Book Review The Ivory Staff

The ivory staff book coverTitle: The Ivory Staff
Author: M. Lachi
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

How was young Samiyah to know that her simple grace, wit, and beauty—exceptional traits given her peasant class—would land her in the middle of a chessboard of high-level political turmoil or that the love that blinds politics, the hate that blinds brotherhood, and the lust that blinds love would flip that chessboard on its side? Rife with passionate dialog, edgy suspense, and epic conflict, this Dark Fairy Tale follows our heroine as she journeys to heal a nation broken by the internal prejudices of class warfare, armed with nothing but stark determination.

In The Ivory Staff, fifteen-year-old Maliko is snooping around in the forbidden room. The forbidden room is supposedly strictly off-limits, in particular the forbidden box stored inside the room. His Uncle Pan stops him from snooping inside the box, making Maliko suspect the box has something to do with his mother. As an orphan, the topic is always on Maliko’s mind, but Uncle Pan refuses to open up about it.

From two different perspectives, we next get the story of Samiyah, Maliko’s mother, a beautiful peasant girl who ends up in the middle of political turmoil. The story is enlightening, different, and it shows an interesting blend of characters, all of them with unique personalities.

I loved the worldbuilding. The story is set on a fictional island of the coast of North Africa, and focuses a lot on the quarrels between two tribes, but it’s this cultural undertone that makes it intriguing. I thought Saab was one of the most interesting, genuine characters in the book. All of the characters had flaws and were realistic, but I found I had an instant connection to Saab.

Fans of new adult books and fantasy will love this book. The worldbuilding is great, and it’s an interesting blend of politics, scheming, the difference between two classes and the discrimination and issues that brings, that combined in a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Book Review and Giveaway Diverted Heart

DH CoverTitle: Diverted Heart
Author: Beth Ann Stifflemire
Genre: New Adult Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Texas summers are no doubt some of the hottest you’ll find. The heat encountered during this summer is not at all what Taylor bargained for. She’s at a crossroads between childhood and womanhood, rummaging through the emotions of first love versus passion. Two young men tangle a web of needs and desires in her heart. The summer before college begins, Taylor is thrust from her childhood home in Houston to an inherited family farm on the outskirts of Schulenburg, Texas. Eric, her first love, has gone states away to play college football. Low-spirited and merely trying to get through an expectantly boring summer, she is nearly run off the road by her new country neighbor, Maxwell. Ruggedly handsome, devilishly charming and everything Taylor seeks to avoid, Maxwell does something to her emotions she’s struggling desperately to interpret, as they spend the summer filled with each other. Boundaries are tested and the scales of lust tip despite hesitations. A final decision must be made. Did she ever truly love Eric? Is Maxwell simply a lustful thought, or is there more to uncover beneath the surface? One thing is for certain, this summer will change Taylor in every possible way: mind, body and soul.

Love triangles are tricky. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I find that most often they work when the book centers on it, not when it gets added almost as an after thought to an already action-packed story. In Diverted Heart, the main focus is on the love triangle (along with issues of growing up and such) and it works. The love triangle is believable, and it’s almost as difficult for the reader to pick a favorite than it is for Taylor.

Taylor has to move to a family farm the summer before college begins. Her first love, Eric, moved stayes away to play football. Taylor believes the summer is going to define a new level of boredom, until she is almost run off the road by Maxwell, her nextdoor neighbor. He’s handsome, charming, and everything she wants to avoid. When he’s around, her emotions are all over the place… Does she really love Eric and is her attraction to Maxwell nothing beside some lust-driven fantasy, or is there more to it?

I love reading about summers before going to college as those final months at home are so important and can change so much. Taylor goes through a lot of changes throughout the summer, and it’s great the reader can experience those with her. More than about the love triangle, it’s ultimately a book about growing up and finding yourself, and as such, it’s really well done.


Book Review Capturing the Muse

CapturingTheMuse_CoverTitle: Capturing the Muse
Author: Madison Avery
Genre: New Adult Erotic Romance / Collection
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

In this mixed genre, erotica collection, Capturing the Muse, find out just how far these writers are willing to go to gain back their creativity, or keep it from shattering their perfect world.

Through tragedy, life lessons, mentorship, and even a hint of the paranormal, these writers will find one thing in common, steamy romance comes with consequences.

Luck Be a Penny:

A bestselling author is unable to finish her series, and figures out the kindness she shows to a stranger can unleash more than just the plot to her upcoming book.

Dances with Muses:

One writer discovers the prince charming she created might just be better than the real thing. But coping with her delusions of the perfect romance interfere with the reality of real life.

Filling in the Blanks:

When a Muse doesn’t know she’s lost, a connection with a writer yearning for inspiration, brings her story to life.

Bookstores and Dreams:

Believing a “how-to guide” is the key to her success, a burgeoning writer will have to trust a handsome bookstore owner when a devastating accident turns her life upside.

Beneath the Inhibitions:

A depressed author collides with a prolific editor during a literary conference. And a one-night-stand becomes a source for new material, and regaining her confidence.

Capturing the Muse, Volume 1 in the Courting the Muse Series, will leave you breathless, aroused and inspired.

In this  collection of ertotic short stories, Capturing the Muse, the author, like the title suggests, talks about the muse, about finding one’s muse and losing one’s muse and all the trouble that goes with it. Each story features different characters and a different setting, but all of them have the muse element in common. All of the stories focus on authors, and since I’m an author too, I really enjoyed the POV of all of the different authors. “Beneath the Inhibitions” was my favorite of all the stories.

The writing is fluent, and even though the stories are short, I had no trouble connecting to any of the characters. A hot and steamy read, ideal for the summer months.

Book Review: A Taylor-Made Love by Kary Rader

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]Title: A Taylor-Made Love
Author: Kary Rader
Genre: New Adult Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When fate spares your life, your destiny is always love

Twenty-year-old widow and cancer survivor Taylor Smith-Taylor is running her late husband’s billion-dollar gaming business because she’s made a vow to keep TME—and Gavin’s memory—alive. But she’s falling hard for her sexy attorney Brad Richards, and it’s not just their professional connection that has her tied in knots.

When Taylor’s new idea takes off, she relies on Brad to help. Using company funds to back the innovative project, they begin a tumultuous affair and a multi-million dollar negotiation that could dominate the market or put the company in jeopardy.

As the corporate dealings escalate, their volatile relationship leaves their priorities more tangled than their bed sheets, and a fatal accounting error divides them, putting the company on the brink of bankruptcy. Brad pushes Taylor to embrace her idea, and him, by selling TME—a decision that, for her, goes deeper than money. When she refuses, it seems easier for both to walk away, and only a perspective from the grave can help her realize her future comes down to one choice: the love she’ll lose or the love she’ll make.

A Taylor-Made Love is the sequel to A Taylor-Made Life, which I have not read. Despite that, it wasn’t too hard to follow along with the perils, the ups and downs, of the life of Taylor Smith-Taylor, a twenty-year-old widow and cancer survivor. She’s tryign to run her late husband’s gaming business, trying to keep his memory alive. Luckily she gets some help from her attorney, Brad Richards, who is both sexy and intelligent, and who might just be the person who gets her out of her shell again. But when Taylor comes up with a new idea, and it takes off, she has to decide whether she’s going to sell TME and move on with her life – and along with that, move on with Brad – or if she’ll stay stuck in the past.

Taylor is one of my favorite new adult characters I’ve read about. She’s very mature for her age, but considering what she’s been through, that’s normal.  She has a lot of ambition, drive and passion, and she just seems like the kind of person you can’t help but like. The book focused on the grieving process too, which worked, and although it had some sad moments, overall it had a bright message: that it is possible to pick up the pieces and move on, but that this doesn’t mean you forget the person who passed away.

Taylor and Brad have a connection and chemistry between them that’s obvious from the start and only continues to grow as the book progresses. The writing was good, and made it easy to connect with the characters.

Book Review and Giveaway: After Her by Amber Kay

After HerTitle: After Her

Author: Amber Kay

Genre: New Adult Suspense

Age Group: New Adult

Rating: 4stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Cassandra Tate wasn’t prepared for Vivian Lynch.

When Vivian offers to make Cassandra the sole beneficiary of her will, Cassandra’s only concern is what she’ll have to do (for this peculiar stranger) in return.

Nineteen-year-old Cassandra knows nothing about the seedy underbelly of the Orange Country high life. Born and bred within the most wholesome little city of Montana, Cassie escaped this stale monotony to California with nothing, but a few bucks in her pocket. This, she thought, was supposed to christen the start of a new life away from the emotional prison created by her helicopter mess of a mother.

As a college sophomore slaving for meager tips waitressing, Cassandra isn’t in the position to turn down easy money. At the rate she going, she’ll be up to her ass in debt until she’s sixty. Her skinflint boss isn’t willing to budge on a pay raise and there is no magic button to make bill collectors go away. When the contentious relationship with her estranged mother leaves her broke, she is forced to decide how desperate she truly is.

Vivian is planning her own funeral. Her days as “society’s queen” are numbered, leaving her to prepare for the inevitable the only way she knows how—closing bank accounts, arranging life insurance policies and assigning beneficiaries. She doesn’t have time to fall apart over “a silly little thing like cancer.” But this eccentric, aging socialite does not intend to die, not without tying up some loose ends first.

Cassandra’s life is at an impasse. Vivian’s life is coming to an end.

Vivian’s “generous” offer (of financial stability) to Cassandra comes with some strings attached. If Cassandra will agree to replace Vivian after the funeral, Cassandra will become an instant heiress worth billions. It’s an indecent proposal many college students would take without hesitation, but it’s not enough to simply step into the shoes of this enigmatic socialite. Cassandra must also marry Vivian’s husband.

It sounds simple enough…until Cassandra discovers that Vivian’s husband is a convicted murderer.

After Her is an engaging read about college sophomore Cassandra Tate, who spends her days waitressing for little more than pocket money. She has no choice, since she’s almost completely broke, thanks to her mother, and Cassandra struggles to get by. Meanwhile, wealthy socialite Vivian Lynch is dying from cancer. She has little time left, and she spends that time arranging her funeral, finding beneficiaries for her will, and tying up loose ends. One of those ends includes Cassandra, and Vivian’s request the young girl take her place in high society after Vivian passes away.

But there’s a catch. Cassandra doesn’t just have to fill Vivian’s shoes and spend her money – she also has to marry Vivian’s husband, who happens to be a convicted murderer. Cassandra must weigh her options and make a choice.

I liked Cassandra. She has spirit and personality, and even though she needs to adjust a lot to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, she manages to adjust rather quickly. I also liked her interactions with the other characters, especially with Adrian. Vivian too, is an intriguing character. She cares so much about appearances and sometimes acts as if cancer is nothing but a hindrance, an annoyance, and she can’t be bothered to dwell on it for long. It was interesting to see how her personality changed when her illness grew worse.

The book isn’t shy on suspense, and I kept turning the pages to find out what would happen next. A definite recommendation if you like suspense novels.


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Book Review: You Own Me by Mary Catherine Gebhard

YOMebookTitle: You Own Me
Author: Mary Catherine Gebhard
Genre: New Adult, Psychological Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

“I’ll love you until you break my heart. I’ll give you the broken pieces of my heart as an offering to you, because you own it. Whole, shattered, alive, or dead; you own my heart no matter what condition it’s in. I’ll stay with you until you figure out how to feel. I’ll stay with you even if you never do.”

This is a story about happiness, and how it doesn’t simply happen because you fall in love.

Lennox is on the run from her ex-boyfriend. She had to drop everything, tell no one, and move to a new town, alone. She expected to be lonely, she expected to be afraid, but she never expected to meet a man named Vic who drove her crazy with lust and anger and called her “Lenny.” If it’s at all possible, Vic is more twisted than the man she ran away from.

She should ignore him, but they’re drawn to each other like magnets. Lennox ran from from Seattle to Santa Barbara to get away from violence, to create a new life, and to be something simple. Instead she’s found herself wrapped up in great friends and an epic love. This new life is the opposite of everything she wants, but it might just be everything she needs.

Lennox Moore, the main character of You Own Me, is on the run from her psycho ex-boyfriend. She was forced to move halfway across the country all on her own to escape from him. She expected to be lonely in this new town all alone, but then she meets a man named Vic. At first glance, Vic is probably an even darker character than aforementioned ex-boyfriend. He’s controlling and dominating, possessive even, and has his fair share of issues. I liked him though. His personality is complicated, and I like complex characters.

Lennox, or “Lenny”, well, let’s say I didn’t understand all of the things she did – like, for example, allowing a new man in her life almost straightaway, even after being burned once already – but, I could sympathize with her, and relate to her. She definitely had some issues too, and throughout the book, she went through some remarkable changes and grew as a person.

The book has a few surprises, and especially the ending came as a twist. I enjoyed it though. The characters were complex enough to be intriguing, and the plot wasn’t predictable at all. If you enjoy romance, or the new adult genre, you’ll probably enjoy this book too.

Book Review and Giveaway: Waiting on Justin by Lucy H. Delaney

coverwaitingTitle: Waiting on Justin
Author: Lucy H. Delaney
Genre: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Can everlasting love grow amidst never-ending despair?  Best friends Justin and Haylee learn early on that the answer is yes. Their parents would rather spend time drinking and partying than raising children, so the two rely on each other for the care and emotional support they need. Over time, Justin and Haylee become lovers despite the age difference between them.

Theirs is a forbidden romance that would destroy them both if discovered.

The older of the two, Justin is more than a little rough around the edges. He does everything he can to protect Haylee from as much abuse as possible, but when tragedy strikes there is nothing he can to do keep her from being taken into the foster system.

The system meant to save kids threatens to pull the two of them apart.

Haylee begs Justin to run away with her, but the powers-that-be force him into an inescapable corner.

Blaming Justin for the distance that separates them, Haylee shuts out everything and everyone from her past – including Justin. She tries to forget him. She tries to replace him. But he is always there. So is her own addiction. When it finally gets the best of her, she finds herself utterly alone.

She soon discovers what Justin has always known: Their love was worth waiting for.

In Waiting on Justin, Haylee and Justin are two best friends. They didn’t have the easiest childhood. Their parents preferred drinking over raising their own children, so it was mostly up to the two of them to raise themselves. Justin, being the oldest, took on the role of caretaker. He was always there for Haylee, providing emotional support, helping her through hardships. They rely on each other for just about anything, and so, despite a four-year age difference, they fall in love, a forbidden romance that’ll destroy them both if it’s discovered.

But Haylee’s reality is shattered when she’s forced to move after her mother dies. She must go live with Aunt Aerin, and because of her age (as she’s still underage), she can’t live with Justin, nor have a relationship with him. While Justin doesn’t give up on the two of them, Haylee has a feeling he did, because when she asked him to run away with her, he refused. Now she won’t even open up his letters. She alienates herself from everyone, broken to the core. Will Justin be able to help fix her again, or has the damage been too much? Does their love stand a chance?

Waiting on Justin is a touching story, told from Haylee’s POV. I felt for her. She’s sympathetic, even if she’s a little rough around the edges. She’s a fighter, a survivor, strong, yet at the same time she pushes everyone away sometimes, and doesn’t let herself get close to anyone. Justin is protective, and he loves Haylee an awful lot. The depths of his love become clear throughout the novel, and the reader will probably grasp it a lot sooner than Haylee does. However, at times, Justin frustrated me too, probably because it was so easy to identify with Haylee and see things through her eyes, that when she got mad at Justin, I got mad at him too.

A touching, heart-warming story about love and its ability to change people for better or worse, about not giving up hope, and about friendship.



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Book Review: Loving is Good by Brenda Moguez

perf5.000x8.000.inddTitle: Loving is Good
Author: Brenda Moguez
Genre: Sweet romance / new adult
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

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

Celia Mendoza is not living La Vida Loca. She put her graduate studies on hold after her father died. Now she dishes out advice in her e-zine column, Luna Love, Loving is Good. The problem is, she hasn’t had a second date or a kiss in over a year. Then Gabe Mercer, a modern-day Adonis, shows up, daring her to take a chance. The string of broken hearts in his wake turns Celia off, but his relentless encouragement to pursue her dream of becoming a serious journalist contradicts his reputation, making it hard to fight the pull of his topaz, come-hither eyes. He’s everything Luna Love tells her readers to take a chance on, but Celia can’t decide if a chance encounter is worth the gamble. But life has a will of its own, and hers is pushing Celia to accept the uncertainty and run towards her destiny.

Celia Mendoza is the main character of Loving is Good, and when we meet her, she’s already suffered through quite a lot. Her father died, and she put her graduate studies on hold to deal with the loss. Now she comes up with advice in here e-zine column, Luna Love, Loving is Good.

Except that even though she dishes out dating advice, she hasn’t had a proper date or a kiss in more than year. She’s too reluctant to even give it a shot, tormented by one broken heart after another. But then Gabe Mercer show up, and he’s everything she ever dreams about: a man who encourages her to persue her dreams, someone who urges her to take risks, to become a better person, to constantly improve herself. That he’s extremely good looking is only the cheery on top. Still, Celia is reluctant to take the bet, to fall in love again, to risk being hurt again. But sometimes life has a funny way of making true love happen.

Celia is a bubbly character, and although she’s had her fair share of ups and downs, she always stays positive. She has a great personality, and forms a good match with Gabe. They had instant chemistry, and I liked how their relationship developed – from instant attraction to deep caring.

The writing is solid, and the story is short and fun. This is a novella, so it’s a quick read, but an enjoyable one all the same.

Book Review: To The Stars by Tiaan Lubbe

ToTheStars_Cover_EbookTitle: To The Stars
Author: Tiaan Lubbe
Genre: Dystopian / YA / NA / scifi
Age Group: Young Adult & New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

One boy. One girl. One world about to end.

When the world finds out its inevitable end will come in sixty years, it seems like all hope is lost. Until a man steps from the darkness. He offers salvation, but demands total control. The world accepts.

Sixty years later, the old saviour’s son is leader and watches over the last proceedings of his father’s plans – Seven Ark ships called the Astrum Portas.

Noah is the next leader. He doesn’t want to be.

Zara is the girl he’s in love with. She doesn’t know it.

Three lives become complicatedly intertwined when a bomb on the Astrum Porta unexpectedly throws them into a whirlwind of secrets, forbidden love and violent clashes all while the looming apocalypse approaches rapidly.

The final adventure awaits…

To The Stars is an intriguing mix of dystopian and science-fiction with some engaging, entertaining characters to boot. We start off with a scene from Zara’s perspective, the female protagonist, while she watches the moment Earth heard about the impending apocalypse, back in 2012. Only sixty years left, and then the earth will perish.

Now it’s almost sixty years later, and Zara finds herself on a planet that barely resembles Earth from half a century ago. When Earth needed a savior the most, a man stepped up to save them. He invented the Astrum Portas, ark ships that would supposedly save humanity.

The chapters switch between Zara’s perspective, and Noah’s perspective, Noah being the son of humanity’s savior. They come from totally different worlds, although ultimately they’re still stuck on the same world: the one that could perish any minute. As Noah and Zara grow closer together, and they discover secrets they could’ve never imagined, they realize they’ll have to fight to survive, and to bring a better future to human kind.

I liked Zara’s perspective the most of the two of them, because it was easiest to relate to her. She lives in a small one-bedroom house with her Mom, her grandmother having passed away recently, so she basically sleeps in the living room. As son of the High Chancellor, Noah is priviledged, but his Father demands a lot from him, too much even. He wants to craft Noah into a mirror image of himself. He struggles a lot with the responsibility and burdens he has to take on. Both characters are flawed in a good way, they certainly come across as realistic.

This book takes place right before the apocalyspe happens, so there’s a rush to it right from the start, that nagging feeling that soon enough, the proverbial bomb (in this case, armageddon) will explode. The clock is thicking right from the start, and until the very end. Highly suspenseful, and an engaging read.

Book Review: The Affair by Olivia Grace

Author: Olivia Grace
Genre: New Adult Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Karrie Stahl and Justin Hunter aren’t your typical lovers. Sure, they love each other immensely. The passion between them is undeniable. There are just a few things horribly wrong with their love. Well, Karrie Stahl is living with her boyfriend, Tyler, and she’s never seen Justin face-to-face. As most lovers do in this day of social media and online dating, Karrie and Justin met online. Yet, no matter how they met, unbeknownst to Karrie, she had become addicted to a complete stranger. But you don’t know that you are addicted to anything until you are forced to give it up.
The day comes when they meet and things go left, when she had all hopes for it to go right. And that is when Karrie’s world begins to fall apart. She hates her drunk, loser boyfriend. Her job sucks. And she is days away from being kicked out of college, if she can’t pay tuition. What’s a girl to do when life has strapped her into an emotional and dramatic roller coaster? She sucks it up, cries on the inside like a winner, and takes life by the groin… literally.

The Affair is a small sample from a larger book,  but it was interesting all the same. In under 40 pages, author Olivia Grace sketches the romance between Karrie and Justin. They’re not your usual couple, and that’s what instantly makes them intriguing. They’ve never met, at least not in real life. They’ve been dating online, and they’ve only been chatting through social media and email. Meanwhile, Karrie is still living with her boyfriend, Tyler, who is a drunk and a loser. College threatens to kick her out if she can’t pay tuition. Her job sucks, and life is pretty much boring and uneventful.

That is, until her best friend Sabrina takes Karrie to the big city on a job hunt, but she gets a lot more than she bargained for when she gets an offer she can’t refuse.

Sabrina and Karrie seem like great friends, and I loved how Sabrina was supportive, no matter what Karrie ended up choosing. Since this was just a sample, it’s hard to review the book, since I have no idea what’ll happen next. The sample ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m definitely excited to read the rest.