Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays #7

Top 10 Strong emotions

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.

No specific order. But do add to your Goodreads.

1. Alec by L.A. Casey
2. Saved by Kelly Elliott
3. Faithful by Kelly Elliott
4. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
5. Endless by Jessica Shirvington
6. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
7. Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
8. Forget You by Jennifer Echols
9. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
10. Broken by Kelly Elliott

Book Blitz: Tawdra Kandl

Book Blitz: The Last One by Tawdra Kandle

 Title: The Lasr One
Author: Tawdra Kandle

Publisher: Hayson Publishing (Cooperative)
Date of Release: 28th September 2014

Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Link: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone’s life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects.

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won’t be easy. Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle.

Nobody ever said love was simple.

Q & A with Tawdra Kandle

Q: THE LAST ONE is the first book in a new trilogy, but apparently Meghan is not a new character to your readers. Tell us where we met her first.
A: Meghan is the daughter of Jude Hawthorne, the main female character in THE POSSE. We got to know her a little in that book, but in THE LAST ONE, we hear her side of things. . .and find out what happened the summer after THE POSSE took place.

Q: Can a reader enjoy THE LAST ONE without having read THE POSSE?
A: Absolutely. Most of my ARC readers had not read THE POSSE. It’s definitely a stand-alone. And although some seeds for the next two books are planted in the first one, Sam and Meghan’s story is complete.

Q: Do you write out an outline for the entire novel before you write it?
A: I do not. I am primarily a pantser: I have a fairly vague idea of the direction a story will take, and I begin by jotting down those ideas, along with pertinent details like setting, names, ages, relationships. These are particularly important if the book is a sequel or has characters from a previous book. I lay down a timeline. And then I just write. At times, the story goes in a different direction, and I let it. When I force it, I find my characters fold their arms over their chests and stand, foot tapping, until I stop and listen to them again.

Q: How long does it take to write a book?
A: It depends, for me. I usually try to get in at least 5,000-10,000 words in the beginning, and then I keep a steady writing schedule until I draw near the end, at which point I usually write all the time for 3-5 days. My family does not enjoy those times. The whole process can take as long as two months or as short as 4-5 weeks.

Q: You write both contemporary and paranormal romance. How do you balance those two genres?
A: It is indeed a balancing act. I enjoy both genres, and I try to have seasons for each. For instance, I usually publish paranormal in the winter/early spring and late fall, and I stick to contemporary in late spring and summer. When I’m writing contemporary, I only read contemporary, and I enjoy the fact that my characters have to act within a certain set of boundaries (most of us call those ‘reality’). When I write paranormal, it’s freeing to knock those fences down. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s okay to kick them over

Q. Which brings us to the last question. . .what’s your next project?
A: Paranormal! I’m kicking off my adult paramystery series, Recipe for Death. I’m super excited about this series. It started out as a quick also-ran book I began writing back in my critique group days. I always intended to go back and write the rest of it. . .and then last summer, I had to write a short for the anthology ETERNAL SUMMER. I decided to use Cathryn, who had appeared in The King Series and would be in The Serendipity Duet, as the main character. She needed a love interest, and lo and behold, he turned out to be Lucas, the hero from the book I’d always just called Jackie and Lucas. This is a lighter sort of paranormal, and as the genre suggests, it’s also a mystery. I think it’s a lot of fun. The first book is called DEATH FRICASSEE, and it should be out right around Halloween.

About Author

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

Authors Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

ends 13th October 2014
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Book Blitz: Tiana Warner

Book Blitz: Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner

Title: Ice Massacre
Author: Tiana Warner

Publisher: Rogue Cannon
Date of Release: 18th September 2014

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology
Link: Goodreads | Amazon

A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.

Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.

Author Interview:
Give us the tweet-sized version of what Ice Massacre is about?
A teenage girl is sent to battle the hostile mermaids that are driving her people into poverty. A story of love, secrets, and ass-kicking.

What makes Ice Massacre unique?
First, I haven’t seen a lot out there that portrays mermaids for what they really are: flesh-eating sea demons. But I think what also sets it apart is its almost entirely female cast. This island decides to send female warriors to kill the mermaids that plague them, because women don’t fall victim to a mermaid’s supernatural allure. We end up with an all-female war on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Meela, an aboriginal girl who’s never been away from the tiny island she calls home, also has a pretty unique journey of self-discovery. I don’t want to reveal too much. But I think a lot of aspects make this story unconventional.

What’s your favourite thing about the book?
I love Meela’s antagonists. Meela’s a tough chick and she has a lot coming at her from all directions. Writing those opposing forces was so much fun.

What’s next for you as a writer?
The sequel! This is the first in a trilogy, and I’m hard at work on book two: Ice Crypt.

Guest blog 1
Finish your story: 3 Tips for Getting that Book Done
To make a ridiculous understatement, writing a book is hard. Few people actually finish the task—whether because they can’t find the time, or they get stuck in a story rut, or they lose inspiration once they realize how difficult it is. Let me tell you, there is nothing more rewarding than a finished and published book! Here are three tips to help you get that story done.

1. Write down your dream and look at it daily
Writing down a goal is a magical thing. When you make it tangible, it’s like you’ve transformed your dream into a prophecy.

Write “I am a bestselling author” (or whatever your goal is) on an index card. Look at it every day. Live it and believe it. Work at that dream every single day, even if only for twenty minutes.

Because I have a full-time job and hobbies, the only time I had to write Ice Massacre was between 6am and 7am. I’m not a morning person, but by putting that index card over my alarm clock, I gave myself the motivation to leap out of bed and get to work on my dream. I promise you, it’s effective.

2. Understand that your first draft will suck
All right, I’m going to be honest with you. The first draft of anything I write is like, the worst thing ever. It’s like someone gave a chimpanzee a dictionary and a pen and wouldn’t feed him until he scribbled out enough words to form a full-length novel.

The second draft, however, is better. The third and fourth are pretty darn good. My point is, don’t be discouraged when your novel sucks after the first go-around. You can’t possibly make a fantastic story in only one draft—you need time to get to know the characters, to identify plot holes, to fix the fact that you used the word “sighed” eighty times in one chapter. Personally, it takes me at least seven drafts to get a novel right.

3. Study the craft of writing
A common reason why writers get stuck is that they hit a roadblock in their story. They’ve dug themselves into a plot hole, or they don’t know where to go next. I’ve probably read a thousand blog posts about writing over the last few years. There are endless resources to help you learn the craft, and I recommend that you subscribe to a few writing blogs and read at least one post every day.

Here are a few of my favourites:
1. Helping writers become authors (She also has a podcast, which makes it easy to 
2. Terrible minds
3. The write practice
4.Writers shelping writers
5.Moody writing

*           *          *

Finishing your book comes down to working hard and believing in yourself. You don’t need to be the best writer in the world in order to write a good book—you just need to have a story to share and the drive to write it!

Do you ever find it hard to finish a story? What tips and inspiration can you share?

Guest blog 2
3 Creativity-Boosting Tips for Writers
Have you ever sat up in the middle of the night to write down a sudden stroke of inspiration? Or made a quick voice memo to yourself? Maybe jotted down a plot twist idea while you’re supposed to be working or studying?

For a lot of writers, creativity comes in waves. This is great if those waves are thrashing around like stormy seas, but at some point a writer is bound to hit a flat spot. And not the kind of flat spot that’s great for water skiing. This is the kind that leaves you stuck in the middle of the lake wondering how the heck you’re ever going to get back to shore.

Here are three tips to keep those creativity waves coming.

1. Write first thing in the morning
Writing when you’re half asleep has some pretty cool effects. You’re still partially in dreamland when you first wake up in the morning, so you end up writing stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise think of. Besides, it genuinely sucks trying to sit down and be creative after you’ve had all the day’s energy leeched from you.

The wee hours of the morning are also interruption-free—and if your attention span is anywhere near as pathetic as mine, this is vital to getting anything done.

2. Go for the third thing you think of
This applies to the big picture (overall plot turns or the outcome of a big scene) just as much as it does to small, seemingly insignificant details (a prop in your character’s bedroom, or a snarky line of dialogue). The first thing you think of is too obvious, and probably a cliché. The second thing is ok, but come on, you can do better. The third? Now we’re getting somewhere.

3. Step back. You’re looking at it too closely.
Seriously bro, give that story some space! Some aspects of writing can really kill your creativity jam—like spending twenty minutes trying to come up with the perfect synonym for “stumbled”. If you find your creativity IV drip running dry, you need to step back a little. Look at your outline, story notes, logline, whatever. Remind yourself of the overall goal of your story, and the original purpose you set out to achieve. Even better: get inspired by reading some books by other authors.

*           *          *

Summoning creativity is often just a matter of letting yourself go. Get crazy! Write down something totally weird. Don’t try and write perfectly—that comes later, in the editing stage. For now, embrace those waves of creativity.

What about you? What creativity-boosting tips can you share?

About Author
Tiana warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway
giveaway ends October 12th 2014.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ARC Review: Sleeping With The Boss (Anderson Brothers #1)

Sleeping With The Boss (Anderson Brothers #1) by Marissa Clarke

Publisher: Entangled, 2014
250 pages, kindle edition
Source: Xpresso Book Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A satisfying category romance from Entangled’s brand new Lovestruck imprint…

Seducing the enemy has never been so tempting…

For the last five years, bookish Claire Williams has been living for the dying. Now that her stint as caretaker is over, she’s off to see the world. She needs quick cash first, so a temp job at Anderson Auctions seems perfect, especially with the unexpected benefits, including the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes—or hands—on.

Former Marine William Anderson has been burned one time too many. His military training makes him the perfect man to flush out the spy undercutting his family business, but no amount of training can prepare him for the kind of undercover work he’ll have to do when the sexy new temp is implicated. Desire lands them in bed…but duty may cost him his heart.

My Review:
When a book has you chuckling within the first couple of paragraphs you know you are in for a fantastic read and this is exactly what you get with this book and latest offering from the Lovestruck imprint.

From the moment our heroines skirt rips down the seam revealing a pink thong to our hero, to the very last page that I finished with a goofy grin on my face, I loved this book.

This was not your typical boss/underling trope. While yes our H/h Will and Claire both work at the same company and yes you could call him her boss. It’s not really that straight forward. We get the pleasure in this book of meeting the three, yes three Anderson brothers. They all run the company, so hence the not your typical trope reference.

In Will we get the returned soldier who was publicly humiliated by his bitch of an ex-fiance and who now doesn’t want a HEA and is happy to run the security side of the business. Away for the office preferably. But that all changes when his brother Michael calls him to the office and he has a interesting encounter with Claire.

Claire, there is so much to love about her. She cared for her grandparents when they became sick and eventually passed and now is taking a temp job for money till her inheritance lands in her bank account. The last thing she expected was to be caught up in a spy scandal but this is what happens.

Watching these two fall for each other was a delight. The sparks fly from their first meeting and continue to spark hotter and hotter the more time they spend in each other’s company despite the whole spy thing hovering over their heads. Will is drool worthy in his pursuit. You will see what I mean when you read it.

“She just made out with her boss against the door of her apartment. Like seriously made out with him complete with some grabass.”

The end of this book had me alternating between sniffles, chuckles and sighs. I also can’t wait to read stories for Will’s two brothers Michael and Chance. They will no doubt not go down without a fight.
This is yet another author to that will be added to my ever growing must read pile.


ARC Review: The Hit (The Unknown Asassin #1)

The Hit (The Unknown Assassin #1) by Allen Zadoff

Publisher: Orchard Books, 2013
352 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Boy nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. just enough for someone in his new friends family to die -- of "natural causes." Missions accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.

When his own parents dies of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organisation that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.

My Review:
Zach is no ordinary teenager, he is a hit-man. He is trained to infiltrate teenager's lives, kill someone close to them and disappear without a trace. He has been doing this for 2 years now and she starts to wonder when all of this will end.

Amidst his latest mission things do not quite go the way they are meant to go. He only has 5 days to complete the kill, there are people following him and there is this girl who complicates everything.
We get to follow this boy on his latest mission and once in a while we get these flashbacks to see how he came to be this boy. It has a certain dark edge on it all.

This boy's tale is very interesting. There were moments I really felt for him. Because of his work he never gets to make real friends, never getting emotionally involved and every move he makes is a calculated one. This all seems very exhausting to me, but he doesn't have a choice.

The setup of this story is very unique and refreshing. Therefor there were a lot of surprising twists in the story. You were constantly questioning everything and everyone. I never really knew what to expect and the ending definitely took me by surprise.

Allen Zadoff has created a fascinating character. Because of his job, you never get to know the real Zach, a couple of glimpses at max. Which of course is the point as he is boy nobody. He becomes whomever he needs to be. There is going to be two more books and I will certainly be reading those as well. I just want to know more about this boy and his missions are interesting to read about. Some find the missions a bit too political, but to me that just adds depth to the story and I like the intrigue.

My Rating:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fridays Finds #7

This is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. What yah do is post up books that you discovered through bookstores, friends, goodreads etc, whichever way you discovered them. But only post up the books the books you discovered during that Friday week only.

Book I found this week:

Title: The Death of Lila Jane
Author: Teresa Mummert

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Freshman year of high school is supposed to be a time to spread your wings; grow from a little girl into a young woman. That's what the adults say anyway. It just meant harder assignments and less time to figure out what college I wanted to get into in four years. I didn't need to add any stress to my life my parents did that for me. They fight constantly and no matter how hard I tried it was never good enough. This year would be different. This year I was going to shed the little girl Lila Jane and
become a woman if it killed me.
Be careful what you wish for.

sounds like a good book yet it doesn't come out till the end of next year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Blitz: K.R. Conway

Book Blitz: Undertow (Undertow #1) by K.R. Conway

Title: Undertow
Series: Undertow #1
Author: K.R. Conway

Publisher: Patchwork Press (Cooperative), 
Date of Release: 11th October, 2013

Genre: Fantsy, Romance, Contempary, New Adult, Young Adult
Link: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind's historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.

High school senior Eila Walker knows that good luck skips over her like an Easter Bunny on Speed. So when she inherits her grandmother's million-dollar Cape Cod home, she is downright shocked. And yeah, her new town isn't perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.

A self-proclaimed loner and previous-social reject, Eila thinks she's hit the jackpot when drool-worthy Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow. But being hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow slams the brakes on bliss – especially when Raef storms to her aid with coal-black eyes and iron-like strength.

Eila, entirely freaked, demands an explanation and Raef comes clean, revealing that neither of them are average humans but rather the genetic remnants of an angelic pissing-match gone wrong. Eila supposedly can channel the power of human souls, while Raef is quite adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn't such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-ass warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila's DNA.

Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.

A self-proclaimed loner and previous-social reject, Eila thinks she's hit the jackpot when drool-worthy Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow. But being hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow slams the brakes on bliss – especially when Raef storms to her aid with coal-black eyes and iron-like strength.

Eila, entirely freaked, demands an explanation and Raef comes clean, revealing that neither of them are average humans but rather the genetic remnants of an angelic pissing-match gone wrong. Eila supposedly can channel the power of human souls, while Raef is quite adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn't such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-ass warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila's DNA.

Now sought by Raef’s own family for her destructive ability, Eila must trust him to watch her back. But when a quest for information goes terribly wrong, Eila is suddenly left with only two options: become a weapon for the enemy or follow in her Gram’s fearless footsteps to save those she loves. Unfortunately she needs a willing enemy to ignite her suicidal energy and the only one she trusts has been guarding her butt and scorching her lips.

Raef’s POV
For me, the world held no other person I could ever love as much as Eila, and whether my desire to be with her was encoded during Elizabeth’s death or not, I didn’t care. I would tear down the world to keep her safe and nothing would get by me, nothing would come near her that was remotely threatening ever again.
Unfortunately, I suspected Eila would do the same for me, which made me worry constantly that she harbored a self-confidence that would get her killed. No one walked away from a Mortis who wanted them dead, and an untrained Lunaterra like Eila might as well just be your average high school girl.
My kind would kill her before she even had a chance to scream.
I heard her take a deep breath and I looked back to her, grateful beyond words that she was resting on a garish red couch and not inside a coffin . . . or lifeless on a cobblestone street like her grandmother.

Guest Post:
Are your books pure fiction or are some aspects inspired by your own life or someone close to you?

The series is based on a REAL version of Cape Cod. In fact, one of the characters owns an ice cream shop named The Milk Way. While “The Milk Way” is fictitious, it is 100% based on Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville (a REAL town, were fictional Eila lives). Four Seas knows they are in the book and they host book signings. Other things in the book that are real to Cape Cod (so you can basically visit here and do all the things that Eila and her crew do) are:

1. Eila’s house – The home the main character inherits, and thus sets off the chain of events for UNDERTOW, does exist in the historic area of Centerville, not far from Four Seas Ice Cream. It used to be owned by a friend of mine and we hung out in it all the time when we were young. She now resides in Hong Kong as a pilot, so we catch up on Facebook and she gives me more secrets about how the house was built. FYI – don’t go knocking on the door, because someone else owns the house now.

2. Barnstable High School – Totally real and totally cool public high school that does some crazy thing. The students and faculty know they are in the novels (and even decided to begin building their own book trailer based on the series), so they allow me to come in and walk the halls as needed to make sure I stay true to the story. And yes – it is so huge that I need a GPS to find my way out. 2000+ students go there. Their award winning theater department became part of a major TV network series known as High Drama a few years ago. American Idol contestant Siobhan Magnus was a student there.

3. The Jeep Subculture – Again, totally real. On Cape Cod, Wranglers are the most beloved vehicles of all. Most families have one, and if you drive one, other Wrangler drivers will wave to you when you pass each other – like Harley riders do. And yes – you can drive them out onto some of the beaches (MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH ONES!)

4. Witch Balls, The Crimson Moon, and Eila’s Bracelet – All real. Witch Balls are made at any one of our beautiful, glass-blowing shops (and yes – you can watch them actually blow glass, which is so cool). The Crimson Moon was based on The Lavender Moon, which is no longer in business. It was owned by a real coven of witches and when you would go in there, you could buy healing stones, herbs, crystals, oils, etc. Don’t worry – Dalca didn’t work at the real version! Eila’s bracelet is a staple of Cape Cod and there are several variations, though the original is simply called a Cape Cod Bracelet. They come in various sizes, so having a two-year-old with one is not unusual. The ball screws the bangle together, which means that sucker ain’t coming off, so don’t get it caught on anything or your arm may go with it.

5. Town Neck, the Bonfire party, and the infamous bridge – All real, though I did take a few creative liberties. So, Town Neck beach is part of the town of Sandwich. It has the boardwalk, just as described, and the long beach at the end, AND, yes, the river. Kids can jump from the bridge (yup, I’ve done it too, and IT IS FREEZING). However, you cannot drive a car out on Town Neck and you are not supposed to bonfire there – all those things can be done on SANDY NECK or NAUSET (where Raef hunts), so I kinda sorta blended the two beaches.

6. Barnstable Harbor and the Ferry – Totally true and yes, you can sit and people watch. You can also catch a Cape Cod Baseball League game in the nearby field. The Cape Cod League is famous because so many players get called up to the Majors.

Q & A with K.R. Conway
If you could be any character in your book (and receive their powers as well, if they have any), which would you be and what would you do?
Oh dang . . . Ummm. I’d be Ana Lane I guess – car fanatic, surfer girl, and basically an emotional psychic on crack who is pursued by a gorgeous and devoted guy named Kian. But I am lucky enough to have a real crew of teenaged models who I get to see on a regular basis. I found Cape Cod teenagers from the real Barnstable High School on Facebook that looked like the characters (at least, in my mind) and they were brave enough to become the models in a fancy-shmancy studio we use. So yeah – Raef, Kian, MJ, Ana, and Kian text me all the time – LOL. The entire “cast” will be at Stormfront’s book launch on August 3rd here on Cape Cod (yup – you can get an early copy on Cape Cod that night, otherwise it is August 13th).

Do you incorporate yourself into your characters' personalities? If so, which character are you most like?

I think all authors pull from what they “know” so yeah, I’d say Eila’s dry humor is me, the craziness of MJ is me, and Ana’s take-no-crap attitude is me. Of course, all those personality traits help in my other job: driving a school bus.

What do you aim to teach your readers through your books?
Strength, perseverance, and devotion. I want my female readers to be bold and strong, and my male readers to understand that being protective does not equal being controlling. I want teenagers to see relationships painted in a positive light and that every relationship must be a balance of one another.

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters' names?

Kian, Raef, and Christian were all on my list of boy names for my son (he ended up as “Finn”). Jesse was a dear friend in high school as was MJ. Nikki is my niece’s name, and Mae is my daughter’s middle name. Ana, Eila, Rillin, and Collette were all just made up, though they seemed to fit the characters.

Have you always known that you wanted to become a writer?
HAHAHAHAHA – NO. I have a degree in Forensic Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (Criminal Minds type-thing), but while I was in college professors would say I had a “knack” for writing (I figured they were all high on something). Then I came out of college and was asked to interview an artist. From there other magazines and newspapers began approaching me. That was 16 years ago and the rest is history. I now teach fiction craft to teenagers at libraries and high schools. Truth = no one is born a writer, but you CAN be born a storyteller. Learning HOW to tell the story – that’s what I teach.

Do you have any routines before writing to get the creative juices flowing?

Walking and driving actually allow my mind to wander and thus, begin writing in my head (I occasionally have missed a bus stop or two, LOL). I am a rocker-girl at heart, so I listen to music non-stop while I write and blog. I just saw Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and New Politics in Mansfield. AWESOME!

Which scene(s) did you enjoy writing the most? -- in Undertow or Stormfront, or both.

Oh man . . . The bonfire scene in UNDERTOW I enjoyed writing because I had just been at the boardwalk the night before with my daughter. It is also that crazy turning point in the book when readers suddenly realize I am a seriously deranged writer. I had a lot of fun writing STORMFRONT, but I laughed myself silly writing the scene where MJ convinces Eila to become a criminal. I also spent a great deal of time writing a certain scene between Eila and Raef on the yacht. I think I rewrote it 10 times. The next book I hope to have out is Kian and Ana’s story known as CRUEL SUMMER.

If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?
Never judge someone if you have never walked in their shoes. So much hate is based on ignorance of the other person, race, or country. All it takes is a moment to step back and realize you may not know where the other person is coming from and that your hate is unwarranted.

About Author:

I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.

In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.

I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope - that's not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.

Authors Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #7

This is a weekly event posted by Breaking The Spine where bloggers spotlight up coming releases that they are eagerly anticipating.

Famous Last Words
by Katie Alender

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles -- a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Release date: (Expected Publication)  30 Setpember 2014

This is only about a week away, fingers and toes crossed its a good book.

Publisher: Scholastic

Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary, Thiller

Links: Goodreads

I have never read any books from this author so I want this to go well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays #6

Top 10 books I would take if I was deserted on an Island

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

No specific order. But add to you Goodreads

1. Shadowing Me (Breakneck #3) by Crystal Spears
2. Fight For Flight (Fighting #1) by J.B. Salsbury
3. Empower (The Violet Eden Chapters #1) by Jessica Shirvington
4. Consume (The Clann #3) by Melissa Darnell
5. Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) by Stephenie Meyer
7. Chasing McCree (Chasing McCree #1) by J.C. Isabella
8. Storm (Storm MC #1) by Nina Levine
9. Assumption (Underground Kings #1) by Aurora Rose Reynolds
10. Dominic (Slater Brothers #1) by L.A. Casey

Sunday, September 21, 2014

ARC Review: Populatti

Populatti by Jackie Nastri Bardenwerper

Publisher: CreateSpace, 2014
338 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley


Getting in is hard. Staying in is harder...

Joining social network Populatti.com let sixteen-year-old Livi Stanley trade her awkward middle school past for the social life of her dreams. Because Populatti isn't just a social network. It's a club, providing access to friends. Parties. And Livi's crush, star baseball player Brandon Dash. Yet lately, online rumors have been threatening Livi's place in the group. And not even her friends are doing much to stop them. Leaving Livi to prove them wrong, and fast.

Before her life as a popster is over.

My Review:
I really felt the writer did a great job on the characters, I could totally relate to them, or at least understand them, they each had normally issues, trying to do well in school and boys, yes boys, wow that is probably the biggest issue and the writer did so well with this, brought me right back to high school, and I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to go back.
So it seems rumors are started and Livi is in the middle, not knowing what is going on and gets voted out of Populatti, wow she is so upset about this, who wouldn’t be? It is your life, your friends, wow, really? Why me? So typical of a 16 year old. Her whole life revolved around her friends so this was a disaster. I really felt bad for her, I felt the writer again did an awesome job with setting the stage and was so real like.
I felt this story was really worthy, it brought up social issues that I would have never thought of, it dealt with peer pressure and being a teenager who wanted to succeed in school and their social life. This story had shown some ways to deal with it. I also liked that it was a clean book, no swear words, no sex, yes maybe a little peer pressure to do more than kissing, but I am really glad this book didn’t go there. It is nice to read a clean book with an adventurous storyline.
I recommend this book, it is a great story, easy to read, and I didn’t want to put it down.

My Rating:

ARC Review: Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Disney Press, 2014
352 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

My Review:
Deep Blue is an underwater, adventurific, puntastic and glorious thrill ride. Travel through the seven seas, through the realms of the different sea peoples where magic and prophecy and danger are prevalent. Then, add terror and some murder and watch the real story unravel.

On the eve of her wedding night, a young mermaid princess' life changes completely and she is sent on a whirlwind journey, away from her homeland, away from everything she knows and into utter danger.

The story swims past you quickly with plenty of action and a lot of sea puns. Look out and laugh especially hard at the crazy catfish lady. The ending leaves you hanging but means that there will be more mer-fun to have later.

My Rating:

ARC Review: Remember When

Remember When by T. Torrest

Publisher:  Smith Publicity, 2013
262 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (fromg Goodreads):
Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

I should know. I was one of them.

And my life hasn’t been the same since.

My Review:
Oh WOW I really loved this story so much!

This book was about crushes and first loves, it really made me go back to my school days where I had my first crushes thinking they wasn't interested and having your friends help you through your heart breaks!

I found Remember When so realistic, I loved how Layla and Trip went through the stages of friends to first love, even though you could see from the beginning it was a love at first sight type thing!

I found Layla and her best friend Lisa's friendship hilarious they went through everything most best friends at school do.. Laughs, home life problems, silly arguments that only lasted a little while, but were always their for each other. I hope to see more of Lisa in the next two books which I'm sure I will as I have a feeling she will always be by Layla's side!

I fell in love with Trip pretty much right from the beginning. I got my first butterfly when he walked passed Layla's desk and tapped on it! He was so sweet towards Layla but I wanted him to tell her how he felt instead of letting her think it was just one sided.. Silly boy!

So pleased I got recommended this series, it couldn't of come at a better time.. I needed something that would feel my tummy with butterflies and this book certainly did that!

The ending wasn't left on a cliffy but it made me want to pick the second one up straight away to see what happens. I have a feeling its going to be a rollercoaster ride!

My Rating:

Review: Good Girl Gone Plaid (The McLaughlins #1)

Good Girl Gone Plaid (The McLaughlins #1) by Shelli Stevens

Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd, 2013
229 pages, kindle edition
Source: Free through Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

My Review:

I completely enjoyed this story! The characters were well written, both Ian and Sarah are deep with a great history. We got a pretty good look at the other brothers and sister, setting up for the following books. The plot was great, I've gotten a bit jaded with romance novels, boy meets girl, drama happens, sex happens, happily ever after happens. This does follow that pattern mostly, but the the drama in between was fantastic. Ian and Sarah were high school sweethearts, bad stuff happens, they seperate, and eleven years later are thrown back together. There is much animosity and distrust on both sides, neither is happy to see the other, and Ian's family doesn't help. Drama really happens then! Their history is revealed through flashbacks, which I really liked. Secrets are revealed on both sides, trust is rebuilt, family interfers more, and we get the pay off. No surprise to say we get a good ending, it's why we read romance novels!

Sometimes the female character in romance novels comes across as weak and needy, the weaker of the pair by far. That is not the case here, Sarah has a backbone. She has a moment here and there, but overall she is a strongly written character. I appreciate that. Ian is an ass, he's certainly the bad boy, partly cause he is, partly cause he's been told he is. But under the ass exterior is a strong loving man. It took me a while to warm up to him, but he grew on me, and I loved him by the end.

The setting was interesting, both the island and the pub, the characters were great, the plot was great, the sex was hot and just plentiful enough to be good but not overwhelming. There were hot Scottish men, in kilts at one point! Shelli told us about the island this takes place on, and the games being played at the Highland Games in a way that felt instructional but not like we were being talked down to. Her information fit in to the story, and didn't feel odd, or make me step out of the plot to learn something. If that makes sense!

My only let down was the same as another reviewer, there was a "bad guy" character introduced that never went anywhere. I would liked to have seen more drama caused by him. But that is a minor issue, not a complaint, just an observation! Great set up at the end for the next book as well, I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with the series!

I've read several of Shelli's books, while they were all good, steady romance novels, but this one stood out as being particularly well written!

My Rating:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ARC Review: Stormfront (Undertow #2)

Stormfront (Undertow #2) by K.R. Conway

Publisher: Patchwork Press (cooprative), 2014
428 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Not long ago Eila Walker’s choices were limited: death by a bullet to the head, or at the hands of her beloved bodyguard, Raef. Now, five weeks after Raef triggered her power and she nearly leveled a historic mansion, Eila is dealing with the fall-out of her decisions. While she doesn’t remember dying in the arms of the soul thief who loves her, she knows that Raef remembers everything about the night he nearly killed her.

Now on the mend and attempting to keep one step ahead of the FBI, Eila and her team of misfits are desperate for a bit of normal. Eila is trying to navigate high school, while her BFF Ana is cautiously hanging with past-boyfriend and soul thief, Kian. Shape-shifter, MJ, is trying not to piss off his mother, while Raef is coping with his fears that Eila will never be safe.

But just as “normal” seems within their grasp, a powerfully built newcomer arrives. Raef knows the scarred man as a Blacklist Dealer – a soul thief, who peddles the names of humans who deserve to die. Eila, however, knows him as the protective hunter from the woods, who she nicknames Thor. Before long, Raef and Eila realize they’ve met the same killer, and he has one hell of a story to tell the five friends . . . if Raef doesn’t murder him first

My Review:
This series must be read in order. The first book is Undertow. This is the second book.

Eila found it disconcerting to find out she wasn't human. Or at least not all human that is. But to find out that not ONLY is she Lunaterran but Mortis as well?! There are no words! She. Should. Not. Exist. Ever! Not only does she not know how to control her power... No one has ever been like her in the history of the world. What new surprises will her hybrid genetics bring her? Are her powers even controllable? How is she still alive even? With the FBI poking around in the incident at the Breakers she may not even live long enough to find out anything about her heredity at all!

Raef is a man in love. He is torn up with guilt for his part in Eila's near death experience (let's face it... She WAS dead but the miraculously brought her back to life with modern medicine) and the fact that he failed to keep her safe from the traitor in their midst in the first place. He failed his friend Elizabeth but he refuses to fail her great grand daughter! Will Race ever stop blaming himself and ditch the paranoia patrol? Will they ever have anything even remotely approaching a normal life?

The supporting characters just keep getting better with each book! The quest to unlock and read the diary while discerning who is or is not on the proper side of the fight is almost all encompassing. Especially as new people arrive and others show conflicting natures. MJ, Anna, Christian and Kian almost deserve their own books! And the newcomers just add more intrigue and doubt into the mix making this one of the most thought provoking and engrossing reads I've had in a long time!

This amazing sequel starts out slow but stick with it! Believe me the exposition is truly needed especially as the action and mystery entwine crazily with the adventure that quickly picks up speed and drags you to the end wondering what happened and where all the time went! This book ate me :) This book is well worth the effort of getting through Eila's recovery and the exposition phase! Stick with is and you will be well rewarded! I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!!!

My Rating:

ARC Review: Undertow (Undertow #1)

Undertow (Undertow #1) by K.R. Conway

Publisher: Patchwork Press (Cooperative), 2014
398 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend has always declared that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning. Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and soon young guardian, Raef, is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize that she may be their best shot at survival, even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.

My Review:
I like paranormal books that have a good mixture of creatures, and Undertow certainly had that. There is a lot going on in this book. I loved the mix of mystery, action and romance, and KR Conway even managed to throw a good bit of humor into the story as well. Overall, it was really well done. I think a lot of that had to do with a great group chemistry going on between all of the main and secondary characters. Eila, Raef, Ana and MJ are such an interesting and surprisingly tight knit group considering how short of a time they had to get to know each other.

Eila starts the story off packing up and moving to a small new england town where she mysteriously inherited an old family house. I kind of wish she did a little more digging into the house and why she got it when she got there but she seemed to get swept up in the start of school and everything else that was happening that it just got pushed aside. But other than that, I really enjoyed Eila. She is tough and resilient. She has a lot thrown at her in a short period of time. She didn’t know anything about anything paranormal when she got to her new house and then it seemed to be popping up everywhere she turned. But still, she didn’t back down from anything new and scary. It helped that she had a great group of friends surrounding her. And her friends each had secrets of their own that I enjoyed finding out about. As soon as I first met MJ I knew that I would like him. He has such a great sense of humor and he was just fun to be around.
Raef was someone that I was unsure about at first. The book starts out with a flashback and so I had this idea in my head that Raef was the bad guy, but around Eila he didn’t seem to be. I wasn’t sure what to believe for a while, but eventually he won me over. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing in this book so I’m not going to say much more about that.

The romance in this book has a very natural feel to it. I loved the progression of it, and there were certainly more than one swoon-worthy scene. There is a ton of stuff that goes on in this book. And it all takes place very quickly. I would have liked to seen the timeline stretched out just a bit. I think that would have made it seem a little more realistic as far as the group of friends went. Eila is a new girl in town and she becomes so close with Raef, Ana and MJ so quickly, and they go to great lengths for her. If they knew her for just a little longer that would have made their bond even better for me. But that won’t be an issue at all in the next book. I’m excited to read the next book. There was no cliffhanger ending on this one, but there is still plenty to happen in the Undertow series. Undertow is a good start to a promising series.

My Rating: