Sunday, September 30, 2012

{Review} The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson


Dragonslayer #3
by Resa Nelson
Publication Date: May 2012
Publisher: Mundania Press
Pages/Format: Paperback & e-book
Source: Author

In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago. Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's
The third book of the Dragonslayer series, yet again, impresses and confirms faith in author Resa Nelson. The Stone of Darkness takes readers on another journey through Astrid's world, but this time her travels are even more dangerous. With the introduction of a group of women who have learned to fight with swords, the Iron Maidens, and a closer look into the threat facing Guell, the Krystr army, Astrid's story remains mysterious and daunting.

The Stone of Darkness digs much deeper into Astrid's mental makeup. Different sides of her attitude are shown and her pent up emotions begin to play a large role in her journey. The aspect that makes this journey of Astrid's so compelling lies within the unknown: the unknown power behind the stone of darkness, the unknown path of the Krystr army, and the unknown path Astrid's challenges will lead her. After already reading through two of Nelson's books in this series you would think you'd be able to predict what's coming next, faster and easier. Thankfully, Nelson manages to keep the veil over your eyes as Astrid's story ends with a completely shocking twist!

Fantasy fans will readily enjoy the continuation of the Dragonslayer series. Especially as the conclusion of The Stone of Darkness raises questions and ends with the mother of all cliffhangers!
*ebook provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

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Connect with Resa: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, September 29, 2012

{Review} Shadowborn by Jocelyn Adams


Lila Gray Series #2
by Jocelyn Adams
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing
Pages/Format: 348; Paperback, ebook
Source: Publisher

Why me? That’s the question Lila Gray asks every time yet another bad guy tries to destroy the earth, and she learns she’s the only one who can stop it. Once again, something’s on the prowl, leaving hundreds of comatose, soulless victims in its wake. Couldn’t the deadliest assassins of the Otherworld go after someone else instead of the brand new Queen of the Seelie? One who still hasn’t adapted to her new role. Lila would ask Liam Kane, King of the Unseelie, for advice, but something’s off with him, too. He’s holding back. In some way. About some thing. In fact, he refuses to tell her what’s going on.

The truth holds Lila back from the greatness of her role—the people she was born to lead—the man who she desperately loves—and the solution to the latest war raging around her.To find the answers, she’ll need to fight through her own darkness and embark on a journey through her psyche. If she doesn’t succeed, the Shadowborn will claim not only her world, but her soul.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

{Review} No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig


Edge of Freedom #1
by Elizabeth Ludwig
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages/Format: 336; Paperback & e-book
Source: ARC

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's

Friday, September 28, 2012

{Blog Tour} Review: Return to Arethane by Kelly Riad + Character Interview with Dafne

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The Elves of Arèthane #1
by Kelly Riad
Publication Date: May 2012
Format: ebook
Source: Blog Tour

16-year old Emily has accepted her fate with each weakening beat of her heart, but after her best friend's brother and sister arrive in town and turn out to be more than what they appear, Emily's life is turned upside-down. When their friendship includes confronting wizards who harbor dark secrets and dancing with an elf prince, Emily discovers there are some things still worth living for.
Purchase: Amazon

The young adult fantasy, Return to Arèthane, takes you through worlds that you can only imagine. Kelly Riad is a vivid storyteller who's words are filled with loyalty, friendship, and love.

Return to Arèthane started out really well; it was engaging and Emily was the biggest focus. She's the girl with a messed up home life and one true friend, Dafne, who's sunshine and rainbows but burdened with a secret. It seems that when the secret reveals itself in the form of Dafne's brother and sister, Emily is pushed towards the background. Emily has a strong presence in the first half of the book, even when she learns what Dafne, Jarrad, and Kara are. However, once the adventure begins, it's like she's always in the way or holding the non-humans back. Emily doesn't stand on her own in unfamiliar territory.

Despite not having too strong a heroine, Return to Arèthane has its strong points. The story is creative and magical, and the adventure is prominent. The characters all have a way of bonding with one another so that their interactions are fluid and believable. The biggest reason to keep reading is to see where Jarrad, Emily, Dafne, and Kara end up. Their journey isn't simple or straightforward, but doused with unpredictable danger.

Riad has made this story universal and entertaining. Return to Arèthane is fantasy that any reader can enjoy.
*ebook provided in exchange for an honest review and blog tour purposes*

Add RETURN TO ARЀTHANE to Goodreads
Connect with Kelly: Website | Twitter | Goodreads


What helps you keep a happy outlook on life?

I have so much--a caring, supportive family, awesome best friends, and a super cute boyfriend--that I have no reason to not be happy. And I've lived long enough to see that the bad doesn't ever stick around for long, so there's no point in letting it get you down.

Which do you prefer: rainy day or sunny day?

Definitely sunny--my hair can't handle rainy days. I think I'm the only elf who has to battle frizz!

Who’s your favorite sibling: Jarrad or Kara?

Oh my gods, I can't answer that! You've seen what they can do, right? They'd totally kill me or worse! I love them both the same, but in different ways.

Between the two of them, who would you rather accompany you on a double date?

Okay, yeah, that one I can answer--definitely Jarrad. He's a lot of fun. Not that Karawyn isn't fun! She probably wouldn't want to go anyway, and would end up scaring Sam. Besides, a double date with Jarrad would mean my best friend, Emily, would be there, too.

What do you love most about living with humans?

It is never boring. Humans live with the pervasive knowledge that life is finite so every minute counts. They seem to embrace their maelstrom of emotions; when they're mad, they show they're mad. When they're happy, they show they're happy. Elves just aren't that way--it's too important to remain calm, to think things through and wait for what may happen. Humans live like every moment's their last and I love that.

What is your favorite book, movie, and song?

My favorite book is Dune, by Frank Herbert--I'm secretly a bit of a sci-fi fan girl--and my favorite movie is Tristan and Isolde; James Franco is so hot! Right now I'm on a bit of a Kings of Leon kick (Jarrad turned me on to them) so for favorite song, anything by them, but if I had to pick one, I would say Holy Roller Novocaine.

Thanks for stopping by Dafne!

Any parting words for your fans? Oh my gods, fans?! I feel so special! I guess I just want to say thank you for letting our story be a part of your lives and I hope that in some way, we connected to you. And know that it doesn't end just yet--there's plenty more excitement and adventure to come!

Cover Reveal: WHISPER FALLS by Elizabeth Langston


Whisper Falls #1
by Elizabeth Langston
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Format: Paperback & e-book
Genre: Young Adult

While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn't right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she's crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.

Mark enters a 'long-distance' relationship with Susanna through the shimmering--and temperamental--barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she's trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can't stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

{Blog Tour} 2:32 AM by Emily Ford: Cat Townsend Character Guest Post on Destiny

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2:32 A.M.

The Djinn Master's Legacy #1
by Emily Ford
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages/Format: 329; ebook & paperback
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

What if you suddenly discover you have magical powers? That the unknown, sometimes freaky people you dream about are real? And the new, ordinary life you're building with your family in Savannah Georgia is a lie? Or that everything you've worked towards is a joke? But what if you have a choice to accept this magical life -- or not. Do you choose this awesome power to change your life, and the life of those around you? What if it means giving up everything you cherish; family, friends, the love of your life? And imagine you're only seventeen.... Now you're Cat Townsend. What will she do?  Read 2:32 a.m.  -- the time everything happens.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Hey, Cat Townsend here! 

        So the question of the day is:  Do I believe in Destiny? 

        Hmm, destiny is odd to contemplate if you think too deeply about it.  But it’s a no-brainer for me actually. How else can I understand or accept the weird course my life has taken…
        Take my love life for example. How is it possible that I could spend my childhood years having a major crush on a boy, move three thousand miles away from him for nearly eight years, then move back cross country, only to find he lives four blocks away?
        Has to be fate, huh? 
        And what about the fact that I had dreams for as long as I can remember about some tall, blond, amazingly handsome guy that I don’t know. And then learn he’s not only a magical mentor, but my life partner as well?
        Don’t get me started on the magic. 
        It’s difficult for my head to wraparound at times. Yet I’ve come to believe that everything we face in life is part of a greater, well thought-out plan. Call it divine intervention, the fates, destiny, whatever! I’m a believer.
        Even if there’s a little magic thrown in…
        Bye for now!

Thank you so much, Cat, for sharing your feeling on destiny! Curious about Cat's story? Read the whole first chapter!

Chapter 1:  Reality

Sixteen-year-old Cat moaned as she opened her bleary eyes and glanced around the unfamiliar bedroom. 
What a dream,” she grimaced.  She was remembering the unsettling images of the black man, the scary woman and the handsome Todd Wilkinson.  However, it was the powerful sense of being out of her body, astral projection -- that made her skin crawl.  Sitting up abruptly in bed, Cat attempted to shake off an icy feeling.  Something had happened to her last night.  She didn’t know how she knew this or what it meant, but she was certain it was true.  
Her thoughts wandered to Todd.  She hadn’t seen or heard from him in ten years, since her family moved from Florida to Colorado.  As of yesterday, that was officially two moves back.  She pulled the covers tightly under her chin and sighed; that felt like a lifetime ago. 
So why dream of him now?  She couldn’t answer that.  But, knowing he was real made her wonder if the hideous lady was too.  And, what about the black man, was it possible he had actually been here?
 She shook her head trying to rid herself of the image and glanced at the piles of unpacked boxes cluttering her room.  She thought perhaps she dreamt of Todd because they’d moved again.  Another night in a new bed, a new town, a new life….”
  “Cat, get up!” Hayden bellowed from downstairs.  Hayden was her eighteen-year-old brother.  His voice jolted her back to reality.  She flew from bed as he again hollered, “Cat, get down here, quick!”   
She glanced at the clock.  11:43 a.m.  “Just a minute!” she called and jumped out of bed.  She pulled out fresh shorts and a t-shirt from a nearby box and, quickly, detoured to her bathroom before bolting down the stairs.  “Easy Hay, what’s up?”  
He just smirked.
“Uh-oh, you’re up to something, I can tell.”
“I’m not sayin.  But, you have to come with me right now!” 
“Where the…?” She mumbled and followed him to the car.  She shrugged.  “We might as well get a look at Savannah.  I haven’t been out of this house since we rolled up.”
Her brother said nothing as his smile turned to an all-out grin.  It wasn’t like him to keep her in suspense; secrets just weren’t his thing. 
Just seventeen months apart they were practically twins and the best of friends.  As he drove down the driveway, Cat pulled down the sun guard and glanced in the mirror.  She frowned.  Her long, chestnut-brown hair was a mess so she pulled it up in a ponytail.
  In the mirror, she glanced back at their new house.  She liked the regal, two-story white Colonial with black shutters and trim.  The porch was an expansive wrap-around with a nice swing.  The front yard was large with lush green grass.  And, majestic oak trees stood in a line as if protecting a slice of southern history.  
There were five additional houses on their street.  Each one set back on its own lot.  It was difficult to see some of the homes, especially, the house next door at the end of the cul-de-sac.  It looked like something out of Gone With The Wind.  
“Feels like a sauna here,” Cat said.  She wiped her brow.  “I’m literally soaked.”
“Yep…” Hayden agreed, “It’s a far cry from the cool summers of Colorado.  But I like it here.  The music scene is amazing.”
“Really, already…?  We’ve been here less than twenty-four hours and you’ve had time to check out the music?” 
“Of course,” he laughed.  Cat glanced at her oldest brother and knew he was destined to be a rock-star.  He had the look, the voice, and the charisma to be great.  Perhaps, he would be a superstar!
 “Look Cat.”  He pointed toward City Market in the historic section of downtown Savannah.  It was already packed with shoppers and diners.  There was also a stage set up for a band.  The port town of Savannah was huge compared to the small sleepy mining town they’d come from. 
“Whoa, check out that group of kids hanging out in front of that ice cream parlor. 
Hayden, let’s stop!  I want to get out and walk around.”
 “Not yet, there’s someone I want you to see first.”
 “See?” she asked.  She starred at his smug expression.  “Who in the world could I possibly want to see?  Have you already found someone you know?”
“I’m not telling.  It’s a surprise!”
He turned up the radio and music blared from the open windows.
 They turned away from the river and Cat saw the entrance to Savannah Hills High School.  Catherine Ann Townsend would be starting her junior year there in just days.  Catherine was a name she never used.
“Here we are,” Hayden said.  They pulled into the parking lot of the football stadium.  Practice was in session. 
Cat looked curiously at her brother.  “So why exactly are we here?” 
Hayden grinned, broadly, and said nothing.
“Great!” Cat muttered.  She got out of the car and followed him to the bleachers. 
Hayden waved at a player at mid-field.  The person turned toward them.     
Curiosity and nerves hit her.  “Quick, so I don’t make a complete ass out of myself who is that?”
“Nope, you’ve got to guess.”
Cat peered toward the field and mumbled, “Freak.”
The guy came closer pulling at his helmet.  Cat noticed his size.  He was well over six feet tall, seriously sweating, and undeniably cute.  He got to the bleachers, shook out his wet hair, and flashed an enormous smile.  His two mammoth dimples were a dead giveaway. 

Cat froze.  It was--Todd Wilkinson!  Although, he was much cuter in person, the uncanny resemblance to the Todd in her dream made her shiver.  She wondered what he was doing here. 
“Hey Kitty Cat it’s been awhile!”  Todd’s deep voice rang out.
Cat blushed hard.  It was impossible to keep her emotions from hijacking her confident self away.  She heard her voice speak, but had no idea what she was saying.  “Todd Wilkinson-- who’d have thought it?”
Cat continued her internal gaping.  The accuracy of her dream was unnerving.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s him and he’s here.”
Cat couldn’t tear her gaze from him.  More words spewed from her mouth.  “You were a kid with a geeky buzz cut, big ears, and a big mouth when I last saw you.”
“Yeah, and you were a skinny little runt with a permanent layer of dirt all over your face.”
She giggled.  Goose bumps rose like mountains on her arms even in the extreme heat.  Seeing Todd was shocking.  It was nearly impossible to believe her family had moved halfway across the country and then landed next door to the Wilkinson’s.
Her mind could process nothing but the big brown eyes that danced in delight as he gazed at her.  Todd glanced anxiously at Hayden who still looked elated.  Cat couldn’t focus.  Memories of the three of them came to her.  They spent long lazy afternoons together at the beach, fished with string, throw sand at each other, and would dig to China and collecting shells from the beach. 
Todd and Hayden had been best friends then.  And, even though she was young, and Todd had teased her unmercifully, she’d had a total crush on him.  It had been horrible to say goodbye when they’d moved to Colorado.  Hayden talked about Todd for years after they left.  Whatever she imagined happened to him, she never dreamed a kid so geeky could grow up to look so great.  
She couldn’t stop from staring.
Todd laughed and said, “Take a picture it’ll last longer!”
 Cat turned away her face was growing crimson again.  Todd and Hayden howled in delight. 
Embarrassed, she stammered, “You-you know what?  You may look different but you haven’t changed a bit.  You’re still a creep Todd Wilkinson!”  
She looked away and her heart pumped, furiously.  Todd’s laugh rang out as he put his helmet on and headed back to the field.  He turned to face her and shouted, “But, you’ve changed Cat Townsend!  And, you look really good all grown up.  See ya, Hayden.”  He waved goodbye and was off.
On the outside, Cat appeared calm, cool, and collected as she followed Hayden back to the car.  But on the inside she was mush.  Her legs felt wobbly.  Wiping her sweaty hands on her shorts she muttered, “Can’t believe he’s here, in Savannah.  What are the odds?” 
“Yep, it’s pretty cool, isn’t it?”  Her brother beamed.
“Really…?”  She rolled her eyes.  “He’s still an ass.”
Hayden burst out laughing.  “No he’s not and you know it!  That’s why your face is still beet red.”
In the car Cat felt strange.  Her body trembled from the inside out.  It wasn’t just her attraction to Todd getting to her.  It was the awareness somewhere in the back of her mind that seeing Todd was no accident.  “Listen, Hayden…I need to tell you…I had another one of those dreams last night.  You know the one’s I’ve told you about where it feels 3D, like I’m a freak of nature?” 
“Ye-ah,” he said with some hesitation.
“Yeah, well…last night I dreamt of Todd -- twice.”  She glanced sideways at her brother.  His smile faded away.  “One was more of a memory -- we were kids again.  We were playing on the beach and he was teasing me.  The other was weird and horrible – impossible to describe really.  Anyway, then he shows up here?  I think that’s more than a coincidence, don’t you?”
He shrugged.  “I don’t know Cat.  These dreams of yours have always been creepy to me.  They don’t make sense.  It’s probably nothing.” 
“It’s nothing?” Cat countered, sarcastically.  She stared at her brother.
His quick glance silenced her all the way home.
They walked up the steps of the front porch and opened the door.  “Hey Momma,” Cat called out.  She was overly enthusiastic trying to shake off the ominous feeling she had.  Both, she and Hayden, carefully made their way around their mother’s petite frame and the unpacked boxes that littered the hardwood floors. 
“Where have you two been?” she asked.  She was standing knee deep in Styrofoam peanuts and crumpled newspapers.  She stopped flattening boxes to gaze at them with her sparkling emerald green eyes.
“Here, let me help you,” Cat offered.
“No dear, that’s alright, you know I need to do this myself.  It helps me acclimate.” 
At that moment, Rex Cat’s younger brother by eighteen months, walked in from the kitchen.  He was holding a family-sized bag of Fritos.  And Drew, her fourteen-year-old brother was just one step behind him.
“Hey where’d ya go?  And, why’d you leave us here?” Rex asked. He had his mouth full.  Cat glanced at Rex and marveled at the dirty blond curls that bounced across his forehead.  She constantly thought how amazing it was.  Rex, alone, had inherited his blond hair and brown eyes from their father, while the rest of them got their mother’s brown hair and green eyes.
Taking a few chips from the bag, Hayden grinned at Rex.  “Wouldn’t you like to know?” he teased.
Cat huffed.
Her mother looked up in surprise.  “Well?” 
“You’re never going to guess who lives here,” Hayden blurted out.
“Who,” she asked.  She stopped folding tissue.
“Todd Wilkinson!” Hayden beamed.  Cat rolled her eyes again.  Her father stumbled from his office to join them.  His laughter filled the room.
“You’re kidding!” exclaimed her mother as she looked up.  “The Wilkinson’s live here…in Savannah?  I’ll have to call Susanna.  I haven’t spoken with her in years.  So, what’s Todd like these days?”
Cat glanced at her father; his dirty blond hair was hidden under a baseball cap and his glasses were perched on his nose.
“That’s the kid from Florida, right?” Rex interrupted.  He stuffed another handful of Fritos into his mouth.  “Even though I was young, I remember he was cool.”
“He’s still a jerk,” Cat said.  She picked up some trash from the table and took it toward the kitchen. 
“You are so full of shit Cat!” Hayden teased.  “You totally think he’s hot, it’s written all over your face!”  She heard his boisterous laugh behind her  as she escaped into the kitchen.
 “Hey- watch your language!” scolded her father.  Then he returned to his office.
“Didn’t he have a sister named Allison, or something like that?” Rex asked.  Putting down the Frito’s bag and licked the salt from his fingers.
“Anna,” Cat called out from inside the refrigerator.  Another icy chill pierced her spine as she thought of Todd’s family living so close to them.

Stay tuned for my review of Emily Ford's 2:32 A.M. and a chance to win a physical copy!

Debut novelist Emily Ford has always been a storyteller. As a kid at summer camp in Maine, she’d make up ghost stories at bedtime for her fellow bunkmates.

Her Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy also began as a simple bedtime story, intended for Ford’s then adolescent children to have in writing and use to tell their own kids one day. By the time she finished writing, she had three very full books.

2:32 a.m., Ford’s first installment of her young adult series, caught early readers’ attention as a fiction book minus the typical vampire and werewolf characters.

The Texas writer interned each summer with KHOU-TV in Houston while gaining her bachelor’s degree in radio and television at The University of Arizona. She worked on the copy desk at The Dallas Morning News, and eventually started the marketing company KapsMark, Inc.
Connect with Emily: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Review} FADE by A.K. Morgen


The Ragnarök Prophesies #1
by A.K. Morgen
Publication Date: September 7, 2012
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Pages/Format: 320; Paperback & ebook
Source: Netgalley

What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don't understand what's happening to them or why, and they're running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's

{Review} The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan


by Lois Duncan
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Open Road Young Readers (Open Road Media)
Pages/Format: 194; e-book
Source: Netgalley

The new guy at Tracy's school is handsome, intense, and desperately needs her help--but there's something about him that isn't quite right.

High school junior Tracy Lloyd is unsure about the new guy in school. Brad Johnson is attractive, smart, and polite, but Tracy can't help but feel he watches her too closely. Then one day Brad confides in Tracy a horrible secret: His little sister Mindy has been kidnapped by his stepfather, and he needs Tracy's help to get her back. But even as Tracy commits to a plan to help her vulnerable new friend, details emerge that suggest nothing is what it seems. The Twisted Window is a zigzagging thriller that keeps readers guessing up until the final page.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lois Duncan including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

{Blog Tour} Review: Skating on the Edge by Joelle Charbonneau + Interview

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Rebecca Robbins Mysteries #3
by Joelle Charbonneau
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press: Minotaur Books
Pages/Format: 304; Hardcover & e-book
Source: Netgalley/Blog Tour

It's Native American Summer Days in Indian Falls, and Rebecca Robbins is roped into taking a turn in the Senior Center dunk tank. That is until her rhinestone-studded grandfather needs help setting up his Elvis act. Now Rebecca has to find a replacement and roller derby girl Sherlene-n-Mean is delighted to fit the bill -- until she's dunked and ends up dead. The cops want Rebecca to stay out of the investigation, but she was supposed to be in that dunk tank, which means her life could be hanging in the balance. Aided by a trio of self-appointed bodyguard derby girls, Rebecca digs for answers, dodges bullets and races to find the killer before the killer finds her.
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's
Skating on the Edge is the third, and by far the most heart racing, novel of the quirky mystery series penned by Joelle Charbonneau. The series so far has perfectly portrayed the fun of owning a roller skating rink in a small gossipy town, but this round, readers get a deeper look into of the heart of Rebecca Robbins.

The previous novel, Skating Over the Line, features the first appearance of the roller derby team, EstroGenocide. In Skating on the Edge, one of their own is murdered and the rumors floating around say it should've been Rebecca. Armed with a list of potential suspects, Rebecca takes the initiative to find the murderer while attempting to put her life back in order. Well, in as much order as possible with an Elvis-impersonating grandfather, scheming, sneaky father, and maid of honor duties.

Charbonneau really knows how to work with mysteries in small towns, where everyone knows everyone and gossip is the number one source for entertainment. Her ability liven up the story and keep it going while Rebecca struggles to solve the murder case, an element found in all three mysteries in this series, is commendable and a highly favorable trait of her writing style.

After reading the crazy events of this novel, readers who haven't fallen for Rebecca Robbins will do so quickly and surely. Skating on the Edge will blow you over with a fun, fabulous plot, and anticipation of what could possibly come next!
*eGalley provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and blog tour purposes*

Add SKATING ON THE EDGE to Goodreads
Read my reviews of Skating Around the Law & Skating Over the Line


Welcome to Lovey Dovey Books Joelle! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Candace! Thanks so much for letting me stop by. Let’s see…I’m a tall with red hair, which means I stick out like a sore thumb in a crowd. I’m also a stage performer turned voice teacher with a passion for music and all things literary. Both of those passions my husband and I are hoping will be passed along to our four-year-old son. 

For readers unfamiliar with your books, how would you describe your writing style in three words?

Yikes! Three words…hmm… I would describe my mysteries as wacky, fun, and fast-paced.

What wild antics can readers expect in Skating on the Edge?

Skating on the Edge features the Toe Stop roller rink’s very own Flat Track Roller Derby team—EstroGenocide. They are bold, brash and incredibly fun to write. Add them to the mix of Elvis impersonator Pop and the hat wearing Elwood and things get really interesting really fast. Oh and Rebecca’s still working out the kinks in her love life, which never goes smoothly, but it’s always fun.

Rebecca Robbins comes across very eccentric characters when solving mysteries. How do you come up with their personalities to mesh with the story?

I’d like to say I have a great plan when it comes to adding characters into the story. That would make me sound smart and forward thinking. However, I tend to be a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I start out with an idea for a story, sit down at my computer and am sometimes very surprised at what characters show up and what kind of personalities that possess. 

The best part about small towns is that there tend to be more larger-than-life personalities in those communities. No matter how much people might want to blend in, they just can’t. More often than not, they swing in the other direction. My father was from a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The people watch after each other. They also embrace people being themselves no matter how eccentric. 
What has been your favorite aspect of writing Rebecca’s stories?

I love writing Elwood. I mean, what’s more fun that writing about an ex-circus, hat-wearing camel? I’ve also had a wonderful time getting to know members of the artistic and derby roller skating communities. They are passionate about their sports and enthusiastic about sharing that passion.

Will there be more novels about Rebecca in the future?

I am happy to report that book 4 of the Rebecca Robbins novels, Skating Under the Wire, is under contract and will come out from Minotaur books next year. Any excuse to visit Indian Falls and hang out with Pop, Rebecca and the gang is good by me!

Your experience as a performer and voice teacher added reality to your latest release, Murder for Choir (Glee Club Series). Are there any life experiences that helped create the world of Rebecca Robbins?

As I mentioned, my father’s childhood community helped inspire the town of Indian Falls. But the biggest inspiration for the series comes from my mother’s past experience as a World Champion Artistic Roller Skater. After my mother stopped competing, she worked for years as a roller skating instructor and choreographer, which meant I spent many Saturdays of my childhood inside roller rinks. It’s amazing what I remember. And anything that I don’t…well, I’m lucky that my mother is only a phone call away!

Thank you for stopping by Joelle! Any parting words for your fans?

I just want to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every reader who spends time in Indian Falls.  The only reason I get to sit down at my computer and spin their stories is because readers are willing to let Rebecca, Pop and Lionel into their lives.

About Joelle:

One of the hardest working authors of today, Joelle Charbonneau will have had seven books published by established publishing houses within just three years.
She’s the author of two adult mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (her latest, Skating on the Edge, releasing Oct. 2 from Minotaur Books) and the new Glee Club mystery series (Murder for Choir, July 3, Berkley Books).

Charbonneau launches the first of her Graduation Day young adult trilogy in May 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s. Early readers are calling The Testing a mix between the high school ACT and The Hunger Games.

A storyteller at heart, Charbonneau has performed in a variety of opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. In addition to her stage work, she has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. She also gives lectures about surviving rejection in the entertainment industry. Charbonneau earned her bachelor’s in vocal performance at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and went on to DePaul University for her master’s in opera performance.

The mother of a toddler, she hardly ever sleeps. And when she’s not writing, she’s either signing, cooking or watching sports.
Connect with Joelle: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Youtube

Monday, September 24, 2012

{Review} NEVER LAND by Kailin Gow


Never Knights #2
by Kailin Gow
Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Publisher: The EDGE Books
Pages/Format: Paperback & ebook
Source: ARC 

Welcome to Never Land, the land of Never and the world of rock, the world of new experiences and sensations, a world where music runs through the veins of the dedicated, and love is taken and given with consequences. Never (Neve) Knight, the lead singer and manager of a band filled with the hottest guys in rock finally gets the dream that she wanted: a label signing her band The Never Knights. It is what she always wanted, a band of her own, playing her own kind of music. Getting her band to where it was came at a high price, including giving up the man who made her heart race and her blood pound, the man that caused her to nearly lose her band. As she gets ready to go on her world tour, fate brings her close to Danny Blue again, and she's not sure if she can give him up a second time even if it means losing the band.
Purchase: Amazon
Kailin Gow's promising sequel to Never Say Never is just what the doctor ordered! Never Land follows the Never Knights to London where Danny Blue's past makes trouble and the band is put through the ringer. To say there's more drama is not saying enough, because every page is filled with emotional confessions or tense confrontations. The plot is shocking and slightly darker, but makes for a very enticing read.

Never Land delves much deeper into Never's experience with her ever-growing celebrity status. Now that the Never Knights are opening shows, the challenge and pressure to keep it together increases. The worries she faces are real, more serious, and more than what a young woman should experience. The story doesn't focus so much on the everyday lifestyle of young rock stars as it does the band's reactions to what's in store for them or their struggle to make it big. There are a few scenes that give you a feeling of what it might feel like to be in the limelight, but the story primarily revolves around Never and her struggle to keep the band intact.

Kailin's characterization takes on a whole new level as the dark secrets of Danny's past make an appearance. Danny is seen in a new light and his relationship with Never remains fragile. The other band members, Luc, Kyle, Steve and Geoff are present but it seems that they're pushed to the background a lot more when Danny comes around. So much happens in this novel that will not be expected but Kailin works it in naturally. This series will undoubtedly continue to take surprising twists that should not be missed!
*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

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Connect with Kailin: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt from DOWN TO YOU by M. Leighton + Giveaway

Promotional event organized by AToMR Tours!


by M. Leighton
Publication Date: September 23, 2012
Pages/Format: 298; Paperback; e-book
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Purchase: Amazon

The scorching tale of one girl, two brothers and a love triangle…that’s not. Olivia Townsend is nothing special. She’s just a girl working her way through college so she can return home to help her father run his business. She’s determined not to be the second woman in his life to abandon him, even if it means putting her own life on hold. To Olivia, it’s clear what she must do. Plain and simple. Black and white. But clear becomes complicated when she meets Cash and Nash Davenport. They’re brothers. Twins. Cash is everything she’s always wanted in a guy. He’s a dangerous, sexy bad boy who wants her in his bed at any cost. He turns her insides to mush and, with just one kiss, makes her forget why he’s no good for her. Nash is everything she’s ever needed in a guy. He’s successful, responsible and intensely passionate. But he’s taken. Very taken, by none other than Marissa, Liv’s rich, beautiful cousin. That doesn’t stop Olivia from melting every time he looks at her, though. With just one touch, he makes her forget why they can never be together. Black and white turns to shades of gray when Olivia discovers the boys are hiding something, something that should make her run as far and as fast as she can. But it’s too late to run. Olivia’s already involved. And in love. With both of them. Both brothers make her heart tremble. Both brothers set her body on fire. She wants them both. And they want her. How will she ever choose between them?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

{Blog Tour} Review: FIRE DANCE by Kailin Gow + Giveaway

Click for Full Schedule


The Fire Wars #3
by Kailin Gow
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Publisher: The EDGE Books
Pages/Format: 290; Paperback & e-book
Source: Ebook/Blog Tour

The threat to Aeros Island and Earth has come earlier than believed. Mackenzie was forced to join the Water Gods, crushing whatever hope the Fire Gods had in stopping the Erosion from claiming the remainder of Earth. As she discovers another side to her, as her powers emerge, she finds herself challenged beyond anything else to make the most difficult decision in her life, a decision that could change the fate of everyone.
Purchase: Amazon

Friday, September 21, 2012

{Blog Tour} Review: True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano + Guest Post on Marlo Spencer's Love for Everything Retro

Click here to see the full blog tour schedule!


by Nancy Scrofano
Publication Date: April 20, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Fig
Pages/Format: 350; Paperback & e-book
Source: Author

Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she's quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It's her best friend, Nik, who doesn't get her fascination with all that "old junk," as he calls it. He especially doesn't understand why she's so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo's gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Powell's
Nancy Scrofano's debut chick-lit novel, True Love Way, is amazing! Marlo Spencer will lighten up even the darkest scenes of the novel with her love for retro this and retro that. She's such a trusting and open character that readers will fall in love with her and root for her happiness at each turn.

Don't expect True Love Way to be just a cute read. Despite Marlo's upbeat, optimistic voice and the humorous interludes with her best friend Nik, the story is tinted with dark secrets and emotional breakdowns. Scrofano's plot reveals itself to be realistic, twisted, engaging, and suspenseful. Some events can be seen coming from a mile away, while others will come as big surprises. Throughout all the drama, Scrofano still gets an emotional rise out of readers. The connection between the reader and Marlo will be so strong that her life becomes the life of the reader. True Love Way is the story that forces you to put yourself in the shoes of each character because of the real-life situations and relationships and outcomes.

Fortunately, Scrofano doesn't only focus on the negative. Betrayal, loyalty, forgiveness, and romance blend elegantly for the perfect balance in this light drama. When Marlo's reunion with her old boyfriend takes turns for the worse there's always something, or someone, to lift her spirits and give her hope. True Love Way is an all-around wonderful read; entertaining with a side of humor. It's a debut you don't want to miss!
*Novel provided by author in exchange for an honest review and blog tour purposes*

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Marlo Spencer is the main character in my novel, True Love Way, and she loves everything retro. She’s someone who thinks she should have been born in another decade, probably the forties or fifties. Marlo is an old soul, so she’s very enthusiastic about the past. Particularly, she loves old TV shows and films and oldies music. Her clothes are vintage, and if she buys anything new, it would come from a place like Marlo is definitely an individual and not afraid to be passionate about stuff that other people may not understand. She feels an affinity in her heart for bygone eras and refuses to let go of the nostalgia.

My own love for classic TV and films and vintage memorabilia inspired me to create Marlo. Her interests are intensified versions of my own. I wanted to portray someone who believes that it’s okay to be different and it’s okay to love what you love, regardless of what anyone else thinks. People can be afraid to show who they truly are because they worry that they won’t be accepted by others, but Marlo doesn’t hide who she is from anyone. That’s what her friends and family love about her.

My favorite show is I Love Lucy. I grew up watching it, and I think I got my sense of humor from Lucy. I’ve studied her comedy from watching the episodes over and over, and when I was a kid, I always tried to mimic her. My admiration for her runs deep, and when I watch her shows, I feel like she’s a kindred spirit. It’s like I should have been there and like that time period is where I belong. That’s how Marlo feels, and sometimes, feeling out of place comes along with that. There’s a spark within me that I can’t exactly define when I explore antiques and watch classics, though I’ve tried my best to convey my own emotions through Marlo.
I’m someone who stays up late watching Time Life infomercials, even if I’ve seen them before, just to see the oldies again. I’m someone who often says stuff like, “They don’t make _____(shows, films, music, clothes, etc.) like that anymore.” I have a rotary phone on my desk. I watch The Sound of Music at least once every year. I get an I Love Lucy calendar every year. I have yet to encounter anyone who can match my knowledge when playing the I Love Lucy trivia board game. And I always sleep better if I watch an episode of Full House before I go to bed.

Marlo and I are a lot alike, but we’re different too. Her story is completely fictional. None of what she goes through in True Love Way happened to me. We share similar personality traits and interests, but our stories are not the same. Marlo is quirky and sincere, and she has some growing up to do without sacrificing who she is. I think you’ll enjoy going along with her on her journey.

About Nancy:
Nancy Scrofano is the author of True Love Way. She is a freelance writer, and she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women’s fiction. Nancy is at work on her next novel. For more information, please visit
Connect with Nancy: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


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