Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway (Blog Exclusive- $10 Amazon GC): Bound by Duty (Bound Series Book 1) by Stormy Smith

Not that I wasn’t expecting a fun YA/NA romp when reading this book, but I was surprised by just how sweet it was. The main character, Amelia, and her older brother, Cole, grew up with a slightly unhinged, distant father. Amelia flies the coop as soon as she turns 18 to live near her brother and attend college. Never told why or the magnitude of the powerful magic she contains, Amelia is constantly having to battle her magical outbursts. Also bound to marry a prince of the evil tyrant queen, Amelia is stuck between a trying to be a naïve 18 year old and the hope for her race (to be exposed later).

After falling for Aiden, losing him a couple of times to stupidity then loyalty to her people, Amelia’s heart is at once broken and mended.

The novel follows the time table of Amelia’s discovery of who and what she is to facing her ultimate enemy and having to leave the life she has built with family, friends, and the guy who stole her heart.
I really enjoyed Amelia, Cole, her best friend “B”, Micah, and Aiden. Although her life has been a suck fest, Amelia continually retains her naïve, but absolute teenager nature. I can’t count the number of times I mentally swatted her for going in a multitude of wrong choices, but the fun little twists of the author’s plot lines kept the novel moving. An entertaining YA fantasy read.



Her stark white hair fell down around her face. For the first time in one hundred years it wasn’t pulled back in a waist-length braid. Her crimson robes were torn and stained. She bit back a groan, her lips a tight line as the pain ripped through her once again. The invisible knife raked its way up her back as wounds no one could see flayed her skin and weakened her resolve. It had been days of this and she wasn’t sure if she could continue. As she looked up and met the queen’s eyes, Lavignia pushed the anger down and forced compassion to rise yet again.

“What is it you hope to learn, Julia? What is it you think you have to gain from all of this?” she asked weakly as she tugged on the restraints that kept her tethered to the heavy wooden chair. Her power was already weak when the Hunters had found her, and the enchanted chamber had dampened what remained to a tiny flame.

The room was dark, but the sun was slowly rising. An orange and pink glow filtered through the small window above Julia’s head. The colorful rays that should have resembled hope of a new day only shed light on the reality that Lavignia would never leave this room alive.

Julia stepped from the shadows and walked slowly toward Lavignia. She stopped and crouched down, putting herself at eye level.

“Oh, Livvy, dear. Don’t do that,” she said, her tone patronizing as her ice crystal eyes narrowed. “Don’t pretend you can still look down on me from your Elder tower. Don’t pretend you can utter your polite words and suddenly I’ll remember who you are versus who I am. I know exactly who I am. I am the one who rules them all. I am the one they will bow down to and worship. I am the Queen. Not you. Or your sisters. Your time is done.”

She looked back over her shoulder to the Hunter who stood in the still dark corner of the room and nodded. The Hunter’s eyes burned bright orange as Lavignia’s screams echoed off the walls. Julia raised her hand and the screams dropped to whimpers. With that same hand, she reached out and took Lavignia’s.

“Livvy, look at me,” she commanded. Dazed, dim violet eyes struggled to focus and find hers. Julia tightened her grip, digging her scarlet nails into Lavignia’s already tender flesh, making her yelp and their eyes connect.

“Livvy, you need to tell me,” she said. “I know you see it. You knew this day would come and you know I won’t stop until you tell me. I scoured the lands for you. I know there are others left, but they can be saved. You can save them, old friend. You just have to tell me.” Her tone was persuasive and gentle, but the frantic look that passed through her eyes told Lavignia the truth the queen couldn’t hide — she was scared.

“You won’t harm the others? You will let them live out their lives hidden and free? You will swear an oath?” Her words trailed off and Lavignia’s eyes closed, the torture of the last few days taking its toll. She could only hope the oath would keep her people safe.

She didn’t see the triumph that straightened Julia’s posture or the sneer that twisted her thin, painted lips. “Of course, my dear. I swear to you that I will not seek out and harm the remaining Elders. I swear that I will not take their freedom.”

“Your blood,” Lavignia said, her words barely audible.

Julia removed a small dirk from the folds of her skirts and repeated the words as she slid the blade down her palm. As the deep red drop hit the floor, she sent a small wave of power through to heal the wound, reveling in the knowledge that she had won.

“Now, Livvy, darling, you must tell me.” When Lavignia didn’t respond, Julia whipped back around to the still silent Hunter. “Help her. Give her what she needs. NOW!” she commanded, panic finally breaking through her controlled facade.

The Hunter flicked a wrist at Lavignia and she suddenly straightened, her eyes luminescent and shining at the welcome invasion of power that flooded her system, giving her renewed life for a few precious seconds.

With sudden clarity, she saw the future that had eluded her. She looked down on Julia with authority and pity as the words that would cement the queen’s fate fell from her lips.

“You will have your time, but it will end. She will be born to the one who got away. Inside her, the five families will merge and only a man who is both king and companion will tame the wild and set her free. She will be your undoing. She will lead them all.”

Julia reared back, Lavignia’s words not the ones she expected. Seconds later, her dirk was buried deep in Lavignia’s chest. Lavignia collapsed back against the chair, a content smile mocking the queen from her lifeless face.

Julia’s breath heaved in and out in short bursts as she turned to the Hunter. “I made an oath. You did not. Find them. Kill them all.”


Stormy Smith calls Iowa’s capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly that stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn’t be stopped. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.






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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Goodnight Football by Michael Dahl

I received this book from the publisher at BEA 2014

Age Range: 4-7 years
Grade Level: Preschool-2
Publisher: Fiction Picture Books (July 1, 2014)

From the opening kick off to the final whistle, Goodnight Football will bring the excitement of a football game to the youngest fan. The rhyming text, vibrant illustrations, and gentle ending will capture the love of the game through a child's eyes.A celebration of football, friendship, and family. This book is sure to be a touchdown for every football fan!"

Goodnight Moon is one of my son's favorite books EVER! I was so excited to snag a signed copy and I knew Luke would love it. What I really enjoyed about this book was that it gave you real football terms. I am so not a sporty type of gal...unless it's soccer. It was easy to understand and it also rhymed, which was a plus. If you're gonna emulate a book after the original then it better rhyme! The illustrations were also very beautiful and in tune with the story. Lukie and Mommy recommend snuggling up at bedtime to read this one. We both give it 5 stars!
Michael Dahl is the author of over 100 children's books. Some of his most popular series are Finnegan Zwake, Library of Doom, and Dragonblood. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a haunted house.

He also writes under aliases Chris Carey, Rick Thomas, and Mark Ziegler.

Connect with Michael:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: Elysium (Elysium Chronicles #1) by Georgia Cline

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Elysium (Elysium Chronicles Book 1) by [Cline, Georgia]Review: Elysium (Elysium Chronicles #1) by Georgia ClineTitle: Elysium
Published: Feb. 28, 2014
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 212
Format: eBook
Buy the Book 

What you do when your blood can save another? Only, a few pints aren't enough. Years ago, a demonic strain of the Black Death gripped the continents in terror. Nothing could stop it. It was renamed Red in its early stages. Red for blood.
That's what it all comes down to: blood. In Eliza Morgan lives the cure--but there's a price. It takes all of it. Eliza discovered that as she watched her mother die, when a small amount fell from an open cut onto her mother's blackened skin. The effect was only momentary.
Nine years later, men in black suits come to her house, throw a bag over her head, and toss her in the back of a van. When Eliza wakes, there's nothing but concrete and prison bars. Her secret is out, and before long she might die for it. There is, however, a rumor--a rumor of an elusive haven. No one finds it--it finds them.
And for whatever reason, it wants very badly to find Eliza.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Title: Hopeless
by Colleen Hoover
Series: Hopeless #1
Published by Colleen Hoover on December 19th, 2012
Genres: contemporary, new adult, romance, young adult
Pages: 410
Format: eBook

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book. I haven’t read a young adult book in a few months and every time I do it hasn’t piqued my interest. This his me grinning like the Cheshire Cat! I am totally loving it. It’s fun, witty, sexy as hell, raw, and earth shatteringly heartbreaking. I’ve been ruined for all future books. I thought this was going to be another book about a girl that immediately falls for the bad boy, blah blah, but that wasn’t the case. If I could take Holder out of the pages and keep him forever I would. Hopeless was nothing short of perfection. You got your basic teenage issues, then there is that too hot to handle angst. Why have I waited so long to read a book by this author? I thought the story was going one way but I was completely blindsided. I’m just dumfounded right now….can’t even give this book the review it deserves. The words wont come out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Tour Review and Giveaway: The Artful by Wilbert Stanton


The Artful by Wilbert Stanton
(Shadows of the City #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.




3 Stars

The names the author chose for his characters are definitely very fitting. The story takes place where a plague has killed half the population and left others with a horrible reaction to the sun (no vampires promise). As with most dystopian novels, there are the rich and ignorant and the very poor, very clever. Twist and Dodger run a gang and steal from the mostly drugged out rich who live in towers and are never in the sun. They provide the stolen supplies, mostly medications to those in need. One day, they run into a gal who claims to be a companion to rich clients. She ends up joining them on their journey to get meds to heal Dodger and other various folks. The rich folks have caught up to them, given Dodger something nasty, and there are rumors and evidence swirling around that the story fed to the population about the plague might not be so true.
This was not a bad book, an awesome book, or really anything really on the extreme side of negative or positive rating. Details bogged it down and the writing needs to be a bit more polished and flow better. The story would flow well with action and events, then pages and pages of details that were unnecessary would slow the story down. But the story is still an interesting one, world building interesting, and the characters were unique and distinct from one another. It was an okay young adult read, and I would look for future works from the author as he matures.


Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

Author links:

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes


I was pretty excited to get picked to read “One Plus One” as part of the First To Read program ( I’ve heard good things about the author. I wasn’t too sure on how the novel would go in reading the blurb. Sad? Happy? I was extremely pleased with this novel. Gut wrenchingly sweet and wretchedly sad blow up in the same chapter or even page. I absolutely loved Jess’s desperate love for her children (blood and adopted) and her extreme ability to hang on to hope and wit in the worst of circumstances. Ed, I thought, was a complete loss at the beginning, but he quickly redeems himself. Her kids were an absolute hoot. Two very unlikely people meet and end up entwined in the sweetest, off kilter romance story I’ve read in a while. The characters are very real and the situation possible in any town.

Ed ends up losing just about everything about his former life, but gains an unexpected love and lease on a true life he’s finally living. Jess does the unthinkable in an act of desperation and learns how to repair their lives in the process. The insanity of their initial meeting, Ed’s rescue of Jess and her kids, and their awkward adventure (including a flatulent dog turned hero) will keep readers enraptured until the honest end.

(From Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include The Girl You Left Behind, Me Before You, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Ship of Brides and Foreign Fruit. She lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Rule by Jay Crownover

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Title: Rule
by Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men #1
Published by HarperCollins on October 22, 2013
Genres: contemporary, new adult, romance
Pages: 435
Format: eBook

Sometimes opposites don’t just attract – they catch fire and burn the city down

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want – and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess – and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw – even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love…or each other.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes and Nobles | Kobo | iTunes

Apparently I wanted to read this book so bad that I bought it twice :::facepalm::: Yes, that happened. I bought the indie version back in April so when I went to buy it again in November, Amazon didn’t notify me that I was buying it again. I really need to get in the habit of reading books when I buy them. Such a foreign concept for me LOL. Anywhooooo….So I was jumping up and down that I was finally being introduced to the badassness that is Rule. Oh, Rule….how I would swoon at his feet. One word: TATTOOS. I’ve been on this contemporary romance kick lately…I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. They’re so easy to breeze right through and just satisfying enough. This also proved true for Rule with one big problem…predictability. I called everything before it happened. Usually I’ll sit there just whining and complaining but there was more to it than that. My biggest gripe with romance is how a female falls deeply in love with said bad boy but you see absolutely no reason they would beside the fact that they are sex on a stick. That didn’t happen here! Do you see me jumping up down with glee?!

There was history between these two. They’ve know each other since they were in high school so they aren’t strangers. Shaw has been holding a torch for Rule since she first laid eyes on him at 14. So I’m sitting here like, okay…this could be good. AND IT WAS!!!! Instead of skipping over the details, I was handed their story on a silver platter! I got to see them fall for each other….WHY they fell for each other….not just “oh he’s hot and I love him for no apparent reason.” There’s depth there that I don’t normally see from a contemporary romance. I’m almost giddy about it. That right there sold the story for me. I kept thinking it was going to be too long, helloooo 435 pages, who’s got time for that kinda commitment? It was worth it. oOh boy was it so worth it. Hot and steamy!! I was left drooling on more than one occasion. That’s all I have to say lol. I wasn’t even going to write a review since I’m burnt out but there you have it. Go read it.

Jay Crownover is the bestselling author of Rule. Like the characters in her Marked Men series, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters and that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.  
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: Turn Key Condition by M.L. Ortega

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and or/violence.

Title: Turn Key Condition
Published: July 16, 2014
Genres: chick-lit, mystery/thriller
Pages: 226
Format: eBook
Buy the Book

To make ends meet, Maggie, a divorcee with three sons, takes creative moonlighting to the limit. While cleaning a model home with her friend, Jane, she discovers a naked dead man with a donut over his genitals. The dead man is a married contractor who had once groped Maggie.
Maggie and Jane become caught up in the investigation to the annoyance of the police officer first on the scene. The Hispanic cop responds with pithy Mexican proverbs to Maggie’s sleuthing efforts.
Then Maggie’s ex rolls into town scheming to sell the family home out from under her with the help of an unscrupulous realtor, who is a suspect in the murder. When her sons pop up into the crosshairs of the killer, Maggie sharpens her survival skills to protect them and bring down the murderer.
TURN KEY CONDITION features a heroine who stares down danger with the humor and grace gained from an earlier detour into life’s darkness.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway (blog exclusive!): Blaze of Secrets (Asylums for Magical Threats Book 1)



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Like human, but with genetic coding that allows them magical use over the four elements, the Feiru send their first born child magic holding children to the Asylum. Ah, the freaky Asylum where they perform secret experiments, tortures, and cruel breeding programs to bear further first born for the scientist’s testing. All of this hid from the public and their families.

One dirty politician is manipulating his way up the hierarchy of Feiru government, trying to repeal laws that may destroy their society’s secret standing in the human world.

Kiarra was relinquished by her family and has spent many years trying to survive the horrors of the Asylum. Her blood has a special effect on the first borns’ ability to use magic. Following a trap of seduction and love, tricked by a doctor who was just using her, Kiarra loses her power over fire.

One night she is rescued by Jaxton Ward, a lower leader in the underground movement that is trying to free first borns. He is situated with training Kiarra, while quickly becoming entrapped in her tough, but vulnerable personality. Jaxton is also trying to bring his brother, a first born, back from madness. While healing from her past tortured existence, Kiarra learns to trust, maybe fall in love, and kick ass. Forced to run, captured, fight for her life, and discovering just how powerful her role in the upcoming battle are prove to make a good setting for a follow up series.

My only complaint was the book moved too slowly. Only toward the latter half of the book do we have a ton of action and the huge divulge of details start to make sense. Jaxton and Kiarra’s sizzling snark take off and the real fun begins.

Kind thank you to the author for letting me read and review her book, and to the Goodreads' group, Modern Good Reads, for giving writers and readers a chance to meet and work with each other.


Jessie Donovan wrote her first story at age five, and after discovering the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey in junior high, realized that people actually wanted to read stories like those floating around inside her head. From there on out, she was determined to tap into her over-active imagination and write a book someday.

After living abroad for five years and earning degrees in Japanese, Anthropology, and Secondary Education, she buckled down and finally wrote her first full-length book. While that story will never see the light of day, it laid the world-building groundwork of what would become her debut paranormal romance, Blaze of Secrets. Then in 2014, she discovered her love for writing erotic paranormal romance and now divides her time between steamy and erotic stories, which are often set in international locations.

Jessie loves to interact with readers. When not reading or traipsing around some foreign country on a shoestring, she can often be found on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her pages below:
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Sacrificed to the Dragon: Part One (Stonefire Dragons) - ARe Bestseller!
Sacrificed to the Dragon: Part Two - August 1, 2014
Reclaiming the Wolf (Cascade Shifters #1) - September 2014


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