**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, June 29, 2015

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Let me start off by saying WOW! I haven't read such a gripping YA book in a long time. Rook is refreshing, engaging and very well written. The author had me hooked right from the start with her strong characters and amazing settings. This isn't your typical dystopian novel, yet it absolutely fits into the genre even if technology-wise, the human race is set back into the Georgian era, a time of revolutions, social reforms and religious revivals.

The setting is, by far, what captured my interest. Set about 900 years in the future, the human race is fearful of technology and has been living without it for hundreds of years. A shift in the magnetosphere caused everything digital and electronic to fail, and exposed some people to deadly solar radiation. The Great Death is what the characters call this period and it set them back hundreds of years. Absolutely nothing technological is accepted in this dystopian world. Even clocks are too man-made to be accepted, let alone good old electricity, and gas or steam-powered engines. People are fearful that by accepting technology again, they will revert back to a society that depends on machines, to a society that replaces jobs with machines, which would lead to social inequality and injustice. Ha! If only they knew there will always be social inequality and injustice whether technology exists or not.

I love this quote, which one characters says when talking about a revolution, about social change. "Have you ever thought that perhaps...all of this could have happened before? That the people of the Time Before, no matter how weak we think them, that they were only making the mistakes of their ancestors, and that we, in turn, are only making the same mistakes as them? Technology or no? That the time changes but people do not, and so we are never really moving forward, only around a bend? That the world only ever turns in circles." (p. 205) Without realizing it, Sophia, while trying to do the right thing, is looking for social change and revolution by freeing hundreds of innocent people locked up in the Tombs, the prison below the Sunken City, which used to be Paris.

Sophia Bellamy, also called Sophie, is not your typical teenage girl. At least, I don't think she is. We don't really meet any other girls her age, so honestly we don't know what is expected of someone her age and social standing. But what I do know, is that it's not typical for a teenage girl to dedicate her life to freeing the innocent people of the Sunken City. Her dedication is admirable even though she's not really doing it out of purpose. As René stipulates, she does it because she enjoys it. In any case, Sophia is a strong and intelligent character, even though she may be a little naive when in comes to romantic relationships.

René Hasard, who started off as her enemy, goes from unwanted fiancé to possible love interest. Sophia knows she shouldn't fall for this womanizer but as they spend more and more time together, they quickly realize they have more in common than they previously thought. This would-be-relationship is really fun to follow, especially since Spear, Sophia's friend, is jealous because he always thought they would end up together. Sophia has only ever loved Spear as a brother and has a hard time understanding how he might have gotten the wrong impression. This almost-love-triangle is a plus to an already wonderful story, and like the book, the relationship keeps us readers on our toes.

Sophia and René's enemies are truly awful,  not only because of the social inequality and oppression they demand, but because they truly believe in what they're doing. LeBlanc, the Parisian Minister of Security, is also a believer in this new religion that worships the Goddess and Fate. His religion clouds is mind and we quickly realize how crazy he truly is.

Overall, Rook is a wonderful dystopian YA standalone. Sharon Cameron slowly introduces to the world she created, and while some people will appreciate all the the small details and development, I fear some readers won't appreciate the complexity. I think the slow build is necessary because we need to be invested in the main characters in order to appreciate their situation. I think it's also necessary because the book is a standalone and the author couldn't rush straight into the action. Like the author, I consider myself an amateur anthropologist (read the Author's Note because it's actually quite interesting) so the social and historical aspects of this book were really interesting. I also love science and technology and although it was banned in this society, I loved that it had a major influence on the story overall. Rook is an innovative, captivating and powerful story.


More about Rook

stephsig moon


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [165]

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!


 It's been a month since my last post and a lot has happened! I turned 30, yes I know, getting old, but not feeling old!

I am also trying really hard to take my photography to a new level and I held maternity and newborn photo shoot, Here are samples ^^
I hope you like 'em as much as I do!

(Click for full view, otherwise it's blurry)

collageAnd I am returning to work next tuesday, after being away for almost 2 years, so it's very stressful!

And of course you guys wanna see books right? lol

Here are the two books I received in the past month. Aren't they amazing?? I am thrilled with both titles!

2015-06-25 15-34-21.958Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Soundless by Richelle Mead

So what did you add to your shelves?

tynsignew[inlinkz_linkup id=539108]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Wow, this book was simply purrrfect, I wouldn't change a thing! Seriously, when all is said and done, this book left me completely satisfied, and I don't think the story could've been any different. And it's a game changer too! I think from now on I'll have to think of this series as before and after Magic Bleeds, I swear!

The book starts with Kate in lingerie, cooking dinner for Curran because of her lost bet. And the dude stands. her. up. WTF??? Yes , yes, Kate should've destroyed everything on her way to smack Curran but she's grown a lot in the past books and decided to do the mature thing... give him the silent treatment. It all sets the table for the action, and romantic drama to come.

I really liked the different story arcs for this novel. Kate is investigating a deity spreading different plagues in town and she has to bank on all her resources to solve the mystery. Of course, she needed her go-to-guy Saiman, who can't be nice to the sake of being nice. And that's how Kate finds herself at yet another date with him that will put her in trouble. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Saiman, he is kind of pathetic if I am being honest, but he has a quirky side I kind of like. And could the guy be anymore oblivious? When the Beast Lord stares you down, it's time to bow and back out quietly! But I am loosing track.. the deity!... So I really liked the chase for clues, and who the bad guy turned out to be in the end. It is really promising for the big smack down against Roland!

Kate's allegiances will also be challenged in this novel. Who can she turn too when her boss backstabs her,  Saiman only wants her in his bed, Vampires, who would trust them anyway?? and your furry friends turn berzek when facing your foe. She could only count on herself, and her attack poodle, and she had to take some very difficult decisions and I command her for making the best of a terrible situation.

My favorite aspect is of course the romance between Kate and Curran. They FINALLY get physical in this book, and let's just say it's not your typical 'let's get laid'. Nothing's typical about these two anyway, so no surprise there. Despite their shortcomings they supported each other in this novel like never before and i LOVED it. The almost-end really broke my heart and I wanted to cuddle Kate and tell her everything would be ok, even though she'd never let me. She stayed strong in adversity and I was so damn proud of her!

Things have changed, C & K can't never go back and I can't wait to see how their relationship will evolve from here. If you haven't read this series yet, I seriously urge you to do so. One of the best urban fantasy series out there, I promise you!

My favorite quote, It's kind of a spoiler, so beware:

“I surveyed the rest of the Council and looked directly at Mahon. “Some of you know me. Some of you have seen me fight and some of you are my friends. Have your vote. But know this: if you come to remove me, come in force, because if you try to separate me from him, I will kill every single one of you. My hand won't shake. My aim won't falter. My face will be the last thing you‟ll see before you die.”

I jammed the knife into the table and walked out.”

Read an excerpt


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Warning!  This is the sequel to The Raven Boys.  You can read the review of that book HERE.  No spoilers for The Dream Thieves, but I can't promise that there won't be The Raven Boys spoilers ahead.

These books have so many things to love!  There's the dynamic cast of characters:  Gansey, the rich eccentric kid; Blue, the only non-psychic in a family of psychics; Adam, the hardscrabble poor kid; and Ronan, quiet Ronan; and Noah the ghost.  (Yes!  Maggie Stiefvater gives so much live to a ghost; he's definitely a "real" character.)  There's the setting:  the South.  Oh, how I love books set in the South!  And at a boarding school!  Last but not least, the supernatural plot:  the cohort is questing after Glendower, an ancient Welsh king who lays at rest somewhere upon the ley line (magic vein) that runs through town.

While the first book focused much more on Gansey and Blue, this sequel focuses much of it's attention on Ronan.  Ronan has a secret (this isn't a spoiler; it's talked about on the book jacket):  he can bring actual factual physical objects out of his dreams.  It starts very small; while Gansey is away visiting his family, he dreams himself up a set of keys to Gansey's Camaro for a joyride.  But soon he is dreaming (literally) much bigger.  The passages when we readers get to journey into Ronan's dream world are spectacular.  The imagery is very vivid and the danger feels very real.  There's also still a little romance.  It's definitely not the focal point of the plot, but there's that unique tension between Blue and Adam.  You'll remember that all her life, all her family members have had premonitions that Blue will doom her true love to death with the first sweet kiss.  And you can imagine the kind of tension that would bring into a relationship!  I wouldn't call it a love triangle; not by a long shot; but there is a little ambiguity as to who her true love is.

I also find the group's quest to be quite unique:  a long-deceased Welsh king.  And whoever finds his resting place first will be able to harness the power of the ley line to grant a wish, so to speak.  I only truly enjoy books that contain magic if the magic is logical.  And let me reassure you:  the magic in Henrietta, GA is logical.  The group is always figuring out new parameters to the line as they seek to follow it to Glendower.  I won't give anything away by revealing what they learn about the line in this book, but you'll remember that in The Raven Boys they learned that the ley line is what allows Noah to hang about.

I'll wrap up with a note on the narration, as I listened to this on CD during my commute.  The reader is Will Patton, who is an incredibly talented actor and voiceover reader.  He is, however, also about 60 years old.  I spent the first part of the book a bit distracted by deja vu.  He sounded so familiar!  I finally remembered one evening to look up what other books he's narrated, and saw that he did Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  I listened to that earlier this year, and he did a bang-up job with it.  However, all the characters in that book are definitely adults.  And some of them are evil.  Patton uses the same voice and cadence for The Dream Thieves, and it doesn't quite fit.  Nearly all of the characters are teens, and I don't think the story itself is quite as dark as Patton made it feel.  So it might not make any sense, but I would say the reader is excellent, but not excellent for this particular book.

Overall, a unique plot with 3D characters.  I would recommend the print book over the audiobook, but the important part is that I'd recommend it.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dark Descendant by Jenna Black

Telling a woman she’s basically a goddess does not get the same response it once did if you go by Nikki’s reaction.  Granted, given the way she is told and the assumptions around her discovery leave much to be desired.  To say the least, she was not surrounded by friendly faces eager to assist her with her adjustment.

That is more or less where the beginning of this story.  Nikki is a young woman coming into her powers.  What powers?  Well, honestly, even Nikki is not sure enough to tell.  This is an interesting twist on the trope of a young person’s journey of understanding dormant, newly acquired or previously unknown powers. From Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter to Eragon, we’ve seen characters on this road to self-discovery.   That, of course, is no reason to dismiss what may be an engaging story.  Fortunately, this story is engaging right from the start.

I really like books written in first person.  It’s an interesting way to learn about the main character and the way they see events. The author does an excellent job of not only letting us get to know Nikki, but, we get a good peek into who most of the characters surrounding her are.

Nikki, her family and her ‘allies’ move take an eventful journey through Washington D.C. as well as parts of Virginia.  Though the book is eventful, is doesn’t feel rushed.  The pacing feels like the natural flow of events.

This story is also unique in that it is basically a detective novel where early in exposition we learn most of what is mysterious.  The bad guys are known even though some of the good guys may be a bit iffy. Still, there may be a twist or two lurking once you think you have it all figured out.

Dark Descendant has many of the things I appreciate in a book: mystery, magic and a strong female lead.  It’s great to have books that might help a young lady see how self-sufficiency along with good allies can be combined.  I would, however, not suggest this story for a young lady (or man) under the age of 17.  There is a bit of frank discussion of mature subjects, mature language and a bit of violence that lands this at the far edge of the PG13 area.

Roberts Signature

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

The more I read this series, the more I seem to fall in love with its characters. Mind you, it's only the second book of the series, but Day Shift has revealed a lot of background information about the citizens of Midnight, Texas. The more I think about it, the more I realize the series hasn't really settled with a main character. At least, not yet. It's almost as if the main character is the town, and its citizens are simply supporting the stories it's hosting.

To be quite honest, Day Shift wasn't very thrilling nor was it very engaging. I liked the book enough because I really enjoy the characters, but when it comes to the story, it's a little bit disappointing. The story really begins when Manfred is in Dallas for a working weekend in a hotel, where he plans to meet up with clients and do personal psychic readings. However, the night before he's set to start working, he notices another Midnight, Texas resident, Olivia, dining in the same hotel restaurant. He thinks little of it until the next morning when Olivia's dining companions are found dead in their hotel room. And things get even more complicated when Manfred's own client dies in the middle of the reading. The timing and the circumstances are bad for Manfred's business, especially when he is accused of murdering and stealing from his client.

As suspicions are raised, Manfred is the main focus of the murder investigation and reporters camp out in front of his house in Midnight. Along with the newly renovated and grand reopening of the Midnight Hotel, the town is getting more attention than the residents are used to. The people of Midnight like the fact that their little town is quiet and doesn't get many visitors, and all the action is making some of the residents anxious and unhappy about the unwanted publicity. Manfred and Olivia join together and decide to solve the murder, in order to get rid of the unwanted attention as soon as possible. The more they investigate, the more things get complicated and troublesome.

The main story and mystery surrounds Manfred but the other residents of the town also have their own problems to deal with. The town Reverend, simply referred to as Rev, is charged with the care of a growing boy; Joe finds himself in a situation where the only way to survive is to do something he promised long ago he wouldn't do; Olivia deals with her past and we learn more about who she is, and what she does for a living.

We also meet a few new characters who are living temporarily in the Midnight Hotel. One of these characters is actually linked to Sookie Stackhouse, the main character of Charlaine Harris' other bestselling series. With this link, we confirm our suspicions that this series is based in the same universe as the Sookie Stackhouse books. I highly doubt the author will push this link any further but it's good to know that things may get even more supernatural. Like Bon Temps, Midnight is a special town that seems to attract the supernatural, but the why of this has yet to be investigated.

Overall, I was a little bit disappointed with the main mystery but the various side stories add excitement to the book. For someone that hasn't finished Charlaine Harris' other series, I'm actually quite invested in this new one. I'm really looking forward to reading more about Midnight and its mysterious residents. Who wouldn't be attracted to a town with a witch, a vampire, a psychic, a shape-shifter, a talking cat and angels?stephsig moon

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Black Widow by Jennifer Estep

I've had to reduce the amount of time I spend reading and reviewing due to work and one of the casualties of this tragic change was BLACK WIDOW. For the first time in a long time, I'm putting up a review of a Jennifer Estep book long after its release and it feels weird, particularly since BLACK WIDOW is an outstanding book.

As I've said before, series often get stale when they hit double digits but not the Elemental Assassin series. BLACK WIDOW is the twelfth book in Gin's story and it's a very strong entry in the series, with lots of big moments that will keep you hooked from page to page. Why? It's the big confrontation between Gin and Madeline Monroe, the latest Big Bad in the series.

Spoilers ahead for previous novels!

Madeline's been trying her mother's place in both the underworld and glossy high society of Ashland and all of her machinations come to fruition in BLACK WIDOW. With everything set, she also unleashes her endgame against Gin and it's a confrontation that has been books in the making. Madeline's plans are suitably devious and it was gratifying to see Gin go up against a foe who's more than her equal in terms of strategy. None of Gin's previous victories have been terribly easy but she definitely has her mettle and her abilities tested in BLACK WIDOW. The book puts Gin and her friends and family through the wringer, emotionally and physically, and it was an incredibly exciting read.

Because the focus of the book is on the Gin vs. Madeline showdown, there's not a lot of development for other characters. All of the gang are involved in the novel but the focus is fully on Gin and her response to the major gauntlet that Madeline drops, going after everything and everyone that Gin values. Things happen that I never would have expected and it was so much fun (for me). Estep always writes great stories but this might be my favourite book in the series because Madeline's such a great nemesis.

The end of BLACK WIDOW is particularly exciting because it establishes a very interesting shift in the Ashland underworld. As always, no spoilers for BLACK WIDOW here but I will say that it's a thrilling way to wrap up to this chapter of Gin's story.

Read an excerpt (scroll down)


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [164]

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!


Happy weekend everyone! I'm sorry if this ended up being posted a little later than usual. I ran into a few technical difficulties. I definitely have a few books to share with you this week. I'm not sure when I'll find the time to read them all, but they certainly look interesting.

sts june 20


Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Rook by Sharon Cameron

The Cage by Megan Shepherd

So, what did you add to your shelves?

stephsig moon

[inlinkz_linkup id=537543]

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Only a flimsy magical barrier and an old as dirt treaty 'protects' the human world (Feyre's world) from the wicked Faeries. Legends are full of warnings about the fey, but none helped her when one came to her home to drag her back to his. Everything is more beautiful, deceptive and cruel than she was ever taught, but she will also discover a brighter side to this foreign world. One she will start to appreciate. It might even have something to do with a certain masked fey lord...

A Court of Thorns and Roses is another awesome faerie world created by Sarah J.Maas, one with a completely (yet, as mesmerizing) different world than the Throne of Glass world. Faeries used to rule the world and after a savage war they retreated to their own territory, forced to release their human slaves. Their world is now split in 7 courts, each ruled by a Lord. Some aren't happy about their predicament and are just waiting the right opportunity to take over the human world once more. Things of nightmare but also terrible (and sometimes deceptive) beauty mingle in this enchanted world beyond human reach.

I really, really liked the colorful and dangerous world Maas created and the rich story line to accompany it. Feyre is taken from her family, and treated as an esteemed guest in Tamlin's manor. He is a bit awkard, but he is making efforts to be nice to her and eventually she will warm to his presence. I couldn't help it, my mind kept screaming 'Stockholm syndrome' but at least the whole thing wasn't creepy! He was actually courting her, for reasons we don't know, but the whole thing is kinda sweet. She's not any swooning girl though and she keeps her foul mouth and attitude at least until half the book. Her witty comments were great, and I LOVED her banter with Lucien. There were many great characters in this novel, but he was definitely my favorite. He is though, secretive, smart, has a shit attitude but he is as loyal as it gets. From beginning to end, he lived up to my expectations.

I find it super hard to talk about the plot without giving anything away... The novel is kind of split in two parts, Tamlin's courting of Feyre and Feyre's hopeless mission. The atmosphere in both part is soooo different you could almost believe it's two different books. Feyre goes from lost girl in search of a purpose to a girl with a purpose that will most likely get her killed, yet she won't give up. I really admired her strength and determination in this second part and I have to command her for it. Tamlin went from shy and flirty, yet mighty powerful, to groveling mute eye-candy. In the second Part, Feyre must complete three tasks to reach her goal and will gain unlikely allies along the way, and ohh were these task stress-inducing! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The conclusion is a complete game changer and I was holding my breath during the final battle. I just couldn't believe what I was reading! I really can't wait for the next novel to discover the fallback of these events and where each character now stands. I haven't mentioned Rhysand yet, but he was one of the great and surprising characters and I can't wait to see the part he will play in the next installment.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is another amazing book by miss Maas and I strongly suggest you read it!

Read an excerpt


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bobby Ether and the Academy by R. Scott Boyer

I had mixed feelings about Bobby Ether and the Academy.  The main character, Bobby, is 14 and has just discovered that he has special magical abilities.  Within an hour, he has manifested his ability, been sorta kidnapped twice, loses his parents, and is sent to live at a special boarding school for kids with these special abilities.  And that's only the first chapter!

My mixed feelings started with the cover.  I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but look at it--would you guess middle school or high school for that cover?  I would have totally put that cover firmly in the middle grades category.  Turns out this book is 100% high school:  it's got quite a bit of length to it, the main character is 14 and in high school, and there is a scattering of "damns" and "hells" throughout.

My mixed feelings continued with the pacing of events.  As I've mentioned, a LOT happens very quickly.  And the pace never lets up at all.  This would probably be a great reluctant reader recommendation.  The reader cannot zone while reading this page-turner, or they'll miss some of the action.  No lengthy scenic descriptions here!  Bobby Ether and the Academy is character- and action-driven all the way.  However, while lots of action can be very appealing to some, for me it fell a little flat.  I started to feel like the author had a list of two dozen plot points to bring up, and then went back down the list resolving them in the second half of the book.  I can't put my finger exactly on any given moment, but there was a point where the book started to feel formulaic for me, which distracted a bit from connecting to the characters.

Bobby Ether and the Academy is a great readalike recommendation book.  I could definitely see myself recommending it to a youngish teen who has finished the Harry Potter series and is looking for their next read.  The older main character, tougher plot points (Bobby's loss of his parents and some other family secrets), and slight use of language make this a good "what do I read next?" book.  And after the exciting, action-packed finale to the book, I had to go visit the author's website to make sure that there's a sequel!  (There is:  Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity.)

I will also say that the magical elements were well done in this book.  I had no trouble believing in how they worked, and they fit nicely into the greater story.

Overall, not a bad book.  Not a great go-tell-all-the-people-to-read-it-now book either.  Definitely not one to judge by it's cover.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

What do you do when the goal of  the career path you place yourself on requires experience 10 years beyond your projected lifespan in your chosen profession?   For Deviana Morris, the answer was simple, find another way.  Having gone as far as any armored mercenary could and still be active, Devi needed to find a way to reach her goal without going backwards or waiting too long.  Consulting an old 'friend with benefits', she finds her answer is to be as security for the unluckiest freighter where her life become more interesting.

This is a more unique twist to what is becoming the 'tough lead female' trope. This story is more unique because it takes place in space and the element that separates her from the Honor Harringtons out there is that Devi is a grunt.  She's a soldier and doesn't engage the enemy with the push of a button.  This gives the reader a far more unique perspective on combat in space than most space operas are inclined to give.  We get to see the tactical instead of the strategic approach to combat and in the way the main character views the world.  The author used this well.  Instead of slow anxious times between big events, we got the quiet yet busy times of those whose jobs don't stop between big events.

The reader gets a pretty good insight into Devi's character.  We learn her origins, much of her early life and her feelings regarding her current circumstances.  There are times when one may thing she is a Mary Sue  character but, we eventually get to see enough of her flaws to dispel that assumption.  The rest of the characters are a bit flatter because of their limited use or possible exposition in later books.  It's very understandable for an introductory to a series of books.

Fortune's Pawn is an interesting departure from some many space novels.  We have a strong-willed woman who is more likely to utterly destroy a ship from the inside out than to try and pilot one.  This is a very entertaining read and I'll likely pick up on the rest of the series, myself.  It is not for the youngest among us and lands pretty deep in the R ratings for violence and sexual content.

Roberts Signature

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [163]

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!


Robert's Book

So, I managed to pick up a few titles recently.  Once again, I have chosen from the old, the new and the obscure.  There is something special about picking up a book that isn't part of the well-worn path that some commercially successful books seem to occupy.

I look forward to Dark Decent by Jenna Black as well as Claimed by Evangeline Anderson.  They both show the promise of the strong female central character that is being employed more and more, lately.  I hope to let you know my thoughts on these two later.

I've already let you know my thoughts on Awoken by Sarah Noffke and The Fold by Peter Clines.  Two very different books that I believe can do well together on any discerning readers shelf.

My two really odd-ball bookends (so to speak), have an even greater difference but, both seem a bit  obscure if only for appearing on my shelf.  The Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams is another book I may expound more on later.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was the first book of her I've read.  I was expecting it to be a bit more like Downton Abbey than it is but, I still enjoyed it very much.

So, there's most of my eclectic foray into reading recently.  So, please, let us know, what strange bedfellows have you placed together on your shelves?

Roberts Signature

[inlinkz_linkup id=535224]

Friday, June 12, 2015

Waking the Dragon tour: Guest post by Juliette Cross + giveaway

Waking the Dragon Banner 851 x 315

Today we have a guest post from Juliette Cross, author of WAKING THE DRAGON.


Hold Your Heads High, Romance Lovers

I know many romance readers who receive frowns or snickers when non-romance readers catch a glimpse at what book they’re holding in their hands. I also know many romance writers who are viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the fiction writing world. (No offense to redheads. I happen to be one.) So, what is it about romance that makes us so addicted to these worlds, no matter how many ugly looks we get from haters? Do we long to travel back in time and be courted by the dashing rake when we read historicals? Do we seek an escape that offers hope and inspiration as in contemporary romance? Do we choose a tome to fulfill unquenched or longed-for desires when we read erotica? Or perhaps, we have a darker motive. Do we yearn for a cathartic purging of our own blacker emotions via fantasy, such as the vengeful death of a ghastly villain by a dark hero as we see in paranormal and fantasy romance? The answer could be one or all of these reasons.

From the moment I read JANE EYRE when I was sixteen, I’ve been drawn to the Gothic romance. I’m lured by the dark hero, the strong-willed heroine, the misty, moonlit settings, the good versus evil plotlines where a vicious villain threatens to tear my MC’s world asunder. Above all, I yearn for good to prevail, for the hero to save his girl, and for her to save him right back. I suppose this says a lot about me as a reader and as a person. I yearn for the romances woven with haunting settings and dark characters with secrets to hide who eventually get their happily ever after. I suppose this is why I write the same types of stories myself.

Romance novels take us to that faraway place where adventure, passion, and love triumph in the end. And while the real world still contains all these things, the mundane chores of everyday life (paying bills, changing diapers, cooking dinner, washing dishes, etc.) can often drag us down. Romance lovers know that an instant vacation to escape all of this is just a mind-trip away. All we need do is pick up a good romance book and let the author carry us to a new world where a hero promises to sweep us off our feet. So cheers to romance lovers! Hold your heads high, ladies. There are many more of us than you know. ;)


For more Juliette, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on WAKING THE DRAGON:

Waking the Dragon by Juliette CrossThe Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion…

When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.

Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...

Purchase: Amazon


There's a tour-wide giveaway of:

$20 Amazon GC

2 bundles of SOULFIRE and WINDBURN, books 1 and 2 in the Nightwing Series

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Yes:  I'm reviewing that Twilight.  This was my first time reading it, and I feel like I can be a little more objective than I would have been if I read it in 2005 when it was first released, or in 2008 when it became a movie.  I was actually surprised at my reaction:  I thought it wasn't bad.  In fact, I downright enjoyed the first half of the book!  The writing was pretty good, the setting felt quite real, and I kind of liked the main character, Bella.

The book opens with Bella en route to live with her dad in a very small town in Washington.  She's lived a big majority of her life with her mom in Phoenix, but because of circumstances with her mom and her new husband, Bella moves to Washington just before the start of her junior year of high school.  Just like any teen undergoing a major change halfway through high school, she's nervous and has to figure out where she fits in the new school's social setting.  Teens aren't the only ones who will identify with the situation; adults will read about Bella's growth and remember their own first days of high school.  And is it really any different of a feeling when you start a new job?  The same questions unite us all:  will we "fit in?"  Will we make friends?

Bella is also dealing with a new climate.  At one point she tells another character that her favorite color is brown, because "brown is warm."  The reader knows that she's reflecting on the lack of green in Arizona's dry, warm climate.  Bella is struck over and over again with all the green and all the rain in Washington.  Stephenie Meyer doesn't beat the reader over the head with descriptions of setting, but she does pepper it into the storyline enough to really transport us to the wet northwest.  And no spoilers (can there really be anyone out there still to spoil this for?) but the setting ends up being pretty important to a few of the characters; this is a story that could not have taken place elsewhere.

I also spent the first part of the book really feeling like Bella was a well-developed character.  The book is entirely from her POV, so we know all of her hopes and fears.  She's a pretty average teen with slightly higher-than-normal klutziness.

Then, about halfway through the book, my opinions took a sharp right turn.  I'm trying to avoid spoilers, even though this is a well-known plot.... there's a relationship that develops halfway through the book, and it really tainted my opinions.  The writing continues to be pretty strong, but the relationship made me very, very worried for any young female readers.  Bella falls for a character with a very large chronological age difference.  While a person of a certain fantastic race may appear to be a teen for dozens and dozens of years, they would have the maturity and life experience of someone much, much older than a teen.  To my grown-up eyes, it appeared to be an older adult preying upon a teen.  Also, the relationship progressed really quickly.  Again, as a grown-up, I was downright scared for the character.  But I tried to remind myself that it was fiction, and that it involved vampires, so hopefully teens aren't actually taking romantic cues from it.  Hopefully.

My final little quibble was that there was very little action until CD 10 (out of 11 CDs).  I was enjoying the setting and character development, though, so the lack of major action until later was ok with me.  A reluctant reader, however, might give up before then.

So I guess we'll say that I had mixed feelings.  I enjoyed it way more than I expected to, and will probably read the sequels.  But on the other hand, some of the romance scared me a little, since the main character is just a teen.  Oh, and I listened to this on CD and the narration is absolutely perfect.  Not too fast, not too slow, nice and clear enunciation.  The whole thick book fit on just 11 CDs.  I didn't look at a physical copy; I suppose it could have a larger typeface.  I could see myself potentially selectively recommending this.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Fold: A Novel by Peter Clines

Leland Erickson, small town English teacher that prefers to be called ‘Mike’ (you’ll love this explanation) gets a call from an old friend for some help. The twist is, the friend is very high placed and the favor could help usher a discovery that could greatly benefit all of humanity. All Mike needs to do is find out why the scientists behind the discovery are not willing to share it, yet.

I have been a fan of the science-fiction meets techno-thriller story line since I read my first Michael Crichton book. Melding the impossible with the improbable and a generous mix of current technology can be the recipe for a riveting story. This is what Peter Clines seeks to do in The Fold.

From the beginning, we’re given a pretty good idea of Mike Erikson’s feelings and some of his motivations while revelation of their origins are more slowly revealed. Mike seems to be one of those ‘every-guy’ character that makes him not only likeable but, a real protagonist. He’s somebody you really want to succeed. In a time where antiheros are almost the norm, it’s good having a character that has character. Since the story is told from Mike’s point of view and he is the main character, his character along with one or two others show pretty good development through the story.

The overall story, though not terribly original, is well done. There are some over-used tropes employed here that almost always get brought up when bending, warping or folding space/time is done in a story. The worst of these come and go so quickly they are easily forgotten and don’t distract from the narrative. The pacing of this story is excellent. We’re brought in, much as poor Mike is, with a slow tease and soon we’re swept up into a story that won’t let us turn away.

I also have to applaud Peter Clines for his use of setting. He takes us through 3 cities in the US but the one that gets the most time is my home, San Diego, CA. His use of setting was very judicious in that, he didn’t use too many points of interest. All too often, a story is damaged by misplacement of landmarks in well-known locations. The author also gets points for proper use of many terms used by the US Marines. I’ve seen so many in my time that proper treatment stands out like it did here.

This is a high impact, high paced sci-fi techno-thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton. It’s a well told tale enough that I will likely look into more of Peter Clines works. This is not, however, for the little ones or even for teens at home. It gets an R rating from me because of some of the language, violence and a somewhat tepid sex scene.


Roberts Signature

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

"When I'm not writing" with Dianne Duvall + giveaway!

Badge_OFFICIALToday we have a guest post from Dianne Duvall, as part of her tour for her new book, A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN. I love her Immortal Guardians series but now she's out with something new, a self-published novel. I think you'll really enjoy discovering exactly what she does when she's not crafting her next novel!


When I’m not writing, I’m often thinking about writing, either going over the scene I wrote the day before or mentally writing the next one. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes I even mentally write scenes that I know will never find their way into my books. When you create the characters in a series and live with them for years, you tend to get to know them so well that it’s hard not to imagine them in this or that situation, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the series arc.

When I’m not actually immersing myself in the world of Immortal Guardians and Gifted Ones, I’m often still doing writing related activities. Chatting with other readers and writers on social media sites. (Love to do that!) Blogging. Updating my website. (I’m not that great at HTML, but always seem to muddle my way through it.) Designing teaser images to share with readers. Or doing research. I’ve had to research some of the most peculiar subjects for my books. I know some writers dislike that portion of their vocation, but I actually enjoy it. I’m always curious to see what I’m going to have to look up next.

When I’m not writing, I also work in the local independent film industry, which is another fun creative outlet for me. I’ve worked all three stages of production in a variety of projects that ranged from drama to horror to romantic comedy. And, yes, I was still thinking about writing while doing it. LOL.

In pre-production, I have served as Script Editor, Assistant Casting Director, and Shooting Scheduler. Those are pretty self-explanatory. I edit scripts. I organize casting calls, rehearsals, and table readings. I also create shooting schedules, which is actually trickier than it sounds because films are shot out of sequence.

During production, I’ve worked as the special effects make-up artist, sometimes providing what I call blood and guts make-up. This is always fun, because the actors and crew get such a kick out of it. I have also provided other special effects, like “candy glass” car windows that can safely be shattered without harming the actor. I have also served as Script Supervisor. The Script Supervisor ensures continuity. So, if an actor scuffs her shoe in Scene 23, the Script Supervisor ensures that the actor’s shoe is scuffed in all subsequent scenes. That, too, is more difficult than is sounds, since—as I mentioned—films are shot out of sequence.

Post-production is the stage that allows me the most freedom to be creative, so I tend to enjoy it the most. In post-production, I edit films, add special effects, create unique title sequences, design movie posters, and fashion DVD menus and covers.

All of this film work, of course, came in handy when the time finally came to shoot trailers for my books. (So exciting!) It can also be quite time-consuming, though, and have very hectic schedules. So writing and filmmaking combined doesn’t leave me much in the way of downtime. I’d like to say I spend quite a bit of time reading. I’ve always been a voracious reader. But now I tend to get my fiction fix by listening to audiobooks while I do all of the things around the house that I sometimes neglect while writing: folding laundry, washing dishes, trying to solve the age-old socks vanishing in the dryer mystery. This year I’ve decided to make time for some gardening, but am not off to a stellar start. I’ve already neglected my little seedlings shamefully while working to meet my latest deadlines.

And, of course, I spend as much time as I can with family and friends, who—fortunately—don’t mind when my mind once more wanders away from the movie or TV show I’m supposed to be watching or the game I’m supposed to be playing and begins fashioning the next scene in my latest work in progress.

Did I mention that when I’m not writing, I’m often thinking about it? :)


For more Dianne, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN:

A Sorceress of His OwnFrom the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted Ones

Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon's side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed—or cursed—with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon's life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything—even the wrath of his king—to be with her.

Purchase: Amazon


There's a tour-wide giveaway of the following:

One winner - $50 Amazon Gift Card*
One winner - $20 Amazon Gift Card*
One winner - Signed book (winner's choice) from author's back list

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, June 08, 2015

End of Days by Susan Ee

This is definitely a series you don't want to miss. If you're not into young adult books, you may change your mind after this one. If you're not too fond of books about angels, that's alright because these are not your ordinary angels and you should give them a try. If you're not crazy about post-apocalyptic worlds, this book may not be for you, but it's about so much more than that, so overlook that small aspect. What I'm trying to say is, pretty much everyone will enjoy this series because it's so original, entertaining an well written. End of Days is the last book of a trilogy that I highly recommend.

Penryn has gone through a lot in order to save and keep her family safe. She has even allied herself with the enemy by trusting and paring up with Raffe, an angel that has been trying to get his wings back. But what's worse, because she was seen killing an angel with an angel sword, which is unheard of, she now has a huge bounty on her head so she can't trust anyone, not even humans. Every fellow human could potentially be her enemy and being captured and brought to the angels would probably mean her death.

What's more, she needs to find a doctor that can help her sister, Paige. Her sister has been experimented on, cut open and put back together, and now the only way she can survive is by feeding off humans. At least Penryn and Paige's mother is back in the picture and somewhat able to help this time, instead of being a burden.

As you read the book, it becomes clearer why the angel Uriel is trying to create this fake apocalypse. He believes that in order to get elected as the Messenger, he needs to entice the angels with an apocalypse to wipe out the human race and prove his worth. The other potential candidates for the job, Raffe and Michael, have been absent from angel society, which may provide Uriel with a default win.

In my opinion, what makes this book even more special is the relationship between Penryn and Raffe. The emotional tension is definitely there and makes all their scenes together so much sweeter. Their relationship is doomed from the start because a relationship between an angel and a Daughter of Man is considered blasphemy and would make any angel Fall from angel society. As a reader, we don't give up hope, even if we see the impossibility of their relationship. I love, love these two characters together. Penryn has been such a strong character throughout the series, that I'm sad to see her go. She's the type of young adult heroines that we need to see more of. Just an ordinary girl trying to survive along with her family and the rest of humanity. Raffe is just Raffe. His mere presence makes you giddy and I wonder how Penryn is able to stay so cool around him.

Susan Ee excels in writing action scenes. She's not afraid of killing off characters, good or evil, which keeps her readers on their toes. Also, it almost feels like gore and blood is second nature in her writing because there's so much of it, and you just come to expect it. The last bit of End of Days did feel a little bit rushed, like she had so much to say in the end but didn't have enough room for everything.

I really wish there would be more, but all good things must come to an end. It's amazing how this series started off as a small book from a small publisher and it grew into such a big thing. It might have something to do with luck but it's mainly because of a great plot, exceptional characters and great writing. I highly recommend this one!

stephsig moon

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Secret Unleashed by Sierra Dean

SECRET UNLEASHED is another great roller coaster from Sierra Dean! She's written a harrowing chapter in Secret McQueen's life, probably the most haunting of all of the books in the series so far.

In SECRET UNLEASHED, Secret is sent to Los Angeles to assist the local vampire Tribunal, partially because it's a job she's well suited to and partially because she doesn't know who to trust in New York with Peyton on the loose. Her only backup? Holden, plus Sig's daytime servant Ingrid. As you can probably imagine, it's a great setup for awkward relationship moments (given the current state of Secret's love life) and also some nice fish-out-of-water moments for Team Secret. Secret is tasked with tracking down a missing vampire but things get incredibly dangerous once she starts. They also get extremely emotional because the missing vampire is none other than Secret's father.

It's hard to properly discuss SECRET UNLEASHED because the most interesting scenes in this novel take place in the second half of the book and I'm loathe to spoil anything for you. I can say that Secret and Holden find themselves in a situation unlike any other they've faced and that it will have lasting repercussions, particularly for Secret. (I don't think it's spoiler-y to mention this since there are eight books in the series and this is only the sixth.)

I'll also say that the usual strong romantic element is missing from SECRET UNLEASHED, largely because the focus of the book is on the aforementioned harrowing experiences. Romance wouldn't fit into this in any sensible way and so Dean back burners Secret's love life to a large extent. There are still scenes revolving around Secret's love for both Holden and Desmond, and they were all very well written. Dean is one of the few authors who write convincing love triangles. It's so easy to picture Secret with either of these two men and I'm eager to see how the situation gets resolved.

I'll wrap this post up by saying that SECRET UNLEASHED is a really exciting story and one that fans of the series shouldn't miss out on.

Read an excerpt


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Stacking The Shelves [162]

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!


 Can you believe it's JUNE already?!?  Where I live, the public schools ended their year yesterday, and everyone knows that means summer has begun.  And where I work, summer is definitely our busiest season.  Lots of great programs and activities.  I work until I'm good and tired, and I have so much fun, but this also means that I'm looking for a bit lighter reading in the summer.  I just don't have the brain capacity for anything heavier!  And are there any other back porch-sitters out there?  Can I get a "heck yeah!"?  :)  It's just that perfect time of year for sitting on the back porch in the evenings with the hubby and the pup and a cold beverage.  However, as you'll see below, I just have too much trouble saying no to library books.  I only host Stacking the Shelves every few weeks, so I think this is about a month's worth of books.

What about you?  Are you a "seasonal reader" who wants something lighter in the summer?  Do you have any weaknesses (like me and the library)?  What books did you bring home this week?

ARC for Review:

Library at Mount Char Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins:  it's got "library" in the title, so yes please!  Also, isn't that an amazing cover?


Dead Wake Last Crossing of the Lusitania Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson:  I've heard great things about this author, so I'm eager to try this.


Bastard Out of Carolina Dorothy Allison America's Library James Conaway Elephant Company Vicki Constantine Croke Precious One Marisa de los Santos Fox Bunny Funny Andy Hartzell World on a Plate Mina Holland Hope Diamond Richard Kurin No Turning Back Joanne Wilson Meusburger

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison:  I'm doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge on my other blog, and this one satisfies the "book set in your hometown" checklist item.

America's Library by James Conaway:  Already read this and loved it!  All about the history of the Library of Congress.  *book nerd*

Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke:  Haven't read this yet, but I believe it's about the use of elephants by an Allied military group during WWII.

The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos:  Recommendation from a family member.

Fox Bunny Funny by Andy Hartzell:  Recommendation from a colleague.  This will be my first wordless book!

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland:  Part travelogue, part cookbook.  Sounds like perfect summer reading.

Hope Diamond by Richard Kurin:  Hubby & I went to the Smithsonian and saw the Hope Diamond and I want to know more.  And I kinda want that diamond.  But I need to find out if it's "cursed" first.  ;)

No Turning Back by Joanne Wilson Meusburger:  Recommendation from a family member.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer:  Can you believe I never read this back when it was a thing?  So I'm listening to the audiobook in my car right now.   I'm having mixed feelings, surprisingly.

Virals Seizure Code Exposure Terminal Brendan Kathy Reichs

Virals series by Brendan and Kathy Reichs:  Brendan Reichs is coming to my library this month, so I thought maybe I should try to read at least one of his books beforehand.  I love watching Bones, but just haven't gotten around to picking up any related books yet!

Last Bookaneer Matthew Pearl Dream Thieves Maggie Stiefvater Sinner Golem's Eye Jonathan Stroud

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl:  Like with The Library at Mount Char, there are certain trigger words that guarantee I'll pick up a book....

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater:  I'm so bad about loving a series starter, then getting distracted and waiting a year or two before I get around to the sequel.  Finally getting around to The Dream Thieves.

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater:  Stiefvater herself was reluctant to write this one, so of course my curiosity is piqued!

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud:  Very recently read The Amulet of Samarkand and loved it.  I think this series might be almost a Harry Potter readalike series.

And finally.... New but Not by Choice

My puppy did this:

Puppified Book

to two library books.  So now I own:

Wedding Gift Marlen Suyapa Bodden Bud Not Buddy Christopher Paul Curtis

The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

At least he's cute.  :)

Cute Tucker

Share your list by clicking the link below, and have a great start to summer!


[inlinkz_linkup id=533184]

Friday, June 05, 2015

Azagoth by Larissa Ione

Azagoth has been Heaven's Starbuck for centuries and he has had enough. He won't 'fuck' anymore unwilling angels, he wants a mate of his own and he wants his potential kids to grow by his side. Quite reasonable right? But how do you go about meeting one's mate when you can't leave Sheoul-Gra? You blackmail Heaven of course! So that's how Lilianna found herself with a bad and a worst choice. She is being punished for a grave offense and was volunteered to be Azagoth's mate, or loose her time-travel abilities (which isn't an option). All of this happens in the first couple of pages and set the table for an amazing read!

I loved how Azagoth went to great extremes to make her welcome and comfortable, even though he has no idea how to go about it. He wants this relationship to work, and gives her time to assimilate everything. He is actually being quite sweet in his own grumpy, almost-evil ways. His struggles were really touching and I LOVED learning more about him. His troubled past, his mistakes, his secrets desires, all are revealed in good times and it was moving.

Lilianna is smart and desperate to make the best of this difficult situation, but she never imagined Azagoth would be that way. I admired her wits and her conscience. She wasn't damning Azagoth without seeing for herself, even though it would've been very easy, and she warms up to him in time.

The best part is the banter and teasing between the two. I loved how Lilianna wanted to annoy him, yet it would have the opposite effect on Azagoth. I loved how she made mistakes and is doing her best to make it up to him.

Really, my only complaint about this novella is exactly that, it's a novella! I really wished it was a full length novel! It's a great novella: there is enough character development and a good storyline, but I loved the characters so much that I wanted more. More details, more twists, just more! I couldn't get enough.

I definitely suggest you read this novella!


Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

The Fire Chronicle is the second book in a great middle grades series, The Books of Beginning.  Do not be fooled by that "middle grades" classification!  These books have a richness of character and setting that is appreciable by all ages.  The "middle grades" classification only means that it's "safe" for very young teens to enjoy alongside us adults.  :)

Even though this is the second book in a series, it could easily be read as a standalone.  Without coming across as repetitive, John Stephens gives the reader just enough info to be able to enjoy the story.  Also, this book focuses more on Michael, whereas the first book focused primarily on Kate.  If I were a betting woman, I'd put my money on the third book focusing on Emma.  After all the adventure in the first book, the siblings are definitely not anxious to "settle down" at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans.  They want to keep questing for their parents, of course!  Fate intervenes to help the kids, and soon enough the bad guys are after them and the Emerald Atlas.  Kate uses the Atlas to evade the bad guys and save her brother and sister, but then becomes trapped in late 1890s NY, NY.

To be honest, I don't remember if there were multiple POVs in the first book.  But this book has them, and it works really well.  The reader gets Kate's side of the story, where she's trapped in the past, and also Michael's point of view as he tries to save the present and future.  I felt like there were more "Michael chapters" than "Kate chapters" but it works.  And the reader still gets to keep up with Emma in the Michael chapters.  Because Michael and Kate are in different time periods, it's always very clear to the reader which character is talking.

As I mentioned, the setting is also very rich.  I love history, so I loved reading the descriptions of Kate's adventures in 1890s NY City.  I can't talk much about it without any spoilers, but do know that she meets some very interesting characters there!  There is magic woven throughout the book, but it all feels natural.  Like of course there are dwarves and elves and magicians, right?  Living among us mortals?  The setting is also very rich in Michael & Emma's storyline.  It almost felt a bit Hobbitish for a bit in the middle, which I loved.

And finally, a note on the narration.  Jim Dale is possibly one of my all-time fave narrators.  He has great tonal clarity and a slightly British accent and near-perfect cadence.  (Possibly just a hair on the slow side for me, but not bad at all.)  He did both The Emerald Atlas and The Fire Chronicle.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire #2)

This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries series. So, fair warning, there will be spoilers from the first book. If you haven’t read it, intend to read it and dislike spoilers, you may want to come back a bit later.

In the first book, we met Sookie and many of her family, friends and acquaintances. Of course, I say ‘acquaintances’ because, Sookie feels like such an outcast due to what she refers to as her disability, her ability to read minds. She believes, and she seems to have enough proof, that most of the residence of Bon Temp the she’s strange. Considering some of the characters who inhabit Bon Temps that could be taken as a compliment. For example, Andy Bellefleur, the only detective on the Bon Temps Police force. Andy doesn’t admit to believing in Sookie’s ability and then asks her to use it to help in police matters. There’s also Holly Cleary, one of Sookie’s co-workers who also keeps a polite distance from her. These and a few others help illustrate the rift between the normal people and the supernatural folks of the area.

Sookie is not on her own, though. She has her friend, Arlene Fowler, her boss Sam Merlotte, her brother Jason and of course, her grandmother, Adele Stackhouse, before her passing, more or less wind up in her corner. They all give varying degrees of support for her relationship with Bill Compton (AKA Vampire Bill).

The second book starts out with the discovery of the body of another of her acquaintances, Lafayette. Having watched the TV show, I was completely surprised when that happened. This starts one path of this bifurcated story in which, another murder mystery is investigated and of course, Sookie is asked to help. The other path comes in the form of Eric Northman requesting Sookie’s help in another matter. This makes for quite a bit going on during one book but, it does lend the story a bit a credibility. In reality, the world doesn’t stop to figure out one mystery, life tends to go on.

Living Dead in Dallas does a very good job introducing newer characters, developing characters from the first book and telling two unrelated stories. I’ve also noted what seems to be the use of supernatural characters as an analog for differences in people in the real world. In that way, it reminds me of the Wild Cards series. The social commentary isn’t heavy handed and may only be in my mind so, it doesn’t get in the way of an entertaining story.

Living Dead in Dallas does very well in keeping my interest in the happenings of Bon Temps and of Sookie Stackhouse. Just like the first book, I would recommend this for mature audiences only due to sexual content and violence. It definitely falls deep in the R rated territory.

Roberts Signature


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

"When I'm not writing" with Jan DeLima + giveaway!

Today we have an extremely awesome author visiting us: Jan DeLima. I'm a huge fan of her Celtic Wolves series and I'm waiting with bated breath for the next book in the series, AUTUMN MOON, coming out in September. There's a lovely giveaway as part of the tour so make sure you read all the way down.

Welcome, Jan!



My hobbies outside of writing are very homey and comforting, and may give the impression that I write inspirational or cozy novels—which I do not.  My series is paranormal with graphic elements, but at home I’m just a wife and mom. Family is the biggest part of my life outside of writing.  If I had to choose one hobby, gardening is at the top of my list.  Cooking is a close second.  I’m an artist as well, but that muse is finicky and doesn’t come to me often.

In the spring in summer months, if I’m not in my office writing, or spending time with my family, I’m either cooking, or in the garden.  After a long day at the computer, I’ll pour a glass of wine, turn on some soulful music, and walk around the flower and herb beds and let the characters in my head calm for the night.  This is my wind-down time.  I have an outdoor stereo system, and my family and neighbors have heard my playlist more than they probably care to.  (My kids hid the Matchbox Twenty and Joss Stone CD’s on me, but then I subscribed to a popular music service and have an endless supply of all my favorite songs.)

I do love to share, so I’ve included the playlist below, along with a tour of my garden, and a family recipe for blueberry muffins.



This is me standing next to Brynmor Cottage, home of Ms. Hafwen.
Ms. Hafwen is a character in my books, introduced at the very end of Summer Moon. If you haven’t guessed, she’s a pixie, and I couldn’t resist building her cottage in my garden.
Brynmor Cottage Photo Tour {Link to Tour: http://jandelima.com/extras/brynmor-cottage-tour/ }

JanDeLima_Garden2July is my favorite month in the garden. It’s when most of my climbers bloom along the fence.

JanDeLima_Garden3The gatekeeper guarding her post. This is Willow, my youngest English bulldog, standing under the Nesting Arbor.  Every year a robin makes a nest in the tangled vines around the arbor, even though it’s our most traveled gateway into the vegetable garden beyond. It’s beautiful when the wisteria is in bloom.

JanDeLima_Garden4Lobelia baskets add color to the shady parts of my garden, plus it’s a great place to hang the hummingbird feeders.

JanDeLima_Garden5Boil some sugar and water to fill the feeders for the hummingbirds.  Four parts water and one part pure cane sugar is a safe portion.  It’s tempting to add a bit more sugar to the mix, but it only forces the birds to look for water.

JanDeLima_Garden6The last days of summer are approaching in this photo, but the morning glory vines are still blooming.

JanDeLima_Garden7The last bouquet of autumn.

For more pictures of my garden, you are welcome to view my Photo Gallery.



This is an old recipe that has been handed down in my family.  The secret to these muffins is to make sure all the ingredients are room temperature, as if the eggs were just gathered from under the hen, and the blueberries were just picked from warm summer fields. Also, and just as important, the wet and dry ingredients are barely stirred.  There should be lumps in the mix.


- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/3 cup of packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- A pinch of cinnamon (1/8 of a teaspoon if you need to measure, no more or the spice will overwhelm. You can dip the tip of your 1/4th teaspoon if you don’t have a 1/8th.)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees and prep a muffin tin with wrappers. You can grease the tin but the papers are pretty and, more important, the tin is easier to wash afterward.  Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl except for the sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients along with the sugar.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet items into the well.  Mix only until the dry ingredients are barely moistened.  Ten turns of the spoon, if that.  There should be lumps in the mix.  Gently fold in the blueberries.   Bake for fifteen minutes, but start checking around ten by inserting a toothpick in the center.  They’re ready when the sides are golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins




I PUT A SPELL ON YOU by Jeff Beck, featuring Joss Stone
COME ALONG by Vicci Marines and CeeLo Green
HOLD ME DARLIN’ by Vicci Martinez
ALL OF ME by John Legend
WICKED GAME by Phillip Phillips
WANTED IS LOVE by Phillip Phillips
365 DAYS by ZZ Ward
I CHOOSE YOU by Sara Bareilles
MY OH MY by Tristan Prettyman
THAT GIRL by Jennifer Nettles
BROTHER by NEEDTOBREATHE, featuring Gavin DeGraw
FIRE by Gavin DeGraw
COLLIDE by Howie Day
READY FOR LOVE by India.Arie
BRIGHT LIGHTS by Matchbox Twenty


Thanks so much for visiting us, Jan! For more about Jan and her amazing books, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Here's the scoop on the series:

Celtic Moon by Jan DeLimaLike father, like son...

Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years.  Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized.  He's going to end up being just like his father----a man who can change into a wolf.

Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him----an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war.  Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe.  One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.

When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared.  For the first time in years, Dylan's lost family is within his grasp.  But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it...

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Summer Moon by Jan DeLimaShe won’t be ruled again…

Rosa Alban has been obedient her entire life. But when her alpha husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to flee the oppressive Guardians—the rulers of the secret shapeshifter world. Her flight instantly brands her as a pack traitor, and she has no choice but to seek protection from a neighboring tribe by marrying one of their sons.

Known as the Beast of Merin, Luc Black loyally plays the part of unwanted son and devoted brother. He realizes marrying Rosa will strengthen his tribe’s territory, but he has no intention of loving ever again. Still, he’s unprepared for the intense physical need the wild she-wolf awakens in him.

When the Guardians hone in on Rosa, Luc must fight to protect his new bride. And as war descends, the unlikely allies discover their destinies are irrevocably entwined…

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

AUTUMN-MOON-Cover-635x1024The heart of a warrior, the soul of a wolf, and the desires of a man…

For centuries, Cormack has lived between worlds—a man trapped in the body of a wolf, shunned by humans and shifters alike. Only one person has ever welcomed his company: Elen, a kindred outcast who is feared by others of her ancient Celtic race for her strange healing abilities.

Cormack has always valued Elen’s kindness and understanding, but after a desperate act of friendship causes Elen to free him from his curse, he realizes he wants more. He wants all of her—completely and forever.Except before Cormack can win Elen’s heart, Pendaran, the evil leader of the Guardians, captures her, determined to manipulate her incredible power to aid him in his twisted war against the shapeshifting tribes.

Now Cormack must use all of his skills as a warrior and a wolf to save the woman he loves—before Pendaran’s vile schemes destroy them all…

Read an excerpt



There's a tour-wide giveaway. Check out the Rafflecopter for details!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email me at jenn (at) tyngasreviews (dot) com and we’ll set it up!