Reader's Favorite

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Exiles of Gaia by: H. R. Olsen BOOK REVIEW

Exiles of GaiaExiles of Gaia 
by H. R. Olsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exiles of Gaia is aptly titled. As humans in this future world we are exiled from Earth. We did not take care of the planet and it could no longer support life. Everyone now lives in space stations or colonies on the moon. Only one mission to Earth has taken place in the time they have lived in space. That mission ended badly, now another is in the works. H.R. Olsen does a wonderful job of weaving together the flight crew, the movements, political intrigue and murder to create a captivating story. As there are grass root movements today, there are groups that want to return to Earth, some that want to stay in space, and still others that love the Earth but don't want to return to it. As each of these groups plot against each other and political rivals face off over the planned Earth trip we follow the story, twisting and turning until the end.

H.R. Olsen is a wonderful writer, in that I started reading this book, and just couldn't put it down. I wanted to keep reading to find out who and where. As you turned each page in Exiles of Gaia and got further into the story, what once seemed like random characters are starting to come together. They are crossing paths and being connected to each other, making for unplanned twists in the storyline. It is a great science fiction book, even for young adults and teens, as well as the older crowd. Everyone would get enjoyment out of this book.

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Roadblocks to Nirvana by: Patricia Halloff BOOK REVIEW

Roadblocks to NirvanaRoadblocks to Nirvana
by Patricia Halloff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a particularly rough fight with her mother, Agnes goes for a walk to cool down and finds herself in the cemetery. While she is there she has a vision of an archangel named Elias coming to tell her the first steps she needs to take to reach nirvana. Roadblocks to Nirvana is the tale of Agnes' quest to find that nirvana and the reactions of people around her that set roadblocks in her path. The strange thing is that although Agnes will tell you he is an archangel, she does not believe in religion. Enter the street preacher and you have a whirlwind of turmoil brewing. Mix in a holocaust survivor in the form of a pharmacist and even more challenges emerge. Patricia Haloff captures the worlds views of this archangel visit so well, from those who agree, to the church who denounce her. Divest, Simplify, Purify. It all sounds so easy.

Roadblocks to Nirvana could have taken place in any city in the world. The reactions and comments would have been the same. Patrica Haloff nailed the sentiment of the people so well. She developed a great character in Agnes, who has always been timid. The joy of this book is to watch Agnes as she tries to follow what Elias asks of her, and those who should be supporting her the most are the ones who are crying out against her the most. This book is best for adults, as there is some brief adult content, not much, but some. Divest, Simplify, Purify, it all sounds so easy, but the roadblocks are many and the path is narrow.

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Division by: Karen Wyle BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Readers Favorite

Karen Wyle takes on a unique topic in her new book, Division. It is the story of brothers, Gordon and Johnny, who are twins, but not your normal twins they are conjoined. The book starts out following their life as they grow from young children to teens, then to adults. It takes place in a future era where doctors have advanced medicine in a number of ways, and cloning is just one of them. The idea of a transplant to clone procedure that could be done to give each twin his own separate life is placed in Johnny's mind on day. This begins a long court battle on who gets to choose what to do, Johnny who want to separate or Gordon who is happy being conjoined.

This is such a unique and complex topic that wasn't sure how the author, Karen Wyle would handle it in the book, Division. I have to say, she researched and did a good job of learning about conjoined twins and other twins. The personalities displayed by the characters actually remind me of twins I know. The book is well written and very well thought out, the author really gets into the minds of these two different men. Neither side is pushed as being the best choice, arguments for both are presented so balanced that you don't know which way things will happen until they do. I think of it as a part coming-of-age story, because each twin is struggling to find himself in this world, whether it be conjoined or alone. It will appeal to young and old readers alike. Call is science fiction, fantasy, young adult, future or realistic; whatever you want to call it, it is good reading for all.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Para~nition by: T.L. McDonald BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite

 by T.L. McDonald

Paranormal fiction can take you to a great number of places, some far from home and some as close as the beach. T.L. McDonald takes us to the beach in her book Para~nition, which will come to be the first book in a series featuring the main character Julie Winters. Julie has dreams of murders, so real that she wakes with the bruises of what she saw in the dream. At first the police think she's nuts, then a "detective", Kyle, shows up and tries to force her into working with him. Julie is a strong woman, read as she and Kyle butt heads along the way as they both try to figure out Julie's dreams and prevent future murders.

I have found that the genre of Paranormal fiction is growing in popularity and it is enjoyable to read, it takes you places you never thought to go.  T.L. McDonald takes us to the idea of seeing a murder through dreams in her book Para~nition. It is a wonderful concept, that plays on the paranormal ideas of ESP in a sense. There is also a touch of witchcraft mixed in for added flavor. The characters are well written and you find yourself siding with them right away. Julie is a strong and independent woman. Kyle is over-bearing and controlling. Shawn is the charmer, sweet and loving. I would recommend this for Young Adults on up. I think the strong woman will appeal to a large number of readers. It was very hard to put down.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Searching for Utopia by Holly Jayne BOOK REVIEW

Searching for UtopiaSearching for Utopia 
by Holly Jayne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Does Utopia really exist out there or is it something that we make ourselves?

Spend a few hours with Leila, the main character. Learn of her story, her past and her future through her letters to her missing lover, Dorian. Dream with her of a perfect life where all people are equal, does it exist? Can we get there or is it out of reach?

This is a well-written and thought provoking short story written by Holly Jayne. She takes us to a fantasy world were discrimination is even more random than in our own world, and leads us on a journey with the main character in a search for Utopia, or that perfect place were all people are equal. The question is does that place exist out there somewhere, or is it a place that we need to make a reality.

The course of the story is only a few hours in the day of the life of Leila, but yet you find yourself understanding her whole life. The trials, the heartache and the sorrows. It gives you pause and reason to think on what she is dreaming of and working towards.

This story will entertain you, and challenge you at the same time.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Solstice Winter (Viking Blood Saga, #1) by E. J. Squires BOOK REVIEW

Winter Solstice Winter (Viking Blood Saga #1)Winter Solstice Winter 
by E.J. Squires

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Take a trip with me, back to the year of 1007, to the Northern reaches of Europe. The Nordic lands, the lands of snow and Vikings. Can you imagine the snow and cliffs, the cold, grey stone that builds the castles and keeps, the long houses with grey smoke coming out all the time to keep the people warm. Yes, this is where our story begins.

Winter Solstice Winter begins in the village, with just a normal village family and normal village life, except their daughter is having mare’s at night. Dreams that seem so real, almost as if it were memories of another life. We watch as Aillia and her family deal with those has other happenings occur in the area.

At the castle, the Queen although advanced in age and with a 17 year old daughter, is once again pregnant, hopefully with a son for the King, but all is not going well, and she passes away during childbirth along with the babe. Her daughter Lucia, is lost, having no idea how to manage life without her mother, but unbeknownst to her, life is about to change in more ways than she can ever imagine.

As the story progresses and we follow these two women, both born on the Winter Solstice Eve, we learn the history of the area and the legends that are guiding the events and shaping what is occurring. Much to the +Evelyn Squires credit, the back history is told in conversations between character’s, so it fits into the storyline perfectly and makes sense. It’s not just some aside that takes you back and fills you in on the history. It belongs where it is, and since it unfolds in conversations, you get small bits and pieces at a time, so it is almost like unwrapping a puzzle.

The characters; Aillia, Lucia, and just to make it interesting a love interest for both girls, Soren; are well thought out and easy to get to know. I related to them and understood them. Of course at times I thought Lucia was a spoiled, rich-kid brat, but then again that really is what she is. The weaving of the characters, past and present into the story just makes it feel more like a tale you have heard over and over, not a book you are reading for the first time.

Although the book ends, leaving you on a bit of a cliff wanting to know more, and having to wait for the next book to come out; it does end at a very logical place. It is a natural break in the storyline that fits well with transitioning to another book. I applaud the author for that as well, because not many authors can do that, some leave you on a huge cliff and this was more a natural cliff. Yes I am waiting for the next book, but I feel good about where the characters are at while I wait.

If you are at all interested in historical fiction, viking lore, Nordic lore and the such this is a great book for you. Even if you aren’t that impressed with that, I think you would still enjoy this book just on the richness of the story itself. The writing and weaving of the story is genuine and truly the work of a great author.

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Julie Martin Wallace blog                      Judy DeVries Blog
Jovon Tucker Blog

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Conquered Shore (Lodestone, #5) by Mark Whiteway BOOK REVIEW

The Conquered Shore (Lodestone #5)The Conquered Shore 
by Mark Whiteway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book may be the fifth book in the series, but it is the first one that I have read. Normally, I hate to do that. I have this thing about reading books in order. It just happened that I got this book without knowing about the others until it was too late, so I went ahead and jumped in. Let me say this about that, you can do that. This book can easily stand on it’s own very well. I don’t think I missed anything by not reading the others first, although now I want to read them.

Science Fiction has always been a favorite genre of mine. It allows you to think of worlds so far away and so different. That is one of the things I loved the most about this book, the world that it created. This is the story of how the people that live on the planet now actually came to live on the planet and how the planet came to look the way it looks now. It hasn’t always been like this.

You meet Keris and McCann and they are searching for a stolen memory ball, or orb. You will really only see these characters and the now timeline, briefly in the beginning of the book to set up the story, a couple of times in the story and at the end of the story. The rest of the book is what they see in the memory ball of when the people first landed on the planet and what happened to make it what it is now.

I found myself understanding certain characters more than others. Being able to relate to them and wanting them to win out over others. It’s not a typical good vs evil, it is more can two cultures co-exist together on the same planet? I knew pretty quickly where I landed and it was easier to see the reasoning that one side put forth. The beauty of it is that you can take some of the bits of the final ten chapters and apply them to current life. Use them as teaching moments with your teens. I am always looking for books that I can do that with, and I will be able to do that with this one.

It is well-written. The dialogue and descriptions are not too wordy, but give you enough to allow you to picture it in your mind. I would recommend it to adults and teens alike. In fact I have already passed my copy on to my teenage son. This is a great book. If you like science fiction, or even if you think you might like reading about another planet, this is one you should go for.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

AUTHOR: L.A. Banks

Author:  L.A. Banks 
            Main Website                The Vampire Huntress Legend Website

  • Leslie Esdaile Banks, née Peterson was an American writer under the pennames of Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, Leslie Esdaile Banks and L. A. Banks. Wikipedia
  • BornDecember 11, 1959, Philadelphia, PA
  • DiedAugust 2, 2011, Philadelphia, PA

  • The Vampire Huntress Legend
    1. Minion               Author Website            My Review
    2.The Awakening    Author Website
    3. The Hunted        Author Website
    4. The Bitten         Author Website
    5. The Forbidden    Author Website
    6. The Damned      Author Website
    7. The Forsaken     Author Website
    8. The Wicked       Author Website
    9. The Cursed        Author Website
    10. The Darkness   Author Website
    11. The Shadows    Author Website
    12. The Thirteenth  Author Website

    The Crimson Moon Novels
    1. Bad Blood           Author Website             My Review
    2. Bite the Bullet     Author Website             My Review  
    3. Undead on Arrival  Author Website 
    4. Cursed to Death    Author Website
    5. Never Cry Werewolf   Author Website
    6. Left for Undead      Author Website

    Other Books under this name not in a series:
    Vegas Bites             Author Website

    Minion (Vampire Huntress Legend, #1) by L.A. Banks BOOK REVIEW

    Minion (Vampire Huntress Legend, #1)Minion
    by L.A. Banks

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Minion was the first book by L.A. Banks that I ever read. I bought it a couple of years ago, and then life got in the way of my having the time to read it and it got shelved away.
    This was written long before the vampire and werewolf craze that Twilight and True Blood started. It was cutting edge back then.

    After a visit with my sister-in-law, where she loaned me her collection of Sookie Stackhouse novels to read while we were there and on the drive home, I knew I wanted to read more in this type of genre. This being said, I am NOT a Twilight fan, couldn't stand the first book and never watched the movies, but I find some books to be better at this type of story.

    So walking through the house, I rediscovered my copy of Minion and read it! I loved it! It was so hard to put down. I loved the references to good and evil, the backplots and the characters. It was such a good read.

    I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, although it was out at the library the day I went, and so I got started on L.A. Banks other series, a Crimson Moon, the first book being Bad Blood. Now I think I am going to have to finish this one before going back to the other.

    This review was written many years agos, probably over ten years, and it was when I was first starting out at writing reviews, so I know it isn't the best. I moved it to the new blog because I think it is still a good story. It fits with the books that are being written today, yet it was written years ago, and I love the way the author writes.

    Another reason I wanted to move it was because I found out that the author passed away a few years ago. I think she finished the Crimson Moon series and this series but I am not sure. I am going to work on getting that information. She was a great writer and it is a shame to lose her, so I wanted to feature her books again.

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    Bite The Bullet (Crimson Moon, #2) by L.A. Banks BOOK REVIEW

    Bite the Bullet (Crimson Moon, #2)Bite the Bullet by L.A. Banks

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Bite the Bullet is the second book in the Crimson Moon series by L.A. Banks.

    I loved this book. What could I say, but it compelled me to finish it, I hated it when I had to put it down and actually do something around the house or cook, or whatever. It just pulled me through, there was never a good stopping place, I just kept wanting to read more and more. I could relate to Sasha's conflict between her miltary up-bringing and the shadow Clan way of life, bewteen the old world ways of the clan and the modern day, free thinking of today. I could relate to Max's desire to preserve everything old world and the old ways and the safe, honest envirnoment he thought he knew. I copuld relate to the tension between them, and the interaction with the others.

    The story of Sasha, the miltary agent who found out in book one, she is werewolf, only of the shadow wolf variety continues, along with her helper, Max Hunter, a pure shadow wolf with a little infected werewolf DNA from an incident at birth. Near the end of the book, Shogun, that we met briefly in book one, who is the catalist that allows Sasha to learn the truth about herself, reappears, and hints at a bigger role in the next book, or at least it feels that way to me. Will have to get started on that thrid book to know for sure. There is also trouble from Sasha and Max from the get go, and it seems like it never gets resolved, which, given that there is another book, should only be common sense.

    In this book, we get to see more of Woods and Fisher, from Sasha's miltary team, and Clarissa, Bradley and Williams that we only briefly met in book one, but that were in the lab at NORAD with the team all the time, they play a much bigger role in this book. And I for one, really hope that they continue to play a large role and that we get some more character development in the next book for them. I think that would be a fun side story to add in.

    This book takes us to places, in the modern day world. We visit New Orleans not long after Katrina, yet the world is full of things that humans have no concept of, the myths and legends from childhood, well they are all real, live stories, they aren't fiction anymore. We travel with the Shadow wolf clan, we meet werewolve clans, we learn of Fae and Dragons, of Nymps and Sprites, of Vampires and everything else you have ever heard of, but never thought were real, they are real in this book.

    This book differs greatly from the hoards of Vampire loving books on the market in the recent years. These Vampires remind me more of the LeStat version from Anne Rice, the old world, elgantly born, rich and snooty type that have no problem double-crossing anyone and everyone to get what they want. I loved it. The Vanpires were not made out to be the heros, the ones that have been wronged but we should embrace. In fact, all the Vamps in this book have a slightly French accent, and a haughty air about them, and for some reason I could just really see that. It seemed more natural to me to think of them this way, as back-stabbing, double-dealing, better-than-you type.

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    Bad Blood (Crimson Moon #1) by L.A. Banks BOOK REVIEW

    Bad Blood (Crimson Moon, #1)Bad Blood by L.A. Banks

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    So I was looking for something a little different, not your typical romance, or mystery or action story and I found this series. I don't know, but something about the cover and the teasers just made me go ahead and pick it up.

    It's the Crimson Moon Series and book one is Bad Blood by L.A. Banks.

    This is a werewolf, vampire and other supernatural beings book, interspersed with CIA and FBI and covert military objectives. To be honest this was back before the whole Vampire Diaries and True Blood even started.  This review is actually from many years ago, but I am moving it to the new blog, so I am updating it a bit. This was new stuff to be reading at that timed, cutting edge and it was good.

    The two main characters in Book One are Sasha Trudeau and Max Hunter. There are the other members of Sasha's elite military team, and other members of Max's clan, but it centers around these two, finding hidden truths in their lives and coming together to defeat a common evil.

    I really enjoyed the book. There were some specific things that happened that centered on the werewolf lore, and what was happening was explained so that you could picture it, but not over done so as you were bored. I really enjoyed the mix of everything that was dropped into the book.

    Looking forward to starting book 2 later tonight!~

    As you can tell, this is one of my first reviews, and I was still learning how to balance how to describe the story without giving too much of the plot away. I don't think I did a very good job of it in this review, but I think it would be worth your time to read this book now. Remember this was cutting edge, is was vampires before vampires were popular.

    On a sad update, the author of the book passed away a few years ago. I think she finished the Crimson Moon series, but it is a sad loss because she was a talented writer and I really did enjoy her books.

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    Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare BOOK REVIEW

    Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, Book Two)
    by Cassandra Clare

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series, which is a precursor to the Mortal Instruments series.

    In the Clockwork Prince we continue to follow Tessa Gray as she tries to discover more about who and what she is, and the London Institute as they try to find and defeat Mortmain. 

    This book grows each of the characters in age and maturity. We learn more about Tessa and her brother Nate, Jem and Will and even Jessamine. We watch the friendships and affections between the people grow and become more and shape and influence decisions that they make.

    Familiar family names from the Mortal Instruments series can be found in this book, but as the shadowhunters are an elite lineage that should be expected. We find some bad apples in some family trees.

    I found myself hoping for and enjoying the development of a relationship with Tessa and Jem, I found it true and innocent and refreshing, especially in a world filled with demons and conflict.  i long for the next book and the resolution to the story, and the hopes for a happy ending.

    Book One:  Clockwork Angel                         Review Link
    Book Two:  Clockwork Prince
    Book Three:  Clockwork Princess                   
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    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare BOOK REVIEW

    Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book One)
    by Cassandra Clare

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices series, which is a precursor to the Mortal Instruments series.  This book and series is set in London area in the late 1800's. All your favorite character types from the Mortal Instruments are there, werewolves and vampires, demons and shadowhunters, it is just more the beginnings. You will also recognize some familiar last names.

    Clockwork Angel revolves around a young girl named Tessa, who has always though she was a normal (mundane) girl and never imagined anything more to life, until her Aunt dies and she moves to London to be with her brother, only all is not what it seems. Tessa is more than what she thought, and someone knows more about her than she does, and they have plans to use her.

    Welcome to the London Institute, where young James Carstairs or Jem and William Herondale or Will are living and training to be Shadowhunters.  They follow a trail that leads them to unknowingly to young Miss Tessa, and she has to decide if they are worth trusting after all she has been through. And is she willing to help them save the world.

    If you have already read the Mortal Instruments series, you will see some similarities in some of the characters. If you haven't then have no fear, you will still enjoy this book. The layers of story that weave throughout are wonderful, it is not all on the top, but there are under currents upon under currents of stories in the book.

    I personally enjoyed the first three books of the Mortal Instruments, which is why i started reading this series, and i find that I like the characters, was glad to see Magnus Bane in this book as well, and find that the struggles are the same this century and last.

    I almost find myself enjoying this series a little more than the Mortal Instruments, and maybe that is the time period, i have always had a thing for historical books.

    Book Two:  Clockwork Prince                        Review Lin

    Book Three:  Clockwork Princess                    Review Link

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    Friday, November 15, 2013

    AUTHOR: Andrea Cremer

    AUTHOR:  Andrea Cremer
    Amazon Author Page Link
    Goodreads Author Page Link
    Author's Website Link

    1. Shadow Days (0.5) Kindle only - written after the series was complete
                                       Amazon Link                My Review
    2. Nightshade
    Author's Website            Amazon Link                My Review
    3. Wolfsbane
    Author's Website            Amazon Link                My Review
    4. Treachery (2.5) Kindle only - written after the series was complete
                                        Amazon Link               My Review
    5. Bloodrose
    Author's Website             Amazon Link               My Review
    6. Aftermath (3.5) Kindle only - written after the series was complete
                                        Amazon Link

    Nightshade Legacy
    1. Snakeroot - available December 2013
    Author's Website           Amazon Link

    Prequel to Nightshade
    1. Rift
    Author's Website           Amazon Link
    2. Stolen Souls - Kindle only
    3. Rise
    Author's Website           Amazon Link

    The Inventor's Secret
    1. The Inventor's Secret - available April 2014
    Author's Website           Amazon Link

    Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by: Andrea Cremer BOOK REVIEW

    Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
    My Author Post
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Bloodrose is the third and final book in the Nightshade Trilogy by Andrea Cremer. She has ended every book on a cliff, and finally some closure. Calla, Ren and Shay, the love triangle will finally be decided right?

    This book was awesome! Everything that they went thru to get what they needed, the way they worked together. I loved it and it was so exciting. Ok, so Ren and Shay are still at each other throats, literally in this book, but what can you expect, they love the same girl and they are wolves. I still find Ren to be the one I relate to and like better. I am not that hooked on Shay, he's just a little too full of himself for me.

    The final battle, is huge, and everyone plays a part, and they all have to do something they didn'[t want to do or didn't know they could do. It was great. I loved the meeting of Shay and Calla's father, he wasn't too sure what to make of the kid. Even more, I loved the way Ren and Calla's father fought together.

    Yes I cried, alot at the end of the book. Can I just say I am mad. Yes I wanted Emile Bane to die, but not they way he did, I wanted it to be someone else, or something less, I wanted him crushed to made to know he wasn't all he thought he was. And I cried along with with pack at Ren. I had to, he was my favorite.

    I will have to say that although I was not excepting that ending, it was good. I am not sure what I was expecting, and when she starting leading into it, I still was not seeing were she was going, so I was caught by surprise at the end. That is really nice, to have an author catch you that off guard that far into a book.

    Excellent author, excellent series. There is a prequel series out now that tells how Nightshade came to be, so I have that in my to read pile.

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    Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by: Andrea Cremer BOOK REVIEW

    Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
    My Author Post
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Wolfsbane is the follow-up book to Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. I couldn't wait to get my hand on this book, because if you read Nightshade, you know that we were left on a bit of a cliff. This book picks up on that cliff.

    Calla awakens to find out that life as she knew it is over, and that everything she had ever thought was right was really wrong, that she has been lied to her entire life. The rules have changed and she has been on the wrong side the whole time. This is a big shock, and it takes awhile to sink in, but the first task is to rescue her pack and Ren.

    Of course Shay is not all that happy about the Ren part, but he is for recusing all the others, and then Shay finds out all the things that he is going to have to do and what he has to be and it is a whirlwind.

    When Calla returns to Vail with the Searchers to rescue the pack, you find some of the horrible things that happened the night her and Shay escaped. You also find out who is still loyal to Calla and the Nightshade and who has flipped over to the Banes.

    This book is full of discovery, and fighting, and finding out who really is in your corner when it all comes down to it. I don't know what it is about the way it is written, but something pulls at me, and I just want to jump into the story and be friends with Ren and Calla and Shay.

    This is so well written and the story flows so well that you will sit down to start reading and the next thing you know the book will be done. It is a great read. Again, since the main characters are 17-18 years old, it's marked young adult, but I think it is good for anyone. I even passed the series on to my 14 year old son, only because of the shape-shifters though but he is enjoying it.

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    Haunted by: Eileen Maksym BOOK REVIEW

    HauntedHaunted                                                       Amazon Link
    by Eileen Maksym                                        Blog Link
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Haunted by Eileen Maksym is the story of three college students who investigate and research hauntings together.

    First you have Tara, the smart and pretty girl, who is studying neurobiology and has access to lab equipment. She has a troubled past that she doesn't talk about to anyone, and avoids most friendship except this little group.

    Second you have Steven Trent, he is a political science major, and has a major crush on Tara, but refuses to do anything about it. He likes the friendship the three of them have and doesn't want to run her off.

    Last, but not least, you have Paul, who is the one who really makes the haunting group because he can actually hear ghosts.

    Now you have an older couple wanting to sell there home, throw in a newspaper article about the house being haunted, and then a group of college students wanting to research it. You have a wonderful little book called Haunted.

    It was very well-written, everything flowed well, and once I started going I just kept going and before I knew it I was done. There were some unexpected twists, but it was quite a cute story. I marked it as Young Adult as the characters are college students. So glad to have had the chance to have read this book!

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    **In the spirit of full disclosure, I received a copy of the book in return for my honest review.**

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by: Andrea Cremer

    Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
    My Author Post
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    This is the first book in a trilogy by Andrea Cremer, and the first book by this author I have ever read. I fell into it quite by accident. I had an unused book credit on and was looking through some books, and saw this, thought it sounded neat, with only little to go on, and got it sent to me. Now of course I have had a lot going on, and it has sat in the pile for awhile, but I pulled it out the other day, and oh man am I hooked!! Amazon probably loves me right now!

    First let me say, I put this on the werewolves shelf, but the story is NOT about werewolves! The Guardians are not werewolves, they are shape-shifters. They can take the form of a wolf, but it has nothing to do with the moon or night and they are still aware of being human in wolf form. Now, we can move on to the story.

    The main characters are a group of teens, in the 15 to 18 year old range, so it does make this a coming of age, or young adult book, but at the same time, as a mature and older adult who has kids in that age range I still enjoyed the book.

    The setting is Vail, CO; but not the Vail everyone knows. This Vail has Guardians, who are the shape-shifters, and are ruled by a class of people called The Keepers, who aren't really human. Then there are the enemies, The Searchers, and the normal humans in the middle that know nothing of these groups.

    Slowly as we learn about each person, we learn about the world, and the structure of the world and society that they live in and how things work and what is going on. Right away, you find the people you like and the people you dispise.

    Calla is betrothed to Ren, and yet she meets Shay and feels torn between the two. Classic story, but with a huge twist. Now I won't tell you more than that, I will say that I fell for Ren. He is such a loveable guy, acting so macho and sure of himself around everyone but Calla. He is lost, he doesn't know how to act around her, and I find that so sweet and enduring.

    As the story progresses we find that maybe, just maybe everything they have been told all their lives, everything they thought they were protecting and fighting to save was a lie, and maybe just maybe, the Keepers are the bad guys and they have been on the wrong side the whole time.

    This was so well written that I was pulled in and reading and before I knew it the book was done and I was screaming. Amazon probably loves me because I went online that minute and bought everything else in this series by this author, so expect to see some more on this line soon! I am hooked! I loved the characters and I want to know them and I feel for them and relate to them. Even with the age difference, I can remember my own high school experiences and relate to the story.

    This is just a great read!

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    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    AUTHOR: Juliet Blackwell

    Author:  Juliet Blackwell     (Hailey Lind)
    Goodreads Author Page 
    Juliet Blackwell Website Link 
    Hailey Lind Website Link 

    A Witchcraft Mystery Series
    1. Secondhand Spirits
    Author's Page Link               My Review
    2. A Cast-Off Coven
    Author's Page Link               My Review
    3. Hexes and Hemlines
    Author's Page Link               My Review
    4. In a Witch's Wardrobe
    Author's Page Link               My Review
    5. Tarnished and Torn
    Author's Page Link 
    6. Vision in Velvet

    A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery Series
    1. If Walls Could Talk
    Author's Page Link              My Review
    2. Dead Bolt
    Author's Page Link              My Review
    3. Murder On the House
    Author's Page Link 
    4. Home for The Haunting
    Author's Page Link 

    Art Lovers Mystery (under the name Hailey Lind - cowritten with her sister)
    1. Feint of Art
    Author's Page Link               My Review
    2. Shooting Gallery
    Author's Page Link 
    3. Brush with Death
    Author's Page Link 
    4. Arsenic and Old Paint
    Author's Page Link 

    Feint of Art (An Art Lover's Mystery, #1) by Haily Lind BOOK REVIEW

    Feint of Art (An Art Lover's Mystery, #1)Feint of Art by Hailey Lind
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Feint of Art is the first book in the Annie Kincaid Mystery series which is written by Hailey Lind, which just happens to be a name created when Juliet Blackwell and her sister write together. Now, I happen to love Juliet's books, and I am not sure what name her sister writes under normally, or if she does, but I would be happy to say that she is just as good as her sister, if this book is any indication. I loved it!!

    The story revolves around our main character, Annie Kincaid, she is the grand-daughter of a master art forger, spent time learning from him and passing some pretty good forgeries herself, but she went straight, now owning a studio that deals in faux finishes and murals and even some restoration of a old piece, which I am thinking who better to clean up and fix a master than a forger, really. She is scrapping by, but their are still people in the art world that want nothing to do with her, but more of them want her knowledge, because when it comes right down to it, when you spend a great deal of money on a painting that is suppose to be an old master you want it verified, and if I was verifying an old master, who better than a master forger to tell me if it is real, or one of their works. Of course, they all want it kept on the down-low that they are using her services and she is fine with that for now.

    The story begins with Anne being called by an old flame to verify a new painting at the gallery he works for, only for Anne to have to tell him it is a fake. The old flame makes plans to met back up with her in a couple hours and she waits at the coffee shop only to be stood up, what else is new. So on her walk back to her truck, she sees police lights and finds out that the security guard that let her out just an hour ago is dead and there is no sign of her old flame anywhere. When she can't reach him still days later, she begins to look into what is going on out of concern for the guy, which leads her into a whole mess of things she never imagined!

    This was just so well-written and so easy a story to follow, I just loved it and I look forward to more in this series, because I was blown away by all the art information that was tucked into the book, it never seemed like a "teaching moment" but more like real conversation and it was so neat and interesting. I really liked it and I hope you will take a chance on the book and give it a read!

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    Dead Bolt (A Haunted Home Renovantion Mystery, #2) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    Dead Bolt (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #2)Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Dead Bolt is the second book in the Haunted Home Renovation Series by Juliet Blackwell, who also writes the Witchcraft (Vintage Clothing) Mystery Series. She is probably one of my favorite authors that is currently writing cozy mysteries. I guess I just get her writing style and her books speak to me, and I love them.

    Dead Bolt finds Mel Turner again in the middle of a renovation project, this time she is working on an 1890s Queen Anne style-old house, again in San Francisco. The owners area cute, yet strange couple Katenka and Jim and their new baby Quinn. As the construction is going on, strange things happen like tools missing, handprints in the ceiling and paints. Katenka is thinking it might be spirits, and Mel is not one to doubt her, but she wants to find some history on the home and see what might be going on in the history.

    We follow Mel as she hunts down the history on the house, talking to former owners and tenets and finding out what she can about the house and the people who lived there.

    Again we see and talk to some of our favorite people in the book, Mel and her dad, Stan and her stepson, Caleb. The always proper Graham, and then through in assorted friends and family, which we might have met briefly in the first book and we get to met more in this book, and I look forward to even more in the next book, which I heard is just now being released.

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    If Walls Could Talk (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #1) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    If Walls Could Talk (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #1)If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Another cozy mystery in my list of books that I have read, is that surprising anyone at this point. So I like them, I like to get into them and the way characters develop. So this was a new one, the first in a series and a new author to me at that.

    This is the first in the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery Series, and it is a little different from the other cozy mysteries in that the police aren't actually investigating this murder, in fact the only person who seems to be concerned with the murder at all is Mel Turner, our female lead. After a divorce, the unexpected death of her mother has her taking over her fathers construction business, instead of hiding in Paris licking her wounds. The business is good, they specialize in restoring old homes to their former glory, and believe it or not Mel is really good at what she does, which probably is one reason she didn't do so well in her marriage to a professor.

    A friend, Matt Addax, and aging rock start at that, buys an old house to flip, and although she agrees to do a walk through for him on the house before he buys it, that was all that her involvement was suppose to be. Until Matt's teenage son calls and wants her to check on him, they had a do-it-yourself demo party that included drinks, not the best combination with power tools. She stops by to find a passed out Matt, empty beer and wine bottles, and alot of damage, then as they are walking through the house, Matt's business partner and friend Kenneth walks up too them with a nail gun, nail shots into his abdomen and his hand sawed off. Kenneth passes away at the hospital and what seems to be almost no investigate ensues.

    During the brief, one day search of the place, she finds out that her business name has been forged on the permits, and Matt has asked her to help finish the remodel because he needs to recoup the money. And thus begins the twisted a sorrid tell that ends up involving ghosts and spirts from at least three generations before any work ever gets done on the house!

    It took me alot to actually get into the book. I read one chapter, then pushed myself to read the next, then pushed on, it was only about a third of the way in did I finally find myself enjoying the story and looking for some closure. I'm not sure about the series yet. I kinda liked Mel, I really like Graham, old family friend come back into her life, and the teenage boys, Caleb and Dylan, Matt's son and her ex=stepson whom she still has a good relationship with and is in her life more than you would think an ex would be. Her Dad and his best friend, Stan are there, and although they started the business, they have stepped out and let Mel take over. The original reasoning that Mel gives was that her father was just unable to handle it after her mother's death, but late in this story we find out that his wife was a big part of the business, and I think he stepped aside on purpose, I think he had it in his mind to bring Mel in, give her a purpose after the divorce and to settle her down and make her deal with life. She thinks this is temporary and that her Dad will take back over soon, but I don't think he has any plans of taking it back over. So there is part of me that is ready for the next book to see how that sub-plot matures.

    Overall, it was a good book, and I defintely think I will read the second book in the series, and I think I will reserve judgement on it until then. Not sure if it will be a favorite or not, but looking forward to learning more about the characters.

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    Hexes and Hemlines (A Witchcraft Mystery, #3) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    Hexes and Hemlines (A Witchcraft Mystery, #3)Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Hexes and Hemlines is the third book in the Witchcraft Mystery series by author Juliet Blackwell, who I just happen to really love!

    Lily has been asked by Detective Carlos to take a look at his crime scene, it is littered with bad luck symbols, and he wants to know what she thinks. This is a huge step for the detective, he is actually, after her being involved in his last two cases, coming to terms with the supernatural and the fact that witches and ghosts actually do exsist, which is a whole lot better than her said crush, reporter Max Carmichael, who after the last crime and actually seeing her in action, tucked his tail and ran off to Florida! Coward! Of course Lily isn't ready to announce it to the whole world that she is a witch, but she is getting better about letting people get close to her.

    The crime scene that Detective Carlos takes her to is on the 13th floor, there is a ladder you have to walk under to get in, broken mirrors, a black cat and all kinds of other bad luck symbols. The funny thing, Lily can't really get a vibe on the place and that kinda freaks her out, so of course she has to get invovled and look into things, especially when she finds out that her friend Browyn's son-in-law was at the dinner the night before and is a "person of interest", which of course is freaking rebecca, Browyn's daughter out to n o end, it is upsetting her "perfect", normal, un-supernatural life.

    Of course we learn a little more about Browyn and her daughter, Rebecca and their relationship in this book. We also learn more about Adian and Sailor, who just happens to be involved in this book quite alot, which is really neat, because I like Sailor, in fact I think Sailor and Lily would be a cute couple, but that is just my opinion. We also learn more about Lily. I love how we get small glimpses into her past, things that made her what she is today in each book, and in this book, because we are dealing with this "bad Luck Club" and the symbol of the snake, we learn that Lily is not afraid of snakes and o n incident in her life when she was younger involving her mother and a snake-handling church. It really helps you understand the basic mistrust she has of people, when someone who is suppose to love her can subject her to such a horror.

    I am really looking forward to the next book, the Art Deco Ball and learning more about Aidan and lily, and how they are connected, because we know that they both are very powerful witches, and you just know there has to be some connection between them, jut what it is exactly is yet to be discovered. I love finding out more about them in these small doses, as they navigate life and death and reality.

    Book Four is titled, In a Witch's Wardrobe, I think, and it is available now. I also hear, from following the author on Facebook, that she is currently working on book five! Love it!

    View all my reviews

    A Cast-Off Coven (A Witchcraft Mystery, #2) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    A Cast-Off Coven (A Witchcraft Mystery, #2)A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    If you have read any of my previous reviews, you might already have figured out that Juliet Blackwell is one of my favorite authors. Not only do I love her books, but I think she is a pretty cool person too, as I follow her on Facebook and hear about the new books as she is writing and they are published. It is alot of fun to be able to keep up with your favorite authors!

    This is the Vintage clothing, witch series and this particular book happens to be the second in the series, with the book Secondhand Spirits being the first book.

    I really enjoy Lily Ivory, the title character. She is a little afraid of people and making friendships, and her history is hinted at each time she explains that. Not much is told, that he father left when she was a toddler, her mother couldn't cope with a child that was a witch and so her "grandmother" rasied her and tried to teach her about her magik. Now weather Graciela is actually her grandmother by blood or not, I am still not sure about, she kinda hints that she might not be, but Graciela also raised her father before her, so she is counted as a relative. Little is really told about her past, although I am finding that with each book, we find just a hint or two more about her.

    Lily has only been in San Fransico for a few months, and she was drawn into a child abduction and a murder in the first book withing weeks of being in town. Now it seems like the local Art College is having a problem with a ghost that is scaring the students, and since one of those students is Maya, who works for Lily, she gets involved in finding out what is going on. The day they decide to visit the school, they don't find any ghosts, but a murder and once again Lily is sucked in and the local police are none too happy.

    Lily is still investigation a relationship with Max, and weather there is any chance of one occuring or not, especially since he believes that witchcraft is a bunch of hooey and Lily is a witch. They continue to dance around each other and try to figure out what to do, until Max's family gets drawn into this particular event because his younger brother is a profressor at the Art School where Lily is investigating the haunting or rather what turns out to be more serious and scary, a demon on the lose. Max doesn't want to believe any of it, and yet it is right there in front of his faced, but he thinks he can solve everything with science, and this is going to take alot for him to figure out in his mind. He may never be able to deal with it and there goes a relationship out the window.

    I really enjoyed this series, and continue to look forward to what Juliet puts out in the written word.

    View all my reviews

    Secondhand Spirits (A Witchcraft Mystery, #1) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    Secondhand Spirits (A Witchcraft Mystery, #1)Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I discovered author Juliet Blackwell awhile back when I found her Haunted Home Renovation Series, and I loved that first book so much, that I researched the author to see what else she might hve written, and discovered this series, A Witchcraft Mystery.

    I loved this book. Lily is our lead, a powerful witch, that we know very little about, so we discover just a little about her history, with so many more mysteries in her as a person herself yet to discover. Bronwyn is actually a wiccan, a normal human who practices witchcraft as a religion, but not a real witch and not powerful. Bronwyn shares space in the store with Lily and can already tell what Lily is, before and without Lily telling her. She becomes something of a friend to Lily, the first of her life. Maya is a student at the Fine Arts College that is recording histories of people, and in that role finds a number of vintage clothing stashes for Lily. Se also, although being skeptical of the whole paranormal world, another friend to Lily.

    In this, the first of the series, Lily and Maya met with an elder lady who isn't all that she seems, and while they are visiting to look for clothes, a young girl down the street is "abducted". Lily takes it upon herself to try to figure out what is going on and to get the girl back.

    It is a well-written and charming story that weaves it's way around, introducing a number of people, giving us just a touch about them, not too much but just enough to keep us interested. So looking forward to the next book to see where each of these people go, the history and pasts that they bring to the story and where they are headed. I find myself wanting to discover more about the people.

    Another great book by Juliet Blackwell.

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    In a Witch's Wardrobe (A Witchcraft Mystery, #4) by Juliet Blackwell BOOK REVIEW

    In a Witch's Wardrobe (A Witchcraft Mystery, #4)In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    In a Witch's Wardrobe is the fourth book in the Witchcraft Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell. She mixes vintage clothing and witchcraft together into a complex and compelling storyline that also keeps me guessing.

    Lily Ivory is a witch, not a fact that she shares with too many people. It has not been a well-received fact in the past and she is still scarred from the reactions of people in her past, which influences how she reacts and acts now. She owns a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora's Closet, and she also sells some protective tailsmans in the store too.

    The thing is if you hadn't read any other book in this series, you could still read this one and follow along well enough. You might wonder about some of the people, but it wouldn't hamper the store in any way. Now, reading them in order is much nicer. You follow a progression and you see Lily start to grow and become more comfortable and happy where she is.

    Lily attend the Art Deco Ball with Aidan, a male witch of great power in the area that she is still holding at arms length, mainly because he knew her father. An aside here, we know almost nothing of Lily's father after four books, he is sort of a ghost in her past and not something that she is willing to talk about or think about. She grew up with her grandmother. Back to the ball, while at the ball, a young woman passes out and Lily is sure there is witchcraft involved.

    At first she is told to back off by Aidan, but after a few days he tells her that she has to find out what is going on, and to protect people involved without telling her why or how they are tied to him. Of course Lily is already in the investigating phase and what she learns will make changes in her life for the future.

    This is a wonderful book, well written as always. I love the storyline and the plot. I love the vintage clothing angle that is so fun, she really describes the clothing and and makes you feel that you can see them and want to wear them. It is so much more than just the witchcraft angle to the story, there is a whole life story to it. I just really feel for Lily and want her to find happiness and someone who understands her.

    This has always been one of my favorite cozy mystery series, and one of my favorite authors. It still is and I continue to be impressed by the books each and every time.

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    Monday, October 21, 2013

    NEW AUTHOR: D. S. McKnight

    Author:  D. S. McKnight

    I recently "met" Deborah McKnight on a book review community I am on in Google+. She was posting about her first novel being published and was looking for people to give it an honest review. By now, you all know, I love to read and even more love to share what I read with you all here on the blog, so of course I had to check into this. She allowed me to read the book, in exchange for an honest review. One word of note here, my reviews are always honest, even if I don't like a book, I am going to write it anyway. I made sure she knew it would be honest, whether I liked the book or not. Fortunately, I ended up loving the book. So I have info to share with you about this new author, her first book, and let you all decide for yourselves.

    Author Website

    This is her website. It gives you information on the book and book signings and such.

    Author Facebook Page

    This is her Facebook page, which allows you to interact with the author. If you liked my review, want to read the book or want to know more, please like her facebook page and follow along. I am looking forward to following and seeing what more she has to offer.

    Author Blog

    The author's blog, which has info about this book, but other info as well. Guest posts from other author's and more. It's a great blog to follow.

    Amazon Book Link

    Yep, an Amazon link. You know what that means. You can buy the book. It comes in paperback or Kindle versions. Not trying to pressure you, but I think it is always in our best interests as readers to support the Indie writers, the new and up-coming. Just my two-cents.

    Amazon Author Page

    Of course this is the Amazon Author page, and although it is pretty sparse, not much in there for Amazon to put on it, I wanted to include it for those that like to check out those pages too.

    Now that I have shared all that information, let me share one last piece, the author has no idea that I am writing this post! Yep. This is all me! She only wanted my honest opinion of the book and I have given her that, but at the same time, I love to share, and I think I have found one of the next big names in writing. Of course I have to share. Every time you read a good book, you just have to tell someone, and I have to tell you all about this author.