Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Inhale by Kendall Grey

*This book contains graphic language, sex, and some violence.*

**Not suitable for readers under the age of 18.**

Paranormal Romance
Just Breathe #1 

Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…
After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

Source: Won book in a giveaway

My Review
Something strange happens to Zoe Morgan. After a dream in which she imagines a beautiful stranger rescuing her, she believes that a whale named Lily is calling for her help. She heads to Australia, hoping to find Lily. Gavin Cassidy, the beautiful stranger, is a Sentinel. Sentinels are protectors of the Dreaming, a place where Wydlings(humans) dream. They possess equal parts of each elemental power: Earth, Aire, Fyre and Waeter(no I'm not misspelling them, that's the way it is LOL.) The Fyre elementals have found a way into the Dreaming and have been stealing the Wyldlings fire. Fyres are able to steal fire by frightening the dreaming Wyldlings.

The story switches between the Dreaming and Realis(reality.) Zoe thinks that the Dreaming is just her subconscious trying to sort through her unresolved issues. She meets with Perfect(her name for Gavin) in the Dreaming. Zoe is Gavin's muse and is able to give him something that he has been missing. He knows that he cannot tell her that he exists in Realis, for she may already be in danger from their meetings. She doesn't realize is that she has a bigger part to play in order to save the Dreaming from the Fyres.

Will Zoe find the closure she is looking for with Lily?
Will Gavin live up to his responsibilities as a Sentinel?

My thoughts....  

Okay, you have an insanely hot rock star with tattoos, a lip ring and perfect, just rolled out of bed, hair. Then you have some smokin' hot Fyre elementals and not to mention whales. Where can you go wrong?!? This book was sexy, spunky and all around AWESOME!! I wanna make out with it and yell at it at the same time! This was only my second time reading about powers involving the elements and let me tell you, it was the better of the two.

Kendall created a spectacular paranormal experience with this book. This book concentrates more on the paranormal, but there is a great amount of romance....hot STEAMY romance!! Holy cow, you will need to fan yourself! I need to take a second to shine some light on a character that deserves some praise. Adriene is Zoe's best friend and crew mate. I would say she's the comic relief of the story. I hope Kendall doesn't kill me for putting this quote, but it made my day. "Did you see him looking at you? Like he wanted to devour you? That boy is hungry, and you're a fuck sandwich with a side of chips." ~Adriene

Kendall also donates the proceeds of her book sales to programs that educate people about whales and the challenges they face. I cannot being to tell you how awesome that is!

                            Exhale                                                Just Breathe

                           Just Breathe #2                                    Just Breathe #3

                           Available on AmazonBN                    Coming Soon


Stalker Links

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Post~Review~Giveaway: Poe's Mother by Michael Meeske

Blurb: 1975. A 15-year-old young woman. A small, dusty town. A family that worships the great American author Edgar Allan Poe, and carries his surname.
Poe's Mother is a startling new novel of dark family secrets, the lure of the supernatural, the claustrophobic isolation of a dying town and a cautionary tale of the power of words.
This is the story of Sissy Baxter and her strange relationship with Edgar and Madeline Poe - two people who claim they love her. What Sissy discovers will change her life forever, and love will never be the same.
(This book is for mature readers.)

I lived in Boston for 20 years and always considered Poe a Bostonian, even though he professed no great love for the city where he was born in 1809. Poe, of course, traveled wherever his career and money would take him, leading him ultimately to his death in Baltimore. Poe’s life was not an easy one and over the past century, many details, fact and fiction, have entered the Poe canon. Perhaps no other American writer’s work has been as analyzed, scrutinized or dissected through literary scholarship, yet important aspects of his life remain a mystery. Recently, Matthew Mercier, a writer and story teller, contributed these amazing ten observations to the Poe canon at Tor.com. Because I’m on a book tour for my novel Poe’s Mother, I couldn’t resist passing along Matthew’s post. Read, enjoy and learn more about the world of Edgar Allan Poe.
10 Weird Things About Poe 
Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review
Sissy Baxter lives with her brother, Riven, in a small town called Nodoline. Everyone in the town knows each other. Edgar lives with his mother, Madeline. Sissy tells of the Poe's and how the towns people don't like them because they're "different," and different makes you strange. Sissy spends the afternoon with Ginny and some guy friends at the pool. After some time, she decides to walk home. On her way, she bumps into Edgar, who invites her to Sunday dinner at his home. Sissy considers his proposition and continues home to check in with Riven. Riven urges Sissy to stay away from that house and the Poe's. Strange things begin happening with Sissy, making her question her sanity. Something terrible happens to her and she flees to the Poe's. She has dinner with Edgar and he proposes that she work for them during the summer. She considers taking it for the money because she cannot wait to leave Nodoline.

The Poe's are hiding a big secret and not everything is as it seems.

Will Sissy learn the truth about what is happening to her?
Is the life that she has been living, a lie?

My thoughts...

I am having the hardest time trying to wrap my head around what I just read. Psychological thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea, too much going on for me to understand at times. The book is told in Sissy and Madeline Poe's POV's. This book was extremely disturbing for me. The best way that I could describe this book, would be TRIPPY! It was definitely enjoyable. It contained some scenes towards the end that made mentally cringe. If creepy is your thing, then you should absolutely read this book. The last paragraph was seriously the biggest mind f*** EVER!! I keep asking myself "What on earth did I just read." I will have to read it again sometime to fully grasp it's meaning.

About the Author
Michael Meeske writes across genres, including romance, mystery, suspense, horror and gothic fiction, a genre that blends horror and romance, and has its roots in some of the earliest novels ever written. Poe's Motheris his latest release available exclusively on Amazon.com.  From 2008 to 2010, he served as Vice President of Florida Romance Writers (FRW). He has been a member of FRW and the Romance Writers of America since 2002. He also was an active member of the Writers' Room of Boston, a non-profit working space for novelists, poets and playwrights. Michael's writing credits include Frankenstein's Daemon, a sequel to Frankenstein, offered through Usher Books. He also is the co-author of His Weekend Proposal, a tender category romance published in August 2009 by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name of Alexa Grayson (soon to be published in Greece); Zombieville, a short story included in a 2011 anthology by FRW writers, available at Amazon.com, and Tears, a short-story published in the Fall 2000 issue of Space & Time, a magazine of fantasy and science fiction. Usher Books will publish additional works by Michael in 2012 and 2013. Some of his influences are Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters.
You can contact Michael at [email protected].

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Excerpt/Review: Soul of the Band: Making The Cut by K.L. Brady

Author K.L. Brady has stopped by today for the Soul Of The Band Blog Tour with an excerpt of the book.  

Blurb:After years of living with her mother’s mental illness, Brandy Jackson gets a new start in a new town where she finds love, frenemies, a spot in an all-white high school marching band…and lots of trouble! Music-loving 16-year-old Brandy Jackson has had it up to here with "they"--the annoying voices inside her mother's head. She isolates herself from the dreaded schizophrenic episodes with Beethoven and her iPod. Her long-suppressed desire to learn music is squelched by the burden of mental illness, at least until she arrives home from school to find her belongings on the DC streets and her mother vanished. Fortunately, Aunt Charlie comes to her rescue and moves her to Mapleton, Ohio, where she begins a new life free of her troubled past—or so she thinks.
Brandy’s plans to fly under the radar at school in order to conceal her family's shame are quashed when Jenny Lee, her new next-door neighbor and a flutist, recognizes Brandy's musical obsession and urges her to join the all-white high school marching band. Brandy obliges and soon realizes she’s traded her old troubles for new ones. Now, she stands out like a chocolate chip floating in a sea of milk; she has less than three months to learn to play her dreaded tuba-—her only ticket to earn a spot on the band; and a near kiss with the Queen B’s boyfriend lands her in triple trouble with the popular chick clique. But when another band member’s failed plot to get rid of his nemesis unexpectedly leaves Brandy in contention for the band’s most coveted position, the ensuing drama will give her the strength rise above her circumstances—or leave her paralyzed in the shame of her past.

I live my life in soundtracks—at least during the most memorable moments. I remember It’s Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog consoled me when I was knee high to a tadpole, headed for the new pond that was kindergarten. My face turned green and knees knocked during the whole bus ride. I wanted to hide, felt so out of place. What a day. Kissed my first boy to Forever by Chris Brown. Thought David and I would last that long. Turned out we barely survived the following week. Sunday as a matter fact. Totally sucked. When we first admitted Mom to the hospital for what Aunt Charlie told me was “exhaustion” (as if I hadn’t been living with her every day and didn’t know better), Mama Knew Love by Anthony Hamilton blared in my headphones. The secret had been blown. Mom wasn’t Superwoman after all. Today, Moonlight Sonata plays on my iPod. A melancholy melody for yet another miserable day. “Brandy? Brandy? Can you hear me?” Mrs. Johnson yelled, trying to raise her voice above Beethoven. “Is there anyone you can call, baby?” She lived in the apartment directly beneath ours. Funny, I’d expected this day would come sooner than later, still I hadn’t prepared, despite the two notices we’d received. Mom didn’t even bother trying to work out an arrangement with the rental office. “No ma’am,” I respond, emotionless. Staring out of her patio door, I focus on the trees bending to the will of the early summer breeze. My only thought at this moment is, thank God tomorrow’s the last day of school. For the past few weeks, I’d walk home praying with every lumbering step that the base of the soaring maple in the open field at the front of our apartment complex would be bare. The tree sees more furniture than Crate and Barrel and remains despised by everyone who lives in our development, especially the ones behind on their rent. Today, my prayers go unanswered. First, I see my rocking chair, then the brand new La-Z-Boy Mom bought with the rent money…or so it appears. Our year-old beige carpet was rolled up and strewn across Mom’s dresser. Clothes were scattered around as if the local vultures had already started to rummage. My life was at the base of a tree exposed for the world to see. The dreaded day had come, and I was powerless to stop it. Tried to play off the embarrassment as if I had no idea the apartment contents belonged to me, but every time someone looked at me sideways, I’d swear they could see the truth written all over my face. A painful stab pierces my stomach and I struggle to tune out the dreary melody and into Mrs. Johnson. “Where’s your father, baby?” “I’m not sure. He hasn’t been around to see me since I turned ten,” I respond. Dad left around the time Mom’s illness went really downhill. He couldn’t handle her, but did he believe I could? I don’t know. “Six years? My goodness child,” she says, her eyes filled with pity. She’s got four kids of her own. Her husband passed away a few months ago, and she’s on public assistance. Past her obvious concern, I sense she fears I’ll be yet another mouth to feed. “Don’t you have any family you can call?” “Mom’s parents died. Never met my father’s parents. I can try Aunt Charlie, but she’s in Ohio. Do you mind?” “Please, I don’t mind at all.” She’s relieved, not only that I have family but that I have someone who may take me off her hands. “You give her a ring. In the meantime, I’m gonna send the boys up to the big tree to find your clothes. These scavengers will be rummaging through your stuff like y’all throwin’ fifty-cent sale at the Salvation Army. Ain’t got no respect for folks’ belongings.” “Have you seen my mom?” I ask tepidly unsure of whether I want to know. “No, not since this morning, baby. She begged the sheriff not to take the furniture out, but they were under court order. Nothing they could do if she don’t pay the rent.” I nod. “Call your Aunt. You can stay here tonight…and as long as you need to. You hear me? I don’t want you worryin’ about nothing.” Don’t worry? I’m homeless, a stranger to most of the family I have left, and Mom’s missing-in-action. Mom’s parents died. Had no way to contact my dad’s parents, hadn’t seen them since the age of five or six. My mother vanished without even checking to ensure I was okay. She might be dead and I’d be clueless unless notified by the proper authorities…if they could find me. The little money I had left wouldn’t get me a cab to the end of the driveway if I did have some place to go. The only person in the world I can call is Aunt Charlie. And if I can’t reach her or she lets the phone go to voicemail as usual, I’ll have no one else to turn to. I dial Auntie’s number and with each button I press, droplets build up behind my eyes like water behind a cracked dam, waiting to break through and sweep across my cheeks. To my surprise, she answers. “Aunt Charlie?” I say, trying to stifle my sobs. “Brandy? Why do you sound so…oh no. Tell me you guys didn’t…” Hard as I try, I can’t contain the rush of tears any longer. “We got evicted today.” “Where are you?” she asks, her voice flustered. “I’m at Mrs. Johnson’s house. She lives downstairs from us.” “I’ll speak to her in a minute. Are you okay? Do you have any idea where your mother is?” “I’m fine, but Mom disappeared. Mrs. Johnson said she hasn’t seen her since this morning.” “Don’t worry, sweetheart. This is the last time for this mess! Thank God I’ve got power of attorney. I’ll call my lawyer and get on the road first thing tomorrow. You’re coming to Ohio to stay with me. Just hold on one more day.” I sniff uncontrollably, can’t catch my breath. “O-Okay.” “All right. Now, put Mrs. Johnson on the phone so I can speak with her.” Aunt Charlie and Mrs. Johnson speak for about thirty minutes. She updates Auntie on all of Mom’s recent antics. Trust me, she had nothing on the tales I could share. “Brandy?” Mrs. Johnson says. “Your Aunt’s on her way to get you. She’s gonna try and find your mother tomorrow.” “Okay,” I respond, somewhat relieved. Later, she tucks me into her old Good Times sofa and wishes me sweet dreams. The cushions sag and I sink down to the springs. Of everything removed from our apartment, I’m sad our comfy couch is outside under a tree. I hope my favorite chair will survive until Auntie arrives and puts the remaining items in storage, but my hope is slim as a slice of bologna.

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review:
Lets start from the beginning. Brandy lives in DC with her mother and things have always been rough. Problem is, Brandy's mother is mentally ill. When she doesn't take her medication, "they" make her do things. "They" being the voices in her head. Brandy's father left them when she was 10 because he couldn't deal with her mothers illness. They are often evicted because her mother does foolish things instead of paying the rent. This time, her mother decides to check herself into a hospital. Brandy believes that this will be like every other time, she'll get better then stop taking her medication. Brandy leaves DC to stay with her Aunt Charlie in Ohio.

Brandy doesn't just love music, she lives music; it's what gets her through the bad times. Moving to Ohio, she meets her new neighbor, Jenny. Jenny convinces her to join the school band. Brandy thinks this may be just what she needs to forget about her life in DC, albeit she doesn't know how to play any instruments. How hard could it be, right? Then there's Jake, the hottie from the percussion section. They start to date and everything is great...until the threatening letters start. Someone isn't happy with their interracial relationship.

Moving on...

Brandy has been learning to play the tuba but is unhappy with the situation the band is in. I won't say what situation, you will have to read it to find that out :-). After an unfortunate mishap, a spot opens up for the field commander.

Will Brandy try out for field commander and help the band?
What will transpire with Brandy's relationship with Jake?

Now for what I thought of the book..

This book is perfect for the Young Adult genre! I can't recall the last time I read a YA novel that was appropriate for all teens. I can't speak for teens because it has been quite a while since I was one, but I enjoyed this book immensely! I love how the character Brandy was written. She was so spunky and I was constantly laughing my butt off. The problems that Brandy faced in the book were so real. It's a shame that this is reality for some people. I was on the very last page and I was very close to screaming my head off. I didn't realize that this book was going to be part of a series. When I read the description on Goodreads, the title doesn't show that its #1 in the series. Well long story short, I was ready to yell at Ms. Brady for ending her book that way. Well, Facebook has proved to be quite a useful tool because I can now rest easy. I need to know what happens!! I'm very happy there will be more of Brandy's story to read. I would definitely recommend this to any teenager that asks for a suggestion. But I think you should read it even if you are an adult...it was very entertaining. Thank you, K.L Brady!

Author Links: 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Fated by Alyson Noel

YA Paranormal Romance

The Soul Seekers #1

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.
There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

Source: Reviewer purchase

My Review

First thought when I saw the cover was "Wow, Alyson Noel outdid herself." Its absolutely gorgeous!!! I was so excited to read this book after reading the authors previous series, The Immortals, which I loved! The book started a little slow for me,  I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it. After about the third or fourth chapter, I really got into it. I really enjoyed the characters. There's Daire, a spunky, witty and courageous girl, who just realizes she has abilities and responsibilities that most teenagers could never understand. Then there's Dace's twin brother to Cade, which is the bad guy in this story. He is the total opposite of Dace. Dace is sweet and absolutely gorgeous and has some abilities of his own. Then we cant forget Paloma, Daire's grandmother, who until now, Daire had never met. She learns to love and respect her for her knowledge and help with her journey of becoming a very powerful seeker. Something that was very refreshing to me was the use of the Native American culture and tales. It was really different and not something you hear about much, which I loved. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. I really cannot wait for the next installment to come. I believe this series has enough promise to be good, if not better then her previous ones.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: Way Past Midnight by Samantha Combs

Adult Horror

Samantha Combs takes us on another excursion to the dark parts of the human mind. Against the backdrop of horror and fantasy, come along for the ride and discover basic human truths amplified for both your enjoyment and your fear. Samantha introduces you to her creatures of the night and tells you stories and tales of things that only exist in the wee hours, those hours Way Past Midnight.

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review

Night Crawlers- 4 different vantage points. Some "made a fatal mistake" and hailed a cab.  I suspected a bit from one of the characters but I couldn't pin point what it was.  I didn't see how she was going to write all of the characters into this short, then BAM, it falls into place.  That was seriously disgusting, but so good!

WifeBeGone.com- Lucas has an evil step-mom and step-sister. It's his birthday and his Uncle Jimmy gives him a computer.  Jimmy shows him the ins and outs of using his new computer.  He also suggests for him to go to WifeBeGone.com when everyone is sleeping.  I can't tell you more because it will spoil the short.  I still have no idea what I just read, it's great! I don't know if the kid was just dreaming it or something supernatural happened.  Guess I'll never know LOL.

The OFFERING- That title says it all. Megan is a babysitter for the Parkers. She has always been afraid of the large oak tree in their yard. Megan goes to babysit and there is supposed to be a really big storm that evening.  They all fall asleep watching television and Megan brings Deacon and Ariel to their beds. Then strange things start to happen. This story was slightly predictable but entertaining none the less.

Killer Shoes- Darla is a compulsive shoe shopper. She reminds me of the woman in the movie "In Her Shoes." She's very homely in her normal attire but not when it comes to her shoes. She goes to visit her usual shoe boutique and searches down to the very last aisle. She spots a pair of sky high leather red heels. She buys the shoes and puts them on immediately. The shoes make her do terrible things. This short was by far my favorite. I liked the story and she almost reminded me of a femme fatale when she was wearing the shoes.

The ANGLERS- OMG  OMG I changed my mind. This was my favorite!! I decided to write about the shorts as soon as I read them so they were fresh in my mind. Samantha saved the best for last. This one was about two co-workers/best friends who would go on their "special" fishing trips.  They have a new boss at work who doesn't know a thing about construction. After a bad meeting with the boss, they decide to take him on their "special" trip. I saw this story going in a totally different direction. I'm glad it wasn't predictable because it made the outcome that much better.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this collection of shorts. Even though this collection is adult horror, I think a majority of them would be good for mature teens as well. Except for Killer Shoes, of course. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a quick, scary read.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy

Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Blurb: "Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..."

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.

Source: Received the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Did not receive any payment for review.

My Review:

The story starts off with the aftermath of a viral epidemic. A virus has taken hold of the population, turning them into vampires. These aren't the glamorized kind of vampires, they are mindless blood-sucking fiends. They almost remind me of zombies except they need blood to survive, and they have a kind of hypnotic trance that can trick most humans. April is somehow immune to their tricks and is trying to survive with her mother and brother.

The first few chapters follow their journey. They live in a bunker in the mountains but venture towards the city for food and weapons. On one of their outings, April's family disappears with only one clue: tire treads. April searches Las Vegas for days with no trace of her family. On her journey, she attacks hives of the feral vampires in hopes of finding them. What she doesn't expect is to come across a hybrid vampire who is able to speak and walk in the sun.

April is introduced to the hive of hybrid vampires. She believes that they may be able to help her find her family, but not without a cost.  Then there is Rye, one of the hybrid leaders, that is fascinated with April. I won't go into details on that one :-) you have to experience that for yourself.

Will April get the help she needs from the hybrids to find her family?
Or will she die trying...

My thoughts...

This book rocked my world! I have just recently started reading post-apocalyptic novels and this one tops the cake. The imagery is excellent and it felt like I was really there. I have never been to Las Vegas, but I feel like I know the places pretty well from Alexia's description.  I feel like a lot of YA books nowadays have girls that are just plain annoying or whiny. This was not the case with this book. April is such a BAD ASS and I love her! She is a kick-butt, self taught warrior and I enjoyed reading about her journey. The story has a touch of romance and it's perfect given the circumstances.  April was hesitant about her feelings for Rye, rightfully so, considering he's a hybrid. I'm kind of glad that this story didn't end with a huge cliff hanger because I probably would have cussed Alexia out LOL. I cannot wait for the next book in the installment. I hope it will be just as action packed as the first. Of course, I would like to have more April and Rye time :-)

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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