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Review blog with emphasis on graphic novels and YA & MG fiction.
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1. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga 2 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Wowzers!  Akseladd is just a prick!  Just when I start liking the guy, he goes and does something so cold-blooded and heartless that I have to immediately dislike him again.  He’s cunning, crafty, and greedy, and he wants to maximize profits for his warriors, even at the expense of what would be considered his allies.  Start a raging forest fire to smoke out the kidnapped Prince Canute?  Not a problem.  Strike down other rescuers so that he can keep all of the reward money for himself?  Certainly not a problem!  This is one guy that you don’t want on your bad side.  Or anywhere near you at all, especially if he or any of his men have projectile weapons!

While  I love the action, and there is plenty of that, I also find the historical details fascinating.  I don’t know much about Vikings, or Medieval Europe for that matter, but Makoto Yukimura is sprinkling the text with interesting facts about the time period.  It’s a chaotic time, with constant conflict between the European groups of the day.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie, and they will do anything to get it.  Murder, pillage, mayhem – it’s the coin of the times.  Trusting anyone seems like a very dangerous proposition, as many of the characters have found out, much to their dismay.  Askeladd’s betrayal of Thors has twisted and reshaped Thorfinn into a killing machine with one goal – to kill the man who killed his father.  I keep wondering what kind of a man Thorfinn would have grown into if he hadn’t stowed away on his father’s boat.  Would he be so consumed by hatred, if he hadn’t witnessed his death?

The main story arc for this volume centered around the rescue of Canute, the teenaged son of Sweyn, Kind of Denmark.  He’s been captured by Thorkell, a Dane who has chosen to help defend London against the Vikings threatening to overwhelm it.  He comes across as sort of a simple guy, whose first love is fighting and testing his strength against other warriors.  Thorfinn has brief, violent run-in with him. He manages to escape from the larger man, and gains some respect from him at the same time, all while proving that he has a lot to learn when it comes to making friends.  Everybody hates Thorfinn, but who can blame them? He acts like a sullen little prick, and seeing the interaction between him and Canute is like watching two different species trying to communicate.  So, while he excels at slaughter, he really needs to work on his people skills.

After two volumes, I am totally hooked on Vinland Saga.  I love the history, the action, and the sheer brutality of the characters.  It’s probably a good thing these Vikings don’t pack mirrors in their gear; I don’t understand how they could stand to look at themselves and not feel one shred of remorse for their behavior.  Then again, in a time when it’s kill or be killed, they all fit right in.

Volume 3 comes out April 29, and I can hardly wait!

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

ENGLAND AT WAR The foolish King Ethelred has fled, and Askeladd’s band is one of hundreds plundering the English countryside. Yet victory brings no peace to the elderly Danish King Sweyn, who worries that his untested, sensitive son Canute will never be ready to take the throne. The king’s attempt to force his son to become a man places the young prince within the grasp of the gleeful killer Thorkell! Whoever holds Canute holds the key to the thrones of England and Denmark – and Askeladd has his own reasons for joining the fray! “With its rich visual details, emotional pull and strong characters, this historical epic is an instant winner.” – Anime News Network Winner of the Japan Media Arts Awards Grand Prize for Manga and the Kodansha Manga Award From the acclaimed author of Planetes

The post Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga 2 by Makoto Yukimura appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Indulgence Mixing Business With Pleasure Blog Tour and Giveaway!

 

This morning I have some info to share about the Indulgence Mixing Business With Pleasure Blog Tour.  I did have a chance to read The Seduction Game, which I enjoyed for the heroine’s complete nerdiness.  

 

The Seduction Game

By Emma Shortt

Synopsis: When millionaire bad boy, Will Thornton, tries to buy computer-geek Kate Kelly’s building out from under her, she refuses to sell. Will might be uber rich, and super successful but she won’t be bullied. Trouble is, she didn’t expect Will to look like one of her fantasy heroes, or to make her heart beat a little too fast. She’s prepared to wait him out, but it’ll take every ounce of her self-control to win this game.

With millions of dollars on the line, Will is positive he can make Kate sell. He’s played the game better than anybody and charming is his middle name. Problem is, the snarky, geeky, computer-wiz is nothing like he imagined—impossibly cute and a match for him in every way.

The game is on but can two such radically different people come out winners in the game of seduction?

Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Entangled

Author Bio: As a kid Emma wanted to be an astronaut, or maybe Captain Janeway. Because she didn’t really think her career choices through very well she ended up in an everyday geek job, crunching numbers and sighing over syntax. It seemed a long way from the stars and in an effort to escape Emma decided to get serious about her other passion. Writing. Several years later and Emma has yet to walk on the moon or sit in the Captain’s chair, but she is still writing. She scribbles stories in all sorts of genres, contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, historical, sci-fi…if she hasn’t tried it yet she will before long. The only common theme is the romance. A hopeless romantic everything Emma writes has a love story in there somewhere.

Emma ShortBlog Twitter Facebook Goodreads

A Night of Misbehaving

by Carmen Falcone

Synopsis: Before the end of the night, they’ll break all the rules.

For just one night, Georgia Taylor wants to forget about her demanding job and the everyday struggles of being a single mom. Her track record with men is pitiful, but that’s fine because her responsibilities don’t leave room for love anyway. The new online dating site is perfect for what she’s after.

But Georgia’s plans fly out the window when Brent Turner, aka Sexy Dad and father of her daughter’s classmate, turns out to be her Internet date, therefore, eliminating any possibility for a night without consequences.

All of Brent Turner’s honorable intentions fly out the window when he sees highly strung “Super Mom” waiting for her date at the bar. Determined to win Georgia’s trust and show her a good time, their no-strings evening promises to become so much more…until, that is, she discovers he’s really trying to win her vote.

Entangled Indulgence:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IndulgenceBooks

Twitter: @IndulgenceBooks Steals and Deals

Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Entangled

Author Bio: Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband, living proof that opposites attract. She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she is not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

Website BlogTwitter FacebookGoodreads Instagram Pinterest

Giveaway Info:

$50 Amazon GC from Carmen Falcone

A Geeky Prize From Emma Shortt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Indulgence Mixing Business With Pleasure Blog Tour and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. [PR] Georgetown Academy News

I loved these books, so I wanted to pass along a press release I received:

Georgetown Academy is a juicy series about the politics at D.C.’s most elite prep school. A cross between Scandal and Gossip Girl, it’s fans include Eva Longoria and nearly a million Wattpad fans.

To celebrate the series’ success, we’ve put together an amazing campaign that involves and benefits readers—the more participation, the more we’ll give. Here are the steps:

Book One is currently being featured on Wattpad. Add GTA to your public Wattpad reading list: http://www.wattpad.com/story/8095946-georgetown-academy-book-one

Share Book One’s Wattpad link via twitter (Using #GTScandal)

  • If GT fans hit 1k tweets by Wednesday, April 23, we will release Chapter 1 of Book 2 on Wattpad

  • if can hit 1.5k tweets by Sunday 4/27, we’ll release another Book 2 chapter (from the POV of a an unknown character) on Wattpad

  • If we hit 2k, the price of book 2, across all platforms will be dropped to $1.99

Join our Twitter Party! On Tuesday 4/22 @ 9 pm EST authors Jessica and Alyssa will answer all readers’ questions! Find out if Taryn will stand between Ellie and Gabe, and maybe their parents’ careers. Use the hashtag #GTScandal to participate.  Follow us @GTownAcademy.

Other ways to participate in the campaign and spread the word:

Add the books on Goodreads! Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4

If you’ve already read and loved the books, consider posting your review on Amazon.

So will you be attending the chat? Let me know in the comments :)

[Insert Book Cover Here] About Georgetown Academy:

Synopsis:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

What’s Cool from Coliloquy:

As the party scene at Georgetown Academy gets under way, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.

The post [PR] Georgetown Academy News appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Review: Bang by Lisa McMann

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I thought that Crash, the first book in the Visions trilogy, was a bit repetitive.  Don’t get me wrong – I still couldn’t put it down and read it in short order.  But the never ending replay of the vision haunting Jules became tedious about the 100th time through.  Bang never felt like a CD set on Replay, probably because the vision is Sawyer’s, and Jules does not have firsthand knowledge of it.  Instead, Sawyer’s nightmare is relayed to Jules in painstaking detail as he is forced to watch it over and over again.  That distance made all the difference.

When Sawyer tells Jules that he’s suffering from a vision of an impending disaster, she wants to help him figure out what’s going on so they can stop it from happening.  Sawyer is haunted as the vision becomes ever more gruesome – a pile of bodies lie crumbled in a classroom, staining the floor red with blood.  All he can hear is the bang! bang! bang! of gunfire.  He’s desperate to find a way to make it stop, but if it’s anything like Jules’ vision of the crash, the only way to make it go away is to figure out when the shooting is going to happen and stop it, saving the lives of a bunch of people he doesn’t even know.

Using her experience with her own vision as a guideline, Jules dives in and helps him sort out details of the upcoming tragedy.  Where are the victims?  What are they wearing? Can he tell what time of day the shooting will occur?  They slowly unravel snippets of details about the incident, which aid them as they race to solve the mystery before the shooting happens, or before Sawyer is driven insane by what’s he’s forced to watch all the time.

To complicate matters, Jules and Sawyer have to deal with their families and their animosity towards each other.  The Demarco’s and the Angotti’s certainly know how to hold a grudge.  Neither of their fathers is ready to bury the hatchet on the feud that has simmered between them for years, and both Jules and Sawyer are punished when they are caught together.  Jules is having a terrible time showing any kind of respect for her father.  He’s a liar and a cheat, and she suspects that he’s a coward, as well.  I wonder if he suffers from the visions, too, but hasn’t been able to do anything about them.  Maybe that explains his odd behavior and probable mental illness?

I enjoyed the book because I liked Jules, her siblings, and Sawyer so much.  They are just trying to do the right thing, and not get buried by the weirdness of their families.  They all start to show some independence and resistance to the status quo, though all of their parental relationships suffered for it. 

I don’t want to spoil any of the mystery, so I’ll just sum things up by stating that Bang kept me on the edge of my seat, and I hated to put it down.  It’s a very fast read, with plenty of twists and turns, and enough parental conflict to keep any teenager distracted.  I felt so bad for Jules!  Her home is certainly not a haven for her, and neither is Sawyer’s. I can hardly wait to learn what secrets Jules’ father is hiding in Gasp, the last volume of the Visions trilogy.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

What Sawyer’s seeing might mean murder. The second book in a series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules should be happy. She saved a lot of people’s lives and she’s finally with Sawyer, pretty much the guy of her dreams. But the nightmare’s not over, because she somehow managed to pass the psycho vision stuff to Sawyer. Excellent.

Feeling responsible for what he’s going through and knowing that people’s lives are at stake, Jules is determined to help him figure it all out. But Sawyer’s vision is so awful he can barely describe it, much less make sense of it. All he can tell her is there’s a gun, and eleven ear-splitting shots. Bang.

Jules and Sawyer have to work out the details fast, because the visions are getting worse and that means only one thing: time is running out. But every clue they see takes them down the wrong path. If they can’t prevent the vision from happening, lives will be lost. And they may be among the casualties…

The post Review: Bang by Lisa McMann appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Interview with Lauren Layne, Author of Just One Night and Giveaway

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Lauren!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Lauren Layne] Snarky, yet hopelessly romantic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Lauren Layne] Ten years of unfulfilled sexual tension are about combust into one very hot night — but will one night be enough?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Lauren Layne] Well it’s the third in the Stiletto series, and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to tell the story of a woman with a VERY sexy reputation but none of the actual sexual experience!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Lauren Layne] Sam and Riley have known each other for years, so it was fun getting to skip a lot of that “getting to know you” stuff and get straight to what draws these two together for an entire decade.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Lauren Layne] What made Sam tick. He’s SUPER secretive, so it took me awhile to figure out that his crappy home life totally did a number on him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Lauren Layne] It changes pretty much every week, but right now I’m going with Pink’s “So What,” because it’s very power-anthemy, and reminds me that I’m in control of each day.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Lauren Layne] A hair band thingy. There’s always one on my wrist or in my hair, and if it’s missing, I get obsessed!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Lauren Layne] Notebook, laptop and water glass (I’m a minimalist!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Lauren Layne] President Obama (“Nobody panic. I’ve got this.”)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Lauren Layne] I absolutely loved Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Duke. I couldn’t put it down.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Lauren Layne] You know, writing is pretty much always on my mind, but when I need a break, I love to have a glass of wine and cook with my husband.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Lauren Layne] I’m very slowly trying to get better at social media (GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter), but I LOVE email. Seriously, write to me about ANYTHING! Lauren (at) laurenlayne (dot) com

 

JUST ONE NIGHT: Sex, Love and Stiletto Series
Written by Lauren Layne
Published by Loveswept
ISBN: 978-0-34554727-9
On sale: April 22nd, 2014

Blurb

New York’s hottest “sexpert” has been living a lie—and it’s up to one man to keep her honest . . . all night long.

Riley McKenna knows sex – good sex, bad sex, kinky sex…Her articles in Stiletto magazine are consistently the publication’s most scandalous—and the most read. But Riley has a secret…all that sexy talk? Not an ounce of it comes from personal experience. Her own bedroom escapades are more limited than even her best friends know. When her editor requests that all columnists write something more personal for Stiletto’s anniversary issue, Riley turns to the one man she’s always been able to count on and calls in the favor of a lifetime.

Sam Compton would do anything for Riley McKenna. Anything except be her experimental sex toy. He refuses her request. At least until she tells him that it’ll either be him or she’ll go to someone else. And that, Sam can’t accept. Reluctantly he agrees to her terms—one night of completely meaningless sex in the name of research. Riley thinks she’s prepared for what awaits her in Sam’s bed.  After ten years of writing about sex, actually doing it shouldn’t be that different, right? So wrong. What starts as “one time only” becomes “just one more time.” And then one more. And before they know it, Riley and Sam learn first-hand that when it comes to love, there’s no such thing as just one night.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Just-One-Night-Stiletto-Series-ebook/dp/B00F8F3JZK

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-one-night-lauren-layne/1116911372?ean=9780345547279

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/just-one-night/id725293406?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/10/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_29.html

Author Info

Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Layne moved to New York City, where she now writes full-time. She lives with her husband and their plus-size pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.

Connect with Lauren: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Author links

http://laurenlayne.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LaurenLayneAuthor

https://twitter.com/_LaurenLayne

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Lauren Layne Prize Pack with: Review Copies of Stiletto Series, Loveswept Tote and Mug or $15.00 E-Retailer Gift Card of Winner’s Choosing )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Lauren Layne, Author of Just One Night and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. Spotlight and Giveaway – Plain Jayne by Laura Drewry

 

 

Plain Jayne  By Laura Drewry

Publisher: Loveswept Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8041-7773-3

In Laura Drewry’s funny, heartwarming Loveswept debut, a man and a woman learn the hard way that a little bit of love makes staying friends a whole lot harder.

Worn out from the long drive back home, Jayne Morgan can only smirk at the irony: Of course the first person she sees from her old life is Nick Scott. Once best friends, they lost touch when Jayne left town at eighteen, but nothing could keep them apart forever. Jayne has returned to take over her grandmother’s bookstore, determined to put all her bittersweet memories and secret disappointments strictly in the past—until, that is, Nick insists she bunk at his place.

Nick never did care what people thought about having a girl for a best friend—or the “scandal” she caused by showing up to his wife’s funeral four years earlier—so he’s got no problem with the gossips now. Jayne was always the one person he could count on in his life. Now Nick is starting to realize that he never wants her to leave again . . . and that being “just friends” isn’t going to be enough anymore.

Available 4/08/14:

Random House: http://www.randomhouse.ca/search/node/laura%20drewry

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Jayne-Laura-Drewry-ebook/dp/B00FUZQZZO/ref=la_B00J6PQ8EW_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396072181&sr=1-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/plain-jayne-laura-drewry/1117135307?ean=9780804177733

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/plain-jayne/id737586209?mt=11

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German Shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

Website: http://www.lauradrewry.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Drewry-Author/229599547078623

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauradrewry

Excerpt from Chapter Two of PLAIN JAYNE by Laura Drewry

“Well I’m sure as hell not staying in that apartment, Nick, so unless you’ve got a better idea . . .”

“As a matter of fact . . .” Was he crazy to even suggest it? Probably. Would she agree to it? Probably not. “I know a great place with plenty of room, kitchen’s available 24/7, open bar, flat screen, free wireless, and easy access to laundry services.”

A moment’s hesitation, a frown, then her blue eyes flew open. “No way.”

“Why not? It’s perfect.”

“No.”

Nick ignored her and kept driving. What could she do—jump out?

“To make up for being such a prick the last time he saw you, the owner’s offering free room and board for as long as you like.”

He could hear the arguments building behind her open-mouthed gape. Best to cut her off before she started.

“What’s the big deal? You need a room, and I’ve got one. Big one, too, with your own bathroom and a butt load of closet space.”

“Seriously?” She lifted her hands, palms up, and exhaled a snort that pretty much covered how stupid she thought he was. “What’s the big deal? You mean besides the fact it’s just flat-out weird?”

“Says who?” As far as he was concerned, it was a done deal. Hell, even if there were hotel rooms available, this made more sense.

“Says me!” She made a sound like a wounded bear, which only made Nick laugh. “We haven’t seen each other in four years, Nick, and before that—”

He rolled his eyes. “Before that you refused to stay with me because you thought Abby hated you.”

“She did!” The growl sounded again, slower, longer. “There was no way she would’ve let me stay with you and there was no way in hell I’d even ask.”

“Well, you’re not asking, and Abby’s not here to put up a fight, is she?”

That shut her up for a second; but only a second. “What are people going to think?”

“Who cares?” He followed the highway around past the ball field and over the bridge.

“Hello!” she snorted. “Does the name Debra Scott ring a bell? Jeez, Nick—your mother has found a way to blame me for every breakup you ever had, so if it even looks like I’ve come back to shack up with her darling little Nicky, she’s going to have me strung up in town square faster than you can say ‘Holy flying axe throw, Batman.’”

“Town square? Really?” He laughed, then pulled his arm out of reach when she made to smack him. “The gallows were dismantled a couple months back, so you’re probably pretty safe.”

“Very funny.”

From the corner of his eye, he could see she was shaking her head at him, but as he steered the truck into the exit lane, he caught the glimpse of a smile.

“Didn’t you tell me you had a girlfriend?”

Damn it. He’d been seeing Lisa for a couple months now, and even though he didn’t consider it anything serious, he knew Lisa did. He’d have to at least let her know what was going on.

Jayne clicked her tongue. “I’ll take your silence as a yes.”

“So?”

“Oh my God, Nick, do you rent out that space in your head? No woman is going to be happy about her boyfriend inviting another woman to live with him.”

“It’ll be fine.” It was more of a hope than a lie. “So unless you’ve got someone who’s going to kick my ass for even suggesting this . . .”

He waited for her to answer, but when she didn’t, he laughed.

“I’ll take your silence as a no. Any other excuses?”

“I’m thinking.”

“Think fast, because we’re almost there.”

“This is crazy.”

“No. Driving back and forth to Vancouver every day is crazy; this is nothing.” At the stop sign, he glanced over and watched her chew her bottom lip. “I’m not saying you should move in permanently, just stay until we get your place fixed up. And trust me, my place is a hell of a lot better than a hotel room we both know will never be clean enough, no matter how much you clean it yourself.”

The second her nose wrinkled, he knew he had her.

“How did you survive the hotel rooms on the trip out, anyway?” he asked.

Her mouth twitched a little before she finally smiled. “I bought a sleeping bag.”

“And how many tubs of Lysol wipes did you go through?”

“Only two.” After a second, she sighed and lifted her left shoulder. “And a half.”

Two and a half tubs of wipes. He could have pulled the I-told-you-so card, but didn’t. Instead, he just drove on, waiting for her to realize he’d won.

“And what if your girlfriend freaks out?”

“Her name’s Lisa, and she won’t.” At least he hoped she wouldn’t.

“You don’t know that,” Jayne cried, fisting her hands against her knees. “What makes you think Linda’s going to feel any different than Abby did? I don’t want to screw this up for you.”

“It’s Lisa.” Nick sighed quietly. “And no one’s going to screw anything up, Jayne. If she can’t handle you and me, that’s her problem.”

“No, Nick, it usually ends up being my problem.” Jayne huffed so hard it was surprising she had any breath left to keep talking. “It’s not exactly normal that we’re . . . like this . . . and you can’t blame people for thinking the worst.”

“What worst? If my best friend was a guy, there’d be no problem with him staying at my place, so I don’t get why it’s a problem to have you stay there.”

“The problem,” she ground out, “is that I’m not a guy. In case you hadn’t noticed, you idiot, I’m a girl.”

It was all Nick could do not to laugh out loud. They may have been best friends all these years, but he was still a guy. He noticed.

Admitting it, though, would only prove her point.

He wheeled the truck into the long driveway and threw it in park. “I’m telling you, Lisa won’t care. And if she does, that’s between her and me, it’s got nothing to do with you.”

“Yeah, right. Until she goes crying to your mother and I end up on the top of the Debra Scott hit list again.”

“Not gonna happen. Besides”—he pushed the button on his visor and the garage door jerked then started rolling up—“there’s someone else who wants you to stay.”

A second later, his old basset hound came wobbling out from under the door, his tail swinging, his ears flapping along beside him.

“Duke!” Jayne was out of the truck before Nick pulled the key out of the ignition. Cooing and laughing, she dropped to the driveway, arms outstretched.

Nick climbed out of the truck and laughed as he walked over to where Duke had already climbed onto Jayne’s lap and was busy smothering her face in wet sloppy kisses.

“Looks like we got us a houseguest, buddy.”

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7. Graphic Novel Review: George RR Martin’s The Hedge Knight

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I admit to having a love-hate relationship with George RR Martin.  The first three books of his A Song of Ice and Fire series are among my favorites, and that’s saying a lot because I read a lot of books.  That’s where the love comes in.  Now for the darker feelings – I read A Game of Thrones in 1996, and I read the next two books within days of release.  The time between each novel increased incrementally, as did the page count, but as the time between A Storm of Swords and A Feast of Crows stretched into years and years, I became frustrated.  I decided that I would not read any more books in the series until they were all released.  They are so long that I can’t remember all of the subtle nuances of the story, let alone the ever growing cast of characters, especially with the lengthy time between releases.  Worse, I have the irrational fear that I won’t be around to see the end of the series, and that disappointment weighs heavy on my mind.  So while GRRM doesn’t owe me more timely releases of his books, I do owe something to myself.  I owe myself a read without fears, regrets, or frustrations, so my embargo of the main series  continues.  I won’t even watch the TV series until it’s over (not that I have HBO anyway, but that’s another story altogether).

 

So while I won’t read the novels, I saw that a graphic novel adaptation of The Hedge Knight had been acquired by the library system, and believing it to be a stand-alone work, I promptly requested it.  And waited weeks and weeks for it to arrive, only to learn, after I finished it, that this is a trilogy.  Ugh!  At least the next volume is already available from Jet City Comics, Amazon’s comic book imprint (they also announced the purchase of ComiXology last week, which has me curious about the direction of that acquisition).  So that’s what I get for breaking the embargo!

I really enjoyed The Hedge Knight.  It takes place 100 years before the events in AGOT, and it was interesting to read about the ancestors of the characters from ASOI&F.  It also reminded me of why I like GRRM’s writing so much.  The Hedge Knight is the story of an ordinary man thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, all because he was doing what he thought was right.  Dunk, an orphan from the streets of King’s Landing, was rescued from his extreme poverty by a hedge knight, who taught him the ways of chivalry.  Being a knight meant protecting the weak and innocent.  If you are a fan of GRRM, you know that men of ethics suffer terrible fates, while those who have sworn to adhere to a higher code of conduct rarely do, and yet they survive and thrive.  The concept of fair does not exist in this world, and those lacking the ability to act decisively, and often heartlessly, quickly become victims to the men that don’t hesitate to enforce their will. 

Dunk is a humble man, and knightly vows mean something to him.  When he defends a woman from Aerion Targaryen, and is accused of stealing from DaeronTargaryen, Dunk’s life is on the line.  The two young men are princes, in line to inherit the royal crown, while Dunk is a penniless, nameless hedge knight.  His honor is about to cost him his life, and makes it painfully obvious to him that he hasn’t moved far beyond his humble beginnings in King’s Landing.  When he is challenged to a ritual battle to determine his guilt, he despairs about his impending death.  He needs to find six other knights willing to take up the challenge and fight to the death in defense of his honor.  He couldn’t even get one knight to vouch for him so he could enter the lists for the joust; how will he convince someone to risk his life for him, and take up the sword against the princes?

I thought the artwork fit the story to a T.  The action scenes, especially during the joust, are crisp and exciting.  You can almost feel the power and the speed as the combatants charge towards each other, meeting with a clash of lance and shield.  The art brought the story to life, with color, motion, and emotion. 

I’m glad that I broke the GRRM embargo to read The Hedge Knight.  I was captivated by the story, and read the graphic novel in pretty much one sitting.  I love cheering for the underdog, and Dunk certainly fits that description.  Now that I have been reminded of reason that I love GRRM’s writing so much, I am even more impatient to read the rest of ASOI&F, but I will have to be content with enjoying the rest of The Hedge Knight, because I am not traveling down the road of unfulfilled frustration again!

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

In this comic book/graphic novel adaptation set one hundred years before the events in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hedge Knight chronicles a young squire as he travels the cruel and complex path to knighthood in the Seven Kingdoms.

Shouldering his fallen master’s sword and shield, Duncan (or “Dunk”) is determined to reinvent himself as a knight in a nearby tournament. But first Dunk needs a sponsor, and that requirement sends him down a road studded with friends, foes, adventure, and hidden agendas. One such friend is Egg, who becomes Dunk’s squire, yet even he may hold secret motivations of his own.

In this gripping prequel, Dunk and Egg seek glory in a world both familiar and new to Game of Thrones fans. What the two fortune seekers encounter, however, is a world of distrust and political machinations. Chivalry is not lost while Dunk holds fast to his dreams of honor. But such outdated virtues make him a target—and they may even lead to his ruin. This vivid and elaborately wrought tale brings new dimension to George R. R. Martin’s beloved world.

This edition includes fifteen pages of new supplemental material: sketches, character designs, and original pages by Mike S. Miller, plus variant and original covers.

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8. Interview with Angela Dennis, Author of Shadows of Fate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Angela Dennis] Charming, sarcastic, introvert who writes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Shadows of Fate?

[Angela Dennis] I would love to. Shadows of Fate is an Urban Fantasy with strong romantic elements. It revolves around Brenna, a Shadow Bearer from an alternate plane of reality, who has been banished to earth after losing control of her powers. She works as a hunter, policing the supernatural misfits that spilled on to the Earthly plane during a cataclysmic war. When she meets her new partner, something sparks her suspicions. Particularly when the people closest to her start turning up as piles of ash. As an attraction deeper than blood or bone flares between them, they must work together to put together the pieces of a killer’s macabre puzzle and avoid becoming the final victims.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Angela Dennis] There are so many. Telling you about my favorite scene would give away one of the biggest twists in the book, so how about my second favorite scene? One scene that always makes me smile is right after Gray has spent his first night at the boarding house. All of the residents have piled into the kitchen for breakfast and are deciding what to do with him. I have a soft spot for all of the secondary characters in this book, and this is a scene where you really get to see their quirkiness and how they interact.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story.

[Angela Dennis] The relationship between Brenna and Gray. I wanted it to unravel in an organic way. Because of this, and because I made the reasons keeping them apart so complex, they have a lot of issues to work through.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Angela Dennis] Coffee. I have a serious issue. My husband has tried to intervene a few times, but now he just hands me my mug.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Angela Dennis] Coffee, a Yoda bobble head (which everyone should have), and my cat (he’s a permanent fixture).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Angela Dennis] My son. He is a special little boy, with very special needs, so it would be fantastic to understand how he experiences life so I can relate to and with him more effectively.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Angela Dennis] Time Travel. I’m a huge history buff. I would love to go back and experience pivotal moments in the past (not interfere…just experience).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Angela Dennis] Right after I sold Shadows of Fate, my editor at the time suggested that I read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. Never one to ignore good advice, I immediately picked up the first book. I couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the series. There are so many things I love about it. But her world building is incredible. I was spell bound.

The most recent book I finished was Kim Harrison’s the Undead Pool. It was a great book, but reading it was bittersweet. The series is drawing to a close, and I’m not ready for it to end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Angela Dennis] They can find me on Twitter @angeladennis, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorangeladennis?ref=hl , Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/angeladennis779/ and Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770902.Angela_Dennis

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Shadows of Fate

Shadow Born

Book 1

Angela Dennis

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Date of Publication: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61921-927-4

Number of pages: 247

Word Count: 87,000

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

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Tagline: Redemption lies beyond the veil between truth and lies.

Book Description:

After witnessing her husband’s brutal murder, Brenna Baudouin lost control of her Shadow Bearer powers and wreaked havoc on her home world. Her penance: one hundred years policing hordes of supernatural misfits that spilled onto the Earthly plane after a cataclysmic war.

She’s on a routine exorcism run when she learns she’s been assigned a new partner. But there’s something about this Shadow Bearer that sparks her suspicions. Particularly when people closest to her start turning up as piles of ash.

Gray Warlow holds tight to the glamour that allows him to get close to the woman on whom he plans to wreak vengeance for betraying his people. Yet as he skillfully manipulates his way past her distrust, he begins to see her not as the heartless monster he was led to believe, but a strong, vulnerable woman.

As they work to put together the pieces of a killer’s macabre puzzle, an attraction deeper than blood and bone flares between them. And they must reveal their deepest secrets to avoid becoming the final targets.

Warning: A thrill ride of supernatural proportions. Contains violent battle scenes, nail-biting suspense, crazy hot sexual tension, and enough twists and turns to make your head spin.

Excerpt:

Copyright © 2014 Angela Dennis

All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Her gaze stretched to the bar. Beneath the glittering liquor bottles and burnt oak, a bottle of Jack in one hand and Grey Goose in the other, stood her target. Dirty blond hair brushed past his eyebrows, the rest tied back in a rubber band. He seemed innocent enough. As he flipped a glass bottle behind his back, muscles rippling on his shirtless body, magic seeped from his skin. It flowed around the women stretched across the bar, their assets on display as well as their lust.

Thankfully, he didn’t get much bang for his buck. This one was weak. Newly possessed, the demon hadn’t had time to gain a strong enough lock on the victim’s body. This shouldn’t take long. The piles of paperwork she had left on her desk might even get done tonight.

She pushed through the crowd, stripping her leather duster off her shoulders as she went. The black corset underneath, paired with tight leather pants, flattered her figure. She turned heads, especially the demon’s. She released the hair tie at the back of her neck. With a quick shake, her burnt copper curls slid down to her waist. She stopped at one of the tiny tables and threw her coat across the barstool.

Eyes closed, she pretended the music was something more aesthetically pleasing as she stepped onto the dance floor, keeping her mark at the forefront of her mind. She felt his eyes on her body as she swayed to the music. Hips gyrating to the heavy beat, she pulled on her glamour to blend in with the other dancers as she let her magic wrap his body. Losing herself in the music, she let him watch her move, feeling his desire amp. His energy vibrated as he made his way through the crowd, his power wild.

His hands draped her hips and he pulled her to him, his magic sliding over her body. Darkness tinged her aura, but she shrugged it off. Dealing with demon magic never got easier, but his wasn’t powerful. Grinning, she wrapped her hand around his neck, pulling him close until her lips brushed his ear. His burning skin jumped against her touch.

They stilled for a moment as the DJ switched tracks. “Think you could get me a drink?” she breathed, brushing a hand down his bare back. “I’m thirsty.” She grinned as he nodded, eager, the demon jumping beneath his skin.

“Anything for you, darlin’.” He wrapped a possessive arm around her waist, moving her toward the bar. “What’s your poison?”

“Whiskey. Straight.”

A grin played on his lips. “My kinda woman.”

Pushing past the other bartender, he grabbed a bottle of Jack and poured her shot. She caught it as it slid across the splintered wooden bar. Tossing it back, she reveled in the slow burn of the liquor. It was an old favorite. Just cause she was working didn’t mean she couldn’t treat herself.

She tossed back a second shot, thankful she didn’t have the ability to get drunk. Giving the demon her best longing look, she leaned forward. “Thanks. I needed that,” she murmured. “What’s your name?”

“Zed.”

Leaning forward, she traced a finger down her cleavage. “Do you think you could give me a ride home, Zed?” she asked. She bit one finger in a nervous gesture, knowing he was buying it. “My friend went home with some guy and left me here. I can wait.”

His eyes flashed, and she knew she had him.

“Sure.” He glanced at the other bartender. “Give me a second. I got off an hour ago.”

Sure you did, she thought.

A few seconds later he was back, pulling on a t-shirt as he walked. The gesture was surprisingly human. With the demon hiding inside, the brimstone dancing in his blood would keep his body uncomfortably hot, eventually burning him alive from the inside out. It may be the middle of winter, but he would never feel the cold.

He held up his keys as she rose to meet him. “My truck’s out back.”

She moved closer, letting him drape an arm over her shoulder. “Let me grab my coat.” The duster was where she had left it. She draped it over her arms as she turned on her psychic link with Xavier. The mage accepted, and Brenna turned to the demon, knowing Xavier was watching through her eyes. At this point, the mark’s lust was so inflamed he wouldn’t notice the slight change of color in her irises.

Wrapping her free arm around Zed’s waist, she led him through the mass of patrons to the exit. As they stepped into the wintry air, she noticed the bikers again. They stood beside their Harleys, watching her warily as she passed. She worried the tension might give her away, but Zed was oblivious.

She led him over the cobblestone to where Xavier waited. As they closed in on the shadows, she could feel Zed’s eagerness spike.

The darkness moved over them, hiding them from prying eyes. Xavier’s power sang in the night, a compass pointing her to the van. Leaving Zed to follow behind, she moved to the gray van and pressed her back against its side. Zed moved toward her, all pretense of humanity stripped away. The graceless stride betrayed his hunger as green scales peeled away his skin and his eyes turned to blood red slits.

Brenna waited until he was on her, scales chaffing the sensitive skin of her face, then she dropped her glamour. The demon jerked back as her magic wrapped around his body, but it was too late. In one swift movement, she pulled the blade strapped to her back free and ripped the already tattered t-shirt away from his chest. Shifting her body weight, she slammed him against the vehicle even as his body mass grew, the demon pushing its way to the surface. One hand held Zed steady, the other slipped beneath his jeans to feel the skin of his hip.

“A little to the left,” the demon growled, body shaking, titillated despite itself.

He shifted his weight and slammed her against the brick wall behind her. His body pressed hard against hers, he ran a scaly tongue across her cheek. “You don’t have to get hostile, darlin’. I don’t mind if you like it rough.”

She let her power surge and kneed him in the crotch. Sparks flew as her spell sent him flying against the van. Keeping him in place with a holding spell, her fingers found the rune carved on his hip. She ripped away the denim as she tried to control the squirming demon.

“A little help?” she called out. She had pulled back the spell. Her full body weight was pressed against the demon, but he was starting to get free. Her magic had to be focused on breaking the possession; she couldn’t waste it restraining Casanova.

She released the demon as Xavier stepped from the shadows and slammed it against the van again. Subdued, the creature glared at them, its red eyes filled with hatred. Another hard slam dazed the creature, but only for a moment.

A flick of her hand and the back of the van opened. Xavier shoved Zed inside. As soon as he was strapped into the harness, Brenna ripped off his jeans. His hips now bare, she was able to see the rune carving, fresh as she had hoped.

Her ceremonial blade pulsed in her hand as she charged it with her energy.

Zed spit at her. The saliva sizzled across the corset, burning a hole in the leather.

Damn. That had been one of her favorites.

“Stuff something in its mouth. I need to concentrate.”

“Deal with it. Even in the harness this thing is a bitch to restrain.” White lines creased Xavier’s eyes, and Brenna worried his injuries were more severe than he let on.

Zed’s fingers began to work the trappings of the harness, but Xavier pulled him back, one arm around his scaly neck. In an explosion of power, Zed pulled free, knocking Xavier into the side of the van. Saliva dripping from his fangs, Zed growled at Brenna, and snapped the other wrist free. Jumping across the van, he pinned Brenna beneath him. Spittle fell from his lips, scorching its way across her skin. She pressed her palm against his face and pushed with all her strength, ignoring her burning flesh. Then, suddenly, he was gone.

Getting to her feet, she saw Xavier had strapped the beast back into the restraints.

“You got it?” Once she started, she wouldn’t be able to help him anymore. All of her energy would go into the exorcism.

“Yeah. Hurry.”

A sharp giggle jarred Brenna’s attention. Looking up, she caught Hilda peering through the glass from the front seat. “If he passes out, I can help.”

“This isn’t a game.”

Zed slammed against his restraints. “I like ghosts. They burn like whiskey going down.”

“Shut up,” Xavier growled.

Tuning them out, Brenna let the words of the exorcism spell spill from her lips. Her hand pressed against the rune on the demon’s hip. The carving glowed and the green light grew until it filled the van.

Zed fought against the restraints. Obscenities, the kind only a demon would know or understand, ricocheted throughout the vehicle.

Xavier stuck a thick leather strap in the demon’s mouth, cutting off his tirade.

Brenna gathered her magic. It pooled through her and into the athame as she sliced the silver blade into the center of the rune. Blood seeped from the wound, spilling over the green light. It exploded with power, slamming Brenna against the van. Xavier fared better, still wrapped around the demon. He was surrounded by a musty green steam that reeked of brimstone.

Continuing the chant, Brenna pulled a pouch of blessed sand from the crevice between her breasts. Throwing a pinch onto the rune, she banished the demon back behind the Veil. Golden steam rose from the wound. It twined around Brenna thick and dense, but she continued to chant even as its foulness tried to seep inside her mouth.

Darkness teased the edges of her vision for a few moments, then the warmth of Xavier’s power wrapped around her body like a shield, pushing out the demonic essence. Time stood still as the final words filled the air. Then, in a flash, the beast was gone.

About the Author:

Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex. When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.

You can visit Angela at her blog www.angeladennisauthor.blogspot.com or at her website www.angeladennisauthor.com . She loves to hear from her readers, so find her on Twitter for a chat @angeladennis

https://twitter.com/AngelaDennis

https://www.facebook.com/angela.dennis.7798

http://www.pinterest.com/angeladennis779/

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26267274-angela-dennis

www.angeladennisauthor.blogspot.com

www.angeladennisauthor.com

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9. Spotlight and Giveaway-Nova and Quinton: No Regrets by Jessica Sorensen

 

NOVA AND QUINTON: NO REGRETS by Jessica Sorensen (April 15, 2014; Forever E-Book; $4.99)

Today is the first day of Quinton Carter’s new life. The toxic guilt of his past left him in pieces-but one girl unexpectedly put him back together. Thanks to Nova Reed, Quinton can finally see the world with clear eyes. She’s the reason his heart is still kicking behind the jagged scar on his chest. And he would love to have her in his arms every minute of the day . . . but he’s not ready yet.
Playing drums in a band and living with her best friends are just some of the highlights of Nova’s life. But the best new development? Talking to Quinton on the phone each night. She wishes she could touch him, kiss him, though she knows he needs time to heal. Yet shocking news is on the way-a reminder of life’s dark side-and Nova will need Quinton like he once needed her. Is he strong enough to take the final leap out of his broken past . . . and into Nova’s heart?

 

About Jessica Sorensen:

Jessica Sorensen is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives with her husband and three kids in Idaho. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

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Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

Excerpt

“I have to tell you something else, but it’s not good—it’s bad.” Before I can chicken out, I hurry and sputter, “Someone gave me a bag of meth today and I have it underneath my mattress.” As soon as I say it, I wonder why the hell I thought this was a good idea, throwing this on her. I need to stop relying on her so much—need to stand on my own two feet.

I’m about to hang up, because really it’s the only choice, but then she says, “Did you do any of it?”

“No.” My voice shakes as I grip the side of the mattress and battle to breathe evenly.

“Do you want to?” she asks calmly.

“Yes.” My voice is full of desperation.

“Are you… are you going to?” There’s a hint of worry in her tone.

“I’m not sure,” I admit. “I want to, but I also want to throw it away.”

“Then throw it away,” she says, as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do.

“I don’t think I can.” My hands quiver just at the thought of it and I rest my forehead on the mattress, still on my knees “It feels fucking impossible.”

“Yes, you can.” She sounds so certain and I have no idea how she’s doing it—managing to sound so calm when I know she can’t be. “Just take it and dump it down the toilet. You can do this. I know you can.”

“You have too much faith in me,” I say, slipping my fingers between the bed and the mattress, fighting the urge to hang up on her and turn to what’s only inches away from my fingertips.

“No, I have the right amount,” she replies. “Now let me know when you have it and you’re headed to the bathroom. And don’t hang up on me.” It’s like she can read my mind.

I sit there forever, going back and forth with what I want and need to do. At one point I grab the bag of crystal and put it back. Then pull it out again and open it, staring at the white crystals so close I can almost taste them. But I can also hear Nova breathing on the other end. Soft and full of concern. Acting calm, when I’m sure she’s freaking out. I want to throw them away just for her, but I have to wonder if it’s possible to care for someone so much that I’d give this up. Do I care for her that much?

After a lot of deliberating, I come to one simple answer.

Yes. I care about her that much.

I get to my feet and make my way to the bathroom, not speaking. Then I lift up the toilet seat and, shutting my eyes, I tip the bag over, pour the contents into the water, and flush them down.

“Did you do it?” Nova asks at the sound of the flushing.

I press my lips together, resting back against the bathroom wall, realizing how sweaty I am and how much I’m gasping for air. “I did.”

“See, I knew you could do it,” she says with relief in her voice. “I knew you’d do the right thing.”

The right thing? Is that what I just did? Sometimes it feels like it is, but there are other times when it feels like what I’m doing is so wrong and disrespectful to Lexi. But through the right and wrong, there’s always one thing that gives me hope and that’s Nova. She’s what keeps me going.

 

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Because music plays such an important part in the Nova series, and all of Jessica’s books, we’re offering a $25 iTunes gift card plus a collection of Jessica’s print titles with signed bookplates: THE SECRET OF ELLA AND MICHA, THE TEMPTATION OF LILA AND ETHAN, THE COINCIDENCE OF CALLIE AND KAYDEN, THE REDEMPTION OF CALLIE AND KAYDEN, and NOVA AND QUINTON: NO REGRETS.

The mini grand prize winner will receive a $25 iTunes gift card and a special print copy of NOVA AND QUINTON: NO REGRETS, and an additional 10 winners will receive a special print copy of NOVA AND QUINTON: NO REGRETS.

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10. Review: The Seduction Game by Emma Shortt

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was drawn to The Seduction Game because of the author.  I read Emma Shortt’s Waking Up Dead and loved it.  Zombies, running for your life, and falling in love – what a combo!  It usually always works for me.  Then I saw that she wrote a contemporary romance, and I thought – what the heck!  I will read it as I wait for the next book in her zombie series!

 

I enjoyed The Seduction Game mostly because protagonist Kate is a certified nerd.  She’s a sci-fi fan, dabbles in game design, and soups up computers for a living.  When the businesses surrounding her computer repair shop start selling out to a real estate developer, she thinks her life is ruined.  Certainly her business has been financially dinged by the dearth of activity around her place, so she blames Will Thornton for her current anxiety.  She refuses to sell, and is harassed by Will’s right hand man, sleazebag Chris.  He keeps threatening her, making her even more determined to never sell her building to them.

Will has just returned from the UK, and he’s concerned that there is one holdout in his newest development.  He can’t begin the project until Kate sells because her shop is smack dab in the middle of the project.  He’d been assured by Chris that she was willing to sell, only to change her mind because she wanted more money.  Will decides to approach Kate himself to see why she changed her mind.  One look at the pretty geek, however, and he’s smitten.  She’s cute and quirky and a lot of fun to be around.  Bowing under pressure to proceed with his project, though, he wonders if he can seduce her into selling.  Shame on you, Will!  Though he is bothered by a guilty conscious, the fact that he ever considered that in the first place didn’t win him any brownie points from me!

Kate is socially awkward, and she usually avoids social situations. She’d rather stay home and work on her clients’ computers, play video games, or have marathon sessions watching her favorite TV shows and movies.  Will makes her uncomfortable from the start, but with the insistent prodding of her best friend and employee, Meg, she allows him to explain his vision for the building project to her.  As she spends more time with him, she can’t help but feel even more attracted to him.  He’s handsome, nice, and fun to be around.  But is he really interested in her, or is interested in convincing her to sell her building to him?

Kate is a victim of low self-esteem, and she’s still mourning the death of her parents.  After losing the family home years ago, the only thing she has left of them is the building that currently houses her business, with the tiny living space above the shop.  The building is old, but she’s determined to hang onto it, fight for it tooth and nail.  It is her safe zone, the only place she feels comfortable being herself.  I understood her reluctance to sell and put her past behind her; moving on for her meant saving goodbye to her parents all over again.  However, Will made her an offer that she would have been a fool to turn down.  As she begins to buy into his vision for the project, and the jobs and affordable housing the mixed use project would bring, she begins to question her reasons for not selling.  Plus, there’s that undeniable attraction she has for him, and she wants to see if it would go anywhere without the building standing between them.

The side story with Chris, Will’s brother-in-law, was a little too predictable, and there were times when Kate seemed too immature for her age, but overall, The Seduction Game is fast and fun read.  Now if only it had zombies…

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

When millionaire bad boy, Will Thornton, tries to buy computer-geek Kate Kelly’s building out from under her, she refuses to sell. Will might be uber rich, and super successful but she won’t be bullied. Trouble is, she didn’t expect Will to look like one of her fantasy heroes, or to make her heart beat a little too fast. She’s prepared to wait him out, but it’ll take every ounce of her self-control to win this game.

With millions of dollars on the line, Will is positive he can make Kate sell. He’s played the game better than anybody and charming is his middle name. Problem is, the snarky, geeky, computer-wiz is nothing like he imagined—impossibly cute and a match for him in every way.

The game is on but can two such radically different people come out winners in the game of seduction?

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11. Interview with Bridget Blackwood, Author of Rising Shadows and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Bridget Blackwood] Quirky, loyal, straightforward, affable, jovial 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Rising Shadows?

[Bridget Blackwood] Non-humans trying to live alongside humans without being caught. Rising Shadows is a turning point for everyone because everything comes to light and there isn’t an option to hide anymore. Rachel is caught between two worlds, not belonging to either. She has a choice to make and her choice will tip the balance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Bridget Blackwood] Oooh, choosing a favorite is hard. I think the end when Rachel steps up to be her own hero is my favorite. She’s comes so far from the beginning and the scared confused woman she was in chapter one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Bridget Blackwood] Show don’t tell. It’s the difference between telling the reader a character is nervous and showing them through descriptions like “he shifted from one foot to the other.”  I feel like I use the same words and descriptions over and over. I’m self conscious that my show sucks. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Bridget Blackwood] My cellphone. It’s my lifeline to just about everything and everyone. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Bridget Blackwood] Two baby dragons from How to Train Your Dragon, a large sweet tea from the local deli, and pink monthly planner.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Bridget Blackwood] Elsa Pataky. I’d send the kiddos to the nanny and spend all day locked in the bedroom with Chris Hemsworth. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Bridget Blackwood] Sweet! I’d choose speed. I could get soooo much done. I’d clean the whole house spotless and write a book a day. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Bridget Blackwood] I took a step away from paranormals and read a few contemporaries. Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series, Aurora Rose Reynolds’ Until series, I read everything by Bella Jewel I could find, and Teased by Jamie Begley.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bridget Blackwood] Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bridget.blackwood.9

Facebook fan page – https://www.facebook.com/BridgetBlackwoodAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/author_bridget

Blog – http://bridgetblackwood.wordpress.com

Website – http://bridgetblackwoodauth.wix.com/book

  

Rising Shadows

World in Shadows

Book One

Bridget Blackwood

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Date of Publication: February 1, 2014

ISBN: 1494891751

ASIN: B00I6U2ARW

Number of pages: 107

Word Count: 32,404

Cover Artist: The Killion Group

Amazon Nook

ITunes Kobo

Book Description:

Rachel Ryan wakes up with no knowledge of where she is or how she got there. Thrown into a world she thought only existed in myths, she finds more questions than answers.

Shape shifters, faeries, and vampires hide in plain sight among humans. There’s a war quietly brewing in the shadows. Rachel stands between mankind and those creatures that live in the darkness.

Enhanced with power she doesn’t understand, she’ll tip the scales, but who is the real enemy?

About the Author:

Bridget Blackwood is a hopeless romantic and a fan of happily ever after. She grew up in East Texas where she met and married her high school sweetheart. Together they moved to Southern Illinois, it’s been home for over a decade now. Bridget began telling stories at an early age, she writes in self-defense because the characters in her head are loud and bossy. A social butterfly by nature, Bridget loves to talk and laugh. When she isn’t writing she enjoys watching horror movies, playing video games, and not cooking.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bridget.blackwood.9

Twitter https://twitter.com/author_bridget

Blog http://bridgetblackwood.wordpress.com/

Website http://bridgetblackwoodauth.wix.com/book

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/bridgetblackwoo/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7735464.Bridget_Blackwood

Booklikes http://bridgetblackwood9.booklikes.com/

Quotes from the Book:

Quote 1

“I whooped the personal guards of the Vampire big kahuna. Whoops. In my defense, it’s not like they wore nametags.” – Rachel Ryan

Quote 2

“Is your plan to make me stupid with your sweet hands so I’ll agree to anything? Because it’s working.” – Sebastien “Bastien” Bonvillian

Playlist:

1. My Medicine by The Pretty Reckless

2. Freak Like Me by Halestorm

3. Titanium by Madilyn Extreme by Valora

4. Not Strong Enough by Apocalyptica

5. Oceans by Evanescence

6. Echoes of an Empire by Picture Me Broken

7. Carnival of Rust by Poets of the Fall

8. Never Go Back by Evanescence

9. Secret Door by Evanescence

Excerpt

Gates is in the center of the club. I follow behind him curious to see what happens next. I should grab Livia and run. I look up at the loft. People are lined up against the railing watching the display below. My eyes are drawn to one man in particular. From my angle and with the low lighting, I can’t tell much about his features or height. His clothes and hair are dark, he rests one arm on the top rail and holds a pool cue in the other hand. His gaze is a penetrating green and I swear they glow, I have to make myself look away.

“Guns are not appreciated here, sir,” says a young woman behind the bar.

Liquid courage, come to mama! Moving around Gates, I walk over and take a seat in front of her. “Can I get a drink please?” I ask politely.

“What do you think you are doing?” Gates grinds out through clenched teeth. He is standing directly behind me.

“You folks had me locked up playing lab rat. I just want a few minutes of me time before the shit hits the fan.”

Gates doesn’t know what to say to that. Patrons watch me curiously. Let them. I am past the point of caring. The bartender grins at me. She has hair that’s a silvery lavender dancing around her shoulders. Her eyes are a mesmerizing shade of purple. She doesn’t seem real. I am spellbound. Not a shifter, what is she? I have to stop myself from reaching out and touching her.

“What would you like?” She asks me breaking the trance.

Back to reality, in a room full of doom. “What would you recommend for a woman’s last drink on earth?”

Tour giveaway details

2 personalized signed print copies of Rising Shadows

3 Rising Shadows chainmail charm key chains

US and Canada shipping only

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway-Unfixable by Tessa Bailey

 

 

Unfixable by Tessa Bailey

Tagline: He’s the last thing she wants…but the only thing she needs.

Blurb: Willa Peet isn’t interested in love. She’s been there, done that, and has the shattered heart to prove it. Ready to shake the breakup, she heads to Dublin, Ireland. But there’s a problem. A dark-haired, blue-eyed problem with a bad attitude that rivals her own. And he’s not doling out friendly Irish welcomes.

Shane Claymore just wants to race. The death of his father forced him off the Formula One circuit, but he’s only staying in Dublin long enough to sell the Claymore Inn and get things in order for his mother and younger sister. He never expected the sarcastic American girl staying at the inn to make him question everything.

But even as Willa and Shane’s fiery natures draw them together, their pasts threaten to rip them apart. Can Shane give up racing to be with the woman he loves, or will Willa’s quest to resurrect the tough-talking, no-shit-taking girl she used to be destroy any hope of a future together?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unfixable-Entangled-Embrace-Tessa-Bailey-ebook/dp/B00JD223TW/ref=sr_1_1/189-4286229-9624341?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397318095&sr=1-1&keywords=9781622665457

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21527270-unfixable

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unfixable-tessa-bailey/1119055618?ean=9781622665457&itm=1&usri=9781622665457

Entangled:  http://www.entangledpublishing.com/unfixable/

Entangled Embrace:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/EmbraceImprint

Twitter: @EPEmbrace  Steals and Deals

Author Bio: Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Website Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads Street Team

Giveaway: An Irish-themed/Unfixable themed swag pack and a Kindle Fire.

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13. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves-Cheese Cake Edition!

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

Had an eventful week!

The bad -

Bumble decided to eat some plastic.  I could not induce him to vomit at home, so it was off to the doggie ER.  AGAIN!  They were able to get him to toss up a towel full of plastic bits and pieces, so he’s was fine immediately after.  He’s just not too bright. Sad smile

Dean’s car broke down.  A caliper froze up, which caused other damage, which, of course, was expensive.  At least it was fixed in a day, and it broke down on our street.

The good -

Finally was able to eat at The Cheesecake Factory in Novi.  The waits are still hours long, months after their grand opening.  I went with some wonderful co-workers, and we made certain that we arrived 10 minutes before they opened – and there was still a line! We were seated relatively quickly, and everyone had a fab-o lunch!  The cheese cake was yummy, too! I got Kaluha, if you are wondering.  And, because the portions are so large, I was able to save half of everything so I could enjoy it all over again!

It was 72 degrees yesterday!  I finally have a state park pass, so Dean helped me scope out a place to walk with the dogs.  We went to Proud Lake, which is close to our house, and the take away I got is the park is HUGE!  We won’t get bored walking around there for a while!  As long as no crazy stalkers bother us (we had a incident at a local city park last year), we are set to have a lot of fun!

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

There are a TON of new arrivals.  Hoping things calm down so I can concentrate on reading them!

Earth Star

The Seat of Magic

What Did You Eat Yesterday?

Pack of Strays: A Fangborn Novel


The Girl Who Never Was

Bingo Bash (I wasted most of Thursday night playing this free game)

How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less

The Trouble With Harry

Lady Windermere’s Lover

It Takes a Scandal

Zipless

An Unwilling Husband

Huckleberry Summer

Forbidden

Red Rising (The Red Rising Trilogy) (1.99 at Amazon!)

Out of  Control

Marked by Hades

The Thing About Luck (This was 1.99)

Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up?

The Mark of the Tala

A Vampire’s Promise

Just a Kiss (0.99!)

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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14. Kennedy Ryan, Author of When You Are Mine on Autism Awareness Month and Giveaway

 

A Message From Kennedy Ryan

April is Autism Awareness month. That might not even register on some people’s radars, but my family has lived with Autism for the last 11 years, since my son was diagnosed. My book WHEN YOU ARE MINE releases June 17 and provides a unique opportunity for me to combine my passion for writing and Autism advocacy. I’m donating 25% of my royalties from this book to resourcing families living with Autism.

Learn more about Autism and the 1 in 68 children diagnosed from my charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

Celebrate all the gladiators out there – kids, adults, families, siblings – living with Autism by entering the Autism Awareness Giveaway! Great cause! Great prizes!

Thank you!

Kennedy Ryan

Twitter Facebook Website

Amazon B&N Goodreads

BLURB:

Forever is a heartbeat away . . .
Kerris Moreton knows how to make things work. Bounced from foster home to foster home as a kid, she adapted; when opportunity arose, she thrived. Now, about to open her own business and accept a marriage proposal, Kerris is ready to build the life she’s always wanted. The only thing missing? A passionate connection with her would-be fiancé, Cam. Kerris wants to believe that sparks are overrated-until Walsh Bennett lights her up like the Fourth of July.
. . . but what about love?
As one of the East Coast’s most eligible bachelors, Walsh enjoys financial independence, fulfilling work with his family’s nonprofit, and plenty of female attention. But lately he’s been distracted by the one woman he can’t have. Lovely to look at and even sweeter to know, Kerris is the soul mate Walsh never thought he would find. The problem is, his best friend found her first . . .

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15. Review and Giveaway: Prince’s Fire by Amy Raby

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I have had an eye on Amy Raby’s  Hearts and Thrones series since the first book, Assassin’s Gambit, came out last year.  When I had the opportunity to hop on the review tour for book 3, Prince’s Fire, I jumped.  I really enjoyed this book, and it wasn’t a hindrance that I dove into the series three books in.  I never felt lost, and all of the characters were introduced in ways that didn’t leave me wondering about their relationships with each other.  As soon as I get a chance, I am going to read Archer’s Sin, a novella featuring two of my favorite characters from Prince’s Fire. 

 

Prince Rayn is visiting Kjall to work out a trade agreement.  He is expected to fail miserably by his political enemies back home in Inya, so he’s surprised when he’s offered the hand of the imperial princess to strengthen the ties between the two kingdoms.  Inya is a smaller nation comprised of thousands of islands.  Weak militarily, Inya does have something that Emperor Lucien desperately wants; brimstone.  With the means to produce gun powder, Lucien believes that he will have the weapons to deter more wars for his kingdom.  He wants nothing more than to live in peace, leaving the warlike traditions of his father, Florian, far in the past. 

Rayn is mistrustful of the offer, and he doesn’t want to trade the brimstone to the Kjallians.  He’s still holding a grudge against Lucien’s father for murdering his aunt, and he refuses to listen to his advisor when he’s counseled to accept the princess as his bride.  She’s the daughter of a murderous lunatic, so surely her sanity, as well as Lucien’s, isn’t to be trusted.  This turns out to be an ironic position for Rayn to hold, because his own father is suffering for mental issues that are having an adverse effect on his own nation. 

Rayn’s refusal to see beyond Celeste’s father’s behavior irritated me to no end.  After meeting her, his impression of her was that she was shy and intelligent, but he would not forgive her for her father’s actions.  Since she was a young girl when Florian was terrorizing the world, it wasn’t like she could have intervened on behalf of the nations he was destroying.  It took Rayn better than half of the book to forgive Celeste for something that she had no control of, and I found that frustrating.

Celeste is a very intelligent woman.  She’s also suffering from a low self-esteem, thanks again to being the daughter of the emperor.  Kidnapped by one of Florian’s rivals, she was forced to marry him, and suffered from his abuse until Lucien rescued her.  Celeste wants to do nothing other than study her beloved mathematics, but when her brother suggests the union with Rayn, she’s intrigued by the handsome prince.  She’s hurt that he can’t forgive her for her lineage, but so be it.  If he refuses her, she’ll continue work on her math treatise and mend her wounded heart with the comforting nature of mathematics.

When an attempt is made on their lives, they are thrown together in a struggle for survival.  Thrown off a ship in the middle of the sea, they manage to make it to shore with the help of their magic.  Rayn is a fire mage, and he keeps them warm in the frigid water with his powers, while Celeste is a mind mage, who can compel creatures, like the shark that takes them to land, to help them.  I thought their magic complimented each other, and while I didn’t completely understand all of the nuances of the magic system, I found it interesting and I would like to know more about it.

As the attempts on Rayn’s life continue, the other thing about him that I found annoying surfaced.  In Inya, bodyguards are a sign of a weak king, and they aren’t employed, while in Kjall, they are part of imperial life.  This reinforces his poor impression of both Celeste and Lucien.   Rayn refuses to have bodyguards, even though it’s obvious that somebody wants him dead.  This, to me, was just another example of Rayn’s immaturity.  Dude!  The Land Council has made no secret that they are out to enrich themselves, at the expense of both your people and your family, so you need to get over yourself and do whatever is necessary to protect your kingdom! Argh!  Some people are just slow learners!

Well, it’s a good thing Celeste was around to give Rayn a helping hand.  She is obviously going to be the brains of the relationship!  After uncovering the plot to end Rayn’s life, Celeste decisively moves to save Rayn’s life, despite his rejection of her.  She steals her brother’s ship with the help of his wife, Vitala, and off they go in a desperate attempt to save the prince’s life, and his kingdom, too.  I guess if Rayn had been a little quicker on the uptake, the novel would have only been half the length, so I will try to overlook his stubbornness and inability to think outside of the box.

These minor quibbles aside (victim blaming is such a hot button for me), Prince’s Fire is an enjoyable, sexy read.  I’m looking forward to reading more stories set in Amy Raby’s Hearts and Thrones series.

Grade:  B

 

Prince’s Fire

Hearts and Thrones #3

By: Amy Raby

Releasing April 1st, 2014

Blurb

The imperial princess has been offered in marriage to the Prince of Inya as part of an alliance needed to ensure Kjall’s military prowess. And despite having been hurt in the past by men using her to gain power, Celeste finds herself falling for the passionate fire mage.

Prince Rayn has no intention of allying his country with the militaristic Kjallans. But his political enemies at home may be the greater threat. The princess’s beauty and intelligence catch him off guard, throwing an unexpected and dangerous hurdle in the way of his plans.

As a deadly political plot threatens Rayn’s life, the attraction between Celeste and Rayn ignites into a sizzling affair. But to save her people and herself, Celeste will have to discover if Rayn’s intentions are true or risk having her love burn her yet again….

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/now-booking-tasty-review-tour-for_6800.html

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Princes-Fire-Hearts-Thrones-ebook/dp/B00F9EZCMI

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/princes-fire-amy-raby/1116934331?ean=9780451417848

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/princes-fire/id709600981?mt=11

Author Info

Amy Raby is literally a product of the U.S. space program, since her parents met working for NASA on the Apollo missions. After earning her Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Amy settled in the Pacific Northwest with her family, where she’s always looking for life’s next adventure, whether it’s capsizing tiny sailboats in Lake Washington, training hunting dogs, or riding horses. Amy is a 2011 Golden Heart® finalist and a 2012 Daphne du Maurier winner.

Author Links

Website: http://amyraby.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Amy.Raby.Author

Twitter: @amyraby

Excerpt

Celeste followed her older brother, Emperor Lucien of Kjall, down the sun-drenched pier at the docks of Riat. Shielding her eyes, she gazed at the Inyan ship Magefire which rode at double anchor in the harbor. It looked like an interloper among the heavy Kjallan warships. Its masts were higher, its lines sleeker, its hull paler in color.

Sailors and dock workers moved aside to clear a path for them. The emperor was an infrequent visitor to the docks. He moved at a brisk walk, limping almost imperceptibly on his wooden leg, his eager eyes fixed on the barrels rowed in earlier this morning.

Beside Celeste gamboled a large black and white dog, who darted longing glances at the ocean waves that lapped at the sides of the pier. And on all sides were the Legaciatti, their bodyguards and security staff.

“You’re going to love this,” said Lucien. “A stone that burns.”

Celeste smiled; she knew his real reason for dragging her out here. Celeste wasn’t naturally sociable except with a few trusted people. She had a tendency to lock herself with her work in her rooms, where the hours slipped by faster than she intended. Her brother interrupted her now and then, when he thought she needed sunshine and conversation.

The dock guards before the barrels stood straight and stiff, awed by the presence of the emperor. Lucien studied the label of the first barrel and signaled the nearest guard to open it. Celeste ran forward to see its contents revealed.

Inside was a bright yellow powder. Celeste scooped up a handful and let it sift through her fingers. “This isn’t stone.”

“It’s brimstone.” Lucien dug into the substance and cupped a handful of it, staring reverently as if it were powdered gold. “It’s been pulverized into this powder. Do you know where the Inyans gather it? Along the edge of a volcano.”

“What poor sod gets stuck with that job?” She had no personal experience with volcanoes, since there were none in Kjall, but everyone knew a volcano had destroyed the nation of Dori.

“A well-paid sod, I hope. But Inya’s volcanoes are more manageable than Dori’s. The Inyans have a system for controlling them. Ask the prince about it when you meet him.”

Celeste was trying not to think about the prince. He’d come in the Magefire to negotiate a trade agreement with Kjall and had brought the barrels of brimstone as a demonstration of good faith. What the prince didn’t know was that Lucien wanted more than a trade agreement. He wanted an alliance, and to secure it, he meant to offer Celeste’s hand in marriage. Celeste had never met the Inyan prince, and in a matter of months, he could be her husband.

Scooping up a double handful of brimstone, she asked, “Does it really burn?”

“Absolutely. Come and see.” Carrying his own handful, Lucien gestured her to follow. The black and white dog wagged its tail beseechingly, and he addressed it. “Oh, just get in the water, Patricus. Everyone knows you want to.”

With a joyous bark, the dog leapt off the pier and splashed into the ocean.

As they walked the length of the pier, passing by the staring dock workers, Celeste cradled the powdery treasure in the folds of her syrtos to shelter it from the breeze. At the end of the pier, they descended a wooden staircase to a sandy beach.

Lucien found an open space with nothing flammable around and, with the foot of his wooden leg, dug a crude hollow in the sand. “In there.”

Celeste poured her brimstone into the hollow, and Lucien added his. Though the brimstone had a consistency similar to the sand, it was a brighter yellow.

Lucien took Celeste’s hand and backed away from the hole, drawing her with him.

A bit of movement caught her eye—a dark shape appearing and disappearing among the white froth of the breakers. “Don’t light the brimstone yet. Patricus is coming.”

“I see him,” said Lucien.

Patricus burst from the waves and loped up the beach.

“He’s sopping wet,” said Lucien. “Shake it off, Patricus!”

The dog kept coming. His feet sank into the soft sand, but he pumped his legs and scrambled on, sending the sand flying out behind him.

“Shake it off!” Lucien commanded.

Patricus galloped to Lucien and shook, spraying sand and seawater all over him.

“Pox this animal.” Scowling, Lucien brushed sand off his imperial syrtos and turned to the Legaciatti, who were covering their faces to hide their grins. “Where were you? Some security detail.”

“We don’t interfere with the imperial dog, Emperor,” said one of the Legaciatti.

Lucien muttered to Celeste, “I don’t get half the respect Florian did.”

“They love you. Everyone does.” This was not true, of course. Lucien had numerous enemies. But Celeste felt that if those people truly knew Lucien, they would love him as much as she did.

Lucien grabbed Patricus by the scruff and gestured to the fire mage in his security detail. “Light the brimstone, Jasper.”

The fire mage waved his hand, and the yellow powder ignited.

Celeste gasped. The flame was blue. “Three gods, that can’t be right. It’s unnatural. Like a Vagabond fire.”

“It stinks like the Vagabond’s breath.” Lucien waved away the smoke.

Celeste got her first whiff of the fumes and choked. He was right; the burning brimstone smelled like something rotten. She backed away and so did Lucien, dragging Patricus with him.

Lucien beamed like a delighted schoolboy. “Have you ever seen the like?”

Holding her nose, Celeste shook her head.

“Only the gods could devise something so strange and wonderful. No wonder it’s needed for making the most important substance in the world.”

“Chocolate?” said Celeste.

Lucien gave her a look. “Gunpowder, as you well know. Put the fire out, Jasper.” When the fire was out, he released Patricus, who fell into step at his side, wagging his tail. He offered his arm to Celeste, and they headed to the carriage, followed by the Legaciatti.

“Where are the Inyans?” asked Celeste.

“Up at the palace,” said Lucien. “They’ve had a long sail. They need to rest, freshen up. So do we, I think, after that brimstone.”

“I wish you had told the prince in advance that you were going to offer him my hand.”

“And spoil the surprise?” Lucien grinned. “Trust me, it’s better he should see what he’s getting. If you can’t sell this alliance, no one can.”

Celeste shook her head. Lucien thought the world of her, but he was her brother and obviously biased. She was not as pretty as he suggested. “When will you make the proposal?” Her stomach knotted at the thought of seeing her potential marriage partner for the first time at a formal event, with everyone’s eyes on her. She’d heard a few things about the prince: that he was twenty-two years old, a good match to her own age of nineteen, and handsome. Those were points in his favor, but they were surface traits and told her little about whether she would be happy with the man. Or whether he would be happy with her.

“I don’t care for official presentations,” said Lucien. “The last one I attended turned into a fiasco. Instead I’ve arranged a small dinner party. You and me and Prince Rayn, plus a few officials to balance things out and keep the conversation flowing. What do you think?”

She let her breath out. “That sounds less intimidating.”

They had arrived at the imperial family coach, an imposing blue-and-gold conveyance which comfortably seated six and was drawn by a quartet of matched grays.

Lucien took her hand and squeezed it as he lifted her into the carriage. “Courage, sister. It will all work out.”

Giveaway ($10.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or Paperback Copy of PRINCE’S FIRE to Two Winners)

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16. Interview with Julie Ann Long, Author of Between the Devil and Ian Eversea and Giveaway

 

Please give a warm welcome to Julie Ann Long this morning!  I am so excited to have her visiting the virtual offices that I stayed up all night cleaning the dashboard in anticipation of her visit. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning!! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Julie Ann Long] Curious. Intense. Eclectic. Amused. Observant.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Julie Ann Long] Inveterate rogue Ian Eversea finally meets his match in orphaned American Heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth. And irony of ironies, the one woman who finally has him thinking about forever is the one woman he can never have—she’s the Duke of Falconbridge’s ward, and he has the last say in who she marries. And if you’ve read WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE, you’ll understand why.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Julie Ann Long] Readers have been eager for Ian Eversea’s story since he first upended the Duke of Falconbridge’s world in WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE (and really inadvertently, and in a roundabout way, helped the duke find his true love). And I knew it was time to tell Ian’s story and resolve his rather, er, tense standoff with the Duke of Falconbridge.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Julie Ann Long] Writing the perfect heroine for Ian Eversea—Ian and Tansy’s dialogue, banter, and growing relationship was just a pleasure to write, and the scenes between the two of them crackled as I wrote them—it felt so natural. I also loved setting up the ultimate confrontation between Ian and the Duke of Falconbridge. They legendarily, er, crossed swords in WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE. I’m very happy with how it concludes! I hope readers will be, too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Julie Ann Long] You mean, the theme song they play when I stroll out onto the Tonight Show stage, that sort of thing? ;) Brick House, by the Commodores. Ha! Maybe “Glad Girls” by Guided by Voices? “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin? Too many choices!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Julie Ann Long] My house keys!! (not after that one time, anyway…)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Julie Ann Long] My cat. A cup of green tea. The number “11” in a tiny ornate frame.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Julie Ann Long] Hmmm…I think my cat. I wouldn’t have to cook—my meals would magically appear before me!—and I love back rubs and head scratches. And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to sleep in a nice pile of warm laundry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Julie Ann Long] The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson were both brilliant reads. I’m also going through a strange little phase where I’m reading a lot of Faith Baldwin romances written in the 30′s and 40′s. She was the first Nora Roberts, if you will, and she’s a delightful writer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Julie Ann Long] Reading! Naturally, right? I read a LOT. I love hiking/walking, great live music of all kinds, amazing food, museums, art shows, lectures, the ballet, just hanging out with good friends and laughing until it hurts.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Julie Ann Long] Readers can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieAnneLong, Twitter at @JulieAnneLong, and on my website, http://www.julieannelong.com. I look forward to hearing from everybody!

 

Between the Devil and Ian Eversea

Pennyroyal Green Series #9

By: Julie Ann Long

Releasing March 25th, 2014

Blurb

She might look like an angel…
The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she’s destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn’t be more infamous…or less interested.
…but it takes a devil to know one…
A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?
…and Heaven has never been hotter.
When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart…and be brought to his knees by love.

Link to Pennyroyal Green Series at Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/series/45155-pennyroyal-green

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DKZAVPG/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=avonromancehc-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/between-the-devil-and-ian-eversea-julie-anne-long/1115558939?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-mdxm68jzjz8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780062118134&isbn=9780062118134&r=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/between-devil-ian-eversea/id666055417?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_292.html

Author Info

The author of five popular novels from Warner and eight from Avon, Julie Anne Long lives in California with a fat orange cat (little known fact: they issue you a cat the moment you become a romance novelist).

Author Links

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20987.Julie_Anne_Long

Website: http://www.julieannelong.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieAnneLong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieAnneLong

Giveaway (A Print Copy of Pennyroyal Green Series Book #8, IT HAPPENED ONE MIDNIGHT)

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17. Cover Reveal–The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy
Release Date: 11/04/14
Entangled Teen
 
Summary coming soon!


About the Author
Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at http://amyengel.net/ or @aengelwrites.
 
Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png

Cover Reveal Organized by:
 

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18. Interview with Eliza Redgold, Author of Hide & Seek

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Eliza!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Eliza Redgold] Bookish, romantic, curious, (mis)adventurous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hide & Seek?

[Eliza Redgold] It’s about the birds and the bees…
Hope Buchanan runs Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary in steamy Broome, Western Australia. When American hotel developer Sullivan O’Dare arrives and threatens the birds’ natural habitat, she’ll fight him any way she can … but is her heart really in it? Or has it taken flight?

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Eliza Redgold] When a stranger appears unexpectedly in a bird hide at Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary in Broome Western Australia, and ruins the publicity ‘pin-up’ photo Hope Buchanan is taking of a bowerbird, she doesn’t exactly give him a warm welcome. To her horror, she discovers the good-looking man is her arch nemesis, Sullivan O’Dare, the head of O’Dare Property Developers, who has just flown in from New York.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Eliza Redgold] Not putting in all the information I discovered during my bird watching research! Birders, also known as ‘twitchers’ and ‘bird nerds’ can become a bit obsessed, and I did too.  Bowerbirds and hummingbirds became my favorites, but don’t get me started.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Eliza Redgold] Binoculars :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Eliza Redgold] I am in New York right now, and not at home in Australia, so I’ll just close my eyes: A painting of a bird with the word HOPE scrolled beneath it that I found while writing Hide and Seek (with my bird-watching heroine being called Hope it seemed like serendipity) a photo of my daughter, and a feather quill pen.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Eliza Redgold] As I am here in New York city not far from the Algonquin Hotel where she used to hang out, I’d have to say Dorothy Parker. Who wouldn’t want to be that witty?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Eliza Redgold] To be able to fly! (Of course!) I’d love a bird’s eye view of the world. We could all do with a higher perspective sometimes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Eliza Redgold] At the moment I’m reading some old romances by Sophie Cole, who wrote the first ever romance novel for Harlequin Mills and Boon just over a hundred years ago. I found a dusty old copy of one of her books, ‘Witchery’ in a vintage shop. I’m reading the rest as e-books on Kindle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Eliza Redgold] Webpage:
www.elizaredgold.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ElizaRedgoldAuthor

Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/elizaredgold/

Come and say hi!

Excerpt

Hope landed in Sullivan’s lap as if he was Santa Claus.

Water churned around them as he caught her in his arms. ‘It’s okay, I’ve got you.’

Helplessly Hope tried to find a grip with the soles of her feet. Her skin must have been as slippery as a fish as his hands glided over her hips and up to cinch her waist. For a moment she realised how neatly their bodies fit together, his lower body cupping hers from behind. Her toes slithering in the mud, she struggled to stand, but he kept hold, his fingers firm as they pressed into her bare flesh, before he plonked her back on her feet as easily as if she weighed no more than a small child asking for a pony.

Splashing to his feet he came around in front of her, his white teeth gleaming. A shout of laughter burst from between his lips, the same strong, confident laugh she’d heard when she first met him in the bird hide at Hot Tropics, arcing through the air as bold and raucous as a kookaburra.

The sound faded into the trees as their eyes met. The colour of his had turned from sea to sky, so clear and blue she wanted to soar into them.

She couldn’t say who took the first step beneath the waist high water. As they moved together his body pressed into hers, his hands wrenching her closer as their lips found each other. He tasted clean and water fresh, with another taste all his own that she hadn’t known she hungered for, until now. She opened her mouth; her hands sliding up his wet, muscled back and into the damp tendrils of hair at the base of his neck. In return his hands moved, his fingers tangling in her hair, and up to cradle her face, drinking her in like nectar from a flower.

Nothing mattered but that kiss just then, and what he told her with his lips.

He wanted her.

She wanted him too, she told him with her searching tongue, with something deeper than desire, more real, more powerful.

But this was Sullivan O’Dare.

Jagged breaths heaved through Hope’s body as she wrenched herself away. She couldn’t speak; she could only stare, as her hand went flying to her heart.

‘Hey — why are we stopping?’

His teeth flashed again, and his tone stayed light, but his eyes held a more serious emotion.

He’d felt it too.

‘I don’t think this is a good idea,’ Hope gasped.

His breathing sounded unsteady too. ‘No? It didn’t taste like such a bad idea to me. It tasted good. Very, very good.’

Hope hadn’t known she could flush when soaking wet. She discovered she could.

Drops of water went flying as she shook her head. ‘I don’t think we should…fraternise.’

Once more his laugh soared skyward. ‘Fraternise? Is that what we were doing?’

Around his muscled thighs water frothed up as he came closer. She backed away, keeping her arm diagonally across her chest, fending him off.

‘We should keep this trip professional.’ Sullivan O’Dare. O’Dare Luxury Developments. Silently she repeated the words to herself, as if they could halt her beating heart.

He raised an eyebrow. ‘Should we?’

‘Yes. No. I mean, it’s a business trip for both of us really, isn’t it? We don’t want to complicate things…’ Hot Tropics. She instructed herself. Think of Hot Tropics.

Laughter tilted his chin. ‘No indeed.’

Yet again his blue eyes searched hers without the laughter, sending her a signal that spelled more than desire.

Before he could mesmerise her again Hope turned and fled. Splashing through the water she clambered up the slippery stones and out of the hot springs.

Grabbing her towel and backpack she ran through the forest as fast as she could, away from Sullivan O’Dare.

About the book:

He thought he knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees, but he’s about to get schooled.

A little birdie tells Hope Buchanan that American hotel developer Sullivan O’Dare isn’t just in town for a holiday. As the manager of Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary, Hope has more than a vested interest in protecting natural habitats.

Hope pulls out all the stops to convince Sullivan to come out with her to the WA bush, with its beautiful trees and unique wildlife. Surely the stunning scenery and a dose of ‘Broome time’ will show him what is at stake.  But what is initially about saving the Sanctuary soon becomes about finding a connection. Could it be that Hope has finally found the bird of a feather to form her own flock?

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19. Spotlight and Giveaway–A Promise of More by Bronwen Evans

A PROMISE OF MORE: The Disgraced Lords Series

A Loveswept Historical Romance

Written by Bronwen Evans

April 15, 2014

Blurb

In the second novel in Bronwen Evans’s sexy new Disgraced Lords series, two very independent souls find themselves fighting to resist a deepening passion.

When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.

The little drowned mermaid has an interesting proposition indeed; one that Sebastian is surprised to find quite agreeable. Although he’s had women more beautiful, she is pleasing to the eye, and besides, it’s time he fathered an heir. Beatrice promises to be the ideal wife; a woman who hates him with an all-consuming passion is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan for a marriage of convenience unravels, and he’s caught up in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-More-Disgraced-Loveswept-Historical-ebook/dp/B00GQAEUCM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-promise-of-more-bronwen-evans/1117444883?ean=9780345547293

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Promise-More-Disgraced-Lords-Series/Evans-Bronwen/Q310297277?id=5944268683128

Author Info

Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Connect with Bronwen Evans: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/02/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for.html

Giveaway (Grand Prize – $25 egiftcard and a copy of A KISS OF LIES ebook retailer of choice and 3 First Prize bundles – A KISS OF LIES and A PROMISE OF MORE from your ebook retailer of choice)

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20. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga V 1 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I have been interested in Vinland Saga since the license was announced for US publication.  When it came out, however, I balked at the sticker price.  $19.99 per volume!  Instead, I requested the first two books from the library, and once I received them, I understood the price point.  These are hardcovers, and they are 2 in 1 omnibus releases, clocking in at over 450 pages.  After sitting down with the first volume, I find the price completely reasonable; the end product is beautiful, the pages are nice, thick paper, and the binding is rock solid.  The translation rocks, too!  All in all, Vinland Saga Book One is worth every penny!

This series will appeal to fans of Berserk, A Bride’s Story, and Claymore.  The art is lush and breathtaking, with a realistic style.  The actions panels are incredibly rendered, and all of the action, bloodshed, and flying  body parts are easy to follow.  Every single illustration is highly detailed from the ships to the weapons, and if you like knowing exactly what the characters are feeling, you’re in good hands here.  Every nuanced emotion is clearly conveyed, from Thorfinn’s fierce determination to Thors’ reluctant reservation to put his people at risk in battle.

On the surface, Vinland Saga is an action tale about Vikings.  It’s also the story of a man’s love for his family, and the ruin it brings him, and the rage burning in a young boy’s heart.  After his father is murdered, Thorfinn vows vengeance for his death, and his every action from that moment is to make himself stronger so he can claim his revenge.  This is A Game of Thrones set on the cold seas, in little boats that are skillfully navigated from one battle to the next.  The politics are brutal, the sakes are high, and dying a warrior’s death, on the field of battle, bathed in the blood of your enemies, is the name of the game. 

Book one sets the groundwork for Thorfinn’s quest for revenge.  He’s six when he witnesses the treachery of men without honor, and it changes him forever.  Raised by a kind and just man, he learns that his father was a Jomsviking deserter.   Thorfinn enjoyed a carefree childhood, but after he learns the truth about his father, he wants nothing more than to be a fierce warrior, too.  Little does he know that he will get his wish, only with consequences far greater than he could have ever anticipated.  When we first meet him, he is surly and belligerent.  He is also a killing machine, who fearlessly leaps (literally) into battle with his twin blades flying.  He must earn his duels with Askeladd, the man responsible for his father’s death, by completing missions during the Viking clan’s frays.

I loved this book, and I’m excited to discover new manga series because of it.  I haven’t been reading many graphic novels lately because I am burned out on the episodic publishing schedule (especially when I am invested in a series and it gets CANCELED!), but this series is presented in a nicely sized chunk so that didn’t bother me so much.  Now I want to start catching up on some the series that I have allowed myself to fall behind in, and I can hardly wait to read more Vinland Saga!

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

The Viking invasion of London has reached a fever pitch, and Askeladd and Thorfinn rush to take part in the carnage! Their goal is the capture of Cnut, the son of King Sweyn Forkbeard and heir to the throne of Scandanavia and the Danelaw. But standing in their way is Thorkell, one of the Viking world’s most daring warriors. The defeat of a living legend will be a formidable test of Askeladd’s cunning and Thorfinn’s ruthlessness, and of their ability to set aside personal grudges and fell a common enemy!

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21. Guest Post by Scarlet Wilson, Author of Hollywood Temptation and Giveaway

Scarlet Wilson dropped by this morning to share the Top 5 requirements when hiring a receptionist. Colt Travers obviously disregarded each and every one of them!

 

Top 5 requirements when hiring a receptionist from Colt Travers

What they should be:

  1. Cute enough appearance for a plastic surgery clinic

  2. Pleasant telephone manner

  3. The ability to schmooze any demanding D list celebrity

  4. The ability to seek crazy items out of thin air for same D list celebrity

  5. Clerical and admin skills – if at all possible.

What he actually employed:

  1. Secretary with no underwear

  2. Secretary with no credible past experience

  3. A drop-dead gorgeous girl with a smart mouth

  4. A+ skills in flirting with boss

  5. The ability to set him alight with one smouldering glance.

Hollywood Temptation

Scarlet Wilson

About the book: Hollywood surgeon Colt Travers needs a new receptionist ASAP. When the adorable—and completely broke—Selena Harris comes in needing stitches, he takes a risk and hires her on the spot. She can pay off her bill, and he won’t have to answer the phone anymore. They’re opposites in every way, and she’s exactly what he doesn’t want in a woman—impulsive, carefree, and amusing. He’s trying to resist her, but the longer she’s around, the further he sinks into temptation.

Selena never meant to get herself in such deep financial straits. LA has way too much temptation, from high-end shopping to gorgeous men, and now her life is in chaos. But Colt is different—responsible and noble—and although their chemistry is off the charts, he’s keeping her at arm’s length. She’s determined to win his trust–and his heart–but will the secrets she’s desperately trying to hide ruin their chance for a big Hollywood happy ending?

Hollywood Temptation Links:

B&N Kobo Entangled Website Goodreads

Author Bio: Scarlet Wilson wrote her first story aged 8 and has never stopped. Her family have fond memories of ‘Shirley and the Magic Purse’ with its army of mice, with names all beginning with the letter ‘m’. An avid reader Scarlet started with every Enid Blyton book, moved on to Sweet Valley, and many years later found romance novels.

Her fiancé has never read one of her books but believes all the heroes are based on him. And because he’s never read any of her books Scarlet is quite happy for him to keep thinking that!

Scarlet writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical and Romance lines and Entangled Publishing. Scarlet lives on the West Coast of Scotland with her fiancé and their two sons.

She can be reached via her website www.scarlet-wilson.com

Website Facebook Twitter Blog

Indulgence’s Links:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/IndulgenceBooks

Twitter: @IndulgenceBooks

Excerpt:

She rustled some papers in front of her. “I left a few letters on your desk that need your signature.”

Her eyes kept flickering back and forth to him and she was biting her lip. It was obvious she wanted to say something else.

“What?” He folded his arms across his chest. “What is it?”

She tilted her head. “I noticed a few things in your office…”

“Such as?”

She spun her chair around so she was facing him, her arm brushing against his knee. There was a mischievous glint in her eye as she counted things off on her fingers. “Such as the Captain Picard figure next to your computer. The signed picture of Leonard Nimoy. The framed Firefly script on the wall, next to the Star Wars cast photo.” She leaned forward, “But what I really want to know is, is that a genuine Star Trek communicator you’ve got in the glass case?”

Unexpected. Totally left field. A fellow sci-fi freak. Fantastic.

This woman just got better and better.

He laughed. “You’re every guy’s dream date, aren’t you?”

She started playing with the top button on her shirt, deliberately twiddling it between her finger and thumb, almost as if she were about to undo it… “Well, is it?”

He leaned forward. “You mean you didn’t try and pry the glass apart to see?”

“Of course I did. Any self-respecting Trekkie would.” She held up a finger to reveal a slightly bent nail. “Unfortunately I didn’t have my sonic screwdriver with me.”

He wiped his brow in mock relief. “Thank goodness. You have no idea what I had to do to get that.” He lifted his eyebrows, “Or who I had to operate on.”

Her eyes widened, the excitement clearly visible. “Spill,” she demanded.

He shook his head. “Oh no. My lips are sealed. I could tell you, but then I’d need to kill you with my genuine from-the-set light saber.”

She let out a shriek and jumped up from her seat. “You haven’t?”

“I have.”

“Luke’s or Darth Vader’s?”

He winked. “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. Hollywood secrets.”

There was something so nice about this. Someone else who appreciated his love of all things sci-fi. And this wasn’t some ploy to try and endear herself to him. No woman could possibly know all these things without being a true fellow fan. Finally someone he could talk to about who was the best Star Trek captain, and which was the best Star Wars film.

The last woman he’d dated had given an obvious shiver of distaste when she’d seen his collection – the kind that made him feel like a high school geek. Not the most romantic turn-on in the world.

Selena collapsed into the chair next to him and threw her hands in the air. “If you’re not going to share, I’ll let you know right now I’ll find a way of making you talk.”

He laughed. “Told you, my lips are sealed.”

She shook her head. “I should be finishing up. I’m getting tired and want to get home and to bed.” She shot him a sideways glance. “Home to watch my favorite episode of Star Trek with the Borg.”

He tried not to grin. He couldn’t resist, no matter how hard he tried. “Do you always go to bed early, Selena? You don’t strike me as the type.” The smell of her perfume was drifting into his nostrils. It was sultry. Something sensuous and spicy. Their gaze met. That green again. Even in this dim light it was impressive. Kind of like the eyes you would expect on a temptress or a siren, wooing men in just by looking at them. He couldn’t stop smiling around her.

Nor could he stop the range of X-rated thoughts he was having about her.

Helen would kill me. Twice, without a second thought.

Then there was the fact she was paying off a bill and the fact she’d told him she’d just been dumped by her boyfriend. The last thing he wanted was a rebound fling.

But he wasn’t listening. Not at all.

There was a glint of fire in her eyes and a devilish grin on her face. She was an experienced woman. She definitely knew the art of flirtation. “What do I strike you as?”

He felt an instant response in his body—one that was entirely inappropriate for their surroundings. Since when did she sound so husky? Boy, she was good.

Giveaway: $25 Amazon giveaway

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22. Interview with Joan Kilby, Author of Mad About You and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Joan!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Joan Kilby] That’s hard! Curious, dreamy, disciplined, kooky, kind

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Mad About You?

[Joan Kilby]  Mad About You is a best friends-to-lovers story, one of my favorite romance tropes, combined with a fake engagement which always makes for a lot of fun. It’s sexy and sweet, with touches of humor and deep emotion, starring Scott, a hot geek hero – not an oxymoron in this case – and Cassy, the girl-next-door who’s loved him since they were seven years old.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Joan Kilby] My favorite scene is actually a series of scenes where the Scott and Cassy are given the Bridal Suite during what’s supposed to be a business weekend. Cassy works up the courage to make the leap from friends to lovers and comes out in a sexy negligee to try to seduce Scott. She ends up mortified as Scott works overtime to keep their relationship on a platonic basis. Later, they have to share a bed and now it’s Scott who can no longer deny his true feelings. Finally getting these two to make love was extremely…satisfying. :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Joan Kilby] Not letting Scott’s geeky techie employees take over the story. They were so much fun to write I wanted to spend more time with them. Maybe someday they’ll have their own stories. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Joan Kilby] My shoes. I work from home so I live in yoga pants and slippers. Once I was totally caught up in my story but I absolutely had to go to the grocery store before we all starved to death. I was on the highway before I realized I was wearing my computer glasses — good for about ten feet. Hey, no problem, I know the way so well I could drive there blindfolded. But as I got out of the car, I saw I was still in my fuzzy lambswool slippers. Ever since that day, I always check my feet before I get in the car. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Joan Kilby] Four dead AA batteries from my mouse. Like Cassy in Mad About You I have a computer Solitaire addiction. You run through batteries in no time with all that clicking. But you know, my subconscious is working on the story while I’m playing.

A pack of sugar-free mints. I’m doing the 5:2 diet where you fast two days a week. The occasional mint keeps me from gnawing my own arm off on fast days.

A shower timer for when my allotted Solitaire games are up. I set the timer and write for an uninterrupted 30 minutes. Then another 30 minutes, then another…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Joan Kilby] Great question! I would love to be able to fly. Some of my best dreams are about flying. I wouldn’t do anything particular, just cruise around the neighborhood, peer into people’s backyards, fly along the coast and look at the dolphins, over the treetops and check out the birds, visit friends without having to get in the car. I could even wear my slippers while I’m flying. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Joan Kilby]  Lately I’ve been reading Courtney Milan’s The Brothers Sinister series. Before that I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Wanton Heat by Nicola Marsh and Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Joan Kilby] I love to hear from readers! Visit my website  Find me on Facebook and Twitter

Thanks for having me on your blog!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Mad About You by Joan Kilby

Release date: 3/31/14

Imprint: Indulgence

About Mad About You:

Accountant Cassy Morris knows she’s putting her heart on the line when she agrees to move in with her best friend, multi-millionaire geek Scott Thornton while she manages his nanotechnology lab and finds an angel investor for his revolutionary new product. She’s loved him forever even though he’s only ever regarded her as a friend. But Cassy never could refuse Scott anything…

When Scott is named Seattle’s sexiest man, the attention from women threatens to get in the way of him finishing his pet project and putting it on the market. Cassy steps up once again and pretends to be his fiancé. A lifetime of repressed sexual tension explodes in a passionate affair. Soon Scott is wondering how he can convince Cassy to turn their fake engagement into reality…

About Joan:

When I’m not working on a book I can often be found sipping a  latte at my local cafe and indulging my favorite past-time of people watching. 

Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, I always wanted to be a writer. In university I took a detour to study marine biology. I worked as an environmental biologist for many years until the birth of my first child. 

I loved staying at home with my kids because not only could I  raise them myself but I could indulge my first love — writing. I soon realized story-telling was what I was always meant to do.  

Twenty years later I’m still hooked on writing. I’ve published over twenty-five books with Harlequin. I’m now writing for Entangled Publishing and have a couple of self-publishing projects on the go. 

I live in Melbourne, Australia, with my husband and three grown children. As well as writing and hanging out in cafes (Melbourne has the best coffee!) I go to the gym, walk my dog, cook, hike, garden, swim and read. I belong to Toastmasters Club and numerous writing organizations. 

Joan’s links:

Website: http://www.joankilby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joan.kilby.5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoanKilby

Enter the giveaway here – http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2014/03/06/pump-up-your-book-presents-mad-about-you-virtual-book-publicity-tour/

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23. Review: Turned by Virna DePaul

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I picked up Turned because I was in the mood for something a little different, and because it’s the first book in a new series.  I don’t intentionally read a lot of vampire books because I prefer a good zombie apocalypse to torment my protagonists, or werewolves, because they just kick butt.  All of that Mine, Mine, Mine, the snappy teeth, and the pack dynamics just work for me.  But I decided to venture into the dark world of vampires, which, in the case of Turned, includes gangs, cults, and rogue vampires.  Oh, and lots of sexy times.  Fun!

Ana is a former gang member.  She has recreated her life, leaving behind the gang and opening a coffee shop in Seattle.  She served a two year prison sentence, and she’s still haunted by the events that caused her incarceration.  On the day she was going to leave the gang and take her younger sister as far away from the crime-seeped life they were living, a rival gang interrupted her jump out ceremony, guns blazing.  When the smoke cleared, Ana was arrested, and her sister disappeared without a word.  Having searched fruitlessly for her for years, she’s approached by a dark, dangerous man who promises that he’ll hook her up with Gloria if she agrees to work for Belladonna, a covert branch of the FBI.

What Ty doesn’t tell her is that he’s a vampire, and that he needs Ana’s help to crack a crime ring that is selling Hispanic immigrants as blood slaves to other vampires.  Ty was turned against his will six months ago, and now he wants the Rogues responsible to pay.  They turned him, turned his friend, and killed his sister.  Struggling to keep his lust for blood and sex under control, he considers himself a monster.  He failed his sister and his friends, all because he thought he was a badass.  He had no clue that there were real monsters lurking in the dark, and now that he’s one of them, he’s searching for a way to return to what he was – human. 

Both Ty and Ana are damaged.  Ty because he was turned against his will, and Ana by a lifetime of being spit on by the people she loved.  She’s only ever been able to count on one person, and she will do anything to ensure that Gloria is safe and happy.  Ty and Ana are both are suffering from tunnel vision as they seek to achieve their goals.  Ana finds it so hard to trust anyone,  or count on anyone, so she is used to doing things for herself, so she doesn’t give Ty much of a chance to prove himself to her. Ty thinks he’s a monster, not fit to be loved, so he denies his feelings for Ana, thinking that he’ll soon be tired of her.  Ha! Foolish vampire!  Once Ana gets under his skin, there is no getting rid of her!

I felt that the pacing faltered near the end.  Ana and Ty find themselves in grave danger, they receive assistance from a surprise source, and then BOOM!  Book two is set up as the attention is shifted from Belladonna busting the masterminds behind the blood slave ring, to busting up a sex ring.  Events at the compound happened so quickly, and the villains were dispatched with equal speed, leaving me feeling a bit let down.

Turned is a gritty vampire yarn, packed with action, blood, and seduction.  It kept me reading late into the night.  I enjoyed the introduction to Virna DePaul’s dark and sensual world, and I’m curious to read more.  I’d really like to learn more about the full-blood vampires lurking in the background, hiding among the humans while manipulating them at the same time.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.

Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.

Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.

When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.

Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

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24. Interview with Rebecca Zanetti, Author of Rising Assets and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Rebecca! 

[Rebecca Zanetti] Thank you so much to the Manga Maniac Café crew for having me over to celebrate the release of RISING ASSETS!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rebecca Zanetti] Crazy, fun, loyal, analytical author

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Rising Assets?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Absolutely! RISING ASSETS is a best friends to lovers story set in a small Montana town where everybody not only knows everyone else’s business but feels just fine getting involved in private matters. In fact, there are no private matters. So, when Colton Freeze starts to fall for his best friend, Melanie Jacoby, the town creates a bet on when they’ll actually get together. This is the third book in the series. In the first two books, Colton’s older brothers find their own sexy happily ever afters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Rebecca Zanetti] My favorite scenes are often the first kiss of the couple, and here it is:

His mouth was on hers before she finished saying his name. Heat and power slammed from the kiss, and her mind swam.

Fire lashed through her so quickly her knees weakened. Her nipples scraped his chest, and lava consumed her. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she fell into the storm created by a man much more dangerous than she’d known.

She kissed him back, her body alive, her mind shutting down.

There was nothing but the whirlwind of impossible need cascading around them, through her, into her, beyond her.

The kiss was hard, angry, and more passionate than she could’ve dreamed.

Many times, they’d come close to kissing, but one of them had always backed away. With a grin, or a joke, they’d escaped ever taking the chance. The one thing Melanie knew for sure was if Colton ever kissed her, if he ever showed her that side of him, there’d be no turning back. Ever.

As he released her mouth to pin her with a dark gaze, there was no question he knew it, too.

Determination filtered through his eyes, and his jaw firmed. Something new and intriguing fluttered alive in her abdomen. Satisfaction lifted his lips as her eyes widened.

Holy crap. Colton Freeze didn’t want to turn back.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Rebecca Zanetti] This is such a great question! Let’s see…I guess it was the conflict between the couple. I mean, I knew they should be together, the reader will know…so why aren’t they together? I’ve always been a jump first and think later type of gal, and these characters had to be different than me, because they needed to think before leaping. I guess that was a little tough to write because I would’ve jumped. But with their backgrounds, they stayed true to their personalities. Although if you ask me, love always wins.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Hmmm. I try to never leave home without a bottle of water. For some reason, when I’m in the car, I manage to get those sixty ounces in that we should drink every day. Yep. Water.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rebecca Zanetti] My Maverick Montana large coffee cup that is now empty of tea

A cup full of Paper Mate colorful pens – I love these!

A print copy of Gina Maxwell’s Rules of Engagement that she was kind enough to send to me yesterday

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Kate Middleton. ? I would love to be that poised for an entire day, and I’d truly enjoy being able to play with the palace’s jewels and wear a real tiara.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Rebecca Zanetti] Oh man, this is a fun question! I’d want the power to heal with my touch, and I’d go around and heal everybody I know of any ailments or illnesses they may have right now. And since it’s my power for a week, the healing would take effect, and those people would be healed forever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rebecca Zanetti] I just finished Robin Covington’s Sex and the Single Vamp, and it was awesome. Before that, I read Jill Shalvis’ Rumor Has It, and I loved it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Rebecca Zanetti] I love when readers contact me. Here are a couple of links:

Website: http://www.rebeccazanetti.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaZanetti.Author.FanPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaZanetti

Thank you again for inviting me over to have some fun!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Rising Assets by: Rebecca Zanetti

Synopsis: Friends with benefits was never the plan…

Melanie Jacobs is in trouble. With three jobs—including running her ranch—and dwindling funds, she’s exhausted. Not to mention desperately trying to hide a secret. Unfortunately, her best friend Colton Freeze knows all too well that’s something is going on, and he won’t give up until he knows exactly what he needs to fix.

Then Colton learns the truth—that Melanie’s future happiness rests in the fickle hands of fate, and her chances for having a family are shrinking with every passing day. Her only comfort is Colton, but when a heated argument between them turns into an even hotter kiss, the boundaries of their friendship are erased, leaving only a scorching-hot hunger for more.

Every kiss—every touch—is a stolen pleasure. But will their new friends-with-sexy-benefits arrangement bring them closer together, or destroy everything they once shared?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18211781-rising-assets

Author Bio: USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day–or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

Tagline: Friends with benefits was never the plan

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Giveaway Info: $25 Amazon GC

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25. Spotlight–Forbidden by Lori Adams

Forbidden: The Soulkeepers, #1 By Lori Adams

Publisher: Random House- Flirt

Genre: New Adult Romance

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

ASIN: B00DXKHIJU

ISBN: 978-0-345-54925-9

Lori Adams gives New Adult a haunting paranormal twist with the first novel of The Soulkeepers, a series that blends ancient legends and new myths with an enchanting mix of thrills, humor, and high drama.

When Sophia St. James learns that she’ll be moving from Los Angeles to a podunk town somewhere in Connecticut for her senior year of high school, she isn’t expecting an otherworldly encounter. But there is more to Haven Hurst than meets the eye: it’s home to a family of Guardian Angels, and she is the only one who can see them in spirit form. Sophia soon realizes she wants to see much more of Michael, an irresistible yet volatile Guardian who seems drawn to her too.

As Michael battles his forbidden desire for the beautiful young newcomer, one of Hell’s most notorious Demon Knights arrives. Handsome and charismatic, Dante has come to claim the reincarnated soul of his lost lover trapped in Sophia. Cursed with the demon of Persuasion living inside him, Dante will use his seductive charms to lure Sophia into a dangerous game that ends with the kiss of death—unless Michael, who has captured Sophia’s heart, can now capture her soul.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Soulkeepers-Lori-Adams-ebook/dp/B00DXKHIJU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396640118&sr=1-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forbidden-lori-adams/1116123880?ean=9780345549259

Awaken: The Soulkeepers, #2

By Lori Adams

Publisher: Random House- Flirt

Genre: New Adult Romance

Publication Date: July 15, 2014

ASIN: B00HXYM7HK

The thrills continue in Lori Adams’s addictive series of paranormal romance—the Soulkeepers—featuring the hottest love triangle in this life . . . or the next.
Sophia St. James has every reason to be happy: she survived the kiss of death from the seductive Demon Knight Dante and is free to be with Michael, her sexy Guardian Angel. She eagerly begins her Awakening to become a Spirit Walker and help lost souls cross over. But her training is fraught with setbacks, and Michael begs her to stop. The life of a Spirit Walker is far too dangerous, and he won’t be able to protect her.
Then Dante returns, threatening to drag Sophia to Hell so they can finally be together. Terrified of losing everything she has worked for, Sophia turns the tables on Dante, luring him into a deception that may get them both killed. The stakes climb even higher when Dante’s ally, Wolfgang, emerges from Hell with one order: kill Sophia. Will Michael once again be Sophia’s saving grace or will the Awakening give her the power she needs to save herself?

Available July 15 – Preorder Now:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Awaken-Soulkeepers-Lori-Adams-ebook/dp/B00HXYM7HK/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396640118&sr=1-3

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/awaken-lori-adams/1118138476?ean=9780804178860

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lori Adams is the author of the Soulkeepers series: Forbidden, Awaken, and the upcoming Unforgiven. She wrote her first book—about scary sharks—at the age of eight. Now she writes New Adult, young adult, and middle-grade fiction. Originally from Oklahoma, Adams lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters.

Website: http://loriadamsbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soulkeepers/441458329234210

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriAdams33

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1469861.Lori_Adams

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