Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson Review

I have been saving this review for a while. Thanks to Net Galley I was given an ARC of Mary E. Pearson’s new fantasy young adult novel, Kiss of Deception, which is the first installment in her new Remnant Chronicles series. I had never read anything by Pearson but based on the summary, I was quite intrigued.

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

 I cannot express how much I loved this book. I read it in March and I have been saving my review closer to its July 8th publication, but I cannot wait any longer. The main reason I love Kiss of Deception is the suspense of finding out who the assassin is and who the prince is. The story is told between alternating viewpoints of Lia, the assassin, and the prince. I was on the edge of my seat and I was constantly changing my guess. Don’t worry, the mystery is revealed in the first book. I can’t wait to see how this trilogy is going to play out. There is a cliffhanger ending, so be warned! I’m very sad to wait until the second installment, The Heart of Betrayal, in 2015 but I have been constantly recommending this book. I already had a list of library patrons who are eager to get their hands on it as well.  

Fans of The His Fair Assassins books by Robin LaFevers will love this trilogy! 

Head over to My Friends are Fiction to check out their LEGO cover of Kiss of Deception! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Robin LaFevers vs. Jeaniene Frost

Which ARC do I read first? 

I can't decided! 
Which title are you the most excited about? What other books are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Trending Book Titles: Lost Animals

This is a spotlight on certain nonfiction titles that have been trending very well in my library. 

Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record by Errol Fuller

A few months ago I noticed that majority of my titles on endangered animals were over 20 years old. I ordered a few recent one include Lost Animals. Most times with new books I will put them on display, but if the topic is too educational I immediately shelved. On impulse I decided to display Lost Animals. I'm excited to say that this title has become extremely popular!

I have only had it for 3 months, but it has checked out 10 times already. One patron even told me how much she enjoyed the book and was glad the library purchased it for our collection. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey

You know why I love June? Johanna Lindsey’s annual new book! You all know how much I love Johanna Lindsey, but in case you are new JL was the first romance writer I ever read. As a 13 year old she introduced love and passion in a sweeping story that carried me away. 14 years later and I am still hooked.

Last year, JL released her 50th book – One Heart to Win. I had been worried because her work had definitely entered into a downward slope. One Heart to Win gave me hope that the old JL was on her way back.

If you have never read a JL book, she has a mega saga based on the Malory-Anderson family. These characters are near and dear to my heart. Her newest book, Stormy Persuasion is the 11th installment in this series, but what made it so important was that the lead character of Judith is the daughter of the legendary Anthony and Roslynn from Tender Rebel. I worried how JL would handle this story, because Judy has been featured in many Maloy novels (along with her cousin Jacqueline aka Jack – daughter of James and Georgina). If you are a fan of JL and of the Malory-Anderson series, then you become attached to these characters.

I couldn’t wait for my library to process our copy of Stormy Persuasion so BF and I took a field trip to the bookstore. I will say that as I started reading, my hopes began to dwindle. The character of Judith did not stand out, the dialogue did not flow well, and the storyline wasn’t clear. Even though Stormy Persuasion had a rocky start, the chemistry between Judy and Nathan was there. As the story progressed this became clear and the characters became more of the main focus. JL put in a lot of backstory so a new reader could be caught up. There was also a lot of Jack, Judy’s sister like cousin. If you are a fan of Jack, JL sets up her story for the next installment.

Now back to Nathan and Judith. The dialogue was full of sweetness, humor, and plenty of steam. The novel takes a turn for the better about halfway through. It seemed like I was reading an old JL novel. One of my complaints about One Heart to Win was that JL completely skipped the sex scene. I’m glad to report that she fixes that issue in Stormy Persuasion.

Though it starts out a little rocky, Stormy Persuasion is another wonderful edition to Johanna Lindsey’s writing repertoire. If you are a fan of the Malory-Anderson series then you will enjoy seeing all the old characters up to their antics.  If you are new to JL, then I would suggest either Tender Rebel (#2) or A Gentle Rogue (#3). 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Movie Review: Don Jon

Instead of making a dent in the tons of ARCs and TBR books I have piling up, I decided to watch a few more movies. I finally got around to watching 12 Years a Slave. Heartbreaking, yes. Something to write home about? Eh, not really. All the actors did wonderful jobs, especially Lupita Nyong'o, but I thought the scenes were too rushed.

Since I rarely watch movies, it is a pretty big deal if I get to two a month…much less two in one day. After 12 Years a Slave, I turned on Netflix, hoping to catch an episode or two of some 30 minute comedy before I went to bed. On an impulse did I select the movie, Don Jon, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and directed the film.

I originally saw the trailer when I was going through my “Joseph Gordon-Levitt” phase, which preceded my current “Tom Hiddleston” phase. I thought the movie looked pretty decent and I made a mental note to eventually watch it. I thought maybe I would watch about 30 minutes before I went to bed. I ended up watching the whole movie in one sitting! I don’t know if it was the Jersey accents or just Joseph’s pretty face but there was no way I was turning off this movie.

Let me back up and give you a little backstory. Jon is a player – his life is full of one night stands. He has no desire to settle down because he could never find a girl that meets his expectations – in the bedroom. Jon is addicted to porn – he would never admit it though. Porn has given him these larger than life expectations about sex. Enter Scarlett Johansson’s character of Barbara. Jon instantly falls for the New Jersey beauty but there is a slight problem – she will not tolerate porn. Now Jon must decide what is more important his beautiful girlfriend or porn.

I was also surprised to find that Julianne Moore starred in the film. She always seems to pop up where I least expect her. She plays a returning college student who befriends Jon in their night class, which Barbara has encouraged him to enroll him. She gave a stirring performance as did all the other actors. I’m enthralled by New Jersey accents (though I can proudly say that I have never seen an episode of Jersey Shore!) so I was in hog heaven with Don Jon.

If you have the time, I would give Don Jon a chance. Joseph Gordon-Levitt creates a believable and pretty loveable character. The supporting actors give stellar performances, including Tony Danza, who plays Jon’s father.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Goddess Born Spotlight

Goddess Born Tour

Goddess Born

Pennsylvania, 1730
goddess born cover
Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?

2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer
Set in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1730, this riveting novel begins as 18-year-old Selah Kilbrid runs into Quaker minister Nathan Crowley, a man who “labor[ed] under the delusion that [Selah] would soon be his wife” despite the fact that she was betrothed to a man on his way to America from Ireland. Nathan tells Selah that if she refuses him, he will have her “charged as a witch” because of her ability to heal the sick. To avoid Nathan’s plan to marry her the following Sunday, she leaves for Philadelphia to wait for the arrival of her betrothed and marry him before returning home. In Philadelphia, she discovers that her betrothed has died at sea. She then purchases Henry, an indentured servant, and convinces him to pose as her husband and help protect her from Nathan. As the story continues, the reader learns of Selah’s family history and the powers she possesses; Selah is half human, half goddess. It's important that her secret stay safe, because if discovered, she could be killed. The characters are well developed and relatable; the reader empathizes with Selah and her plight. The fast-paced plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing and in suspense. The end leaves room for a sequel, which, after such a tremendous beginning, would be anxiously awaited. A clear winner!

Author Kari Edgren

Kari EdgrenKari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/22/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 * Excerpt *

I didn’t stop running until Brighmor was well out of view. With my heart pounding, I ducked out
of sight behind a large oak tree to wait. A good ten minutes passed before my heart finally
slowed, and I felt confident that Henry hadn’t followed me. Returning to the narrow pathway, I
walked at a more leisurely pace, throwing the occasional furtive look over my shoulder as I went
deeper and deeper into the woods to the manmade alcove that had been built right into the sidhe,
or small earthen mound.
Years ago my grandparents had carved away enough dirt to stack large rocks three feet
high, forming a wall in the shape of a half-moon. It measured about twelve feet from end to end
with an arc deep enough to accommodate my full height if I were inclined to lie down. In the
middle of the arc stood an altar, hewn from a piece of gray granite that had been sealed to the
earth by my grandmother’s blood mixed with a handful of sacred dirt brought over from the Old
World. Green and brown lichen grew on the stones, and dense foliage pushed up along the
perimeter, ready to spill over into the clearing.
With the rock wall behind me, I knelt down at the altar and set the dried herbs on the
smooth stone surface, charred black from countless fires. Finding the flint, I struck it repeatedly
to release a shower of white sparks over the bundle. As it started to smolder, fragrances of
cowslip, angelica, and goat’s rue rose up. With a long, deep breath, I pulled the smoke inside,
letting it inundate my senses. Then I began to recite the ancient words in preparation to cross

Brigid Buadach, Buaid na fine, Siur Rig nime, Nar in duine,
Eslind luige, Lethan breo. Riar na n-oiged, Oibel ecnai,
Ingen Dubthaig, Duine uallach, Brigid buadach, Brigid

The physical world began to waver. Keeping my voice to a low monotone, I repeated
the Gaelic words. At the end of the third repetition, the trees and stones, the smoldering bundle,
all flickered in and out of view, then disappeared altogether as my soul passed into to the

For a moment, there was nothing more than thick gray mist and the memory of burning
herbs. I stepped out of the mist into the warm sunlight at the edge of Brigid’s garden, free of the
night and my body that remained kneeling at the altar.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Wasteland by Emily Sims

Displaying Wasteland_Tour_Banner.jpg

Displaying The Wasteland.JPGIn another world, one far removed in time and space altogether, a timeless journey awaits. The path is steep, the road is long, and it encompasses a wild evil. Here, in a place entirely different from our own, we discover the lost remains of a once vast empire and a love story long forgotten.

In The Wasteland, set against a barren landscape, we find a terrified woman named Lylah. She races along the overgrown highways of a war-torn country, pursued by a deadly enemy. Try as she might, Lylah remembers nothing about her past or who she is. Without quite meaning to, she stumbles upon a sinister forest and a small tribe of people. They have dark skin and hair. They speak in thick accents. Nothing about them is familiar, but at least they’re safe.

As she struggles to unlock the keys to her past, Lylah falls deeply in love with this primitive way of life…a way of life she’s never known before. The tribe’s leader is a fearless man they call “Matteo.” He is formidable and abrasive, but Lylah is inexplicably drawn to him.

In spite of uncertainty, one thing remains: an evil force governs this rugged land. The Opposition uses its power to oppress the tribes-people and they are quickly closing in on Lylah. Will she summon the courage to face her past in time? Somehow, Lylah’s memories hold secrets that could destroy the Opposition and break its tyrannical power.

In this beautifully written young adult novel you are introduced to Lylah, who has no memory of who she is and the world that she is living in. Sims does a wonderful job of creating a world that has conflict and passion. You can't help but root for Lylah. I thought Sims has an elegant style of writing...almost poetic. The Wasteland is very much worth your time! 



Emily is a mother, writer, photographer, and home-schooler. She loves family, thrift shopping, chai lattes, good books, nature, and learning new things. She strives to find beauty and divinity in imperfect things…she searches for God in the earthy and the grit and the ordinary and the joyful stuff of life.

She lives in Texas with her husband and five children.



His hair glittered silver just like his ice blue eyes. They shone like
magic in the campfire’s light. His voice was deep and full of the
mysteries of a past life. He weaved ancient stories together with
the ease of someone who’d been crafting them his whole life long.
He was one who noticed me. His piercing eyes ran straight
through my soul and he would chuckle as if he was amused with
what he’d found there. I’d never known why he loved me so much,
I was just grateful that he did.

For someone such as me, the child who lived in my sister’s
shadow, attention from such a powerful man was intoxicating.
It would’ve been easy for me to worship my grandfather (who
I affectionately labeled “Great-dad”), but for the fact that he was
so completely enamored with the Mighty. He simply breathed
out his adoration for our Creator, so much so that I was swept
up in a fascination for the Mighty as well. To Great-dad, his
relationship with the Mighty was synonymous with life itself.
On nights when I was utterly alone, I would whisper words
into the sky and feel a clear response to my soul. It was during
these formative moments that I fell in love with the Mighty too,
just as my grandfather had.

“These trees used to be so alive, Delylah.” Great-dad motioned
to the canopy above our heads. “Just like every other living thing
on earth. They breathed in and out just like we do. I still miss
them. I still find myself wishing they would wake up.”
He sighed and his eyes glittered.

“Tell me again about what happened, Great-dad. I want to
know why the trees fell asleep.” I scooted up under his powerful
right arm. There was nothing in all the world that could’ve hurt
me then.”  (page 21, The Wasteland)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

I joined Goodreads in 2010, when I got my first library job. One of the first books I added was Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and it has been sitting on the top of my TBR list for 4 solid years. Well I finally decided to tackle it. I didn’t have any preconceived notions that hindered me from picking up this book. I’m much more of an “in the moment reader”. Whatever someone just recommended to me has a higher chance of getting read than a book that I have had checked out for 6 weeks.

I read Perfect Chemistry over a few days and I found that it wasn’t that bad. When I first started it, I wondered if this would be a typical “boy from the wrong side of the tracks” story and it was. But what made this story a step higher was the supporting cast. I loved Shelley. I thought the element that Shelley brought to the table added a deeper meaning to Brittany’s story. Another character that I thought really helped the story was Isabel. Though she was only a minor character, I thought her realness was genuine and she was very likeable.

The story does have some stereotypical plot lines, but overall I thought the author did a good job. It could have been really bad. Another surprising factor was the minimum amount of angst. Oh, there is some angst, but after reading a slew of New Adult books, the level of angst in Perfect Chemistry was appropriate for the plot. I read one review where the reader had an issue for all the Spanish in the book. Though I didn’t always know the phrases, I thought the author’s use of spanglish was very appropriate. It was a characteristic of this culture and I was glad it was included.

My only issue was with the cheesy epilogue. I would have been perfectly content to give this book 4 stars until I read the epilogue. I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t read the story, but it was cheap and unnecessary.

Am I glad I read Perfect Chemistry? Yes, for the sole reason that I got it off my TBR.

Would I continue with the series? Probably not. 
Will teens love this book? Oh, yes. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Project Read All The Books - May Recap

I was able to read 19 books this month – some a mix of library book, e-books, and from my TBR pile.

May proved to have some major shake up with the TBR bookcase. I knew I was going to bring a lot back from RT14 and I did. To better prepare myself, I did a quick cleaning of my TBR bookcase and removed about 15 – 20 books. Most were Harlequin Presents that I wasn’t really interested in reading.

And then I brought tons back from RT14 –in my defense I took a bunch I had already read with me.

Here is what I read in May:
I discovered 2 books on my TBR bookcase that I had previously read when I was a teen – so that was a helpful start.

I also knocked out The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean, and One Night Pregnancy by Lindsay Armstrong.

With RT14 and Summer Reading looming, I really did not get as much read from my TBR pile as I intended. I did read 3 books that I brought with me from RT - yay! Since I didn’t count before I downsized the bookcase or when I came back from RT14, I had to do a recount.

Total number of To Be Read Books as of today:  120

That's not too bad right?

My goal for June: 10 books from the TBR bookshelf. I usually read just romance during the summer (aka Summer of Smut!). Also, since I now have so many autographed books I had to designate a whole bookcase for my autographs! Looky....

Wish me good luck! What are you planning on reading this Summer? 

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