dust of their time and attention, their love, on the product of my imagination and make it “real.”
Authors and readers today have more choices. We are no longer held hostage to the publishing decisions of a few big houses. Authors can reach more readers, because readers can choose books from among a growing list of publishers, and even the self-published. They can choose to read their book in dead-tree format, or on the now-ubiquitous e-reader. They can also reach out to the authors they like—via Amazon rating, email, website comment, tweet, or Facebook post. Authors respond to reader feedback the way Tinkerbelle responds to applause! And the author-reader relationship is stronger than ever.
So I hope, if you buy a copy of “Forge,” you’ll reach out to me and let me know what you think of it! And, you might take just a minute, and give your favorite author a positive vibe, too. Because we need you more than you might appreciate.
In token of my appreciation for joining me today at Jacob’s Beloved Books, your comment here will enter you into tonight’s random drawing; the winner will receive another title from Decadent Publishing in the e-format of their choice. You can also enter the drawing, through Rafflecopter, for the$20 Amazon gift card given at the end of the blog tour. Be sure to tell Rafflecopter that “Tazhret”'s real name is Keir!

Thank you for coming, T.K., and for a reminder of one of the many reasons that I review books!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Spotlight: Mommy Blogger by Carla Caruso


Carla Caruso has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist, government PR and fashion stylist. Mommy Blogger was inspired by applying to write for a parenting website at the start of her freelancing career, pretending she was a mom – when she really wasn’t. Her clueless article ideas, needless to stay, didn’t make the cut – though, the experience at least gave her the premise for a fiction plot! Carla is a member of Romance Writers of Australia.




Here is a quick blurb for Carla Caruso's new book, Mommy Blogger:

          Stella lands a fab job as a mommy blogger. The catch is she’s never had children. Plunged into a world of insanity every mother faces, she must learn to cope as her lies build upon one another. A sexy ex comes into the picture, forcing her to choose between him or the job and a handsome ‘keeper’ of a coworker. It can’t last forever.
Here is a short excerpt of the book:

          Cleo continues, “Most of our team work freelance from home or part-time in the office. You met Angelique in admin before. There’s also Bethany in accounts, who makes girly accessories for the site under her own label, and Topaz, who helps with packaging and postage. Oh, and Noah, of course, our webmaster—”
A deep male voice, behind me, cuts in. “My ears are burning.”
I swing around and my heart gets a jumpstart. The guy in question is not your garden-variety, weedy IT type. More like a young John Corbett, with mid-length, wavy, brown hair, sea-green eyes and a tall, well-built figure, clad in a fitted, charcoal tee and faded jeans.
Noah extends a hand toward me. I feel the warmth of his hand enclosing mine, before I remember mine’s Oompa Loompa colored. He smells of manliness and soap. Mommy blogging suddenly got a whole lot more interesting.
“Hey,” he drawls.
“Hi, I’m...Stella.” Yup, just forgot my name.
Noah’s gaze lingers on mine. “You're our new girl then?”
“Apparently.”
He nods slowly, as though sizing me up. “You’ll fit right in.”
“Oh, thanks,” I manage, but my mind screams: What’s that mean? That he could see me donning maternity jeans or possibly that I look like a MILF? Or worse, a GILF? (A Grandmother I’d Like To...)
“Look forward to seeing you at the next meeting,” Noah says, dropping my hand. Darn. “Meeting?” I ask mildly as Noah strides away.
There were meetings? I had imagined being a faceless blogger, squirreling away in tracky-dacks in my home office, laughing to myself, while re-runs of Sex and the City played in the background.

Looks like both a humorous and sexy read!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post: Only Scandal Will Do by Jenna Jaxon


Today's guest is Jenna Jaxon, author of Only Scandal Will Do. Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance who has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own writing.
Jenna lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate, because once she starts she just can’t stop.

                                                    Website / Facebook

Take it away, Jenna!

                                               Do You Believe In Magic?
There is magic in the book world. At least, I consider it magic.
My recently released romance novel, Only Scandal Will Do, has gone through the extremely tough process of writing, editing, cover designing, publishing and promoting - necessary steps to a fantastic product that will reach the targeted audience. Hard work? Extremely. Fun? Not always, though very rewarding. And as part of that reward, I’ve been blessed with a bit of the magic that I’ve dreamed about since I began seeking publication.
Only Scandal Will Do has its own book trailer.
Some people may not think that’s a big deal, but being in theatre as well as a romance writer, I understand how valuable it is for audiences to be able to see the vision you have of your book. The book trailer is that very opportunity. Yes, in our writing we are admonished to “show, not tell,” which we do with varying levels of success. But nothing can take the place of the visual experience of a story unfolding before you with colorful images and stirring musical accompaniment. We live in a world that bombards us with television, movies, video games, and music videos. And while the written word is still one of our favorite forms of entertainment, we still thrill to see books we love come to life on the big screen.
And while that is not going to happen on a big scale for most of us authors, we can experience that magic on a small scale--with a book trailer.
I had the great good fortune to win the lottery--not for mega millions, but for a book trailer. The fantastically talented Danielle Fine Tweeted one day that the next two people to Tweet her back would receive a free book trailer. Guess who was one of those lucky people?
Thus began an arduous, but so wonderfully rewarding, experience of creating a bit of movie magic--starring my very own hero and heroine from Only Scandal Will Do. I’d seen some of Danielle’s previous trailers and so I knew mine would be something truly special and magical. We talked, via email, and I gave her some ideas about what I was looking for, filled out her questionnaire, and got to work squeezing my 93K novel down into 56 words and 13 images—one was repeated as a theme several times and one (the final image) was the novel’s cover.
The magic is that those few words and images captured the novel’s plot, mood, and intensity perfectly. The soundtrack, music by Kevin McLeod titled “Five Armies” is also absolutely ideal for the trailer. To sing Danielle’s praises once more, the only suggestion I had for her was that the music should have the same sound as the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean. That was apparently enough feedback for her to find the perfect score. And her timing of images to music is flawless. I may be biased, but to me it’s mesmerizing.
As a promotional tool (which is its ultimate purpose), the trailer has been effective. It hasn’t had as many views on YouTube as I’d like (I think a million views would be nice LOL), but I’ve heard from people who have watched the trailer and said, “That made me want to buy the book.”
And that is probably the best magic of all.
Here’s the link to my trailer for Only Scandal Will Do. Take a look and experience the magic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdak1uQCpcA

Thank you so much for coming, Jenna! The trailer is great!
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