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Cover Reveal: Monsters & Angels

 

Monsters & Angels
Anne Marie Andrus
Publication date: October 2017
Genres: Historical, New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Fledgling nurse Sorcha Alden knew she had the skills to save lives, but she never dreamed that her own life would be the one in danger.

Driven by tragedy to honor her family name, Sorcha embarks on a journey that takes her from the bleak but familiar streets of New York, through the sultry and seductive city of New Orleans, and into the brutal jungles of Nepal. Forging friendships and carrying on her mother’s mission of healing was her dream. Plunging into a love affair with the mysterious Dr. Ashayle could have been a fairytale.

Being murdered and waking up as a blood-thirsty monster—became her living nightmare.

Torn away form a life that had just begun, Sorcha returns to New Orleans as a newborn vampire, forced to start over in a cutthroat underworld of devilry and decadence. Complicated politics, bitter rivals and jealous ancestors stand between her and the promises she’s still determined to keep.

In a realm where the boundary between good and evil is as murky as the Mississippi River and immortal does not mean invincible, will Sorcha ever risk her shattered heart and love again? Can the magical harmony of the Crescent City give her enough courage to fulfill her eternal destiny?

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Anne Marie has been an equestrienne, chorale singer, candy-striper, EMT, and baseball fan. Roaming the back roads of New Jersey with her family, she found great respect for antiques, historical locations and the stories they hold. Her current list of

favorite pastimes include coffee, bourbon, and Les Miserables–which requires more bourbon. She has been known to attend sporting events just for the flyover. The boat she and her husband christened Glory Days, is her escape from the chaos of everyday life.

The inspiration for Anne Marie’s debut novel, Monsters & Angels, is her fascination with vampires and her passion for everything New Orleans. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working nights with the critical care team in a busy trauma center.

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My Lady Jane: Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just a Little HO(A)RSE

bookreview

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)My Lady Jane
(The Lady Janies #1)
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
491 Pages
Historical / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance
HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: super entertaining; these characters are vibrantly different and yet still familiar; the humor in this is SPOT ON; LOVED the narrators, they helped to both bridge the gap and break the wall down; intriguing, unique premise to the “magical” aspects

If I could brew snark and put a stopper in satire, this book would be at the tippity top of my favorites list. Seriously, the level of personality JUST in the narrators alone was consistently sending me into fits of giggles. They (the narrators, not the giggle fits) helped to both bridge the gap between reader and characters…and also, somehow, build up the wall at the same time? I’m not sure if that even makes sense as an explanation. While they were fairly transparent with their chronicling of the events, they also made it very apparent how unreliable they could be. By this, I mean they often led us, the readers, onto hidden and treacherous paths toward what we thought, at the time, was disappointment…only to totally change directions halfway through and surprise us entirely. Basically, this whole journey was a mess of chaos, scattered thoughts, and pitter-pattery heartbeats–and I adored every single moment!

 

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The characters are also just as vibrantly written, with their own distinct flairs and personalities. I found myself falling in love with and then loathing them each in turn, though for varying reasons (some of which are due to those pesky flighty romance butterflies. Seriously, this is a roMESS from start to finish!) While each character is uniquely written, they also (at least, in certain instances) maintain a semblance of the real-life historical figures they’re based upon. This both entertained me throughout, and made placing the characters/their relationships to each other slightly easier in the middle of the messiest bits. (Don’t worry, Penguins–mess is a good thing in this instance!)

 

This plot is fast-paced and filled with the type of satirical snark I’ve been DYING to read for ages now, but have been unable to find of late. There were so many moments I found myself piecing things together only to laugh out loud at the brilliance behind the implications (the play on horse and steed, especially, was almost too much for my poor ribs!) While it is obvious this isn’t true to actual historical events (or, at least, such events have been altered to better fit the magic of this world) I really enjoyed the creativity and fun that the authors brought to this tale.
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I am just SO glad I made time for this book this month–I should have read it eons ago, honestly! The characters are witty and vibrant, the satirical snark is top-notch, and the plot is super entertaining. I recommend this to lovers of historical satires, delicious word-play, and journeys that quite literally RETELL history! Breathe deeply, Penguins; what beastly form will you take when the light flares?

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Fall in One Day: These Characters Read a Lot Younger to Me

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Fall in One DayFall in One Day
by Craig Terlson
327 Pages
YA / Historical
Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

In the summer of 1973, fifteen-year-old Joe Beck lives in a small Canadian city near the U.S. border where he watches dark-suited politicians lie on TV during something called Watergate. So when his best friend Brian goes missing, Joe has a hard time believing that adults ever tell the truth.

Joe learns that Brian left town with his father after Brian’s mother ended up in the hospital. He listens to the news reports for information, but nothing is being said. Eventually, Joe launches his own investigation, using a tape recorder—just like the American president—to help sift through the clues. Feeling that everything is up to him, Joe embarks on a perilous and enlightening journey to decipher a mental institution diary full of secrets about a drug called LSD, and uncover the truth about Brian’s father and save his best friend.

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3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: I seriously thought Joe was younger than he is for, like…this whole read, which was problematic; interesting, suspenseful read; there are some intriguing, if not a little bit confusing, tangents woven throughout; Joe’s brain is a mess of confusion and teenager angst and humor

Huge thanks to Craig Terlson, Blue Moon Publishers, and Netgalley for sending me a free digital galley of this read in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

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I have to start with admitting I went into this read putting emphasis on the wrong words for this title. It wasn’t until I stumbled across the title in the text (thankfully not long after starting this read) that I realized the error of my ways…and then totally understood how brilliant this title actually is. Seriously, once the whole emphasis thing was figured out…everything with the title fell into place, and made such better sense for me.

 

I also have to admit I thought, through the entirety of this read, that Joe was a WHOLE LOT younger than it turns out he is. See, I have this habit of not actually reading a book’s blurb–I’ll skim over it to see if it sounds like something I’d be interested in, but I pretty much forget everything about the blurb after deciding to pick a book up. Which means that Joe, in this book, came off a whole lot more like 12 or 13…and not the apparent 15 he actually is. Which, in my opinion, is problematic. I’m not sure if it’s the way he was written, or if I just stumbled upon this assumption by mistake, but Joe came off a lot more immature than I think a 15 year old actually would–there were moments I found myself wondering if he was actually 10, honestly, and I can’t convince myself of the truth now, thinking back on the read.

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Regardless of the weird age thing, this was an entertaining and intriguing read. We’re given such a complex, confusing glimpse into Joe’s head–I felt as if I was actually living in one of the darkest, deepest corners of his mind! To watch him react to and interact with his friend going missing, and the whole “crazy father” thing, was gut-wrenching and nail-bitingly realistic. I did feel he was a bit naive to the world yet…and the fact his friend seemed equally young didn’t help. The parents seemed to be babying them, on top of it, which only helped to confuse me further. This is also a pretty “subversive” read–there are a lot of twisty, curvy trails of tangents and plot lines that don’t seem to lead anywhere…and yet, somehow, add to the story nonetheless.

 

Overall, this was an interesting–if not a little confusing–read. While Joe and the rest of the characters his age felt more like 10 year olds than 15, their reactions to the world were entertaining and, at times, humorous. I’d recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, mystery/thrillers, and complexly written characters. Grab your jackets, Penguins; fall is coming.

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The Duchess’s Descendants: I am Head Over BEAK for Jordinia!

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The Duchess's Descendants (Jordinia #3)The Duchess’s Descendants
(Jordinia:  Book 3)
by C.K. Brooke

Fantasy / Romance / Historical
285 Pages
48fourteen Publishing
Publication Date:  June 19th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

The next generation. A new adventure…

Over three decades have passed since the Ducelle Empire reclaimed the land, and Jordinia has never prospered more. When the Emperor negotiates a treaty among neighboring nations, Jordinia is awarded an archipelago of islands in the north. With intentions to colonize, His Majesty enlists his two underachieving nephews on an expedition to chart the wilderness.

Reclusive Ludwig has his violin and no desire to travel, while his charismatic brother Drew is seduced by the grandeur of making history…and money. Desperate to flee a secret scandal of her own, their sister Johanna insists upon accompanying them. With a team of soldiers – including longtime friend and royal guardsman, Bram Visigoth – the Cosmith siblings set off to conquer their uncle’s newly-acquired territory.

From an icy shipwreck to precarious encounters with the native inhabitants, almost nothing goes as planned in this fast-paced comedy of errors teeming with humor, fantasy and plenty of romance. Prepare to fall in love with Jordinia all over again!

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See my reviews for the previous books in this series:

The Duchess Quest (Jordinia #1)  The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia #2)

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: aaaaaaah, I adore this series!; a new cast of unique, complex, well-rounded characters to love; political intrigue and subtle morals; awesome, entertaining action; I love the way C.K. Brooke writes about love (scratch that. I love the way C.K. Brooke writes, period)

Huge thanks to C.K. Brooke and 48fourteen Publishing for sending me an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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C.K. Brooke has knocked it out of the park for me again with this return to Jordinia. I swear, each time I hear there’ll be a new book in this series, my penguin heart flutters a little bit harder–it sounds unhealthy, sure, but oh my goodness, I ADORE everything about this series, and can honestly admit this is my favorite fantasy series to date. Seriously, the world of Jordinia is ripe with adventure, political intrigue, and humongous personalities–and I love rediscovering every nook and cranny with each book!

 

I really enjoyed that we were given more glimpse into the family dynamics for this particular read. The focus on their relationships, their interactions and reactions, made this read pure gold for me. While they separated throughout and chapters were interspersed with alternating POVs, a large chunk of the story remained on the siblings and their “growth”–both together and apart–throughout this journey into the unknown.

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As always, C.K. Brooke has written a series of complex, realistic, and believable romances–and I adored every single one of them! I was a bit worried near the 90% mark that one of the couples I’d been rooting for from the start wasn’t destined to work out…but was, pleasantly, wrong. The ending is adorable, and while I feel this read might have been a smidge shorter than the other books in this series, it’s just as beautifully written and just as entertaining as the others.

I am head-over-beak in LOVE with Jordinia and every character we’ve been introduced to! The romances are realistic and butterfly-inducing, if not a little bit roMESSy at times. The plot is fast-paced and filled with delicious political intrigue/moral conflicts. All-in-all, I devour every book C.K. Brooke puts in front of me…and feel more readers should do the same! I’d recommend this series to lovers of fantasy, flawed but redeemable characters, and snark (because there’s a lot of that in C.K. Brooke’s novels). Set sail for Jordinia with me, penguins; it’s a wild ride, but I promise you’ll love every minute!

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Rise of Princes

 

Rise of Princes
(Homeric Chronicles, #2)

by Janell Rhiannon
Publication date: May 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical

In the Song of Princes, the western Greek world is set afire by the brazen escape of Helen of Sparta with Paris, the Forgotten Prince of Troy. As their ship plows east across the Aegean, the Great War trails close behind them. Not even the gods could silence the thundering shields and singing arrows following the lovers back to Troy.

In Rise of Princes, Agamemnon and his horde lay siege to Trojan allies for nearly nine years, but it is Achilles, the Golden Warrior, who brutally ravages the Troad lands becoming the Sacker of Cities. His fierce onslaught prompts the gods to intervene on behalf of the Trojans and their allies. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty and patroness of Troy, sends the Princess Briseis to calm the bloody fury of Achilles.

Hektor, the Golden Prince, leads the Trojan army against the western invaders, keeping Troy safe behind the Great Wall. As Defender of the Citadel, he grants sanctuary to thousands of refugees seeking safety from the death and destruction sweeping the land. Behind the solidarity of the royal family, tensions over the continued presence of Helen of Sparta threaten to topple the empire. When the fate of Troy appears most grim, a ray of hope is offered by a new prophesy. Despite his private losses, Hektor vows to remain the strength his people need.

Across the Aegean, the Greek kingdoms struggle with disturbing news from Troy. Queen Clytemnestra of Mycenae, reeling from Agamemnon’s ruthless betrayal, loses faith in the gods and plots her revenge. Queen Penelope of Ithaka, young and uncertain, prays to Athena for her husband’s swift return. And Tyndareus, the former king of Sparta, works to usurp Menelaus’ throne.

Trojans and Greeks face heartbreak as the war, sparked by the vanity and greed of men, continues with no end in sight.

Goodreads / Amazon

FREE for a limited time only!

You can also grab a copy of book 1 – Song of Princes – for FREE on Janell’s website here!

EXCERPT:

The battle cry, a thunderous roar of thousands, carried on the wind, warning the people of Methymna that death was coming for them. Those seeking safety within the city walls waited far from the gore upon the ramparts. From high above, fear gripped their bones and souls as they watched the soldiers with Black Shields move through their army like a plague. It was impossible to ignore the warrior-god, standing tall among his men, gleaming golden and ferocious in Apollo’s light. His menacing sword slashed flesh and cracked bones and split heads with every stroke; behind him, bodies fell like broken flowers crushed by a beast in the field. As the western tribes lay waste to the Methymnaan army, the princess pulled the pin from the knot holding the gate’s massive latch in place. The devastation could now consume the city for lust and gold and geras untold.

Achilles stood amidst the carnage, blood dripping from his arms and face, as his eyes locked on the commander of the enemy. He watched as Hypsipylos smashed his blade and rammed his shield against his foes; he stood almost as tall as Achilles and almost as broad.

A worthy opponent and a good day for the Methymnaan commander to die. The Golden Warrior’s roar rose above the din of battle and Hypsipylos turned, knowing instinctively who challenged him in mutual combat. He plunged his sword deep into an invader’s chest, pulled it free with fresh blood dripping down the blade, and bore down on Achilles like an enraged bull catching the scent of an enemy afield.

The mighty warriors clashed. Shield against shield, blade against blade, Achilles and Hypsipylos unleashed their fury on each other. Dust clouded around them like a swirling storm. The harsh scraping of metal on metal sang through the air. Citizens from above watched in fascinated horror, while men on the battlefield ceased their fighting and circled the combating champions. The warrior-god of the west arched his sword in a flash of silver, smashing the pommel into Hypsipylos’ cheek. The Methymnaan hero stumbled back, dropping his shield guard momentarily. Achilles, lunging forward, used his shield as a battering ram and smashed its edge into Hypsipylos’ shoulder. The dark hero’s sword arm faltered with the blow. Achilles moved in for the kill with the strength and skill of a lion.

At last Achilles’ blade, glinting cruelly in Apollo’s light, caught the enemy’s exposed chest and slashed ferociously through Hypsipylos’ armor. The gash split his chest open, spilling his guts and blood on the ground. The commander of the Methymnaan army fell hard on his knees in the dirt, kneeling awkwardly at Achilles’ feet. He gasped as dark red blood oozed from the corners of his mouth down his chin and neck. “My city … Peisidike …”

Achilles sneered down at the dying commander. “That whore gave up your city.”

“No …” He grimaced, stiffened, and then fell over, blood still welling up from his throat and spilling through his open mouth. His dead eyes stared at nothing.

A mighty cheer rose among the united Greeks. The enemy turned to retreat, finding escape impossible. Achilles wiped the muck of blood and dirt from his blade. The fighting left his throat parched, so he spat. The bodies of his enemy lay heaped around him. The entire city lay slaughtered and scattered in the dust.

 

Author Bio:

Janell always had her nose in a book, reading by flashlight when it was “lights out” time. Her love of reading turned to a curiosity about writing. She now writes in all the spare moments she can squeeze out of a day. She also writes fiction and fantasy with some romantic spice for good measure. Janell adores Mythology and Fantasy. Anything magical and mystical. And dragons. And gargoyles. Her guiding motto: “I tell stories, not genres.”

She currently lives in CA.

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, Teasers, and Giveaway: Incense and Peppermints

 

iapIncense and Peppermints
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary
ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an
unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only
the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

Goodreads / Amazon

ip2Multi-ethnic hippie friends in a minivan on a road trip

EXCERPT:

September 1969

The corners of my bedroom had dulled to a muddy gray by the time my brother leaned on, or rather wobbled against, my door. His glassy eyes floated in their sockets. Stoned, again.

“Whatcha doing, Sis?” Stevie, my older brother slurred.

My gaze slipped over his pasty chest, sprinkled with wiry hair, and past his jockeys
to his stick-like legs. Did he realize he was only wearing saggy underwear? Normally, I’d say gross and mock him, but only because he normally treated me like a speck of toe scum.

“Nothing much.” I slipped my diary into my sock drawer, away from prying eyes. Our
parents weren’t home, and our little sister was asleep in her crib on the other side of my room.

“You need to grow up,” he said. “Here, it’s party time.” Pinched between his thumb
and finger, he revealed an ordinary aspirin as if he’d procured the magic solution.

“Uh… I don’t have a headache.”

“Hey, turd. It’s not an aspirin. Stop the nerd act and get with the program. Grow up.”

Our sibling behavior toppled into the belittling and ridiculing stage. Though I figured
it was his way of helping me. Yet, staring at the pill, I was interested, but a hootenanny of cymbals clashed inside my head and my sensible side screamed.

You’ll puke! I hate puking. Wasn’t it only last week Stevie was tripping and heaving guts like a water hose?

Shaking my head, I declined his kind and strange offer and tried using simple logic to get rid of him. “Not tonight. Mom and Dad will be home any minute. Go to bed. It’s
late.”

“They’ll be so-o plastered. I can’t stand them like that.” Dejected, his shoulders
slouched, and his body seemed to deflate. Until he tossed the pill, saying, “Catch.”

incense-and-peppermints-girl-meditatingFashion portrait of young hippie woman in summer sunny day

 

cathrinaAuthor Bio:

Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador
Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black
Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Awakening

AwakeningBloodlineTourBanner.png

 

 

awakeningAwakening: Bloodline Book One
by Tiera Rice
Publication date: October 12th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

Antanasia knows better than anyone that being royal comes with lots of expectations. Born into war as a Vampyre Witch, she has to battle the ultimate enemy: her own blood. When she has a terrifying Vision, Antanasia fights harder than ever to prevent it from coming to pass. Will she succeed? Or does she die trying?

Nadia is an average teenager celebrating her nineteenth birthday. But her day turns upside down when she starts developing unusual abilities that make her question everything she knew. Searching for answers to her predicament, she finds herself trusting Nicolae, a stranger with a familiar presence. Why does she feel so drawn to him? Will Nadia find answers to the questions about her past and take on her new role willingly? Or will she choose to remain in the dark and deny her destiny?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

 

tieraAuthor Bio:

Tiera Rice was raised in Rockland County, New York and is a realtor in Rockland, Westchester, and Orange Counties. She earned her degree in criminal justice from
Temple University, is the founder of Laughter and Lemonade: a project that focuses on motivational posters for those experiencing a chronic illness, and co-founder of #26forTiera: a foundation that provides financial resources to single parents battling life-threatening illnesses.

A creator of poems and short-stories for many years, Tiera challenged herself by
leaping into the world of novels. Having recently survived a battle with cancer, Tiera
decided to use her writing to entertain and motivate her readers. When not writing or
selling houses, Tiera can be found spending time with her friends and family, especially her young daughter, fish, and kitty cat. Her other interests include singing, drawing, and dancing.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

 

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bookreview

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: exciting, unique adventure; love the dual-perspectives/time shifts; Nadia had some unfortunate immature reactions that made it hard to connect with her for me; realistic, mostly-believable characters and relationships; just a few weird plot-holes

Huge thanks to Tiera Rice, Eula Rae Printing & Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for providing me with a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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This was a fun, entertaining read–and that cover is GORGEOUS! I love how the cover reflects the dual perspectives/time jumps we have happening within these pages–even the color differences, while maintaining the same tone, lend a sense of personality to the book. Covers like this one are the reason I breathe, penguins–there’s so much detail to digest and ponder over!

I was just a tiny bit disappointed in the world-building of this book. I feel like a LOT of things happen in quite a short period of time, and that left me feeling a little dizzy in the end. There were a lot of questions I found myself asking that were never really answered for me. I feel like we spent so much time focused on our main duo and their personal feelings, and not enough learning about the worlds surrounding them both. I felt, at times, that the author mentioned certain aspects of the world…but never really gave them time to develop or be explored. For instance…why is it only AFTER the ceremony that Antanasia can feed upon animals? What about the world or their biology makes this happen? The ending of this read was also a bit vague and confusing–I found myself unsure of what had just happened, and confused about what to think.

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The characters, for the most part, were believable and intriguing…though Nadia had several unfortunate “immature” moments that made it hard for me, personally, to connect with her as a character. By this, I mean she had a tendency to overreact and overdramatize. In another character, this might have worked…but for Nadia, who seems overall pretty clear-headed and well-grounded, it was a bit of a shock. It also felt as if these moments might have been part of a ploy to keep the plot moving forward, though I might be wrong about that.

Still, this was an entertaining read with plenty of snark and sass to go around! I’m curious about the world and these characters, and will be waiting for book two to see if any of my answers/curiosities are cleared up. The characters are fairly believable, the read was quick and full of action, and I can’t wait to see what the next installment promises for us readers! I’d recommend this to lovers of: all things vampire, dual-perspectives/time jumps, and snarky characters. Pull your hood down and take a sip, penguins; let the battle begin!

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: Lords of Love and Legends

From USA Today Bestselling and
National Award-winning Authors
Allie Mackay, Brenda Jernigan and Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Four magical tales of timeless desire

Cover

LORDS OF LOVE AND LEGENDS

Allie Mackay, Brenda Jernigan, Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish Romance, Regency Romance
Series: Legends Series, Book 2
Publisher: Scott Publishing
Publication Date: January 9, 2017

Add to Goodreads

Lords of Love and Legends introduces you to lords and ladies who live and love in a world of magic and enchantment. The long ago days we dream about is their reality. In this collection, our heroes and heroines will take you there. Along the way, you’ll see them meet and fall in love, and you’ll share their happy-ever-after ending.

We’d like to thank you for joining them. We’ll leave the page here so they can whisk you away.

Teaser

USA Today Bestselling and National Award-winning Authors Sue-Ellen Welfonder (aka Allie Mackay) and Brenda Jernigan sweep you into a long ago world of breathtaking passion and adventure where myth and legend was real, danger abounded, and lords and ladies risked everything for love!

Winter Fire by Sue-Ellen Welfonder… When a Highland lass meets a dashing stranger in an enchanted place, she gladly gives her heart – and her passion – to the lover she only knows as the Lord of Winter.

The Duke’s Lady by Brenda Jernigan… If you yearn for classic romance with noblemen, ladies, and intrigue, complete with a magnificent Cornish setting, this is your tale…

Some Like It Kilted by Allie Mackay… A legendary Highland chieftain and a modern American woman aren’t prepared for the passion that flares between them, or the ancient secrets that would tear them apart.

The Wicked Lady by Brenda Jernigan… If you like humor and a fun-filled read…this one is for you… When Trevor Claremont is blind-sided by a pickpocket, he isn’t prepared for the feisty redhead who he finds is one wicked lady.  Treat yourself to hours of reading enjoyment with this beautiful collection of unforgettable romance!

Purchase Links:

Grab your copy today. Lords of Love and Legends is available at:

Amazon

Giveaway

WIN
$10 Amazon Gift Card + eBook of Lords of Love and Legends!

Click here to join the contest now!

About the Authors

Allie Mackay

“Mackay is a master at penning magical tales of love across the ages.”
~ Fresh Fiction

Allie Mackay is the pseudonym for USA Today bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder who won Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award for her debut title, Devil in a Kilt. Many of her books have been RT Award nominees, and most have received RT Top Picks and K.I.S.S. Hero Awards. She is thrilled to be an Amazon All-Star Author, and a winner of InD’Tale’s RONE Award. Her favorite reader compliment is that her stories transport them to medieval Scotland, the setting of most of her books. She has three grand passions: Scotland, the paranormal, and animals. All can be found in her fun and sexy, light-hearted paranormal romances.

Brenda Jernigan

“Brenda Jernigan writes Romance, Adventure and Magic.”
~ Publisher’s Weekly

Brenda Jernigan is a Bestselling Author. Her books have been nominated for many awards – Book Seller’s Best Award, The Maggie Award, and The Holt Medallion Award. She grew up living the life of a tomboy – climbing trees, playing ball, and excluding starry-eyed romance from her daily repertoire.  Brenda discovered the love for books while taking her son to Story Hour at the local library – she was hooked.   She figured having the same birthday as Ernest Hemingway couldn’t hurt.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder

“Sue-Ellen Welfonder brings legends and love to life.”
~ Fresh Fiction

USA Today bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder won Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award for her debut title, Devil in a Kilt. Many of her books have been RT Award nominees, and have received RT Top Picks and K.I.S.S. Hero Awards. She is thrilled to be an Amazon All-Star Author, and a winner of InD’Tale’s RONE Award. Her favorite reader compliment is that her stories transport them to medieval Scotland, the setting of most of her books. She is also known for her strong heroines, Alpha heroes, and weaving Highland magic and humor into her tales.

Sue-Ellen also writes as Allie Mackay, penning contemporary paranormals, mostly set in the Scottish Highlands

Visit the author’s official websites
Allie Mackay: http://www.alliemackay.com
Brenda Jernigan: http://www.brendajbooks.com
Sue-Ellen Welfonder: http://www.welfonder.com/

Follow the authors on social media
Brenda Jernigan: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon| Goodreads
Sue-Ellen Welfonder: Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour. Ongoing till January 26, 2017.

Get tidbits, excerpts and other interesting, never before published articles about the book. Click here for the latest tour schedule.


bookreview

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: adorably cute, steamy romances; historical fiction AND ghosts; a ton of snark, fun, and quirk; these characters leap off the pages; I’ve branched out again, it seems; the butterflies are strong with this read; realistic, believable romances

Huge thanks to Brenda Jernigan and Sue-Ellen Welfonder/Allie MacKay; Scott Publishing; and Book Unleashed for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way changed my read of or opinions on this book.

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As I’m sure you’ve all noted, I’m not usually big on historical romances. I mean, I love romance, and I love historical fiction, so why I haven’t dipped my toes into this genre more is beyond me–I guess it comes down to the whole, “too much to read, not nearly enough time” thing. Having read this collection of novels, though… I think it’s safe to say I’m branching out yet again.

These stories are FILLED with all the good stuff–historical fiction, a slight tinge of the paranormal, steamy romances and action-filled plots. The relationships are believable and realistic. I found myself rooting for every couple, despite the different hardships and scenarios they faced. Together or apart, these characters were vibrant and leaped off the pages–bringing their personalities and complex quirks with them.

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I really enjoyed just how easy it was to settle into each story, as well. The authors know how to weave their words to draw a reader in and keep them enthralled, while still maintaining a suspension of disbelief that will leave you breathlessly anticipating every new page. There’s also a fun element of surprise–I went into each novel “blind,” and not knowing what to expect only helped me to enjoy the journey that much more. The snark ebbs and flows with the characters’ emotions, the humor was chuckle-inducing, and the butterflies! The butterflies were large and in charge for the entirety of this read.

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this collection of novels, and will from here out probably be picking up more historical romances like these. These authors made this journey snark-filled, action-driven, and super steamy…and I cannot wait to pick up more of their works in the future. I recommend this collection to lovers of realistic romances, plots with just a hint of paranormal, and vibrantly written characters. Take a walk on the historical side, penguins; you might be surprised by what awaits you!

In partnership with

Book Unleashed

4

The Last Valentine: Love Letters with a Side of Murder/Mystery

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The Last Valentine

When Olivia Villalobos finds a bloodstained love letter she endeavors to deliver it before Chief Inspector Sedeño finds it in her possession.

A city along the southern coast of Puerto Rico emerges in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Olivia, daughter of a drunkard police investigator who never knew the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, finds a bloodstained love letter in the hidden compartment of her father’s coat. Convinced it belonged to the man recently found dead she sets out to deliver it to the Labyrinth of Love Letters. A mysterious place believed to be an urban legend where the transients of forbidden love leave missives for one another. She enlists the help of Isaac Quintero to find the Labyrinth and they soon realize their quest has opened the door into Old Sienna’s darkest secrets—the perils, madness and depth of tragic love.

Romance/Murder/Mystery
241 Pages
ForeverPoetic Publishing
Expected Publication Date: February 13th, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

addtogoodreads

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: lots of purple prose and beautiful descriptions; there wasn’t much “plot” to this story; cliched, too-clean ending; I didn’t really connect with any of these characters, though I did empathize with a few; overall entertaining, question-evoking, and complex read

Huge thanks to Felix Alexander and BookTasters for sending me a free digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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First things first: this was an interesting, though not necessarily action-packed, read. What I mean is, I was super intrigued and held in pretty deep thrall…but I feel as if certain parts of this might have moved a bit slowly, all together. A lot of this book is internal monologues and ponderments; there is not overall a lot of dialogue. Which I suppose, in a sense, makes sense–these characters are, for all intents and purposes, romantics in their own rights…and therefore given to being lost in their own heads. But it does not, in the end, lend itself to action scenes or quite the right “mood” for what is meant. This read much more like an overreaching love-story, not what turned out to be a sort of murder/mystery.

The characters are intriguing and complex, but I didn’t find myself really “connecting” with any of them. Yes, I was able to empathize with and understand their motives…but I found I didn’t really care for them in the end. I wasn’t rooting for them, or holding my breath in anticipation, or fearing for their safety. I was sort of a neutral ground in the scope of this read–not really swayed or moved by the course of events. Even the characters who were meant to be HUGE in personality, fell a bit flat for me, unfortunately.

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I REALLY enjoyed the purple prose aspect, though. Seeing as Felix Alexander is a poet, I went into this read expecting gorgeous scene-setting and beautiful descriptors, and I was not disappointed in either of these aspects. The scenery, the world, the sounds and tastes–everything leaped to life around me as I read, helping to better “immerse” me in the book. Felix Alexander did a beautiful job painting this world for me.

I was, in the end, a bit disappointed with the ending. While I understand why it was done the way it is, it’s also…very cliche? in books like this, I feel–and in movies, as well. It also sort of took me by surprise, as I hadn’t seen that ending coming quite as soon as it did (or, it felt soon to me, given the way the characters had been described).

This was an enjoyably descriptive, though a bit plot-slow, read. I had a ton of fun following Olivia and Isaac on their journey; I had more fun being immersed in and awed by the scenery and world being built. I recommend this to lovers of old-world secrets, the consequences of forbidden love affairs, and murder/mysteries that feel more like long-winded romances. Felix Alexander penned a love letter around his readers; why don’t you pick it up and read?

3

A Review of Trick, by Natalia Jaster

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There is a rule amongst his kind: A jester doesn’t lie.

In the kingdom of Whimtany, Poet is renowned. He’s young and pretty, a lover of men and women. He performs for the court, kisses like a scoundrel, and mocks with a silver tongue.

Yet allow him this: It’s only the most cunning, most manipulative soul who can play the fool. For Poet guards a secret. One the Crown would shackle him for. One that he’ll risk everything to protect.

Alas, it will take more than clever words to deceive Princess Briar. Convinced that he’s juggling lies as well as verse, this righteous nuisance of a girl is determined to expose him.

But not all falsehoods are fiendish. Poet’s secret is delicate, binding the jester to the princess in an unlikely alliance . . . and kindling a breathless attraction, as alluring as it is forbidden.

*Mature YA: sexual content and language. Intended for readers 17 and older*

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5 Stars
Quick Reasons: life ruiner; diverse read; the prose is poetic and gorgeous; endearing, adorable, snarky characters; this read tackles a heavy-handed, emotional subject with sensitivity and care; realistic romance, very human situations/reactions; this book breaks you apart and puts you back together again a different reader

2016, you are slaying me with the reads this year. The husband told me just this morning I need to step away from the emotional for a bit—read something with less bite. I laughed at him, because that’s just silly—the best books are those with teeth, right? And this read? Serious teeth. I’ll be bearing the scars with pride for a while to come.

One revolution: my read crown of braids and his tousled brown bangs.

Two: my ruby belt and his ribboned bracelets.

Three: dexterity and tension.

Four: a coil wound tight.

The prose for this is absolutely gorgeous. I love that it fits with the time period, that it’s well-researched, that Poet’s sections are (as they should be) the most poetic and beautiful of the two perspectives. I love how clear and engaging the two voices are: they stand apart, yet meld together in a beautiful blend of opposites that works to both individualize the characters and bring them together all the same.

The world-building is also gorgeous, well-considered, and described so concisely I could see everything that was happening or being described. The fantasy elements blend in beautifully with the historically accurate period setting. Any questions the reader might come up with in one chapter are thoughtfully and decisively answered further on; every possible outcome is considered and woven like threads across a loom.

I would concede: Sometimes the simplest words had the sharpest teeth.

The characters are polar opposites…and yet so beautiful together. I know, I keep using that word—I’ll try to tamp down the gushing, but I swear, these characters leeched out of the pages and inked themselves across my heart. There’s no getting them out anytime soon—they’ll be there, lurking, for probably the rest of forever. Their stories—both separate and as a whole—clash and clang into a molten, smoldering pile of emotions that caught me up and dragged me along for the ride.

This book isn’t all angst and first-love butterflies, though, so take care: there are more heart-wrenching, emotionally-draining, heavy-handed subjects being tackled. There is a reason this read is rated for 17+, mature readers—and I don’t think that’s just due to the romance and language, though that’s a major part of it. This book will make you think. It will make you angry. It will make you rage, and hate the world, and question everything. I recommend not reading, if you’re not ready for such emotional upheaval. If you are ready: I promise, this read is so so worth it.

Father used to say that change took time, but he was wrong. It did not take any time at all to change me. The glimpse of a famly. A beautiful tale. A child’s tears. A confession. A wound. An honest opinion. A friend’s betrayal. One parent’s death and another’s embrace. A touch—an instant slapping you with its light and jolting you back, shaken and blinking. Those quick moments were what changed people.

What took time was accepting the change.

I really enjoyed stepping a bit out of my comfort zone and stepping into Natalia Jaster’s world of beauty for the first time. I already have another book by her waiting on my Kindle; I’ll hopefully be picking it up within the next month or so, because I can’t wait for her to break my heart and piece me back together again. I definitely suggest lovers of sordid, forbidden loves, royal angst, and poetic reads pick up this book. You’ll come out a different reader at the end of these pages; I recommend you take the leap and let this world break your fall!