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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell + giveaway

Carry On
by Rainbow Rowell
October 6, 2015
St. Martin's Griffin
529 pages
#1 New York Times bestselling author!
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2015 - Youth!
Named a "Best Book of 2015" by Time Magazine, School Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, NPR, PopSugar, The Millions, and The News & Observer!

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.



Carry On came out in 2015 but never made it on my radar. I mean, look at the cover...nothing to really tell me what the story is about. But, I caught a look at the new paperback cover coming out May 9, 2017 and I did a double take. Did you know there is a magical school sub-genre? I loved Harry Potter but finding YA books I like, are far and few between. Author Elisabeth Staab said this was one of her favorite books...that was enough to push me over the edge and into one hell of a reading experience.

Not sure where to start with this one. It is equal parts character driven and story driven. Rowell said this was her attempt at a "chosen one" book. Simon Snow (the chosen one) is actually a fictional character in her fiction book Fangirl. Yeah, take a moment to sort that out <G>. She couldn't quit thinking about him and another character from the book, Baz (vampire).

Carry On is about a group of friends at Watford, a school for magic. They came to Watford when they were 11, they are now 18. There is a lot of history that has happened up till now and the author does a great job of filling in the backstory with out info dumping.

The story is told in first person present from the POV of many characters. Each character is unique enough that you don't get confused by the POV changes. There is a mystery with many twists and turns. A few things I saw coming, some hit me like 2X4 from behind. Rowell explores many different relationships. I especially liked the friendship between Simon and Penelope, proving that a guy and girl can be best friends without a romance developing. Carry On is a young adult and straddles that line between middle grade and high school appropriate. There is a romance, but it is sweet and there is only some kissing but there is a lot of swearing.

This is one I might read again...looks at TBR pile...eventually.

5 "Humdrum" Sheep 




SharonS



About the Author:
Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK, FANGIRL and CARRY ON). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

GIVEAWAY
my print copy of Carry On
US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: The Forged Series (Forged of Fire #1, Forged by Fate #2) by Stacy Von Haegert


Forged of Fire (Book 1) & Forged by Fate (Book 2) The Forged Series
by Stacy Von Haegert

by Stacy Von Haegert
October 31, 2016
362 pages
Ash LaGoryen was the second son, born of nobility into the Ushum bloodline- House of the Dragon in the year 776. History claims in every generation a child of royal blood is born to the four elemental houses possessing “The Gift” - an ability to bend their chosen element. Ash was this child and fire was his gift. But...Possessing such a skill was a dangerous thing and fate had other plans for the young boy of only seven summers...

Present day
Ash has spent the last twelve hundred years staying under the radar of the monster that ransacked his homelands as a boy and later, after years of torture, turned him into the thing he hated most. A Vampire... The polished gentleman that stands before Ash in the mirror now, conducts his business during daylight hours and enjoys his lush, reclusive life as one of the worlds wealthiest empire moguls.

Vastly different from the young immortal that escaped the pits of Hell all those years ago, Ash has zero interest of returning to the station of his royal birth. But, when an ancient prophecy comes to light he finds himself being dragged right back into the world of his ancestral bloodline. When the foretold "Chosen One" with the power to unite the realms, turns out to be a beautiful young mortal, Ash is faced with a whole new set of challenges as an impending war looms around them. He will have to weigh his choices carefully as the demons of his past rise up to threaten his future.

Forged of Fire takes us on a hypnotic journey that challenges our deepest beliefs. What exactly defines our notions of Heaven and Hell and what separates folklore from reality? A masterful adventure where, Angels, Vampires, Elemental-benders and Dragons spin a world full of mystery, intrigue, dark fantasy and romance.

***This book contains graphic content and is not intended for readers under 18. Reader's discretion is advised.***


by Stacy Von Haegert
March 20, 2017
425 pages
Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
As the younger brother to the King of Angels, Stefen Von Emmerich had spent his life resenting his royal obligations and doing the exact opposite of what was expected of him. However, all that 'couldn't-give-a-damn' attitude was hurled right out of his well-guarded window the day he had the misfortune of being killed...

After being turned into a Vampire, Stefen finds more than his mere existence to be altered. Now a Fallen, a hybrid with his maker's famed Dragon blood coursing through his veins, Stefen must rediscover himself and his newly awakening powers.

When he is sent on a mission back to Hell, the place of his death, he discovers much more than what he bargained for. A child was left behind as a result of the battle that forever changed him. A victim of the war between the realms. Another hybrid, like him.

Compelled by reasons beyond his own understanding, Stefen strikes a deal to help the innocent child. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, the more intertwined their two lives become and the more perilous their unique paths grow. It's not long before an old Oracle's words from years ago begin to ring true..."Fate holds the cards. Time reveals the hand."


Stacy Von Haegert’s Forged series is a paranormal romance centred on the dramatic lives of an elite group of alpha males. The Forged universe is comprised of earth as we know it, where paranormals and benders hide in plain sight, heaven, occupied by the angels, and hell, home of the vampires and ruled by Dante and his perverse offspring. Elemental benders, those who can control the elements, are seeking to reorganize and provide a formidable defence against the omnipresent threat of Dante and his minions. First, each elemental house requires a leader. Born into a line of fearsome dragons, Ash LaGoryen , a fire bender turned vampire, is reluctant to enter into paranormal politics. Preferring to remain under the radar, Ash has lived a rather solitary life on earth. But when a young, beautiful woman, fabled to be the chosen one, requires protection and mentorship, Ash is plunged headlong into a battle for supremacy.

This was my first encounter with Stacy Von Haegert and I’m undeniably hooked. I read both books is short order and am completely devastated I will have to wait a year for book three. The Forged world is imaginative and complex. Von Haegert’s characters are more complicated than what is common to the genre. Her characters are often flawed; at times neither good nor bad. The action and drama is riveting. One of the best features of these books is definitely the romance. These books are teeming with sexual energy and are absolute page-turners. I had a difficult time putting either book down.

Forged is reminiscent of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Both series are, at times, over-serious, however, definitely entertaining. This series is undoubtedly one to watch. Book one chronicles the story of Ash, while book two is the angel Stefen’s story.

Five Freakin’ Sexy Sheep





Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
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Stacy Von Haegert is the international best selling author of historical romance (the White Rose trilogy) and dark fantasy/paranormal romance (the Forged series). She is also a professional ballroom dancer and instructor. She lives in historic downtown Franklin TN with her husband, son, two unruly cats and Belgian Tervuren puppy.

Her first novel, Under His Protection, debuted in 2015 and ran quickly up Amazon's charts, landing at #2 in U.S and #1 in U.K for historical romance. Stacy went on to expand her literary repertoire by diving head-first into the exciting world of vampires, dragons, angels and elemental benders with her first dark fantasy novel, Forged of Fire.

When she is not writing or dancing you will most likely find her on a boogie-board, in a canoe, at a sporting event, or reading. Stacy's newest release, Forged by Fate (book 2 in the Forged series) is due out March 20th, 2017. She is also working on a stand-alone historical, Lords, due out in summer, 2017. The 3rd novel in the Forged series, Forged from Blood, will be available in spring of 2018.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: Dreamweaver Series (Night Shade #1, Night Terrors #2, Night Lights #3) by Helen Harper

Dreamweaver Series (Night Shade #1, Night Terrors #2, Night Lights #3)
by Helen Harper

306 pages
"I have special coping mechanisms for the times I need to open the front door. They’re even often successful..." 

Zoe Lydon knows there's often nothing logical or rational about fear. It doesn't change the fact that she's too terrified to step outside her own house, however. 

What Zoe doesn't realise is that she's also a dreamweaver - able to access other people's subconscious minds. When she finds herself in the Dreamlands and up against its sinister Mayor, she'll need to use all of her wits - and overcome all of her fears - if she's ever going to come out alive.

This is a new contemporary series by the author of Bloodfire.

September 28, 2015
229 pages
Joe is a dreamweaver. In fact, she's the one and only dreamweaver. All she needs to do is touch someone else and she can not only see their dreams but she can manipulate them too. Unfortunately for her, this is a very desirable talent and the sinister Department are desperate to use her powers for their own ends. At least with brooding, silver-eyed Dante by her side, she's not going to be alone anymore, even if his over-protective nature is driving her crazy. But Zoe has bigger problems - vast swathes of people are being attacked by horror-filled visions and sleep paralysis ... and it might all be her fault.

February 17, 2017
193 pages
Everyone seems to be after the dreamweaver. Zoe might be able to manipulate minds and walk through dreams but she has little control over what happens in the real world. On the run from her ex-lover and the sinister Department, she finds herself facing the greatest challenge of her life. She doesn't just have to succeed in dreams - she has to succeed in reality too.

This is the third and final book in the Dreamweaver series.

Agoraphobic and IT specialist Zoe Lydon has developed a curious condition. While she is terrified to leave her home, she’s suddenly able to traverse alternate dimensions while she dreams. She’s also developed the fantastic ability to enter the dreams of anyone she comes into physical contact with. Zoe is transported to the Dreamlands, a quaint town where Travellers, those who have this ability to traverse the dream dimension, congregate. It turns out that Zoe, however, is no ordinary Traveller, she’s the dreamweaver, the one person in existence who can change the course of dreams and affect the subconscious of the dreamer. Understandably her power is highly coveted. Throughout the series, Zoe is confronted by malicious foes, both human and paranormal, who seek to manipulate Zoe and her burgeoning power. The Dreamweaver Series chronicles Zoe’s transformation from timid twenty-something to dreamweaver phenom.

I am a big Helen Harper fan. Starting with Night Shade, I was hooked on this story. I love Harper’s imaginative storytelling and plucky heroines. The book contains Harper’s signature quirky humour intertwined with non-stop action. Zoe is a great character and I loved following her transformation. Harper also excels at generating romantic tension. The tension between Zoe and brooding Dante is palpable. Romance, though, always seems to take a backseat to the action and Harper makes it work. And while the tension between Zoe and Dante was delicious, the pay-off, in my opinion, was seriously lacking.

I have to admit that I didn’t love the series’ ender as much as the first two books. I was a little disappointed in the direction of some of the characters as the series wrapped up. However, this issue is minor and overall I loved the series from start to finish. I loved the Dreamlands construct and the creative storytelling. If you’re looking for an entertaining, original series, check out this winner from Helen Harper. Plus, all three book are currently free with Kindle Unlimited.

The series gets 4 ½ Sheep from me, overall






Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
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After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time although she still fits in creative writing workshops with schools along with volunteering to teach reading to a group of young Myanmar refugees. That’s not to mention the procession of stray cats which seem to find their way to her door!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

Helen currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Review: The Captive Shifter (Magic of Claddare Book 1) by Veronica Scott

The Captive Shifter (Magic of Claddare Book 1)
by Veronica Scott
March 24, 2017
Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.

In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?

The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?

I may not be a girly-girl but this cover is gorgeous!!!! It sucked me in right away, totally eye grabbing. I was just really hopeful that the story about measure up to this visual stunner. And the survey says.....it did!

Talk about a mystical wonderland, this story had all the magic tricks you could wish for. As someone who's a vampire junky, this hot shifter tale really cast its spell on me. Maybe I was just thirsty for a change, maybe the hot males in this one were ripe for the taking. Maybe, who cares! I loved this story from the start to the finish!

A really bright and well developed lead male had me meowing for more. I want to pet these hot kitty's BAD! Can a vampire and a cat mate? Cause if they can then deal me in! Plus Caitlyn is no shrinking flower, she's strength and soft completeness all at once. Awesome adventure and some nail biting fighting keep me in every single moment of this tale and it's only book one! Where and when can we get the next installment? I'm hooked already and can't wait to see what the author does next.

The door has just been cracked open and I will happily wait until the next dish in this tasty tale is served up!


Getting 4 and 1/2 Sheep
 




KatieD

About the Author:website-FB-twitter
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Married young to her high school sweetheart then widowed, Veronica has two grown daughters, one grandson and cats Keanu and Jake.

Veronica’s life has taken many twists and turns, but she always makes time to keep reading and writing. Everything is good source material for the next novel or the one after that, right? She’s been through earthquakes, tornadoes and near death experiences…Always more stories to tell, new adventures to experience—Veronica’s personal motto is, “Never boring.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Siren's Eyes (The Siren Legacy Book 2) by Helen Scott + giveaway

Unveiling a new cover
THE SIREN'S EYES
by Helen Scott
Book Cover
Series: The Siren Legacy Series, Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: June 2, 2017

When Cin Porte's sister is abducted, she's left with nothing but an encrypted note warning her that going to the police will end in dire consequences. Desperate for help, she turns to Thad Cantio. He's cold, distant, and infuriatingly sexy, but he's all she's got.

Thad has spent his whole life trying to control his powerful visions, knowing that if he doesn't, he'll be outcast and alone. Few people know that his reserved, rational surface hides a deeply passionate, lonely man. But when Cin Porte begs for his help, he knows he can't refuse, even though she has the power to shatter the walls he's built around his emotions.

As the barriers between them break down and the danger grows, Cin and Thad have to choose between holding on to their defenses, or risking everything to save Cin's sister--and each other.
Pre-order Now for $2.99 Only!

Other Books in the Series

Book Cover

When an immortal warrior meets a Scottish lass bewildered by the magic she has inherited, he yearns to protect her. But will his attentions doom them both to Zeus' anger? Or worse, make his lovely mortal the target of the goddess Circe's growing evil?
Buy Link: Available at Amazon.com


About the Author: Helen Scott lives in the Chicago area with her wonderful husband and furry, four-legged kids. She spends way too much time with her nose in a book and isn’t sorry about it. When not reading or writing, Helen can be found absorbed in one video game or another or crocheting her heart out.



Giveaway
Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
The Siren's Eyes (signed ARC) and cute bookmark
Contest runs from April 19 - 23, 2017.
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