Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Writing Wednesday: LAST CHANCE for 99 cent ebooks from Crescent Moon Press

Last Chance for the SALE!

All Crescent Moon ebooks are on sale for 99 cents until the end of December - TODAY!
This includes Son of a Mermaid and Blood of a Mermaid
 and tons of other great paranormal reads!

...if you haven't downloaded your copies yet, what are you waiting for?
Go to Amazon to get your copy now!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Merry Christmas to All! 
Here's wishing for a happy, peaceful holiday and a New Year filled with light and laughter.

I will be taking a few days off from blogging to enjoy the holidays with my family,
but should return next week. (Maybe.) (Probably.)
Hope your Christmas is a merry one!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Book Review: PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, by Sarah Shepard

Pretty Little Liars, by Sarah ShepardPublished 2006 by Harper Collins

About the Book (from Goodreads):
Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.
My Take:

I always notice the book covers to this series in the YA section. The Barbie-like dolls and bright colors are designed to catch the eye. As the first book in the series, however, this novel spends the entire time setting the scene: describing each of the complex characters, giving us all the various back stories and the twisting and complicated web of lies creating in breakable bonds between the girls.

Alison, Aria, Emily, Spencer and Hanna bonded during a community service project and became best friends. They attend the exclusive Rosewood Day School and live in a well-to-do suburban setting, where wearing the right designer clothes and having the right boyfriend  are more important than getting good grades.

Each character has secrets of her own, and secrets she shares with others in their old circle of middle school friends. Every one of them has a secret that only the ring leader of the group, Alison DiLaurentis, knew, but then she disappeared in seventh grade. Without a trace. The police have given up, and everyone presumes she's dead. Slowly the circle broke up, each girl going her separate way.

Now the girls are all in high school, their secrets safely disappeared along with Alison, until strange messages start to plague them. Emails, texts, and notes that seem to be from Alison because they speak of things only Alison knows. Or knew. Did she run away? Has she come back to taunt them? Or is she really dead? If so, who is sending these messages?

I can see the appeal to YA readers in the detailed descriptions of high school drama laced with designer labels, but frankly all the obsession with labels turned me off.  While the problems and secrets the girls hide make them vulnerable, I didn't feel empathetic to any of the characters as they are all so self-obsessed and selfish. I appreciate this book for its merits, and as well written YA, but won't be reading any more books in this series.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Feature: Interview with author Karilyn Bentley

Today I'm chatting with author Karilyn Bentley, who has a new book out this month!

Hi, Karilyn! Give a brief bio and tell us what kind of books you like to read and write.

At my day job, I help run cancer trial protocols. I have a husband, two dogs and a handful of colorful salt water fish that live in a reef tank. I love to read historical, paranormal and fantasy romance, along with mysteries and the occasional thriller. I write fantasy and paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

Chatting with the voices in my head.
What’s one piece of advice you would give a new author? 

Norah Roberts gave the best advice. I'm paraphrasing, but she said something along the lines of, put your butt in the chair and write. I also think some sci-fi movies have lines that can apply: never give up, never surrender (Galaxy Quest); Do not try, do (Star Wars).

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I'd love to be able to turn into a fly and eavesdrop. I'm nosey. Or be given a magic wand to wave and have the house clean itself. I hate housework!
I'm totally with you on the housework! Now, tell us about your new release! 

I'm so excited! The first book in my urban fantasy series is out now. Demon Lore is the story of Gin Crawford, a nurse and empath, who discovers a bracelet that turns her into a demon and minion killer. Here's the blurb:

Gin Crawford has enough problems dealing with her empath abilities. Finding out she's the world's newest demon-slayer is the last thing she needs. Unfortunately, when she slips on a mysterious bracelet she is given no other choice. On the plus side, her new gig comes with Tall, Dark and Handsome, a mage who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Thrust into a power-play between good and evil, Gin must choose a side before she becomes the next victim in the ongoing battle.
Wow! Sounds like a cool start for a new series! Okay, you’re casting the movie version of your novel – who would you choose for the main characters? We’re talking dream cast.

Oh, gosh, I have no idea. I'm one of those weird authors who don't imagine actors in the role of their characters. That said, whoever the model is on the cover looks a lot like how I imagined Gin.

Where can readers find your book and where can they find you online?

Demon Lore is available on Amazon, B&N, The Wild Rose Press and Apple.
Here are some quick buy links:
Stalk Find Karilyn online in the following hotspots...

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Karilyn! Best of luck with this new book and series!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Writing Wednesday: What's Your Favorite Christmas Novel?

Every year, fun new Christmas novels and novellas are released, some filled with the warm blush of first romance, some with mystery and wonder, and some with tales of second chances. My publisher The Wild Rose Press even has a Christmas series out this year, 12 Brides for Christmas with 12 tales of varying genres to tickle your Christmas fancy. You can check out these fun new novels HERE at the publishers website.

There are tons of fun Christmas stories, as well as heartfelt and pull-at-the-heartstrings novels. I like mine a little lighter this time of year (there's enough stress in my real life, I need a bit of an escape!)

One of my favorite Christmas romance series in recent years is by Penny Watson, with her magical series about the eccentric (and hunky) sons of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sexy and sweet and fun to read!

The first book in the series is SWEET INSPIRATION, which I read and reviewed when it first came out and have reread each Christmas season since. The author re-released it as a self-pubbed book, as well as books 2 and 3 in the series. You can get all 3 books for Kindle for the special price of 99 cents for the month of December - thanks, Ms. Watson!

Another of my Christmas favs is 2009's Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews. It's kind of a mystery, kind of a chic lit romance, and quite a lot of fun. Andrews books are set around Savannah, and have a light, breezy voice that's just plain fun to read. (Hissy Fit is still one of my fav books of all time!) She put out a new Christmas story last year which I haven't read yet - but you bet it's going on my Kindle TBR list right now! You can find all Andrew's books on Amazon too.

I would love to find some good YA Christmas reads - any suggestions?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Book Review: STORM, The Elemental Series, by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm * The Elemental Series, by Brigid Kemmerer
Published 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corp.

About the Book (from Goodreads):
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
My Take:

First let me gush a little. Wow! I got swept away into this book and loved the characters and plot line! I had things to do which sat ignored until I reached The End because I just couldn't put it down.

That said, there were parts of the writing that made me cringe a bit, but as the first in a series, I'm sure the author was still working out the kinks. Seven more books are now available, and I'm more than eager to plunge back into this world, and happy to share it with others!

This paranormal romance gives us a new magical race to discover, the Elementals. Although the origins aren't fully explained in this first book, Elementals look human - at one point they say they are human, like you and me - but each contains varying amounts of magical force, linked directly to the earthly elements of Wind, Fire, Earth and Water. Like the Bruce Willis movie, there is a "fifth element" that enhances them all. These people live among us and no one can tell the difference, unless they channel their forces. There are also "Guides" (drawn from those who are "fifths") who keep these magical beings in check, making sure to eliminate anyone who becomes too powerful or causes a disruption to their world.

The book starts quickly when Becca  Chandler encounters two guys beating the crap out of Chris Merrick in the parking lot behind the high school. She intervenes and saves him, taking him home and inserting herself into the world of the Merrick brothers, four pure Elementals who are also the hot hunks on the cover of the book.

But Becca doesn't know anything about their world, only that Chris is a junior like herself, and his twin brothers are hot seniors who are friends with her lying jerk of an ex boyfriend. The jerk that spread evil "Easy A" type rumors about her and ruined her reputation. Chris doesn't seem to know or care about the rumors, and a  budding romance between them blooms in fits and starts.

Magical abilities, evil bad guys, high school romance, love triangle, misunderstandings, and a showdown at the Homecoming dance... Some of this might sound formulaic, but I can honestly say I loved every minute of it!

I can't say too much more without giving away plot points, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story so so much and totally recommend for a solid YA paranormal read.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Feature: Holiday Cookie Time!

Have you started baking Christmas cookies yet? 

When the kids were younger, it was always fun to let them invite a friend over to bake gingerbread men or sugar cookies. I decided to revive the tradition this year and invited a few moms and their kids over for wine and baking. Wine for moms, cider and cookie baking for the high schoolers.
Two hours. Several batches of cookies. More than a few glasses of wine. Lots of laughter. 

And a kickline.

If you haven't baked all your cookies yet, I totally recommend the group therapy approach. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Writing Wednesday: New Release! for ANDROMEDA'S FALL, by Abigail Owen #TWRP

Andromeda’s Fall (Shadowcat Nation #1)

Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own dare, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide.
Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors.
What Andie doesn’t realize is that A.J. has secrets of his own. All Andie knows is that the incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust… and her heart.

He glanced down at her. “You really are a tiny thing, aren’t you?”

Andie scowled. “Don’t let my size fool you. I can pack a wallop when I want to. Even with a broken arm.”

A.J. laughed. “I’m sure you can.”

Andie stared straight ahead, her mouth thinning. She hated being patronized. Men were so dense sometimes. They never took her seriously until she showed them exactly why they should.

Keeping her left arm protected, Andie suddenly dropped. One leg shot out and she spun low to the ground, sweeping A.J.’s feet out from under him. As he landed on his back, she was on top of him, her knee on his windpipe—not crushing, just sending a message.

Before she could gloat too much, though, she was flying through the air. Andie tucked into a back flip, landed on her feet, and then spun and launched herself backwards in a one-handed back handspring. A.J. had just gotten on his feet when her legs wrapped around his neck. She used her momentum to drop him back to the floor.

Andie rolled and ended up in a crouch close by. A.J. held up his hands in surrender. “All right, wildcat. You’ve proved yourself.”

Andie glared at him. “Don’t doubt me. And don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you just lost either,” she said in a severe voice, made harsher, perhaps, by the fact that she’d just realized exactly how incredible his blue eyes were. They were a vibrant color made even more interesting by the black ring that rimmed the irises. And she was more than irritated with herself for having noticed that at all.

He levered himself up off the floor. “Fair enough.”

The only thing that kept her from proving her point more—because she could tell he’d held back—was the small amount of respect she could see in his eyes. With a brusque nod, she followed him down the hall.
About the Author:
Award-winning author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.