Monday, May 2, 2016

Audio Book Review: Silicon Dawn

Silicon Dawn

By:  William Massa

Publish Date:  April 28, 2015, Audiobook Release December 29, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 3 hrs 53 mins
Narrated By:  Joe Hempel

Genre:  Sci Fi

Series:  0 in Silicon series

First Impression:  Mechs are produced to do human jobs. But some humans are not happy about it.

Synopsis:
A SILICON MAN PREQUEL

THE LINE BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE HAS BEEN CROSSED...
AND THERE IS NO TURNING BACK.

A serial killer stalks the city of the future…
Hunting the people who build the machines.
And it's up to a cop and an AI to unravel a terrible conspiracy.

The world is still reeling form the devastation of the Omega Virus and struggling to rebuild. A growing android workforce has given rise to the Human Defense League and anti-AI sentiment is at an all-time high.

Adam, one of the first of the new X-3000 models, arrives into this hostile future. Field-tested on the Luna colonies, now assigned to Earth, Adam is paired with homicide detective Jane Malveaux, who has little patience for synthetics.

Before long both Malveaux and Adam must cast aside their differences and join forces to solve a case that will test both man and machine.

Note: This prequel can be read before or after Silicon Man.

First Sentence:
The San Francisco Spaceport bustled with activity.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I requested to review a copy of this audiobook for an honest review from the author or narrator.

Inspector Jane Malveaux is already not fond of the mechs for personal reasons, but when her partner is killed at a homicide crime scene because of Adam's presence, Malveaux believes the robots should not be on the police force. Malveaux is put on the case of a killer. They find there are more murders of cyberneticists. It's going to take more than electronics to find the sick killer on the loose, and that's where Malveaux comes in. Adam is here to learn and prove that mechs can help. Paired as a team, Malveaux and Adam need to work together with what makes them who they are to solve the case, each bringing a different view to the case.

Joe Hempel narrates this story with a clean background and seamless chapters. He does softer tones for Malveaux, being female, and stronger tones for the males. He expresses the feel of what Adam is saying with tones that fit the moment, giving Adam a bit more feel to his in-humanness, as he grows and becomes more human to us. There is, however, one sentence that is repeated toward the end of the story (**which Audible is fixing**), but if that is all I can find wrong, we are doing great.

The 1st chapter is set up with people's responses to the mechs that are created to resemble humans and are everywhere. There is a lot of strong feelings and the first few chapters express the views of both sides of the coin for us.

We see the mech Adam grow in his ways. He uses cues to react as he thinks should be done with people in different circumstances. He also struggles with why humans would act with such cruelty and brutality in being serial killers. Adam, after a nice talk with the Captain, decides to stay on the case and maybe he can find other patterns besides emotions to help solve the case. As the story goes and we get Adam's view in the story, we start to see he's more human than many think. Adam has views on the world, opinions in a sense. Like when he sees pleasure mechs, he doesn't really approve of them. He sees death early in his arrival on Earth and it seems to affect him. Adam keeps surprising us with his kindness and gestures of human type feelings throughout the story. Even Malveaux is surprised at times at Adam's actions and helpful ways on the case.

We are on a mystery case where the cyberneticists were killed a month ago and left with parts of mechs and messages from the bible and for humankind. I had a feel for how everything would turn out, but was curious as to how the positions of the dead bodies would relate to the killer. In the end, William makes the connection for me. And it worked! I was impressed with the relation and story telling here as it was a bit different.

This is a shorter story, but it's packed full of important information pertinent to the story. No wasted time on unneeded scenes. The lower key scenes are important for character growth, but they are extremely short. We spend 99% of the story moving through the mystery.

If you like stories that are similar to I Robot the movie, this is really a story for you! The world and interaction is very similar.

This story ends on a note that sets up the world for a new potential future. Good or bad is yet to be seen, but the technology could be used either way. Now I'm more curious as to what the future holds with the technology present and mechs.



**If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Post #127

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's May!?! Oh my. Where is the time going?

Last week was a good week. I got to visit one day but with things with kiddo's birthday, that was all I got in. this week is going to be a bit rough too. Kiddo has a phone meeting Tuesday that will help with what we are to do with football stuff coming into his senior year. Then he has prom preparation this week with prom on the weekend. Crazy that he's old enough to go to prom!

It's a slow process in physical reading too. Time has been crazy for us, so I read for a few minutes here and there, but I want to read.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I did got to the gym 2 days last week, Tuesday and Thursday. My usual. With working on lifting equipment then the elliptical for 30 mins. I also push mowed grass on Sunday, last weekend, which was all on a hill side for 45 mins. That's one workout!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
The Side of Good / The Side of Evil edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail


Current Audiobook:
Terms of Surrender by Craig Schaefer


Current Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing


Finished Last Week: 
No new books started yet.

Audiobooks from Audible:
The Girls From Alcyone by Cary Caffrey
Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Week on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Posts:

Around the Internet...


Reviews:


Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:



~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:

I've decided to do three reviews a week for a few weeks, just to try to get caught up with what I have to share with you all. Hope you stop by to check them all out! :)
  Silicon Dawn
  Dragon Gate
  Lantern

I have a guest author mini interview and a discussion post.


~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:
Struck by Amanda Carlson
Goodreads Synopsis:
When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.

Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.

After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…
 

Audio Books Requested for Review:
Dead of Night by M.R. Forbes
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Small-time thief and hitman Conor Night thinks having terminal cancer is his worst problem. The illegal treatments keeping him alive are expensive, and the side effects a mixed bag:

Conor can raise the dead.

When a low-end hit points to a high-end job, Conor is suspicious, but it's an opportunity he can't afford to ignore. Armed with a set of soul-sucking ancient dice, a collection of corpses, and the estranged daughter of one of the most powerful wizards on Earth, it will take all of his wit, charm, and magic to navigate the treacherous world of the dominant Houses and either finish the job, or be finished himself.

He's got ninety-nine problems, and dying is only one.

The Cupcake Witch by Poppy Lawless
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Julie

Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Brown sugar. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love, but it wasn’t until my mother’s death, and the unexpected inheritance of Serendipity Gardens, that my bliss called me. Bittersweet. But Serendipity Gardens has more to offer than just a potential shopfront. An unusual recipe box left to me by a distant relative might be the key to unlocking my dreams.


Too bad the most powerful family in Chancellor has plans that could turn those dreams to ruins—literally.


Too bad the son of that powerful family is just the kind of guy I’ve been looking for.



Horatio

I suppose being heir to the Hunter family’s Blushing Grape Winery should make me happy, but nothing could be further from the truth. With my mother gone, my father has taken me under his wing, and I despise everything about the way he does business. Sour grapes, indeed. Instead of raising money for charitable causes, my true passion, I’m chasing my father’s manifest destiny.


Too bad his dream includes paving paradise.


Too bad the property owner is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met.



They say the course of true love never runs smooth.

But that’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.

Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Shirlyn travels back in time to ancient Persia where she meets the three magi who follow the Star of Bethlehem. After a mishap threatens to send her ride home without her, the youngest mage exhibits a hidden talent that leaves an impression on his elders and on Shirlyn's heart. But his silhouette will forget they ever met, unless she leaves a reminder that comes with a heavy price.


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:
Blood Rose by K.L. Bone
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
..".a story of strength and determination, actions and consequences, deep love and dark desires."- Greg Wilkey, Author of Growing Up Dead "May the Black Rose protect you in life and avenge you in death." - Vow of the Black Rose A woman with no memory of her past. Another unable to forget. Both haunted by a sinister creature of roses and shadow with an unquenchable thirst for royal blood. Return to the world of the Black Rose Guard. Mara, Captain of the Black Rose for over eight hundred years, thought she had taken her last immortal life. But now, with her sub-captain dead at the hands of the Arum Court, she again must don the blade she vowed to never raise again. However, the task will prove ever more dangerous as the shadow of Mara's past returns to awaken the long-dormant roses. Reunited with her lost love, Mara must also come to terms with her past in order to embrace her future. Can she forgive the man she loves for betraying her heart? And can she redeem herself for the death of the princess she failed to save? Across the sea, Sandra is haunted by the same presence, leading her deeper into the pieces of her mysterious past. Echoes of memory. Glimpses of fate. And a secret that will change everything for both herself and the captains who seek to rescue her from the hands of Mathew, King of the Arum Court, who has a dark agenda of his own.


Audio:



Free Ebooks:

(On my Kindle App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Alien Blood by Melisse Aires
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Kellac is everything Gema secretly wants, but a future together is impossible.

Kellac, younger brother of Kaistril, HER CYBORG AWAKES, ends up on planet Toph in military prison. While not at fault, Kellac must wait for diplomatic solutions while the military keeps him in lock up.

Stranded on the planet Toph as a child, Gema is in the Women's Penitentiary for vagrancy. Not PureGen (lab perfected human), she cannot be a citizen and has no legal status.

They are chosen to be contestants on the wildly popular Survival Game, in which two prisoners compete to win credits and their freedom on a planet, soon to be open for immigration. With every moved recorded by a swarm of flying cameras, Kellac and Gema fight their attraction to each other and work together to earn credits.The competition goes well--until the spaceship carrying the show's production team crashes onto their wilderness planet. They are stranded and survival is no longer a game.

40k Novella, Scifi Romance, Space Opera, Adult Content

Super Starrella by Aurora Springer
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Teen superhero, Starrella, and her flying horse fight vicious villains in the skies above Atalanta. 

A quiet summer at her uncle’s farm turns frighteningly weird for seventeen-year old Estelle Wright after she trespasses onto an Army base. Blown into the air and knocked unconscious, she wakes with a nascent superpower. Not to mention a winged horse with a snarky attitude and a mind of her own. 

Back home in Atalanta, a serial killer is targeting the students at Goldman University. Before long she must juggle college classes with sneaking out of the house after dark to battle alien monsters. Estelle’s life is in danger, but who can she trust with her secret: handsome Captain Copper from military intelligence, or hunky Toby, the tough gangster with a motorbike? 

Young adult superheroes, quirky animal sidekicks, and a dash of romance enliven this thrilling adventure. Book 1 of the Secret Supers. 

Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Alexandria Ross was only sure about one thing: her best friend Miranda. So when the seemingly random act of violence that steals Randi's life is revealed as cold-blooded murder, Andria doesn't get mad... 

She gets even. 

Driven with purpose, she changes the course of her life to set the scales of justice back in balance. Psychological warfare is her specialty, and the secrets of her enemies are her weapons. 

The players take their positions on the board… 

But little do they know that the game is rigged. 

Alexandria controls every move. 

Lex Talionis: let the punishment fit the crime.

Frozen by Meljean Brooks
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
For a year and a half, Olivia Martin has tried to forget Erik Gulbrandr, the glacial man who’d scorched her mouth with a single kiss. But when Olivia finds herself snowbound with Erik on the winter solstice, she discovers that the man who set her body aflame is cursed by abominable needs — and a desire that might destroy them both…

Missy the Werecat by P.G. Allison
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
When puberty brings on her first Shift, Missy goes into the mountains for two years until finally learning to Change back. She can Change from fully human in one instant to a mountain lion in the next. Everyone assumes her two year disappearance was because she’d been kidnapped by a sexual predator that she managed to kill. She keeps her werecat nature a secret. There is no pack, no pride of other werecats and no alpha. She’s a girl with fantastic abilities growing up and learning to do great things in today’s world, amongst humans. She only has her instincts to guide her and those drive her to train herself to extremes. She must control those instincts; dampening the wild predator is often necessary. Her raging hormones and enhanced senses require very strong controls; she explores what happens when those controls are relaxed.

Coffee and Ghosts by Charity Tahmaseb
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Katy and her grandmother have always used coffee to catch ghosts. It pays the bills and keeps them in high-end beans. But after her grandmother dies and a rival ghost hunter moves to town, Katy fears things will never be the same.

She’s right. 

From a beguiling and charismatic ghost whisperer to her new partner’s ghost swallowing brother and even a (short) stint behind bars, Katy navigates her new reality, uncertain her skills are equal to the tasks at hand. But are these things mere distractions—or do they hide something darker, far more sinister, something that has a long-held vendetta against Katy?

To survive, Katy must uncover an ancient secret. She must brew her very best Kona blend. She will need to rely on unexpected and unpredictable allies. 

To survive, she will need to trust what’s in her heart. 

Coffee & Ghosts is a cozy paranormal mystery/romance series told over five episodes. This series bundle contains all five episodes.

Deadly Voyage by Gray Lanter
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
CAPTAIN RYVENBARK HAS A DOZEN MEN AND WOMEN IN HIS SQUAD. 
THEY ARE FACING TWO MILLION SAVAGE FIGHTERS 
BUT TO HIM, THE ODDS ARE ABOUT EVEN, SO HE THINKS... 

The Molochs seem to be born to fight. Being the most savage warriors in the galaxy they’re certainly the worst thing could happen to the Aristolans. 
Powerful, intergalactic CEO Belen Morganthal can’t let the only genetically perfect race in the universe fall and disappear into eternity, a race that knows no evil and shows a gleaming beauty.
She is the only one with the means to carry out such an enterprise and the only one with the secret to convince Logan Ryvenbark to accept such an inconceivable mission. Captain Ryvenbark may be just the one having any chance against the Molochs, but he doesn’t like suicide missions. 

Vampire's Shade by by Vivienne Neas
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Get even better value for money when you purchase the Vampire's Shade Discounted Box Set for $8.99, instead of paying a total of $12.00 when you buy each book separately.
Just type Vampire's Shade Discounted Box Set on the Kindle Store Search Bar.

The Shade a Vampire has left in my family is still hunting me, making my life a restless chase.
It's not only my job, I have a personal vendetta to carry out against vampires. They are the reason my sister is on a wheelchair and our mother gone. And I'm not a forgiving girl.

Vampires start integrating among humans, but even with laws adapting to the new society, many problems arise. I solve them. I kill problems.

In the span of less than two weeks I manage to turn my entire world upside down.

This time I have been chosen to take care of some human turned into vampire, but that will not be as easy as it seemed. I have somehow gotten involved in a war against the ancients ones, too dangerous and powerful enemies to fight by myself. And before I could even think about it I find myself allied with a very unlikely team.

At the end of it all, they're the ones that save me. I've been fooling myself for years.
It turns out I was the rescue mission all along.
 


(On my Nook)



Free Audio Books/Stories:




~~~~~~~~~~
Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Silicon Dawn by William Massa
Dragon Gate by Gary Jones
Lantern by Chess Desalls
The Girls From Alcyone by Cary Caffrey
Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins

Friday, April 29, 2016

Audio Book Review: Fairy, Texas

Fairy, Texas

By:  Margo Bond Collins

Publish Date:  February 6, 2014, Audiobook March 24, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 19 mins
Narrated By:  Melissa Moran

Genre:  Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st in Fairy, Texas series

Impression:  An interesting and different twist on Fairies, or Demons, with a dark influence in a high school setting.

Synopsis:
Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring takes on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

First Sentence:
Of all the things that frightened me about starting a new school, finding a dead guy on day one didn't even make it into my top hundred.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository 

Audible


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Laney's mom has moved her from her home in Atlanta to a ranch in Fairy, Texas. Laney tries to get through the first day at a new school, but things go wrong when she trips over a dead body. And life gets more complicated from there as two handsome boys try to date her. She learns they are after more than she's willing to give as the town has a darker presence than she ever could have expected.

Melissa displays all emotions with enough emphasis that we feel them in the voice of Laney and others. Laney's sarcasm feels so genuine as if slips off the tongue of the narrator. Melissa has to have a strong southern accent to fit a book placed in Texas. She does. Not all characters have the accent and those that do, she shows the influence of the southern swing of their voice. There are breaks in the chapters and Melissa gives a breath of a pause long enough to know that the story is changing in the chapter. When the narrator does small things that relate to the characters or what they are doing, it helps make the story become catching, Melissa does these small things. When the characters have an obstacle in their way of speaking, Melissa makes the character sound as if it's obscured slightly.

Wow. That first sentence is one to draw you in! I had to keep going with that lead in.

We get to meet all the characters and see Fairy, Texas with Laney as she experiences it all for the first time. Boy, do Laney's thoughts come through in the narrator's voice! The town seems strange at first sight. The dreamy eyes she gets from several boys, the strange guidance counselor that has rancid breath, and Oma Raina with the same breath. Just to find the two handsome boys that want to date Laney, the guidance counselor, and another woman talking about her in an abandoned house. Things seem stranger and stranger at first, drawing me in to know what is really going on here in Fairy.

Laney is the dreaded new girl at Fairy High School. She has a new step-sister that doesn't want her around, a new friend that seems to have a crush on her (that she doesn't need being day one of school), and trips over a dead body as she's trying to impress the track coach in gym class. This all starts how Laney's reputation starts to tarnish in school, and just the icing of the cake for what she'll have to endure.

Through it all, Laney seems like my kind of girl. I could be friends with her. She keeps up with the quick quips that others throw at her, always having one to say back to them. Smart girl.

I really enjoy Margo's writing style with the narrators she picks. The book feels as Laney is talking to me as we live through her days. As if she's my friend telling me all she knows. It feels like she pulls me into the story with the characters and I'm their sounding board.

I would suggest this story to older teens as there is the underlining attempt of sex to the story line. Yet there is teen drama, mixed with fairy/demon meddling and ploys.

There are a few different twists to the story that I enjoyed, events and fairy/demon creation. I was kept guessing as to what would happen with these characters. I'm TOTALLY wanting more with Laney and Josh and all the characters. Especially with what we learn of the 'fairy' world, Laney, and more!



**If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Where Do You Post Reviews?

I am all about sharing the love. I try my best to post my reviews on as many books sites I'm able to get to. And I'm always looking for new sites and venues to share on. This leads me to my next question. 

Where do you post our reviews? Everyone buys books at different places, many are at Amazon but other venues as well.

I do know that when I'm looking at books on Amazon, I don't read the reviews there. I don't trust reviews at Amazon unless I recognize the names of the reviewers. I like a bit more detail to my reviews rather than one or two sentences that rave about a book or denounce a book. I want a bit more meat to why the book was liked or not. There are some great reviews on Amazon, and maybe it's starting to turn around but I usually look at reviews on Goodreads first. I also look on many other sites that are for book fans and not about selling the book.

I'm curious if I should be trying to post reviews on more sites than what I am already. I like helping the authors I enjoy reading and friends who like books similar to me to find more.

I know this can be a time consuming process. I do my best to post 2 - 3 reviews a week on the blog, then on Sunday morning I post those reviews to a list of sites. Copy and paste is my best friend when doing this. Now, when posting there are sites that books are not found on so there can't be a review there if no book found. But! If it's a book fan site, I can request the book to be added and I do so. If it's a book selling site, I can't request to add it and no review is posted there. Which many bloggers do the same thing.

Where do I post reviews? (I link my profile on these so if you'd like to follow/friend me, please do!)
Of course, my blog. Which I also post links on Twitter and my Facebook Page.
Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Nobles
Powell Books
LibraryThing
BookLikes
LeafMarks
If I loved the book and think it's worth reading, I'll post a link on Pinterest.
If I'm reviewing Audiobooks, and received through Audible, I'll post on Audible.

I recently started (like in the last three weeks) posting on iBooks. I sign in with my iTunes account to do so, I believe you need to have an account to do so like many book venues. I also look to see if the book is in ebook or audio. If I review audio, I post to both places. If I'm reviewing an ebook or print, I'll only post to the ebook/ibook.

There are sites that you have to purchase the book from in order to post your review there. Smashwords and Audible are two sites I'm aware of.

I've learned that there is Kobo too, which I have not reviewed on. I think I had troubles getting in there years ago and left it go. I need to look into getting on their site again to post. I did start last week and of the two books I reviewed, only one was found on Kobo so I posted there!


What sites do you find helpful for finding books or learning about them? Is there other book sites I'm not aware of? I'll try to add them to my list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Audio Book Review: Witch Song

Witch Song

By:  Amber Argyle

Publish Date:  September 1, 2011, Audiobook December 15, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 10 hrs 47 mins
Narrated By:  Melissa Reizian Frank

Genre:  Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st in Witch Song series

Impression:  A young witch determined to help others and finds her way in the world.

Synopsis:
The world is changing.

For thousands of years, witch song has controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons. But not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by the dark Witch, Espen.

As the last echoes of witch song fade, Espen grows stronger as winter and summer come within the space of a day. Now she's coming for the one she missed—a shy, untrained girl of fifteen named Brusenna.

Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find Espen. Fight her. Defeat her.

Or there won't be anything left to save.

First Sentence:
Brusenna's straw-colored hair felt as hot as a sun-baked rock.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository 

Audible


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Brusenna knows she's a witch, but nothing beyond that. Nothing of the Keeper of the Four Sisters and her mothers past. Sacra thinks she's keeping her daughter safe by concealing the secrets of the Keepers, who are now what people call witches. Coyel, one of the eight remaining free witches, comes to ask Sacra's help. Signs of the Dark Witch are increasing, earth, plants, water, and sunlight are all struggling to survive from her powers. The Circle of Keepers is needed to complete the capture of the Dark Witch and stop the drought. When the Witch Hunters come for Brusenna, she learns she's the only witch that's not been captured by the Dark Witch. Taking the gold her mother left and heading to Haven as her mother instructed, Brusenna knows something needs to be done. Brusenna is determined to learn all she can and go save the other witches.

Melissa embodies the poise of the characters in her voice. As Brusenna's confidence grows, so does the strength in her voice. Melissa carries this through with the feel of all characters. Melissa does different voices and tones for each character. Her impression of Waldof had me not liking him with the tone in his (her) voice. Sly bugger. When we get to a new land Melissa speaks in the accented English to bring the world to life for us.

Some people call them witches. They fear them and blame them for the lands poor productivity. But they are Keepers of nature. The witches here have the power through song to call nature to their bidding. And their's one witch that's capturing all the others and changing the way of the weather and lands, hoping to bring all of man to bow to her.

The story has a feel of a young girl growing into her own. The writing is easy to understand and feels as it's a great story for young adults to read, even those on the younger side of YA age bracket. At least for this book. I'll see what happens in books to come. Senna knows what she needs to do, yet she thinks she should do it alone because of her losses due to the Dark Witch and what she needs to do. Senna wants to keep everyone safe. But her guardian, and dear friend, Joshen works to get her to realize what she's doing and how there are those that will work with her as it's for their livelihood too.

I knew before Senna admitted it, that I wanted Joshen to travel with her. He's a great companion for Senna and a wonderful love interest. Being a witch, people don't touch her with fear of being cursed. With her mother gone for weeks, when she finds her guardian, Joshen, she likes the feel of his touch as he doesn't fear her. Senna seems to start to fall for him in their travels together, but she figures he'd never feel the same. To be young again and experiencing love for the first time... When Senna makes a decision to keep Joshen safe, I like that she tells him why she's doing what she's doing but she still forces him to go. But at least she told him the truth in that moment too.

Senna's adventures take her from her home in the woods to the sea, traveling on the sea. Senna gets to visit a new land with different ways. I enjoyed her adventures and troubles she crossed. Senna grew up as we go along and shows she is capable of helping with her magic.

Before the big battle I felt a moment where I could tear up. Almost did, but didn't. I was touched by the moment Senna had with Joshen. This moment when they both listen and respect each others view of the situation. The right thoughts are shared along with understanding for the feelings felt.

Just when you think the story ends, there is more to happen. I liked that the story tied it all up for us in the end.

When I started the book I thought it started like many others. Young girl kept in the dark by parent. Parent leaves girl alone to deal with problem. Parent doesn't return and trouble finds daughter. But somewhere along the way the story grew much more than that for me. Senna as a character changed it with being a smart girl. Senna knows what she's doing and why when sends Joshen away, she even admits it in that moment. Senna may not believe she's loved but she knows Joshen is not dumb. Both characters see that in each other and treat each other as such. Though there are naive moments on Senna's behalf, she really hadn't interacted with many people let alone kind people, Senna holds true to respecting others in their ideas and has many of her own to help.

I'm very curious to carry on with Senna and Joshen in future stories. They both have captured my heart in this story.



*If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Author Guest Post: Once Upon a Time and Ever After...

I heard about this book and knew I had to share about it with you. I'll have a series of posts to go with this new release coming our way May 29, 2016. Stay tuned for mini interviews about the stories you'll find in Gaslight & Grimm.

Today, I have Danielle Ackley-McPhail. Please give her a warm welcome!


Once Upon a Time and Ever After…

By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

From the moment the first story was told it was destined to be taken up by someone else and retold the way they thought it should be. That has not stopped since. Why else do you think there are so many variations on the classic tales? Same stories, only regional differences, cultural differences… There are no new tales, just new perspectives. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a bad thing. Think of the insight this gives us on our fellow man if we pay attention.

Gaslight & Grimm continues that fine tradition. Fairy tales have been around for as long as parents have tried to explain the world to their children, but they became popular as a story form in the 19th century when Charles Perrault elevated them to the status of literature. People have been retelling them ever since, but for us there was no more natural transformation than to take fairy tales back to the era where they came into their own and mod them out with the elements of the age of steam.

Steampunk and fairy tales are perhaps not a natural pairing, but they are a harmonious one, allowing authors to show the same ingenuity in their story crafting as a tinker would in his invention. Some of the tales in this book seem merely to swap out the magic of the tale for early science, some meld the two, and yet others have been torn down to their foundations and rebuilt into a fantastical inventiveness that captures the essence of the classic but elevates it to something new. Sometimes shiny…often Grimm...always engaging.

We hope our readers will enjoy these new interpretations and if they aren’t familiar with the original, perhaps they will search them out so they can fully appreciate the transformations we have presented to them.

Author’s Aside: In keeping with the spirit of the project, all illustrations used in Gaslight & Grimm are linocut prints, modern interpretations of the traditional woodcuts that would have been used in such books back in Perrault’s time. Likewise, the cover was digitally created from another linocut print and enhanced to give the impression of an embossed, leather-bound book, with gold-foil accents.
Image based from Christine  Norris's story: When Pigs Fly.

RELATED BOOK/PUBLISHER LINKS
Blog - https://especbooks.wordpress.com/
Website - http://www.especbooks.com/Projects/GaslightAndGrimm.htm
Kickstarter - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/e-specbooks/gaslight-and-grimm-steampunk-faerie-tales
Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Grimm-Steampunk-Faerie-Tales-ebook/dp/B01E6C03OA/
Print - http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Grimm-Steampunk-Faerie-Tales/dp/1942990316/
NOOK - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gaslight-grimm-jody-lynn-nye/1123660280?ean=9781942990321
GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28522644-gaslight-and-grimm
GoodReads Giveaway – https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/183549-gaslight-and-grimm

TWITTER HANDLES
@Jean_Marie_Ward @danny_birt @ElaineCorvidae @jywriterguy @brni_x @kellyaharmon @GailZMartin @JodyLynnNye @davidleesummers @cnorrisauthor @jonahofthesea @eSpecBooks @DMcPhail, @LNMartinAuthor

BIO
Award-winning author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books. In 2014 she joined forces with husband Mike McPhail and friend Greg Schauer to form her own publishing house, eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com).

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo collections A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, and Transcendence, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Gaslight & Grimm, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

In addition to her literary acclaim, she crafts and sells original costume horns under the moniker The Hornie Lady, at literary conventions, on commission, and wholesale.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail and two extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail) and Twitter (DMcPhail, BadAssFaeries, eSpecBooks, and TheHornieLady).

To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com, www.especbooks.com or www.badassfaeries.com.
Websites: www.sidhenadaire.com, www.badassfaeries.com, www.especbooks.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail, https://twitter.com/#!/BadAssFaeries and https://twitter.com/#!/eSpecBooks
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail
https://www.facebook.com/E-Spec-Books-768052066586116/
https://www.facebook.com/TheHornieLady/
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail
Blog: https://especbooks.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: Danube Waves

Danube Waves

By:  Katharina Bordet

Publish Date:  February 12, 2016

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd in A Wiener Blut novel series; 1st Book ~ The Coffee Legacy
Short stories in the world: The Princess and the Coffee Bean

First Impression:  Delicious fairy tale weaved into the real world.

Synopsis:
The portals between worlds have been shut down, leaving king-to-be Maximilian Schindler-Krug trapped in our world in the form of a goat. An impending revolution, a murderer on the loose, recurring nightmares and a mad scientist stand between him and the throne. It’s going to take more than a talking swan, a fainting goat and copious amounts of coffee and cake to save the day.

Ten years since the murder of his mother, Maximilian Schindler-Krug is having increasingly vivid dreams about the night that changed his life forever, but that is the least of his problems. His coronation as King of Neu Meidling is approaching fast, but revolution across the kingdom threatens his family, while the closing of portals between the worlds has split up others.

Karin’s peaceful life at the Alt Wien is turned upside-down when her daughter brings home a wounded swan, which leads her to discover a lost family secret that will change her life forever. Her own husband’s place in events could rip their relationship apart.
Lily, a trainee Besch├╝tzer finds herself trapped in another world, torn between her duty to protect the royal W├Ąchter line and coffee trade and her love for her future king. When she meets a man and his goat who provide unexpected solutions, she has to make a choice that could topple the monarchy, assuming she can get the young king back home alive.

“Danube Waves” takes us back to the linked worlds of the Wiener Blut universe first introduced in “The Coffee Legacy”, revisiting beloved characters and introducing new ones, not to mention tickling the tastebuds with a range of traditional Austrian cakes.

First Sentence:
"Tea? Are you serious? Why on earth would I want tea with a piece of cake?" the old man asked angrily.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles - eBook & Print  /  Book Depository 

My Thoughts and Summary:
The city of Unterbrucken has been cut off from Wien for so many years that the rations are slowly emptying from the castle stores. Lord Bluewater was the only person to successfully cross the line from Wien to Unterbrucken, and in doing so has affected all.

Max is dreaming again, of his wedding then drifts to a reoccurring nightmare. The king, Max's grand father, has passed on. The man who helped raise Max and Sebastian the last ten years. Max is now King, as he was trained for.

This book is so cool to look back on as it has several layers. The deaths in Coffee Legacy, that appeared to be solved, are so much more than they appeared at first sight. A revolution threatens in New Meidling. A new world is discovered, and a crazy scientist wants to prove it all to the world. A family reunited, and a love grows deeper. And goats!

Ten years after the Coffee Legacy we pickup with the worlds coming to a high in many ways. We get three different worlds in the book - Wien, Unterbrucken, and Neu Meidling. The name of the book, Danube Waves, comes from a cake and the river in the area. The river has a very important part to play in the story. We get a legend of the Danube, the Land of the River that lives deep below the surface, and the King's daughter.

We see Karin and Andreas again, and their daughter. Christina is mesmerized with the tale her mother tells her of a tale of a fisherman and his son and the people of the river. Karin and Andreas' lives are impacted from both sides, in connections and actions. We see the Krugs again. Max is to be king, and needs a few days away with his girlfriend before the weight of the world is placed on his shoulders. The events that follow get both of them thinking. Max is also facing his nightmares of a time he'd like to not see, but there is something that strikes him as not right in the visions from the past.

Their are many family secrets that come to surface in this story, and each have a different agenda. Times of change are here, but what are those changes?

Cakes are the connection in this book. We get a cake and it's description at the beginning of each chapter, then in the chapter the cake is mentioned. We have a few bakers in the worlds here. And they all sound so delicious!

A wonderful read to get submersed in the story and worlds created. A great pleasure to read. The book is a clean read. I would say older teens could read this story, and Coffee Legacy, as the language is mild and the story is not heavy romance.

Katharina is a talented author. I'm mesmerized by her amazing skillfulness at weaving a fairy tale of her own making that blends into the real world. I always love getting lost in her worlds.