Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review - The Elderine Stone by Alan Lawson



The Elderine Stone 
by Alan Lawson
Published 2013

175 Pages

When Jason, a teenager from Northern Ireland, takes a detour on his way home from school one day, his curiosity gets the best of him. Despite the warning signs to keep out, he decides to explore an abandoned building. Strange contents provide more questions than answers. And when the room begins to shimmer and shift, he finds himself transported to another world... a vibrant, magical world, where his adventure begins!

Jason meets Emily, granddaughter of the most powerful wizard in Hasperia, and together they rescue an imp, encounter monsters, solve riddles, and attempt to save Hasperia from the Dark Lady. Jason begins to unravel the mystery surrounding his connection to this magical land. But as one journey concludes, there is promise for more to come!

The Elderine Stone is a Young Adult book with some elements reminiscent of other fantasy tales. Still, it held its own, with a unique plot and enchanting characters. I found myself eager to discover what was around the next bend for our young adventurers, and couldn't put it down! There were quite a few typographical errors, but it didn't hinder my experience. This is a thoroughly enjoyable tale for anyone who loves fantasy and adventure!

Reviewed by Stephanie


4.5 STARS

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cover Reveal - Clonmac's Bridge by Jeffrey Perren

~ Cover Reveal ~


Clonmac's Bridge
by Jeffrey Perren

About the Book 

A maritime archaeologist raises a medieval monastery span from the mud of the River Shannon, sunken for 1,200 years... and finds it perfectly preserved. What could account for this astounding longevity? Why are his colleagues, the Irish government, and the Church so desperate to prevent him learning the secret? And why is his consummate lover his greatest enemy?

Griffin Clonmac will go through hell to find out. He won’t go alone. 

Inspired by a real discovery, Clonmac’s Bridge shifts between contemporary times and 9th century Ireland. It tells the story of two men who struggle against envy and mediocrity--a millennium apart--aided only by a loyal helpmate, and an unconquerable will.

The novel’s medieval hero is an independent-minded builder in an age of stifling conformity. His love for individual creation is out of place in a monastery community whose Abbot views it as a sin. The story of its contemporary protagonist is a close parallel. The modern archaeologist is caught between his passion to freely explore, and the machinations of those who oppose it out of envy, sloth, or cronyism. 

An archaeological mystery, a love story, and a pensée on society then and now, Clonmac’s Bridge will be of interest to lovers of historical fiction, and anyone who loves a good story about heroic characters fighting mediocrity. Jeffrey Perren fans are sure to find this latest novel his best yet! 

About the Author 

Jeffrey Perren is a novelist educated in philosophy at UCLA, and in physics at UC Irvine. He wrote his first short story at age 12, and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the United States to New Zealand.


Jeffrey Perren

Connect with the Author

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review - Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes

Anybody Out There?
by Marian Keyes
Published 2007

464 Pages

Anna is living a great life in New York. She has a great job with a popular makeup line, a great apartment (not easy to come by in New York), and great friends. 


One day, Anna awakens in her childhood home in Dublin with stitches in her face, a dislocated knee, and her hands smashed up. She has no memory of what happened to her. As soon as she is able, she returns to Manhattan, determined to find out why her life has turned upside down. She tried everything--mediums, psychics, anyone who may point her in the direction of what happened. 

Anna is one of the Walsh sisters, who have been subjects of a few other books by Marian Keyes. Every sister has her own well-defined personality, and it's a lot of fun to hear the family in their squabbling! Mummy Walsh is a great example of a mother who attempts to be in the loop with her wild daughters. 

Going into this book I wasn't sure what to expect, and my guesses along the way all proved to be incorrect! I was desperate to discover the big mystery in this bittersweet, witty, and wild read that will not disappoint!

Reviewed by Andrea 

5 STARS

Book Review - Cossacks in Paris



Cossacks in Paris
by Jeffrey Perren
Published 2013
462 Pages

Every now and then you read a book that is so well written that even if the subject matter is outside your usual genre (I'm not generally a fan of stories that revolve around war) it keeps your interest, and you crave to learn more. Cossacks in Paris is just such a book!

Napoleon’s conquest of Russia is intertwined with a love story between a beautiful Finnish girl named Kaarina, and a young French engineer, Breutier, who--while working on modernizing Paris’ sewer system--gets unexpectedly drafted as a spy into the Grand Armee. 

Breutier and Kaarina meet by chance, and are immediately taken by one another. Alas, Kaarina is the daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander of Russia, and her hand in marriage has already been promised by the Tsar to the boorish and evil Cossack, Agripin.

The story takes us through Russia where many battles ensue, both on and off the field. Kaarina is kidnapped by Agripin and Kaarina’s jealous twin sister, Kaisa (whom Agripin has befriended). Breutier hunts down the vicious Agripin, and must choose a course, if he is to save Kaarina. 

Cossacks in Paris is an historically accurate book (I confess that I did have to research and verify a few events). But those who are interested in a rich and thorough historical romance will love this book! 

Reviewed by Leslie
★★★★
4.5 STARS

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review - Caiden by Krystal Shannan



Caiden (A MacLaughlin Family Novella, #2)
by Emma Roman
Published 2014
50 Pages

When Caiden MacLaughlin is on the road, heading to an out-of-town job, he comes across a GTO on the side of the road. Being a car guy, he pulls over to attempt to offer assistance, and is met with a shotgun pointed at his chest. Behind the shotgun is a gorgeous woman, Lina Matthews, who has a good reason for being armed... Lina is being stalked, and the stalker's actions have been escalating. 

Caiden is intrigued, and falls hard and fast for Lina. But Lina's focus is to get to a safer place. She is not looking to interact with any man, no matter how big, strong, or decent he seems. Besides, her lifelong friend, Cole, has already stepped in as her protector... and he is secretly in love with her.  

This second installment in the MacLaughlin Family series is steamy, suspenseful, and edgier than the first book. And I was thoroughly entertained! A great read! 

Read our review for the first book in the series, Trevor, by clicking here!

Reviewed by Andrea 
★★
5 STARS 

Book Review - Trevor by Krystal Shannan

Trevor (A MacLaughlin Family Novella, #1) 
by Emma Roman
Published 2013
54 Pages

When secretary Karen goes into labor, Lorelei is thrust into filling in at the MacLaughlin Corporation. This set up is the brainchild of Lorelei and her best friend, Lizzy MacLaughlin. It is about time that Lizzy's brother, Trevor, is forced to confront his feelings for Lorelei. Are they just lifelong friends, or is there more going on under the surface? 

The natural story build up is great! Trevor is full of believable dialogue, and plenty of steamy romance. This bright gem is the first in the series. My only complaint is that it wrapped up too quickly, and left me wanting more! I look forward to reading the next book. 

Reviewed by Andrea
4.5 STARS

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review - Possession by J.R. Ward


Possession (Fallen Angels, #5)
by J.R. Ward
Published 2013
545 Pages

This is the fifth installment in the Fallen Angels series, and my favorite, so far! I absolutely loved it! We pick up right where we left off in the last book with our favorite fallen angel, Jim Heron, still recovering from the last round in the war between good and evil, and still adjusting to his living quarters in an old, decrepit mansion... an eerie place, with a life of its own, where the grandfather clock occasionally chimes to the number thirteen. And as with the other books in the series, the author continues to lay out the scenes with detailed precision, and plenty of humor!

Cait Douglass is still mourning the loss of a relationship that ended with heartbreak. Her boyfriend not only cheated on her, but he is now preparing to be a father. So, this past year, Cait has made drastic changes in her own life. She hit the gym, in an effort to take her mind off the grieving process, and now she's changing her hair. Just a cut, maybe a few layers... or maybe she should go blonde. At least, that's what the stylist is suggesting. So, after much contemplation, she decides to take the plunge... and she couldn't be happier! The new color is giving her the lift she needed, especially when she steps outside, and immediately discovers that her new look is bringing on some unexpected attention! 

Meeting her friend at a small club, she settles in to listen to the gorgeous performer playing melodic music on his guitar. His songs are mesmerizing. And while he has a hefty fan base of woman surrounding him, he focuses on Cait. After the show, he chats her up, and up close Cait realizes he is even more gorgeous. She finds herself stumbling over her words. Still, she gives him her number before saying goodbye. Outside, in a lonely parking lot, she has a brief encounter with a hulk of a man with a shaved head, and piercing eyes. Only a few words were exchanged between them, and yet she can't get him out of her head. He unexpectedly shows up in her life, once again, and the mutual attraction is off the charts! She learns his name is Duke. What happens next is even more unexpected, and out of character for Cait. But this has been a year of change, so she doesn't fight it. Still, there is something off... something she can't quite put her finger on.   

Duke Phillips is a formidable doorman at a club in Caldwell, New York--a dark, gothic playground for those who sleep by day and come out to play at night. Duke has stayed away from relationships, choosing instead to keep matters of the heart on a strictly casual basis. But now, he is confused. He wasn't supposed to feel such a pull toward the blonde beauty, Cait. In fact, his ulterior motives had nothing to do with her. Still, day and night, he can't stop thinking about her, even though, after crossing paths with a psychic, he was warned to stay far away from the brunette woman he'd just met. Sure, his intuition was burning up, but so was he, for Cait. And she was a blonde, after all. How dangerous could their interludes really be? And yet, the walls seem to be closing in, as lies and deceit are buried deeper. 

Across town, Jim Heron still doesn't know whose soul is up for grabs. He is distracted by thoughts of Sissy, the girl who was murdered by the demon, Devina. And his plans to rescue Sissy from Devina's lair continue to dominate his thoughts. But while Jim is plotting Sissy's escape, and making deals with Devina--deals that may jeopardize more that just one round of the games of good against evil--bad things are going on in heaven. Even Adrian--Jim's friend on Earth, and fallen angel partner--is worried. But once Jim gets his head back in the game he discovers the true cost of his hubris, and the price he will pay for checking out of the games, even temporarily. Making a deal with the devil is never a good idea. And now, some heads are going to roll.

This was the most complex book in the series, so far, and one of my new favorites! From heaven, to the underworld, and back on Earth we delve deeper into each world, and discover new meaning to the story and to the series, as a whole. Questions from previous books are answered, and the plot is gaining momentum as we gear up for the final outcome. Despite the complexity, the book is so well written that I never felt lost. And the characters are fully developed--it's impossible for the reader not to feel invested in them. There are dark elements throughout, which complement the mood, and add to the suspense. This is a fantastic, absorbing, and well written book full of surprises! And a must read for all paranormal romance fans! But I do recommend starting with the first book, so that you know the history of the characters, and how the games began.

Reviewed by Stephanie

★★
5 STARS

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review - After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering

After Life Lessons
by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering
Published 2014
341 Pages

Ever since their world fell apart, and was overrun by zombies, Emily and her son have been been on the run, hiding out, and scavenging for food and shelter. And these zombies are no slow movers... they are fast, and they attack anything and everything in their path with such ferocity that little is left behind. 

Emily misses Sullivan, who was with them not long ago as they made their way out of New York City, by way of the storm drains. She continues to write to him, as a means of coping with the loss and isolation. Now huddled in the back room of a gas station, Emily senses time is running out. Her young son, Song, has taken ill and is burning up with a fever. As she watches her child sleep, a car pulls into the gas station parking lot. Barricading the back room door as best she can, she awaits her fate... 

Aaron has been living better than most. With an operational van, and supplies from the army base where he was stationed, he stays on the move at all times, helping where he can. Looking for the tank switch that will allow him to access the station's reserves, he tries to pry open the back room door... Emily is armed (although she has been out of bullets for some time), and desperate. But when she sees Aaron, face-to-face, her fears take the backseat, and she pleads for his help. A former Army Medic, Aaron knows Song is in bad shape. He agrees to help them with medication, safety, and a brief reprieve from danger. But their journey is only beginning. 

This was a captivating story with an absorbing plot. I enjoyed it from the beginning! The characters face many obstacles, and have to overcome not only the basics of survival but the trials and tribulations of getting to know one another under dire circumstances. They are thrown together in a fast and furious manner. And all three characters are dealing with personal struggles and loss, that only starts to come out as things get comfortable. 

Although I fully understood Emily's need to put Song's well being in the forefront, the dialogue surrounding his day to day experiences was excessive. I wanted to know more about the relationship developing between Emily and Aaron! Overall, the story was fresh and well written. There was romance in the mix, and lots of room for more to come! 

Reviewed by Stephanie
★★
4 STARS

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review - The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston


The Furnace
by Timothy S. Johnston
Published 2013
390 Pages

Set in AD 2401, homicide investigator Kyle Tanner has a well known reputation for finding criminals and bringing them to justice. Kyle tracked down the infamous Torcher, and as the fanfare and media attention still hasn't faded, Kyle is summoned to 'Solex One' to solve a mysterious murder of a crewman on this station orbiting the sun. 

As Kyle discovers the corpse has had its hands and head removed, he has more questions than answers. How can a self-contained facility so close to the sun have a murderer on board and leave no trace? And there may be more than just murder going on. A possible infection is spreading, and characters who are proving to be less than forthcoming keep Kyle guessing. With a few minor flaws on his record, how will Kyle find a killer among this crew of well credentialed researchers?

This futuristic story holds a great mystery, with a love story intertwined. The suspense is high, and it keeps you guessing! Any issues were minor, and did not take away from the mystery and suspense of the story. I recommend this book to any reader who loves an edge-of-your-seat page turner!

Reviewed by Andrea
★★
4.5 STARS

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Event - Giveaway for After Life Lessons and a Zombie Survival Kit

Enter to Win!

After Life Lessons


A Dystopian/Post-Apocalypic Love Story 
by 
Laila Blake & L.C. Spoering

A ZOMBIE SURVIVAL KIT
is also up for grabs!


Don't miss out on this awesome 
GIVEAWAY!

About After Life Lessons


Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.

After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.

The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.

Excerpt

Grasping the edge of the crumbling desk with her good hand, Emily hauled herself to her feet. The room wavered again, and a crackling noise filled her head, like the white noise on a stuck channel of an old television. It grew in volume, and it was only when she shook her head once, twice, that she realized it wasn’t the rattling of her own brain, but tires crunching over ice and gravel instead.

Forgetting about her arm, she flung herself to the ground next to Song. Something large parked right outside: she could see it through the crack in the door, out over the ruined shop floor and through the gaping glass that faced out on the driveway...

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