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, January 31, 2013

Audio Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole


image via Simon & Schuster

Series: Arcana Chronicles, Book 1
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Format: CD
Source: publisher for an honest review

I have not read any of Kresley Cole’s Immortal After Dark series but I had heard good things about them (and yes there are a few on my TBR shelf, I just haven’t gotten to them!). When offered the chance to review her new YA series, The Arcana Chronicles, I jumped at the chance to dive into her world. I was not disappointed.

Evangeline Greene (Evie), Miss Popular at school, has a secret. This secret gets her locked up into a mental institution for the summer and when she returns she tries to pretend that everything is normal. But her hallucinations are back and stronger than ever. Even though she tries and tries to ignore them, her hands reach for her hidden sketch book and she begins to draw all the horrible things she sees. Not only does she see things, now the voices have started and Evie cannot think what could be worse.

But the worst is coming. The apocalypse (aka The Flash). It hits hard and if Evie hadn’t trusted her hallucinations her and her mother would have been decimated along millions others. Now they must survive by finding water and food since The Flash destroyed all plant life and evaporated all water so nothing will grow on the land anymore. To top it off, her visions (not hallucinations) and the voices are becoming stronger and she knows that she needs to find her grandmother (if she is still alive) to help her discover what her role in this new world will be and also along the way learn what new powers she holds inside herself.

Jackson Deveaux, bad-boy from the bayou, comes riding down her road one day with news that there is a band of baddies on their way and if her and her mother stay here they will be taken and these guys do not treat woman with any respect. Evie and Jackson already have a bit of a history, with him tempting her from her preppy boyfriend before The Flash, so Evie is not too keen on having to go with him but she knows it is the only way.

Evie is not exactly the strongest heroine at this time. This first installment introduces us to many of the characters that will be playing some big parts in the future I am sure. As the story continues, we watch Evie grow from spoiled rich girl to the heroine that the world needs. This leads to a journey that the reader can’t wait to finish. Cole’s characters are all based on a Tarot deck and Evie is part of the Major Arcana. Loved this original storyline and that is what first drew me in and Cole was able to easily make her characters believable. Even though looking back I see how complex her plot is, she introduces the reader at a pace that we can follow without too much confusion.  

Loved the characters, the plot and Cole definitely has me anticipating her next installment. Because of that I recommend this for adult or teen readers if you are looking for a fresh take on the dystopian genre. 


PURCHASE POISON PRINCESS
 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WWW Wednesday (January 30, 2013)

 Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
 
What did you recently finish reading?


 The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor was not one of the best reads I have read this year. Edge of Dawn probably is one of the best I have read so far. Reviews are forthcoming.

What do you think you'll read next?


How about you? Leave me a link to your WWW or post below!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Author Guest Post: Duncan Whitehead


cover courtesy of publisher

Inspiration for the book – The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Society

I was inspired to write this book by the actual neighborhood itself, Gordonston. It is a small neighborhood about a mile and a half to the East of downtown Savannah.  I moved there in 2005 and found the place very interesting.

I was a stay at home Dad at the time and I would spend most afternoons walking around the neighborhood, especially the community and private park which was for the exclusive use of the residents.  It was kind of odd, I would walk along these tree lined avenues, and passed these beautiful large houses and I would see no one.  It was tranquil and peaceful but yet sinister as the place seemed deserted as of course everyone was either at work or busy inside.

It struck me that it would make an excellent setting for a murder mystery and I used the community park, which is central to the neighborhood to bring all the characters and plots together.

I noticed several women walking their dogs one afternoon and came upon the idea of a dog walking club, with exclusive membership for those who lived in the small neighborhood.  

That formed the basis of the story:  A group of women with secrets and hidden agendas who, to a stranger, seemed perfectly normal and pleasant.  

What also inspired the story were the large houses in Gordonston……I would often think about what went on behind the closed doors of these beautiful homes with perfectly manicured lawns…..what secrets the occupants may have.  I thought it would be fun to create a scenario that somehow many of these neighbors were connected by events from the past, causing them to want murder or have killed a fellow resident of the neighborhood.

Once inspired to write about my neighborhood, I used real life events that would become the catalyst or part catalyst for the plot.

There was actually a real alderman living in the neighborhood and I based the character of Elliott very loosely on him, he was, like Elliot, recently widowed and I weaved that into my story, very loosely of course and developed his character to have a back story that would lead back to the neighborhood.

I am also inspired by great TV shows and movies that have plot twists and interconnecting characters, such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, The Usual Suspects, Crash and Magnolia.  I love a story that come together and leaves the reader, or viewer, shocked or surprised by twists or connections.

BOOK BLURB

Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston.

As friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems.

As old friends vie for the attention of widower, Alderman and mayoral candidate Elliott, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children’s writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.

As secrets are revealed and history, both old and recent, unravel and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood a killer lurks and is anyone really who they seem to be?

A mysterious European gentleman in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kind hearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in this story of intrigue, deceit and revenge. What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did the former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?

As the plot thickens and the Georgia summer temperature rises we discover who is destined for an early-unmarked grave in the wooded park that centers the tree-lined avenues of Gordonston.

A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity.


PURCHASE THE GORDONSTON LADIES DOG WALKING CLUB

author photo courtesy of publisher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Duncan Whitehead was born in England in 1967. After a successful career in the Royal Navy where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser onboard some of the world's largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world's most luxurious and exotic places.

Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment. The book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, is set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived.

His passion for comedy saw submissions to many online satire news sites and a stint performing as a stand- up comedian.

He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children's soccer coach.
In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States to settle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga and the pressure point martial art Dim- Mak.

Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK.

As well as his other activities he performs volunteer work, as a hospice volunteer visitor and teaches English to refugees arriving in South Florida.

He has penned a further novel; a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, which is set to be published early 2013 and is working on the script for a potential sit-com.

Duncan has one daughter, Keira, and lives alone.


Teaser Tuesday (January 29, 2013)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 
Teaser #1
His clothes were sticking to him in the humidity of the bunker, his hands and forearms splattered with caked, dried blood.

Teaser #2
All of this bloodshed brought him back to his past, when he was a sheltered Darkhaven youth and evil had robbed him of his family.
~pg. 133 DRC Edge of Dawn

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4)

What is Stacking The Shelves all about?

We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you’re anything like me, you are probably hoarding books and even though you are excited about your latest book arrival, it might be a while before you get to review it and Stacking The Shelves is a good way to express your undying enthusiasm for those titles!

How to participate? Just head on over to Tynga's Reviews and sign up!

FOR REVIEW
from Kensington 

PURCHASED
from Paperbackswap 


free download from Amazon

WON

from Book Soulmates

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ARC Review/Giveaway-Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, Bk 4) by Jennifer Estep


Crimson Frost
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: December 24, 2012
Format: DRC
Source: publisher via Netgalley for an honest review

**WARNING** I do my best to keep all reviews as spoiler free as possible but because this is part of a series, some spoilers are unavoidable.

If you have read the previous books in this incredible series, you know that Gwen was tricked into freeing Loki (the big baddie) by Loki’s very own champion. Because of this, Gwen is facing the fallout that this has had on Mythos Academy and is arrested by the Protectorate. Gwen is put on trial and is quarantined to the school until she is either found guilty or not guilty. This makes it a little difficult to prove her innocence but with her faithful allies including her love interest Logan, maybe she stands of chance. The biggest obstacle in their relationship this time around is that Logan’s dad is the leader of the Protectorate and is NOT a fan of Gwen and her gypsy heritage. He also truly believes that she is not Nike’s Champion. Gwen starts to fear that the Protectorate has been infiltrated and is not so sure she has a chance at a fair trial.

Just another great addition to an already amazing adventure. Gwen and Logan of course seem to always have something that gets in the way of the growing relationship (getting arrested on your first date can put a damper on things). I liked how this time we got to learn a little more about Logan so if you are a super fan of Logan, this one is for you! Another great aspect is we are seeing more of the world that Estep has created. The Protectorate is first introduced and we witness the inner workings of their so called “judicial system.” There is also the characters that we have grown to love such as Metis, Nickamedes and Gwen’s grandmother and a few new ones, including my new favorite, Alexei.

Estep as always, throws the twists and turns that as a faithful reader, have come to love. If you haven’t tried this series yet and you love YA urban fantasy, then I highly suggest you start with the first book Touch of Frost (books should be read in order). For me, I will have to wait patiently for the next book in this series, Midnight Frost, due out in July.


PURCHASE CRIMSON FROST
The Series So Far

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Kensington I have a brand new ARC of Crimson Frost to giveaway! To enter please just use the Rafflecopter form below before February 7, 2013. US/CA only and book will be mailed by me! Once the winner is picked they will have 72 hours to reply to the email I send or another winner will be chosen.
  

BLOG CREATED JUNE 20, 2010