Thursday, January 30, 2014

@HunterSJones101 Book Blast & #Giveaway "Fortune Calling" by Hunter S. Jones

Dallas Fortune is a small town girl with a gift for playing guitar. A member of her family has played the Grand Ol Opry since it began as a simple radio show in 1925. But, they are the minstrels, the troubadours--session players--not stars.

Dallas lives her life on the road. She’s just another guitar player with a dream until she finds an antique blue mandolin in a pawn shop. Her life comes into focus as the enchantment of the mandolin captivates her audiences. The Guitar God of Nashville beckons her. 
Everything is there for Dallas at last, until a stage accident sends her home and shatters her dreams. Blow after blow she fights the hand of fate. 
Is she destined to lose out in life? 
Hope, dreams, and love seem to be just out of reach. Every girl dreams of a happy ending. Dallas Fortune has the best Fairy Godmother in Country Music history. 
Will she help make Dallas’ dreams come true? Is the future among the stars, in the cards or locked in your heart? 
Fortune Calling is the first story in The Fortune Series. Set in contemporary Nashville and rural Tennessee, the series chronicles the live of loves of Dallas Fortune.
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Billie Joe wasn’t all bad. That was part of the problem. All I had to do was hear his voice, feel the velvet softness of his lips…those strong arms wrapping around me…he became mine and no one else’s. We don’t have a relationship; we have an addiction to each other. I have to find the strength to break his spell, somehow…some way. Or, stay trapped in his web for the rest of my life.

The rain surrounds me in the form of a mist as I realize that I am standing in the driveway again, lost in dreams. Pulling the collar of my jacket around my neck to stop the chill, I walk to the back of the Cadillac again, just to check. We might be in the middle of nowhere in this valley but meth has made crime an epidemic. It gnaw at the fringes of our people. No one would steal the Cadillac out of respect for dad, but I’d had to threaten to shot a couple of boys trying to steal the tires and rims a few months ago. They were buzzed outta their minds. It’s a wonder they didn’t shot me, but they were just looking for something quick to steal and sell. One shot in the air and they ran like mice. They will steal an antique mandolin in a heartbeat. They ain’t getting Blue Belle. I probably would shot someone in order to save her.

Knowing the trunk is securely locked, I walk toward the front door of the little house. Before entering, I wipe my boots on the mat on the porch and shake my long, blonde hair to remove the moisture. Giving up, I finally wrap my hair into a makeshift ponytail and open the door. A wave of warmth and the smell of cinnamon greet me unexpectedly.

“Good afternoon, welcome. I am Ernesto Lorenze,” a friendly male voice says from the corner of the dark room. I look around to see a tall, dark haired guy pull himself upright from a chair seated behind an antique desk. 

Actually, his legs are so long it is as if he is unraveling himself from the desk and chair. That’s a long drink of water crosses my mind before I even have time to think. I feel a blush creep across my cheeks as I access his credentials, so to speak. He is young looking but possibly in his mid-30s. He is wearing some type of black top hat, dark shirt, and jeans. You have to wonder why he would want to cover those silky dark curls, which almost touch his shoulders. His eyes are a luscious black/brown too, with just enough spark when he smiles, which lets you know that he is fun and charming. Bet he smiles like that all the time, not just when he wants to take money from you for a card reading, but anytime. Anywhere. The dimples help with that assessment, too. The fortune teller is a gorgeous guy. How great is that? I feel excited about something for the first time in a long time. Surely THAT alone is an omen, but we shall see what we shall see.

The spell is momentarily broken when he sits down on the desk in front of me, crosses his arms, and furrows his dark brows. Is something wrong?

“An hour reading is 100 dollars. Half an hour only 50 dollars. What would you like today?” He looks at me and winks. Is he flirting with me? How unexpected. Why have I left the house with no make-up on?

Looking him in the eyes makes me wonder…What would I like today?

Hunter S. Jones creates artwork which in her own words is more interesting than anything else you will ever know or learn about me. She is an author and entertainment blogger who was born in Tennessee and now lives in Atlanta, GA.

She has been writing about the things she loves all her life. From indie rock rags in Nashville to publishing multiple articles on travel, fashion, history and art.

Since her debut novella in October 2012 she has published 6 more original works including her novel September Ends, a collaboration with a critically acclaimed, award winning English author and poet in the fall of 2013.

Her latest, Fortune Calling is being released January 30th, 2014.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

@ExplainResearch #Review "Wormholes" by Dennis Meredith

Wormholes by Dennis Meredith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Speculative Fiction
Reading Level: Adult (there is also a YA version available)
Recommended for: fans of speculative fiction
Trigger Warnings: mention of domestic violence in the past

My Thoughts: All in all, this is a fairly entertaining book. I'm no physicist, so I can't tell you how accurate the science is, but it seems plausible in a rather fantastical way.

The one complaint I had was the method the author used for exposition. He would have one character bring something up that he felt needed explanation and then have another character explain what it meant. The reason this bothered me is that some of the lack of knowledge shown by some of the characters is very unrealistic. For example, Dacey has a PhD (admittedly in Geology), but has no idea what a black hole is? I mean, come on, I know what a black hole is. So, essentially, unrealistic holes in characters' knowledge.

However, other than that I was highly entertained by the story. The characters are all well rounded and developed, and there is plenty of action to keep the reader engaged. If you enjoy speculative fiction, heavy on the science, definitely check this one out.

Disclosure: I received an e-galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Something is devouring Earth. . . 

A suburban house in Oklahoma vanishes into a roaring abyss. A supertanker at sea suffers a fiery destruction. A blast in China drills a gigantic cavern into a mountainside. A severed arm plummets from the sky in Missouri.

Could these catastrophes possibly be related? Intrepid geologist Dacey Livingstone is nearly killed by her first attempt to plumb the mystery—a perilous descent into a house-swallowing sinkhole. Still determined, she joins with eccentric physicist Gerald Meier in a quest that takes them from the ocean's depths to interstellar space.

What are these exotic "wormholes" that threaten Earth? Can their secrets be discovered, their power even harnessed? Or will they spawn a celestial monster that will annihilate the planet?

Brilliantly original, Wormholes reflects Albert Einstein's famous assertion that, "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Dangerous Depths

Dangerous Depths
Dangerous Depths by Karen Amanda Hooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Paranormal Romance
Reading Level: Older YA, younger NA
Recommended for: fans of YA/NA Paranormal romance, mermaid stories
Trigger Warnings: violence, mutilation

My Thoughts: Karen Amanda Hooper does something amazing. She writes romance stories that I actually enjoy. This particular book is less about the romance and more about the action, about going to Harte (pronounced “Har-tay”) to try to save Vienna, Rownan's wife, who—in desperation—traveled there 16 years ago trying to return to the Earth realm to be reunited with Rownan. A good part of the book is also about Yara learning about her new abilities and how to use them, as well as deepening the ties between her and Treygan.

At any rate, this is a highly enjoyable story. While the first one was definitely YA, this one is starting to move a bit more toward younger NA readers, but I think readers of all ages will enjoy this story. If you enjoy magical, romantic stories, definitely check this one out.

Series Information: The Sea Monster Memoirs
Book 1: Tangled Tides, review linked here
Book 2: Dangerous Depths
Book 3: Sacred Seas, available in 2014

Disclosure: I received an e-Galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.

The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Yara wants to bask in the glow of her budding relationship with Treygan and explore Medusa’s world, but as the new leader of Rathe her powers are needed to save a sea creature she’s never met. 

Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home to be reunited with his wife, Vienna, only to discover she’s gone. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte to find another gateway to Earth and was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he would go through hell to be with her, and now he must prove it. 

Rownan, Yara, and Treygan will put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of all. Love is supposed to conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

@JennCodyEpstein #Giveaway "Gods of Heavenly Punishment" (US/Canada)

Thanks to TLC Book Tours (full schedule here) for letting me give away one copy of this book. Here is some information about it:

Triumphant…Big, visceral, achingly humane." —Jennifer Egan

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan's New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm--an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi's old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo's prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi's journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.

You can learn more about the author at her blog or on Facebook. Please note this giveaway is only for people in the US or Canada. My apologies to my international followers; hopefully I'll feel ambitious enough to start up international giveaways soon! Please note: the Rafflecopter form is not working currently. If you cannot enter via the Rafflecopter, please leave your e-mail address in the comments and I'll pick a winner that way. My apologies.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review can also be seen here.

Disclosure: Read in Dec. 2011 from a copy received from Amazon Vine.

My Synopsis: Wade - known in the OASIS as Parzival - like many of the people in his future society, spends most of his time immersed in the virtual-reality, on-line world known as the OASIS. Created by a brilliant but eccentric man, who was obsessed with the culture of the 1980s (as well as the 1970s and 1990s) named James Halliday, OASIS helps modern people forget the misery of their poverty-stricken lives in a world where energy sources are so rare and expensive that many people can't even afford to go to a job if they are lucky enough to have one. When Halliday dies and wills his entire fortune, and the control of the OASIS, to whomever manages to find a hidden Easter Egg inside OASIS, a fierce competition arises, leading to dangers that Wade couldn't possibly have imagined. Will he be able to solve the puzzles to find the clues to reach the end? Will he even manage to survive that long?

My Thoughts: I was about half afraid that this book would be so full of obscure, 1980s pop culture references that the average person wouldn't have a clue - being a child of the 80s myself, I wasn't too worried about it, personally, but I could see where it could be a problem. While it is true that there are some rather obscure references, for the most part they are explained enough so that pretty much anyone can enjoy and understand them. The evolution of Wade and his budding friendships with Art3mis and Aech made for fascinating reading, as did the intricate puzzles that were created to stump the players. I can definitely recommend this book for almost anyone.

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@ValerieDouglasA @TheFinishingFae #Excerpt "The Coming Storm" by Valerie Douglas


Welcome to Valerie Douglas' The Coming Storm Blog tour.  Check back to The Finishing Fairies daily to find out where she'll appear next.


Excerpt from The Coming Storm

The orcs, those monstrous, bear-like things with their oddly hinged jaws were more than his small party could face, particularly Iric and Mortan. Despite their protest, he and the two other elves had taken their watch this night. In the end, both men had to admit they were too weary to be useful. What tricks men used to stay alert had long since worn off. They were completely exhausted, and both now slept deeply.

Alic gestured a warning and Colath tensed.

They’d had many nights like these, startled into alertness by some sign or strange noise. Once they’d had to kill a basilisk looking for a temporary den. Alic had been caught and frozen, to his shame, before the glare in those eyes.

That was the basilisk’s magic, their method for capturing their prey.

No shame to him, though, as basilisks here were as common as salamanders – that is, not common at all. They were southeastern creatures.

Then Colath caught the scent of what alarmed Alic, a faint stinging in his nostrils. A boggart or boggarts, and near. He nudged Jalila gently. She rolled over, instantly aware and awake.

The two men were so deeply asleep they dared not nudge them to consciousness for fear they would cry out. As cruel as it was, it was still much better to press a hand over their mouths and frighten them awake than it was to risk an outcry. He nodded to Jalila to wake Iric, while he went to Mortan.

Mortan bucked beneath his hand, but then his eyes opened enough to see Colath’s face in the dim glow cast by elf-light. Abruptly, he subsided, but he looked more alert than he had in several days, the little bit of sleep and fright charging him with energy. It wouldn’t last, Colath knew, beyond a few hours. He hoped it would be enough.

Tapping his sword, he drew it, so the two men could see it. Nodding, they drew their own.

Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.

Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.

To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

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A Convocation of Kings (The Coming Storm, #2)
 (The Coming Storm, #3 (Novella))
 (The Coming Storm, #4(Novella))


valerie-douglas-001Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

You can find more information at Valerie Douglas Books, or at Alexandria Publishing Group.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

@matthews_mark #Review "On the Lips of Children" by Mark Matthews

On the Lips of Children review
Author: Mark Matthews
4 out of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Literary Dark Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of dark fiction
Trigger Warnings: murder, mutilation, cannibalization, cutting (self-injury), reported death of a child, danger to babies, kidnapping

My Thoughts: This is a very twisted book. Dante's behavior due to the excessive drug use and his constant talk about needing to take people's faces off to see who they really are made me think of that movie Face-Off. I also have to wonder why, after seeing what meth and salts do to other people, anyone would even want to try the stuff.

There are some typos. Most consistently, “feint” is used instead of “faint”, and “taught” instead of “taut”, but I noticed others as well. The copy I had was an ARC; the typos were corrected in the final copy.

This is not quite horror, although the ending is left vague enough that you could imagine it so if you wished. The main characters, Macon and Erin, are both adrenaline junkies, into tattooing and running. I know this author is a runner, so it's obvious he writes what he knows. Fans of dark fiction should find this an interesting read, but keep in mind there is a lot of rather nasty gore, so more sensitive readers should beware.

Disclosure: I received an e-book copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man.

He's planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.

During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn't imagine: skinning unsuspecting victims for food and money.

And Macon, and his family, are next.