Review: Pixie Tamer, by @MeganPHaskell

Title: Pixie Tamer (Sanyare Chronicles #0.5) Author: Megan Haskel
Rating: 5/5 stars

“A Short Story Prequel to Sanyare: The Last Descendant

It’s Nuriel “Rie” Lhethannien’s twenty-fifth nameday. She should be celebrating her rise to maturity, not sweating in the training hall. But life isn’t fair, and humans aren’t equal to the elves, at least not in the High Court.

After losing a practice bout to the one man she wants to trust, Rie is thrown into the most challenging test of her life. Will the rewards outweigh the risks? (description from Goodreads)

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I bought a copy of book one of the Sanyare Chronicles thinking it looked like something I’d enjoy. When I got home, I discovered that there was this prequel, Pixie Tamer, and decided to read it first.

I’m glad I read this quick short story. It’s not very long, but it felt like a good introduction to the world I’ll soon dive into in The Last Descendant. In its few pages I got a feel for who Rie is. I also got a feel for the world in which she lives. It’s a world I now want to explore more. I also think the characters will be even more interesting as the series does on.

This prequel story is just a taste of what I’m sure will be a series worth reading. I can’t wait to read more.

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Want to grab a copy now? You can find it over on

Amazon

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About the Author:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

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HRM – Some of my Favorite Holiday Romances

Merry Christmas!

I’m not going to feature just one book today. Instead, you’ll find a list of some of my favorite holiday romances from over the years. It’s similar to a list I had last year, but it’s updated with books I’ve read more recently. It also has stories from the Rainbow Advent Calendar (the whole calendar is linked down there, too).

As an added bonus: I put my holiday romance wishlist and a few titles from the list that I think more people should check out. They’re the ones higher on my wishlist for one reason or another.

What are some of your favorites? I haven’t had anyone chime in all month. How about we share some titles and help people get more books in their lives!fancy lineresize

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And a few that are on my Holiday Wishlist, that I think you should check out too:

HRM – Two holiday stories from @JillShalvis

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One of my favorite things about holiday romances is that more often than not, the characters are brought together because of the weather. Winter weather. Snow. Something I don’t have much of in Colorado (surprising, right?) Here are two novellas from Jill Shalvis that have weather playing a big part in. I read One Snowy Night (review) last year, and it made me go out and get more of Shalvis’ books (some of which may or may not be holiday books, as well). Holiday Wishes is Shalvis’ novella from this year, and another great read. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but if I ever sit myself in front of the computer long enough, it’ll be one of the many holiday romance reviews coming your way. I have a bit of a pile starting.

Hope you check these two out. And if you’ve read any of the author’s other holiday books, I’d love to hear about them. Leave suggestions in the comments!

 

Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus south after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.

He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.

Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake. And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.

Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.

But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.

Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.

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It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

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If you’d like a One Snowy Night, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

If you’d like a Holiday Wishes, you can find it on:

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

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About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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HRM – Cross Country Christmas, by @TiffanyKingYA

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The book I’m featuring today is one I first read back in 2013. It was also one of the first holiday themed novellas I read, and possibly the gateway into why I’m featuring all these other holiday books this month.

Long-time readers will recognize the name Tiffany King as one of my favorite authors. This novella was a good example of why I’ve enjoyed her work. You can find my review by clicking THIS, or just continue on below to make judgement for yourself.

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With the holiday season upon her, Jamie Foster is once again stressed about making her yearly visit back home to Woodfalls, still single. Fate intervenes in the form of Grant Johnson, a boy she grew up with, who catches the same flight while returning home from a business trip.

When a malfunction sends their plane crashing down on the runway upon takeoff, Jamie and Grant decide to rent a car and make the nine-hundred-mile drive home together. Ironically for them, anything that can go wrong does as they face one hysterical hurdle after another.

Christmas may finally bring Jamie the gift of love she has always wanted if she and Grant can manage to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Ho-ho-ho!

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Amazon

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About the Author:

Tiffany King new profile picture

USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iphone and ipad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.

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#Review: Tell Me a Story, by @TamaraLush

Title: Tell Me a Story (The Story episode #1)
Author: Tamara Lush
Rating: 4/5 stars

A flirtatious reading of erotica blossoms into something deep and tender in the steamy Florida heat…

Tell Me a Story…

Emma, a free-spirited bookstore owner in Orlando, keeps her business afloat with innovative ideas. Her most popular evening event is Story Brothel, where customers can pay writers to read aloud to them in a story-time for two, complete with cocktails. Despite the name, the event is usually tame. But things take a steamy turn when a handsome, urbane businessman hires Emma for a session in a private cabana. Daringly, she shares with him a reading of her erotica. Soon both of them are feeling the effects … and Emma’s wondering what kind of lover is underneath his expensive suit.

Caleb may be a billionaire real estate mogul, but he’s never been captivated by a woman as he is by the lovely, quirky Emma. Her rockabilly vintage dresses make him long to strip them off and do very wicked things to her. And her refusal to share her personal life only makes him more curious.

Soon the couple are spending every available moment together. But Emma’s building is in danger of being razed out from under her bookstore … and worse, Caleb may be behind her problems. Can she trust him with her life as she does with her body? Or will the prickly walls built during her harsh past keep them apart? (description from Goodreads)

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Tell Me a Story is the first episode in a five part serial. It’s been awhile since I’ve wanted to read a serial novel, and I’m glad I did. This one’s only five installments, and each are a reasonable length. Both are a plus. Along with them all being released at the time I discovered them helped even more.

Like most serials, there wasn’t too much character development in the grand scheme of things here. This aides in my wanting to continue onto the next episodes. There was just enough to get into Emma’s head and start to enjoy her. On the other hand Caleb is still very mysterious and has most to reveal later on. I’m still on the fence about him, as I’m sure the reader should be.

As for the story itself, I’m even more intrigued after reading it than I was starting. The story brothel event at Emma’s bookstore was a fun idea. I really like how that’s worked into the story outside the bookstore, too. I also thought it was great that the author didn’t make the bookstore life out to be glamorous, as I’ve seen done elsewhere. Emma’s facing real-world problems as a business owner and there are big consequences. Lush was able to bring a lot out in episode one, even if a few elements may have hurt because of this. That’s what the rest of the serial is for, after all.

I’m looking forward to reading more about Emma and Caleb. I’m also crossing my fingers a certain other set of characters gets their own story in the future.

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If you’d like to read this installment of the serial, you can find it (at time of posting) on:

Kobo | AudibleRadish app

You can grab the complete 5-part serial novel on:

Amazon | Kobo | B&NiBooks

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About the Author:

Tamara Lush was born in California and raised in Vermont. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in journalism. For her entire adult life, she’s worked as a reporter and is currently an award-winning correspondent in Florida with The Associated Press. She lives with her Italian husband and two bad dogs near the beach.

She was recently chosen as one of 24 writers for the Amtrak Residency program, and in 2017, she’ll be riding trains and writing romance novels.

Her most recent novel, a five-episode serial called TELL ME A STORY, has “an engaging voice, sexy heroes and heroines and a wry sense of humor,” according to New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery.

Tamara is a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, beaches, iPhone photography, Art Deco, telenovelas, coloring books, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee and newspapers.

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Review: Broken Resolutions, by @oliviawrites

Title: Broken Resolutions (Lovestruck Librarians #1)
Author: Olivia Dade
Rating: 5/5 stars

“LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES

Romance has never had a happy ending for librarian Penny Callahan, who could write the book on cheating, heartbreaking liars. So she’s made a resolution: no men for the next twelve months. If she can just get through the library’s New Year’s Eve singles night, she can return home to her pajamas and a good book. But when she finds herself checking out a hot hunk with an irresistible smile, an evening in the stacks becomes a lot more tempting…

Reclusive author Jack Williamson never should have trusted his mother. Even though he’s trying to avoid being recognized, she guilts him into attending a dating meet-and-greet—where an adorable librarian makes him question his lonely lifestyle. Is this just a fleeting, flirty scene? Or could love be the next chapter for them both? (description from Goodreads)

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Broken Resolutions may be one of the best Twitter recommendations I’ve gotten in a long time. I asked the masses for romances with librarians, and got far more than I expected.

This novella has so much of what I look for in romances. A major surprise was the snow storm. I’ve somewhat recently realized that I really enjoy stories that take place during a storm because of how they tend to bring characters close together and force them to get to know each other. And they normally take place during the holidays, which brings out different aspects qualities in a character. A bonus for this book: Takes place on New Year’s Eve. I normally read Christmas stories. The other thing I enjoyed from this one and want to look for more in romances is that Penny is a librarian and it’s set in a library. This naturally grabs at my book-lover brain. There’s so much room for book references and feeling at home in a library. The author did a great job at writing this.

I really enjoyed the character’s Dade wrote into this book. This includes the secondary characters, not just the main ones. They were all great to read about, especially those with some more quirks than others.

Now that I’ve finished this book, I’m very curious where the rest of this series will go from here. With many first books in a series you can feel out who the next books will be about. Right now, I can only guess at two characters who could get a book. I like the mystery of who else might get their chance at a romance soon. I like that guessing game so much that I already bought the rest of the series. I think that’s a first for me, but I enjoyed Broken Resolutions that much.

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

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Review: Dark Flash, by @MariaHaskins

Title: Dark Flash
Author: Maria Haskins
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Eight stories of dark fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Featuring unicorns, pirates, a cat, a demon, magic, and glimpses of mythology (among other things) – there’s a pinch of everything in this collection of flash fiction! All eight stories originally appeared on R.B. Wood’s Word Count Podcast, and are now available as an ebook for the first time. (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve read some of Maria Haskins poetry and flash fiction in the past. because I’ve enjoyed it, I decided to give a collection of her flash fiction a read. I’m happy to have done so.

As with most flash fiction, it can be a hit and miss. Length is a major factor that shapes each story and what can be done within the limited word count. Haskins has more hits than misses, in my opinion. Not every story wowed me, but many did. She’s able to work a lot of “story” into each story, keep the pace fast without making them feel short, and come up with a variety of ideas that also work together nicely.

I’ll definitely continue to read Haskins’ work. Especially the flash fiction. Having finished Dark flash, I’m now also curious what Haskins can do with a longer form, whether it’s short stories or novels.

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | SmashwordsKobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

self3Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but since the early 1990s she lives just outside Vancouver on Canada’s west coast with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.

Her English language debut ‘Odin’s Eye’ – a collection of science fiction short-stories – was published in March, 2015. Her book ‘Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015’ was released on November 9, 2015, and includes both new poems written in English, and her own translations of her previously published Swedish poetry. She is currently writing fantasy and science fiction short stories. Two new short stories that will appear in an anthology in the Mind’s Eye Series, set to be published in 2016.

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