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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BOOK TOUR: Undeniable by Tawdra Kandle

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At last. . .the sizzling spin-off from The King Series

UNDENIABLE: The Serendipity Duet Book One

coverFor Rafe Brooks, running from a broken heart means losing himself in alcohol and women. Lots of women, none of whom will remember him, since he has the ability to manipulate their minds and make them forget. Numbing the pain works until he meets an irresistible redhead with secrets of her own. She offers him the opportunity to join forces with an organization that will use his powers for good rather than his own amusement. Jocelyn rocks his world with her unapologetic passion and makes him believe for the first time he just might survive heartbreak. When a mission takes the two of them undercover to infiltrate a commune with suspicious activity, they discover it's just the tip of a plot to cause world-wide anarchy. Hiding their extraordinary powers and real identities is crucial to staying alive. For Rafe and Jocelyn, when life is uncertain, love is undeniable. Buy on: Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords

About the Author

-2Tawdra Thompson Kandle lives in central Florida with her husband, children, cats and dog. She loves homeschooling, cooking, traveling and reading, not necessarily in that order. And yes, she has purple hair. You can follow Tawdra here…FacebookTwitterWebsite

UndeniableLAParty

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

REVIEW: Spartanica by Powers Molinar

Spartanicabanner

Book Tour

Ty and Marcus Mitchell are average middle school brothers growing up north of Chicago until one night when they’re hurtled through an inter-dimensional gateway to a parallel world defined by its multiple moons and planet-wide apocalypse. As they struggle to figure out where they are and how to get home, the boys encounter refugees of “the last day” from the distant city of Atlantis and a mysterious girl called Bellana, the sole survivor and resident of the devastated city of Spartanica. Ty and Marcus soon learn they only have seven days to get home. But before they can leave, they must battle through long-extinct predators, track down the elusive Professor Otherblood, and rescue a new friend from certain death. Is all of this insanity just Ty’s overactive imagination or are the brothers truly on the brink of being stranded on the brutal wasteland known as Spartanica?

Buy:

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo | Sony Books | CreateSpace

RATING: 4 stars

REVIEW:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Spartanica was a cute middle school science fiction book. It's been awhile since I've read science fiction, so it was good to go back into what once was my favorite genre. It's also hard for me to read middle school fiction because I'm constantly judging it with an adult mind, but when I let go and read the book with a middle schooler's mind, I totally loved this book.
From the first chapter it was science fiction all the way, and I enjoyed that. I don't always like a light science fiction book that's mostly some other genre and then the author or publisher tries to push the title into the science fiction genre. For those readers looking for action and adventure, there's plenty of that, but there's not that much violence which is perfect for a middle schooler to read.
The characters were fun to read, and I could connect with them on an emotional level. The back and forth jibes between Ty and Marcus were so funny to read, and it really added another level to the characterizations.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and hope to read more from this author.

Monday, February 24, 2014

REVIEW: Tale of the Penitent Thief by Don Willis


Title: The Tale of the Penitent Thief

Author: Don Willis
Series: none
Publisher: WestBow Press
Published Date: April 25, 2013
ISBN: 9781449791940
Buy It Link: Amazon
Genre: religious fiction
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis: Young Dismas and his brother Jotham are blissfully unaware of the lifelong journey that awaits them soon after their encounter with the young girl, Mary, her husband, Joseph, and their baby, Jesus. Their lives will soon take a very cruel turn that leads through hurt, hardship, betrayal, and murder.

Along the way, they make unlikely alliances with Tiran and Gestas, two known criminals with a penchant for theft and murder. It is a path that will ultimately lead them all to intersect with their brutal destinies.

Throughout their journey, their lives will intersect with some of the most famous gures of the Bible, and they will learn about love, faith, and the most powerful weapon against sin... forgiveness.

Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from BookLook Bloggers.
The story behind this book intrigued me, to the point where I couldn't wait to start it. You know one of those books that you must absolutely read RIGHT NOW? This was it. I started reading excitedly, and it all went downhill from there.
The author falls into the trap of telling and not showing with his words.I can't tell you what a single character looked like. Mary was described as beautiful, the most beautiful woman that one of the main characters, Dismas, had ever seen. What did she look like? What color was her hair, was it long, short? How did she wear it? What color were her eyes, her skin? What was she wearing?Tiran looked mean. How does someone look mean? Did he have any hair, any facial hair? What did he wear? Did he smell? Gestas...he just plain confused me with his age. Other than the same problem with no true description as all the characters had, the first encounter with him we have, he smacks Dismas upside the head. I can see an older boy doing that, or a kid the same age, but later in the book, he's described as closer to the younger brother's age, than Dismas' (the two brothers have a 5-6 year age difference). I can tell you however that Jesus had the most piercing set of blue eyes ever, what he looked like besides that, still have no idea.
Now the storyline....the storyline was so intriguing! It had so much potential! The author just took way too many fictional liberties with it though. It's the difference between Philippa Gregory's writing and this author's writing. Research, research, and more research. Make me feel like I'm in Jerusalem at that time. Make me see it, feel it, make me be in it. And then write the story. We don't know what the story is behind those two thieves, so there is so much potential! The writing was just so flat, and too contrived.

BOOK TOUR: Savage Secrets by Cristin Harber

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CristinHarber_SavageSecrets_1400px Caterina Cruz has no home. No loyalties. No objection to exacting torturous revenge. Her life’s mission is to destroy the terrorist who murdered her family. Then she steps into an elaborate game of charades alongside a Titan Group operative posing as an arms dealer—and her newlywed husband. The sexy distraction may be more than she can handle. Attacked with a psychedelic drug weeks before, Rocco Savage is plagued with hallucinations that threaten his new rank as Titan’s second-in-command. No one knows and he wants to keep it that way. Throwing him further off his game, he now has a wife with her own secrets he can’t crack and an agenda he can’t control. Their mission—an elaborate deception of heated glances and passionate kisses—spins out of control. With Rocco's mind already compromised, can he keep his secret and his distance? And with Caterina's tragic past controlling her every move, can she keep the con up long enough to secure her revenge? Or will both go down in flames?  
*************
Excerpt: Terrorist drop off Rocco dropped his delivery and the sack of flesh and bones thudded on the concrete floor. “Signed. Sealed. Delivered.” He dusted his hands together. “He’s your problem now. Adios.” “Adios?” The words danced in the air. Soft to the hardness of the calloused room. Sexy and exotic. Accented. And gorgeous. “Fine. Adios if that’s what you want.” He turned on the heel of his boot, lasering in on a shadowy corner sheathed by a partition. A woman? A silhouetted figure stood with a hand on a cocked hip, behind a screen. Long legs and a pony tail stood outlined in a magnificent shadow. Holy hell. Nothing about that belonged in this room. This place was violence and atrocity. She was a gauzy reflection of soft edges and a smooth voice. Hell. He hadn’t even seen her, touched her. Yet. But that fact didn’t stop his gut tightening and his eyes from popping. Nah, must have been all the adrenaline from snatching the terrorist not ten minutes before. But damn if he wasn’t wishing for coulda, woulda, shoulda met this girl someplace else. He swallowed against the boulder in this throat. “What I want has nothing to do with mission objective.” The metallic clang of tools hitting the cement floor clattered from behind the partition. She let loose a swell of what were probably curses, in Spanish, then her sing-song called to him, still hidden behind the screen. “Ah, the American who plays by the rules. How interesting.” Her cursing made him chuckle, and made him…interested. This whole place did. What the hell was she saying anyway? It was a rollercoaster of pissed off words, complete with rolled Rs that nearly swayed over his senses. He wanted her to keep talking. Another step closer and damn if he didn’t want to see her face, knowing it would do far more justice to the rockin’ silhouette painted behind the partition. “Says the Brit who speaks like a Spaniard.” And swear like a— “I’m not British.” What else could he learn about her in the next, oh, minute and a half he was expected to be here? Maybe she would keep talking. He’d jump through all kinds of hoops if that woman let loose her accent again. Please, keep talking. “And I don’t play by the rules. But you—” She laughed and the sound slid over his body, winding down his spine. He took in a deep breath, embracing the sensation. The laugh was better than her words, and he wanted to make it happen again. “Today.” She was back to work. “It looks like you do.” “I came bearing a gift.” He looked to the man lying on the floor. “My mission objective is complete and your invite comes just a little too late.” That and he’d left a team of men sitting outside. If he didn’t walk out soon, they’d make an appearance, guns pointed and on a search-and-destroy mission. Rocco not coming out was most definitely not on their itinerary. “I see.” No, you don’t. You can’t see anything, and I’m dying to see you. It was just a voice. But hell. She was too… something. Rare. Offbeat. Familiar? She worked behind the screen and walked toward the edge of the partition. Such a tease. Like she knew he was ready to knock the thing over to get a good look at what housed that voice, her laugh, and those never ending legs. “Fine. Go.” She shooed him away with a grand sweep of her arm. “Team Titan off to the next job.” The sound of the Ts rolling off her tongue made his chest crash into itself. Ribs crumbling. Lungs deflating. A reaction based solely on intuition. “You know more about me than I know about you. Come on out of your hiding place.” “Almost done with my prep work.” More of that accent that had him turned-on and unable to walk out of the room. A pause dangled in the air. A zap of electricity and bright white sparks sprayed from behind the divider. Shock therapy was in store for the man still groaning on the floor, and for a brief second, Rocco almost pitied the terrorist. Almost. “Perfect,” she whispered. More sparks. More zaps. Without his control, his eyes slammed shut. Only for a half second. Long enough that a shiver ran down his shoulders. But he had this. No flashbacks or star-sightings would happen right now. Those zaps were real as the body behind that screen. There was no way in hell this was a hallucination. She stepped out. An image of beauty in a desolate, craptastic interrogation site. One long leg, then the next teased him to the point of distraction. He followed the length of her boot, drinking in the skin tight black pants over the sway of her hips. A black shirt covered her torso and stretched over what he knew were the definition of perfect breasts. Finally, Rocco let his focus caress the curve of her lips, the deepness and darkness of her intense stare. More than model gorgeous. More than manufactured beauty. She was sweet and sultry. A vision. Standing there, with electrical cables and a torture table at the ready, she couldn’t have been more out of place. Yet, this was her room. She owned it and that kind of confidence was unshakeable. He cleared his throat. “Do you need a hand?” “Does it look like I do?” She looked over her shoulder, smiling a half grin. Knowing the connotation behind his question. Challenging him to say it out loud. She stopped. Turned around and stared, eyes narrowed and lips pursed. Then she smiled again, nodding. “Do you believe in coincidence?” Coincidence? More like luck, walking into a room manned by a woman as deadly and dangerous as she was beautiful and breathtaking? He heard noises from the outer room. Seems he’d overstayed his prescribed amount of time before back up was ready to check in. “Well, I’ll leave you to it.” “See you around. Handsome.”  
************
Buy Link: Amazon
Goodreads

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?


Didn't I say last week that I didn't have much to read? Well, there goes my breather week! Because I didn't have much on my "absolutely have to read by the end of the week" TBR list, I started adding more.
I finished The Angelic Gene and Noah: The Real Story, and of course, I absolutely had to add randomly to my TBR.
Jessica, at a GREAT Read, convinced me with her Monday Wrap-up, that I absolutely had to start Kresley Cole's Poison Princess. I've been juggling that one for awhile and finally convinced myself to jump in and read it. I won't spoil the review for you.
So here's the rest of my TBR list for the next week:

And then will start the real hard-core reading, as I have three other reviews set up for March so far. Can't wait!

Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Turning Home by Stephanie Nelson

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Turning Home (A Small Town Novel) by Stephanie Nelson 

 When Brooke Kingsley finally captures the interest of her four-year crush—Dylan Crawford—her world turns upside down. Feeling alive for the first time, Brooke decides to spend her last three days of summer with Dylan and discovers there’s more to him than the rumors being whispered all over town. The problem is, Brooke’s father doesn’t want his daughter anywhere near the blue-collar bad boy. As Brooke leaves for college, she’ll realize that some boys aren’t easy to forget. Dylan Crawford has hated the Roseville Snobs his entire life, but one particular Snob has captured his eye—Brooke Kingsley. He knows he should stay away from her, but willpower has never been his strong suit. Soon Brooke is all he can think about. When she leaves for school, Dylan tries to move on with other girls, but the memory of Brooke taunts him. There’s an undeniable pull to the very girl he’s been warned to stay away from. When tragedy strikes the Kingsley household, secrets are uncovered. Brooke and Dylan must decide if what they feel for each other is strong enough to conquer their families’ dark past.

This is a NA (new adult) book and intended for readers 18+

Purchase on Amazon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

BLAST: Have Mercy by Siobhán Béabhar

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have mercyBook Blast

Content Warning: This naughty yet hilarious story explores the complex subjects of identity, stigma, and sex work. The issues of passing and colorism within the African American community are lightly explored. Due to the coarse language and explicit sex scenes, this story is intended for readers over the age of 18. Mercy Higgins. Cantankerous Widow. Prized Teacher. Beloved Escort. In an industry where erotic skills matter, she sucks. But, not in a good way. Mercy is a cantankerous fifty-eight year old African American widow who still mourns the deaths of her husband and stillborn daughter. When catastrophic medical bills threaten her retirement savings, Mercy decides that morality is left to those who can afford it, and she becomes a prostitute hoping to earn money to settle her debts. To garner a client list, Mercy hosts evening soirees, and her house unjustly earns the label of Washington D.C.’s newest brothel. Soon drawn into Mercy’s mad scheme, her middle-aged tenants revel in the spotlight their notoriety has created. As they navigate the murky waters of social stigma and wield the mercurial moods of their powerful clients, the ladies will test their moral limits and sexual boundaries. Particularly for Mercy, as she handles a young, new—and White—client, Major Jackson Ransom, who is hell-bent on having the older woman, even if it means barreling through her emotional barriers to get to her heart.

B&N | Amazon

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About the author:

My name is Siobhán (pronounced Shi-vaughn). I am a thirty-plus single female who lives and works in the Puget Sound region. I was born in California, reared in the Midwest, and spent time in Clongriffin, Co. Dublin, Ireland. For some reason, I have degrees in Medieval History, Law, and Sociology (emphasis: race and conflict studies). During the day, I’m a social worker working with children and families; during the night, I write stories as an avenue to control my stress and anxiety disorder. Because I am a former military brat, all of my stories tend to involve veterans and/or their families. I dabble in multiple genres, but what ties together my stories are the themes of racialism, racism, identity, and/or stigma.

Follow the author: Website | Facebook | Literary Addicts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

REVIEW: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Published Date: May 26, 2009
Publisher: Razorbill / Penguin Group
ISBN: 159514174X
Buy It Link: Amazon

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Synopsis: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . . Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Review: I am so happy I finally broke down, found the time to read this book and did it! 
The book primarily focuses on Lissa, a Vampire Princess, and her guardian, Rose, a half-human Dhampir, both teenagers. They are on the run from a perceived threat when they are caught and dragged back to the academy they were in, St. Vladimir's. During the course of the story, Lissa and Rose both exhibit rather unusual abilities, even for their races, one that put them in even more danger.
While this is a vampire book, the author provides a spin on the vampire genre that keeps it interesting and fresh. The writing has enough suspense and action from the very beginning to keep me reading, and wanting to know what will happen. The sub-plot behind St. Vladimir himself was a really nice twist to the entire book, and fleshed out the storyline nicely. 
I hope I find more time to read the next in the series to see how it progresses.

REVIEW: The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy Higley

Title: The Queen's Handmaid
Author: Tracy Higley
Series: none
Published Date: expected March 18, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1401686840
Buy It Link: Amazon
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.
Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC
Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.
But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.
Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.
Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love reading Tracy Higley's books, they make me want to know more about the historical figures in her books, the ones that she brings to life so vividly.
Just like the other books I've read from Ms Higley, I loved reading this one. She brings the areas and cultures into your mind with her writing. The places are so descriptive, it felt as if I was there with Lydia, step by step in her long journey given to her by her mentor. Heartbreak and love, melded into one book, with a gentle theme of Judaism and Christianity threaded in.
I really enjoyed how the author was able to bring the entire story full-circle in a plot twist that I certainly did not see coming. It was truly enjoyable and made the book even more exciting to read.

Monday, February 17, 2014

REVIEW: Noah: The Real Story by Larry Stone

Title: Noah: The Real Story
Author: Larry Stone
Series: none
Published Date: Jan 31, 2014
Publisher: Kingsley Books
ISBN: 9781936488742
Buy It Link: Amazon

Rating: 1 star

Synopsis: Noah and the ark makes it on everyone’s list of top ten favorite Bible stories—right up there with Jonah and the whale, and David and Goliath. No biblical account has raised as many questions and has generated as much controversy as Noah and the ark. The story in the Bible is just the beginning! Was the massive ark seaworthy? Did the Flood cover the whole earth? Has the ark been found on Mount Ararat? Where can you see the ark today? These questions and more are answered in NOAH: The Real Story. 

Other books have covered just the Flood, or just one aspect of the search for Noah’s ark, but this is the only book to tell the complete story. 
1. The Noah story as told in the Bible 
2. Flood stories around the world 
3. Was the Flood global or local? 
4. How big was the ark and how was it built? 
5. How did Noah gather and take care of the animals? 
6. Pilgrims have searched for the ark on Mount Ararat for thousands of years. 
7. Modern “arkaeologists” and their search for the ark 
8. Noah goes to Hollywood; Noah in movies and television 
9. Where can you see the ark today? 
10. Noah’s secret for surviving the end of the world 

Filled with fascinating stories, controversial details, and thorough research, Noah: The Real Story answers your questions about Noah, the Flood, the animals, the ark, and the search.

Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
I got a copy of this book, looking to get more answers about the whole Noah and global flood story. I was horribly disappointed in this book. Let me address some of the questions this book is supposed to answer...

1. The Noah story as told in the Bible: anyone who has a bible can look it up in Genesis. You don't have a Bible, here's a link to it in BibleGateway. Nothing new here, but a good introduction.
2. Flood stories around the world: yes, there are many cultures around the world with flood stories, some of them eerily similar to the Bible story...but are they just knock-offs of the Bible version as Judaism melded with the cultures around it and Christians proselytized?
3. Was the Flood global or local? No true answer is given here....instead, its a non-answer that becomes very often repeated in this book: I don't know, maybe, it's possible, if you believe it. "You have to presuppose that the account in the Bible is true."
4. How big was the ark and how was it built? We all know how big the ark was, its been researched before, nothing new. The author does admit that he has absolutely no idea what type of wood or tar made up the ark. 
5. How did Noah gather and take care of the animals? Ooooh, some interesting ingenious engineering here, but did it happen? No real answers here, again, you have to believe that it happened to see the possibilities.

Again, this book was extremely disappointing in the lack of answers when the title itself leads a reader to believe that definitive answers are within the pages.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's been two weeks since I've posted for this meme. Last time, I was reading:
  1. Spartanica by Powers Molinar
  2. Leviathan by Charbel Tadros
And I was waiting for Compass:The Study Bible For Navigating Your Life by the Ecclesia Bible Society to come in the mail for review.
I finished both and posted my review for Leviathan last week. Spartanica's review will be coming out next week during the tour. I received Compass in, and posted my review as well.It's an okay study bible, but the translation is a little underwhelming for me.

This week I'm sort of in between books, meaning I don't have a huge pile on my TBR list. I have two books I'm reading now, both of which I will finish soon:
  1. The Angelic Gene by Steve Goodwin
  2. Noah: The Real Story by Larry Stone
I am waiting on Heaven is for Real Movie Edition by Todd Burpo to come in the mail.

Anyone have any ideas for books for me to read in the meantime? I don't think I've ever not had an avalanche of books on my TBR list before!

TOUR and GIVEAWAY: Spartanica by Powers Molinar

Spartanicabanner

Book Tour

Ty and Marcus Mitchell are average middle school brothers growing up north of Chicago until one night when they’re hurtled through an inter-dimensional gateway to a parallel world defined by its multiple moons and planet-wide apocalypse. As they struggle to figure out where they are and how to get home, the boys encounter refugees of “the last day” from the distant city of Atlantis and a mysterious girl called Bellana, the sole survivor and resident of the devastated city of Spartanica. Ty and Marcus soon learn they only have seven days to get home. But before they can leave, they must battle through long-extinct predators, track down the elusive Professor Otherblood, and rescue a new friend from certain death. Is all of this insanity just Ty’s overactive imagination or are the brothers truly on the brink of being stranded on the brutal wasteland known as Spartanica?

Buy:

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo | Sony Books | CreateSpace

 

Author Bio:

Powers Molinar grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and earned engineering and business degrees at the University of Iowa. While he works as a process engineer and project manager during the day, his passion is writing science fiction. His first novel, Spartanica, is the culmination of several year's of part-time effort mostly late at night and on weekends when he wasn't enjoying time with his wife and kids, all of whom were big helpers getting Spartanica written. Powers believes every kid has the potential to become exceptional. In addition to being a blast to read, he truly hopes his books spark kids' imaginations and inspire them to read more and maybe even become writers. Being a solid reader is a foundational piece of leading an exceptional life. Powers hopes his books can be part of that foundation for as many kids as possible.

Follow Powers: Twitter | Facebook

Reader: 4 signed copies of the book a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK BLAST and GIVEAWAY: Conflicting Hearts by JD Burrows

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conflicting hearts newRachel Hayward hoped to have a quiet thirtieth birthday alone. Instead, fate had different plans. Caught in traffic and late for work, Rachel takes her eyes off the road to gawk at an accident and rear-ends the car in front of her. Sick over having ruined her day, she lowers her head and waits for the driver to begin a tirade over her stupidity. Instead, a kind man taps on her window showing genuine concern. The brief colliding encounter suddenly starts a relationship between two strangers that takes off under odd circumstances. When intimacy begins, their relationship turns into a conflicting set of needs. Ian is tenderhearted and respectful, but Rachel desires aggressiveness from a man. The clash of desires threatens to tear them apart. As a result, she is faced with the decision to leave the man she loves or finally confront the painful secret of her childhood. Author Notes: Conflicting Hearts touches on a taboo subject, but one that is very real to many adult women in today's society. Statistically speaking, the shocking reality is that one out of every four girls will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Though this is a fictional work, that actually documents a factual event in another person's life, it has the power to open the eyes of readers to better understand those who have suffered abuse as a child. Written with a sprinkle of humor, believable characters, brutal reality, and sizzling romance, it is a book that some claim should be read by every woman. In the end, healing and healthy relationships are possible for those victims who seek help.

Amazon | B & N | Apple | Kobo | Sony

Author Bio

J. D. Burrows also writes under the name of Vicki Hopkins, who is an award winning and best selling author of historical romance. She started her writing career somewhat late in life, but can attest to the fact that it is never too late to follow your dreams. Her debut novel was released in 2009, and five books later, she doesn't think she will stop any time soon. With Russian blood on her father's side and English on her mother's, she blames her ancestors for the lethal combination in her genes that influence her stories. She lives in the beautiful, but rainy, Pacific Northwest with a pesky cat who refuses to let her sleep in. Her hobbies include researching her English ancestry and plotting her next book.

Follow JD on FaceBook and Literary Addicts


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Friday, February 14, 2014

REVIEW: Compass: The Study Bible For Navigating Your Life

Title: Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life
Author: various
Series: none
Publisher: Ecclesia Bible Society / Thomas Nelson Publishers
Published Date: October 8, 2013
ISBN: 1401679110
Genre: religious
Buy It Link: Amazon

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: Compass is about helping you find the answers you’re looking for in the pages of the Scriptures and allowing that truth navigate your life. Packed with Bible-reading helps and using an energizing, new Bible translation, Compass is a Bible designed with you in mind. Do you want to start reading and applying the Bible to your life, but aren't quite sure where to start? Let Compass point you in the right direction.

Review: I received a copy of this Bible in exchange for an honest review.
This bible is a new translation of the Bible for me and it's one I'm not quite comfortable with. I'm used to the NIV translation, not the Voice translation and layout. When I review a Bible, I usually read the book of Ruth. It's one of the shortest books in the Bible, which makes it easier and quicker to do a review in a timely manner. When I first started reading Ruth in this Bible, I was briefly stuck on the fact that one of the names is spelled differently in this Bible than in my NIV Study Bibles (Chilion/Kilion).
At times it reads like a script for a play, which can make it easier to differentiate who is speaking to whom. However, many of the words are entirely cut out by this, which makes it seem even shorter of a book than expected. The Bible itself has some nice in-text notes in it, which makes it a good study Bible, but I'm not sure the commentary is really historically accurate, or just put into the best light for the characters. The Bible itself is slightly more durable than my daily NIV study Bible with thicker pages. 
I'm not crazy about this translation, but overall, its an okay study Bible, just not one I can see myself using daily.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

REVIEW: War of the Heavens: Leviathan by Charbel Tadros

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Book Tour

Nigel survives a car crash, while his whole family perishes in the accident. With the help of his later-to-become girlfriend Vicky, he overcomes the tragedy and makes his way to college. As they are about to graduate, Vicky convinces him to embark on a strange project involving crystals and magick, with a "k" (meaning real magic). Little did they know that this project would open for them the gates of other dimensions including the world of the gods, the world of the muses and the demons, the world of the dead and many more. But why were they called there?  

Buy on Amazon

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The book is a fantasy book that melds many different mythos with a storyline of the ultimate good versus evil. Two scientists start a project in measuring and changing the vibrational qualities of different crystals. From there, they are transported to different vibrational levels of existence to help with the battle between good and evil.The author writes rather well, descriptively enough for my to have pictured the different scenes and storyline. 
The biggest problem that I feel the book has is that there are so many myths and different belief systems that are melded into this one book, it detracts from the storyline rather than enhancing it. From crystal magick to Thoth to angels to Apollo, it was just so mashed up together that instead of making a beautiful beef stew, it seemed to make a tasteless mush. I couldn't put my head into one mythos and just stay there.
Ultimately, this could be a great story, it just needs less individual ingredients.

Monday, February 10, 2014

REVIEW: The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: The Calling
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Series: Inn At Eagle Hill #2
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: Jan 14, 2014
ISBN: 9780800720940
Buy It Link: Amazon
Genre: Amish romance
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis: Twenty-year-old Bethany Schrock is restless. Her love life has derailed, her faith hangs by a thread, and she is spending the incredibly hot summer days wading through a lifetime’s accumulation of junk at the home of five ancient Amish sisters. About the only thing that holds her interest is the spirited and dangerously handsome Jimmy Fisher–and he seems bent on irritating her to no end.
When the sly old sisters and a guest at the Inn get Bethany involved in running the local soup kitchen and starting a community garden, she suddenly finds herself wondering, Shootfire! How did that happen? Despite her newfound purposefulness, a gnawing emptiness about a childhood mystery continues to plague her. Encouraged by Jimmy Fisher, she will seek out the answers she craves–and uncover a shocking secret that will break her heart, heal it, and point her to love.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher delivers her trademark twists, turns, and tender romance in this delightful and exciting visit to the deceptively quiet community of Stoney Ridge.
Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was the first Amish book that I ever read. I did have some preconceptions about the Amish before reading it, but honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. A bunch of German? A lot of heavy handed religion? 
Whatever my preconceptions about the Amish, I didn't find any of them in this book. Instead, I found a very sweet, gentle romance, with some religious overtones throughout the few different story threads going through the book. There really wasn't as much of the Amish culture in the book as I thought there might be. Without the buggies and rare Germanic phrases tossed in, it could be any other religious romantic fiction story just tossed back a century and a half. 
The storyline itself flowed well, I found myself pulled more into the youth pastor's story, than into Bethany and Jimmy's romance. I found myself caring for all of the characters, even the shady Rusty. I think I'm going to have to go back and read the first in the series before I turn my sights to the next. Ultimately, I'm glad I finally opened myself up to this genre. It was a very calming book to read during a very tumultuous and stressful time in my life.

TOUR and GIVEAWAY: war of the Heavens: Leviathan by Charbel Tadros

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Book Tour

Nigel survives a car crash, while his whole family perishes in the accident. With the help of his later-to-become girlfriend Vicky, he overcomes the tragedy and makes his way to college. As they are about to graduate, Vicky convinces him to embark on a strange project involving crystals and magick, with a "k" (meaning real magic). Little did they know that this project would open for them the gates of other dimensions including the world of the gods, the world of the muses and the demons, the world of the dead and many more. But why were they called there?  

Buy on Amazon

About the Author:

Charbel Marcellino Tadros was born on July 16, 1988. He is an avid reader and has been writing since a very young age. He holds a BA in English Pedagogy from the Lebanese University and is working on his MA in Special Education at Notre Dame University. He currently is the Career Counselor at Eastwood College in Mansourieh, Lebanon and is a freelance contributing writer for many different magazines and blogs including the Red Carpet Magazine. For more information, Charbel is almost always available to answer his mail. He can be contacted through charbel.tadros{at}gmail.com or through facebook.com/charbel.m.tadros. In 2010, Charbel published his first novel, “The Destined Journey”, which turned out to be a success in Lebanon and the world. Later on, he published a spiritual poetry collection entitled “When the Spirit Speaks”. Most recently, he published “Leviathan”, the first part of his “War of the Heavens” series. Charbel Tadros is a founding member in the WataniY and SeedArz organizations. He was a charter member in the Lions Clubs International and was the founding president of the Angel Guardians. He has been in many local and international interviews talking about his earlier publications and has lectured about many topics including spirituality, teaching, special education and career planning. Currently, he lives in Brummana, Lebanon with his wife Christine.

Follow Charbel:

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Friday, February 7, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Glitter Girl by Toni Runkle and Stephen Webb

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Purchase Paperback or Kindle version

About Glitter Girl -
  • True Confessions of a Trendsetter
Hi! I’m Kat. Welcome to my blog. I may be from a small town but I’m also Glitter Girl Cosmetics’ newest trendsetter. Thanks to my flair for fashion and my popular style blog, I’ve been chosen to be an Alpha Girl, which means I get to try out all the Glitter Girl products before they hit the stores. Forty-eight hours after she blogs about the goodies in the new line, every girl at Kat’s school is sporting the gear. Kat’s popularity skyrockets, but Jules–Kat’s BFF–seems to be the only one who’s not buying into the Glitter Girl lifestyle. Is Kat willing to sacrifice her friendship for life in the fab lane? Glitter Girl By Toni Runkle and Stephen Webb

Ages 10 and up

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Toni Runkle and Stephen Webb are both working screenwriters in Los Angeles. They met in grad school at the University of Southern California and have been writing partners since. They are both married (not to each other) and have middle-grade daughters.
Find them online: runklewebb.com. @kidslitwebb @writtenbytoni.
Toni also run the popular mom blog, mammakaze.com.
 Taking Time for Mommy is sponsoring a giveaway of one paperback of Glitter Girl. Open to US addresses 13+ a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: Glistening Rebellion by Jill Cooper

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Book Tour

Sci-fi Dystopian (Sequel to Glistening Haven) In Glistening Haven, Jenna Morgan fought to uncover a government conspiracy. In Glistening Rebellion, she fights for her life. New Haven 57 is opening for business—bigger landscape, nicer homes, and tougher reconditioning techniques that will make resistant glistenings docile. A caravan of glistenings from overcrowded concentration camps are enroot to their new home. For Jenna Morgan it’s the final job before she retires forever to a happy low key life. When the escape glistenings from New Haven 56 attack, a simple transportation job turns into life or death. Jenna does the unspeakable and is pulled back into a fight she wants no part of. With an assassin on her tail, her loyalties are questioned. She will need to decide once and for all, which side she’s on as she teeters on the brink of full out war.  

Buy on Glistening Rebellion and Glistening Haven (Part 1) on Amazon

Put Glistening Rebellion on your TBR list! Goodreads

Feb 3rd-Feb 9th Glistening Rebellion will be

99 cents on Amazon!

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Rating: 4 stars

Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to give a positive review.
First, this is the second book in a series, and you really need to read the first book to understand any of the world or story-line. However, if you do go back and read the first book, it is a worthwhile, enjoyable read. The world and story behind it are somewhat realistic, given how centered our society is around how people look. That's the whole premise for the difference between Glistenings and humans.
I know a book is good when, days after I've put it down, I catch myself thinking as if I was in the world. That's what happened with this book, when my co-workers and I were talking about "enhancements" to our bodies, and all I could think of was, "Nope, not going to be a Glistening....I want to be all natural"
The characters were well-written with realistic development for each of the main characters. I don't like how some main characters have these absolutely amazing traits that are unrealistic. I didn't read this here at all with these characters. They were all poignant and emotionally compelling. I certainly couldn't pick a side between them, and could understand each side's drive and ambitions.
The ending was heart-breaking, and infuriating, all at the same time. I can't wait to see how this series ends. I really hope Jenna kicks some more butt.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

RELEASE DAY!: Undeniable by Tawdra Kandle

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Available NOW on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords. . .UNDENIABLE, The Serendipity Duet Book One.

If you read The King Series and fell in love with Rafe Brooks, the bad boy who tried to steal Tasmyn's heart. . .here's the story you've been waiting to read. What happened after graduation? How did Rafe get over Tasmyn?

**********************
For Rafe Brooks, running from a broken heart means losing himself in alcohol and women. Lots of women, none of whom will remember him, since he has the ability to manipulate their minds and make them forget. Numbing the pain works until he meets an irresistible redhead with secrets of her own. She offers him the opportunity to join forces with an organization that will use his powers for good rather than his own amusement. Jocelyn rocks his world with her unapologetic passion and makes him believe for the first time he just might survive heartbreak. When a mission takes the two of them undercover to infiltrate a commune with suspicious activity, they discover it's just the tip of a plot to cause world-wide anarchy. Hiding their extraordinary powers and real identities is crucial to staying alive. For Rafe and Jocelyn, when life is uncertain, love is undeniable.

Buy UNDENIABLE on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Smashwords!

Come join our Twitter party tonight!

Wednesday, February 5th 9PM EST

#Undeniable

Prizes, chat and more. . .

Follow Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Website/Newsletter

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

GIVEAWAY: 21 Day Tummy by Liz Vaccariello

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21tummy_covBased on the latest science, the 21-Day Tummy diet targets excess weight and belly fat while addressing the most common digestive disorders. We love to eat but that doesn't mean our stomachs always enjoy digesting what we put in them. Add to this the fact that our nation is heavier than it's ever been, and it's clear that our tummies don't just need to function better, they need to be smaller. In general, smaller stomachs digest food more effectively, and that's why dropping the pounds isn't just a matter of vanity but of health. Featuring carb-light, anti-inflammatory foods, the 21-Day Tummy eating plan slashes inches from your belly (up to 4 ½ inches!) while banishing gas and bloating, heartburn and acid relux, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, 21-Day Tummy includes:
  • 50 scrumptious recipes such as Tomato-Ginger Flank Steak and Almost Pumpkin Mini Pies.
  • a Digestion Quiz to help you measure your overall digestive health
  • tips on how to combat the Four S's -- Supersizing, Sitting, Stress, and Sleep Deprivation.
  • inspirational stories and advice from our successful test panelists. Our top tester dropped 19 pounds in 21 days and completely stopped taking medications for acid reflux.
  • an optional equipment-free workout plan that helps to both sculpt and soothe your belly with a mix of core strengthening, walking, and yoga.
  • guidelines on how to incorporate potentially problematic foods back into your life so you are never deprived of your favorite foods.
21-Day Tummy is a fun, easy guide to healthy eating that will have a smaller, healthier you feeling better than, well, possibly ever!

Purchase

About Liz Vaccariello with Kate Scarlata, RD Vaccariello Liz Vaccariello is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader's Digest, one of the world's largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she's also the coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, The 400-Calorie Fix and Flat Belly Diet!. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachel Ray, and The View. Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on rd.com. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc). Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the nutrition and wellness field, specializing in digestive disorders. Kate completed her postgraduate training at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate. The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well with IBS, she has been interviewed in many national publications, including Ladies Home Journal and Fitness magazine. She lives and practices in Boston, Massachusetts. About Reader's Digest Association Reader's Digest Association (RDA) is a family of iconic brands that celebrate reading, sharing and doing among consumers on print and digital platforms. Our portfolio of products includes our flagship magazine Reader's Digest; Taste of Home, the world's largest circulation food publication; The Family Handyman, America's leading source for DIY; and a suite of Enthusiast titles including Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce.For more than 90 years, we have simplified and enriched the lives of a passionate readership by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting content in family, food, health, home improvement, finance, and humor.Reader's Digest casts a global footprint by providing products and services around the world through owned and licensed operations.Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com. For more information, view Liz Vaccariello's Web site.

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Dylan's Story by Tressa Messenger

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Dylan's Story coverWhat do you do when everything you've ever known is taken away from you? Do you throw your hands up and just let it be and fade away to nothing or do you fight? I may have technically died but I’m not dead and I refuse to give up everything I used to be or the woman who keeps my memory alive, even if it takes me tag teaming with some unlikely allies to do it. I may not be a human anymore but I am still me; Dylan Williams, a man of substance.

Buy on:

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

 

About the Author:

I am a small town girl with big dreams. I grew up in a small coastal community called Pamlico County in the town of Reelsboro North Carolina. Growing up in such a rural area there wasn't much to do, so I developed a wide fantasy finding solace in writing poetry and songs. After high school I left my little secure coastal town to discover other parts of the country. It was a sad and lonely time, but also a fun and exciting time in my life. I had too many emotions to process so I started to put it all down on paper. That became the start of my first novel, which I have yet to finish. My first complete novel entitled Protector was a dream come true, although I found out during the process, at 31 years old, I am dyslexic. Reading was always a struggle throughout my life and finding out why has really made a difference in me and my writing. It was such a wonderful and daunting process but I have succeeded in doing something I never thought I would do. I have 3 novels published, Protect, Protect Me and Too Close To Home and 2 more on the way. Writing is such a passion of mine and will continue to be whether I become successful with it or not. I currently live out side of my home town with my husband and daughter.

Follow Tressa: FaceBook | Twitter | Website

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COVER REVEAL: Undeniable by Tawdra Kandle

Releasing tomorrow, February 5th, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. . . UNDENIABLE. This is Rafe's story--what happened after The King Series ended. . .

For Rafe Brooks, running from a broken heart means losing himself in alcohol and women. Lots of women, none of whom will remember him, since he has the ability to manipulate their minds and make them forget. Numbing the pain works until he meets an irresistible redhead with secrets of her own. She offers him the opportunity to join forces with an organization that will use his powers for good rather than his own amusement. Jocelyn rocks his world with her unapologetic passion and makes him believe for the first time he just might survive heartbreak. When a mission takes the two of them undercover to infiltrate a commune with suspicious activity, they discover it's just the tip of a plot to cause world-wide anarchy. Hiding their extraordinary powers and real identities is crucial to staying alive. For Rafe and Jocelyn, when life is uncertain, love is undeniable.

Come back tomorrow for the links on release day, and join us for a Twitter party Wednesday February 5th at 9 PM EST (#Undeniable). And now the reveal: this gorgeous HOT cover designed by the ever-talented Stephanie Nelson of Once Upon A Time covers.

finalUndeniableSMall

Follow Tawdra here: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Tumblr

Monday, February 3, 2014

REVIEW: The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carleson

Title: The Tyrant's Daughter
Author: JC Carleson
Series: none
Publisher: Random House Children's
Published Date: expected Feb 11, 2014
ISBN:  978-0449809976
Buy It Link: Amazon
Format: ebook
Pages: 304

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations? 

Review: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. I am not required to post a positive review.
Right before I read this book, I read Scattered Links by M. Wiedenbenner. I was really taken with how similar the storylines were, and yet how different the endings were. Both of them were absolutely fascinating books to read.
Laila is a 15 year old princess from a Middle Eastern country whose father ruled as king, at least that is what she was told her entire life. When her father is killed in a coup, and her family exiled to the United States, she's thrown into a complete culture shock. High school introduces her to Internet, quite different from the Internet she is used to, much less restrictive than she is used to. In exploring the Web, she realises that her family is not royal at all but her father was a tyrant who ruled his country with an iron fist, after his own father died.
The entire book she struggles with the difference in culture and her discomfort with the American way. She struggles to help her mother who fights to bring her family back to its rightful spot as leader of the country they were exiled from. The book was so captivating with the difference in mindset between Laila and her American counterparts. I truly enjoyed reading it.

Promo and Giveaway: Glistening Rebellion by Jill Cooper

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Book Tour

Sci-fi Dystopian (Sequel to Glistening Haven) In Glistening Haven, Jenna Morgan fought to uncover a government conspiracy. In Glistening Rebellion, she fights for her life. New Haven 57 is opening for business—bigger landscape, nicer homes, and tougher reconditioning techniques that will make resistant glistenings docile. A caravan of glistenings from overcrowded concentration camps are enroot to their new home. For Jenna Morgan it’s the final job before she retires forever to a happy low key life. When the escape glistenings from New Haven 56 attack, a simple transportation job turns into life or death. Jenna does the unspeakable and is pulled back into a fight she wants no part of. With an assassin on her tail, her loyalties are questioned. She will need to decide once and for all, which side she’s on as she teeters on the brink of full out war.  

Buy on Glistening Rebellion and Glistening Haven (Part 1) on Amazon

Put Glistening Rebellion on your TBR list! Goodreads

Feb 3rd-Feb 9th Glistening Rebellion will be

99 cents on Amazon!

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

Meet the author

Author of the YA Dream Slayer series, Jill loves to blend horror, comedy, the supernatural, and love, through her novels. A fan of genre blending, her work strives to cross boundries, but most of all strives to entertain. She loves soft cuddly cats, warm blankets, and paranormal romances. Jill resides in Massachusetts, is constantly renovating her home that she shares with her husband, young daughter, and two skittish cats.

Follow Jill on Twitter | Facebook | Website

  Jill is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one blogger and one reader. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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