#Review: Stay With Me, by @Kira_Hawke

Stay With MeTitle: Stay With Me
Author: Kira Hawke
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Logan Woods just survived an attempted murder. Maybe. Left for dead in the sketchiest part of town, Logan has no idea how much time he has left. But through this disaster forms an unlikely friendship that might be worth living for.” (description from Goodreads)

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Stay With Me is a quick story, starting off a bit slow, but soon drew me in once a few things were revealed. There’s a lot to take in even in only a few thousand words. Hawke’s writing built up a great sympathy for Logan, the main character, and I couldn’t have asked for the story to end any better. It’s the type of ending I enjoy seeing from a story of this kind.

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If you’d like to check out this story, you can find it free (at time of posting) over on:

Smashwords

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About the Author:

Kira HawkeKira Hawke is a designer and a GLBT writer with a passion for finding art and beauty in everything. She lives in Ontario Canada with her life partner and is currently working on a YA fantasy novel.

Find out more:

ARC #Review: Illusion, by @thesmboyce

IllusionTitle: Illusion (The Grimoire Sage #4)
Author: S.M. Boyce
Rating: 5/5 star

The final chapter in the war for Ourea ends with blood.

Kara Magari is an icon. A hero. The people love her. The royalty tolerates her. She has everything—an army, allies, and a close circle of chosen family. They believe she will end the war, and they shouldn’t. She’s as scared as they are. She just can’t show it.

The war she accidentally started ends with a final battle that will either save or enslave her people. She will do anything to win—until she learns the cost of victory.

Braeden Drakonin is afraid of what he’ll become when he takes over his father’s kingdom—that much authority can change a man. But his father has already tried to kill him more than once, and it’s time to end his reign. Braeden’s armies are ready. His strategy is foolproof. His generals are waiting for the order to attack. It’s only in the final seconds before the battle begins that he realizes he missed one crucial detail—the traitor. (description from Goodreads)

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For those who’ve followed my reviews for the last few years, The Grimoire Saga is probably a series you’re aware of. Anyone who isn’t sure what The Grimoire Saga is, I suggest avoiding reading this review further. Illusion is the fourth and final book in the series. It’s going to be difficult to avoid spoilers of books 1-3. If you’re interested though, you can find links to grab a copy of book one, Lichgates, below. That book’s free, by the way. Always a great way to try out a series.

Here are my reviews of the previous books for those not caught up:

Lichgates (#1) | Treason (#2) | Heritage (#3)

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This might be the hardest review I’ve had to write so far in my reviewing “career”. Illusion is book fourth of The Grimoire Saga, and I was both excited and sad to read this last book of the series. I’ve been following Kara, the main character, on her journey through the beautiful and dangerous world of Ourea since early 2012. After reading the first book, Lichgates (please ignore the very basic, dated layout for my reviews. It was one of my first.), I knew I was hooked, but with each book that came out I was drawn in more and more. This is hands down my favorite book series, and S.M. Boyce will stay on my top authors list for years to come. I have no doubt about that.

I could do a close review of this, but I fear saying too much about the plot and outcome. So much happens in this book to tie up the many loose ends that weave through this series. There is a long awaited epic battle, twists and turns, joy and dismay. This book has everything long time fans have felt the series building up to. To say that I’m pleased with the way the author ended things would be an understatement. It can’t be easy to create a satisfying ending to an epic like The Grimoire Saga, but I felt it was the way it should all work out.

Boyce’s writing continues to gain strength with each book, and Illusion is no exception. Her world of Ourea is just as complex and beautiful as when I first was thrown into it with Kara in the first book. Much of this book takes place in the Steleian Kingdom, a place we’ve only seen glimpses of before. I feel that even in the midst of the concluding battle, the kingdom was painted with a skill I’ve grown to admire. I also found it surprising when the story took on different character viewpoints. For most of this series, the chapters are from either Kara or Braeden’s POV, with few exceptions. For reasons obvious to those reading the book, these two POVs would have limited a battle as big as what takes place in this book. What was the surprising part is that even with just a chapter or two from the POV of more minor characters (and more impressively from characters, the vagabonds, we know almost nothing about) the author was able to keep me in the story, develop that character in a short time, and get me invested in this part of the larger story. It was a change in style overall, but not a jarring or out-of-place change.

I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, and as a whole this series, but I’d rather leave it at what I’ve said already. I’m sad that the series is over. Happiness and sadness fell over me when I finished the last line, but isn’t that what great books should do? There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as well. It’s only about a year until fans of Ourea have to wait for a spin-off series The Ourean Chornicles. I’m looking forward to reading about some of my favorite characters in their own books.

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This book releases November 4th. You can pre-order Illusion from:

Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords

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If you still need to begin the journey….

LICHGATES (Book One) FREE on:

Amazon |  B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

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About the Author:

Boyce 300International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with Boyce

Website | Blog | Advice for Writers
Facebook | Twitter | Google +
Pinterest | Youtube | Goodreads
Amazon Page |Smashwords Page

Paperback #NewRelease – Make it Right, by @MeganErickson_

The second novel in the sexy Bowler University series…

…is now out in PAPERBACK! A few weeks ago I mentioned Megan Erickson in a post about going to my first book event where I sort of met her. I’m sure some of you’ve to check out her books since then, but if you haven’t, today’s a great day to do so. The second book in the Bowler University series has been out for a little over a month, but today, the paperback edition has been released! Sometimes there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands when reading. I know I’ve been doing that much more this year than in recent years. What’s even better is that the paperback version is priced very reasonably as well, which is always a plus for me when I look a print books. But don’t worry, the ebook is still out there for those who want instant delivery (score one for ebooks).

You can find out a bit more below, as well as check out the other books in the series.

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Max Payton lives by two rules:

Size and strength win any fight, and never show weakness.

When a rash of assaults sends Bowler University for a tail spin, Max volunteers to help teach a self-defense class. One of the other instructors is the beautiful pixie-faced girl he keeps butting heads with…and who challenges everything he thought he knew.

Lea Travers avoids guys like Max – cocky jocks who assume she’s fragile because of a disability caused by a childhood accident. She likes to be in control, and something about being with Max makes her feel anything but. But during the moments he lets his guard down, Lea sees a soul as broken inside as she is outside. Trusting him is a whole other problem…

When the assaults ramp up and hit close to home, Lea and Max must learn, before it’s too late, that true strength can come from vulnerability…and giving in to trust is sometimes the only way to make things right.

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Paperback links:
AmazonB&N

And if you’d rather grab a copy for instant reading, the ebook is available from:
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Since this is book 2 of the Bowler University series, you may want to check out book one, Make it Count:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

Want me to throw more books at you? I can, if you really want. There’s a third book in the series coming out in January called Make it Last. It’s available for pre-order from:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

Megan EricksonMegan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: Inhale the Night, by @BenDitty

Inhale the Night

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Join Ben Ditmars, author of Night Poems and Haiku in the Night, on his final journey through the Midnight hours. Explore and breathe with him as night descends and stars emerge into new memories. Through free-verse, epic, and haiku poetry, some roads are darker than others….

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If you’d like to grab a copy of this collection, you can find it on Amazon in:

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About the Author:

meBen is a bestselling author of gnomes, plays, poetry and more.  He was first published in his college publications the Cornfield Review and KAPOW.  Since then he has been featured in several online literary journals including: Flurries of Words, Samizdat Literary Journal, and Shine Journal. You can find his collections of poetry, plays, novel, and short stories for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Ben lives in Marion, Ohio and is currently working toward his Master’s Degree in education at the University of Findlay while substitute teaching. He hopes to instruct high school social studies full-time within the next year.

He loves historical documentaries and all things gnome.

Find out more:

#Review: Tattoos and Tatas, by @TaraSivec

tattoos-and-tatasTitle: Tattoos and Tatas
Author: Tara Sivec
Rating: 4/5 stars

During the month of October, 100% of the proceeds from Tattoos and Tatas will be donated to breast cancer awareness.

Claire and Liz have always had a friendship that defied the test of time, but when one of them is diagnosed with a disease that every woman fears, their bond is put through the wringer. How do you cope knowing your soul mate could be taken from you?

Filled with memories of their life long friendship, inappropriate behavior, bad tattoos and shaving cats, the two friends will realize that laughter really is the best medicine.

Tattoos and Tatas is not your typical love story; it’s a story of friendship and learning how to let go when something is beyond your control. (description from Goodreads)

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I’m a long time fan of Sivec’s Chocolate Lovers  and the more recent Chocoholic series. Tattoos and Tatas was a good interlude between Chocoholics book two, Passion and Poniesand a book three if/when it’s released. With that said, I felt it was more a Chocolate Lovers book than a Chocoholics because the narrator is Liz (new narrator for the series, but an original character) and not one of the children of the adults in the CL books. it’s a small detail of labeling, but just something I wanted to point out for those who haven’t read the spin-off books yet. I feel that readers can still enjoy this novella having just read the CL series.

Onto the story itself. It was a departure of sorts from the mood the other books had. More often than not, readers are laughing non-stop at the hilarious situations and dialogue between characters. Tattoos and Tatas takes the comedy down a notch or two to show a more serious side of life. To put it all out there: Claire has breast cancer. This book is about the gang supporting her through her treatment, but Liz is having issues with her best friend during this difficult time in her life. What helps this story not be a “cry your eyes out” story the entire time is that, as expected, Sivec is able to weave comedy into it and give readers some laughs without making it seem like the situation isn’t something to laugh at. To take a quote from the epilogue “I think people sometimes forget just how powerful laughter is.” Laughter is sometimes the best medicine during hard times.

One of the few things I felt was lacking in this novella was the kids. With this being a Chocoholics novella, they’re adults at this point and are the focus of the series so far. We only get mentions of them and how they’re handling the situation, but they don’t show up more than that. The reader gets to see Carter (Claire’s husband) and how he’s dealing with it all, but we don’t see Gavin or his sister. The book’s from Liz’s point of view, so this is obviously part of it, though it was expecting a little interaction with the kids. This could also be something touched on in the next novel, so I’m not completely turned off by their exclusion.

Tattoos and Tatas, another great and touching adventure with Tara Sivec’s beloved characters. It’s great to see Sivec blend in the serious into this otherwise hilarious series without killing its enjoyment. I’m looking forward, as always, to more Chocolate Lovers/Chocoholics books, especially after this short glimpse into things to come.

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If you’d like to buy a copy of Tattoos and Tatas, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

This is #2.5 in the Chocoholics series. if you haven’t want to start from the beginning, books 1 and 2 can be found on:

Love and Lists

Goodreads | My Review

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Passion and Ponies

Goodreads | My Review

Amazon |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Already grabbed the book but want to help out a little more? 100% of the October proceeds of this book, as I’ve mentioned, will be donated to the Susan G. Komen and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I’m adding the links below for those who would like to give even a little more, or just to read up on what they do. Awareness is key!

Susan G. Komen

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

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About the Author:

Image 7Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. She is the author of the Playing with Fire series and the Chocolate Lovers series. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.

Tara also writes under the pen name T.E. Sivec.

Find out more:

Website | Twitter  | Facebook
Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

Calling All Bloggers and Readers…

November as Read a Classic Month?

I had what I think could be a fun idea for the month of November. And, instead of keeping this idea to myself, I’d like to tell everyone about it and get as many people as possible involved.

For those who follow me closely here on the blog, Twitter, and Facebook, you’ll probably remember back in May, I read Wuthering Heights. The idea that I’ve come up with for November is similar to the challenge I set for myself for the month of May: to read a classic book and then give a semi-review about my reaction to it.

I want to take this a small step further and make it a little more of a fun challenge. Here are some “guidelines”, though they’re more suggestions, for choosing a book to read in November.

  • It should be a classic. But what’s that mean? Should it be from the 1800s or could it be a more “Modern Classic”. My answer…use your judgement. Most of the time when I hear classic I think things from 1900 and earlier. But there are many books from the early to mid 20th century that are just as “important” to read, but don’t get read often enough.
  • Some people are avid readers of classics already. If this is the case, maybe step outside of your comfort zone. Maybe try a book that you may not have wanted to read in the past. Try a contemporary of one of your favorite classic authors.
  • Try to stay away from rereading. Not saying you CAN’T reread, but I’m thinking this is a good way to try something new. Wit that said, maybe you didn’t enjoy a classic in the past. Revisiting it now might give it a different reading of that book. That might lead to you enjoying it more this time around.

What happens after you finish the book? Simple: Write up a short (or longish if you’re ambitious) post about your reaction to it. Could be a straight up review, a less formal critique of the book, or anything really. There are many possible ways to go about it, but try to have fun. This isn’t meant to be a chore.

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I think I’ve kept that simple enough. Read a classic. Write up a post about it. How’s that sound? Would you like to join the fun? All I’d like from everyone wishing to participate is to comment on this post saying that you’re in. You don’t have to choose a book just yet, but you can if you’d like to and feel free to let everyone know in the comments. Maybe someone else will see the book and want to read it too. I’m thinking that we can all post the “review post” on November 24th, the last Monday of the month. This way we should have time to finish the books and a few days before all the holiday craziness takes place here in the US.

One last thing. I’d like to have everyone link to everyone’s posts in their own post. This way people can jump around to all the blogs and discover something new. So what I’m thinking is that I’ll email the group later this month or early November to get a head count, and then we’ll figure out a way to get a list of all the post links just before they go live to send out to everyone. Still up in the air on all the communication stuff, but shouldn’t be too hard, haha.

#CoverReveal: The Ourean Chronicles, by @TheSMBoyce

You all know that I’m possibly the BIGGEST fan of S.M. Boyce’s Grimoire Saga. And for those who are fans, like me, you may be sad (and VERY EXCITED) that in November the 4th and final book of the saga will be released. What will we, the fans, do once we finish reading Illusion? Well, that’s what I’m helping inform everyone about today!

Starting in later 2015, Boyce will be releasing three companion novellas to the Saga called The Ourean Chronicles. They’ll details events in the lives of three characters from The Grimoire Saga: Stone, Cedric, and Deidre.

Here’s a little hello from Boyce, explaining the concept for the Ourean Chronicles and a sneak peek of how they’ll be released:

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The Misanthrope: Stone’s Story

(Ourean Chronicles #1)

The Misanthrope - Stone's eBookBefore Stone trained Kara Magari or taught the First Vagabond to master the Blood loyalty, he was nothing more than a slave boy named Terric.

Terric is a curious loner hellbent on reading his master’s forbidden books. When one heist goes wrong, Terric abandons his old life and runs for freedom—only to fall prey to a ruthless man named Niccoli.

Niccoli is an isen—a creature of magic from the hidden world of Ourea—and he awakens within Terric an unimaginable gift. But this gift comes with a catch. Suddenly in control of newfound power he is forbidden to freely use, Terric realizes too late he simply traded one master for another.

In Ourea, a world dominated by the gifted, few isen dare defy their masters. Until now.

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The First Vagabond: Cedric’s Story

(Ourean Chronicles #2)

The First Vagabond eBook coverOurean legends of the First Vagabond have survived a thousand years, blossoming in pubs and alleys even as the great Bloods of Ourea tried to squelch his name. But the myths glorify the deeds and forget the man he was—Cedric, a boy from a small Hillsidian farming village.

As a young man, Cedric discovers a terrifying defect in his nature. He has no Blood loyalty, which means he can defy his king—something that has never happened in recorded history. But what begins as a flaw evolves into a strength. Citizens begin to listen to Cedric, and he discovers that if he leads, others will follow.

What begins as a bid for change in a world controlled by tradition becomes a mudslide as Cedric’s cause falls apart at the seams. And after a betrayal that destroys his faith in the only family he’s ever known, Cedric is forced to decide between those he leads and those he loves.

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The Demon: Deidre’s Story

(Ourean Chronicles #3)

The Demon - Deidre's eBookDeidre wasn’t always an isen, but she has always been hated.

In 1814, Deidre is a Southern Belle, born to wealth and a father who loathes her. Townsfolk call her beautiful and clever. A young man named Michael calls her the love of his life. But her father calls her a demon.

Deidre has lived her life with blackouts—moments of evil she can’t control or remember. She hates herself enough as it is, but her life snowballs out of control when a foreigners named Niccoli comes to town. In one heartbreaking night, she loses everything—including Michael. And it’s Niccoli’s fault.

That night, Deidre becomes immortal. Powerful. Vengeful. But her grief festers.

As she learns the truth about her blackouts, she begins to lose the last threads of who she was. And as long as she kills Niccoli for taking Michael from her, she’s okay with that.

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Get your Free Ebook of Lichgates

If you haven’t already read the Grimoire Saga, start out with Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1). It’s available for FREE through your favorite online retailers.

Direct from Boyce’s Store: ePub | Mobi
Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N

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Get Updates on the Ourean Chronicles

The Ourean Chronicles will be your new lichgate into Ourea after you read Illusion, the final book in the Grimoire Saga, which will be released November 4th. Get updates by joining the tribe.

If you’d like to pre-order Illusion, you can do so from:

Amazon | Kobo

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About the Author:

Boyce 300International Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga.

S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries.

Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with Boyce

Website | Blog | Advice for Writers
Facebook | Twitter | Google +
Pinterest | Youtube | Goodreads
Amazon Page |Smashwords Page