Monthly Archives: September 2014

Mistress of Lies by Holly West Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

HollyWestBanner1Welcome to the Mistress of Lies Blog Tour! I’m happy to be a part of this tour, as fortunetelling and historical fiction are two of my favorite things. While I don’t agree with all of the author’s ideas about fortunetelling (I’m a professional tarot reader, after all), I think she did a phenomenal job researching 17th Century fortunetelling and bringing the time period to life.

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MISTRESS OF LIES
Mistress of Fortune #2
Author: Holly West
Release Date: Sept, 29 2014
Publisher: Carina

London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

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black-divider-no-background-hiGuest Post

Fortunetelling in the 17th Century

I’ve always been pretty up front about the fact that I don’t personally believe that anyone has the ability to predict the future. But I chose this profession for my heroine, Isabel Wilde, for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural traditions of soothsayers and healers, particularly “wise women.” Medical science was in its infancy in the 17th century, and only the rich could afford physicians. Wise women took up the slack, especially in rural areas.

Second, I needed Isabel to be able to earn a living for herself outside of the occupations typically available to women in the 17th century. The roles of wife, mother, servant, or prostitute were not for her. I liked the idea of creating a strong female character that understood the constraints of her gender, working them to her advantage rather than letting them define her. She isn’t shy about the fact that she’s a charlatan—unless you happen to be one of her customers, of course—but at heart she wants to help people. Though Isabel isn’t exactly a wise woman, she does recommend various herbs and connections to her customers and offers sincere, practical advice when she can.

Her main role is that of a fortuneteller, however, and as such, part of my research included a visit to a fortuneteller. I’ll admit to being nervous, not because I feared she’d reveal something unexpected, but because I didn’t want her to know I was only there for research purposes. I made an effort to be myself as much as possible while paying attention to her words and methods. In the end, she wasn’t much help because her questions and answers were so vague—since I was writing a book I need to present more compelling encounters, so much of what appears in my novels is entirely made up.

The main method Isabel uses in her occupation is palm reading. Tarot cards existed at the time, but their original purpose was for playing games and while there’s evidence they were used for divination in the mid 16th century,  the cards themselves held no meaning. I used the Internet to research chiromancy and used its principles as a loose guide in determining what her counsel would be to her various customers.

London was full of astrologers in the 17th century. In a time when much of the population was illiterate, the signs above their shops featured crescent moons, stars, and suns to identify their businesses. In the series’ first book, Mistress of Fortune, Isabel pays a visit to her friend and mentor, Mary Bixby. Mary is an astrologer, and to write the scene I prepared an astrological chart for Isabel. I enjoyed getting into Mary’s head as she gives Isabel counsel and tried to be as authentic as possible in interpreting the chart.

While I can’t say my opinions about fortunetellers have changed as a result of my research, I do enjoy imagining Isabel’s adventures as a soothsayer. I guess you could say my love of writing the Mistress of Fortune series is “written in the stars.”
black-divider-no-background-hiAbout the Author

holly_headshot_0214Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, will be published by Carina Press in 2014.

Website: hollywest.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerhollywest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollywest
Instagram: http://instagram.com/hollywest

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4932670.Holly_West

 

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Giveaway

HWest Giveaway

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US ONLY

1 Winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 7 (8GB) Tablet in their choice of color.

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The Emissary by Kristal Shaff Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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The Emissary
Publication date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Kristal Shaff

For hundreds of years, dark clouds covered the skies of Adamah, and an ageless king ruled. Those who emerged with one of six extraordinary Shay powers were forced into the king’s army, an unmatched force with inhuman Strength, Speed, Accuracy, Perception, Empathy, and Healing. With the army behind him, the king—a man who wields all six abilities—was invincible and unquestioned in his rule. To most, serving the king was an honor. But for others, it was a fate worse than death.

When seventeen-year-old Nolan Trividar witnesses the transformation of his brother from kind to cruel after entering the king’s army, he vows never to follow the same path.

So when his own power—the Shay of Accuracy—comes upon him at the Tournament of Awakening, Nolan conceals his emergence instead of joining the king’s ranks. For years, he traitorously hides his power, pretending to be only a gifted scribe. But when Nolan comes face -to-face with a deserter, the man discovers his secret.

To evade detection and a death sentence, Nolan escapes with the deserter and flees into a night filled with dark creatures who steal both powers and souls. He joins a resistance, a village hidden deep in the forest, filled with others who secretly wield a Shay. But his peace is short-lived when they discover that the dark clouds, undead creatures, their own decreasing powers, and even the king, are all connected.

Purchase:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound

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Excerpt2

“Who is this?” King Alcandor said.

“His name is Alec Deverell,” the general said. “He’s been difficult at the tournament this year.”

“That doesn’t surprise me, considering his display a moment ago.” A purple light glowed from the king’s eyes, and he circled around Alec, examining him.

“Did you say Deverell?” King Alcandor asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the general answered. “He’s the blade maker’s son.”

The king gave a curt nod. “This young man shall be tested next. General, you will conduct his trial.”

Alec’s head jerked toward the king, coming out of his stupor. He wished he hadn’t. When their eyes met, a strange sensation went through him, and he couldn’t pull away.

“Would you like to fight the general, Alec?” the king asked, smiling.

A surge of anger and hatred swelled. Yes, I would. There was nothing Alec wanted more.

“I see this pleases you,” King Alcandor said. “I will enjoy watching you use your skills, young Deverell.”

The general smirked, untied his cape, and flung it off to the side. Then he yanked a sword out of the ground and tossed it to Alec.

Alec caught it easily and swung it back and forth in an arc to get a feel for the blade. It wasn’t one of his father’s swords. The weight was off, and it was too bulky. Still, it felt good to hold steel.

The general unsheathed his sword and lunged in a single, fluid movement. Alec’s trained instincts met his blow. For several minutes, they circled each other, only swinging on occasion to test the reaction of the other. Alec’s nerves twitched at the meaningless duel.

Finally, General Trividar stopped and grinned. “Shall we fight, Mr. Deverell?” And then in a burst of jabs and slashes, the true battle began.

Fighting him was amazing. Alec had never met someone with such natural talent. Father’s swordsman skills were of the highest repute, but this man goaded Alec like none before. Alec fought with every fiber of strength and will and determination he could muster.

As the battle stretched on, it would seem neither could gain on the other. That is, until the yellow fire in the cheater’s eyes began to glow. Slowly and steadily, the general’s Speed increased.

Alec matched him as well as he could. Sweat poured down his face, obstructing his view. Finally, the general struck Alec and his sword arm went limp. Alec cursed and grabbed the sword with his other hand to block another blow.

“You are multi-talented, Mr. Deverell,” General Trividar said.

“Only for you, General,” Alec said between clenched teeth.

Alec barely heard the crowd cheering as the general’s Speed increased even more. Several more gashes appeared on Alec’s body, so fast he didn’t see them come: one on each leg, one across his chest, and finally, one that loosed his sword.

He fell to his knees, trembling with pent up fury. Although Alec couldn’t defend himself, he glared at the general as battle pounded in his blood. General Trividar wiped his sword on the grass, crammed the blade into its sheath, and turned away.

Several Healing Rol’dan ripped open Alec’s shirt, and the all-too-familiar pulse of healing coursed through him. After they finished, Alec fell on his hands, his chest heaving with exhaustion.

“Splendid, young Deverell,” King Alcandor said. “I knew you would not disappoint me.” The king’s eyes glowed purple with Empathy, and that odd sensation shot through Alec again.

“Once more, General,” the king said.

Alec looked up. Another fight? This is too good to be true.

“Your Majesty?” the general said.

“Fight him a second time, General.”

“My pleasure, Lord Alcandor.”

Before the general could make a move, Alec pushed to his feet, grabbed his sword, and sprinted toward General Trividar, swinging with all his strength.

e9591-scroll-hi252812529About the Author

Kristal ShaffKristal Shaff grew up with books (and used to drive her mom crazy when she wouldn’t leave the library); her first job was even shelving books at the library. She loves anything creative, and you can often find her exploring strange and fantastical worlds in her choices of movies and fantasy fiction. Kristal resides in Iowa with her farmer husband, numerous pets, and 3 awesome  kids (plus one more on the way though the journey of adoption). When she isn’t writing, she is a professional face painter who enjoys making children smile.

Author Links:  Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Winner will be drawn October 25, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Emissary by Kristal Shaff (INT)

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Phobic by Cortney Pearson Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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IFB is hosting the promo event for Cortney Pearson’s YA Horror release, Phobic. Continue below for a teaser and giveaway.



22465896Series: The Forbidden Doors #1
Release date: September 8th 2014
Purchase: Amazon


Synopsis via Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.
 
To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she’s gradually falling for, but even he doesn’t believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.
 
Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

 
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Cortney Pearson
Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.
 


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Good Music, Brighter Children by Sharlene Habermeyer Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Good Music Brighter ChildrenGood Music Brighter Children

Good Music Brighter Children is written for parents, educators or anyone who wants to build a bigger, better brain using music. Scientific studies indicate that children introduced to classical music at a young age read earlier and perform better on achievement tests. Adults can also revive tired brain cells using music. This book gives you a step-by-step program that any parent or individual can follow. You’ll discover how introducing your children to good music can accelerate language development, improve math and science skills, enhance physical coordination, strengthen memory and reading retention, and benefit children with learning disabilities. Discover how to choose an instrument and music teacher for your child; how to get your kids to practice and how character traits such as confidence, responsibility, creativity and teamwork are taught when learning a musical instrument. Learn how to introduce your child to the music community and how to appreciate all kinds of music. Last, if you want to advocate for music in your schools, this book gives the ammunition and data to do so. Also includes a 35-page Resource Section on the best music, books, and DVDs for kids.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble

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Praise for the Book

Largest Independent Book Reviewer in the U.S.: Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC

“With a scientist’s eye and an artist’s voice, Habermeyer examines everything from the benefits of music for the developing brain to music’s ability to improve cultural awareness. This is an encyclopedic, invaluable resource for anyone who believes in music education. A magnum opus, fact-filled and inspiring on the benefits of music.”

-Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC

National Music Organization: Music and the Brain

“A great resource for both parents and teachers. Anyone interested in music or the overall well-being of children will not be able to put this book down.”

-Lisha Papert Lercari, Director, Music and the Brain

University Professor: Dr. James Catterall

Sharlene Habermeyer outlines why music is important to learning, and provides parents with excellent suggestions for launching and sustaining a musical influence in the lives of their children.”

-James S. Catterall, professor of education and co-director of Imagination Project at UCLA

Mother/Lawyer/Ballet Teacher: Shauna Bird Dunn

“Carefully researched and highly readable, Good Music, Brighter Children is written for musicians and non musicians alike. It is filled with wisdom, insight and helpful tips to bring music into the home for all ages and stages of childhood.”

Shauna Bird Dunn, JD, MPA

Utah Young Mother of the Year, 2010

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 Excerpt2

Chapter One: Overture:

The Power of Music (page 5)

“In February 1985, as many as three thousand beluga whales were trapped under ice in the Senyavina Strait of Siberia, a narrow body of water across the Bering Strait from Alaska. There were only a few breathing holes in the ice, and the whales had to take turns surfacing for air. Food was running out, the whales were becoming exhausted, and some were even dying. When all seemed hopeless, a Soviet icebreaker, the Moskva, came to the rescue. The ship broke through the ice, making an escape path for the whales, but they wouldn’t budge. Knowing that whales like music, they tried pop and jazz, but still the whales remained motionless. Finally, the crew tried classical music. It was then that the whales followed the music to the open sea and to freedom.”

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About The Author2

Sharlene

Sharlene Habermeyer, MA has spent over twenty-five years researching the effects of music in the brain development of children. She is passionate about how people of all ages learn and how music is a catalyst for learning. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Art from Utah State University and a Masters degree in Education from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.

 

In 1999, she started the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra (now the Palos Verdes Regional Symphony Orchestra). It currently boasts over one-hundred members.

 

Sharlene’s initial inspiration for Good Music Brighter Children came from the extensive work she did with her severely learning disabled son, and finding that music was his strongest catalyst for learning she began passionately researching the effects music had on the developing and mature brain.

A college instructor, a popular speaker, and a consultant, she is the mother of five boys and lives with her husband in Torrance, California. She has spoken at parent conferences around the United States including the Parents as Teachers Conference (PAT) and the Crucial Years Conference in Missouri. In August 2014, she will be speaking at BYU Education Week.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Grabby Paws: Witchrise by Victoria Lamb & Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

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Only one witch can rise above the coming storm …

When Tudor witch Meg Lytton receives an unexpected legacy – her mother’s magical wand, ring and spellbook – she has no idea her future happiness is in danger. For the witchfinder Marcus Dent is back in her dreams, and he will use any weapon to gain her newfound powers for himself.

Now Meg must discover the secret of Invictus, her mother’s magical ring. Summoned back to Hatfield, she knows a battle is coming. But Meg is no longer alone in her struggle against Dent. Surrounded by her friends, she faces her greatest challenge head-on: losing Alejandro, her beloved. For it seems the Spanish novice has been keeping secrets from them all.

Powers clash and hearts break in the spellbinding third book of The Tudor Witch Trilogy.

Why I have grabby paws…

So…two of my favorite things? The Tudor Era & witches. Now that the third book is out I can binge-read them all!

Releases September 30th

I also have grabby paws for…

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The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Why I have Grabby Paws…

All that need be said is this:

NUTCRACKER RETELLING!

But I’ll also add FAERIES and VICTORIAN!

Releases September 30th


Cover Reveal: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cover Reveal

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We are so excited to bring you the Cover Reveal for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s WICKED! WICKED is a New Adult Paranormal Romance and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wicked Trilogy. It is being released on December 8th, 2014. So make sure you pre-order it today!!

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Amazon

WICKED 

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

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About the Author

Author PhotoJennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads

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The Sending by Jandy Salguero Book Blitz + Giveaway!

 

The SendingThe Sending

A city’s peace is shattered when two university students go missing, and only Daneel and his friends know the shocking truth of what happened. Finding themselves under attack, Daneel leads them in a race to escape the mounting violence.
Mara is willing to kill for the beliefs of the faction that raised her. But as she seeks out her mark, using a rare, mystical form of travel known as the Sending, Mara discovers a powerful connection that challenges the truth of everything she’s been taught.
While Daneel fights to protect those he cares for, Mara must choose whether to cling to the ideology of her home—or open her scarred heart to a searing attraction and the promise of a new life.

 

Praise for The Sending

The Sending reads like a dystopian Romeo and Juliet where strong, full characters from very different places inevitably collide with passion and conflict. Salguero fills a fresh, vibrant world with a nerve-tingling fast plot. Prepare to be immersed. ~Tamara Ward, author of Hidden Betrayal

The Sending is a thrilling, fast-paced, science fiction-romance that’s impossible to put down. Edge-of-your-seat action scenes, and a romantic attraction so intense that it will make you want to turn down the air conditioning, The Sending is a great read that left me hungry for more. I loved this book!
~Sterling R. Walker, author of The Orphan Ship

Purchase Your Copy

Amazon * Barnes & Noble

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 Excerpt2

As one of the hawks flew across the tiny plane of space framed by her window, Mara closed her eyes. She envisioned herself there, experiencing the grace and the power of their movements. She imagined the control of that journey and thought that one day she might have that type of power over her own fate.
Mara felt a kinship with the graceful hunter. It knew the thrill of conquest coupled with the need for survival: opposite sides of the same implacable coin. The compound had taught Mara to use that need to a greater advantage than she had before.
Her chest tightened. Before? No, there was no before. Everything was after.
After her home had been raided, after her family had been killed, after she had been forced to fend for herself. She’d had only the passive help of a few others who had suffered the same fate, who had used her as much as she had been forced to use them.
She was a young six years when she lost her family. The memories of their life together had quickly begun to fade into the cruel background of her new life, into an icy, nearly paralyzing bath of hunger and fear.
The fear had covered everything. It had even blanketed the things that had seemed gentle and innocent to her before, so that nothing was safe. For a long time, the fear had ruled her with a cold, hard hand.

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About the Author

Jandy

Growing up in southern Louisiana, Jandy Salguero’s life was full of friendly smiles, good food and tall tales. She holds a BA in French from Brigham Young University, where she met her husband in the midst of the great Rocky Mountains. She now resides in a small town outside of Raleigh, NC. Her days are full of grade-school antics and underfoot toddler toys– courtesy of her two handsome boys.

She is currently working on Book 2 in the Senitha’s Light series, due out in early 2015.

 

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest

 

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Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/3/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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The Seal Island Trilogy by Sophie Moss Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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The Selkie Spell
The Seal Island Trilogy #1
by Sophie Moss
Publication Date: November 6, 2011
Genres:Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance

Blitz and Review: The Seal Island Trilogy by Sophie Moss
Purchase from AmazonPurchase from B&NPurchase from Audible

Synopsis

American doctor Tara Moore wants to disappear. On the run from an abusive husband, she seeks shelter on a windswept Irish island and dismisses the villagers’ speculation that she is descended from a selkie—a magical creature who is bewitching the island. But when a ghostly woman appears to her with a warning, Tara realizes it was more than chance that brought her to this island. Desperate to escape a dark and dangerous past, she struggles against a passionate attraction to handsome islander, Dominic O’Sullivan. But the enchantment of the island soon overpowers her and she falls helpless under its spell. Caught between magic and reality, Tara must find a way to wield both when a dangerous stranger from her past arrives, threatening to destroy the lives of everyone on the island.

Winner of the Best Romance/Fantasy Novel in the 2013 International Book Awards

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Also in the Series

The Selkie Enchantress - Sophie Moss The Selkie Sorceress - Sophie Moss

About Sophie Moss

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Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of four full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She currently lives in San Diego, California, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s walking the beach, testing out a new dessert recipe, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemosswrites@gmail.com or visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.

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Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Review17772-grey-divider-no-background-hiDeath Sworn

by Leah Cypess

Genre: Young Adult High Fantasy

Series: Death Sworn #1

Source: Won from Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy. (Thank you!)

Book Summary:

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

book thoughts

YES to YA High Fantasy! I loved the setting of the Assassin’s Caves. It was cut off from the wider world, so the world-building happened slowly but surely and kept me curious. The author didn’t have a lot to work with for rich setting descriptions, but she still managed to draw me into the world, and the language was always vibrant. I absolutely loved the magic system! Utterly unique and enthralling, but still authentically high fantasy.

“She was only seventeen, but already she felt as ancient as the stones around her.”

First of all, Illeni is about the cutest name ever. I really felt for her character. She fell so far. The author portrayed her almost fatalistic view of her life excellently. I know I relate, and that many young adults will. The assassins were a bit more difficult. They were essentially brainwashed. It was hard to understand them (I’m just as much a pacifist as Illeni starts out), so I found it very difficult to relate. Still, I felt for Sorin, who never asked to be an assassin, but had no other opportunity to even survive.

I’m not really a fan of the fairly modern “Oh, I can’t admit I love you because that might lead to labels, or feelings, or even a relationship! Gasp.” type of ” romance”. Love should be the greatest experience we can have – don’t treat it like a burden or something to  just fool around with. However, with these characters I must admit it made sense. They were both expecting to die soon, or at least had been conditioned to think their lives were not their own. Sorin was sweet and charmingly inexperienced, which I always appreciate. Illeni was a bit cold, but she mostly warmed up. Mostly. Her view of the relationship is half the reason I only gave four stars. She says she loves him, then says she can get over it. Sounds like she doesn’t really love him, then, doesn’t it? Or doesn’t understand the concept. Urgh. So frustrating.

The other reason I took off a star is the violence. Maybe I shouldn’t have read a book about assassins if I didn’t want violence, but it was more the attitude toward it. I get that the assassins are brainwashed into violence, that they’re fighting an evil empire, etc., but what really bothered me was how quick Illeni was  to dismiss her morals and decide killing was “easy”. It just didn’t sit right with me. I did like her last decision, which seemed more in line with her principles, and I have hope that she’ll really take a stand against the violence and conditioning in the next book, and that the romance will actually be a bit more, you know, romantic. Overall, I enjoyed the story and recommend it.

4paperhearts

 


Cover Reveal: Return (Awakened Fate #3) by Skye Malone + Giveaway

Cover Reveal
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Title: Return
Series: Awakened Fate (Book Three)
Author: SkyeMalone
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wildflower Isle
Publication Date: October 6th, 2014
Cover Designer: Karri Klawiter (www.artbykarri.com)
>>Add to Goodreads<<

 

For Chloe, the ocean was supposed to mean safety and for a
time, it almost did. She overcame the Sylphaen’s drugs. She discovered an
unforeseen attraction to Zeke, one that he shares for her. A life underwater
seemed possible, until she learned that nothing was as it appeared.
After an unspeakable betrayal shattered everything she
thought she knew about Zeke’s world, she and Zeke have fled the ocean for the
one place Chloe never expected to want to go.
Home.
But the challenge of living as a mermaid over a thousand
miles from the ocean isn’t the only problem facing her. Home has changed.
Enemies are waiting, ones she never saw coming. Her little Kansas town is full
of surprises.

Including Noah, the guy she left behind.
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Awaken by Skye Malone
Book #1 in The Awakened Fate Series
99¢ for a limited time!
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Descend by Skye Malone
Book #2 in The Awakened Fate Series

 

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About Skye Malone

 

 

Skye Malone is a fantasy and paranormal romance author,
which means she spends most of her time not-quite-convinced that the things she
imagines couldn’t actually exist.

 

Born and raised in central Illinois, she hopes someday to
travel the world – though in the meantime she’ll take any story that whisks her
off to a place where the fantastic lives inside the everyday. She loves strong
and passionate characters, complex villains, and satisfying endings that stay
with you long after the book is done. An inveterate writer, she can’t go a day
without getting her hands on a keyboard, and can usually be found typing away
while she listens to all the adventures unfolding in her head.
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Tumblr

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