Friday, October 23, 2015

Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Castle Collection


Castle Collection

Sweet & Sassy Anthology: Castle Collection

Readers will be delighted with five sweet, romance novellas in Sweet & Sassy: Castle Collection. In this charming anthology, you will fall in love again and again.

Dangerous Truth by Cindy M. Hogan
All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle
A Savage Ghost by Donna K. Weaver
The Ghost of Dunlow Manor by Paige Timothy
Rose of Sherwood by Kaye P. Clark















DANGEROUS TRUTH
Olivia loves everything about Belgium. So far, her humanitarian trip has gone perfectly--that is, until she sees a picture of a man she thinks is her father in the newspaper. The father who abandoned her family nine years ago without a word.

She tries to forget she ever saw his photo. He's forgotten about her, after all. But soon it's apparent that she can't leave without knowing what happened.

Armed with years of hurt and the help of a gorgeous French photographer, she decides to confront him and his secrets once and for all.

Unfortunately, her father seems determined to keep those secrets hidden. . . and Olivia is one of them.

ALL BY MY SELFIE
While on vacation at McLeod Castle in Scotland, Gwen Mackenzie has nightly dreams of an ancient warrior bound by a curse. During the day, she sees Niall, nicknamed #ScottishBoyfriend. Oh, and can that man rock a kilt! As she gets to know him, she realizes that Niall is the warrior from her dreams, cursed to live as a ghost for the past five hundred years, to see life around him but never sense any of it—except Gwen.

A SAVAGE GHOST
Lia Savage reluctantly puts her dream of opening a dessert boutique on hold to help her dad remodel a castle he’s inherited in Washington State. Soon, a specter targets her younger sister.

Lia enlists the help of Coop Montgomery, the head gardener and her former crush. As they search together for a way to rid the castle of its ghost, the romance she used to dream about with him kindles. But Lia’s gentle giant means to stay in Washington while she’s determined to return to California. She must find the courage to face both the ghost and her future.

With Coop. Or without him.

THE GHOST OF DUNLOW MANOR
Bestselling author Alexis St. John needs an escape, and Nate, her personal assistant, thinks that a trip to a real castle in England will be just the thing. What neither of them planned on, though, was to encounter an actual ghost.

Lady Catherine Dunlow hates the idea of sharing her castle with tourists and does everything she can to chase them out, much to the amusement of her roguish suitor. But when her two newest guests stumble upon a mystery surrounding her death, she decides to let them stay.

With an eternal fate in the balance, Nate and Alexis must move quickly to bring the killer to light before Catherine is trapped forever.

ROSE OF SHERWOOD
Lady Rosamund, Baroness of Ravenswood Manor, is a destitute widow, imprisoned in Nottingham Castle. When the prince declares she must marry the ruthless man who had seized Ravenswood, she escapes with the help of a band of outlaws to Sherwood Forest. Her first love, a battle-worn knight, promises to help her find safety at a convent. Confused and afraid, her heart yearns for love. But are the risks too high?
About the Authors

Cindy M. Hogan is inspired by the unpredictable teenagers she teaches. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. Most of all, she loves to laugh.
Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also lived in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and goes hiking in the nearby mountains.
Oh, and she’s two people, Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

Donna K. Weaver: A wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Navy brat, Army veteran, and karate black belt. Donna is an avid cruiser, having sailed the Pacific five times. She’s lived in South Korea, the Philippines, Germany, and many US states. She and her husband raised six children and currently have nine grandchildren.

Paige Timothy has been writing for as long as she can remember… and probably before that, too, because her memory gets spotty at a certain point. She loves watching romantic comedies, blushes when the characters do something embarrassing, and sighs in all the right places.

Kaye P. Clark was born in New York City, grew up in southern California and raised her family living on remote cattle ranches in Arizona. She now makes her home in Idaho where she works part-time at the county library and teaches art to young children. She’s a mother and grandmother with a very patient husband who puts up with her passion for writing.

My Review:

Four out of five stars

This offers a great collection of stories for those who love Castles and romance. Most take place in a contemporary setting, but the last one does feature a medieval setting. Each tale features a heroine that has some pretty dark secrets to overcome, and a handsome hero who helps her face those demons. The ghost tales were my favorites! I love a good story of a haunted castle and this collection offered three. A great mix of suspense, humor, and mystery with a generous helping of passionate kisses. I liked this collection.


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Autumn Masquerade


This is the start of a new line of clean romances called Timeless Regency Collection. They feature multiple authors like the Timeless Romance Collections, but the stories were a bit longer. I really enjoyed each one, and I can't wait for the next one.

Timeless Regency Collection: Three Brand New Novellas from Bestselling Regency Romance Authors...

A MERRY DANCE by Josi S. Kilpack. When Lila overhears her uncle talking about a man coming to look for property in the county, she doesn’t think twice, until her uncle says he hopes Lila will find enough interest to marry the man. How can she marry someone named Mortimer Luthford, not to mention that his advanced age of thirty-three, and especially since she’s already in love with her absent cousin Neville? But when Mortimer arrives, Lila has to try every trick known to women to act not interested in the rather fascinating man, which proves a very difficult façade to maintain.
 

This was a delightful story full of a lot of laugh-inducing antics and wonderful characters. I liked Lila from the moment we discovered her eavesdropping on her uncle. Her attempts to make Mortimer dislike her ended in disaster everytime. It was great to see their relationship develop into something so real and deep. A cute and satisfying romance.

UNMASKING THE DUKE by Donna Hatch. The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation and takes comfort behind a mask. She dances with a charming masked man, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she’d ever accept.

It was great to finally get Hannah's story every since she was introduced in The Stranger She Married.  Her shyness added to her character depth, and I loved how she could also be spunky and hold her own against the pompous Duke of Suttenberg. The masked ball presented a wonderful view into another side of both characters. Their banter and passion kept the story moving quickly. I didn't understand the Duke's faulty memory concerning his previous encounters with Hannah, but he grew on me as I learned more about him. A wonderful romance. 

WHAT’S IN A NAME by Nancy Campbell Allen. Penelope Timely has a terrible secret. She’s been writing letters to the Duke of Wilmington, pretending to be her ever-proper twin sister, Persephone. Now, the duke has written that he’ll be coming for the Autumn Masquerade Ball and Festival. Penelope will have to continue the charade while the duke is in town in order to protect her sister. The Duke of Wilmington isn’t fooled for a moment, but instead of confessing that he knows about the deception, he finds himself utterly charmed by Penelope and jumps into the game of deception to see how far the twin sisters will take it.

I loved this novella! The twins were as different as night and day, but were close. Although, I couldn't understand how Persephone could let her sister be treated so terribly by their aunt. Her antics with the town doctor caused poor Penelope a lot of trouble. I liked how the Duke recognized the real woman he'd been corresponding with right away. Their relationship, with all its miscommunication, was charming. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All my opinions are my own.*

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lord Fenton's Folly


Lord Fenton's FollyLord Fenton's Folly by Josi Kilpack

Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt-and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him. However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well. Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton's life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice.

Excerpt

Fenton groaned and put his saucer back on the tray, making an instantaneous decision that eased his mind quite a lot. To look at every woman he met as a potential wife was irritating, and after only two weeks he was quite tired of it. Perhaps the solution was to orchestrate a match that would not lay all aspects of matrimony at his feet all at once. Perhaps treating it as a business arrangement would help it to be exactly that, thereby freeing him from all the discomfiting realities he was not yet prepared to face. "I leave for Fentonview on Tuesday and shan't be back for a week. Courting is such a boring prospect, and you yourself said that to become infatuated with anyone might become a complication." He paused, considered one last time what he was going to say next, and decided he felt as good about it as could be expected. "You like Alice Stanbridge and feel she would make a good wife for me?"

Lady Chariton looked confused and perhaps a bit concerned. "I do, but-"

"Then that is good enough for me," Fenton said, rising to his feet and smiling broadly at his mother, who stared back at him in surprise. "I do find her appealing and what's more she is not a silly little thing without a practical thought in her head."

His mother's eyes widened and her eyebrows rose upon her forehead. Fenton struck a pose of consternation, with his thumb and forefinger on his chin as he looked toward the window a moment, then nodded crisply and turned back to his mother who still looked shocked by his pronouncement.

"Yes, I think that Alice Stanbridge is exactly what I should like in a wife, and so I shall see to it before I leave for Hampshire-I see no reason to wait until Michaelmas and might as well get it over with." He leaned in and kissed his mother's hand. "Thank you for your help, Mama. I shall let you know how she responds to my proposal."


My Review:

I loved it!

Josi S. Kilpack’s Lord Fenton’s Folly transports readers to the colorful ballrooms of 1800’s England. The many social rules and exquisite clothing, given in fascinating detail, makes it feel like another world, but the multi-faceted characters, and their struggles, are timeless. The love story is delightful in its complexity and its rocky path makes the ending all the more satisfying.

The story follows the complicated relationship of Alice, a young woman who feels out of place in society and her family, and the foppish Lord Fenton. Alice falls in love with the mischievous son of nobility as a child, but her marriage of convenience shatters all her youthful fantasies. As she navigates the treacherous grounds of her marriages to a man who confuses her with his fluctuating personality, she finds a strength and courage within herself. Her fortitude helps her troubled husband rethink his wasted life and dark past.

Lord Fenton tries to outrun his family’s dysfunctional history and secrets by refusing to accept responsibility. Alice’s quiet self-confidence and gentle guidance shows him a better way. But even more heartbreaking secrets come into the light and threaten to shatter the tentative peace between the couple. The truths that come out are shocking and devastating, but the characters find peace in each other. Though the romance is slow going, the love story is sweet and compelling because of all they face and overcome together.

The characters are wonderfully imperfect and resonate with what it means to be human. They both handle things badly at time, but try to learn from their mistakes. Though some learn faster than others. Their feisty debates bring some humor that breaks up the darker moments that can feel a bit oppressive at time. This is not a typical fluffy, perfect romance. It delivers a deeper plot and relationship woven into the social activities and events of this era that doesn’t disappoint.
A great read for those who enjoy poignant love stories and a little mystery. This clean romance will delight young women with their own dreams of happily-ever-after.


Enjoy!

JosiAuthor Josi Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep's Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute - but not very friendly - cat.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven



Caretakers Guide to FablehavenThe Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

This guidebook to the Fablehaven magical preserve is filled with everything a new Caretaker might need to know in order to survive. There are entries detailing important information about artifacts large and small, a complete bestiary of creatures (from fairies to trolls to satyrs), a guide to identifying demons, dragons, and wizards as well as valuable insights into the other magical preserves.
Immerse yourself into the secret knowledge that has been handed down through the generations by reading the updates and notes written in the margins by the former Caretakers of Fablehaven, including Grandpa Sorenson, Kendra, and Seth. Fully-illustrated, this unique encyclopedia has gathered the world of Fablehaven into one volume.






My Review: 

A fun, visual guide for fans of the Fablehaven series. Brandon Mull delivers a detailed guide to the awesome artifacts, creatures, and more that readers may remember from the series. Brandon Dorman’s sketches, along with some colorful notations from some familiar characters, really bring this guide to life. The comments from the satyrs are particularly delightful. While the guide offers much of the same information woven through the previous books, it is handy to have all that information given in one location. There’s also greater details about things that were only briefly mentioned in the series that helps bring greater depth. The visual depictions offer readers a chance to see many of the creatures and artifacts they could only imagine before. Young readers and adults who loved this world of magical havens will enjoy reentering this place of both wonder and danger.

Enjoy!

Content: Clean
Purchase Links: Amazon or Deseretbook.com
Source: digital book for review

For an added treat here is an excerpt from the Guide's introduction. So fun!

If you are in possession of this book you are assumed to be the caretaker or an apprentice caretaker of Fablehaven. By now you’ve been introduced to the world of mythical and magical creatures. However, there is still much to learn. Previous caretakers of Fablehaven thought it would be helpful to create aCaretaker’s Guide specifically for those tasked with the job of nurturing, protecting, and surviving this preserve and its inhabitants. Do not be fooled. Fablehaven is an unpredictable and dangerous place. However, the collective knowledge gathered within the pages of this bestiary will give you the knowledge and wisdom needed to not only survive but to thrive. The creatures of Fablehaven are either light or dark, not necessarily good or evil. In order to be good, one must recognize the difference between right and wrong and strive to choose the right. To be truly evil one must do the contrary. Being good or evil is a choice. This is not so with the creatures of Fablehaven. What they are largely governs how they act. Some are inherently builders, some are nurturers, some are playful. Some are inherently destroyers, some are deceivers, some crave power. Some love light, some love darkness. But change their nature, and without much resistance, their identities follow. Like a fairy becoming an imp, or an imp regaining her fairyhood. Much counsel and advice has been passed down through generations and given to the new caretakers of this preserve. Perhaps the most invaluable piece of advice that has ever been given is this: Those who are careful to cause no mischief, work no magic, and inflict no harm are protected by the foundational treaty of Fablehaven. This truth alone may be your strongest ally and your only defense. One final note. The signs leading up to the front gate were not always there. In the late eighteenth century, before the guest register that controls access to Fablehaven was created, two poachers entered the property in search of big game. Needless to say, they found it. Or it found them. Many days later, the resident caretaker found them as well. Or at least he found their bodies of petrified stone. And thus the first signs outside the gates of Fablehaven were posted. As caretaker you have accepted a most noble assignment. Keep your eyes open. Obey with exactness. Take risks only as the last resort and you will have a better chance at seeing another sunrise. Welcome to Fablehaven.

BrandonAuthor Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Beyonders and Fablehaven series. Brandon resides in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and four children. He spent two years living in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile where he learned Spanish and juggling. He once won a pudding eating contest in the park behind his grandma’s house, earning a gold medal.








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Friday, September 25, 2015

Fires of Invention

Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and “invention” is a curse word.

Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion—an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on—and quite possibly their very lives.





My Review:

Five out of five stars

Popular young adult author J. Scott Savage delivers another thrilling adventure sure to excite young readers. His latest young adult series, Mysteries of Cove, starts with a bang. Cool inventions, dangerous secrets, and a wild ride that excites the imagination in readers of all ages with a hint of fantasy.

Wow! I loved, loved this book. I was sold from the moment I saw the cover.  A mechanical dragon? Yes, please! I’m a sucker for all things dragons. Then he threw in a city built into a mountain, a society that outlawed creativity and inventions, and a dangerous secret. Who can resist that? I loved seeing how a society that outlawed any form of improvement could function. The Chancellor was a huge annoyance and I enjoyed how he was dealt with in the end. Trenton and Kallista’s friendship, with its rocky start, warmed my heart at how they worked together to save their city. Trenton's character had great growth as he went from fearful follower to someone who believed in their own abilities.

Enjoy!

Content: Clean
Purchase Links: Amazon or Deseretbook

Source: Paperback from publisher

Friday, September 18, 2015

Secrets of Neverak

Henry Vestin always believed that, despite being a carpenter with no training in swordplay or survival, he could lead Isabelle and his friends to safety. He thought he could defy an emperor and protect Isabelle from harm. He was certain that love and friendship would help them survive.
He was wrong.
The second volume in the Tale of Light and Shadow series follows Henry and his friends after the disastrous battle at the Iron Pass. Horrors await the band of travelers in strange new lands. Crippled and broken, Henry must rely on his friends more than ever. New allies and foes find them at every turn, but which are friendly and which are deadly? Isabelle, now a slave in Neverak, finds herself surrounded by enemies, uncertain about the fate of her friends, and relying on only herself to survive. The Emperor moves forward with his plans of conquest, spurred on by the Seer’s dark prophecy, but he has not forgotten those who defied him.
Return to the world of Atolas, where swords and daggers extend life or end it, where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships, and where magic is feared by all but a few.



My Review:


Five out of five stars

The second book in Jacob Gowans high-fantasy series delivers even more heart-pounding adventures and life altering revelations than the first book. A Tale of Light and Shadow series presents a world where the price of magic is high, and the quest for justice and love is fraught with dangers.
Secrets of Neverak picks up right after the stunning ending of A Tale of Light and Shadow. Henry Vestin and his friends are left broken after their defeat and the loss of Isabelle, Henry’s fiancé. Now with a useless arm and a broken spirit, Henry wonders how he can ever be trusted to save the woman he loves from becoming the Emperor’s latest concubine. Meanwhile, wars and rebellions are brewing throughout the world of Atolas. The friends must face their inner demons and stand united if they are to succeed in their quest to save their friends. Loyalties are fragile when love turns bitter, and insecurities and vices win.

I loved this book. The first one, like many fantasy series, started out a bit slow but when it picked up, I was hooked. The world’s politics, magic system, and cultures were woven together seamlessly to create something I was able to easily lose myself in. While the first book may have dragged at the beginning, this one certainly didn’t. It opened with Henry recovering from the wounds he received in the battle at the end of the last book, and the friends entering the Iron Pass—a forest where strange voices whispered your darkest secrets and drove you mad. Such an intense moment! I loved the crazy and dangerous situations the characters faced and often held my breath wondering how they would survive yet again.

Jacob Gowans did a fantastic job creating a diverse cast of travelers with great combinations of weaknesses and strengths. There are multiple narrators so I got a great understanding for all the characters and their pasts. I found I cared about each of them, though there were a couple of bad guys I wanted to know more about, like the creepy Seer. Even the Emperor has some qualities that make him more human. I’ve struggled to find book where I cared about the character and found the plot gripping. This book delivered on both accounts.

I only had one problem with the book, it ended on another cliff-hanger! When does the next book come out? The group made some difficult decisions at the end. We’ll have to see if they work out in the next book. Can’t wait!

This is a young adult fantasy so it is a little faster read than some fantasy books I’ve read. (Brandon Sanderson’s books, anyone?) The content, despite one of the character cloistered with concubines was very clean. No language or sex, and the battles were epic without gruesome details. I felt comfortable reading this to my kids, and it addressed some great ideas about believing in oneself and forgiveness.

Enjoy!


This book is available for purchase at Amazon or Deseret Book

Source: Book from publisher in exchange for honest review

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Power of the Matchmaker

Title: Power of the Matchmaker
Author: Karey White, Rachael Anderson, Sheralyn Pratt, Jaima Fixsen, Kelly Oram, Heather B. Moore, Julie Wright, Heidi Ashworth , Taylor Dean, Michele Paige Holmes, Janette Rallison, Regina Sirois 
Series: Power of the Matchmaker
Publisher: Mirror Press
Release Date: Nov 3, 2015








Book Summary:

A prequel novella to the POWER OF THE MATCHMAKER Series
Mystical . . . Beautiful . . . Romantic . . .
12 novels by 12 bestselling authors
Released once a month in 2016
Read the matchmaker’s story to find out where it all starts . . .

Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen.
Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu.
Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker.

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars-Awesome!

A great start to a series I can't wait to read. Mae Lin's own love may be tragic, but she's able to find contentment and peace with her choices in the end. The glimpse into the history and culture of China drew me in, and gave a deeper appreciation for the things woman had to face over the centuries. Her limited choices on how to provide for herself led to some pretty tense moments in the novella. I love how she grows to accept her role to help others despite the personal cost. Also, I loved learning more about the art of matchmaking and aspect of a role I had never considered. The hint of magic added a gentle mysticism that fit the atmosphere perfectly.

A clean, short read that isn't the typical romance story, but shows that true love is both selfless and powerful.

Enjoy!

Content: Clean. (There is reference to prostitutes and the main character is nearly forced into service as a nude artist.)

Source: ebook for review

Available for preorder. Amazon

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Write from the Inside

I’ve recently started working to get back into the writing sphere after a hiatus as a new mom. Writing articles and books now take up a large amount of my free (ha ha) time. Through them all, I’ve noticed a common theme.

Write who you are!

I believe that's exactly how James Scott Bell put it in Plot & Structure, though many authors have similar advice. And when the majority believes something it must be true, right? Naturally, I then had to evaluate what inside me could make for some interesting writing. And I’ll tell you what I came up with . . . nothing.

At first. 

There was nothing there but the overwhelming insecurities I’ve fought my whole life. Nothing inside me was cool and unique. I was average and often overlooked by others. My life’s mission in high school was to be invisible. If one is not noticed, one cannot be hurt. And I’m awkward. Not the quirky, fun awkward, but the “make everyone else uncomfortable around me” awkward. I open my mouth and, though I carefully think about the words, gibberish comes out. These thoughts plagued me for a minute or two. Followed quickly by the usual negative comparisons. 

“No wonder I’m not published and successful like so and so.”

Blah, blah, de blah.

Well, I could have stayed here for an infinite length of time. Me and my all-too familiar dark cave. But that’s rather depressing, so I dug deeper. And I found . . . me.

Those very things I’d seen as negatives have shaped me into who I am today. For better or worse. (I choose to believe the former.) The experience of often getting lost and forgotten in the crowd has made me more mindful of those around me. I notice when people look sad or lonely. I try hard to care about the individual. I’m observant (when not lost in imaginary worlds).

The super power of awkwardness provides a freedom I’m glad I have. I know I don’t fit in, so I’ve learned to embrace the awkwardness that is me. And found some people actually enjoy it. (Pretty sure they’re nuts, but I’ll go with it.) It turns out that stumbling through life creates some pretty hilarious and memorable moments for myself and others.

Many other things, both good and bad, make me who I am. And that person changes from day to day as new experiences and opportunities shape me further.

The characters I write develop the same way. They appear one dimensional at first, but as I write complexities that spawn from both their negative and positive traits add depth to them and the plot. I’ve started round one of revisions for my current WIP and find the person I cast my character to be has grown to something bigger. While this does mean many rewrites are needed to adjust the plot and characters, I know my story will be stronger in the long run.

Just as my self rewrites continue to improve who I am.


Character is fluid. We have so much power as the authors of our lives to become so much more than the rough draft we start out with. It’s our choice whether that person will be awesome or not. We all have that seed of greatness inside. What do we choose to do with it?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Janitors: Heroes of the Dustbin Review

Janitors




Janitors 5
Janitors 5: Heroes of the Dustbin by Tyler Whitesides

Spencer knew that from the moment the Founding Witches had returned, the Rebel Janitors had begun disappearing. So many schools were defenseless now, the students' minds rotting from Toxite breath while the janitors vanished without a trace. Then it became personal.

Although their enemies are powerful, their allies few, Spencer and his team of Rebels are not giving up! But what chance do a handful of kids and one rescued janitor have against the combined evil of the Founding Witches and the Sweepers? Can the Rebels close the source of all Glop and stop the Toxites once and for all-or is the world doomed to fall under the control of the sinister Bureau of Educational Maintenance? This explosive series finale is a gripping ride through conflicted loyalties and daring escapes, unexpected alliances and betrayals, and an ending you will never forget!




add to goodreads

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars

Since the cliff hanger ending of book four in the Janitors series, I've held my breath (I've the purple face to prove it.) for the next book. So worth the wait! The latest book jumps into what Spencer and the gang have had to deal with since the return of the Witches and the death of Walter. After all the setback and betrayals, Spencer would be justified in quitting, but he's determined to win this fight despite the overwhelming odds. All the allies gathered through the series must unite to stop the BEM, once and for all. 

This is a fast-paced adventure that kids will love! New magical artifacts and danger (an plenty of slime and gross humor) keep readers on a thrilling ride to the end. The growth of not only Spencer, but also his friends, over the series was great to see. Their friendship made all the difference in the final results of the battle for education. My favorite part was finally finding out the truth about the Toxites and how they came to be. Brilliant! And the ending delivers many surprises I didn't see coming. A great family read to launch a brand new school year for kids and their parents (Admit it, you totally love the goo and garbage). 

Enjoy!


TylerAuthor Tyler Whitesides

TYLER WHITESIDES worked as a janitor at a middle school while attending college. It was there he discovered the many secrets and mysteries that can be hidden in a dusty school. Tyler graduated from Utah State University with a degree in music. He enjoys fly fishing in the mountains, cooking, and vacuuming. Tyler and his wife, Connie, live in beautiful northern Utah.












$25 Blog Tour giveaway

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Ends 9/25/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com eGift Card or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Get Fourteen Books for only .99!

Of Ice and Snow

Released exclusively in the Daring Hearts Box Set

Otec thought destiny forgot him…

The middle child of the clanchief, Otec is the overlooked son in an overflowing house. He dreams of escape and adventure, so when a mysterious stranger offers both, he doesn’t need persuading. But when his faraway village comes under attack, Otec will do anything to save the people he loves. Cut off from his nation, he must trust a foreign woman with a dubious past as they race to save his clan. But nothing is what it seems, and Otec may have to trust his enemy if he is to become the leader he was never meant to be.

Destiny is not always kind.
 
For a limited time, 99 cents. After Aug. 24th, the price goes up. After August 30th, the Daring Hearts Box Set disappears forever.

Amazon-http://smarturl.it/Daringhearts
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Marrying Christopher Review

Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes
A Regency Romance

From Amazon Top 100 Regency Romance author, Michele Paige Holmes, comes MARRYING CHRISTOPHER, a regency romance from the Hearthfire Romance series. 

Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea. 

Other Hearthfire Romances: 
Saving Grace 
Loving Helen

My Review:

5 out 5 stars. Loved it!

When Christopher Thatcher boards a new steamship Amanda May on his quest for a new life, he doesn’t anticipate danger and romance finding him. He’s determined to leave behind all the sins of his father’s name and make himself a new life in the promise of America’s distant shores. His eagerness also stems from a desire to be free from the responsibility he’s felt all his life to tend to his sisters at the expense of his own needs and wants. He’s determined to not be caught in any pretty female’s trap for a long, long time. But when Miss Marsali Abbott, a woman bound for the life of an indentured servant in America, steps on board in great distress, he can’t stop old habits. Her quick wit and smile definitely don’t help his cause to stay aloof. But her need might be one that will cost him too much of his freedom.

I liked the dialogue between Christopher and Marsali. They balance each other well and a couple of their exchanges made me laugh in their united quest to endure the other two passages on the trip. Marsali’s giving nature was backed by enough inner strength to make her neither martyr nor victim. Her past is riddled with dark memories, even her trip to the ship was full of danger, but she cheerfully faces things with a strong determination that helps her survive. The fact that Christopher also had a rough history made it so the characters could empathize with each other rather than one coming across as strong and the other in need of constant rescue. I rather enjoyed the departure from the normal rich man takes pity on less fortunate female story. Though that is in there to some degree, but I like how Marsali chooses happiness over fortune in the end. Also, I loved the look of this digital book. Sometimes reading a book on an e-reader lacks the visual appeal of the physical book, but the chapter script and format were beautiful.


Just a quick warning, this is the third book in a series. I had read the first, but not the second so I could follow who the characters were in the beginning. However, there is mention of a pirate causing trouble for the family that left me a bit confused. Since it does play a crucial role to what happens to Christopher and Marsali it might me a good idea to read Loving Helen, the book before this one. I know I plan to go back and read it. Not just to fill in the gaps, but so I can enjoy another book about this intriguing family who found a way to overcome adversity and be better for it. 

Enjoy!

Paperback version will be available August 30th on Amazon. Kindle version can be found here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Discern Review

Nicole Williams is an Arete—a fourth child with magical abilities—yet no matter how hard she tries, she can’t Channel her power. In fact, she seems to be the only student at Katon University who fails at magic. 

That doesn’t stop magic from finding her. It starts with possessed books and magical currents before moving quickly to freaky shadows and cursed spiders. Nicole turns to her best friend, Lizzie, for help, along with fellow student Austin Young, who is considered by all a magical rarity. He also happens to be the hottest guy on campus and just might be interested in her. 

Nicole soon finds herself competing to be included on a university-led expedition to Arches National Park. She is determined to show everyone, but mostly herself, that she does belong. Yet, to qualify for the trip, she must produce at least a speck of Wind magic, and that appears to be impossible. 

As the competition progresses, Nicole wonders if she’s making the right choice—especially when she learns that the strange fossils they’ll be studying in Arches might not be as dead as everyone thinks. 




Anyone who is a fan of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett will enjoy Author Andrea Pearson’s latest series Katon University. Discern has just the right amount of creepiness (the spiders made my skin crawl for hours after) to make me think twice about turning the lights off at night without the gruesomeness of most horror books. Marketed as a paranormal romance, it is a breath of fresh air in this genre. The Aretes, magical fourth children, and the unique manifestations of their elemental magic definitely piqued my interest.

Although the book follows Nicole, an Arete who struggles to channel her magic, her best friend, Lizzie, and the other characters are just as compelling. I especially enjoyed Austin Young’s character and his interactions with Nicole. He has a lot to deal with himself but when his friend’s needs help he steps up.

The pace of the book was great! It flowed smoothly from one scene to the next. By the end, I saw how everything worked together even though many elements were introduced. The ending was satisfying for a first book but also left plenty of questions to be answered in subsequent books. It will be great to learn more about this unique magical system and the things still haunting Nicole’s every step.


Discern is currently free on Amazon