Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blog Tour: Throne of Lies (Amethysta Trilogy #1) by Sara Secora: A Book Review

Throne of Lies (Amethysta Trilogy #1)
Author: Sara Secora
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: August 2016
Source: This book was given to me by YA Bound Book tours in exchange for an honest review.
Summary from Goodreads: 

     As a seventeen-year-old ruler chafing under the obligations of her bloodline, Princess Amethysta Serelle finds the royal life anything but enchanting.

     Betrothed to a nefarious highborn, Amethysta’s heart mourns her lost chance at love—that is, until she becomes mesmerized by someone other than her suitor, and her heart begins to beat anew.

     Desperate to keep her daughter on the path toward duty and the throne, the queen keeps a deadly secret. But as Amethysta balances the burden of expectations and freedom, the glowing, blue truth will not stay hidden for much longer.

     Desire and duty battle on, further complicated by strange occurrences happening to Amethysta’s body. She struggles for control as her once unquestioned reality is obliterated.

     Will she discover the truth, in her heart and hands, before it’s too late?

     My Review: Princess Amethysta has always hated her life as a princess. She is forced to remain inside the castle walls. She is supposed to be a dutiful daughter and prepare for her role as queen. Still, she wishes for a normal life and to have the freedom to leave the palace grounds. She also feels that she is different aside from being a princess. She finds herself harboring magic. The only person who knows the truth of who she is is her mother. Yet, her mother remains silent, not telling her Amethysta’s identity. When her mother dies, Amethysta finds herself unprotected in a kingdom that will punish her for being different. Can Amethysta be able to conceal her identity and control her magic?

     Princess Amethysta is a hard character to like. There were some moments where I did like her. She can be very strong at times. She is a romantic and yearns for a happy ending. Yet, most of the times, I found her weak and reckless. She is mostly a damsel-in-distress in this book. I also did not like her actions. She made a lot of rash decisions. As the narrator, I found her voice to be very whiny. However, there were some moments in which she was a very engaging narrator. Amethysta is a young girl who is very persistent in finding her identity. 

     Overall, this book is about a woman’s quest of self-discovery. The message of this book is that there is always hope. The characters are very one-dimensional and needed more work on character development. I also found two-thirds of the book to be filler and most of it should have been left out because it did not help the plot overall. Because the book took a different direction, two-thirds of the book, it is hard to see the direction it is going until the very end. I thought that there should have been a smoother transition. Yet, it felt like there were two different storylines merged together. I also thought the ending did not have a good resolution and ended abruptly. Also, this novel did not answer the questions in this novel. We still do not know Amethysta’s identity by the end as we had in the beginning. Despite it’s flaws, it was an enjoyable and fluffy story that held my interest. The sequel sounds promising, and hopefully the reader will finally get some answers as to Amethysta’s identity. I recommend this book for fans of Princess Ben, Seraphina, and The Escape of Princess Madeleine.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Author Bio

     Sara Secora has a passion for all things gamer and nerdy, as evidenced on her YouTube channel, AviGaming. She is also a well-branded voice over artist.

     Secora has always been in love with writing, and in 2007 she turned her talents to the arduous endeavor of authoring an exciting fantasy trilogy. Her whimsical stories are full of enchantment, mystique, and insight—destined to intrigue readers of any age.

     Secora lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she continues to explore old and new avenues for her talent and hard work. You can visit her on her website, GoodreadsTwitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Death at the Paris Exposition (Emily Cabot Mysteries #6) by Frances McNamara: A Book Review

02_Death at the Paris ExpositionDeath at the Paris Exposition by Frances McNamara

Publication Date: September 1, 2016 Allium Press Paperback; 276 Pages Series: Emily Cabot Mysteries #6  Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Synopsis: Amateur sleuth Emily Cabot’s journey once again takes her to a world’s fair–the Paris Exposition of 1900. Chicago socialite Bertha Palmer is named the only female U. S. commissioner to the Exposition and enlists Emily’s services as her secretary. Their visit to the House of Worth for the fitting of a couture gown is interrupted by the theft of Mrs. Palmer’s famous pearl necklace. Before that crime can be solved, several young women meet untimely deaths and a member of the Palmer’s inner circle is accused of the crimes. As Emily races to clear the family name she encounters jealous society ladies, American heiresses seeking titled European husbands, and more luscious gowns and priceless jewels. Along the way, she takes refuge from the tumult at the country estate of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. In between her work and sleuthing, she is able to share the Art Nouveau delights of the Exposition, and the enduring pleasures of the City of Light with her family.

     My Review: Emily Cabot is a social secretary for Chicago socialite Bertha Palmer for the Paris Exposition in 1900. While they are at the House of Worth for Bertha to be dress fitted, she realizes that Bertha’s pearl necklace has been stolen. Before Emily investigates the case for Bertha’s missing jewelry, she finds the body of the House of Worth’s hatmaker. Emily wonders if the two cases are connected. The prime suspect seems to be Bertha’s son, who behaves suspiciously from the beginning. Could Emily find evidence that Bertha’s son is innocent and find the real killer?

     I really like Emily’s character. She seems to be observant and curious. However, in the beginning, she seems to be passive. Because she is on vacation, she is reluctant to investigate Bertha’s missing jewels. Once she finds the body of the hatmaker, she finally agrees to investigate the murder. I did find her to be a strong character. She is very independent and makes her own decisions. She also earns the respect of the French police. There were moments that she was blind to other people’s actions, but eventually she sees through their flaws. Thus, Emily is a character that readers can relate to and root for in an amatuer female sleuth.

     Overall, this story was about friendship, secrets, family, and social class. I really liked how it portrays France’s elite. I also liked the cameos of some of the Impressionist painters, including Edgar Degas. I thought this book was meticulously researched. There were some details that bogged me down a bit, especially the descriptions of what every character wore. I thought that those details could have been trimmed down. I also thought that it took a while for the story to get going, and there were some unnecessary scenes. When it did take off, I found it hard to put down, and I thought the murder mystery was very clever. Thus, I recommend this book for fans of Karen Odden, Deanna Raybourn, and Susanna Calkins.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

                                              Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author:

   Frances McNamara grew up in Boston, where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. She has degrees from Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges, and formerly worked as a librarian at the University of Chicago. When not working or writing she can be found sailing on the Charles River in Boston or beaching on Cape Cod. 

     For more information please visit Frances McNamara's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads

     Sign up for Frances McNamara Newsletter to receive notification of new books and events.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 5 
Review at Jorie Loves a Story 
Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede 

Tuesday, September 6 
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation 

Wednesday, September 7 
Review at Book Nerd 

Thursday, September 8 
Spotlight at What is That Book About 

Friday, September 9 
Spotlight at Passages to the Past 

Sunday, September 11 
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf 

Tuesday, September 13 
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read 

Wednesday, September 14 
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective 

Thursday, September 15 
Review at Impressions In Ink 

Friday, September 16 
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium


     To win a paperback copy of Death at the Paris Exposition, please enter via the Gleam form below. 2 copies are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

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Blog Tour: The Wrong Prince by C.K. Brooke: A Book Review

The Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
Genre: NA Fantasy Romance
Release Date: June 17th 2016
Source: This book was given to me by YA Bound Book tours in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from Goodreads:

     Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding…

     Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it's bookish Dmitri that yields the credit - and consequences - for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy?

     Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri.

     When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia. 

     My Review: Luccia is forced to break up with the younger prince of Tybiria, Geo. She does this because she has an arranged marriage to the Crown Prince, Dmitiri. When Dmitri is kidnapped by the mad King of Llewes, Luccia and Geo goes on a mission to rescue him. Can Luccia and Geo ever admit their feelings for each other? Can the two star-crossed lovers be reunited?

     I really did like the two female protagonists, Luccia and Pavola. They were very smart and sassy. I liked how Luccia was very brave to go on a mission to save a man that she barely knows. She has been very courageous and stubborn. She is willing to prove herself a good rescuer in front of Geo. She can also be very caring and loving at times to strangers. I really loved her relationship with Geo. He was a great male hero. He is wounded by Luccia’s rejection. However, I love how he still loves and cares for Luccia and takes great lengths to protect her. I also liked Pavola and Dmitri’s blossoming romance. Both of them start to bond over their love of books. I really like how both brothers were different, for one was a warrior and the other was a scholar, and were very lovable protagonists.

     Overall, this book is about love, family, and acceptance. The message of this book is that there is always hope. The characters are very well-developed. They are lovable, strong, and witty. I also thought the fantasy world was very well built. While I was reading it, the setting seemed to be very similar to Medieval Wales. The Wrong Prince is very fast-paced and it grips you from the first page until the very end. I also found it be a light and quick read with a captivating romance. I also loved the happily ever after ending, and I liked how everything was tied up neatly. Overall, I recommend this book to Dani-Lyn Alexander, Kary Rader, and J.D. Wright.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

     C.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers' Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books - reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them. When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. There's tons to check out at the new, so come and see what she's up to! Check out her VIP Newsletter (Suscribers Get a Free Book!). Visit her website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas: A Book Review

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams
Author: Louisa Thomas
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Pages: 499
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Synopsis: An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time.  

     Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams, whose life had been dedicated to public service from the earliest age. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. Their often tempestuous but deeply close marriage lasted half a century. 

     They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England, at royal courts, on farms, in cities, and in the White House. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The other members of the Adams family could take their identity for granted—they were Adamses; they were Americans—but she had to invent her own. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still. 

     In this deeply felt biography, the talented journalist and historian Louisa Thomas finally gives Louisa Catherine Adams's full extraordinary life its due. An intimate portrait of a remarkable woman, a complicated marriage, and a pivotal historical moment, Louisa Thomas's biography is a masterful work from an elegant storyteller.

     My Review: Louisa Adams is the only first lady who was not born on American soil. This biography, which chronicles Louisa’s life, shows us her glamorous lifestyle. Yet behind the glittering facade of balls and lavish dinners, Louisa also experienced personal tragedies. She is a woman who constantly tries to find her self-identity. Despite her most difficult moments, Louisa has made many accomplishments and has been an advocate for women’s rights.

     Even though her critics have labeled her as a British lady, she was actually half-American. Her father was a Southern merchant who handled his business in London. Her parents raised her in London society, yet they wanted her to marry an American. It was during one of the social events that her parents put on that John Quincey Adams met Louisa. She was not only beautiful and lively, but he also liked her beautiful voice, which she sung to entertain him. Eventually the two of them married. To my surprise, their marriage was very tempestuous. He often put her down and criticized her lifestyle. Yet, despite the flaws in their marriage, they loved each other and were very close. Louisa helped John Quincey Adams in his political career by hosting lavish dinners. It was because of her efforts that John Quincy Adams was able to win the election against the more dashing Andrew Jackson.

     Overall, this was an interesting biography of Louisa Adams. I never knew much of her story before I read this biography, and she seemed to be a very strong, passionate woman. She is also very courageous for she braved a dangerous journey from Russia to France during war torn Europe. She is also a woman who had to face many tragedies for she has outlived her husband and all but one son. Yet, despite her personal tragedies, she has made many accomplishments. She tirelessly advocated for women's rights. She believed that women were equal to men in both mind and intellect. She believed that women should petition to the Congress. Thus this book not only sheds some light into the Adams family, but it is also a great tribute to a woman who has been overshadowed by the other Mrs. Adams.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Interview with Garrett Calcaterra

     Today, I have the pleasure to interview Garrett Calcaterra. He is the author of the Dreamwielder Chronicles series. I have read and reviewed his first novel, Dreamwielder, and have immensely enjoyed it! I encourage you to read it, for you will not be disappointed! I hope this interview will give you some insight into his writing and his novels. I thank Mr. Calcaterra for generously taking the time to let me interview him.

1. What inspired you to write the Dreamwielder Chronicles?

The initial concept actually came from a dream my mom had. I was visiting over Christmas and she told me she'd had this dream that she thought I should write into a story. I groaned inwardly a little since as a writer I always have people tell me ideas they think I should turn into a story, but it turned out my mom's concept was really cool. Her dream was more or less the opening scene in the book. Obviously, there was quite a bit of work involved in turning a dream snippet into a full novel, and so I drew upon quite a few other inspirations as well. Off the top of my head, I'd say those include my love for fantasy novels as a reader, and also several real world issues I wanted to explore, such as gender inequality and human-caused ecological problems.

2. What drew you to the fantasy genre? What appeals most to you about writing fantasy?

I was always an avid reader growing up, and fantasy was always my favorite genre. I guess the real world can seem disappointing at times, and fantasy has the ability to open a new world of wondrous possibilities. As an adult and an author now, I like how I can help readers tap into their imagination while at the same time have my characters deal with conflicts and issues that are relevant to our everyday lives.

3. As a male author, what inspired you to write about a female protagonist?

Well, one of the things I wanted to specifically combat was the old trope that women in fantasy novels have to play the damsel in distress role or otherwise serve as a steppingstone for the main, male, protagonist to reach their goal. On top of that, it never occurred to me, at not at first, that it might be strange for a male author to write a woman protagonist. So, yeah, I approached writing Makarria the same way I do any other character, by putting myself into her shoes and empathizing with her situation. Since writing book 1 in the series, a lot has been happening in the science fiction and fantasy world with things like Puppygate and the Hugo awards, where people are finally starting to see that that women, people of color, and numerous other groups of people continue to be underrepresented in the genre. The battles that have waged online as to what good sci-fi and fantasy should be have been ugly at times, but I thinks it's largely been a good thing. I, for one have learned a lot about my own blind-spots when it comes to things like stereotypes and damaging tropes in the genre, and I've made a big effort to keep educating myself. I can't do anything about the fact that I'm a white male, but I can definitely continue to work at getting better about representing diverse characters in my books. I think Dreamwielder holds up well as a novel with a strong cast of women characters, and I've been pushing myself to be even more inclusive in the subsequent novels. Readers will definitely see that in book 2, Souldrifter, and it'll be one of the main themes I explore in book 3, which I'm in the process of outlining.

4. How comfortable were you writing from a female perspective?

Honestly, it came pretty naturally to me. I think the hallmark of a good author is their ability to empathize with people, and I've had so many amazing women in my life, I didn't have to look far for models to draw upon when writing in the viewpoint of Makarraia, Taera, or even a highly flawed character like Roanna.  

5. I found it unique that you incorporated a steampunk element in your story. How did you merge the two different genres to fit your world?

You know, it was just a natural melding of all the things that influence me as a writer. Fantasy is the genre I love to read and write in, but at the same time I'm very much concerned about the state of the world with global warming and how modern civilization is boxed in by an infrastructure and economy that's totally built around relying on fossil fuels. I worked for six years as an industrial hygienist, where I got to see how oil refineries and factories work, and I was even out on a barge doing air testing during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so it was important to me to explore the perils of technology and industry in Dreamwielder. That's not to say that I think technology is all bad, not by a long shot, but I wanted to bring to the forefront this arrogant view that humans can somehow bring nature to heal with technological progress. 

6. How is Makarria going to mature in the next book?

Well, Souldrifter is already out, and in that book I think readers get to see Makarria going through a lot of the same struggles we all go through as we transition into adulthood and have to take on bigger responsibilities. Her troubles are just bigger than most because she's in a position of power. She finds herself doubted and second guessed because she's young, and a woman. There's a love interest that a lot of readers were hoping for after book 1, but that doesn't go as planned. And there's a loss of some of her ideals, as she discovers that things aren't always as black or white as we like to make them out to be. 

7. What were the challenges of writing Dreamwielder?

For me, the biggest challenge is always making the time to write. I'm not a bestseller (not yet, at least!), so that means I have to work to make a living. While writing Dreamwielder, I was teaching. Now I make a living as a freelance writer and editor, but the challenge is the same. It's tough to balance a job, writing a book, and having a personal life, so it's just a matter of persistence and sacrificing the things I can live without like video games and watching too much TV.

8. The book features many different characters. How did you keep them all straight and did you have an outline for these before you started writing the book?

Yeah, I definitely outlined Dreamwielder before writing it. I'm not a crazy outliner like some authors I know, but I always at least figure out who my viewpoint characters are going to be early on, that way I have the flexibility to give the reader a cinematic reading experience where we can jump from place to place and see all the important events happening in the story. Natarios Rhodas, for example, is a character I created so that we could see what was happening with my two main antagonists, Wulfram and Emperor Guderian.

9. What message do you hope readers will take away from your novel?

Well, I hope that readers are entertained, first and foremost. Beyond that, if readers find some sort of inspiration in the struggles that Makarria, Caile, and Taera have to overcome, awesome. If the story makes readers question gender roles, or take a closer look at our relationship with nature in real life, double awesome.

10. Do you have a plan for how many books in this series that we may look forward to?

Oh yeah. As I mentioned, Souldrifter just came out this last year, and then I have one more book in the works to round out the series as a trilogy. I'm simultaneously writing another unrelated novel, too, so that means book 3 might take a little longer, but I'm hoping to have a complete manuscript for Dreamwielder 3, or whatever we decide to call it, sometime in 2017. Beyond that, I might write a couple of tie-in short stories, but I don't expect there to be more than 3 books total.

Dreamwielder is currently on sale for 99 cents till Sept 13th on Amazon!

About the Author:

     Garrett Calcaterra is the author of the Dreamwielder Chronicles, Dreamrush, The Roads to Baldairn Motte, and Umbral Visions. He is a freelance editor at and has taught creative writing at Chapman University and the Orange County School of Arts. He currently lives with his wife and two dogs. For more information, visit his website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blog Tour: Aphrodite's Choice (The Goddess Diaries #1) by Christy English: A Book Review

02_Aphrodite's Choice

Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English

Publication Date: May 20, 2016 eBook; ASIN: B01FZQ80F0 
Series: The Goddess Diaries #1
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology/Paranormal/Romance
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Synopsis: Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, still walks the modern world. No longer thronged by worshipers, Aphrodite heals the bodies and souls of the men she touches, one man, one night, at a time. But not everyone thinks of her as a long-dead myth. Someone is stalking her. The men who have hunted her kind as witches for centuries have passed their hatred on to their sons.

     As she flees her enemies and tries to warn her sisters of the danger facing them once again, Aphrodite is followed by one of the members of the Brotherhood, a man who has been given the task of killing her, and any of her sisters who cross his path. But it does not take her long to discover that Steven Wharton is not a murderer, and his soul is one she has known before.

     In this paranormal romance, a goddess’s past is brought to life, from the Greek city of Corinth to the shores of the island of Cyprus, at the court of Versailles to the burning city of Persepolis. But it is not until she meets Steve that Aphrodite falls in love for the first time. As she faces an ancient enemy, Aphrodite discovers that the love she feels, not the love she gives, is the root of her soul. And that love might even be the path to her freedom…

      My Review: Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, still lives among us in the modern world. She takes the name Adele and every night heals a mortal man. She continues her daily routine until a secret society called the Brotherhood of Light, whose mission is to kill the remaining goddesses on earth, finds her. Aphrodite goes on the run for her life, taking with her a mortal named Steve, who had been assigned to kill her. Yet, when he fails to do so, he is in turn hunted by his own society. The two of them fall in love. Can Aphrodite find the freedom and love that she has always been dreaming of?

     I really found Aphrodite to be an undeveloped character in this novel. There really was no character depth to her. The only thing we know about her is that she is lonely, and wants to have a mortal life. I also found her to be a weak character. She is a damsel in distress and is always needing saving. She was not a strong character. I really did not understand why Steve appealed to her most. She only met Steve for a few days, and she loved him without us knowing the reason why. I also thought that their romance was not real but fake. Steve only loved her simply because she was beautiful. There were no other reasons. Thus, this couple seems like it will be a failed relationship because they formed a relationship based on looks rather than personality and character.

     Overall, this book is about love, friendship, and choices. It is about a woman’s quest for happiness. I found the characters needed more time to develop, for they were one-dimensional. I also found it slow and predictable. The historical elements seemed like fillers and did not give me any depths into these characters. I also had trouble understanding the world-building. Yet, despite the flaws, there were some parts of the book I liked. I liked the other goddesses, and I hope we get to explore them further in later installments. I also thought the writing was very beautiful and lyrical. I also liked the Greek mythology elements in this novel. So, while I was not satisfied with the romantic part of the book or the main characters, there is enough here to hold the attention of anyone interested in Greek mythology. I recommend this story to fans of Gwendolyn Womack’s The Memory Painter, Anne Fortier’s The Lost Sisterhood, and Tosca Lee’s The Progeny.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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About the Author

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina.

     Please visit her at You can also find Christy on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


To win an eBook of Aphrodite’s Choice by Christy English, please enter via the Gleam form below. 5 eBooks are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open Internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay by A. Algeri: A Book Review

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay
Author: A. Algeri
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: A. Algeri
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 209
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. 
Synopsis: The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay is the first adventure of Brinn, a young woman who had recently returned to her homeland, Nyar Kaad, after years of being away. 

     For her mother and sister it’s only supposed to be an episodic stay, because their intention is to return to the capital, Adaria, held by both aristocrats, by then, to be their home. Brinn, however, isn’t interested in living in the golden cage of high society and aspires to a different existence, that will push her to oppose the decisions of her family and to pursue a destiny according to her own wishes. 

     The accidental discovery of what looks like a map to hidden treasure, buried in Nyar Kaad, according to tradition, by pirates once dwelling in the settlement, will push her to search for the hidden riches- an undertaking that the protagonist will face courageously, at the cost of challenging her fears, the rigid social conventions, and more literal dangers to her person, venturing on a journey into the local legends and the past of her own family, until reaching an unexpected epilogue. 

     Set to Isara, a fantasy world inspired by the period between the seventeenth and the first decades of the nineteenth centuries, The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay is a journey full of mystery in the universe where real and supernatural coexist intersecting in a subtle and insidious way, a world divided between palaces and largely unexplored expanses, an opulent capital and boundless oceans.

     My Review: Brinn has returned to her childhood home of Nyar Kaad. However, it is only to be short-lived because her family plans to move to the capital. Brinn is very reluctant to leave it. One day she stumbles upon her great-grandfather's writing that gives clues to a hidden treasure. Brinn decides to find the missing treasure before she has to go back to the capital. The plan is that once she finds the treasure, she may be able to have enough money to stay in her beloved home.

     Brinn is really a hard character to like. She is a social recluse. She likes to be by herself and not in the company of others. She hates her glamour social lifestyle and thinks of it as her prison. She is very judgmental and does not like to let anyone get close to her. Because she is closed off  to everyone, it is hard to get to understand her as a person. However, she is very smart. She has a love of history and legends. She is very determined to continue her treasure hunt, and is passionate to find clues as to where it may be. Yet, throughout the novel her character very rarely develops. She continues to be the same and makes few changes.

     Overall, this story is about a woman who is on a quest to never leave her home. Because this story takes place in Brinn’s head, all of the characters are one-dimensional. I would have enjoyed the story much better had it been in third person. I thought that this first-person narrative was mostly told to us and not shown. This book is very slow and does not pick up until two-thirds through the story. There is very little action and most of it are descriptions. However, the author’s writing style is very beautiful, and I love the legends in the book. I also like the world-building of Nyar Kaad. While this book is a fantasy, there are some historical elements that are incorporated in this novel. If you enjoy books about pirates, treasure hunts, and creative legends, then I recommend this book, as it is a good fit. It is not a perfect book, but there are enough enjoyable elements to this story to satisfy you.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blog Tour: Red: The Untold Story by Angela M. Hudson

Red: The Untold Story
by Angela M. Hudson
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Release Date: July 25th 2016
Summary from Goodreads:

     A powerful new YA novel by award-winning dark romance author AM Hudson.

     Do not go gentle into the wolf's asylum...

     Once every twenty years, pack alpha Luther takes a new wife. On the day of Selection, Red is chosen. Just as her family always planned. Just as she always planned. Until she met Alex Plain.

     Alex took Red to worlds she never imagined, where the ordinary is seen as magical, and the upright is abstract. With the help of this new friendship, Red begins to see a future for herself outside of the pack. But, unfortunately, Alex Plain came along too late.

     Red is obligated to marry Luther now, and taken to live in the mysterious Ravenswood Mansion, where truth lies and the walls have eyes. What Red learns there about her alpha will ignite some burning questions—ones that, when answered, could undo the entire order of the pack:

     What happened to all the children born there? Why hasn’t this mansion left the seventeenth century? And where are all his previous wives?

About the Author:

     From the town that brought you Sam Worthington, the city that brought you Heath Ledger, and the country that gave you Chris Hemsworth, comes the AusRom TODAY Author of the Year 2015 and Best Established Author nominee AM Hudson. 

     This internationally successful author has captivated fans all over the world since her Dark Secrets series was released in 2011. Known for her character-driven novels and twisted plots, her epic stories will confuse you, draw you in, make you feel something, including a strong desire to slap the protagonist. 

     When she's not making people fall in love with her works, she spends time sorting a mountain of laundry for her four sons and drags shoelaces around the house for her Ragdoll cat Pudding to chase. 

     Mrs. Hudson loves a good chat about all things bookish, so come find her on Facebook at 'AM Hudson', and she absolutely loves readers that leave reviews. Visit her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Page.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Blog Tour: A Clearing in the Forest by Kim Love Stump

A Clearing in the Forest
by Kim Love Stump
Genre: YA Fantasy
Summary: Princess Adriana is about to leave the Kingdom of Ayrden on the Journey of her sixteenth year.

     If she is ever to ascend to the throne, Adriana must go—alone and unarmed—into the unknown. She’s been trained and gifted for the journey, just like all the royals who preceded her—even the ones who never returned.

     Adriana leaves Ayrden on her brother’s black stallion the day after her birthday celebration, with bravery in her heart and hopes for a quick return. When three paths emerge, one of grass, one of gold, and one of gemstones, she chooses the pragmatic path of grass. Although it seems safe, and the landscape familiar, she soon finds she will have to overcome nearly impossible challenges. Ultimately, an unexpected friendship not only changes Adriana, but the very kingdom she someday hopes to rule. The question is, will the friendship turn into everlasting love?

About the Author:

     Kim Love Stump has loved to read and write ever since she can remember. Whether it was writing a story in third grade called I am a Date, or curling up in her swinging chair reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, fiction in all its forms has always been the fastest way for her to transport herself somewhere else. Now, as an author, Kim strives to transport others in that very same way. She and her husband of more than 30 years make their home in Charlotte, NC. Visit her website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Give in to the Feeling by Sarah Zama: A Book Review

Give in to the Feeling
Author: Sarah Zama
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Sarah Zama
Release Date: March 4, 2016
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Chicago 1924

     When Susie dances with Blood in Simon’s speakeasy, she discovers there’s a new world beyond the things she owns and the things she’s allowed to do. Blood values her thoughts, her feelings and offers his respect for her as a person.
So different from the luxury Simon has offered her. The exciting club nights and the new freedom of dressing and doing as she pleases.

     But Susie’s still Simon’s woman, and he won’t allow her to forget it.

     Soon, Susie there might be more than two men fighting over her. As Blood and Simon confront each other, Susie sees the spirit world filter into her world and crack the reality she knows. And when she looks through the shards of the illusion she’s been living, Susie realises making a choice between the two will be more difficult than she has ever imagined.

     My Review: Susie is content with her life as a lead dancer in a speakeasy. She has a boyfriend that gives her everything that she wants. Yet, she feels that she is not completely happy. When a man named Blood walks into the speakeasy, she feels an attraction and for the first time desires to live her own life. The more she spends time with Blood, the more she realizes that her boyfriend is not what he seems to be. Can Susie find her own happiness or must she be bound to the speakeasy?

     I really thought that Susie is a tough heroine. She is a woman who is determined to live comfortably. She is a very loyal and dutiful person. However, when she meets Blood, she realizes that there is more to life than just to live comfortably. She she soon begins to question her life, desires, and happiness. She begins to see her boyfriend clearly. Susie realizes that if she wants to be happy, she must make hard choices and to fight for her own survival. Thus, I really like Susie because she is not a damsel-in-distress. Instead, she takes care of herself. Therefore, readers will be enthralled by Susie and root for her as she finds her self-confidence.

    Overall, this novella is about choices, love, and survival. It is about a woman’s quest to find her own happiness. The message of this book is to be believe in yourself. I really like the setting of the speakeasy. It is a glittering facade of a dismal prison. I thought the gloomy, eerie, and atmospheric tone was perfect for the story. This story had me spellbound from the first page and it reads like a titillating thriller. The only thing I did not like about the story was the romance. I felt the characters needed to be more-developed because I did not fully comprehend why Susie was so attracted to Blood that she wanted to give up her way of life just to be with him. Still, this story is a breathtaking story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you reach its climactic end. I recommend this story for fans of fierce heroines, paranormal love triangles, and the glamour of the 1920s.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars