Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Release Day Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway! Uneasy in New Orleans by Carol Carson

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It’s a Big Easy Mystery with Uneasy In New Orleans

UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS has everything you love about the French Quarter, delicious food, sexy men, mystery, gossip, trouble, and dead bodies…Well maybe not all of what people love about the city. However Finnigan Jones is dealing with all of these things and more. UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS is the first in a new series called the Big Easy Mysteries from multi-published author Carol Carson.

To learn more about Carol Carson and her books check out her new website!

Giveaway

Grand Prize: 2 Winners Will Receive 2 $35 gift card to Amazon or B&N


Uneasy in New Orleans

About UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS

FINNIGAN JONES HAS A PASSION FOR COOKING AND A PECHANT FOR TROUBLE.

Dead bodies aren’t on Finn’s New Orleans walking tour of cemeteries and haunted houses. Ditto disappearing bodies. Now she has to explain to Detective Jack Boyle how her missing corpse has turned up in the Mississippi putting her smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation.

Unfortunately, another of Finn’s odd jobs is taking questionable photos for Jack’s PI brother, Tommy. After she snaps shots of a dubious pair of lovebirds, they stalk her, then kidnap her. Now Finn’s dealing with two lunatics intent on killing her. Or driving her crazy. She’s not sure which.

Because lunatics and smokin’-hot brothers aren’t enough trouble, she’s gossiping, yes gossiping, with a chef ghost at culinary school, cat-sitting her aunt’s six felines and attempting to corral her wayward teenage sister.

All Finn wants is to survive school and become the best chef in the world.

FINN’S LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET EVEN MORE COMPLICATED.

On Sale in Digital Now

Add UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

Excerpt 1

Was that a dead body?

Drawing a ragged breath, Finn Jones blinked hard to clear her vision.

She wanted to blame her eyesight, the harsh sunlight or the glare off the asphalt pavement.

She even wanted to blame her cheap, lousy-ass sunglasses. None of it worked.

She could still see it.

Her heart sped up. Perspiration trickled between her boobs. Gulping, she swallowed her dread. In the midst of conducting a walking tour through the French Quarter with eight, honest-to-God paying customers, she didn't dare let them know panic was about to take her away like an alien abduction.

She darted a glance in their direction. Busy talking about how hungry they were and whether the hotdogs from the Lucky Dog vendor nearby were any good, they didn’t notice.

How could they be so clueless? How could they not see it?     

She'd seen dead bodies before--in Uncle Ed’s funeral home.  Until now, she’d never seen one in its natural state. Those other earthly remains had been dead for several days and embalmed. They were laid out nice and neat, appropriate wax-like figures, in a satin-lined coffin at Big Ed Finnigan’s Funeral Parlor and House of Rest.

Corralling her meandering thoughts, Finn moved her sunglasses to the top of her head. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and then opened them again. Her throat narrowed and she swallowed around a huge lump. From her position next to the two-story building, he--and she was sure it was a man--looked pale, stiff and decidedly dead. The body slumped across the gallery railing on the second story of the converted apartment building, one arm dangling over the side. Dear. God. And this, after seeing a ghost in class earlier.

On a muggy summer day when dead bodies had no business scaring the bejesus out of her, the corpse draped above her head like Spanish moss looked nothing like any she'd seen at a funeral.



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Author Bio
Multi-published author Carol Carson was born and raised in central Iowa. She is a former finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest and is an avid bookworm who actually enjoys doing research. Her other passions include travel, American history, the Kansas City Chiefs, the St. Louis Cardinals and dark chocolate. She has lived in Colorado and Kansas, and currently lives with her husband in a log home on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. Write to her at carol.carson@centurytel.net or check out her website at carolcarsonbooks.com
Connect with Carol: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ARC Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered WingsTitle:The House of Shattered Wings
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Publisher/Publication Date: ROC, August 18, 2015
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal 
Format/Source: eARC, Penguin First to Read (publisher)

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital. Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls. Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself...

My Thoughts:

Going into this book, I knew I was there for the story and to satisfy my curiosity about the concept hinted at in the synopsis. And I have to say that The House of Shattered Wings was pretty good.

The setting of post war Paris, a city literally on the brink of total ruin, was fitting. Throughout the novel there were tiny glimpses of what the place used to be like, and it was in stark contrast to how it was portrayed during the current story. There was a big focus on what happened with the houses, which ultimately shaped the city and directly affected the characters front and center in the story. House Silverspires and its dependents seemed to be at the center of the trouble. It was one giant mess, that’s the only way I can say it. So, the mystery aspect was handled well, I did guess a few things ahead of the reveals, but mostly I was surprised by how the story played out. And that’s a good thing. However, there were parts that got a little repetitive and seemed to slow to a crawl—mostly concerning some of the internal dialogue of the characters—but overall it wasn’t too big of an issue.

Now, the concept was definitely my favorite part and offered a different take on fallen angels. I have read numerous novels involving angels/fallen angels, but this was the best twist I’ve seen so far. And while the ending left me with a lot of questions, I do want to check out the sequel only because I want to see what happens to the characters next.


Rating 4/5

I received this copy of the book from Penguin First to Read (publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the Author...
(Picture courtesy of Ines de Bodard )

Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris, wher
e she has a day job as a System Engineer. She studied Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, but moonlights as a writer of speculative fiction. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Obsidian and Blood trilogy of Aztec noir fantasies, as well as numerous short stories, which garnered her two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Forthcoming works include The House of Shattered Wings (August), a novel set in a turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magical war, and The Citadel of Weeping Pearls (October), a novella set in the same universe as her Vietnamese space opera On a Red Station Drifting. She lives in Paris with her family, in a flat with more computers than warm bodies, and a set of Lovecraftian tentacled plants intent on taking over the place.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Even Vampires Get the Blues (Deadly Angels, #6) by Sandra Hill



“Sixth in the Deadly Angels series, Even Vampires Get the Blues is entertaining, solid and consistent in its storytelling. Fans of the Vampire Viking Angels series will be pleased.”  — RT Book Reviews

Title: Even Vampires Get the Blues (Deadly Angels, #6)
Author: Sandra Hill
Publisher/Publication Date: Avon Books; August 25, 2015
Format/Source: Paperback (Review Copy); Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN 9780062356529: $7.99
E-ISBN 9780062356536: $5.99


Book Summary

Vikings, Navy SEALs, Viking vampire angels, oh my! All three are featured in Even Vampires Get the Blues, the sixth sizzling entry in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Hill’s Deadly Angels series. The series focuses on the oh-so-sexy Vangels—an elite group of Vikings-turned-vampire/angels as punishment for their vigorous embodiment of the seven deadly sins ages ago.

Even Vampires Get the Blues features Harek Sigurdsson, who was a brilliant Viking with an insatiable hunger for wealth and all its trappings. Now a Vangel, his otherworldly mission teams him with a Navy SEAL who’s more than his match— she’s his predestined mate…

The fact that vampire angel Harek was a Norseman in his mortal life doesn’t make thawing out after exile in Siberia any easier. But things heat up when his search for evil Lucipires connects him with Camille Dumaine, a human who thrums with sensual energy that can mean only one thing: she’s the mate Harek’s been seeking for centuries…


The SEALs call her “Camo” for her ability to blend into a crowd— yet Harek’s intense blue gaze singles Camille out like a white-hot spotlight. The security wiz was hired to help bring down a ruthless band of international terrorists, but Camille senses an unspoken agenda— besides Harek’s bold declaration that she’s his “destiny.” It’s just Camille’s luck that the sexiest man she’s ever met may also be… a vampire! Smart, sexy, and funny, Sandra Hill fans are sure to love the latest Deadly Angels book!

My Thoughts

I gave Even Vampires Get the Blues by Sandra Hill 100 pages, but I just couldn’t go on. I was hoodwinked by the synopsis that sold me on a story other than what it actually was. Hill presented a story in which slavery and terrorism were major themes. Camille’s character was presented as a woman who had, as was described in the book,—“…a minuscule amount of color…” (p. 94) in her blood. I found it irritating that Camille attempted to rationalize that she had so little black in her bloodline that it didn't really count. Another major turn off was the fact that it was implied she had difficulty maintaining relationships after revealing her family's history. 

       "Hardly. A quadroon is one-quarter black. I do have a minuscule amount of color in my blood, though. Does that bother you?"
       "No. Why should it?"
       She shrugged. "Bothers some men, believe me. I know from experience." (p. 94)

Although Camille was depicted as a character that was repulsed by slavery, it was later revealed that Camille’s black grandmother ten times removed had fallen in love with her abuser who kept her in a life of servitude. I just couldn’t get past that part of the story.  Camille seemed to have more of a problem with who she was than Harek did.  Still, I couldn’t stomach Harek’s character either. One of his major issues was greed. As a mortal, he was unscrupulous and took part in unsavory activities. And after thousands of years as a vampire angel, his character showed little growth with his backwards thinking about women and life in general. Not to mention, Harek's thoughts on slavery: 

       " I was merely pointing out that slavery was a part of many cultures at one time. Yes, it was a sinful custom, but it must be judged through a historical prism." (p. 95)

Although Camille didn't share Harek's viewpoint, the focus on slavery made this book lose the paranormal feel. Maybe the story turns around later, but I’ll never know, because by page 100, it was absolutely clear that this wasn’t the book for me.

Rating: DNF

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


About the Author

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cover Reveal & Giveaway! Say You're Mine by Diane Alberts

SYM_Coverreveal

Today we are revealing the cover for SAY YOU'RE MINE by Diane Alberts. This book is being released by Entangled Publishing's Brazen line this December, and it is part of the Shillings Agency series. Check out the blurb and giveaway below!

 

SayYoureMine_500

BOOK BLURB:

She’s a challenge he can’t afford to lose…

Navy SEAL Steven Thomas has only ever been able to count on three things: waking up in the morning, going to sleep sometime during the night, and Lauren Brixton. She’s been his best friend since grade school, and what they have is the only relationship he’s managed not to ruin.

Until one drunken night puts that all in jeopardy.

Lauren’s watched Steven flit from one-night stand to one-night stand, seemingly not interested in something more. So when the long-ignored attraction between the two of them blows up in their faces, she does the only thing she can—she pretends she doesn’t want him. But all’s fair in love and war, and Steven’s not about to lose the only person in his life who matters…

CLICK HERE TO ADD SAY YOU'RE MINE TO GOODREADS.

    GIVEAWAY
Win an ebook copy of TEMPORARILY YOURS and STEALING HIS HEART (from the Shillings Agency series) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Diane 1 smallABOUT THE AUTHOR

Diane Alberts is a USA TODAY bestselling Contemporary Romance author with Entangled Publishing. Under the name Jen McLaughlin, she also writes New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling books with Penguin Random House. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and four cats. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

-zlogo

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

ArmadaTitle:Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown Publishing, July 14, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Format/Source: Hardcover Review Copy, Blogging for Books

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders...


My Thoughts:

“I was staring out the classroom window and daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer…”

I have to admit that Ready Player One has been on my TBR list for a very long time—and I still want to read it—which is why I jumped at the chance to review Armada. And I have to say that I really liked this book. The story is told from Zack Lightman’s perspective and centers heavily on his reaction and life after he sees a flying saucer—soon after, things change drastically. As the story progressed I had some suspicions about the situation when things didn’t exactly add up. The technology, as always, was one of my favorite parts. And while the concept of alien invasion isn’t a new one I did enjoy Cline’s take on it. The ending was a little bittersweet but an entirely satisfying conclusion to the story.


Rating 4/5

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, thank you! 

About the Author…


ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His first novel, Ready Player One, was a New York Times and USA Todaybestseller and appeared on numerous “best of the year” lists. Ernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic video games.
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