At this time I will no longer be taking any new review requests or participating in any memes. There will still be author interviews, blasts, guest posts and occasionally reviews posted (as I climb through by TBR pile!!). Life is kind of hectic and I have to focus on a few other commitments before coming back full-time to my blog. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and I won't be gone forever. I will still be around on my social media sites!

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS


My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Thursday, June 28, 2012

All Things Kensington (4)

Since I have become a remote reviewer for Kensington Books I have been loving all the book promotions they do. To make you aware of all the fantastic things that Kensington are promoting, I will be doing a post every now and then with all the information! Remember that some of these are available for a very limited time!

To promote the upcoming release of TAINTED NIGHT, TAINTED BLOOD, 6/28-7/8 only, TO WALK THE NIGHT will be available for a discounted download of $2.99 at major eBook retailers.


 
To promote the upcoming release of STALKING THE OTHERS, 6/28-7/8 only, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS will be available for a discounted download of $2.99 at major eBook retailers



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ARC Review + Giveaway: Tainted Night, Tainted Blood by E.S. Moore


(Kat Redding, Bk 2)
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

FIRST LINE
(May differ from final copy)
The body lay crumpled in the driveway—a heap of cloth that could have been anything if not for the distinctive smell that drifted on the light breeze.

Kat, aka Lady Death, is back taking down one vampire house after another. In Moore’s follow-up to To Walk the Night, Kat is faced with a new challenge. Someone is also taking down vampire houses and werewolves and they aren’t making it pretty. They are also killing innocent Purebloods. Kat notices that the kills look like what she did before she was changed and before she had silver weapons. But who is doing this and why? When Kat comes face to face with the person behind this new rash of killings, she is faced with a new dilemma. This person, who she once thought dead, is someone near and dear to her heart. But how did he survive and how will she end his murderous rampage without killing him? Kat also discovers a little town that seems to be under a spell. She is drawn to it yet in her mind she knows that something just isn’t right. But when you can forget your troubles and worries, would you want to know the secret?

The town, Delai, that Moore introduces is a mystery and I am curious to see where he is going with this. It has many interesting characters and even when reading about it, you feel peace and wonder maybe this is a good place for Kat. Here Purebloods, wolves and vampires all live in harmony with each other but sometimes something too good can’t be true, right? Moore makes us anticipate what will happen in this serene town and what Levi, the so-called leader, has in store for Kat.

A storyline that I was hoping would progress would be the one between Kat and Adrian. There is an attraction there but Kat is so stuck on fighting it that it at times it is frustrating. Adrian isn’t a golden boy that is for sure and his very neanderthal thinking is obviously a trait that will have to be curbed for these two to have any kind of relationship.

Moore continues his dark and terrifying world with a great second installment in his Kat Redding series. Moore’s characters are raw and edgy. Kat’s sidekick, Ethan and his demon, Beligral, are brought to the forefront more. I wish there could have been more growth out of Kat. She is still struggling with being a vampire and finding a place in this world. Being alone is what is making her weak. She is also still running head on into trouble without thinking and seems to end up in a bloody heap. The best thing she does is form a semi-truce with Jonathan, the Luna Cult leader, so maybe there is still hope for her. In the words of Jonathan, “Things would be much easier if we could learn to work together.” If only Kat would see that.


PREORDER TAINTED NIGHT, TAINTED BLOOD

ORDER TO WALK THE NIGHT
(my review HERE)

Kensington has so graciously offered to give one copy of the first book, To Walk the Night, to a lucky reader of my blog! This is the perfect opportunity to start this great series!! Open to US and Canada. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ARC Review: Last Summer by Holly Chamberlin


Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

FIRST LINE
(May differ from final copy)
Fourteen-year-old Rosie Patterson stood at the window in the living room of her family’s house on Pond View Road in the town of Yorktide, Maine.

Rosie Patterson is the target of a bullying campaign at her school. What starts as just teasing from a group of girls, turns into full on abuse. The ultimate betrayal that Rosie receives is her best friend and next door neighbor, Meg Giroux, lets slip a big secret that is used to humiliate Rosie in front of the entire school. This pushes Rosie over the edge and into a downward spiral and ends with self-mutilation. The aftermath ends up tearing apart not only Rosie’s family but also Meg’s. Both families must come full circle and learn to forgive and move forward.

I am going to be completely honest and say I felt no emotion while reading Last Summer. I was fully expecting to be torn apart due to my own personal experiences but instead I felt I was just reading a story. Chamberlin didn’t pull me in. After reading the Q & A at the end, I figured out why. Chamberlin has never experienced bullying or any of the after effects., she has only researched it because she was asked to write a book on bullying. The storyline was well thought out but it is missing that emotion that needs to be incorporated to pull the reader in and make the impact that it should. I would still recommend readers to pick this book up just because Chamberlin does tell the story from many POVs and the reader realizes how bullying can affect the victim but also ripple thru everyone associated with the victim.


PRE-ORDER LAST SUMMER

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: Popular by Laurel Bradley

POPULAR
by Laurel Bradley

I received a list of questions for a recent on-line interview and was asked to pick five. One of the questions threw me for a loop. It asked if I was popular in high school.

Popular. What does that have to do with anything? Popular.

I stared at the question for a long time remembering my high school years. Back then, I was a little awkward, but not horribly so. I was honor roll smart but not valedictorian smart. I dated my share of guys but didn’t fall in love. I had a nice circle of friends, but popular? No. I wasn’t popular by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not sure what it requires to be popular. I didn’t know then, didn’t know when my kids were in high school even though some of them were, and I don’t really know now. Viewed from the outside popular people seem to have a list of characteristics that shouldn’t make them popular, but apparently does.
Clearly, I wasn’t looking at popularity correctly. Time to do some research.

So, naturally I did what everyone does when faced with one of life’s pressing questions—I consulted musical lyrics. (This is why I love Sondheim’s Into the Woods so much, but I digress.)  Wicked has a very clever song on that deals with the question of popularity. In it, I learned that my aptitude wasn’t the problem. It is, I’m afraid, rather a perceptional issue. How the heck does a person change the way she’s viewed?
Elphaba required a change in hair style and clothing.

Clothing… Hmmm… I have no idea what type of clothing that might be the popular kind. Sporty, classy contemporary, dress casual (whatever that is), or the latest in tart-wear? Clearly I need help as much help today as I did back in high school, though there seemed to be fewer clothing options then. Does this mean jeans aren’t jeans?

But back to the song…
The list of challenges continued. Apparently, I also needed to hang with the very people I couldn’t hang with because I wasn’t what they were, namely, popular. I also needed to be “good at sports.” No luck there. I may have looked athletic at different times in my life, but trust me, appearances can be deceiving.

I think the key might be held in Glenda’s direction to follow her lead. Elphaba became popular because Glenda decided to befriend her and Glenda was popular.

Case solved.
To be popular, you need to be popular.

Sigh. Does anyone out there have greater insight they’d like to share?

So…what does any of this have to do with my newly released suspense novel Trust No One? Nothing. But maybe it gives you a little insight into the way my mind works. And maybe that will motivate you to pick up Trust No One or my previous titles A Wish in Time and Crème Brûlée Upset

Or maybe you’ll give a Glenda-esque assist and pull the veil off of popularity for those still in high school or politics where popularity matters most.

For more about Laurel, check out her website at www.laurelbradley.com

AUTHOR BIO
Laurel Bradley, author of Trust No One, A Wish in Time, and Crème Brûlée Upset, lives in a small town in Wisconsin with her handsome husband and the youngest of their five charming children. The first three kids are now men. The eldest is grown and flown. He’s a rocket scientist, no less. The second is in seminary discerning the Catholic priesthood. The third just graduated from college in three years (yes!) and is getting married to a wonderful young woman at the end of the month. We are thrilled. Number four is the sole girl. She just finished her freshman year of college. So…there’s only the youngest son at home. He’s amazed how much mowing and shoveling there is to do and shocked that his older siblings think he has it made.
You can find Laurel Bradley on Facebook or Twitter also.
BOOK BLURB
IT'S ALL ABOUT SECRETS... Taylor Wilson's husband, Phil, has them. His best friend and art agent, Sean, has them. Everyone has them except Taylor—yet she's the one someone is trying to kill. Moments before a bomb destroys Taylor’s home, Phil disappears. Soon after, her landscape design business blows up as well. FBI agent Mark Cochran puts her into protective custody, but whoever is behind the bombings continues to stalk her. Cochran thinks Taylor’s husband is the culprit, but she refuses to accept it. She believes the cryptic messages Phil is sending her are proof he’s trying to protect her and lead her to where he is hiding. However, while searching for Phil, Taylor learns he may not be as innocent as she believed. Will Taylor’s faith in the man she loves keep her safe—or get her killed?

PURCHASE TRUST NO ONE

GIVEAWAY
Laurel has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of Trust No One. It is open Internationally because as Laurel stated "It’s very nice to have a following overseas." Contest will end July 2, 2012. Just fill out the Rafflecopter for below..:D
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Poyson Garden by Karen Harper


Publication Date: 1999
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover
Source: personal
Challenge Met: 2012 TBR

FIRST LINE
“The Queen wishes to see you alone in her privy chamber, my lady.”

In this intriguing historical mystery, Harper has taken the future Queen Elizabeth and puts her smack dab in the middle of a plot to poison the entire Boleyn clan. During the time of Queen Mary’s reign, Elizabeth has had to deal with always looking over her shoulder. Now with this new threat inching closer, Elizabeth must find out whom is behind it and she is hoping that her sister is not the one pulling the strings. After receiving a letter from her Aunt Mary who she thought was dead; Elizabeth begins her journey under close scrutiny of her guardian, Sir Thomas. Lucky for Elizabeth, her Aunt Mary conveniently had a medicine woman who bears a striking resemblance to Elizabeth and can be used as a decoy.

I loved the easy flow of the plot line in The Poyson Garden. Harper keeps you guessing till the end on who is behind the evil scheme. Even though this is HEAVY on fiction I loved that Harper retained Elizabeth’s proud and temperamental characteristics and many familiar faces of Elizabeth’s inner circle are included. The friends she gathers during her sleuthing are interesting and an intricate part to the mystery. Fun and witty, this mystery is an easy read for a nice relaxing afternoon.

PURCHASE THE POYSON GARDEN

Monday, June 11, 2012

ARC Review: Unexpected Pleasures by Mary Wine


Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Brava
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

FIRST LINE
(May differ from final copy)
The Viscount Gregory Biddeford was considered to be a handsome man, but Justina saw only his ambition, which made him hideous in her way of thinking.

Lady Justina Wincott has been under the thumb of her guardian, Viscount Biddeford, since she became a widow. She has played his games for way to long and is yearning for her freedom. Unfortunately she has her son to think of and Biddeford has threatened to bring him to court is he doesn’t obey. During a very tumultuous time (King Henry is on his deathbed) greed has become prominent in many men. Justina’s wealth has many men campaigning for her hand. The dashing Synclair only wants Justina, not her wealth. Justina’s guardian wants more land and money and will only let her go to the highest bidder, who at the moment is the conniving de Canis.

Unexpected Pleasures is a standard historical romance. Fast read and filled with the alpha man trying to protect the meek woman but the evil foe stands in the way. I honestly felt that Synclair, who is supposed to be this dashing prince coming to save Justina, could have been in the same league as the brutal guardian Biddeford. He forced Justina to do a lot of things too and wouldn’t take no for an answer (because, obviously, a woman really doesn’t know what she wants.) This was not my cup of tea in the aspect that I just need more from my characters. I didn’t enjoy how they interacted with each other and I couldn’t fully connect with any of them.
PURCHASE UNEXPECTED PLEASURES

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


Publication Date: 1986
Format: Paperback
Source: personal
Challenge Met: 2012 TBR

FIRST LINE
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

The Religious Right has officially taken over and all women lose their rights. On top of that they are also facing a reproduction crisis due to all the toxins used. Because of this, any woman that is considered fertile (has given birth in the recent past) becomes high commodity and are “reprogrammed” by “Aunts” and sent to homes deemed worthy. The women are used by the man of the house in hopes of conceiving. The creepy way that it is required by the powers that be to conceive is hard to read because I just couldn’t imagine human beings using another in such a way. Suffice it to say, the Handmaids (as they are called), are not well liked by the wives of the head of the household and they must tread lightly.

The Handmaid’s Tale is told from the POV of Offred and her life in the Republic of Gilead. After being “reprogrammed” she is sent to her new home. She, of course, remembers a time when she was had freedom and wore what she wanted and even had a job, a husband and a child. Now she is considered nothing more than a “womb”. If she wanted to leave this service she would be stripped of her title and become unwoman and sent to the colonies to do manual labor. The way it was hinted at is that this is something you do not want. In fact, many a Handmaid has taken her life instead of facing the current future or the alternative.

The Handmaid’s Tale was a decent read and Atwood definitely built a scary world. I personally would have loved if there were some further explanations to the events that happened that caused the Religious Right to take over so quickly. I just wanted more from this novel. The whole time I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale; it played out in my mind as an old black and white movie and I felt really disconnected from Offred. Worth a read if you like dystopian novels but wouldn’t say it would be top priority.


PURCHASE THE HANDMAID'S TALE

Monday, June 4, 2012

ARC Review: His Dark Embrace by Amanda Ashley


Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

FIRST LINE
(May differ from final copy)
When Skylynn O’Brien McNamara came home to bury her grandfather and settle his estate, she was surprised to see that the old house across the street was still vacant.

Skylynn “Sky” returns home after her grandfather, who raised her and her missing brother Sam, passes away. Now she must settle the estate but while there she starts contemplating staying. She is surprised that the hot, mysterious neighbor Kaiden Thorne, has also returned home. Kaiden and her grandfather were close during Sky’s childhood and she has always had a secret crush even if he mows his lawn in the dark. She starts to think back to the times that she would try to overhear what her grandfather and Kaiden were discussing in their many late night meetings in their basement lab.

Kaiden has found the secret formula to living life like a human and not being hindered by his vampiric nature. Now that formula is missing because it lived in the brain of his neighbor who passed away. Kaiden and Sky’s grandfather had an unusual relationship. Kaiden allowed him to experiment on his person in return for being the beneficiary of the elixir that was created. Kaiden was always fond of Sky and now that she is a grown woman, temptation is going to be hard to resist. Circumstances throw these two together when an old enemy who use to be a vampire hunter and now is a newly turned vampire is after them on a quest to get his revenge on Kaiden. Kaiden must protect Sky if is the last thing he does, keeping his vow to Sky’s grandfather.

His Dark Embrace is standard in terms of a vampire story and was what I expected when reading an Amanda Ashley book. I would categorize it as a sweet paranormal romance. I found it to be a quick, fun read without any heavy plot lines to tangle thru but with some nice twists thrown in to keep the reader interested.


PURCHASE HIS DARK EMBRACE

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