Monday, April 21, 2014

Middle Grade Book Review ~ "Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy" by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia and the Marvelous BoyOphelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source : Netgalley (review)
Genre: Middle Grade Fairy Tale Retelling

Book Description: Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.


My thoughtsOphelia and the Marvelous Boy is a retelling of the Snow Queen. This story does not follow the original closely but has the basic aspects intact from the original.

Ophelia is visiting a museum with her father and sister. Her father is a sword expert and working at a museum on a display. Ophelia and her sister, Alice, are basically left to their own devices as their father works. Ophelia wanders the museum and comes across a boy who is locked in room 303.

The boy, who doesn't have a name, sends Ophelia on adventures to retrieve the keys to unlock him from his prison.

Ophelia has asthma and doesn't believe in magic. She believes in science. Her quest unlocks her imagination and she discovers her courage, things that she didn't know she possessed. Along her journey she also taps into her mother's spirit, who guides her and helps her.

I really liked this twist on a classic story. It is full of magic, ghosts, monsters, courage, and sure to unlock a child's imagination. The story is paced well and full of action that will keep a child's attention. I didn't find the monster's to be described in a way that will cause nightmares, but they will generate interest.





Book Blitz ~ "Lore" + giveaway


Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold
Release Date: 03/2014

Summary from Goodreads:
A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart.

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid... but is it too late to save her?

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions.

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn't believe in Native American magic--until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path.

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him.

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness.

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

Buy Links:


READ an Excerpt:
********************
A Beautiful Mourning by Theresa DaLayne:

I could not help but smile at the newly budded flowers scattered over the hills of the

middleworld. My bare feet sank into the cool grass. It sprang between my toes, reminding

me of the many walks my mother and I took together when I was a child.

It had been many years since she last strolled beside me. Many years since her soul left

her body and joined the breeze of the heavens.

I paused beside a tree and lay my hand upon its bark.

I missed my mother’s laughter. Her sparkling green eyes and her sweet voice. No longer 

a child, I ached for her guidance and advice in the matters of life, and especially love.

A hummingbird buzzed past me and broke my gloomy thoughts. I turned and watched it 

hover over blooms and feast on the bounty of the nectar. I extended my hand. The tiny 

bird startled.

“I intend you no harm,” I said softly. It was not only for the mortals, but for the creatures 

of this realm that I tended to the greenery on which they depended to survive. I loved 

them, and wished them nothing but prosperity and joy.

Yet their happiness was a constant reminder of my sorrow, and some days, my heart did 

not have the will to carry on.

The rhythm of the bird’s rapidly pumping wings soothed my disparity and brought a 

smile to my lips. I lowered my hand and the creature vanished from sight.

It was then I noticed the large cat weaving between the trees. I smiled and stepped toward 

the jaguar. “Balam. How nice to see you. It’s been far too long.”

The middleworld deity slinked toward me. One large paw lazily moved in front of the 

other until he was close enough to touch.

His fur was like silk under my fingers.

“What special occasion brings you?”

Balam did not answer, which was typical for him. Even when in his human form, the 

middleworld god had never spoken a word. Instead he simply butted his head against my 

leg and rubbed his body along me. His tail brushed across my belly as he continued past 

me and headed to the forest.

I spun just in time to see Balam vanish into the foliage. There was no use in calling him 

back. He would wander in the forests and jungles until he decided to return. When that 

would be, I couldn’t say.

I turned back toward tending to the flowers. Spring in the mortals’ realm was my fondest 

season. It was, after all, the beginning of seasons in which I spent the most time with 

Kinich.

I pulled my hair to one side and wove it into a braid over my shoulder. My touch 

prompted tiny purple flowers to blossom in my hair. They were Kinich’s favorite color to 

see paired beside my skin.

My father knew not of our romance, though it could not be deemed a surprise. I was the 

tender of flowers and trees for the mortals, and Kinich…

I paused beside a struggling rose bush as the sun warmed my shoulders. My smile 

widened, and the grass, which I had raised from seedlings, flourished into thick, green 

blades.

A beam of light focused on the bush beside me. The branches bloomed with wild 

rosebuds.

I stooped beside the flowers and touched their silken petals. They were so lovely.

The sound of light footsteps caught my attention. The warmth of the sun intensified on 

my back. I took one last moment to admire the blooms before I stood and turned to see 

Kinich standing behind me—golden hair, and eyes that beamed with shades of orange 

and yellow.

He smiled.

My heart jumped.

His gaze wandered to the rose bush. “Your flowers no longer struggle for life.”

I arched my brow and strode toward him. “And you believe you are responsible for 

giving them life?”

“Perhaps.” He reached out and twisted my braid around his fingers. “Without my light

and warmth your flowers would not bloom.” He allowed my braid to slip out of his gentle 

grasp.

I tiptoed around him. “And without my touch, the light which you provide would have 

nothing to nurture.” I walked past him and gave him my back.

“Then I suppose we need each other.” His hands rested on my hips and then rounded my 

waist. Kinich pulled my back against his chest. My eyes fluttered shut.

His lips grazed the curve of my neck, his breath hot against my skin. “I have no shame in 

admitting I need you.” He pressed a kiss on my shoulder.

********************
Author Bios:
Brinda Berry:
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn't mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good 
Find Brinda at www.brindaberry.com .

Karen Y. Bynum:
Dragons, unicorns, genies…oh my! NA/YA author, coffee-lover, olive-hater, tea-drinker, music-listener. Random becomes me. Easily distrac— Blog

Laura Diamond:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and multi-published author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

Jayne A. Knolls:
Jayne A. Knolls lives and works in New York City.  The Maker is her first published work of New Adult Fiction. Jayne can reached at JAKnolls@optonline.net
Theresa DaLayne:

My name is Theresa DaLayne and I’m a new adult author with Bloomsbury Spark, an amazing digital imprint of Bloomsbury publishing. Website

Cate Dean:
Hi there - thanks for checking in. My name is Cate Dean, and I write romantic suspense and paranormal, with some action packed YA paranormal and fantasy thrown in. I love to write, and I have been doing it most of my life. I've made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, and I am thrilled to be able to write them down and share them with you. If you want to be the first to know when the next book is released, or be in on some fun, exclusive contests and giveaways, join my list here: http://catedeanwrites.com/join-my-list. You can learn more about me and my books at my website: http://catedeanwrites.com

***GIVEAWAY***
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Book Blitz Organized by:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review ~ "Once Upon a Prince" by Rachel Hauck

Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding, #1)Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (for review)
Genre: Christian Romance

Book Description: Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess─just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?



My thoughts: Every little girl dreams that she is a princess. She dreams that she will find her prince, or true love, marry and live happily ever after. Susanna Truitt only wanted to find "the one". She wanted a forever love, she had no idea that he would be a real life prince. She held on to a dream of her happily ever after for 12 years until it shattered, they she was ready to embrace her future and find room for Nate, or Nathaniel, a crown prince.

I enjoyed reading this book. Susanna is a wonderful person. She has had many heartbreaks in her past and has become a strong and capable woman from them. With each setback she opens up her heart and tries to figure out what God's plan is for her.

I liked Nathaniel as well. Seriously, Susanna's heart was history the moment he came into her sights. He is not pretentious and is compassionate to those around him. He is aware of his political position and doesn't take advantage of others. He wants to be considered a regular guy.

The romance is paced well. I like that they didn't instantly fall into each other's arms. They took time to be sure of each other and their feelings. There were many setbacks to relationships that were looked at and discussed.  The story is written in three parts.  Time lapses between each part, but it doesn't distract from the story.  It lets the reader know that while they were away from each other, their hearts held constant.  It is also told from Susanna and Nathaniel's points of view.  I liked that feature.  It was great to know where each character's head and heart was.

The writing style was easy to follow. I was caught up in the story and it paced very well.  Rachel Hauck was able to describe her characters and settings to where I could make a mental image.

Now that I have read this book, I think I need to go back to A March Bride and reread it. I think I may like and appreciate it better. It is the after part of the story. After the engagement and before the marriage.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Tour ~ "The Soul of the Sun" by Genevieve Crownson




Title: The Soul of the Sun
Genre: Paranormal/Young Adult
Author: Genevieve Crownson
Publisher: Genevieve Crownson
Pages: 348
Format: Paperback; Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON


“The hands of time turn on the face of the sun. Only you can move them. If the Watcher controls the hands of the clock he can go anywhere, past or future-- and destroy our planet.” 

Since the days of ancient
Greece, the Argos dynasty has kept a secret, a mystery passed down through their descendants from generation to generation, in the hopes that the forces of good can stop the evil destruction of planet Earth. 

Margaret Ingall is harboring that secret. Time is running out for the descendants of the
Argos. They know a great healer and time traveler will be born of their blood. But the only person that knows whom they will call “the soul of the sun” is Margaret’s sister, Abigail. Before she can reveal the healer’s identity, disaster strikes… 

Evil stalks them, watching and waiting to find out which member of her family has the ultimate power. Is it Margaret’s own child? Or her beloved granddaughter? Or even herself? Their only clue is a powerful protective amulet that will lead them all in a cat-and-mouse game to discover secrets as ancient as time.
 

If the Watcher discovers the truth before they do, all will be lost.
 

Fate, time and love weave together in their struggle to fulfill their destiny. Will Margaret’s fears sabotage her family’s protection? Can the healer accept her gifts in time? And once the soul of the sun is finally revealed, will it be too late?
 

Her power is incredible. The sacrifices required of her are immense.
 

Will it be enough to stop the Watcher?
 

Excerpt:

The rain fell in sheets around me, it was gloomy and depressing, but I didn’t feel a drop. I was completely encased in light; I was a moving, breathing, flaming yellow orb that no one could penetrate. I watched in amazement as my broken leg instantly healed and the torn pajama fabric cinched itself back together. My jaw pain ceased. I closed my hands over the amulet, now humming with intensity. In a split second, I was vibrating with the same power. The wind picked up and the sky loomed black. The moon lay dark behind an inky sky and somehow strange chanting words flowed out of me. Lava hot and fraught with meaning, they rose to a fever pitch. Every word was a part of me, part of my being. Words from another time, Tanga’s time, slipped from my lips as though it were my native tongue. It was the inscription on the amulet, of that much I was sure.

I stretched my glowing hands out to Thomas.

I call on you Lady Isis.

Protect Me.

For I am the one, the Soul of the Sun.

I plead with you and your son Horus to give refuge.

Patroness of Nature and Magic bring all my power and your power together to glorify
what is right and true in this world.

Honor your name and those we safeguard from harm. Let time be taken from no man.

Amen.”

He was laughing at me.

“You stupid little twit, did you honestly think that would work? You think that I can’t take what’s mine?”

As he spoke, I chanted the same words, repeating them over and over. I saw fear cross his face just for a moment when he realized I was using the amulet’s power. A brilliant beam of light continued to radiate from my core. It was strange, the light now shone gold instead of blue. It must have changed when it sealed together. I continued to watch and to my astonishment, he became transparent and, with a puff of smoke, evaporated into the heavens. I could hear his heart-rending screams echoing through the ocean’s storm. Drained completely of energy, I crumpled, exhausted, onto the sand.

About the Author:

Genevieve Crownson graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelors of Science degree. A love of writing led her to pen her debut novel, The Soul of the Sun. This is book one in her highly anticipated trilogy, The Argos Dynasty. She currently lives in beautiful Charleston, SC with her family and beloved four-legged friends.

You can find her at www.genevievecrownson.com.

Connect & Socialize!


Genevieve Crownson is giving away 2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards!

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway begins April 7 and ends June 27.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, June 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Tour ~ "Righting a Wrong" by Rachael Anderson

Righting a wrong
Tour Schedule

Righting a Wrong (The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series, #3)Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Novella Contemporary Romance

Book Description: Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past. If only life worked that way. Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs. If only it were that easy.


My thoughts: This is the third book in the Ripple Effect Romance Series. Each book can be read as a stand alone. I love that it takes a character from the previous book and focuses a story on them. It's nice to see their story unfold in a wonderful way.

This story focuses on Jace. He was the jilted boyfriend in the last book. He has held a place in his heart for seven years for his high school love who got away from him. He is a great guy.

I love that in this book Jace and Cambri didn't instantly fall back into a relationship. She came to town to help out her father who had a heart attack. There were many uncomfortable situations for them, and I enjoyed seeing how they repaired a damaged relationship.

The secondary characters are great. Cambri's dad in ornery. He carries a lot of pain and steels himself for emotional rejection. Jace's grandpa was one of my favorite characters. He knows just how to diffuse a volatile situation. He does it in a humorous way that left me smiling.

This book is a great book to read. It fulfills the longing for a good romance and is clean. There are a few sparking kissing scenes, but that's as far as things go. Good book for romance lovers of all ages.


Amazon  *Kobo * Barnes & Noble

READ an Excerpt
********************
    In Cambri’s life, mistakes were like boomerangs. She’d make them, regret them, and launch them as hard and far as she could to get away from them. Then suddenly, after she thought they were long gone, they would come sailing back to thunk her hard on the chest.
    Like now.
    Cambri could practically hear the figurative boomerang whooshing toward her as recognition dawned on Jace’s face—the kind of recognition that came when seeing someone from your past you’d rather not see.
    “Hey, Jace,” was all she could come up with to say. She clutched the pruning shears, frantically trying to think of something more. “Long time no see.”
    He glanced at the shears, and a few awkward seconds passed before he responded. “Yeah, long time.”
    “I was just, uh . . .” Cambri brushed a few dried leaves off the shears and held them up—“trying these out. They’re sharper than I expected. I’ll take them.”
    “Will you take the hose too, or was it the sprinkler head you were also trying out?”

********************

RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Updated Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love."

 Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford 
Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/28/14 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Behind the Scenes ~ The Cover Shoot for "A Beauty So Rare"

Tamera Alexander recently posted these pictures on her blog.  She has shared the picture with her facebook group and I have been given permission to share them with you!

I'm always interested in the details behind a books publication.  The small things that go into making a cover that fits the book.  So... take a look at the pictures below!  What do you think?




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop


Welcome to this stop on the hop! I'm glad that you are here.

Thanks to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read Now Sleep Later for hosting.

I am a bit under the weather, so I'm going to make my stop simple and quick.  I will give the winner a book up to $10 (US) at Amazon or the Book Depository.  It will be winner's choice.

~OR~

I'm not going to ask for any follows or extra stuff, but would appreciated it if you would.  Have a great Easter.  Use the rafflecopter form to enter.  Terms and Conditions are to the right. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal ~ "Diamond Rings are Deadly Things" by Rachelle J. Christensen + giveaway

Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.


Expected release July 2014

Pre-order


About the Author: Rachelle J. Christensen is a stay-at-home mom of four cute kids. She has an amazing husband, three cats, and five chickens. Rachelle was born and raised in the small farming town of Rupert, Idaho which is adjacent to the setting in her latest mystery Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things due out this July. Her new website www.mashedpotatoesandcrafts.compartners with the characters from the novel to bring readers an interactive look into the mystery of crafting and wedding planning.

Rachelle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a music minor. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading.

Rachelle’s first novel, Wrong Number was awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the League of Utah Writers and was also a 2010 Whitney Finalist. She is also the author of Caller ID, a nonfiction book Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter Day Saints, and a novella with a Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.


**Personal Note**  I love Rachelle's books.  I had the opportunity to meet her at a signing for her book Caller ID.  She was so sweet and nice with a big smile on her face.  It made a great impression on me.  I think she is fabulous and look forward to reading this book!

Praise!!

“I love Rachelle J. Christensen’s stories and characters, and Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things is another thrilling mystery to add to my collection. Don’t be surprised if you have to stay up all night to finish he book!”
--Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Before I Say Goodbye

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things pulled me right in from the first page and held me captive until the very end. Great characters, a compelling plot, a surprising twist at the end ... Rachelle Christensen knows how to craft a great mystery.
 - Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries

A cunningly crafty mystery with just the right mix of romance. Readers won't be able to get enough of Adrielle Pyper, stunning party-planner turned heroine.
--Nichole Giles, author of Descendant

Cover Reveal Giveaway!!

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