Release Day Party Learning to Swim

learningtoswimrelease

We’re celebrating the release day party for YA paranormal romance “Learning to Swim”. Happy release day!

About the Book

LEARNING TO SWIM coverTitle: Learning to Swim

Author: Annie Cosby

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

When Cora’s mother whisks the family away for the summer, Cora must decide between forging her future in the glimmering world of second homes where her parents belong, or getting lost in the bewitching world of the locals and the mystery surrounding a lonely old woman who claims to be a selkie creature—and who probably needs Cora more than anyone else.

Through the fantastical tales and anguished stories of the batty Mrs. O’Leary, as well as the company of a particularly gorgeous local boy called Ronan, Cora finds an escape from the reality of planning her life after high school. But will it come at the cost of alienating Cora’s mother, who struggles with her own tragic memories?

As the summer wanes, it becomes apparent that Ronan just may hold the answer to Mrs. O’Leary’s tragic past—and Cora’s future.

 

Author Bio

Author Photo1 - Annie CosbyAnnie Cosby is a YA author and editor from St. Louis, Mo. She splits her time – and her wardrobe – between St. Louis and Galway, Ireland.

She’s currently working on the second Hearts Out of Water novel, Learning to Live, and would absolutely love to hear from some YA readers!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Month in Review: February 2014

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I went on holiday for the first week of February, out of the blue, and had to play catch up for the rest of the month. Not a good plan.

I managed to read and review 11 books in February.

  1. Forgotten Burial by Jodi Foster
  2. The Fading Place by Mary SanGiovanni
  3. Firebolt by Adrienne Woods
  4. Dead Five’s Pass by Collin F. Barnes
  5. The Author by T.J. Blake
  6. Even Hippies Get The Blues by Michel Lee King
  7. The Woman in Black: Angel of Death by Martyn Waites
  8. Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem
  9. Sins of the Fallen by Karina Espinosa
  10. The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell
  11. Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales) by Erin Beck and Kelli Beck

I made progress on my challenges. In total, for the Netgalley challenge, I read 10 out of 22 books. I finished 30 books total for the 100 books in a year challenge, I read 6 young adult books for the Everything YA challenge, read 10 horror novels for the Horror Reading Challenge, and one dystopian novel for the Dystopia challenge. These are total numbers, so not just for February, but for January and February combined.

I hosted starter day parties for several tours.

And release day parties for a bunch of kick-ass books.

I hosted cover reveal parties for some amazing covers.

I also featured a book excerpt on my blog.

And several book spotlight posts for awesome titles.

What have you been upto in February?

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Drive Me Crazy

DMC_500Title: Drive Me Crazy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tracy Wolff
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Pages: 210
Language: English
Format: Ebook

His rival’s in his bed, and this rocker is ready to play.

Former rivals Quinn Bradford and Elise McKinney are not friends, at least not anymore. As teens, all they cared about was psyching each other out before concerts. But when Quinn—now the keyboardist for Shaken Dirty, the hottest rock band on the scene—returns to his hometown and hears about the car accident that shattered Elise’s career, he’s determined to make things right.

Elise wants nothing to do with an arrogant rock star, despite how bad she so clearly wants him, so Quinn kidnaps the stubborn little piano player and whisks her back to his mansion. A little seduction might be just the thing to keep Elise under his care…and in his bed. But amid pranks both childish and very adult, their past comes rearing back to haunt them. And it might be more than either of them can forget.

 

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ABOUT TRACY WOLFF

Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

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Book Tours: Book Spotlight Unravel Me

UM_500Title: Unravel Me
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tori St. Claire
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Pages: 173
Language: English
Format: Ebook

Letting go might be the key that unlocks her pleasure…

Attorney Cassie Blaire has spent most of her life living by rules. Rules that keep her life sensible, and on the right path. But five years after losing her husband, Cassie is saying sayonara to “sensible.” And it starts now—with indulging a need she’s long denied.

When he arrives in Colorado, all Brad Steele wants is a scotch before he has to play nice in the first face-to-face meeting with his co-counsel in an ugly divorce case. But instead, he finds her—a lush, inviting stranger whose dark eyes invite him to sin…and thirst turns into a raw, undeniable hunger.

Now Cassie is initiated into a world that has nothing to do with being sensible, and everything to do with sensuality. Under Brad’s guiding touch, she’s receiving an education in desire—one that breaks all of the old rules, and explores tantalizing new ones. And once she learns that her naughty one-nighter is her arrogant co-counsel, all of her objections will be sustained…

 

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ABOUT TORI ST. CLAIRE

National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.

While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Additionally, she writes strictly historical romance as Sophia Garrett. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.

Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds — love.

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Book Review: Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales)

Talking Walls and Cigarettes coverTitle: Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales)

Author: Erin Beck & Kelli Beck

Genre: Horror, Short Story Anthology

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Talking Walls and Cigarettes is a collection of seven dark short stories that deals with both real life monsters and those that dwell within us. A bartender still grieving the tragic death of her brother, shunning from her family, and the whispers in the street is visited by a man who appears out of thin air to offer her a way out of her own personal hell in The Salesman. A poor family is cursed by a mysterious old man in the woods and the children are at risk for falling victim to their parent’s unspeakable acts in Porcelain. The title story follows a man as he is tormented by demons in his own mind. In Homecoming, can a young woman find what she’s looking for years after her father’s abduction by other-worldly beings?

In this horror short story anthology, authors Erin Beck and Kelli Beck provide a varying palette of horror – from the disturbing appearance of a ghost to alien abduction to demons to terror only present in the protagonist’s mind. The themes of the stories vary greatly, but their quality is consistent.

The first story, “Cough Syrup” was by far the most complicated story to understand. The main character is dealing with grief, comes from a dysfunctional family, and eventually starts making some bad decisions. It was dark fiction more than horror, but definitely set the right mood.

Next up came “In His Cellar”, which I thought was hands-down the best story in the anthology. Dark, bleak, with no way out. There are no good guys, there is no redemption, no hero saving the day. The main character falls prey to a sadistic serial killer. The only outcome is evident, and pain necessary. The story is strong, to the point, and terrifying.

“The Air in Venice” had a good premise – a boy turns up in a city and brings along the Plague – but I felt like parts could’ve been explained better. The story jumped from one thing to the other, as if it didn’t really know which direction it wanted to follow.

“The Salesman” was an okay story, but it wasn’t really scary. All in all, it seemed to have a pretty upbeat message. I liked the premise of it, but it could’ve been darker. A woman is visited by a ghost, which may not be a ghost at all, and they end up making a deal.

“Taken”, the next story in the anthology, talked about alien abduction. This was probably the weirdest story, and I’m generally not a fan of alien abduction stories, but I ended up really enjoying this one. I could’ve easily seen this story turn into a novella though – there was sufficient back story and plot to fill a novella.

“Porcelain” was another hit for me. A mysterious man curses a family, and what follows is so random and horrific that I absolutely enjoyed it. If it happened in real life, I’d scream my head off, don’t get me wrong, but in fiction, this is the kind of story I like. Surprising, different, with an ending you don’t see coming by a long shot.

“Talking Walls and Cigarettes” is the last story in the book. A man is slowly losing his mind, hearing voices that aren’t there and seeing demons. When he suspects the nextdoor elderly lady may be a demon, things start to go terribly wrong. A story about what happens if your own mind turns against you. Dark and disturbing, and a very enjoyable read.

My top three stories, in order, are “In His Cellar”, “Porcelain” and “Talking Walls and Cigarettes”.

All in all, a balanced anthology offering a lot of variation in theme, with some truly dark and disturbing gems.

Book Review: The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell

10482783Title: The Nine Lives of Chloe King

Author: Liz Braswell

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 1 star

Purchase: Amazon

Chloe King is a normal girl. She goes to class (most of the time), fights with her mom, and crushes on a boy…or two. But around her sixteenth birthday, Chloe finds that perhaps she isn’t so normal after all. There’s the heightened night vision, the super fast reflexes – oh, and the claws.

As she discovers who she is – and where she comes from – it is clear she is not alone. And someone is trying to get her.

Chloe has nine lives. But will nine be enough?
Book Details:

Format: Paperback Publication Date: 6/7/2011 Pages: 784 Reading Level: Age 14 and Up

There was a show based on these books? I have no idea why anyone would want to turn these books into a show (or maybe it was the other way around) but it’s certainly very surprising.

Anyway. On to the books. We meet Chloe King, a regular girl. Until she falls down a cliff of some sorts, dies and…comes back to live. Chloe meets two guys shortly after another, and immediately falls for both of them (yep, you can already see where this is headed). What follows is a love triangle, Chloe finds out she’s some sort of cat person, the last generation of an ancient Egyptian race of cat-people. Even worse, she’s the only one left who can come back from the death. Her mother and sister (who she never met, because she’s adopted) both had the ability too, but they were murdered. So now Chloe has to lead a clan of cat-people while going to high school and trying to figure out who to date.

I can’t even begin to express how bad this book is. The writing is bland, there’s “telling instead of showing”, the main character is completely unenjoyable, and her inner dialogue sounds like it comes right out of a cheap slapstick movie. The plot is ridiculous. I don’t mind the cat-people thing, it’s even original as far as I can tell, but the way things are executed, the way we move on the slowest pace ever from plot point to plot point and every scene is interrupted with Chloe debating who she loves, a kissing scene, or a mix of the above, is horrible.

Chloe is a horrible, self-centered, egotistical person. Her friends are bland, boring, and suffer from the same characteristics as she does. The love interests? They’re stereotypes, so shady and mysterious you could easily mix them up, and nobody would notice.

The book has potential, and I liked the whole cat-people part. But it’s not worth wasting time or money on.

Book Review: Sins of the Fallen by Karina Espinosa

Book Cover-KDPTitle: Sins of the Fallen

Author: Karina Espinosa

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When seventeen-year-old Maximillion Taylor and his best friend, Jones go to a house party, he doesn’t expect to get kidnapped—much less by a succubus—and she’s not the only one on the hunt. Thrown into a world of angels and demons, where nothing and no one is what they seem, Max ventures to find his true identity and learn to fight the demons who pursue him. When his origin is revealed, it’s a race against the clock for a battle that will determine whether he can protect the ones he loves or succumb to his true nature. Through lies, betrayal, love and pain, Max must prepare to face the demons before it is too late…

In Sins of the Fallen, Max’s life turns completely upside down when he and his best friend, Jones, go to a house party at Anthony’s place. The twin sisters they brought along on a date turn out to have less than noble intentions. One of them kidnaps Max, reveals she’s a succubus, and he’s somehow their target.

As his life is turned upside down, Max finds out things he never thought possible, not just about himself, but also about his family and friends. Nothing is as it seems.

Slowly, he finds out more about who he is, and why he’s that way. But the clock is ticking as demons pursue him, and target the people he loves…

I liked Sins of the Fallen mostly because for once, it shows us a book from the POV of a boy. And Max is very much a boy. He’s falls in love, he feels attracted to girls he shouldn’t, sometimes he doesn’t really think with his brain (if you know what I’m getting at) and he does stupid stuff, like dressing up like a girl at the start of the book. But in general, he’s a good kid.

There was plenty of action and a dash of romance. I’m sure young adult readers, especially boys, will enjoy this book.

Cover Reveal Party Serendipidus

coverrevealserendipidus

We’re hosting the cover reveal party today for “Serendipidus”, a fantasy satire novel by author Jennifer Ott.

Without further ado, here is the cover…

Serendipidus2

Title: Serendipidus

Author: Jennifer Ott

Genre: Fantasy Satire

 “Maybe it’s time to set aside intellectualism and experience the wonders of thngs that can’t be explained.”

The Earth has stopped rotating and no one seems to notice or care, except for bleeding-heart supermodel Venetia DeMille. While Mother Earth begins to fade into a silent death, Venetia clings to hope. She solicits the help of a scientist to help, but no avail.

Not to be hindered in her quest to save the Earth, Venetia sets out on a journey around the world to find like-minded people and caring souls – an exuberant youth, a magical healer and a man of God. Although together they are able to rekindle faith, their effort still does not provide results. It is a mysterious meeting of four horsemen that carry them to the east where they experience a connection to the earth and each other.

Could the forces that gather with their united efforts prove to be the remedy to save the planet?

Author Bio

Bio PicsmInspiration comes from watching way too much Monty Python. The abstract and the absurd way of looking at normal life, not only offers humor, but questions many problems in society in a light-hearted manner. If we can laugh at ourselves, if we can laugh at life, problems do not seem quite so difficult to tackle.  In fact, problems are not as complicated as they seem; everything is very simple. If you can laugh at it, write about it and read about it, most likely one would think about it.

Author Jennifer Ott has written several satire fiction, Wild Horses, The Tourist and two non-fiction books Love and Handicapping and Ooh Baby Compound Me! Her latest book about the homecoming of a Vietnam Veteran, Edge of Civilization will be released soon.

Jennifer Ott lives in Long Beach, California, enjoys the sun, the sand, the surf and lots of Mexican food.

Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Serendipidus-Jennifer-Ott-ebook/dp/B00IBK7IOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391908426&sr=8-1&keywords=Serendipidus+Jennifer+Ott

https://www.facebook.com/Serendipidus

https://twitter.com/JenniferLOtt

http://www.pinterest.com/superjenius24/serendipidus/

http://www.superjeniuspublications.com/jennifer_ott/serendipidius

http://www.artistfirst.com/jenniferott.htm

http://www.zazzle.com/superjenius/gifts?cg=196845763163172524

Book Tours: Book Spotlight A Stranger Came to Town

A Strange Came to Town Banner

A-Stranger-Came-to-Town-RoundedTitle: A Stranger Came to Town
Genre: General Fiction/Western
Author: Nolan Gene Fondren
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 324
Language: English
Format: Ebook

Patrick William Graham Jr. was destined to be small of stature, but that didn’t mean he was short on courage. He grew up with a Cherokee tribe and became blood brother to the chief’s son, Leaping Wolf. One of Pat’s first toys was a hand-carved wooden pistol; when his draw was faster than his father’s, he was given a working gun.

When tragedy strikes, leaving Pat’s father dead and his mother remarried to a man Pat despises, he leaves his tribal home. Out in the world, his small frame makes him an easy target for bullies, predators, and petty men with something to prove. After he kills a man who was riding him for being small, Pat’s life changes in ways he can’t control. He sells his skills as a gunman. In Mexico, he protects a silver mine from banditos and then helps them to improve their operation.

One fateful day, however, on a job rustling cattle, he finds God and a better way to live.

Pat is soon welcomed as the youngest Arizona Territorial Ranger, and he puts his skills and talents to the Lord’s work. He prevents war with the Indians seven times. But his life isn’t all heroics and escapades. Along the way, he also finds a bride, buys a ranch, and works with a family named Earp.

Inspired by the stories told to him by his Texas rancher father, songs, and classic Western tales, A Stranger Came to Town is Nolan Fondren’s love song to a long-lost the and place.

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ABOUT NOLEN GENE FONDREN

Nolan Gene Fondren’s imagination and fiction are heavily influenced by his father’s vibrant stories of life as a Texas rancher. After thirty-four years as a high school science teacher, Nolan retired write. He now lives in Keller, Texas, with his wife, Kaleta. They have two children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

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Book Review: Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem

18143940Title: Blood Kin

Author: Steve Rasnic Tem

Genre: Horror, Ghosts, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Steve Rasnic Tem’s new novel Blood Kin is set in the southern Appalachians of the U.S., alternating between the 1930s and the present day. It’s a dark Southern Gothic vision of ghosts, witchcraft, secret powers, snake-handling, Kudzu, Melungeons, and the Great Depression.

Blood Kin is told from the dual points of view of Michael Gibson and of his grandmother Sadie. Michael has returned to the quiet Appalachian home of his forebears following a suicide attempt and now takes care of his grandmother; old and sickly but with an important story to tell about growing up poor and Melungeon (a mixed race group of mysterious origin) while bedeviled by a snake-handling uncle and empathic powers she but barely understands.

In a field not far from the Gibson family home lies an iron-bound crate within a small shack buried four feet deep under Kudzu vine. Michael somehow understands that hidden inside that crate is potentially his own death, his grandmother’s death, and perhaps the deaths of everyone in the valley if he does not come to understand her story well enough.

Blood Kin is dark, unsettling, and deliciously creepy. Alternating between the 1930s and present day, it tells the legacy of a family haunted by mystery and horror, and something very dark and sinsiter.

Michael Gibson cares for his grandmother, Sadie. She’s old, sick, and on the verge of dying, but she clings on to life, with one last story to tell. The more she tells Michael about the history of his family, about an iron-bound crate buried four feet deep in a small shack, about mountain people he never even knew, the more he begins to realize the story’s importance. Not just for him, but for everyone in the valley.

What bothered me the most about the story is how disjointed it feels. I realize I’m not the first reviewer commenting on this, but it’s the truth. The first part of the book is mostly historical fiction, Southern gothic, with only a hint of the horror to come. It starts out strong, then the middle part drags on, expanding upon certain themes I’m not sure had to be expanded on, and then the end is one dashing scene of horror after the other. As if the book exists of two seperate genres smashed together in a less than favorable execution.

If the book had stuck to one genre, and would’ve been a bit shorter (the middle part really drags on), it would’ve been great. As it stands now, it’s a decent read, but not spectacular.