Monday, July 6, 2015

Audio Book Review: Chasing the Star Garden

Chasing the Star Garden

By:  Melanie Karsak

Publish Date:  December 4, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 52 mins
Narrated By:  Libby Clearfield

Genre:  Fantasy, Steampunk

Series:  1 in The Airship Racing Chronicles series

First Impression:  A love story where one comes to accept and love them self along with finding love in others set in a time with clockworks and airships.

Synopsis:
An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.

First Sentence:
I was going to lose -- again.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

*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.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Lily comes in second in the airship race, but losses to the American's, again. She's disappointed. But then a harlequin races through the crowd to her. An assassin? But he grabs her and tells her to go to Venice and puts something down the front of her pants before jumping off the tower they stand on next to the airships, to his death. His body lay below with three points, the same shape that's in the symbol on her stargazer sail.

This story starts right off! The event of the race ends with a leap of faith.

There's drinking, drugs, swearing, and hot steamy moments. Lily has her debts and her loves of drinking, drugs, and hot steamy moments. Oh does she love the men. Since she uses her prize money to pay her debts, one of her lovers, Lord Byron, talks her into going to Venice. He gives her the money to make the trip reasoning she was specifically given the kaleidoscope for a reason.

This is another marvelous selection of voice to go with the story for Melanie Karsak. Libby is perfect for the characters and world. Libby is talented in accents. She has a British accent that fits the characters and thickens when need be for other characters. She even does Italian, Scottish, French and more accents. The way she speaks for each character is as she is the character. She differentiates many with tone, accent, and feeling in their voices. Outstanding job. Libby has intensified the character development through voice.

I love listening to the flight of the airship. Lily and her small crew is talented and the descriptions are of the visuals not the technical of how it's done. But the use of the air and storms is wonderful.

Do be prepared for fowl language, opium dens, and steamy sensual moments with Lily Stargazer. Melanie has taken us into a dark side of the world where drugs numb the senses and where woman are viewed as things. Melanie brings Lily through a dark past to a present that she can live with. But it's a journey that Lily has to make to come to grips with her past and be who she is. She has her friends around her to help. There's her crew for a time but most of all it's Sal, the Italian tinker, that helps her. She also finds a new friend in Celeste who helps guide them to find the statue her family is tied to.

Lily's past comes back, front and center for her. A past that she's long forgotten when she was abandoned at the orphanage. Then, a past that she keeps locked away with opium surfaces and is what draws her to help find the Aphrodite statue that is so treasured by it's strong following.

Yes, Aphrodite. Which also connects Venus and the sensual feeling of the book as a whole. This is an interesting blend of clockworks and steampunk elements with the height of love and steam. This all intersects with Lily and her life.

This story feels like a love story at it's core. A love of ones self and finding that the past does not define who they are now. Then, when they accept themselves they find love with another. Beautiful story and meaning mixed with a surrounding I love, clockworks, airships, adventure and fighting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Post #90

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope everyone in the USA had a great and happy 4th with their friends and family. Hope my Canada friends had a great Canada Day with their friends and family as well!

Audio books have given me a boost in my book reading. I can do these, as long as they are of a cleaner nature in content, while I'm at work sitting at my desk. So, with this rise in books I've bumped my reviews next week to 3 reviews rather than 2. I'll probably keep this up for a little bit so I can get you all the reviews of these cool reads. :)

Not that much to share from this side of the fence. Hope you all are having a great summer!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 got one day of tread mill in. I was on for 35 minutes and went the distance of 2.6 miles.

Zombie Run app:
Season 1 Mission 3:
This week, I went out for a tour of the area and learned of the sparse cities around us. And we found a Government supply drop. It seems that there are a few people in Abel that are not to sure about trusting me. I learned this last week, and this week.

There was a small settlement of young people in the distance, that suddenly one day was on fire. The people are gone. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the same people who shot down the helicopter I was on!


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

Current Read:
Nothing


Current Audiobook:
The City Center by Simone Pond


Current Podcast Book Listen:
The Horde by Patrick Scaffido


Finished Last Week: 
Nothing

Audiobooks from Audible:
Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak
Midway by Melanie Karsak
Chasing the Green Fairy by Melanie Karsak

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
I've been listening to Audible books.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Week on the Blog:


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




Posts:
My June Writer-ly Update


Around the Internet...


Reviews:


Podcast Review:





Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:



~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:

Two reviews are scheduled for next week:
   Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak
   Midway by Melanie Karsak
   Chasing the Green Fairy by Melanie Karsak

Hmm. Seems like next week is going to be a Melanie Karsak week. ;)


~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:


Audio Books Requested for Review:
Midway by Melanie Karsak
Goodreads Synopsis:
Midway: A Harvesting Series Novella (Book 1.5 in The Harvesting Series) is a tie-in novella that compliments The Harvesting, Book I in The Harvesting Series. 

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end. 

Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy. Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them. One day she’s barking on the midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive. 

Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket’s mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive. 

Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive.

Chasing the Green Fairy by Melanie Karsak
Goodreads Synopsis:
A sabotaged airship.

A recovering opium addict.

A messenger with life-shattering news.

With the 1824 British airship qualifying race only weeks away, Lily Stargazer is at the top of her game. She’s racing like a pro, truly in love, and living clean. But on one ill-omened day, everything changes.

Pulled head-long into the ancient secrets of the realm, Lily soon finds herself embroiled in Celtic mysteries and fairy lore. And she’s not quite sure how she got there, or even if she wants to be involved. But Lily soon finds herself chasing the spirit of the realm while putting her own ghosts to rest. And only accepting the truth--about her heart and her country--can save her.

*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.
 

The City Center by Simone Pond
Goodreads Synopsis:
Award winning Amazon Best Seller in Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Science Fiction. 

A dystopian book series about love and the fight for freedom -- Book 1.

Ava didn't want to be right. Not about her city. Not about their leader, Chief Morray. But when Joseph gives her a secret journal from the past, the truth is revealed. She escapes with Joseph to the Outside, sending Chief Morray on an obsessive pursuit to retrieve his property. Ava has to decide if she should keep running, or return to the city center to save her people.

Gold Medal Winner Dystopian Fiction - Readers' Favorite.


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:



Won:




Free Ebooks:

(On my Kindle App)
The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire by Eleri Stone
Goodreads Synopsis:
Cassius Flynn is a smuggler. An outlaw. A scoundrel. Charming, devilishly handsome in a maverick sort of way and fiendishly clever to boot. He's also the only man Molly McGuire has ever loved.

Molly'd left him a year ago. Stolen his airship, broken his heart, and made him look like a damn fool. Still, he's rushed to her rescue, storming into Reaper territory to snatch her out from under the repulsive bounty hunter who brought her in.

High above the plains, up amongst the clouds in the most rarefied Scraper city of them all, a ruthless statesman has stolen everything Cassius considers important. And without Molly, without her quick hands, sharp mind, and pretty face, he doesn't stand a chance of getting it back…

The Elevator Man by Resa Nelson
Amazon Synopsis:
Decades after the end of World War I, Karl is thrilled to work as an elevator man on a zeppelin assigned to the Germany-Brazil travel route. Despite his involvement in a zeppelin accident many years ago when airships were new, Karl knows he belongs in the skies where he feels truly happy. 

One day a lightning strike reveals terrible images high in the skies while the zeppelin glides above the Atlantic Ocean. No one except Karl sees those images, and he remembers a co-worker who quit his job after claiming similar images were predicting the zeppelin’s future crash. Karl struggles to decide whether to alert his commander to this risk. Maybe the dreadful images Karl saw were just his imagination. And yet, he begins to put the puzzle pieces of his life together in a way that could explain what kind of future the images might be predicting. 

But for now he’s working as the elevator man on a zeppelin that has nowhere to land – and a dangerous thunderstorm lies directly in its path.


(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
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
7th Son: 7 Days anthology by J.C. Hutchins
House of Grey 6 by Collin Earl
The Secret World Chronicle: World Divided by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Waiting On by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Revolutions by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #2 The Mummy of Barnsley
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #3 The Black Empress
Into Thin Air by Val Griswold-Ford
The Hidden Institute by Brand Gamblin
Club Nexus by E.J. Stevens (Audiobook)
Dirty Magic: New Orleans edited by Charlie Brown
Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak
Midway by Melanie Karsak

Chasing the Green Fairy by Melanie Karsak

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Audio Book Review: The Harvesting

The Harvesting

By:  Melanie Karsak

Publish Date:  March 4, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 7 mins
Narrated By:  Kristin James

Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Apocalyptic

Series:  1 in The Harvesting series

First Impression:  An apocalyptic zombie story with so much more than I expected!

Synopsis:
"The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone."

While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that's upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead!

First Sentence:
"If you ever need to slice someone's head off, this is the blade you want," I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

*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.

My Thoughts and Summary:
When Layla returns home, at her Grandmothers strong request, she finds the house boarded up and all sorts of supplies stocked up. Layla is concerned her grandmother is losing her mind, but she knows the woman has a strong connection with the spirits. Layla sees on the news of an outbreak of sickness that has a mortality rate of 100%, with signs of brain activity afterward... Layla drinks a special tea from her grandmother, and when she wakes the world is not as she remembers it. Layla's knowledge of swords, knives, and hunting that she's learned through her life will come in handy in the new world she's to live and survive in.

I had the great opportunity to listen to the audio book version. Kristin's work is outstanding. The emotion she shows through her voice is easy to grasp at and understand. She brings the intricately written Layla to life. She hits the rushed, horror filled moments making them pop with the suspense they are to feel and with shaking that fit's with Layla. It's like listening to a movie with the height of all emotions bubbling to the surface in her voice. She even does a Russian accent for Grandmother. I really enjoyed Kristin's work in this story! She really brought the story to life.

Between Melanie's writing and Kristin's reading, I even teared up at the thought of why Grandmother did all she did. And even a few other times through the book I felt caught up in the world with the characters, hurting for what they had to do.

Starting the book I knew from the description and others that there is a battle coming. Listening to the stocking Grandma is doing, the weapons she's collecting, and getting to know Layla and her Grandma has caught my attention right off. I want to know all! Grandma is scaring Layla, and making anxious as well. Then the moment comes. It's rough seeing the place Layla grew up go through all they have to bare. The people of this town have to come to grips with killing those they loved in life when they die. It's heart wrenching listening to how these people remember everyone and have to put them to their final resting place.

This book is full of all emotions. Love of loss, love blooming, and scary and rushed adrenaline moments. All blends together with action and emotions wonderfully in this world. Well done Melanie!

I love the subtle blends that Melanie has brought to the story. There feels to have nature and American Indian influences in the spirits around the Hamletville. The wood spirits around the area, and everywhere, is a helping hand for Layla. The world has changed, and they are able to suggest things in small ways.

Just when I thought I was settling in, the story has a turn that brings us to something new! Oh this was wonderful! This story has so much more than I was ever expecting to read. We struggle through in Hamletville with Layla and those that survive, but then to come upon another obstacle in their lives and choices they made. Oh a new foe appears and is exciting to see!

There is a bit of love in the book as well. Layla returns home, where her ex-boyfriend and the love of her youth still lives. But there is a potential other interest. It's not a three way that we all see all the time. Actually, Layla has her mind made up early on, it's that one of them has to get it through their skull that there's not a chance with her. And, I'm thrilled with the one she picks. He's TOTALLY the right choice.

Layla is a wonderful lead character. She's the strong woman that I would love to be in this situation. She is knowledgeable from her history studying and profession. She's also kick arse with a sword and guns, yet she's not one with a large head that takes charge. She's respected by all that know her and knew her grandmother, and she's looked to for help and advice. She's amazing.

If you haven't read or listened to this one, you SHOULD! I listened to that audio and man... this is an AMAZING combo of writing by Melanie and voice by Kristin. If you are a UF fan, you'll will enjoy this.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Audio Book Review: From Gods

From Gods

By:  Mary Ting

Publish Date:  October 17, 2013

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 12 mins
Narrated By:  Emma Lysy

Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Series:  1 in Descendant Prophecies series

First Impression:  A book of Greek Gods children, but oh so much more of a twist and romance to it.

Synopsis:
Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants.

Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college. Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable.

Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the decedents of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?

First Sentence:
I remember it clearly, as if it happened yesterday...the day my dad left and never came home.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles
(Note: This 1st book of the series is FREE at Kindle and Barnes & Nobles.)

*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.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Skylar is staying at her Aunt's house for three weeks in the summer as she does each year. The cop that pulled her over, suspiciously off feeling event, and shows up at the Diner she's working with her cousin. Mason has a different name and seems surprised she remembers him. And he did not pull her over. But when their hands brush, or they touch, Skylar feels the shock that warms her. Then when Skylar and her cousin, Kayla, go to a beach bonfire, Skylar has a strange experience. Mason is now curious about Skylar too. He doesn't have time to fall for Skylar or a hurt heart, but when he saves her life he figures he may not have a choice. His heart is already calling to her.

Skylar notices there are other guys that stare at her, at the mall and at the beach party. This sticks out in her mind. And worries Skylar when she sees them again. Even the stares of the older brother of Mason and Nick bothers Skylar. The intensity of it is far to much for her liking.

I listened to this story. Emma, the narrator, has a young sounding voice to go with the young girls and YA feel of the story. Emma doesn't do extra voices for the characters but she reads Skylar and the characters well. She had one section where she repeated 4-6 words, which were missed in editing to remove I'm sure, but that was all.

I was drawn into the story. Mary's story has captivated my attention and I WANT to know what happens, what is the story with Skylar and all the others. Oh, there was a turn of events that I was NOT expecting, and really liked it. Something that happens between Skylar and one of Mason's brothers. Wow, this took the story in a whole new line of thinking for me and my speculations.

We get Skylar's POV. But Mason's too from time to time.

Skylar seems to be relatable. She's the realistic one to see the signs of the "bad boys" or potential unsafe events and trusts her feelings. I like this about her. But she's a great friend above all else. She watches out for her cousin and best friend, Kayla. She talks to Kayla about why they should not do something. Yet Kayla is an adventurous 18 year old. She wants to have fun. I was there once too. I understand Kayla as well. Kayla takes her cousins thoughts and concerns and keeps them in mind but still wants to do things. Skylar goes with her all the same, to help Kayla if she needs it.

Skylar is attracted to Mason, from the first moment she meets him. Mason is, from the mixed signals he sends, attracted to Skylar as well but he's fighting it. He feels he's broken and doesn't want to get close to any girl. But they both are falling. And so are we. *sigh* The flirting of Mason and Skylar... I do think Mason is one of my new favorite book boys. ;) Lots of girls are going to swoon over him.

I would suggest this book for an older teen. Skylar is 18 years old. She feels the heat of desire and faces a potential intimate moment, good and bad.

Oh heavens did I enjoy this story. The tension and attraction between the characters, the suspense to who or what she is, and the action moments. I WANT the next book!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Post #89

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The week has gone by in a flash. I like that when it comes to work. ;) What's helping make it faster? Audio Books! Yep. I've been listening to audio books all week at work. I've gotten through two books and half of a third. (which I CAN'T WAIT to get back to.)

BIG NEWS!
I got to listen to CHUCK WENDIG speak last night! Yes! He was at Seton Hill, a local university, speaking to the Writing Popular Fiction students. This was open to the public as well. So I went!

Chuck is as inspiring and funny as he is on his blog. Even better in person listening to him talk. He shared his journey to getting published, his years of writing things that are set aside and buried away. That his journey and everyone's journey for their book is different. He did share a few things that he's tell his younger self though, which was inspiring to hear.

I was thrilled to make this event as I got to meet friends and new people.

The first person I saw is one I've been talking books for many years. I chatted with him long before I started blogging thanks to Barnes & Nobles forums. It's Paul Goat Allen.

Then I meet several people. Authors Todd Moody and Rebecca Drake. Wonderful, kind people.

I also got the pleasure of meeting Jaye Wells. She's a kind woman. I was hoping she'd be there and she was! I took along with me four of my unsigned Sabina Kane books. :) I'm proud to say they are signed now.




I got to talk with Nicole Peeler, who I haven't seen in almost a year. Life has been happening for us both and haven't had time to catch up. So it was wonderful to see her and talk for a bit.

I had a picture taken with Nicole and Jaye. Thank you ladies! And look who the photo bomber is!! Yep, Chuck himself! I think that's one of the best photo bombs I've ever had.

But before that photo bomb I did get to meet Chuck and have him autograph my copy of Blackbirds (where he predicts my demise). He is a great person.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 got one day of push mowing the grass. (I think this is more than enough for one day of exercise.) And, surprise, surprise! I got on the treadmill for 40 minutes! Woot woot! Two days down. I jogged/fast walked about 2.7 miles. Sweet! And to top it off, I did 20 jack knives too. I feel good about this week.

Zombie Run app:
Season 1 Mission 2:
I was to divert the zombies while they fixed the gates as they were stuck.

It's fun to add this app with my Spotify of workout music. They come in every so often and talk. It's like a little community that I just can't talk to. lol. But when they say to speed up, I do try to speed up (for a minute or two as that's all I can handle, and it's not that much faster). It's something to take my mind off the dreaded jog.

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

Current Read:
Dirty Magic: New Orleans edited by Charlie Brown


Current Audiobook:
Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak


Current Podcast Book Listen:
The Horde by Patrick Scaffido


Finished Last Week: 
Dirty Magic: New Orleans edited by Charlie Brown

Audiobooks from Audible:
From Gods by Mary Ting
The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
I've been listening to Audible books.

~~~~~~~~~~

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:

Two reviews are scheduled for next week:
  From Gods
  The Harvesting

~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:


Audio Books Requested for Review:
Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak
Goodreads Synopsis:
An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium. 

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

*Due to steamy scenes and depictions of drug use, this novel is intended for mature readers.

Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:



Won:




Free Ebooks:
PDF
Midway by Melanie Karsak
Goodreads Synopsis:
Midway: A Harvesting Series Novella (Book 1.5 in The Harvesting Series) is a tie-in novella that compliments The Harvesting, Book I in The Harvesting Series. 

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end. 

Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy. Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them. One day she’s barking on the midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive. 

Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket’s mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive. 

Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive.


(On my Kindle App)


(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
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
7th Son: 7 Days anthology by J.C. Hutchins
House of Grey 6 by Collin Earl
The Secret World Chronicle: World Divided by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Waiting On by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Revolutions by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #2 The Mummy of Barnsley
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #3 The Black Empress
Into Thin Air by Val Griswold-Ford
The Hidden Institute by Brand Gamblin
Club Nexus by E.J. Stevens (Audiobook)
From Gods by Mary Ting (Audiobook)
The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak (Audiobook)
Dirty Magic: New Orleans edited by Charlie Brown

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Audio Book Review: Witch for Hire

Witch for Hire

By:  N.E. Conneely

Publish Date:  January 11, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 14 mins
Narrated By:  Jeff Hays

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st in Witch's Path series

First Impression:  Magic aware world where a witch works with police to help in magical ways to solve magic cases.

Synopsis:
Most witches don’t work for police departments, but Michelle isn’t your average witch. She’s clanless, looking for a warlock who isn’t offended by her lack of family connections, and in danger of losing her job if she can’t find the escaped trolls before they start eating the local residents.

Trolls, angry police, and misbehaving spells are the least of her problems. Statues attacking homeowners might be problematic for your average witch, but to Michelle it’s another day at the office. Her real concern is the wizard suddenly interested in dating her and an old elf set on pestering her. When her happy family is rocked by a long kept secret her stable life falls apart faster than she can pick up the pieces.

And she still hasn’t found those trolls.

First Sentence:
Phone. That had to be my phone waking me up.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

*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.

My Thoughts and Summary:
At her home, and a bed and breakfast run by a brownie couple, Michelle learns a tip that there is someone experimenting with the magical beings of the world. This could explain why Michelle received the three AM phone call from the sheriff's office and had to capture the strange chihuahua type creatures fling around the mayor's house. Michelle sees banners for a group publicly demanding that the trolls need to be free. Trolls that are known for eating all living things.There are even spelled household items that were sold at a family yard sale around causing troubles among people. All this and the frustrating attraction Michelle feels for a beautiful elf staying at the bed and breakfast has her reflecting on questions in her own life. Elron is also struggling with his own life traumas and feels a draw to the young witch.

I listened to this book and was pleasantly surprised with all the voices! I am impressed with the variety of voices to go with each character here. I'm thinking Jeff, the narrator, used a system to modify his voices for different tones and pitch for each character. And I highly approve! Female and male, all sounding different to differentiate between different people (magical or not). This made it fun to listen to.

Hmm. I'm impressed. Nice, quick beginning that had me smiling but then slowed as we got to see into Michelle's history and surroundings, even Elron's too. But when I started to think it was to much into personal life, the story took off with the cases she's running between...the magic she crafts to help the police with, I was taken away with the story as she tried her hardest to track trolls and work tips for other troubles in the areas around her. There are hints of troubles and promises that could be used in future books. I find that I'm curious to read/listen to those stories.

This world is magic filled and all know of the magic and magical "people" that are present in it. There are so many magical beings here. From fey to elves, witches, vampires, brownies, unicorns, dwarfs, and oh so many more.

Michelle lives at a brownies bed and breakfast. It's interesting all the beings that pass through and stay here as it's close to wooded lands and peaceful area. But with others passing through it's a nice way to meet different beings and being a kind home, get tips of things in the supernatural world.

The chapters are primarily divided between two character's POV's. Michelle and Elron. Most of the story is Michelle's POV with short chapters from Elron's POV. Elron is an 1500 year old elf recently trying to find his way in the world again. Though he's not part of the investigations that Michelle works on. He's more a view of a potential suitor and one that wants to see her safe. Michelle is a clanless witch, which is a hidden secret by her mother and the father she's never meet. They were worried that she would be in great danger from the clans. Or something more? I'm looking forward to learning what they are hiding her from and why. She works in different counties for the police helping on different cases with her knowledge of the magical world and how to help solve problems and mysteries with spells.

I found I really enjoyed this story and look forward to the next stories to come. There are many things that could happen in a magical world this big. And I'm curious as to her father and the deal with the clans. Also that nice young man she had coffee with. I'm thinking that this book has given us the ground work for the world and the stories will take off from here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Audio Book Review: Ghost Light

Ghost Light

By:  E.J. Stevens

Publish Date:  April 29, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 15 mins
Narrated By:  Traci Odom

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  2nd book in Ivy Granger series; 1st Book ~ Shadow Sight, 1.5 Novella ~ Blood and Mistletoe

First Impression:  Fey detective with a personal agenda too.

Synopsis:
Ivy Granger, psychic detective, thought she'd seen it all...until now.

With a vengeful lamia that only she can see on the city streets, reports of specters walking Harborsmouth cemeteries, and an angry mob of faerie clients at her office door, it's bound to be a long night. Add in an offense against the faerie courts and a few foolish bargains and one thing is clear - Ivy Granger is in some seriously deep trouble.

Ivy Granger is back, gathering clues in the darkest shadows of downtown Harborsmouth. With the lives of multiple clients on the line, she's in a race against time. Ivy finally has a lead to the whereabouts of the one person who can help her control her wisp abilities, but will she put the needs of her clients above her own?

If Ivy doesn't find a solution soon, she could wind up a ghost herself.

Ghost Light is the second novel in the best-selling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E. J. Stevens.

First Sentence:
What do the names ghost light, friar's lantern, corpse candle, aleya, hobby lantern, chir batti, faerie fire, min min light, luz mala, spook light, ingus fatuus, orbs, boitata, and hinkypunk have in common?

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

*I offered to listen to the audiobook for an honest review.

My Thoughts and Summary:
On top of Ivy being stressed over her boyfriends crazy wife haunting her, she's got fey parents lined up at her door waiting for her help in finding their children. And there are rumors of ghost sightings by the humans as well (not good). While she's out investigating the missing children, Ivy has to be careful not to let her wisp side show by glowing in front of humans. She could find herself in serious trouble with the fey world if she does. What would help is if she could find her father and ask him to help her.

I listened to the audio version of the book. The narrator is easy to understand and clear speaking. She does slight voice changes for Jinx, Ceff, and others in the story to give the feel of difference in people. She's done well here. She's not over the top excited when reading Ivy.

We start with the familiar introduction to the city of Harborsmouth. A slight ad for the city and Ivy Granger's business. Yet there are warnings that the city is full of supernaturals.

The beginning touches on a few new pieces of information that we learned in the novella Blood and Mistletoe, so you don't have to read it to know what pieces to the world were shared with us. You don't get the feel that you completely missed something. But it's a nice read/listen to see what happened and how.

I like Ivy better in this book. I don't know if it's the narrator's reading of Ivy and didn't make Ivy sound all sugar sweet or if Ivy feels not as innocent as in the first book. Things are not all candy here, and in this story too.

Ivy starts off feeling as a stronger character in this book, even though there are still few things with Ivy's personality that I rolled my eyes at and by the end even more (I think Ivy is one I can listen to one book at a time and take a break from). She has pushed herself to her limits, and still does, which is good in a main character. We see Ceff, the selkie king, through most of this book with Ivy as he's joined her on her jaunt through Harborsmouth to find the fey children. However, he doesn't seem to have much of an importance on the case other than company for Ivy to drool over. He does then have a reason to stay on the mission later, once we find out who's involved though. The plus side, Ivy and Ceff have become closer emotionally in this book.

We get to see many different fey and beings in this world as Ivy visits her friends and clients. This is one world with no end to the fey and beings present. With that, there is great potential of troubles to follow up on.

We even get glimpse of Ivy's parentage. Ivy's blocked memories flutter to the surface and we start to see and learn about her father. We learn that the wisps, Ivy's fey side, have been left without a ruler. Interesting. Ivy even digs further to learn about her father by allying with the Cat Sidhe. Oh the Cat Sidhe... these are a neat addition to the world here, and their leader Lord Torn. I do enjoy them. We also learn about why the fey are drawn to Harborsmouth.

I enjoyed the beginning and the story of the fey children. Then, when the fey children case was solved, I started to feel the story was over. The book starts with and ends with Ivy hunting for her father and I had felt like the last 15 chapters were a whole epilogue or a short story of their own. It felt like the main story, through the book, was the case of the missing children. But I guess, with this ending, Ivy's main point of the book was to find her father, the saving the fey children was a side case that takes up her time and she needs to do, it's her job.

It's a great concept and interesting world. I enjoy what's created here. But, there's always the buts. There are a few holes in the story and inconsistencies that caught my attention. The whole first chapter told me what's to happen, not showing me to bring me close to Ivy and the world. Then the next chapter takes me into backing that with an appearance of Melusine. There are small sections of repeating events started to wear on me by the end of the book.

It sounds like I didn't enjoy the story. That's not true. It just feels the story is on one focus at a time. Which, I guess fits as Ivy does have a job she does and her personal agenda is second seat when she's needed to work.