Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review and Blog Tour: The Mermaid's Pendant by LeAnn Neal Reilly


I'm a big fan of retold stories so I just knew that I would enjoy this one. LeAnn Neal Reilly spins an adult and serious tale of a mermaid in love with a man. I enjoyed her writing style and pace.
There is not a whole lot I can really say except that I enjoyed it immensely. The plot and characters were well written and the internal struggles of the story kept it moving along.
If you're a fan of retellings then I would say to check this one out. It may be one that you enjoy!
About The Book:

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.

Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.

Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an expat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.

THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.

About The Author:

LeAnn Neal Reilly grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, near the Missouri River, in that fertile land where corn, children, and daydreams take root and thrive. She spent countless hours reading and typing chapters on an old Smith-Corona in her closet, which luckily for her didn’t have doors. Then she put away her daydreams and her stories and headed off, first to graduate magna cum laude from Missouri Western State University, and later to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a master’s degree in professional writing. Along the way, she majored briefly in chemistry, served as opinion editor and then editor of her college newspaper, and interned for the international design firm Fitch RichardsonSmith in Columbus, Ohio. The highlight of her internship came when she generated the product name renata for a Copco teakettle (although designing the merchandising copy for ceramic tile adhesive and insulation packaging surely runs a close second).

After graduate school, LeAnn worked first for a small multimedia startup and then a research group in the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. At the startup, she spent her time writing user manuals and multimedia scripts for software to train CSX railroad engineers. While working among geeks, LeAnn became enamored and decided to take one home for herself. After getting married and starting a family, she returned to her adolescent daydreams of writing novels. Never one to shirk from lofty goals, she added home schooling her three children as her day job.

After years of working in an office not much better than an unfinished closet, LeAnn has finished The Mermaid’s Pendant and is currently working on her next novel. LeAnn joined GoodReads three years ago where she writes reviews regularly.

LeAnn lives outside Boston with one husband, three children, a dog named Hobbes (after Calvin &), and a cat named Attila.

LeAnn’s Web site is www.nealreilly.com.

**Review copy provided by author. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Feature and Blog Tour: LeAnn Neal Reilly author of The Mermaid's Pendant









About The Author:

LeAnn Neal Reilly graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a master’s degree in professional writing. Along the way, she majored briefly in chemistry, served as opinion editor and then editor of her college newspaper, and interned for an international design firm. After graduate school, LeAnn worked for a small multimedia startup and then a computer science research group. At the startup, she spent her time writing user manuals and scripts for multimedia software used to train railroad engineers. While writing among geeks, LeAnn became enamored and decided to take one home for herself. After getting married and starting a family, she returned to her adolescent daydreams of writing novels. After years of working in an office not much better than an unfinished closet, LeAnn published The Mermaid’s Pendant. To learn more about LeAnn, visit www.nealreilly.com.

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID'S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are -- and what you believe in.

At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure. Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond.

When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic. Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers' journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind's aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an ex-pat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.

THE MERMAID'S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review and Blog Tour: Cry Of The Fallen The Black Chronicles Book 1 by Joel M. Andre


This was different and interesting. You were guessing through the entire book about who or what the actual killer was. Joel's writing is fast paced and tends to keep you reading.

The end of the book was good but it kept you wanting more...which is the point since it's only Book 1 LOL! I'm certainly interested in reading more of The Black Chronicles because this one really opened up the way for an exciting and spine tingling series.


About The Book:
(From PUYB)

All around her Lauren Bruni is faced with destruction. Her marriage has ended, and her professional life is at the breaking point. For Lauren, this is only the beginning of her pain.
In the small town of Cottonwood, AZ everything seems to be headed in the same direction. A serial killer is on the loose, and his trail of victims holds no connection. His rampage escalates and becomes far more brutal with each murder he commits.

As Lauren attempts to prevent her own life from collapsing down around her she must stop a killer with supernatural strength. But there is something far more sinister in the works than she could ever imagine. In the end it is up to Lauren to make the ultimate sacrifice to save a community from the purest form of evil.

About The Author:

Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981. At a young age he was fascinated with the written word. It was at fourteen that Poe blew his mind, and Andre began to dabble with darker poetry.
Between the years of 1999 and 2007 Joel was featured in various poetry anthologies and publications. In 2008 he released his first collection, Pray the Rain Never Ends.

Knowing there was something deeper and darker inside of his soul, Joel decided to take a stab at commercialism. Releasing the dark tongue in cheek, A Death at the North Pole, created a dark world among the death of Kris Kringle. Ultimately providing a tale of redemption.

October of 2008 saw Joel release his second book, Kill 4 Me. A tale in which a woman is haunted by a vengeful spirit through text messages and instant messaging.

Taking some time off and doing a lot of soul searching, Joel took things in a new direction and dabbled in the Fantasy Genre with, The Pentacle of Light. The tale dealing with five major races battling for control of Earth, and the acceptance of their God.

Finally, after missing his detective Lauren Bruni, he released the book The Return in October 2009, this time moving the action from the North Pole and placing it in the small Arizona community he was raised in.

Andre’s latest book is The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen about a dead man who seeks revenge on the woman that tormented him in peaceful Northern Arizona.

Currently, he resides in Chandler, AZ.

You can visit his website at http://www.joelmandre.com/.

**Review copy provided by author. All opinioins are my own.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

Just a warning everyone... I haven't read it (the book) yet but I think there is a spoiler or two in the review. Read with caution!
What Nora Thought:
This writer certainly knows how to grab your attention. In the opening scene she had me scratching my head in wonder. The main character is introduced by talking to a door!?! Now I know talking to inanimate objects is usually a sign that you’re a bit crazy (and we all do it from time to time), but in this story if you’re a wizard their spirits actually talk back.
As crazy as it sounds the hero of this story is actually a thief and his main goal is trying to increase the bounty on his head. So it stands to reason the heroine of the story must be some time of law enforcement. Miranda is a member of the wizard council and is set on catching Eli before he tarnishes wizard reputations even more than he already has.
Unfortunately for her, they end up having to help each other save the kingdom where he was originally captured. There are quite a few other characters thrown in the mix from a kidnapped king to a pissed off sea spirit all blended together to create an exciting read. My only disappointment in the story is that it ended, and now I find myself having wait for the next part of the series to be published (such a bummer), thank god it comes out next week.
About The Book:
Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief.

But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.

Like a king.
**review copy provided by publisher

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Familiars Halloween Blog Tour! (and scavenger hunt!)






We are also having a special Familiars-themed Halloween Scavenger Hunt! At each stop along the blog tour, we will be asking a trivia question from our book. After you fill in your answer, the letter that falls in the place of the * can be placed in the corresponding number of the larger puzzle. So for example, since this is question number 11, the letter that lands in the space where the * is can be filled in where the 11 is in the larger puzzle. The larger puzzle will form yet another clue, and anyone who answers it correctly will be entered into a drawing for an autographed book as well as a few other Halloween treats!

Be sure to visit The Familiars blog at thefamiliars.blogspot.com to find links to all other blog stops and find out where to send in your answers! All entries must be entered by November 15.

11. What does Kalstaff cast to protect the three young wizards from Loranella?
___ ___ ___ ___ _*_ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Hint: Chapter Six, Page 115
11 5 18 8 15 1 9 7 19 14 23 2 25 16 10 12 20
__ __ __ __ __ __ ' __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
17 3 22 6 21 4 24 13
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

www.thefamiliars.com (official website)
Happy Halloween everyone!
Andrew & Adam
About The Book:

After three young wizard apprentices are kidnapped by the evil queen of a distant land, it is up to their familiars, their magical animal companions -- a street smart alley cat, a precocious blue jay, and a bumbling tree frog -- to save them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Review: Nonna's Book of Mysteries by Mary Osborne

What Nora Thought:

I have mixed feelings about this book. It takes place during the Italian Renaissance and I’m not too familiar with this period of time. This is a story that requires you to put in the time and effort to think about things. I found that I kept reading because I wanted to make sense of things. That is a lot of stuff happening in the story, and you have to stop and think. I had to reread some parts of the book to understand the context of the philosophy. I found it was a long process on her journey of self discovery. That being said the book had some very interesting parts and it will require a couple of reads for a better understanding.

About The Book:
(from Amazon)

At age fourteen, all Emilia Serafini wants is to learn to paint so that she can become an artist. But painters’ apprenticeships for young women don’t exist in the Florence of Renaissance Italy. The odds appear stacked against her until she receives a fascinating book, A Manual to the Science of Alchemy. It was once her grandmother’s and Emilia turns again and again to the Manual for guidance.

When Emilia meets the wealthy, brooding Franco Villani, her life takes a thrilling, but dangerous turn. Franco will do anything to win a place in the court of the powerful Cosimo de’ Medici. Well aware that Cosimo prizes ancient manuscripts above all, Franco realizes Emilia’s Manual would be invaluable to him in more ways than one.

Book Info:

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Lake Street Press; 1 edition (June 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936181169
ISBN-13: 978-1936181162
Review Copy: Personal Copy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Review: My Own Personal Soap Opera by Libby Malin

What Nora Thought:

From page one you find yourself chuckling. You really have to like the main character, lots of people will relate to her in my opinion. She is hardworking, has relationship problems, and has an ex who is a total butt. I love how she incorporates what happens in her life into the soap opera. It was a really cute book. The only flaw was she used the soap opera to insinuate the ending of the story. I would have like a concrete answer. Overall the book was a funny read.

About The Book:
( From Author's Site)

Soap Opera Head Writer Frankie McNally has her hands full as she struggles to keep her failing show on the air--a leading man who broke his leg on Dancing with the Stars, staff writers who all want to be doing something else, and a real thief imitating a character on the show. If that weren't enough, she finds herself torn between two men, one who can give her everything she wants and the other who gives her everything she needs.

Book Info:

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; 1 edition (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402229429
ISBN-13: 978-1402229428
Review Copy: personal copy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just a question!

O I've been reading in between work and getting reviews up as soon as I can but I've also been making more time for my pleasure reading....ie: not review books...although I do love those also.

So my question is what have you read lately that you would call a must read? Has anyone read Crave by JR Ward yet? What did you think of it?

Any others?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Shoulder Bags and Shooting by Dorothy Howell


This one was cute in a morbid cozy mystery way LOL! This is book #3 in the Haley Randolph Mystery Series. While it is third in the series it read easily as a stand alone. Granted, there are a few things that you wonder about as you're reading but it's only because past stories are hinted at.

The main character, Haley, is just wacky and aloof but she gets the mystery solved. She was an entertaining character who kept the story lively and upbeat no matter what situation she found herself in.

Overall, it was an entertaining, light, amateur sleuthing read. I enjoyed it and think that other cozy fans may like it also.

About The Book:
(from Goodreads)

Fashionista and amateur sleuth Haley Randolph is in hot pursuit of the season's newest must-have handbag. But soon she's also in hot pursuit of a killer--when she discovers the corpse of none other than her designer purse party rival. . .

Life is beyond fabulous at the moment for Haley Randolph. She just spent two amazing weeks in Europe with her boyfriend Ty Cameron, owner of Holt's Department Store where Haley works. And now Ty's grandmother, Ada, is letting Haley drive her way-cool Mercedes. Things would be perfect if she could just get her hands on her latest fashion obsession: the new Sinful handbag.

Every store in town is out of stock, and Haley would rather die than buy a knockoff. But when she finds the body of her nemesis, Tiffany Markham, in the trunk of Ada's Mercedes, she's not so sure she wants to trade places after all. . .

Topping the list of suspects, Haley doesn't deny seeing red when Tiffany and her business partner not only stole her purse party idea, but also made more money. But Haley wasn't jealous enough to commit murder. Now she'll have to solve this mystery quickly--and find that Sinful bag--before she becomes a killer's next fashion fatality. . .

Book Info:

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Kensington (first published 2010)
ISBN 0758223781 (ISBN13: 9780758223784)
series Haley Randolph #3
Review Copy: FSB Media

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

YA Review and Giveaway: She Smells The Dead by E J Stevens

This. Was. Awesome. I've been a fan of E.J.'s poetry for a while because she writes really cool stuff but she's got a knack for Young Adult books!

She Smells The Dead was new and different and certainly not a premise that I'm familiar with in the world of mediums. I thought it was unique!

I adored the main character Yuki, and her drive to be herself no matter what others thought. I also adored the other "main" character, Calvin. He was a dynamic character and what I would have wanted as a boyfriend at that age.

The story itself was fast paced and never boring. It's a great book in my opinion and I recommend that you check it out.

About The Book:
(from Goodreads)

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.

SHE SMELLS THE DEAD.

The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

Book Info:

Paperback, 163 pages
Published September 9th 2010 by Sacred Oaks Press (first published August 2010)

ISBN 0984247521 (ISBN13: 9780984247523)
url http://spiritguideseries.blogspot.com/
series Spirit Guide #1
Review Copy: author

Giveaway:

Thanks to the most awesome E.J. Stevens I have a SIGNED copy of the book to giveaway. Not only will one winner get a book but you'll also receive swag and a She Smells The Dead t-shirt!

-To enter leave a question or comment for the author along with your email addy.
-Open to US residents only
-ends October 22nd

Monday, October 11, 2010

YA Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters

I have to say that I saw mention of this book first on Twitter. Well, I snooped around and was immediately attracted to the cover. I love it and I think it's awesome. When I read the summary I KNEW that this was a book for me. I was so happy to have the opportunity to review this one because I was sure that it would be a treasure and I was right.

I loved Ednah Walters' writing style which really keeps your attention and sucks you into the story. The characters are fantastic and even thought they have special powers they are still "real."

I LOVED the stories base of good against evil and the battle for redemption and forgiveness. There was so much to this book that it really makes it worth reading. I say that if you are a fan of fallen angels or any "angel" type stories then you might want to check this one out.

I was so sad when the book ended because I really wanted to continue with the story. I know I want to read the next installment and can't wait for it to become available!


About The Book:
(from Goodreads)

**Just a note from me that if you're on the fence about this one then you should check out that Goodreads link where you will see tons of awesome reviews!

Most teens turn sixteen and get the license to drive, Lil Falcon gets the license to kill demons, but no one told her she is not supposed to fall in love with one. At approximately 87,000 words, THE AWAKENING written by my client Ednah Walters is a compelling young adult paranormal romance novel.

Orphaned as a child and raised by an eccentric grandfather, Lil is concerned with surviving high school and is unaware she's a Guardian—a being with super powers charged with killing demons and protecting humanity. But when she meets Bran, a mysterious boy with amazing abilities, his psi energy unlocks her latent powers. But Bran has a secret that can destroy their growing relationship. He's part demon.

But in her heart, Lil knows Bran is not evil. So when her grandfather is kidnapped by a powerful nature-bender and Bran is the only one who knows where he's being kept, Lil convinces the other Guardians to trust him, not knowing her grandfather is just the bait. And the truth that she discovers in the demonic enclave may just destroy everything she believes in, unless she makes the right choice—love and sacrifice.

Book Info:

Paperback, First edition, 272 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Pill Hill Press (first published 2010)
ISBN 9781617060
Review Copy: Author

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Simply Irresistible by Jill Shavis

I have to apologize because this was supposed to be up yesterday. It was the first day of Fall Break though so I was running around with the kiddos! I have to say that I read through this one pretty quickly. It was lighthearted and funny and you really warmed up to the characters throughout the story. (My only problem was that I kept calling the main character Mandy Moore LOL...)

If you're looking for a contemporary romance that is funny and HOT then maybe this is one to check out. I know I enjoyed it.

About The Book:

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so "not "her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Starting over won't be easy.

Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too. The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

Giveaway:

Thanks to Anna @ Hachette I have a copy of this one to giveaway! If you'd like to enter just leave a comment along with an email addy that I can reach you at.

-open to US residents only
-no PO Boxes
-only one winner per household

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review and Blog Tour: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Another Rockin' book from Karen Marie Moning! This woman knows how to build up the tension and keep her readers guessing!


Once again I thought her characters were great; you just never know who or what will show up next.

I can't wait for the next book as I'm eagerly anticipating what happens to the two main characters. I have my own thoughts on what'll go down but I want it to happen sooner LOL!

Another awesome book by Ms. Moning.



About The Book:

(From Authors Website)

Mackayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a dark, deadly realm unlike any she ever imagined.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year old book of the blackest magic imaginable that holds the key to power over both the worlds of Fae and Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae, who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman; and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.


For centuries, the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them...


Click here to read an excerpt from BLOODFEVER.

**Review copy provided by publisher. All opinions are my own.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Review: Schooled in Lies 'A Kendra Clayton Novel' by: Angela Henry

What Nora Thought:

This was a book that kept you constantly engaged and guessing. One minute you thought you knew who the culprit was, and then you found out differently. The ending was kind of a surprise. I had figured this guy for the murder, but during the story I was led to change my mind.

Every character involved had some type of secret they were trying to hide. And some of those secrets will shock you. I found myself saying, no way, that can’t be true, for real. This is a book about normal people with everyday problems trying to hide their skeletons. I think this is a definite read.

About The Book:
(From Pump Up Your Book)

GED instructor Kendra Clayton’s high school days were nothing to brag about. So she’s not too thrilled when on top of having to take a class to renew her teaching certificate or be fired, she gets roped into serving on her high school’s reunion committee.

Spending time with her former classmates is even less fun than having a root canal. Then to make matters worse, Kendra and the other committee members start receiving strange messages and having freak accidents. When one of the accidents results in a death, Kendra is convinced it’s murder. Unfortunately, neither the reunion committee nor the police take her seriously.

To try and prevent another death-and to keep from worrying about all the time her sweetie, Carl, has been spending with his scheming ex-wife-Kendra digs into the lives of her fellow committee members and uncovers enough secrets, lies, and betrayal to make her head spin. When a second murder occurs, Kendra realizes she needs to watch her back in her search for the truth before a killer turns her into another buried secret.

About The Author:
(Also from PUYP)

Angela Henry was once told that her past life careers included spy, researcher, and investigator. She stuck with what she knew because today she’s a mystery writing librarian, who loves to people watch and eavesdrop on conversations. She’s the author of four mysteries featuring equally nosy amateur sleuth Kendra Clayton, and is also the founder of the award-winning MystNoir website, which promotes African-American mystery writers, and was named a “Hot Site” by USA Today.com. When she’s not working, writing, or practicing her stealth, she loves to travel, is connoisseur of B horror movies, and an admitted anime addict. She lives in Ohio and is currently hard at work trying to meet her next deadline. You can visit Angela online at http://www.angelahenry.com.