Aranya: Review

Author: Marc Secchia
Narrator: Siromi Arserio
Length: 14 hours 33 minutes
Publisher: Marc Secchia⎮2015
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1
Release date: April 05, 2015


Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

 


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I was blown away by the magnitude of this story. Shiromi Arseio narrates an incredible and larger than life tale. I did have a bit of issues when I first started listening but soon got used to the terms and names as more were introduced. I liked Arseio’s accent as well. It definitely fit the genre and she did a great job of putting energy and inflection into every scene. Of course, every time I listen to someone read with an accent in an audiobook, I also tend to dream with that accent, so that was interesting.

Aranya starts out very different from the other princesses, with a fire in her and dreams of a dragon, she sometimes struggles in her position. After being betrayed and sentenced to death, she is tied up and thrown off a cliff and manages to survive by shapeshifting into a dragon. I absolutely love the concept of this book. Books with dragons are always amazing to read but I really enjoyed reading about the dragon herself and the rider she meets. She soon continues to gain newfound powers that she works to control. The battles that occur were crazy and amazing as well. At times, this fast paced novel almost left me behind and I did have to go back a few times to listen again.

Secchia wrote a very strong female-driven book which was really cool. While we have male characters in the book, it centers into the life of dragons, dragon shifting, and dragon riders. So pretty much exactly what I wanted to read when I first signed up to review this book.

I’d definitely recommend getting this audiobook and encourage everyone to enter the super generous giveaway!

Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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Shiromi Arserio

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

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  1. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (and so many more)
  2. The Neverending Story ( for the bit with the luck dragon)
  3. How to Train your Dragon (with the matchless Toothless)
  4. Smaug in The Hobbit
  5. Dragonheart – flawed, I know, but I loved it
  6. Eragon – I felt the movie didn’t do this tale justice
  7. Dealing with Dragons (Patricia Wrede)
  8. Mercedes Lackey (Dragon Jousters)
  9. Firebolt by Adreienne Woods
  10. Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H.L.Burke) – a unique concept

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Comfort Plans: Guest Post

COMFORT PLANS

By KIMBERLY FISH

  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Date of Publication: May 23, 2017

Number of Pages: 320 

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Colette Sheridan is being remodeled.

As a San Antonio architect, she’d have vowed her career was to investigate the history and create new functions for the structures everyone else saw as eyesores. The old German farmhouse in Comfort, Texas, might be the screeching end of that dream job. The assignment seemed so ideal at the start; generous clients, a stunning location, and a pocketful of letters that were surely meant to explain the ranch’s story. All that goodness crashed louder than a pile of two-by-fours when her grandfather announced he’d lured Colette’s ex-husband back to San Antonio to take over the family architecture firm. Now, not only does Colette have to endure the challenges posed by Beau Jefferson, the client’s handpicked contractor, a house that resists efforts to be modernized, and letters that may hold the secret to buried treasure, but she also has to decide if she has the courage to fight for her future.

Set against the backdrop of the Texas Hill Country, Colette and Beau have to rely on plans neither of them constructed in order to navigate the changes of a house with a story to tell, and a future they couldn’t even imagine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.”

–Vickie Phelps,Author of Moved, Left No Address

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How Pinterest Helps Readers Get “Hooked” on Kimberly Fish Books

Guest Post by Kimberly Fish

When I’m writing at my desk, I often have a bulletin board over my desk pinned with magazine photos, old letters, notes about where I need to move a character, or any assorted detail related to creating an authentic backdrop for my story to grow. I also find that looking at photos on Pinterest is like adding firecrackers to my imagination. I put together some boards to inspire me when I’m writing, and I thought maybe you might like a peek into the “inspiration boards” I’ve pinned to my Pinterest account.

For instance, with the novel, Comfort Plans, it was important to learn the various phases of construction related to renovating an old ranch. That’s not the kind of detail I already knew, so I bought several books from used bookstores, interviewed friends in the industry, and then set about entering specialized words into Pinterest’s search bar to help fill in the gaps. I’m not going to lie; I did get distracted looking at design ideas, handsome character actors, long-reaching vistas of Texas landscape, and peculiar architectural elements that may or may not have ended up in the final draft of a novel about an old German farmhouse that resists its remodel. But those of you who have done any amount of research know this: going down the rabbit trails is sometimes where you collect the best information.

Stay as long as you want on Pinterest, wander down the rabbit trails of photo boards, but in the end read a good book like Comfort Plans, and enjoy a mental vacation exploring a time, place, and circumstance that stretches your imagination. Enjoy!

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.

She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in 2017, released the first novel in a series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas—The Big Inch. She lives with her family in East Texas.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

7/31  Excerpt 1  Books in the Garden

8/1  Review  Bibliotica

8/2  Character Interview  Texas Book Lover

8/3  Guest Post 1  CGB Blog Tours

8/4  Review  Chapter Break Book Blog

8/5  Excerpt 2  Books and Broomsticks

8/6  Playlist  Reading By Moonlight

8/7  Review  Forgotten Winds

8/8  Video Guest Post  Missus Gonzo

8/9  Review  Hall Ways Blog

8/10  Excerpt 3  The Librarian Talks

8/12  Review  StoreyBook Reviews

8/13  Excerpt 4  Margie’s Must Reads

8/14  Review  Syd Savvy

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The Thirteenth Gate: Book One Review and Giveaway



The Thirteenth Gate
Kat Ross
(Dominion Mysteries #2)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: June 26th 2017
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

Winter 1888. At an asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the underworld when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s searching for. And if he finds it, the doors to purgatory will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?

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Book One Summary: 

It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.

But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.

From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

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My Rating: 4/5

The Daemoniac Review:

Book one in this series is unlike anything I have ever read before. Think Sherlock, but it’s a girl investigating by the name of Harry with her life long friend John, a doctor. Harry’s sister, whom takes on several odd cases is gone for a few weeks when a new case lands in Harry’s lap. She pretends to be her sister, unable to refuse the people that need help and sets herself to find out exactly what happened to a person that has gone missing.

As far as characters go, Harry is quick on her feet and utterly brave. To uncover the truth she puts herself in these sticky situations that honestly had me biting my nails. I also really loved John. He is Harry’s rock, always there to help her, always there for her. John is definitely Harry’s Watson. They are a formidable team and I found myself more than once hoping something would spark between the two of them.

The world building in this is magical. It’s like falling into the time of Jack the Ripper. Kat Ross really draws you in with this brilliantly crafted historical fiction with it’s edge of supernatural and mystery. She paints a perfect picture of her world, one I could easily get lost in with her descriptions and cleverly crafted characters.

The Daeomoniac is charming, witty, and suspenseful. A must read for fans of Sherlock Holmes!

Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

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TS901:Anomaly Review

TS901
By Stacey Rourke & Tish Thawer
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult

Synopsis

Tainted water for the good of the people. Fluoride and vitamins to sustain the health of the human race. Added ingredients to extend and elevate the quality of life. All good things, right?

Wrong.

Thia Kelly has been changed by the TS901 chemical in the world’s water supply. Now, forced into hiding with the other inflicted outcasts, she struggles to survive as her powers emerge.

Evan Daniels hunted for others like himself, and finding Thia suddenly brought meaning back into his life. Love blossomed between the strange couple while they searched for a way to reverse the effects. Unfortunately, the Government had something else in mind.

Super-soldier creation on a mass scale was their end goal, and thanks to an unfortunate family tie, Evan became Patient #1.

Good-guy? Bad-guy? The world isn’t sure, but Thia is left with only one choice––save the ass of the world’s first Anomaly who just happens to be her boyfriend.

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Review

From the very beginning of this book, you are thrown into a heavily tense and brewing war between Naries(Ordinary) and Malies(Anomalies). Thia starts her days angry, in pain, and missing her boyfriend. A boyfriend that is considered dangerous and a threat by being Patient One. While vicious attacks are blamed on him, she knows the full story. That he was just a boy that wanted to make his father proud. Except, in doing so, he left her and their people and his image now puts everyone at risk. Still, Thia is seen as relatively normal on the outside and is a bridge of communication between both sides. Struggling with her own inner demons about her ability, she tries to bring some semblance of comfort and normality to the people she loves. One thing clear about Thia is that she has a big heart and discovers what power this gives her.
This book is dizzying, surprising, action-packed and literally will make you want to run around afterwards. It has an X-men vibe but is also so gritty and real. Even the occasional crude humor and camaraderie between the characters will make this book fly by. You’ll understand that pun later…
The pace of the book will encourage you to read faster and I barely kept up with everything happening. This was written by two authors so, at times, can get a bit chaotic. I actually enjoyed this style of writing, as it really exhibited the uncharacteristic writing I enjoy. Thia’s goal in the beginning is to rescue her boyfriend(ish) Evan and through the help of some powerful Malies, they spark a revolution. I loved every distinct character in this book. Especially Gigi!! What was very clear was how incredibly supportive they all are of each other and their differences. It had a beautiful underlying story amongst all the action. Even their flaws are accepted, the choices they make, and who they have become to survive is a strength. By the end, they band together and seem like a family by the end. They are determined to save people and, in doing so, show their true heroic colors.
A wonderful start to a series! I eagerly await the next book.

About the Authors

Tish
2017 – #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Best Cover – Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Readers Choice Award – Blogger Choice Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Colorado with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

You can find Tish on Facebook.

Stacey

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
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Amid Stars and Darkness: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

Amid Stars and Darkness
Chani Lynn Feener
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Book Synopsis:

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Get lost Amid Stars and Darkness, in this YA sci-fi romance from debut author Chani Lynn Feener.

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Book Review:

This book is probably one of the cutest books I have ever read. Feener pulls you in from the beginning with an amazing problem: Delaney’s body has been turned into that of an alien princess and the princess’s body guard, Ander Ruckus, takes Delaney from Earth, thinking she is the alien princess, to bring her back home. Of course by the time he realizes his mistake they are already across the stars and almost to his world. As they near the planet Ruckus realizes how he needs Delaney to at least pretend she is the princess in order to keep a war from happening. She agrees to help, but of course, nothing is ever that easy. Someone wants to kill the princess Olena. But who has ordered the hit?

Do I have you reeled in yet? Doesn’t this book sound like a must read?

What can I say about this book besides it’s so damn cute?  As I write this review I’m finding it hard to explain how awesome this book is because of all the cuteness that is wrapped up in a perfect package for a star-cross love story. There’s mystery, suspense, futuristic coolness, a love story that makes your toes curl and leaves you wanting more. Ruckus was perfect for the main love interest. I was drawn to him instantly with his protectiveness and noble demeanor. As for Tristan, Olena’s betrothed, I love how he was all rough edges and coldness. As the story continued I found myself more and more intrigued with Tristan, the alien prince. And I’m very eager to see how this interesting love triangle plays out.

Feener has given us a true charm with her first book of the Xenith trilogy. Amid Stars and Darkness is a must read for anyone looking for that super cute love story that makes you smile when you least expect it and leaves you wanting more and more. I am very much looking forward to Feener’s sequel to Amid Stars and Darkness. Be sure to check it out!

Author Bio:

Chani Lynn Feener has wanted to be a writer since the age of ten during fifth grade story time. She majored in Creative Writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, and graduated in 2012. To pay her bills, she has worked many odd jobs, including, but not limited to, telemarketing, order picking in a warehouse, and filling ink cartridges. When she isn’t writing, she’s binging TV shows, drawing, or frequenting zoos/aquariums. Chani is the author of Amid Stars and Darkness and the teen paranormal series the Underworld Saga, originally written under the penname Tempest C. Avery. She currently resides in Connecticut, but lives on Goodreads.com.

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A Matter of Trust: Review

A MATTER OF TRUST

Montana Rescue Series, Book 3

By SUSAN MAY WARREN

  Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: July 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson was at the top of his game when one of his fans crashed and died—a death blamed on Gage. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, Gage had no choice but to leave the limelight behind and search for a new life.

Although Gage is now working as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team, he still can’t find peace—or forget the woman who betrayed him.

As a former attorney and one of the youngest senators in the country, Ella Blair is used to being in the public eye. But she does have one secret that has remained hidden—a secret that could have saved Gage his career. Wracked with regret, she’ll do almost anything to atone for her betrayal of him.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, the last thing Gage wants is to let Ella join the search. Not only will he have to find her reckless brother, but he’ll have to keep her safe as well. But Ella is undeterred, and suddenly Gage finds himself in a high-stakes adventure on a mountain with a woman who could cost him everything—again. In a world of dangerous heights, devastating injuries, and blinding snowstorms, Gage and Ella must put aside the past and learn to trust each other if they hope to survive.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series

“Exciting rescues and an old mystery offer a thrilling, roller-coaster plotline and plenty of drama to keep the pages turning.” —Bookpage on Wild Montana Skies

“A fast-moving, high-stakes romantic adventure set against the backdrop of Glacier National Park, which will leave longtime fans and new readers alike anticipating the next book in the series.” —Publishers Weekly on Rescue Me

Purchase Links

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A Matter of Trust is a mix of high tension, suspense, drama and forgiveness. As I usually lean towards the more fantasy action genre, I’m always really surprised and excited to enjoy books like these. Especially when it sparks my interest for other novels the author has written. Susan Warren has an amazing sense of character and scenery.

Despite Gage and Ella’s own upended history, Gage puts things aside and sets off to rescue her brother. Struggling with his faith in her and own spiritual faith, their journey has many twists and turns that keep the reader well engaged in their story. This book also follows other characters, or duos as it were, in the team. From previous books, we’re given glimpses of their own complex stories and what’s to come. Since I wasn’t as familiar with other characters in the series, I did tend to focus more on other areas with the main characters, Gage and Ella. Gage is a wonderfully engaging character with his own doubts and growth throughout the book. Ella was a bit harder to connect with, especially since she is trying to redeem her past decisions and making new difficult ones along the way. I still enjoyed their interactions and dynamic that pushed the boundaries of usual relationships you tend to see or read in stories.

I’ve never been good at skiing but I love snow. The way Warren described it was fun and lively to the point where I’m tempted to retry it again…on a bunny hill. The wintery scene of Montana was really well done and made me want to travel there someday. Well, when it’s a tad warmer of course. I definitely recommend this great summer read! Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Susan May Warren is the USA Today, ECPA, and CBA bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Wild Montana Skies with more than one million books sold. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.

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7/6 Character Interview 1 Books and Broomsticks
7/7 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
7/8 Review Syd Savvy
7/9 Author Interview Margie’s Must Reads
7/10 Character Interview 2 Forgotten Winds
7/11 Review The Page Unbound
7/12 Playlist Hall Ways Blog
7/13 Review Reading by Moonlight
7/14 Deleted Scene CGB Blog Tours
7/15 Review Missus Gonzo

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Rise of the Sea Witch: Review and Giveaway

Rating:

Rise of the Sea Witch
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: June 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 3/5

Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.

Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.

When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.

Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.

Goodreads / Amazon

Review:

Rise of the Sea With is a very imaginative and captivating retelling of The Little Mermaid. The Sea Witch hadn’t always been…. well… a witch. And Rourke spins a beautiful and charming tale of how the Sea Witch grew those tentacles. Right from the beginning, Rourke pulls you in by giving us a glimpse of the villain to be. Then she pulls you back in time as she unravels the tale of how the Sea Witch goes from a mermaid that no one pays attention to, to the villain we all know and love.

One thing I felt that was truly wonderful in this tale is how much as a reader I could connect with Princess Nessa. You really feel for her, her father Poseidon ignores her. Her brother, who obviously doesn’t want the crown, is heir to the throne. No one listens to her. And simmering underneath the wave’s surface is a powerful dark magic inside Nessa.

Nessa is no innocent, and she often times makes questionable decisions concerning her morale, but isn’t that part of the point of the Sea Witch? She’s not exactly the most kosher of people. I’ve read several tales of a persons transformation into a villain, and I’ll be honest, they aren’t necessarily for me. But perhaps because I already love all there is to The Little Mermaid, and I couldn’t help but think of the Sea Witch that I love, it made me love this tale even more. Not everyone can craft a good villain story, because villains needs to have redeeming qualities. I think Rourke gives us just enough in Nessa that we truly do see and feel and understand what brings her to her ultimate demise.

If you’re a mermaid fan and enjoy dark tales from the villains point of view than be sure to check this book out! I look forward ot future reads by Stacey Rourke!

Author Bio:

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a

Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015

Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

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Swimming Hole’s of Texas: Review and Giveway

THE SWIMMING HOLES
OF TEXAS
by
Julie Wernersbach & Carolyn Tracy
  Genre: Travel / Outdoors / Swimming
Publisher: The University of Texas Press
Date of Publication: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 240, 100 color photos
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Nothing beats a natural swimming hole for cooling off on a scorching summer day in Texas. Cold, clear spring water, big old shade trees, and a quiet stretch of beach or lawn offer the perfect excuse to pack a cooler and head out with family and friends to the nearest natural oasis. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or an unforgettable summer vacation, let The Swimming Holes of Texas be your guide. 


Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy highlight one hundred natural swimming spots across the entire state. The book is organized by geographic regions, so you can quickly find local places to swim—or plan a trip to a more distant spot you’d like to explore. Each swimming hole is illustrated with an inviting color photo and a description of what it’s like to swim there, as well as the site’s history, ecology, and conservation. The authors include all the pertinent info about admission fees and hours, parking, and on-site amenities such as showers and restrooms. They also offer tips for planning your trips and lists of the swimming holes that are most welcoming to families and pets.

So when the temperature tops 100 and there’s nothing but traffic in sight, take a detour down the backroads and swim, sunbathe, revel, and relax in the swimming holes of Texas.

I am not a native to Texas, so imagine my surprise when I went through this book and saw some real, beautiful gems in Texas. When I first moved to Texas, I figured all of Texas was brown unless it was Spring, then it’s this bright green color. I never really saw anything eye catching. But looking through this book, reading about these beautiful places, I’m ready to go for a trip and see these beauties first hand.
First thing I want to point out, is that I love how this book is organized. It’s organized by North, South, East, and West Texas.  There’s also a segment early on that states Planning Your Trip, followed by other helpful information such as swimming etiquette, rules for the parks, and the history behind everything. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that you need this book, just look at all the amazing pictures taken in the different ares of Texas along with all the answers to the questions you may ask about that particular swimming hole.
Another thing I loved is the maps of each of the regions that shows you where the swimming holes are located. Then it lists the swimming holes and goes into details about them along with pictures of each of the swimming holes. It lists helpful information such as amenities, park rules, camping, the hours it’s opened, what the fees are. After reading through this book, I really want to visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. BEAUTIFUL. It’s made me realize how diverse Texas is and how much Texas has to offer concerning nature.
At the end of the book it lists Top 5, of which include Top 5 Kid Friendly places, Top 5 Dog Friendly places. Those are just a few examples, there’s quite a few more. This would be extremely helpful if you are planning a trip with a furry friend, or want to go some place that’s fun for the kids!

This book is a must guide for anyone planning to visit a Texas swimming hole. I cannot recommend it enough!



Julie Wernersbach, Austin, is the literary director of the Texas Book Festival and a former marketing director at BookPeople, Austin’s largest independent bookstore. Carolyn Tracy, Austin, is a freelance photographer who works for an animal welfare nonprofit. They are the authors of Vegan Survival Guide to Austin.

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Sir Kay: Review

THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4

By Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations 

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox.

Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.

PRAISE FOR THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY:

“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies 

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This was my first time reading about Sir Kaye, the boy knight, and it definitely made me more intrigued to read the others. This book brings a whimsical adventure that was easy and fun to read. As Kaye and his friends set off on their quest, the pages flew as they fought to save the kingdom. This story brings inner lessons of bravery and friendship. I can easily recommend it for children and really all ages as well. I personally love to read all forms of books, including children’s books. They remind us of our childhood and simpler solutions to tough decisions we face.  They show us fantastical worlds that push the limits of our imagination.

The illustrations really caught my eye as well. I remember when I first did a promotion for the third book and impressed with the style and maturity of the content. Also, the study guide was so cute and helpful, especially since I was new to the series. I felt like I was back in school right as my love for reading started.  I look forward to sharing this and the other books with some of my younger relatives. Enter the giveaway for an amazing chance to win this great series!

Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others. 

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.

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Breakwater: Review

Rating:

Breakwater

By Catherine Jones Payne
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mermaids
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Fathom Ink Press


Summary from Goodreads


A red tide is rising.

As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she’d ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean’s fragile peace.

Can the city’s divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?

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Review

Colorful haired mermaids and water manipulating naiads are a recipe of everything I wanted to read right now. Breakwater did an excellent job of bringing me an entirely different underwater world and keeping things very relatable. Tensions are high between the mers and the naiads with injustice and prejudice. It’s something we see everyday in reality. I’m sure with every story we read, the reader will always see similarities to their own world. Nothing is ever quite simple but this book brings something to light that is. Compassion.

The others characters like Pippa show that even with great loss, we can still find something for which to smile. Or Alexander who doesn’t fit in but works hard and eventually finds a home he enjoys. Even Jade’s mother shows acts of kindness despite the complicated position it would bring her. These characters and more come together in tragedy and upheaval and still persevere.

Jade’s compassion shines through a bleak and troublesome war brewing in her city and it what really drove me to loving this book. At one point, Jade describes heroic women from the past that jeopardized their lives but still persisted. This book is a great example for everyone, and especially young girls, about embracing differences and standing for what’s right. Even if you’re afraid. Well done Catherine Payne.

I enjoyed how mature this book could be while still keeping simple elements to the plot. It was an easy to read, fast paced, and thrilling story that I believe many will enjoy.

About the Author

 

Catherine Jones Payne is a Seattle native who loves the written word, international travel, crashing waves, and good coffee. Her earliest memory involves pulling up a rolling chair to her parents’ old DOS computer—while wearing a tiara, naturally—and tapping out a story of kidnapped princesses. By day she’s the managing editor of Quill Pen Editorial and the editor of Splickety Magazine. She lives in Waco, TX with her historian husband, Brendan, and their cats, Mildred and Minerva.

 

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