Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lake's Review of Static by Michael R. Collings

Reviewed by: Lake Leafty 
note:( my first blogged book review)

Book review of Static 
by Michael R Collings

My overall star rating: 4.5

About the book: 
Pain inherits the home of his Great Aunt. Legally he can't change anything about the house including contents. Turns out the house is HAUNTED. It haunts it's tenants and anyone remotely involved with them or it. Want to find out how or why? 

Book Creation Rating: 26! overall out of a possible 30. 

---Story and Characters -10
---Cover and Title.          -7
---Editing.                        -9

My 5 Point Review:

1- I started this book via Audible. The voice was a good one. It's a real page turner. So much, in fact that I had to get the kindle version for when I wasn't driving.

2- Mr. Collings has such a way with words, especially when it comes to description and analogies. It's like you are there.

3- You're really able to get inside the characters head. They are all very like able.

4- There are a few parts I was uncomfortable with. But I don't believe he delved into those parts too far. Plus anytime there was a sex scene they left you at the door.

5- There is some foul language.

Reader Recommendations:
Genre: Horror 
Age Recommendation: 18+
Sex Content Rating: love/lust/and mention of gay lust
Violence Rating: Violent at parts

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Spotlight -- Pieces of Perfect

***$0.99 Christmas SALE from Friday through December 25***

Heat up your winter with the hot contemporary romance
an Amazon bestseller in contemporary women's fiction.

"The authors do a really great job on bringing the characters to life and thank god for having a female lead that isn't shy, meek, or absolutely unrealistic.  I give this five stars because it deserves five stars. Cannot wait to see more work from these authors!" ~Amazon Review

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spotlight -- Shadow Lord by Tony-Paul de Vissage

Today we throw our book spotlight on:

Shadow Lord by Tony-Paul de Vissage


“Shadow Lord will draw you into a world where love, vengeance and honor intermingle. It will change the way you think about vampires.”--Tony Eldridge, author of The Samson Effect

“There is romance and some hot scenes in this one but the paranormal and historical aspect of this novel stands out. The author has obviously done a lot of research and I applaud that depth and eye for detail and this unique new vampire world .”--AmberKatzke's Book Blog (Vienna, Austria)

“From the very first word to the last, this book is a roller coaster ride of emotions.”--Aislyn Faye, Author

Shadow Lord, first in the 2009 Maryland Romance Writers “Reveal Your Inner Vixen” contest, in the Horror category.


Men call them vampires. They call themselves aventurieri. For generations, they hide in the mists of the Carpathians away from their human foes.

In 1793, everything changes… Their Prince’s assassin is murdered. His son demands revenge.

Marek Strigoi’s quest for justice will take him from his Transylvanian homeland to the Hellfire clubs of Vienna and the boudoir of a Parisian Marquise, but not even love will stop his vengeance.

Mrcea Ravagiu must die.

When both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell will stand in the way!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Spotlight -- Julie Rayzor Zombie War Book Two

RayzorWire: Julie Rayzor Zombie War Book Two
(Julie Rayzor Zombie War Series)

Julie and Gang are back!,

What do you do when you are surrounded by zombies and your drug-addicted best friend abandons the only safe place against the war? When "Seer" zombies roam the day and night, when patrols disappear without a trace, when the Zomb are experimenting with the virus to create monsters, how do you survive?

Julie Rayzor must chose between her commitment to the Army and helping her drug-addicted best friend. Lt. Col. Winters uses Julie's loyalty to spy on the enemy. Captured in battle by Scabs and given to the Zomb to become their prized war-trophy, Julie discovers a new force of evil preparing to destroy all of human-kind. Can she escape to warn her friends?

Happy Zombie Reading!

and the first book is here:

Follow the author on twitter at @RichardMHowes 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review - Boreal and John Grey, Season 1 by Chrystalla Thoma

Book Review of:
Boreal and John Grey Season 1
Chrystalla Thoma

My overall star rating - 5

About the book:
Read the complete First Season of the series Boreal and John Grey, books 1-5 (The Encounter, The Gate, The Dragon, The Dream and The Truth) at a special price with an Author's Note at the end.

Centuries ago, they nearly conquered humankind. But their Gate to our world closed, leaving them out. Now the elves have found a way back.

Ella Benson, agent of the Paranormal Bureau, fights the Shades when they cross into our world, keeping everyone safe. But increasingly dangerous creatures are slipping into her city, her work partner has just gone missing, and a mysterious – and, quite frankly, hot — guy saves her life. His name is Finn and, as it turns out, he’s a natural when it comes to fighting the Shades.
When the Gates between the worlds start opening and the elves make a comeback, Ella needs a new, temporary partner. Enlisting the mysterious Finn is a no-brainer, until she realizes he is guarding dangerous secrets of his own.
Together with Finn, and the fate of the world on her shoulders, what’s Ella to do but grab her weapons and figure it all out, one way or another.

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 30 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing -- 10
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

My 5 point review:
-1- This is an excellent book.  A can't put down book, full of action and adventure, one that you just must read; with a love story thrown in to boot.  It kept me fascinated, from beginning to end.  One of those books that you find hard to put down until you’ve read the last page.  I loved it.  It's an excellent book.  A great read.  And definitely well worth your money.

-2- What if creatures from another world started breaking through the barrier between our world and theirs?  And what if they weren't friendly?  And what if we were figuring out what we were doing as we went along?  Searching in old tomes and in fairy tales and legends for clues as to how to fight them?  And what if you're the girl to stop them?  It has fairy tale creatures in it, with just a shade of creepy thrown in for good measure.  The creatures are trying to come from their world to take over ours, and the battle is on.  That's some of what you have in this series. 

-3- Some love scenes in some books are like a porn movie, and some like a bad porn movie.  But the author of this book knows how to write a love scene, for some love scenes are like beautiful poetry, as is the case with this book.

-4- Her writing is sharp, concise, gripping; painting your mind with images she has painted in the words of her book.  A great book is a thrill to read, and this is one of those great books.

-5- Ella and Finn are one of those timelessly great fictional couples.  You’ll fall in love with them and their story.  I can’t wait till the next books are out. 

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- science fiction/fantasy
Age recommendations -- 18 plus
Sex content rating -- moderate
Violence rating -- moderate

Interested in my reviewing your book?
Just follow the link and fill out the form.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book review - Violation by Wendy Cartmell

Book Review of:
Wendy Cartmell

My overall star rating

5 stars

About the book:

Young women are being raped and murdered
A young soldier is raped on Aldershot Garrison
Are the two connected?
Sgt Major Crane, a Branch detective in the Royal Military Police is unwillingly dragged into an Aldershot Police investigation after a young girl is raped and murdered, because witnesses describe the killer as a young soldier. He is also dealing with his own case, the repeated rape and bullying of a soldier on Aldershot Garrison. Can Crane find the murderer before he strikes again? Will Crane bring the rapist to justice?

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 29 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters --10
-- Cover & title -- 10
-- Editing -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

My 5 point review:

1. Classic crime drama in book form - If you love the crime drama shows on tv (I do), then you’ll like this book.  Think along the lines of Law and Order in book form
2. Sgt. Major Crane is an endearing character - I love this character.  He’s great.  He’s the type of book detective that you can easily get hooked on.  I’ve already snagged a couple more of her books that I ran across on free promos.
3. Part about his wife and the new baby particularly good - Along with the main story of the crime series that he’s trying to solve, there’s a sub-story of him and his wife and their new baby, that I just love.  I mean, here he is trying to catch this rapist/murderer, and he makes time to help his wife in dealing with a new baby.
4. Other characters great too - Sgt. Major Crane doesn’t do it alone.  The other characters in the book are great too.  The writer has surrounded him with a great cast.
5. Put me in mind of Sherlock Holmes books when reading it - I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and love the books.  These books put me somewhat in mind of those that Conan Doyle wrote.  Could Sgt. Major Crane be the Holmes of our modern era?  He’s the best candidate I’ve ran across lately.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- mystery, murder mystery
Age recommendations -- 17 and up
Sex content rating -- none, no sex scenes
Violence rating -- mild, crime scenes described, but no actual crimes described

Interested in my reviewing your book?
Just follow the link and fill out the form.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My new book review format

So here it is, my new book review format that I will be using with my next review:

Book Review of:
the book name goes here
the author name goes here 

My overall star rating
 The ratings range from 1-5 stars, and I have a different graphic for each one, this graphic created exclusively by me for use by me.

About the book:
This is where the book cover, a buy link, and the book blurb or excerpt would go. 

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 25 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 8
-- Cover & title -- 8
-- Editing -- 9
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*
This is something that I came up with on my own, with a little help from hubby.

My 5 point review:

1 - I came up with this 5 point review idea in an attempt to make writing my reviews easier.
2 - As I'm reading the book, I'll make a list of 5 points about the book, which will be only a line or two.
3 - Then, when I write my review, I can expand each point into between 3 or so lines to a short paragraph.
4 - Thus this will make writing my reviews easier on me, and I won't have to wade through a whole bunch of notes I've made on the book.
5 - Overall, I think my new format will make for a well-rounded book review format.

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- what genre(s) I feel the book falls into
Age recommendations -- an important feature for parents searching for appropriate books for their kids
Sex content rating -- another important feature for parents and readers themselves, will rate how graphic the sex content is, from mild to wild.  
** and those are just a few of the things that will be covered in this section **

Interested in my reviewing your book?
Just follow the link and fill out the form.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Review - The Time Chasers series, Return From the Grave by Steve Griffiths

Book Review - 
The Time Chasers series
Return From the Grave
by Steve Griffiths
** About the book -- MJ and his sisters whilst on holiday are thrown into an incredible adventure that takes them back in time to 1944 in the depths of war-torn France. They have to endure many dangers in a bid to save themselves and their rescuers. Their perilous journey will have life changing events for them and others past and present. What will be their fate in this story of heroism and self sacrifice. Find out what will become of them in the first book of 'The Time Chasers' series.

 I had the great pleasure of editing this book, so I got to read it before anyone else did.  And it's an excellent book.  I highly recommend it, and look forward to the sequel.

The author, in his first outing, has created a wonderful novel suitable for a large age range.  Adults, teens, and pre-teens alike will enjoy it.  Imagine going on holiday, in a farmhouse in France, and finding out that your balcony is a time machine.
MJ intended to go back in time by himself, but things didn't quite work out the way he planned, and his sisters end up going back with him.  So where does he go back to?  None other than France in World War 2!  

If I tell you anymore, I'll give away too much of the story.  Steve has created a great book, with wonderful characters; and it is a book that will grab your attention right away and keep it.  

If you're going to buy a book, buy this one.  You won't regret it.  

If you don't read it, you are truly losing out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall 2013 Kindle Fire Giveaway

fall kindle fire This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)
    Fall Sponsoring Authors & Bloggers
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Author Annette K. Larsen
  4. Phantasmic Reads
  5. Author Bella Street
  6. Author Bonnie Blythe
  7. Author Stacy Claflin
  8. MyLadyWeb: Women's History, Women Authors
  9. Book Mama Blog
  10. Word to Dreams
  11. Candace's Book Blog
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  13. Author Miriam Louise
  14. Author Mary Ting
  15. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  16. Books4Tomorrow
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  18. Brooke Blogs
  19. Author Pauline Creeden
  20. Author MK McClintock
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  22. Books Unhinged Book Blog
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  24. Meredith & Jennifer's Musings
  25. These Are But Shadows
  26. My Devotional Thoughts
  27. Author Ally Shields
  28. Dark Motive's Books and More
  29. Nessarox
  30. Fae Books
  31. Author Jennie Sherwin
  32. The Real Bookshelves of Room 918
  33. Auggie Talk
  34. No BS Book Reviews
  35. BookLover Sue
  36. Gin's Book Notes
  37. Bookhounds
  38. Buku-Buku Didi
  39. Author Shelli Profitt Howells
  40. My Nook, Books and More
  41. The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
  42. Clarice's Book Nook
  43. MichaelSciFan
  44. Magical Manuscripts
  45. Author Talia Jager
  46. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  47. Jessabella Reads
  48. Author Melissa Pearl
  49. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  50. Bookitty Blog
  51. Author Helen Smith
  52. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  53. Christine's Blog
  54. Write Away Bliss
  55. Another World of Books
  56. The Reporter and The Girl MINUS The Super Man!
  57. Katie's Clean Book Collection
  58. Author Marcia Lynn McClure
  59. Author Shannon Guymon
  60. Ripple Effect Romance Series
  Sign up to Sponsor the NOVEMBER Giveaway   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Ends 10/31/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Spotlight - The Swan Bonnet by Katherine L. Holmes

Join me for a spotlight of a book I just added to my review list.  The book is:
The Swan Bonnet by Katherine L. Holmes

Unknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Shooting swans has become illegal but Alaska is a territory and Prohibition occupies the Sheriff.

Dawn and her mother become involved with suspicious responses to the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. Because Dawn’s grandparents see the swans first, Dawn agrees to secretly watch the migration with the Deputy Sheriff’s son. But after she and her mother encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are also townspeople roving the shore but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?

Excerpt -- 
A time ago in the frontier territory, flocks of migrating swans chuffed to the same ocean inlet and swooped down for a night or two in the spring and in the fall.  The far bay was hedged in hardy reeds and fenced off by foothills, providing rest and refreshment.  Whistler and trumpeter swans arrived as regularly as the mountain streams melted and the snow came.  In the spring, one pair stayed to nest while the others flew on.  They were waiting in the fall with their cygnets when the swans from the north stopped to strengthen themselves before their journey over the Pacific Ocean.

A few years after 1900, a man came to the inlet with his wife and boy.  He built a cabin even if the pair of swans on the bay flaunted their wings at his sailing skiff.  They wouldn’t be properly introduced until the garden was grown and the woman and boy tossed sunflower seeds along the shore.  The man fed them corn when he sailed from the inlet to the waters that were full of salmon.

The new family woke up one autumn morning and found the pair of swans hosting a flotilla of migrators that trampled the shore and feasted on the sunflowers.  They ate the last of the corn too but in their wake, the woman found swan feathers and down.   She gathered up the precious plumage and took it to the nearest town on the Alaska seacoast.  That was half a morning’s wagon ride from the cabin under the foothills.  Merchant ships came to the harbor for salmon and fur.  The swan feathers sold like caviar.

As more folks moved to Alaska, the family at the bay couldn’t help but notice how the migrating flocks were dwindling.

Towards 1920, fewer and fewer of the trumpeter swans made rest stops at the inlet.  But whistlers still came after nesting in the tundra.

About the author --
After stints in publishing and as a reporter, Katherine L. Holmes obtained an M. A. in Writing from the University of Minnesota. Her poems and short stories have been published in many journals. In 2012, her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, was published by Hollywood Books International. She has also published a children’s fantasy, The House in Windward Leaves.

Book Preview - Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West

Welcome to my book preview of a soon to be released book.
Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West

"Do you want me to be dangerous?" he asked, his voice husky and low.
I gulped, and for a moment I was incapable of speech. But he was quiet, waiting. "No. I don't."
"Then I'm not dangerous at all," he murmured. His gaze moved from my eyes to my mouth. "You've never been safer than you are at this moment." I shivered as his breath tickled my skin. Our lips were mere millimeters apart when the sky shattered in a kaleidoscope of colored light.

We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.

Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone.

We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Spotlight -- Wavecrossed by Andrea Colt

Hello, and welcome to my book spotlight of Wavecrossed by Andrea Colt. 

Genre - young adult paranormal

A young-adult paranormal novel about selkies, tasers, kissing and secrets.

To Cassandra Kelleher, trust is a dirty word.

A teenage selkie who grew up on land, all she wants is to free her family from the man who stole their sealskins long ago. With her twin brother Brennan losing hope and her window of opportunity disappearing like the beach at high tide, she'll try anything.

Before long, however, Cassandra can’t tell whether her biggest threat is the man holding her family captive, a classmate who’s discovered her secret, or her own paranoia. Battling broken friendships and alarming romantic entanglements, Cassandra finds that trust could be the key to winning her family’s freedom … or losing her own.

Goodreads link

Amazon link:

About Andrea Colt

Andrea Colt grew up reading and squabbling with her identical twin. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, a fridge full of cheese, and two feline muses. Visit to get to know her better.

Author Links

Newsletter sign-up:

Excerpts from the book:

  Excerpts from Wavecrossed

From Chapter 3, in which Cassandra’s biggest fear is realized: someone’s discovered their secret.

“So we can go?” I said.
Leisel tapped at her phone.
“Actually, I wanted to show you something.” She passed the phone gingerly to me. The screen showed a patch of nighttime forest, opening onto a riverbank. “I was recording this for a science project.”
“About what?” And why was she showing us? I handed the phone to Brennan.
“I’m measuring the ambient light against noise throughout the month. It could help determine whether darkness is beneficial for recovering waterfront habitats, and—”
“Cass.” My brother’s voice held a jolt of alarm. He’d paused the video, and onscreen was …
Me. Standing on the silvery river bank. Wrapped in something that wasn’t a towel. My brain tumbled to a halt.
“When did you take this?” Brennan asked.
Leisel nodded solemnly, as if answering his real question.
“Saturday night.”
Oh. Oh, no. No, no, no. Blood rushed from my head. This wasn’t happening. This odd frizzy-haired yearbook girl with the crazy eyebrows was not holding video proof of Brennan and me changing.
We sat there in silence, the wall clock ticking audibly, the air so thick I couldn’t breathe. I stared at the screen. At that angle, it caught a wide expanse of river and bank. I was off to the left but clearly visible. It would have captured everything.
Finally Brennan rubbed his face. “Damn.”
“That’s helpful,” I snapped.
Brennan raised his hands palms-up.
“And you want me to do what, exactly?”
In response, I grabbed the cell phone and threw it to the linoleum. Leaping up, I slammed my boot down on the screen. It cracked, and Leisel shrieked. I stepped on the phone again, with a satisfying crunch.

From Chapter 11, in which Cassandra is on a mission:

He brushed a lock of hair from my face. “You know, you never told me your name.”
I hesitated. “Anna.”
Paul cocked his head. “Is that really your name?”
“Um.” Caught off guard, I knew by Paul’s frown that my expression had given me away. I needed to get my head back to my real mission; Paul was way too sharp. “No,” I admitted.
On my back, his hands tensed.
“Tell me your real name.”
Thinking fast, I tossed my hair flirtatiously.
“I’ll tell you later. If you impress me.”
“I have to earn your name?” Paul raised a brow, but thankfully seemed to relax. “What do I have to do?”
“You’ll think of something.” I was about to suggest finding a room to ourselves when Paul tilted his head down with a sudden quick grin.
“What about this?” He pressed his mouth to mine.

Want to know what Cassandra’s mission was, and if it worked? Read Wavecrossed, out now.

From Chapter 19, in which Cassandra is wearing a Halloween costume in a coat closet.

“Sorry about that, I—” I broke off; a foot away, Paul grinned at me. “What?”
“I don’t know how you pull off looking hot in a beard, but you do.”
My jittery unease turned at once to heat, and before I could even think twice, I stepped forward and kissed him.
Of course, I’d forgotten I was wearing the beard and wig, so Paul got a mouthful of fluffy white cotton. Laughing, he pulled the headpiece from my face and shed his own mask too. Then his arms were around me. Our lips met, and I pushed him back against the cushion of coats. His hands found their way under my robe, his electric touch washing off the latest Murphy run-in. Who needed water when Paul was here?
But as my unease faded, my head cleared. What was I doing? I couldn’t get close to Paul when I’d yelled at Brennan for doing the same with Leisel. Paul, at least, was trustworthy—I hoped—but if we succeeded in freeing my family tomorrow, he’d never see me again. I needed to tell him the truth about that, about me, but not in a closet when anyone could ring that stupid bell.
I tore my lips free.
“Wow,” Paul said, breathing hard.
“What?” I was a bit breathless too.
“I’m just surprised not to be handcuffed to anything.”

Want to find out what Cassandra’s Halloween costume was? Read Wavecrossed, out now.

Longer excerpt:

Chapter 1

Midnight is the perfect time to eat a turtle.
Submerged in an icy river, I focused briefly on the thought, then let it go. My brother should be close enough to hear, and it would make him come running, so to speak. Mentally, I grinned.
My lungs craved air, so I flicked my hind flippers to propel me upwards. As my head broke the surface, I spun to scan both sides of the forested shore. No human faces peered back in the moonlight, but I pivoted in the water to check again as I sucked in a breath. Not that a nighttime fisherman would see anything odder than a seal poking her nose out of a coastal Maine river—which wasn’t a totally crazy sight, though most seals kept to saltwater—but it wasn’t random humans I was worried about. It was the other kind, the kind who knew what I was. The lying-in-wait kind.
But if anyone lurked in the shadows, I couldn’t see them. Or, I noted as I drew another breath, smell them. So I was safe. Probably.
Letting my muscles relax, I lifted my nose further into the air so the crisp breeze could ruffle my whiskers. I spun in the water again, this time for fun. Despite the danger, I loved these nights, these escapes. For a while I could lose myself in motion and instinct, forget the problems waiting for me ashore. Here, I didn’t have to pretend to be a normal teenage girl, didn’t have to smother my anger and growing desperation. Here, weightless in the river, the world felt right. For a moment, at least.
The water around me shifted, and my brother surfaced two feet away. The seal version of my twin was darker than my dappled cloud coloring; he was gunmetal spotted with shadow, his eyes round wells of midnight as he huffed out a breath.
Cass, you can’t eat turtles. Outrage tinged Brennan’s thought. What would Nicky say?
Nicky was the snapping turtle Brennan had found injured in a pond when we were in middle school. He’d taken him home and kept him in the basement bathtub for a week until his leg healed. Now whenever we met a snapping turtle, Brennan claimed it was Nicky’s uncle, or grandmother, or sister-in-law.
Nicky can’t talk, so he wouldn’t say anything. I dove, abandoning the moonlit surface. Water pressed against my fur and skin; from below came the faint clicks and rustlings of crayfish scuttling over rocks. The bottom of the river beckoned, a fascinating murky dark, and as always a part of me wanted to paint it. But if I tried, the result would look like a squid threw up on canvas—oils could never capture the life and motion of an inky midnight river.
In any case, I didn’t paint anymore. Not even in human form. I’d won schoolwide awards for it freshman year, but now I wouldn’t touch a brush for all the fish in the sea.
Brennan fell in beside me as I swam upstream.
Maybe turtles can talk. Like we do.
Mind-speaking reptiles? I snorted, bubbles betraying my mirth. I started to tell Brennan how ridiculous that was, then paused. Three years ago, when I thought I was just an ordinary high school freshman, I’d have called the idea of creatures like us ridiculous too.
They can’t talk to us, I pointed out instead.
Brennan swam above me, a shadow against the pale surface, then butted my shoulder with his snout.
Well, in any case, selkies don’t eat turtles. Weaving through the water, he sped on ahead.
I frowned. Says who? Not our parents, for sure. Trapped on land, they found the ways of our people too painful to talk about. And in the two and a half years since Brennan and I discovered the truth about ourselves, we’d never met another selkie.
Without opposable thumbs, how would they get through the shell? Brennan’s logic floated back to me as he somersaulted through the water.
They could eat them while in human form. Turtle soup is a delicacy in France, right?
Gross. Brennan paused to nose under a submerged log. I surfaced for another breath, then ducked safely down before continuing upriver. My whiskers caught vibrations through the water: I sensed fish milling about below, tasty swimming morsels, but they’d get a pass tonight. It was late.
After another thirty seconds, I realized my brother had fallen behind. I twisted in the water, but moonlight only penetrated a few inches; I couldn’t see him in the darkness. The river’s weak current tugged at me, the flow undisturbed by another seal-sized body nearby.
I sent a thought out like a beacon: Come on, Brennan, let’s go home. Tomorrow’s shift is going to suck even more if we don’t get any sleep. We were scheduled to work the Sunday brunch rush at The Golden Fish, our older brother Declan’s restaurant. I’d rather roll in needles, but skipping wasn’t an option.
In my mind, I heard a monumental sigh. Then, hardly more than a shudder of a thought:
What if we just left, tonight?
My stomach clenched. Whirling, I swam upstream without answering. Maybe Brennan hadn’t meant me to hear, and didn’t realize I had—sometimes the line between musing and directed thought was thin. Usually we laughed at apparent non sequiturs from stray thoughts, but this one wasn’t funny.
Selkies belonged at sea. I knew that. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to bid Granite Harbor, Maine, a thoroughly un-fond farewell. Frankly, staying on land blew chunks. Big, slimy ones. It meant rules and bargains and danger, and being forced not to spit in faces that desperately deserved it.
But selkies couldn’t become their true selves without their sealskins, and my parents and older brother were trapped apart from theirs, forced to stay ashore in human form. Until two-and-a-half years ago Brennan and I had been trapped too; we hadn’t even known of our true natures then, so we’d grown up like normal kids, or near enough.
Now that we knew the truth, and had our sealskins—a gift with a price I hated to think about—we should be at sea. It was unnatural for selkies to stay on land. But though Brennan and I were free, the rest of our family wasn’t. I couldn’t leave them behind, not without a fight, and despite his possibly-unintentional comment, I knew Brennan wouldn’t either. If I looked back, he’d be following.
He’d better be following.
When I reached the stretch of bank where we’d left our clothes I finally turned to check, but no torpedo-shaped shadow darkened the water.
Brennan? I called mentally, but there was no response. My heart seized. Brennan? For an agonized second I thought he’d left us behind after all, but then there came a faint snap, as if of teeth.
Just let me eat this catfish, will you?
At my brother’s happy distracted tone, relief surged in like the tide. Brennan was my twin, and my best friend. My only friend, if you wanted to split hairs; we couldn’t trust any of our classmates with the truth about ourselves. Brennan still went to parties, but I found it next to impossible to socialize with classmates when my paranoid side branded the word THREAT invisibly on their foreheads. If any of them found out what we really were … Disaster. So if Brennan ever did leave, I’d be alone in my fight.
But he was still here, and I exhaled a bit, bubbles trickling from my nose up to the surface. I let Brennan enjoy his fish; I’d make sure the shore was safe.
Edging toward the bank, I raised my head from the water and scanned the woods carefully. This was always the most dangerous part of our nighttime swims. What if someone had come across our haul-out spot while we were downstream? What if they’d found our clothes? What if they were waiting for Brennan and me to emerge and change back into human form so they could snatch our sealskins?
It wasn’t so far-fetched a notion: after all, that’s what happened to our parents.
I inhaled deeply, my nose sorting scents: tangy pine needles, rotting fall leaves, a faint trace of fox scat. Nothing human besides our own belongings. I counted silently to thirty, but heard nothing beyond the normal rustling of small birds. As far as I could tell, we were alone. Time to trudge back to my landlubber life.
Bracing myself, I started the change.
Bone-deep hurt stabbed everywhere, stretching and cracking and reshaping my limbs and flesh. When I was ten I’d broken an arm, and it felt like that—except all my bones at once, while sandpaper raked my skin. I kept going, and after an agonizing eleven seconds—Brennan and I had timed each other once—my form solidified into one with legs and arms and breasts and hair.
And, thank God, thumbs. I used my lovely thumbs and fingers to grasp my sealskin, now floating like a cape beside me. Still underwater, I wrapped it around my torso before kicking my legs to take me to shore. The shallows here were little more than a two-foot-wide submerged ledge between the deeper part of the river and the earthen bank. I pulled myself up onto the ledge and crouched on the slick rock, water lapping at my shoulders. Steadying myself with one hand on an adjacent boulder, I stood.
Heavy. That first moment out of the water always felt like being saddled with a backpack of granite. Though the thigh-deep water would turn a normal human’s toes blue in twenty seconds—it was October, after all, and winter showed up early on Maine’s doorstep—I stayed stock still. My gaze raked the shadowed underbrush for dangers I might have missed from the water, and my ears strained for the sound of a footstep. My muscles tensed, ready to hurl me back into the river, but the night remained quiet. All clear.
Bending over, I found two smooth river stones and rapped them four times against each other underwater—the signal to let Brennan know it was safe. Our mind-speech only worked in seal form. As I clambered onto the dirt bank, Brennan surfaced mid-river, whiskers gleaming white. Waving, I slipped behind a thick, squat fir tree and found my backpack, nestled among the branches close to the trunk. I pulled out my clothes, then reluctantly unwrapped myself.
Once I was dressed, my fingers lingered on my damp sealskin, this strange key to my secret self. Growing up, my sealskin—and I—had been another’s possession, but it was mine now. I was mine now.
I’d never give that up again, not for anything.
To the untutored eye my sealskin looked like a dark, misshapen towel. The skin side was rough but supple, the reverse sleek and padded with guard hairs. There were no claws or a face or anything creepy like that, just an amorphous shape roughly twice as long as it was wide.
Home, I thought. My sealskin was home to me, more so than my bedroom in my parents’ house, or even the ocean. Contact with my sealskin made me feel strong. Cleared my thoughts. I’d been anxious and tightly wound this afternoon, in a mood Brennan classily termed megabitch, but now that I’d had a good swim I felt steadier.
I folded my sealskin, smoothing down the guard hairs possessively. My whole freedom was tied up in this thing. It killed me to part from it, to stow it in one of a dozen hiding places we’d found in the area, but we couldn’t take our sealskins back to the house. It wasn’t safe.
Slipping my sealskin into my backpack, I returned to the riverbank. Was Brennan getting dressed? I heard nothing from behind the holly bush where he’d hidden his backpack of clothes, and the dirt beside the water was dry except for my damp footprints.
I peered into the depths just beyond the ledge.
“Come on, Brennan.” The water would distort my voice, but Brennan would hear. How long did a catfish take to devour, anyway?
I inhaled, but my nose now caught only the overwhelming scent of pine. My senses were always sharper in seal form, except perhaps for touch. My human skin, without the guard hairs that covered my other self, was definitely more sensitive. And delicate—I’d nicked myself on a thorny bramble earlier, and I stretched out my hand to inspect it. The pad of my thumb, which had sported the wound, was pristine again. Changing healed little injuries, though it didn’t, sadly, maintain things like manicures. I hadn’t bothered to paint my nails in over a year.
A shadow in the river caught my eye. Finally. Brennan was … coming up too fast.
“Wait,” I yelped, but before I could move Brennan exploded out of the river, leaping into the air right beside the ledge and flopping down again. The wave of wet hit me nearly full-on. Sputtering, I shrieked a curse as Brennan disappeared underwater. Surprise cannonballs had been my brother’s signature move at the public pool when we were younger—his and every other boy’s.
My twin surfaced ten feet offshore for my reaction. My jeans were drenched, my sweater half-soaked. Not that it really mattered—my long dark hair dripped down my back anyways—but getting mad was part of the fun. I stamped my foot and cupped my hands around my mouth.
“That’s it—I’m making turtle soup out of Nicky’s cousins!”
Brennan blew out his breath in what amounted to a seal laugh, then submerged. I hastily backed up, but when Brennan reappeared he only pulled himself onto the ledge. I settled on a tree stump to wring out my hair, averting my eyes while Brennan shifted forms and wrapped his sealskin around him.
“You wouldn’t dare,” Brennan said, out of breath from the change. It had only taken him seven seconds; I wasn’t sure why he was faster than me. I rolled my eyes as he pushed himself upright. In human form my brother stood two inches taller than my five-foot-eight frame, his driftwood-colored hair lighter than my dark brown waves. But we shared the same blue eyes, and our mother’s narrow nose. And, of course, our selkie genes.
Still grinning about his prank, Brennan jumped up onto the bank and headed for his holly bush to swap his sealskin for his clothes.
As I finished wringing out my hair, my thoughts returned to our trapped family. They were admittedly never far from my mind, but although swimming cleared my head and calmed my nerves, it always brought home exactly what our parents and older brother were being denied. We’d been trying for two years to get their sealskins back, but so far we’d failed. Sometimes it felt hopeless.
“What are we going to do, Brennan?” I said, my humor gone.
“About what?”
“About our parents.” As if I could mean anything else.
“We’re doing everything we can.” His muffled voice was not nearly as urgent as I’d have liked.
“It’s not enough.” An understatement. Last week our latest attempt to find the sealskins had gone belly up, just like all the rest. The fresh failure cut at me like the icy night breeze.
I heard a sigh. “Give it a rest, will you?”
My mouth went flat. A rest. That’s all Brennan said lately. Remembering his possibly private thought, I wondered if he’d given up entirely, if he was just biding his time until I gave up too. Anger twined through my voice.
“They’ll die here if we don’t free them.”
Brennan stepped out of the shadows and shouldered his backpack.
“Melodrama alert.” Seeing my face, he hesitated. “Let’s sleep on it, okay?”
I wanted to tear into him, but getting into an argument now wouldn’t do any good. Taking a deep breath, I stood and twisted my hair into a bun, securing it with what looked like innocent hair sticks—knives, after all, weren’t allowed in school.
“Okay.” I jerked my lips into a smile and picked up my backpack. “There are sandwiches in the truck, right?” Changing took a boatload of energy, so we were always ravenous once we returned to land. Peanut butter was more filling than crayfish—and much easier to catch.
“Two for me, none for you,” Brennan joked.
“Not if I get there first,” I shot back. Falling into comforting, well-worn banter, we headed up the dark path to the truck.
We never did see the camcorder propped in the trees, watching us go.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway!!!!

Kindle Fire September 


Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″.
Kindle Fire HD 7″ Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

Or $199 Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Authors & Bloggers

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Candace's Book Blog
  4. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  5. Author Lori Verni-Fogarsi
  6. Ketch's Book Nook
  7. Author Rachael Renee Anderson
  8. Author Karey White
  9. Buku-Buku-Didi
  10. Author Marcia Lynn McClure
  11. Author Bella Street
  12. Brooke Blogs
  13. Author Anna Kyss
  14. Author Ednah Walters
  15. These are but Shadows
  16. The Real Bookshelves of Room 918
  17. Fae Books
  18. Magical Manuscripts
  19. Chair in the Shade
  20. The Book Bellas
  21. Page Flipperz
  22. Romance Schmomance
  23. A Bookish Escape
  24. bookitty blog
  25. Author S.A. Larsen
  26. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  27. Jessabella Reads
  28. Author Jennifer Laurens
  29. Bea's Book Nook
  30. Books 4 Tomorrow
  31. Meredith's Musings
  32. Libby's Library
  33. Author Deanna Roy
  34. Word to Dreams
  35. Bookhounds
  36. Diva Book Nerd
  37. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  38. Author Kim Cresswell
  39. Author Inger Iversen
  40. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
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  42. Author Lena Sledge
  43. Author Kerry Taylor
  44. Author Brinda Berry
  45. Author Niecey Roy
  46. Author Kary Radar
  47. Author Josh Baker
  48. Author Helen Smith
  49. Author Annette K. Larsen
Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7″ HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.
Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway.  Details can be found here.
Ends 9/30/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book review - Eden

Book review of Eden 
by Matthew C. Plourde

This book is one of those doomsday type books.  Not my cup of tea at all.  If you like doomsday books, you might want to check it out.  Here is the book blurb, copied from Amazon:

“When an earthquake plunges the world into darkness, Alexandra Contreras struggles for survival and seeks answers. Guided by a mysterious, scarred man, she braves the wasteland in search of humanity's mythical birthplace: Eden. Once confronted with her tragic destiny, she must make a decision which will alter the fate of the world.”

Okay, until I read the book blurb just now, I didn’t know it was an earthquake that caused it all.  What I read of the book, and especially the very beginning, does not at all make that clear.  It just starts off with this woman you don’t know coming to in a wrecked bus, and she doesn’t seem to remember diddly.  And then it just gets weird. 

I read/skimmed through the very beginning of the book, then I skipped to the end.  The only thing I’ll say about the ending is - this book does not have a happily ever after ending.  So if you don’t like books that end on a down note, then this one is not for you. 

Summing it up:
- I didn’t like the book myself.  Isn’t my type of book.
- I don’t think the beginning was very well written; leaves you wondering ‘what the heck?’.
- If you like doomsday books with a somewhat sour, unhappy ending - then you’ll love this book.  Otherwise, find something else to read.

Book review - Serenya’s Song, Tallenmere Book 2

Review of Serenya’s Song, Tallenmere Book 2 
by Mysti Parker

This book is almost everything you would want in a book.  There’s one little wrinkle in the ending that happily ever after me would love changed.  But all in all, it’s a great book.  This book is part of a series, but you don’t have to have read the series to enjoy this book.  Just the kind of books I like. 

The beginning doesn’t leave you wondering, but instead, grabs you by the collar and says, ‘Come on, we’ve got a story to tell’.  And what a story it is too!  One word or warning - if you read this book, you will inevitably want to read the other books in the series. 

Yes, it is that good.  It has a great ending that covers all the bases.  One sad moment, but otherwise all good.  A gripping, can’t put down book that draws you in.  Part of an excellent series.  My only recommendation - start with book 1.

The author, Mysti Parker, is a fine writer who I would not hesitate to recommend.  If you see a book with her name on it, don’t hesitate to get it.  If her other books are like this one, there’s no way you will be sorry.  And if you should see one of her books as a free book, definitely do not hesitate to grab it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review of Dark Heirloom by J.D. Brown

Book review of:
Dark Heirloom
by J.D. Brown

Short blurb about the book:
“A woman gets ripped from her ordinary life, into the eerie world of vampires.”

Let me start by saying that I didn't like this book.  And no, it’s not because it’s a vampire book.  I like the new genre of paranormal books.  I just don’t like this book.  It had the potential to be a really great book, but the author screwed their own book in the ending. 

I hate books that do what this one did.  You race to the end, seeking a great conclusion, and find only a semi-conclusion; with the rest of the story lying in a not-yet published book.  Or a published book that you don’t own. 

This book was good, very good, with dynamic characters.  But I hate that there wasn't really a conclusion at the end of the book.  I hate that the story is continued in not 1 more book, but two.  By the time the second book comes out, I will be on to other things, and won’t buy it.

My recommendation to all you readers out there - wait until the 2nd and 3rd books are out before you get this one.  I would have enjoyed this book much more if there had been a conclusion at the end of it.  The continued saga, and the lack of conclusion at the end of this book, sort of spoiled a great read for me.  I was looking forward to the evil father being defeated, and the two sons getting to enjoy being brothers again, and be with their women. 

I didn't get the ending that I wanted.  So in the end, it leaves me with sour feelings about this book.  It’s a good book, and J.D. Brown is a good writer; but I hated the way the book was ended.  When writers do this, it turns me against the book. 

I don’t mind sequels, but I like each book in the series to be a stand-alone story.  I hate a series where the books are one story drawn out over several books.  And no, I don’t like mini-series or continued tv shows either. 

Will I read this author’s work again?  Unlikely.  There are too many other ebooks out there for me to read.  Ones that begin and finish the story all in one book, leaving me satisfied with the story. 

So dear readers, now it is up to you.  Maybe this book is your cup of tea and the continued ending doesn't bother you.  As for me, it isn't my cup of tea and the continued ending did bother me.