**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Marked blog tour: My journey to publication by Alex Hughes + giveaway

 Today we have a guest post from Alex Hughes, author of MARKED. I'm a huge fan and so it's wonderful to have Alex visit the blog again. Today, she's telling us all about her journey to publication, which I think you'll all enjoy. And Alex is giving away a copy of RABBIT TRICK, an e-novella in the Mindspace Investigations world.

Welcome, Alex!


Marked by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #3)As Marked comes out this week and Vacant (Book #4) goes to beta readers, I find myself reflecting on my journey to publication. It was a long one! But, now that I am on the other side it seems worth it.

I was the nerdy kid in school, with her nose in a book nearly all the time. They called me Encyclopedia, which in retrospect seems funny, but at the time was quite the insult. Books were friends, and I had a lot of book-friends. One day at home in my preteens I got this idea to write a book, which seemed to me at the time like reading only better. My mom, being my mom, said, “of course. Write a book.” She set me up with a document on the computer, and said go. I think she was surprised when she came back a couple of hours later and I had a chapter.

The beautiful part about writing a novel so young is that your “young and stupid” is still intact. I literally didn’t know any reason why I couldn’t do it. I wanted to know how it ended, so three years later, I finished. To this day, I’m constantly trying to get back to this younger state in which I knew I couldn’t fail. Of course, I can write this book. Of course it will be great. Because why not?

Then, a few years later a second thing happened which spoiled me terribly. I wrote a short story for a class project in high school, and I sent it into Fantasy & Science Fiction. Gordan Van Gelder, the editor at the time, wrote me back and told me that Ray Bradbury had just submitted a story of the same topic and so they could not publish this particular story. Please send more. And so I did. I wrote more and submitted more, a lot more, over the next ten years. It took more than 250 more submissions (how many, I don’t know, because I stopped counting at that point) and just as many rejections before anything that exciting happened again. And I grew up. And I won more rejections by the dozens. My parents, being the fools they were, kept encouraging me.

Sharp by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #2)In college I did an independent study with a guy named Dan Marshall, a great teacher of fiction who actually encouraged me to write fantasy & scifi, if I so wanted. We read books together and talked about what made them work, and I wrote another novel. Then, he invited me to his writer’s group, and the folks there helped me grow by leaps and bounds. I found professional writing classes online, and I worked. And I worked. And I went to my marketing job and came home at night and worked some more. And real life set in. I began to despair that anything would come of the writing, and this made me very sad.

I lost my job a few years later when I was newly married, and Sam told me I should try writing for awhile. So, because I loved it so dearly, I did. I took the novel I’d been working on for the last several years, something tentatively entitled Clean based on a project in college, and rewrote it. This was Draft Five. I submitted to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and was told I was mediocre. This made me angry, and realistic. I found another job for another year, and ultimately quit that job (it was a poor fit in personality—I should never have worked for an accounting group with my very-creative temperament). I was very unhappy. Once again, Sam told me to take a year and work on the writing, since I loved it so much. So, heart breaking, I did, telling myself that this was the last time. I wrote, and revised, and found Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course. I used it and a new online writer’s group to rewrite the book again, for Draft Six. I knew what it could be. I knew what I wanted. But I was all too afraid this was going nowhere.

Clean by Alex HughesThen two things happened: I was feeling under time pressure, since my year was almost up, and I feared this was the last shot. I decided to submit to both the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the new year of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. I got into Odyssey. I made the Semi-Finals of the ABNA, both to my shock, both with Clean in its phoenix-like rebirth. And then, on my first week of Odyssey, I got a call out of the blue from Penguin, Penguin the publisher. Apparently they had read all the Semi-Finalists that year and they wanted to offer me a two-book deal. I was over the moon. So was the rest of Odyssey, these amazing strangers, who came around me and supported me throughout the process. I had gone from utter despair to complete joy in less than a year.

Publication was not easy. I had to learn to write a novel on a deadline. And market. And be charming at conferences. And write another book, and another. The learning curve was intense. But. I get to write books. And people read those books, and write to me. After years and years of hard work and struggle, with more rejections than I could count, my thirteen-year-old self is finally vindicated.

I’m still a little over the moon.


For more Alex, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on MARKED:

Marked by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #3)FORESEE NO EVIL.

Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Alex is giving away one (1) e-copy of RABBIT TRICK, a Mindspace Investigation e-novella, to a lucky reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Marked by Alex Hughes

Alex Hughes' Mindspace Investigations is one of the most interesting series out there. (What is it about series set in Atlanta? They're always so good!) I've been hooked ever since she wrote the whole first book (CLEAN) without sharing her main character's name. In each subsequent story, things have gotten more complicated for Adam, which is something I love. He's such a layered character and he lives in a world that is far from black and white.

The third full-length novel in the series, MARKED takes us to a different part of this world: Adam is called back to the Guild, not as a respected member but in a desperate plea from his ex-fiancee Kara after her uncle died (under suspicious circumstances, natch).  This was great because we're finally immersed in the Guild's world, which has been fairly mysterious up to this point. It's very different from the human world that Adam lives in now -- much harsher in a lot of ways, and also more clinical. There are some similarities since telepaths are people too but a lot of things are heightened. There are definitely things that he misses, which is only natural, but there's a darkness in the Guild now as factions have emerged that weren't there when Adam was exiled. As an added bonus, we get to see people from Adam's previous life as he is forced to face up to the Guild's general disdain for him.

There's also some momentum in the relationship between Adam and Cherabino, both professionally and personally. The human police's cases are less central in terms of page time but we still get some nice scenes in which Cherabino and Adam fight crime, now with Michael (who you may remember from SHARP). These moments highlight how capable and smart Cherabino is and I love that Hughes writes her as a strong, intelligent, and feminine character. She has so much depth and adds a lot to the series. I don't think I'd like the Mindspace Investigations stories nearly as much if Cherabino wasn't such an amazing character.

I couldn't be more pleased with how things develop on the personal from between these two characters. Hughes doesn't run to a HEA; instead she's progressing their (potential) relationship in a realistic and grounded manner. Adam's a man with problems -- potential unemployment, addiction, etc. -- and Cherabino has baggage of her own. They're drawn to each other and actively discuss the idea of romance but they don't just fall right into it.

As always, Hughes has delivered an engaging story that builds upon the strong foundation of CLEAN and SHARP. MARKED has an unpredictable mystery and lots of worldbuilding and I devoured the novel in a single sitting. And the final pages of MARKED end in a way that has me salivating for the next stage in Adam's story! If you haven't tried this series, I'd urge you to opt in as soon as possible. Get yourself to the (e)bookstore!

Read an excerptJenn

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

I've been waiting for a new Sarah Addison Allen book for what seems like forever. I'm a huge fan of her books and all her books are definitely worth reading, including this one. I love the way that she writes realistic stories but includes a little supernatural without over doing it. The magical realism genre is probably one of my favourites because you don't quite know what's real and what's magic. The combination is subtle which makes it mysterious and interesting, while still reading a heartfelt story. Like one of the characters in the book says, "Magic is what we invent when we want something we think we don't have."

LOST LAKE, is about finding one's self, and many of the characters, if not all, end up "waking up" in one way or another. Kate, the main character, is first encountered after she "wakes up" a year and a day after her husband's death. She ends up doing something random, breaking her mother-in-law's rules by taking her daughter on a road trip to visit the place where she had her best summer ever, where she spent her last summer as a child. Kate's vulnerability and insecurity after losing her husband makes her a realistic character, and a likeable one at that. We see her get stronger not only as a person but as a mother and a friend.

The magical realism elements are more subtle in this book than her other ones I think, or at least come later on in the book and creep up on you. I don't want to reveal too much because I strongly believe this book needs to be read with an open mind, without any spoilers.

The setting of the book couldn't be more perfect. Lost Lake is a sort of old cabin/camping ground that used to be an amazing place to spend the summer but has been lost and forgoteen by many except for a few lost souls. The slew of original and eccentric characters add life and energy to the novel and it's kind of wonderful a that they end up finding each other.

If you're looking for an easy, yet heartwarming story, you can pick up any Sarah Addison Allen book. LOST LAKE just happens to be her most recent novel. Personally I hope she keeps writing only stand alone books because I can't see her doing anything else. The ways she builds stories and invents characters, they're only made to be visited once because their mysteriousness would simply be gone if they were to be expanded on event more. One thing is for sure, this author has been on my auto-buy list since she first came out with GARDEN SPELLS. I just hope I can convinced a few more people to pick up her books because I can't be the only one that finds her stories so wonderful.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stacking The Shelves [101]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Didn't end up buying or borrowing any books this week, but I did get one unexpected book this week, and that was Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis. Maybe I've been living under rock, but I haven't heard anything about this book - but the blurb sounds AH-MAZING. Check it out:

Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection.

I know, right?! I can't wait either.

Also - doesn't hurt that the cover is prettiful as well.

So what did you guys get this week? Any unexpected goodies??
[inlinkz_linkup id=386773]

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Moria and Ashyn are twin sisters with a most crucial role. They are respectively the keeper and the seeker on the Forest of the Dead and their role is to keep the population safe from the angry spirits roaming its depth. Each year, on a specific night, the seeker walks into the forest with a small group to seek the bodies of the exiles (criminals and such) and give them a proper burial to bring them peace. This year, Ashyn will go into the forest alone, without her mentor, and nothing could've prepared her - nor Moria- for what awaits them in the shadows.

What an amazing read! I'm a fan of Kelley Armstrong (I'm currently reading her Woman of the Otherworld series and have read both her YA trilogies, Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising), and this book is honestly completely different from anything else I've read from her. The tone is actually very dark despite some humor here and there, and I have to confess the novel gave me the creeps. I even had trouble falling asleep one night after reading a particular scene at around 20% of the book. This novel is honestly bordering on horror, especially at the beginning, but the scary factor was brought down a bit once both girls set out on their respective quests.

I truly enjoyed the very unique lore Armstrong brought to the table. In the girls' kingdom, there are three pairs of twin sisters holding the role of keeper & seeker: One at the palace, one at the forest of the dead, and one is roaming around. Their role is of the utmost importance in this world where spirits hold great powers and those honored girls are chosen in a rather gruesome way. Each of them also have a bonded pet and I thought it was a really nice touch, especially considering their important to the plot. This world is also filled with magic and mythical creatures the likes you've never heard of and it was amazing, and sometimes scary, to discover them.

An aspect I particularly liked is how different Moria and Ashyn are despite their being twins. Moria is a big-mouthed arrogant fighter with a passion for story-telling and a weak spot for children. Her vision of boy-girl interaction is also very technical, especially compared to Ashyn's who as a very romantic spirit. The latter is also soft spoken and of a much more intellectual type, let's say she much preferred healing classes to combat ones. Both of them are amazing in their own way and their opposite personalities are balancing each other perfectly.

The girls were split after a tragic event and spend most of their journey apart, each paired with a boy. Gavril, Moria's partner, is a brooding secretive and sexy soldier with an attitude to rival Moria's. I actually really liked him and after their journey, he is the biggest mystery I can't wait to discover in the following novel. Ronan, Ashyn's companion, is an exile who survived the winter in the forest of the dead and he also is very secretive. He appears and disappears as pleases him, but he is always there when Ash needs him. I had a soft spot for him and I want to see more from him as well.

In this novel, the characters are facing one long journey filled with mysteries and dangers and while the novel was a real page-turner, I feel like it's an introduction for what's to come. The chess pieces have been set in place and I honestly can't wait to see the big battle unfold. I was really dumbstruck by the cliffhanger conclusion and I just feel there is a lot more to discover than the bits Armstrong gave us. I don't know when book 2 will release, but I hope I'll get an early copy because the wait might just kill me.tynga


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shadowland by Meg Cabot

This book was (very nicely) forced upon me by my friends Christina and Gillian after they heard that I'm not the biggest Meg Cabot fan. See, what observation was based off of me reading a single one of her more recent publications and disliking it greatly. So, I came home from college for Christmas break and found a box from Christina with this entire series waiting for me. And, boy, am I happy that she did this because I am absolutely adoring this series.

What I've discovered with Meg Cabot is that she has found the recipe to success. A kickass heroine with a snarky attitude plus a dreamy boy that creates a delicious romantic tension equals a series that Lili (and many other readers) are bound to pick up and love. In this instance, she can't let anyone down.

Suze, short for Susannah but you better not call her that, is one of my favorite heroines that I have come across, perhaps ever. Not only is she snarky, but she's intelligent and fiery. She's not scared to open up a can of whoop ass on evil ghosts, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. She's quirky and obsessed with fashion even though she'd be the last person you would think would be. And, in all honesty, I think she is a bit insane, but that just made me love her more. Though she has a hugely sarcastic demeanor, Suze is instantly likable and you immediately feel for her. Most importantly, Suze is a mediator, meaning that she is the liaison between a ghost and their ability to move on. Some ghosts hang around the real world after they die because they have some things to finish, Suze gets the job done so that they can move on and she can stop being haunted by creepy people. It's a win/win don't you think?

If I was getting shipped away from my best friend and the wonders of New York City to live with three step brothers in California, I can't say I would be beyond pleased, so it was interesting to see Suze's transition. However, watching her family dynamic change and see that she really does care for some of them was great. I especially love her soft spot for her nerdy little brother who she affectionately nicknames, Doc. The brother that's slightly older is Sleepy, who I enjoy at times, but I have to admit that her stereotypical dumb-jock-that-hooks-up-with-everyone brother, Dopey, annoys me a lot. I hate the stereotypes and wish more went into his characterization.

And then there's Jesse. He's not really human, he's just the ghost that inhabits her new bedroom because he died there somehow 150 years ago and has yet to move on. I love Jesse and I can see some amazing plot points happening with him later in the series. And I seriously hope their romance continues because it's not only unique, but meant to be. At least...in my eyes.

As far as the plot goes, the synopsis pretty much covers it. I find the fact that Suze goes to school in a Mission to be very entertaining. And even more entertaining is the fact that the first ever mediator she ever comes across happens to be a Priest and her Principal, Father Dominic. His characterization is superb. He is bound by his oath, but he's got a very tiny rebellious streak in him that's constantly battling his commitments and what society expects of him. Together him and Suze (and by default, Jesse) make an amazing team.

All in all, very easy to get through. A quick read that's slightly predictable. Our main ghost in this one is beyond childish and reminds me of a petulant rich girl who does not get what she wants. I genuinely believe that some of Cabot's characterization can be made to be more complex instead of stereotypical and annoying. Hopefully this is a problem that will get better down the line. Despite the fact that these books are on the elder side, they're not the least bit dated and I recommend that everyone gives them a chance--no matter what the age. I feel as if anyone can appreciate them. Suze's attitude is simply unparalleled. Onto book two!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Ever since I read Ten a while ago, I've been dying to start Possess and read more of Gretchen McNeil's other books. I was fairly disappointed by Possess and I truly expected more from this paranormal romance novel. I never really was all that interested in Bridget Liu and her adventures exorcising demons. I truly expected so much more from this debut novel and it truly didn't deliver the story I really wanted to read.

Bridget Liu has a rare and powerful ability to exorcise demons and she is working with a priest to hone her skills. Liu needs to protect the world from a group of demons who are trying to raise their demon king. To make things even more complicated is the subject of two boys' attention and her father was recently murdered.

Bridget wasn't a very interesting main character and I was never very sympathetic to her. Bridget is extremely furious with her mother due to her affairs with two different men and she decides to act all uptight and take her anger out on random innocents. Even when I felt like I should've empathized with her, I never really formed a connection with her character and I was just annoyed by her actions.

Matt Quinn is the love interest in this book and he is an extremely unappealing character who was extremely irritating and creepy. Even when Bridget rejects Matt several times, he's so persistent and won't take no for an answer no matter how adamant she was. When a girl says no, it means stop flirting with her and bothering her; later on in the book McNeil gives a reason why Bridget kept rejecting him but that still shouldn't make a difference.

The demonology in Possess isn't bad, but it was very uninspiring and it didn't add anything new to the paranormal genre. I've seen this plot-line before in several different incarnations and Possess felt like a watered down version of a Buffy episode.  Some of the exorcism scenes were wonderfully creepy (especially the doll shop scene), but this wasn't enough to catch my interest.

Possess was slightly entertaining, but at the same time I felt extremely relieved when it finally had ended. The romance and paranormal aspects of this book were subpar and never managed to trigger any strong emotional reactions on my part. I'm truly hoping 3:59 and Get Even interest me more than Possess did.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Storm Bound giveaway


We're taking part in a giveaway tour celebrating the release of Dani Harper's newest novel: STORM BOUND. It's the second book in her Grim series, which I haven't tried yet, but it's sitting on pretty high up my TBR list. This is your chance to win a slew of prizes but, before we get to that, you need to get the scoop on the series:
Storm Warrior by Dani Harper (Grim #1)From the best-selling author of Changeling Moon, this stirring novel of passion and magic launches an addictive new series for fans of paranormal romance.

Enslaved for millennia by the masters of the Welsh faery realm, the fierce Celtic warrior Rhys is doomed to wander the earth forever. But when a brave beauty unwittingly breaks the enchantment, he is drawn into a strange new world…and an all-consuming desire.

Sensible Morgan doesn’t believe in magic—until a mysterious being saves her from a fate worse than death, and life as she knows it changes forever. Now the man of her dreams has become flesh and blood, igniting a spark in Morgan’s soul which science cannot explain. But even a love that transcends time may not be strong enough to withstand the power of an ancient curse.

Amazon | Book Depository

Storm Bound by Dani Harper (Grim #2)Kidnapped on his wedding day in the twelfth century and forced into a thousand years of servitude by a cold-hearted faery princess, rugged blacksmith Aidan dreams of nothing but revenge on his captor. Then the spell of a beautiful witch awakens him to the modern world—and a passionate desire. But to build a future, he must first confront his past…

Modern witch and magic-shop owner Brooke doesn’t think her life is missing anything, until a wayward enchantment lands a brooding medieval blacksmith in her spell room—and in her arms. Yet even after their passion proves to be truly magical, Aidan’s first commitment is to vengeance. Now Brooke must team up with friends and ancient warriors alike—and push her own powers to their limits—to save her love from the wrath of an evil fae.

From the best-selling author of Changeling Moon, this thrilling and sensual novel adds a new chapter to Dani Harper’s Celtic folklore-themed Grim Series. Available in trade paperback, ebook and Audible.



There are a bunch of prizes for this giveaway, with different geographical restrictions.

GRAND PRIZE:  A signed paperback copy of STORM BOUND, an MP3-CD of STORM WARRIOR, a set of the LLEWELLYN TAROT cards, a Celtic-style blank journal, a Celtic symbol pendant (pewter), a pewter magnet of a “black dog” (mastiff), plus a Dani Harper tote bag and swag.

RUNNERS UP: 10 runners up – Reader’s choice of a Kindle ebook from Dani’s backlist (Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream, Changeling Dawn, First Bite or Storm Warrior).

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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Ophelia Prophecy blog tour: Guest post by Sharon Lynn Fisher + giveaway

Ophelia Prophecy Blog Tour Button

Today we have a guest post from Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of a delightful and thought-provoking new science fiction novel called THE OPHELIA PROPHECY. She classifies the book as biopunk -- and she's here to explain exactly what that means! Tor is also providing a couple copies of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY for a giveaway so make sure to stick around until the end of the post to enter.

 Welcome, Sharon!


What is biopunk, and what possessed me to write it?

If you'd asked me a few years ago whether I'd be writing something as sci-fi as biopunk, I would have said (after Wikipedia-ing “biopunk” to confirm it really is a thing): "Too hard-core for me."

While I was writing my debut novel, planetary romance GHOST PLANET, I never really thought of myself as a sci-fi writer. Speculative romance is my passion. Love + strange happenings is a formula that flips my happy switch as both a reader and a writer.

But at that point I hadn't really gotten in touch with [been taken hostage by] my inner geek.

The seeds were planted with that first book, because it required me to research symbiogenesis and Gaia theory (in short, biology stuff). Then I researched quantum physics, parapsychology, parallel universes, and asteroid impact winters for the second novel I wrote, ECHO 8 (due out from Tor in early 2015).

Somehow from there I graduated to the bug people in THE OPHELIA PROPHECY (April 1, 2014, Tor). And that brings us back to biopunk.

Ophelia Prophecy Web Banner

The term has different meanings depending on the context, but basically we're talking about a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates experimentation with DNA/genetics in the storytelling. Biopunk novels often include bioengineered characters and/or races. An example of a highly acclaimed biopunk novel is THE WINDUP GIRL, by Paolo Bacigalupi.

But I have to confess I did not set out to write a post-apocalyptic biopunk romance any more than I “set out” to write science fiction in the first place. I'm motivated by storytelling. If it makes a good story to have a hero who is part praying mantis and is in love with a human woman who should be his enemy, then sign me up for biopunk.

And that's the gist of the biopunk component of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY. Creative biohackers (also referred to as biopunks), motivated partly by government contracts and partly by their own artistic impulses, engender a race of insect/human transgenic organisms, the Manti. Biohackers created other varieties of transgenics as well — like OPHELIA's human/wolf priest, Father Carrick — but these were mostly wiped out by the same Manti-engineered virus that all but destroyed the human population.

In OPHELIA, the level of mutation ranges from mild (the hero, Pax) to moderate (Pax’s winged and spiked half-sister, Iris) to extreme (the wasp creatures that attack a human survivor camp in the west of Ireland).

But the heart of the story is not biopunk. Like any good romance, the story’s heart is the attraction and tension between Pax and the mysterious woman (Asha) he picks up on the border of the last human city. The worldbuilding and backstory make for a long, slow burn, but once the two do come together (ahem), the fallout’s enough to change their whole world.


Thank you, Sharon, for visiting us on this tour!

Sharon Lynn FisherA Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014). You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Here's the scoop on THE OPHELIA PROPHECY:

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn FisherOur world is no longer our own.
We engineered a race of superior fighters--the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities.
In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.

Asha and Pax—strangers and enemies—find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there. Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource—information—viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society. Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check. But neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie. With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past The Ophelia Prophecy is the thrilling new SF romance from Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of Ghost Planet.

Jenn's thoughts

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Tor is giving away two copies of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

I was really in the mood for some sci fi the other day so I feel quite lucky to have found THE OPHELIA PROPHECY on Netgalley. This is one special book. It's that rare sci fi novel that's accessible to people who aren't die-hard fans of the genre, with a minimal amount of technobabble and a lot of juicy story.

THE OPHELIA PROPHECY has two main characters: Asha and Pax. Asha is an archivist and Pax is the son of the amir of Granada, the leader of this Manti community. They wake up in a reservoir with no idea of how they came to be there. Pax takes Asha with him, to the dismay of both Asha and Pax's sister Iris. The novel evolves from there, slowly revealing the histories of the two species who now inhabit Earth.

One of the most interesting aspects of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY is that you really don't know whose side to choose. Asha and Pax are both extremely sympathetic characters and Fisher does a wonderful job  of showing the reader both sides of their world. It's easy to side with the humans, who've become an endangered species of Earth, but you can also understand why the Manti rebelled against their creators. I loved the push and pull that Asha and Pax feel, particularly Asha, as she learns that there were secrets in her home community of Sanctuary and she is forced to face some uncomfortable truths. Pax is also torn because of his position, his drives, and his beliefs. These come into high relief in the later parts of THE OPHELIA PROPHECY so I won't say much about the specifics but I will say that Pax is compelled to take a stand that causes no small amount of trouble for him.

There's also a romantic connection between Asha and Pax, though it's more of a biological drive for Pax, at least at first. Asha's feelings are much more confused since the Manti are supposed to be her enemy but she receives more kindness and respect from Pax than she does from some of the other humans she encounters along the way. It creates a real sense of conflict as Asha slowly learns why she was in the reservoir and has to reconcile what she's been told about the world with what she sees with her own eyes. Pax is also forced to face some uncomfortable truths about his society and family, making THE OPHELIA PROPHECY a compelling read.

There's also some interesting science in the novel but, as I said at the beginning, it's not the focus of the book. THE OPHELIA PROPHECY is very character driven; it just happens to have a science fiction setting. If you're looking for a book with political and emotional tensions, regardless of genre, THE OPHELIA PROPHECY should be on your list. Fisher has created a complex story and world and you'll really enjoy the ride.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

A few days ago, I was in the mood for something completely different from my usual reads. I wanted to read a cozy mystery so when I came across this book, which is in fact a cozy mystery with the added flair of supernatural elements, I jumped at the chance to try something new. Set in the quaint town of Savannah, Georgia, we follow Katie Lightfoot as she prepares to open a new bakery, along with her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben. But things go awry when a recent customer is murdered near the new bakery, and Uncle Ben is the main suspect because of the minor altercation he had with the deceased a few minutes before she was found dead.

Solving a murder was the last thing Katie thought she would do when she moved to Savannah. Since the police force seem to be concentrating their efforts on accusing Ben for the murder, Katie feels obligated to find the real murderer to exonerate her uncle. Her aunt's "book club" join in the search and to Katie's surprise, they start using spells and their witchy abilities to help. Little did she know her aunt was a practicing witch and Katie came from a long line of witches. Katie's mom had decided to raise her daughter without teaching her the craft, or even mentioning her possible legacy. Katie is surprised at first that she a born witch, then, after contemplating events from her past, and recognizing her ability to grow and care for plants, she realizes that she's always had a mystical connection to the world. I love the way she embraces her legacy. She did deny it at first, was skeptical, then progressively accepted her talents by learning a little more each day.

Having recently broken up with her fiancé, moving to Savannah is also a way for Katie to start off fresh. Dating and men were certainly not in the plans, especially with the bakery opening eminently, but because of her magnetism, Katie attracts the attention of two men, Steve Dawes, a local reporter, and Declan McCarthy, a firefighter. The tension between the two men makes you realize there is definitely a story behind that, but definitely makes the story interesting. For many reasons, I find Steve Dawes a little creepy. Showing up around Katie at unsuspecting time, almost like a stalker, is a little creepy, and calling Katie-girl all the time was kind of annoying. It was sweet at first but then it got overused. Declan seems like the more reasonable choice, especially since he's always there to help her whenever she needs the help. We can't forget to mention the other new male in Katie's life, Mungo the magnificent, a little terrier that wriggled his way into her life. She later learns from her aunt that Mungo is probably her witch's familiar and their attraction is probably because of their magical connection.

BROWNIES AND BROOMSTICKS is a quick read and a fun novel. The characters were pleasant and well developed for the length of the novel, but I definitely want to find out more about them in the rest of the series. With this first book in the Magical Bakery Mystery series, the author has given us a taste of her magical world. This isn't your hardcore magic novel. The characters have a more practical and natural approach to their craft so you can't expect it to be full of magic and action. In fact, there's probably more mention of food than magic, which is totally fine by me! The two recipes included in the book sound amazing and I might just try baking scones for the first time. Bakery/Food/Restaurant mystery series seem to be quite popular with some readers but I haven't read many, so I have very little to compare to. The supernatural aspects adds a little flair which is probably the main reason I would continue reading the series. Bailey Cates has pleasantly introduced me to a new type of cozy mystery and I can't wait to read this book's sequel.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [100]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Jenn here, bringing you a very special edition of Stacking the Shelves. Why is it special? We've hit the big 100! There aren't words to say how thrilled we are here at Team Tynga's Reviews. You've all been such amazing participants and we're glad you're enjoying the meme as much as we do. Here's hoping we can keep it up. We'll be celebrating 200 in no time.

I have been lucky enough to receive a pile of eARCs for review over the past month or so since my last STS post. Since I've had some of these books for a while, I've already scheduled reviews for a bunch of them, starting with THE OPHELIA PROPHECY on Monday, when Sharon Lynn Fisher visits the blog. After that, you'll see reviews for IMMORTAL HUNTER, TORN FROM THE SHADOWS, PEACEMAKER, HER PERFECT MATE, BANISHING THE DARK,  and REPOSSESSED over the next couple months, plus a few older books I've had in my To Review stack. (I'm trying to get my Netgalley response rate up to that coveted 80%.)

Without further ado, here's what I've amassed over the past few weeks. Please leave your link at the end of the post so we can see what you've picked up.

For review:

Death's Daughter by Kathleen Collins (Realm Walker #2)The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn FisherUnder Nameless Stars by Chrisian Schoon (Zenn Scarlett #2)Torn From The Shadows by Yolanda Sfetsos (Sierra Fox #4)

Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm Knights*
Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of the Plagues*
Immortal Hunter by Kait Ballenger*
Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett*
Hearts of Chaos by Kira Brady*
The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato*
Dancing with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen*
Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins*
Demon by my Side by Victoria Davies*
Talented by Sophie Davis* [DNF]
Peacemaker by Marianne De Pierres*
The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher*
Stolen Songbird by Danielle E. Jensen*
Repossessed by Shawntelle Madison*
Morningside Fall by Jay Posey*
Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy* [review]
Under Nameless Stars by Christian Schoon*
Torn from the Shadows by Yolanda Sfetsos*
Reaper’s Touch be Eleri Stone [review]
Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler*
Witch Interrupted by Jody Wallace* [review]


Drynn by Steve Vera (Last of the Shardyn #1)Bitter Spirits by Jenn BennettQuick Fix by Linda GrimesUndead Chaos by Joshua Roots

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett*
Quick Fix by Linda Grimes*
Rise of Hope by Kaily Hart*
Undead Chaos by Joshua Roots*
Drynn by Steve Vera*

 What are you adding to your shelves?

[inlinkz_linkup id=385389]


Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Mercy's life is never peaceful but nothing could prepare her for the hateful bitch that invaded her territory - Adam's ex-wife, Christie. Of course, she comes off as sweet as sugar, but she  is very good at manipulating people and making Mercy's life a living hell is on her menu. Her life is threatened by a stalker though, so Mercy has to endure her and for the pack's interest, she also has to pretend the situation doesn't bother her. Little did they know, Christie's stalker is much more than the woman let them believe and their lives will all be at risk.

Patricia Briggs never cease to amazed me and Night Broken was no exception. I truly enjoyed this new installment and the best compliment I can say is that even though it's the eighth book in the series, it feels just as fresh and exciting as the first one.

Briggs always find new ways to torture poor Mercy and bringing in the ex-wife, on top of two paranormal foes, was brilliant - and cruel.  We've heard of Christie before, but it was the first time she had such an exposure and I hated her right along with Mercy. She is the most hypocritical character I have ever encountered and her evil schemes and manipulating would put a check master to shame. I am just glad Mercy found a way - a pretty awesome one too-  to get back at her in the end.

Beauclaire, a fae we met in the Alpha & Omega series, is back and throwing an ultimatum at Mercy. Coyote is also back, for better or for worst. I honestly really like the latter's weird and mysterious behavior though Mercy would prefer straight answers from him. We also get to meet 3 new characters, a submissive wolf that didn't have much of a role this time around (maybe Briggs is setting the table for the next novel?), Gary, another coyote (Mercy's half brother - kind of) and Christie's stalker - a very mysterious foe. I grew very fond of Gary and I do hope we'll see more of him in the future. Maybe he will help healing Honey's wounds.

The plot was intricate as always and I truly enjoyed it, having no idea where Briggs would take us with all the different subplots. I couldn't figure out until Briggs decided to let us in, which threat was the biggest, Beauclaire or the stalker, and what was the link with the murders happening in tri-cities. I was completely hooked and read the entire novel in less than 24 hours, quite a feat for me, especially with a newborn on my hands.

The conclusion was exciting as always and I once more find myself wishing Briggs was a faster writer so I could get my hands on the next installment faster. It doesn't have a title yet, as far as I know, and is due for 2015 though no release date was announced.

If you are one of the lost souls who haven't met Mercy yet, I strongly suggest you pick up this series. It's one of my favorite urban fantasy series and I am convinced you won't be disappointed if you give it a chance.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Lately, I've been a sucker for anything time-travel related. I've seen it coming up more and more in new releases, and I haven't found too many that have disappointed me yet! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Here and Now. In The Here and Now, Prenna is part of a small community of time travelers that have arrived in the past, desperate to find a way to change the devastating future that was their home. Plagues and poverty is all they've known for years. But the longer they stay, and the more self-aware Prenna becomes as she gets older, she's noticing that the community seems corrupt. They're surveilling them, and stifling their interactions with what they call the 'time natives' - or those who are from the present time. And who really knows what they've actually got planned to stop the future from unfolding the way it did in the past?

I thought the dynamic between Prenna and Ethan was really cute. Ethan is the one boy that Prenna can't seem to keep out, and can't bear to keep lying to. I thought it was very sweet the way that he seemed to understand her without having to push her too hard or too far. But I can't say a whole lot more about their relationship than that... it was cute. It wasn't super developed or so-adorable-I'm-gonna-melt... it was just... cute. Which is totally okay sometimes too!

The time travel was very straightforward in The Here and Now. There's the future, and the past. And you've got to make exactly the right change in the past in order to change anything in the future. The issue of paradoxes or alternate futures didn't seem to come up. The idea was more that time is a train, and you have to do some pushing to get it to change its track at all. This fresh, simplistic view of time travel is perfect for an Ann Brashares novel. At the end of the day, I didn't go into The Here and Now expecting a mind-bending time travel adventure. I expected an honest, real look at a girl who comes of age in her own way. That's what Ann Brashares writes best, in my opinion. The time travel piece almost took a back seat to the character and identity development that Prenna goes through.

Most of the more critical reviews of The Here and Now that I've read are attacking the fact that some of the big plot turns and revelations aren't exactly what you would call masterfully plotted. And I'll admit, they're really not. But that didn't ruin them for me either. I enjoyed The Here and Now from start to finish.

I read The Here and Now in near one sitting. It easily caught and held my attention, and I found myself needing to know whether or not the future could be changed. If there's another book, I'll definitely be reading it just as soon as I can get my hands on it!





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Treatment by Suzanne Young

The Treatment is the sequel to The Program and it is also the conclusion to The Program duology. Suzanne Young really does an excellent job of building the story that began with The Program and at the same time, tying up all of the plot lines. The Treatment is equally thrilling and poignant; this is one of the best series conclusions I've ever read by far. Young really wrote the perfect ending to this series and it was truly an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Sloane and James have escaped the clutches of The Program and they are now wanted criminals. The Program will not stop till they find Sloane and James, our main characters aren't safe anywhere in the country. Both Sloane and James decided to join up with a group of rebels, but how do they know if these rebels are trustworthy? Sloane and James have lost most of their memories and they have the treatment, a pill that would bring back their memories. Are the memories that Sloane and James lost better off forgotten?

Sloane is one of my favorite YA characters because her character is just so richly and realistically developed. Suzanne Young really knows how to pull on readers' heartstrings and my heart was constantly aching for Sloane. I truly loved how even though Sloane was in a less than ideal situation, she always tried her best to make the best of the situation. Sloane is a really clever protagonist and I loved how independent and strong-willed she is.

James always knows just what to say to make me laugh out loud, which really helped add some comic relief to this extremely emotional thriller. I absolutely loved James's dry wit and his banter left a smile on my face even after I had finished reading. James is truly a character that readers will swoon over and his interactions with Sloane were absolutely adorable.

The Treatment does an excellent job of demonstrating how damaging suicide is to peoples' lives. The world Young has created isn't all that different from the world we live in and it's not such a far-fetched idea that suicide could become an epidemic. The Treatment is extremely thought-provoking and really will make readers think: "Is it better just to forget the past?" I know some people would rather just leave the trouble riddled past behind, but Young really shows how people can use their woes to empower them. This is an extremely powerful and important series that needs to be read; there's so many important themes about love, loss, and moving on in The Program series.

The Treatment is extremely thrilling and addicting to read and I zoomed through this book because I was so engaged in the story. Young does an excellent job of constantly raising the stakes and creating a tense, ominous atmosphere. This is by far one of the best "dystopian" novels out there and few novels have really captured my attention the way The Treatment did. The Treatment was truly unpredictable and I was completely shocked by all of the plot twists, especially towards the ending. The ending to this novel was absolutely perfect and I can't think of any better way to conclude The Program series.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

I won this book when it first came out and have read it a few times since, but I've been pretty slack about writing it up. But Shawntelle Madison is a talented writer and COVETED is a fun book so I figured it was high time I get this review done.

Natalya Stavinsky is no ordinary werewolf. Well, on some levels, she is, but she's also something of an oddball, no longer a member of the local pack because of her anxiety and OCD. Ostracized from her family and belittled by most pack members, Natalya is a hoarder who takes great solace in her collection of holiday ornaments. And it's Natalya's issues that first got me interested in reading COVETED, because these are traits we don't see in UF protagonists. There are plenty of characters with problems but no leads that suffer from these types of mental illnesses. (Let me know if there are others in the comments, please.) Whatespecially great about Natalya is that she knows that she has to work on these problems and she is actively trying to combat her compulsions, with varying degrees of success. She's a different kind of role model: not the strongest werewolf, but one who is devoted to her loved ones, who works hard, who has a strong sense of honour.

Madison has surrounded Natalya with some great characters. I adore Aggie, one of Natalya's friends from a camp for werewolves with problems. Aggie's an overeater but that doesn't define her. In fact, it is just one character attribute, and one I forgot after a while since I loved her strength, her loyalty, and her compassion. She's also really funny. I'm also a big fan of the members of Natalya's support group, particularly Nick, a wizard with a hoarding problem of his own. We don't get to know the others as well but I was instantly charmed by most of them.

No discussion of COVETED would be complete without talking about Thorn, heir apparent to the pack and Natalya's ex-lover, who disappeared five years ago and is newly back in town, set to mate with the pack's resident mean girl. And if I'm honest, I have to say that Thorn is a jerk. He says he loves Natalya, which I believe, but he has agreed to mate with Erika yet keeps sniffing around Natalya. There are societal and paternal pressures for him not to be with Natalya but he can't leave her alone, which puts her in a terrible spot. I love romantic tension but this really didn't work for me. I just wanted him to man up or move on, so that Natalya could move on as well. And maybe get with Nick, who is clearly her soulmate. 

COVETED is probably one of the strongest debuts from 2012, and I would definitely recommend it. Natalya is a very special protagonist I plan to dive into KEPT quite soon, to see where Madison will take her next.

Read an excerpt


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Destiny's Present by Patricia C. Lee

I love discovering and supporting local authors, and when an author happens to write in one of my favorite genres, it's that much easier to enjoy the book. I read the first book of this series a while back, and while it wasn't a favorite of mine, I decided to try its sequel.

Unlike the first book of her Daughters of the Crescent Moon series, this book has us travelling in the past. Personally, I enjoyed this second book a little more because we got to learn  more about the magical world and the ultimate goals of the antagonists. The presence of the antagonists is also stronger so it makes it more thrilling and dangerous for the characters. Although a few characters from book 1 are back in this sequel, it feels like there's a disconnect between the two books. One is set in the present, while two is set in the past. The switch in main characters also doesn't help with the connectivity of the stories. The narrative is completely different and the feel of the stories don't match.

Although I have a hard time seeing this book as part of a series, the story itself is an entertaining one. The sorceress Narena is on a quest to find the people who threaten the King of Leisos and his heirs. The plot to overturn the kingdom which was discovered in book one is a lot more dangerous than the original theory. Narena suspects Torrin, her ex-lover and father of her daughter, to be involved in the plot, but what she discovers is a lot more complicated and shocking than what she expected. Not only does she reconnect with people from her past, she also meets new people that become unlikely allies.

Since it's publicized as being part of a trilogy, I can only imagine there will be  third book. I can't wait to see what happens next. This second book has me invested in the trilogy so I will definitely be on the lookout for what happens next.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Soapboxing: Which books would you take when you move?

soapboxing logo

I haven't written a Soapboxing post in a while because my life has been a bit hectic since December, in the best possible ways. I went to Australia for Christmas to see my brother, got back to Canada mid-January to defend my PhD dissertation, and then promptly moved to England for a job in my field of study. I've been in the UK since February 10 and I finally feel like I'm settling into a routine, which means I finally have time to write posts again! And it's quite convenient since all of this travel has given me an easy topic for this month:


 How do you decide what books to take with you when you're moving by plane?

All I have to say is, thank goodness for e-books! When I went to England from Canada for a year in university, it was absolute agony to choose what to take in my two suitcases. I ended up bringing far too many books; at the same time, it was far too few since I burned through them in no time.

This time, my move to England is more permanent as I have a contract for an 18-month position. I brought only one paper book: CAST IN SORROW by Michelle Sagara. This was largely because I needed something to read on the plane and I find her work absolutely captivating. Funnily enough, I ended up sleeping most of the way over so it's actually sitting untouched on my nightstand (I've been reading all of my eARCs) but it's very comforting to have a real book on hand. I really miss my books. I miss reading them, I miss seeing them on my shelves, I miss getting my books in the mail. I'm particularly dying to re-read Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series, Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, and everything by Seanan McGuire, something I do almost every year.

Thanks to my e-reader, packing was a little bit easier than it could have been, in this respect. Without my e-reader, packing would have been more challenging since I would have had to sacrifice some of the space in my two precious suitcases to satisfying my reading needs. (I will likely end up purchasing some of my favourites as e-books, which may lead to an obscene purchasing spree once I get paid. That or I'll bring a bunch of them back with me the next time I'm in St. John's.) In any case, I definitely have some favourite books (which you can see in my Top Ten Tuesday post from this week) that I wish I'd packed and that I'll either be bringing back or re-purchasing but at least I have some of my favourites, like Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate for when I'm in the mood to re-read a favourite.

What books would you take with you? Are you as grateful as I am for e-books?

Soapboxing is our platform for talking about books and book-related topics that matter to us. Soapboxing posts may be rants, they may highlight awesome or terrifying trends, or they might tackle bookish issues on our minds…
The content will vary but the posts will (hopefully) never be boring!


Stacking The Shelves [99]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


I actually didn't get any physical books this week, but I did get some awesome e-books!

For Review:

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Dangerous Dream by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Sublime by Christina Lauren


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (Audiobook)

What did you receive this week?


[inlinkz_linkup id=381845]


Friday, March 14, 2014

How about an update?

You might haven't notice (or maybe you did?) I've been away for about 3 weeks now and I thought I would update you on the matter ^^

First, I am happy to announce that baby Gabrielle arrived in our lives on February 23rd! Born at 7pounds 7oz she was a healthy baby, bigger then we anticipated! lol


Lily-Ann simply adores her and she is very nice to her so I am really happy!

L& G

Unfortunately, Lily-Ann had pneumonia when Gabrielle was born, and even though the doctor said she wasn't contagious, Gabrielle got sick.

I spent the last week at the hospital with her, including two days in intensive care unit because she has a lot of trouble breathing. 1902919_10152292461605429_823100591_nI am happy to tell you that we were released on Tuesday and that she is getting better and better everyday.

So this is why I haven't been around much, and probably won't for some more time. But I still love you and I'll be more active soon, I promise :D