Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Tour: The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke


Today please help me welcome Cassandra Rose Clarke to the side as she talks a little about herself and her new release The Wizard's Promise!

1.Where did the idea of The Wizard's Promise come from?
It’s a spin off of my other YA duology, which starts with The Assassin’s Curse. I knew I wanted something set in the same world, and I wanted the main character to be tied to Ananna, the main character from TAC, in some way. So that was the germ of the idea—figuring out a story that would echo TAC without repeating it. Once I knew I wanted it to take place in the ice-islands, the setting further helped me hammer out a plot. Finally, I stumbled across these pictures in an issue of National Geographic and just knew that I would need to incorporate them into the story somehow.

2. How would you describe Hanna to people that have not yet met her?
Hanna has a lot of potential that she hasn’t quite realized yet. She’s smart and she knows what she wants in life—to be a witch, primarily—but she’s not really sure how to get there. She’s slowly starting to learn, though. She values honesty. She’s much braver than she gives herself credit for.

3. What do you like most about writing the books in your chosen genre?
I write speculative fiction—science fiction and fantasy of all flavors—and my absolute favorite thing about it is the opportunity it gives me to be imaginative. All writing is imaginative, of course—I don’t want to imply that it isn’t. But speculative fiction lets you move beyond the restrictions of reality and play around in all sorts of possibilities. I love being able to write about magic and robots and manticores and mysterious curses while also really looking closely at my characters’ personalities and relationships.

4.What do you ultimately hope your readers will take away from your book/s?
I want them to come away invested in the characters. I don’t think there’s any bigger compliment than being told that someone has fallen in love with one of my characters. When that happens, I know I’ve done my job as a writer.

5.Which one of your books would you say you had the most fun writing?
Definitely The Assassin’s Curse/Pirate’s Wish (I originally wrote them as one book). The Wizard’s Promise was also a lot of fun, for many of the same reasons, but TAC was the first time I ever sat down and purposely tried to write an adventure fantasy novel. Before, I’d always stuck to stories that were more literary and inner-character-focused. TAC was difficult because it was unlike anything I’d written before, but it was so much developing the world and the magic and watching the characters’ adventures unfold.

6.What inspired you to become an author? Have you always wanted to write?
I’ve always loved stories and writing. I was a voracious reader when I was a kid, devouring any book I could get my hands on. I also love watching movies (and TV, now that it’s such a high quality), which I think is an extension of my love of stories. So that has been there from the beginning.
“Writer” was one of the jobs I toyed around with when I was kid, daydreaming about my future. I also wanted to be an artist or a veterinarian, so I was giving myself some choices. I remember writing stories and making them into books (including one pop-up book, with illustrations and yep, actual pop-ups). When I got a little older I was really into zines, which is another thing that involves combining writing and drawing.  So yeah, now that I think back on it—I was definitely on the writer track from the beginning.

7.How would you describe your writing style?
I went through a graduate program in creative writing, so I think you can see a pretty big influence on my writing from that experience: I really focus on character, and I’m big on what creative writing programs call “sense of place,” which is basically creating a strong sense of verisimilitude in your setting. But at the same time, I love pop culture and movies and TV shows, and a lot of those tropes tend to shine through in my writing as well.

8.How did it feel to publish your first book?
It was awesome and overwhelming and a little unreal. Publication is one of those things that most writers spend years working towards, and I’d spent a lot of time daydreaming about what it would be like. Did the reality line up with my daydreams? Not really—but does it ever? The reality of it may not be as dramatic and sweepingly cinematic as my daydreams, but it’s actually real, which certainly counts for something.

9.Do your characters ever try to take over your writing?
Haha, not really.  I suspect, though, that it’s because I spend so much time thinking about the story before I start writing anything down that by the time I start, I’m already so familiar with the characters that they aren’t going to do anything to surprise me.

10.What do you have next in store for us readers? :)
Well, the sequel to The Wizard’s Promise will be released some time in 2015. I’m also hard at work at a couple of other projects, but I don’t want to say too much about them yet.



The Wizard’s Promise (The Hanna Duology #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Strange Chemistry
Paperback, 336 pages
Series: The Hanna Duology
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

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Summary from Goodreads

All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.


Hanna Euli want's to be a witch and go on an adventure. What she doesn't want is to be stuck on a very boring fishing trip with a very boring and grumpy fisherman. But what was suppose to be a quick trip suddenly turned into something more when their boat get caught in a storm and get's blown way off course. Now Hanna is farther away from her then she realized with an old man and a new mysterious woman who won't tell her exactly what's going on and a non-human boy that follows their both through the ocean.

What I liked..

- The magic and the world I found was very fascinating. It seems like Clarke has put together something from scratch which made me even more eager to read. I liked the idea of different islands and it's people as well as the different types of witches that seem to exist. Overall there really was something magical about this book. I liked the addition of the mysterious Mists and the non-human species that are also part of this world.
- Hanna, she was an interesting character and even thought she never failed to remained me that she is after all just a kid - I liked her heart. All she ever wanted was to be trained to be a proper witch. The power is already there, she just doesn't know how to use it 100%. She did ask for an adventure and she did get one, but I understand her frustration and confusion towards the adults. I found myself feeling bad for her through most of the book.
- The writing. I thought it was written very well. I liked how easily it seemed to flow, it did not skip and overall it was very easy to follow.

What left me scratching my head...

- I loved the world and the magic but I wish there was more information about it. The world building itself was a like shaky which kept leaving me with a bunch of questions. I wanted to know more about these Mists, more about some of the Islands they stopped by. About the magic, how many people have it? How many different types there are? I know there are a few different types of races, but not much about them either.
- The adults have left me just as frustrated as they left Hanna. I felt bad for her, since they refused to answer any of her questions and I just downright did not understand why. I found myself equally angry especially when it was finally revealed - I did not feel like they should have kept this from her for so long.
- The actual reason for the kidnapping of Hanna and going on this trip kind of baffled me. I have to admit... I expected something greater.

Thought the pacing of the book varied and took a lot of time on the ocean, I really did enjoy the last part of the book and it promises to be an interesting second book because of it. Really looking forward to the next chapter in this adventure.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: A Match Made in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas #6) by Katie Lane


A Match Made in Texas (Deep in the Heart of Texas #6) by Katie Lane 

Published March 25th 2014 by Forever
Paperback, 352 pages
Series: Deep in the Heart of Texas
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Steamy

AmazonGoodreads

 Mature Content Advisory, must be 18+ for sexual content and language

Summary from Goodreads

A Match Made in Texas is the sixth book in Katie Lane's bestselling, witty and sexy Deep in the Heart of Texas series.

Living with four over-protective brothers is enough to make a good girl go bad. But the day Brianne Cates hits the road for a taste of freedom, she gets more trouble than she bargained for when she's arrested by a sexy sheriff in mirrored shades. Now doing a stint of community service, she's not going to let a cowboy cop like Dusty Hicks mess with her newfound independence-even if he awakens every wicked fantasy she's ever had.

In Bramble, Texas, Dusty is the law. That means no leniency for the gorgeous rebel whose highway antics almost got them both killed. The divorced lawman doesn't need another rich, pampered princess, even if Brianne has the lushest body and sweetest smile in the whole darn state. But even as Brianne proves that she lives to walk on the wild side, Dusty begins to wonder if maybe he has what it takes to tame her....


Hello Dusty!

Oh my goodness, I almost could not believe I have missed out on Katie Lane for so long. Looking for something a bit more lighthearted to read, I stumbled upon A Match Made in Texas on Netgalley and was really eager to read it.

Once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down.

A Match Made in Texas has everything I wanted. A small town romance set in Texas, humor, and a whole cast of characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with.

Brianne Cates grew up with four very over-protective brothers. With the need to break free, she ends up making a lot of questionable choices that kind of get her in trouble. The kind of trouble that on her first trip back home has her in hand cuffs and taken into jail by a very gorgeous sheriff.

After being run off the road then sent on a wild goose chase after a woman that was suddenly making his days worse, the last thing Dusty expected was for her to be the beautiful but spoiled Brianne Cates. Nor the fact that he would find her oh so very attractive, despite escaping his arrest once before.

Brianne Cates isn't the only thing causing trouble in Bramble, Texas. A new reverend had showed up in town and suddenly all the local town folks have very different ideas and dreams.

Cute story, a lot of fun and I had quiet a bit of laugh. Especially when Brianne and Dusty first meet and she kept trying to escape him. It had me laughing for pages, I had a very very difficult time putting it down. Delightful and charming, Katie Lane really knows how to tell a good small town romance with a sprinkle of some very cowboys and she had created a wonderful recipe for an amazing book.

Brianne was wonderful and I really liked her. I felt bad for her at times. It wasn't easy living with four very controlling brothers that over-reacted all the time. With the exception of her brother Beckett, who I really enjoyed in this story and looking forward to his book.

Dusty was swoon worthy as well. I felt bad for him and everything Brianne did to him in order to try and escape, but at the same time I couldn't help but giggle at his unfortunate luck. He was a wonderful character and an even better father. My heart broke for him in the story but I won't go too much into detail why.

The romance and the attraction between Dusty and Brianne was apparent from the first run in. I absolutely loved all the tension and chemistry between the two. They complimented each other well, both learning to improve on some things from one another.

The storyline surrounding the town was exciting and I really liked the characters of Bramble and glad they appeared throughout the book. The women that Brianne was staying with especially were quiet the characters.

I would have given this book a five, but I could have done without the chapters that were sole focused on the reverend, but that's because I really had a hard time liking the man and couldn't wait to get past them. Overall, I found another favorite author to add to the watch list and cannot wait to see what Katie Lane has in store for us next!




Rainy Day Reads Giveaway Hop!

Lilybloombooks

Welcome to the Rainy Day Reads Giveaway Hop! Hosted by the two lovely ladies from  A Bookish Escape and Lilybloombooks!

I will be giving away any e-book (Under $8) through Amazon you would love to read on a rainy day that you could just curl up with and enjoy. 

The rules are below. Just enter through the rafflecopter! This giveaway is open internationally.

1. You must be at least 13 years old or older in order to participate.
2. Fill out at least the required part of the rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends at 12:00 A.M May 1st.
3. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

ARC Review: Darkest Flame: Part 2 (Dark Kings) by Donna Grant


Flame: Part 2 (Dark Kings) by Donna Grant

Expected publication: April 15th 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Ebook, 80 pages
Series: Dark Kings
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Dragons
Heat Rating: Steamy

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads

In Darkest Flame by Donna Grant, the Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But one of the most powerful warriors of his kind will be put to the ultimate test. Is he strong enough to resist his greatest temptations? Or will he be forced to surrender—body and soul? HER BEAUTY IS A WEAPON.Denae Lacroix is a beautiful MI5 agent on a deadly mission. Sent to the Scottish Highlands to spy on the mysterious Dreagan Industries, she discovers too late that she’s been set up—as human bait. She is an irresistible lure for a man who has not seen or touched a woman for centuries. He is a man with a destiny—and a desire—that could destroy them both…HIS PASSION IS A CURSE…It’s been twelve hundred years since Kellan has walked among humans—and there’s no denying the erotically charged attraction he feels for Denae. But as a Dragon King, he is sworn to protect his secrets. Yet the closer he gets to this smart, ravishing woman, the more her life is in danger. All it takes is one reckless kiss to unleash a flood of desire, the fury of dragons…and the fiercest enemy of all


Second Part in the Darkest Flame series starts out exactly where it left us in the first. Kellan and Denae are on the way out, trying to get Denae somewhere safe because MI5 are coming to Dreagan and now she is in grave danger.

Meanwhile Kellan is still trying to figure out why was it his cave that they had been targeting and what do they want? As Con and the rest of the gang are still trying to figure out who is giving the orders to attack them.

We are introduced to the Fae in this part. Rhi a light Fae that seemed to have been once involved with a Dragon King - thought they do not mention yet in the book who it was my bet is on Con or Rhys. Most likely Con, giving their animosity between the two of them they also seem very familiar. Thought I wish it was simply told, I am okay with that little mystery. I know this is a spin-off on one of her other series and now I am very curious about it.

Anyway, I am continuing to enjoy this one. It has a bit more action in it when the Dark Fae get involved. Apparently thought they cannot kill a Dragon King, they have ways of driving them off the wall into crazy town.

Sparks continue to fly between Kellan and Denae, which make it really hard on him considering he doesn't like humans and yet he cannot keep thinking about the woman he had suddenly promised to protect. Heating argument turns into a very steamy night of proving him wrong. I do like the attraction between them, I enjoyed how easily it flowed and how instant it was.

More magic, more dragons and a lot of tension in this one. I still have a hard time understanding the anger between Con and a couple of the other Kings, they are suppose to be in this together but they seem to want to punch each other out a few times too many.

Now that Kellan and Denae had been taken by the Dark Fae, it is up to Rhi and the Dragon Kings to find them and hopefully before Denae is killed or Kellan is driven into insanity.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Xpresso Book Tours: Lost in Us by Layla Hagen





Lost in Us by Layla Hagen
Publication date: February 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Serena has learned to live with her past, locking her secrets and nightmares deep inside her. But when her boyfriend of six years abruptly leaves her, she’s catapulted back into pain, nursing a broken heart. When indulging in mountains of chocolate doesn’t work, Serena decides the best way to deal with her shattered heart is to indulge in something else. A rebound . . .

The night she swaps her usual Sprite for tequila, she meets James. The encounter is breathtaking.
Electrifying.
And best not repeated.

James is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. A man who has amassed a fortune by taking risks. A man who has shunned commitment completely, and still does. He’s the exact opposite of Serena. But sometimes opposites attract. Sometimes they give in to burning passion. Sometimes opposites are perfect for each other.

James is everything her damaged soul could want. His kisses are intoxicating, his touch out of this world. He makes her forget. He grants her peace from her pain. But as they grow closer, Serena discovers she isn’t the only one with a past. James carries the scars of a past much darker than hers. One that has left him damaged, hurt, and wary of love. A past that gives him the power to shatter her.

Now James and Serena must find a way to mend one another. Or risk losing each other forever.



 I see someone who looks vaguely familiar at the bar. She has long black hair and large round

eyes. It bugs me that I don’t remember where I saw her before. I have a good memory when it

comes to people. Especially women. And especially when they look like her.

It's only when she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear that it hits me where I saw her before,

making that same gesture—last year at the award ceremony of that math contest I sponsored. She

was the mentor. I grasp my empty glass firmly in my hand, remembering the details of that day.

It took me long enough to forget them. I look around for that rat of a boyfriend who was with her

then, but he isn't anywhere. The only person she seems to be with is the inebriated blonde sitting

next to her at the bar.

I scrutinize her, trying to understand what she’s doing in a place like this. She doesn’t belong

here. I’m not exactly sure where she belongs, but it’s not here. At any rate, she didn’t strike me

as a particularly outgoing type of girl when she was on that stage. I think I know why she’s here.

I've seen this look before in women. The hunched shoulders. The unsure gaze. Yes, she wears

the unmistakable signs of someone who's been dumped, and who’s trying, but failing, to forget

about it. These signs in women usually make me want to run in the opposite direction.

This time, it has an entirely different effect on me. It makes me want to do what I didn’t

have the courage to do last year. Walk up to her. I wanted to make her smile then. The haunted

look she had in her eyes back then isn’t as visible now, but it lingers there somewhere. Just like

it lingers in me. When it takes over again, I want to make sure she has someone who can put a

smile on her beautiful face.

And I still want to taste her lips and those delicious-looking breasts, just like I wanted back

then.

AUTHOR BIO 




My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.

I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.

I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough 


Tour wide giveaway
Open INTL
---$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal cash (Winner's choice)
  
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Review: Darkest Flame: Part 1 (Dark Kings) by Donna Grant


Darkest Flame: Part 1 (Dark Kings) by Donna Grant

Published April 8th 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Ebook, 80 pages
Series: Dark Kings
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Dragons
Heat Rating: Steamy-ish

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads

In Darkest Flame by Donna Grant, the Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But one of the most powerful warriors of his kind will be put to the ultimate test. Is he strong enough to resist his greatest temptations? Or will he be forced to surrender—body and soul? HER BEAUTY IS A WEAPON.Denae Lacroix is a beautiful MI5 agent on a deadly mission. Sent to the Scottish Highlands to spy on the mysterious Dreagan Industries, she discovers too late that she’s been set up—as human bait. She is an irresistible lure for a man who has not seen or touched a woman for centuries. He is a man with a destiny—and a desire—that could destroy them both…HIS PASSION IS A CURSE…It’s been twelve hundred years since Kellan has walked among humans—and there’s no denying the erotically charged attraction he feels for Denae. But as a Dragon King, he is sworn to protect his secrets. Yet the closer he gets to this smart, ravishing woman, the more her life is in danger. All it takes is one reckless kiss to unleash a flood of desire, the fury of dragons…and the fiercest enemy of all


Dragons!

Really, that's all that I really feel like I have to say. I been on a Dragon kick for a few months now ever since I read Lizzy Ford so imagine how excited I was when this showed up in my e-mail for review. I haven't read anything by Donna Grant and now I am feeling ashamed that I have not.

Darkest Flame is part 1 to the first book of The Dark King's series. This one centers on Kellan, a dragon that has been asleep in his cave for thousands of years until he finds two humans invading his cave and destroying his peace.

Denae Lacroix only knows that she is there on a mission giving by MI5, but she is there with one of the most hated co-workers. What Denae did not realize was that she was being set up as a human bait and she was really sent there to die. Until Kellan comes along...

Kellan doesn't like human's, in fact he downright hates them. With the recent human invasion of their realm and what they have done to his kind - he has a good reason. As a King of the Bronze dragons he had seen a lot of dragons under his control die because the human's they were protecting turned on them.

Oh gosh, I am loving this. I am loving Kellan and I am loving that she went in the right direction with the dragons. For years the only Dragon lore I knew is that they are practically immortal and can take on a human form whenever they want to, but they are dragons and prefer to stay in dragon forms. Donna Grant had hit very close to that lore. They are shifters, but not per say and it was probably why I was enjoying this one so much.

Kellan is dark and brooding. He has a lot of reason's to hate human's, I don't blame him after all that's been done to his people but when Denae comes along - he cannot help but feel attracted to the woman. Doesn't help that she is the first woman he has seen in thousands of years.

There was only one thing that confused me in part one. They are trying to get Denae a new identity so she could escape from MI5, but there is a scene when they ask how long before it's ready and one of the dragons answered a few hours. A page later, still in the same meeting, it was ready.

Oh and I do wonder, was there any female dragons? Have not read anything about them.

Overall, really enjoying this one and cannot wait for Part 2!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill


Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill 

Published March 18th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Paperback, 384 pages
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Heat Rating: Kissing to some steamy

Amazon | The Book Depository Goodreads


Summary from Goodreads

From the author of At the Mercy of the Queen comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.


It has been such a long time since I have read a historical fiction based on Tudors Era that I couldn't wait when I saw the new release of Queen Elizabeth's Daughter to come out!

Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth's favorite ward, having been under the queens care ever since her mother died when she was only 3 years old - she lives the life of privilege that her position offers. Queen Elizabeth loves Mary as if she was her very own flesh and blood. Therefore like any good mother, she want's what's best for Mary, to make her a powerful match. The first person that comes to mind that has title and money is the Earl of Oxford who the queen seems to be quiet fond off. Too bad that Mary saw the darker side of the man and want's nothing to do with him.

Mary is perfectly content with being the queens maid and by her side until Sir John Skydemore shows up in her life. A knight who is a widower with five children and little money. Not to mention, Sir John is also Catholic and the Queen is currently in turmoil with Catholics plotting against her.

Interesting story. I really liked how history was weaved into the plot and became part of the story and how it affected the Queen and Mary alike. It was very interesting to read about the time era and it wasn't completely romanticized. Like the fact that the castle would eventually stink so bad that they would have to move through the seasons into a different place to live because it was a different kind of times.

What I really liked in this story is Mary. She had a very pure heart even if her love and devotion to the Queen had felt quiet overwhelming at times. As evident at the end of the book when she makes a sacrifice of some sort in order to please her Queen. I was pretty floored by her love for the queen.

What I had a hard time with in this book is some of the character. Earl of Oxford was a nasty man with ill-fitted intentions. I did not like his actions towards Mary and then him trying to drag her name through the mud when she went on rejecting him. In one scene I felt he got what he deserved.

The Queen left me scratching my head at times as well, her hot and cold temper left me cringing at times. The writing was something also to get use to, a lot of over-dramatic scenes and conversations. Including some of Mary's reactions towards Earl of Oxford, at times it sounded like she wouldn't have minded him asking the Queen for her hand - even if he was a terrible, terrible man. It read oddly at times but I had managed to by pass all of that because I did enjoy the story and the slow blooming romance between Sir John and Mary.

I also enjoyed Author's note in the end that explained which parts was fiction and facts from the research that she had done before writing the book.