**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.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [212]

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!


Stacking The Shelves May 16

This has been an eventful week for me.  I go the okay from my doctor to start putting weight on my foot (had surgery in Feb) which allowed me to returned to work.  It feels good to feel productive (even if I have to re-learn how to walk while doing it)

I also picked up a few stories to occupy myself while I recover from the exertion of getting back in the saddle.

Icon by Genevieve Valentine and The Reclamation are two titles I had no clue about.  I don't recall hearing anything from the authors.  They just looked interesting.

I could not pass up a new book by Faith Hunter.  I liked the introduction of this new character through one of her novellas so picking up Blood of Earth was pretty much a no-brainer.

The Adventures of Tom Stranger: Interdimensional Insurance Agent by Larry Correia was something I pick up for free.  I'll tell more about this one real soon.

For all our U.S. friends, I would also like to take a moment to offer this reminder.  Monday is the day we pay our respects for all those service members who passed in service to our country.  Let's start our summer by the ones we lost safeguarding our freedoms.

So tell me, what stories will you use to start your summer?

Roberts Signature

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Guest Post: Amanda Carlson's Top 5 Forms of Art

Amanda Carlson is releasing her brand now book, STRUCK (a fabulous story about a Valkyrie who had no idea what she was), and to celebrate, I invited over to the blog to share about her favorite forms of art. I hope you welcome her warmly, and stick around there is a giveaway at the end!

Top 5 Favorite Forms of Art

I’ve always been an art aficionado. My father is an architect, and at an early age I found a profound love of art and design. Seeing a house start on paper and end in a structure is amazing. Remodeling is equally as wonderful. Taking something existing and turning it into something beautiful is always a treat. I think of writing that way as well. Writing the story is a beautiful journey, but editing it on the page, and turning it into art is the most satisfying!

Here are my top 5 Forms of Art:

1) Writing is number for me. No one is surprised by this, I’m sure. As I just stated above, there’s nothing like it. I was drawn to writing at a very early age. I wrote stories about kids in class, jotted down my daydreams, my hopes and dreams for the future. As I got older, I would take out my yearbooks and pick faces and create a story based around them. Writing isn’t something I like to do, it’s something I have to do.

2) Photography. Hands down this is my second passion. I received a camera in high school and took photography very seriously. My graphic arts teacher even made a class that didn’t exist for me (Photography 2) so I could continue doing what I loved. By my senior year, I’d won top awards at the MN State Fair. Taking pictures of my kids as they grew became a necessity. Digital photography changed the framework of what I loved, and learning photoshop and being able to edit my work was amazing.

3) Pottery. I found a love of pottery, especially on the wheel, after my first child was born. I took classes to get out of the house, but ended up buying a wheel. It was a lot of upkeep, and hard to clean with three little kids running around, so we eventually sold it. But creating something fluid and alive out of clay will always be near and dear to me.

4) Drawing and painting. I wish I could say I was as gifted as my father in this field, but sadly I’m not. My father is a wonderful artist, not only who creates homes, but art in all forms. As a teenager, I started an art book and filled it with drawings. Later using oil crayons (cray-pas). It didn’t stick with me, but I love going to galleries and taking in the art.

5) Sewing. Some of my favorite forms of art exist in fashion design. When I was first married, we couldn’t afford much. I bought a sewing machine and fairly quickly bought a serger. Over the next few years I made everything from baby blankets, towels, washcloths, sheets, bumper pads, baby quilts, to reupholstering rocking chairs. I got so into it, that my husband and I made it a business for a few years. We enlisted my father to design some kid-friendly designs, my husband (an engineer) made the screen prints, and I sewed, dyed, and made the clothing. We mainly sold them at art fairs. That was a tough way to make a living, but a very fun one! Once I had multiple kids, the work was too much. So I turned to, you guessed it, writing stories about them instead.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little about my passion for arts of all kinds. Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! I hope everyone enjoys STRUCK. It’s a super fun book chock full of action and adventure. Just the way I like it. Oh, and it has a little romance. Because, you know, love.

Thank you so much Amanda! We actually share a lot more than I would've thought ^^

Here are so of Amanda's pictures:


'These are actual photos that inspired me to set the Valkyrie stronghold in New Mexico. So I guess they are apropos! First two are the Grand Canyon, last two are Monument Valley. The one of the "glove" is at sunrise. The last one is an actual cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park called Cliff Palace.'

A little teaser anyone??



Amanda Carlson

    [Copyright 2016 by Amanda Carlson. The work represented here cannot be
copied or reproduced in any way without the author's permission.]


I blinked open my eyes to find two concerned faces hovering above me. I shifted my body, and a cascade of shoeboxes tumbled around me. “What happened?” I swallowed a few times. My throat felt funny.

“You tell us,” Sam said, hands on her hips, her blonde curls bouncing in agitation. “I was minding my own business helping a seventy-five-year-old lady cram her corns into a pair of high heels when all of a sudden what sounds like a sonic boom goes off. I run back to find you out cold, crumpled like a rag doll on top of a pile of Steve Maddens.” She extended her arm to help me up. Samantha Reed, my co-worker and recent best friend, was not amused. I grabbed on to her hand, scattering boxes and shoes as I went. “When I saw you lying here, I thought you were dead, Phoebe. Don’t scare me like that again. Ever.”

“Yeah,” Tom echoed in his standard monotone. “Don’t scare us like that.” Tom Levine, Macy’s resident eighteen-year-old stock boy, took a few steps back so I had enough room to fully clear myself of the mess. Apparently, I’d passed out, but I had no recollection of the event at all. “But, dude, at the same time it was freakin’ awesome. I thought the whole building was going to cave in or something. There was this huge kaboom.” Both his hands went out in front of him, mimicking an explosion. The story ended with a whooshing noise out of the side of his mouth. It was the most animated I’d ever seen the guy. “Then the lights flickered and…you were lying here.”

“Honestly,” I said, trying to smooth down my now static-frizzed hair, “I don’t remember much. I heard a noise and glanced up, right as a bolt of something shot out of the lights. It must’ve hit me, which is weird, because I didn’t feel anything and I’m not hurt. Next thing I knew, you guys were looking down on me.”

We all tilted our heads up to the ceiling.

Several long, narrow fluorescent bulbs hung from their fixtures at odd angles, rocking slowly back and forth. It was the only indication that my convoluted story held a kernel of truth.

“No way.” Tom moved under one of the bulbs and tried to reach it, jumping twice, but it was too high. He glanced over his shoulder, flipping his brown hair off his forehead in a single flick. “I wish this kind of stuff happened to me. It’s boring as hell back here.”

“I had no idea fluorescent lights could shock someone like that.” I rubbed my arms. My extremities were a little tingly, but other than that I felt fine. My throat was better after a couple of swallows. “A big store like Macy’s should insulate their lights better or check the circuits or hire better maintenance people.” I gestured to the broken fixtures. “That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”

“Please, fluorescent lights can’t shock you like that.” Sam’s voice was full of authority as she marched forward to investigate. “It’s completely impossible. Electricity doesn’t arc that far at one hundred and ten volts, and even if it did, fluorescent lights are made up of electrons and gas, not wire filament. So essentially there’s no way on earth those light bulbs or that fixture”—she directed an angry finger toward the hanging bulbs that still had the audacity to rock back and forth—“shocked you from way up there.”

Sam was an aspiring actress, but she should’ve been an engineer. Her brain was vast and held more factoids than I thought possible for one person. She was one of the smartest people I’d ever met.

A sharp acidic smell hit the air.

I glanced down. The hemline of my skirt was smoking.

“Oh.” I licked my fingers and pressed them against the frayed edge, and a soft psst sounded as the tiny coal of heat was extinguished.

Sam met my eyes, her expression shocked. “Holy crap, Phoebe!” she cried, moving in front of me. “We need to get you to the doctor right away. Your skirt is smoking. How is that even possible?” She twisted her head up toward the ceiling and then back to look at me, her face incredulous.

“Dude, that’s freakin’ crazy.” Tom was giddy as he shuffled toward us. “I’ve never seen anyone on fire before.”

“I’m not on fire,” I answered testily as I checked the rest of my body for any other indication that I may, in fact, be on fire. This was beyond insane. “I’m totally fine. I promise. I have a great idea. Let’s call maintenance, and they can come in and check it out and we can all go back to work. The customers are probably crawling up the walls by now, and Nancy is going to be mad we’ve both been back here so long. I can’t afford to lose my job.”

“I don’t care if Nancy’s pissed or not. She can wait.” Sam placed her hands firmly on her hips. “This is much more important. Phoebe, if your clothes are smoking, that’s a pretty big indication that something calamitous just happened. People don’t just catch on fire. Something could be really wrong with you. I think we need to get you to a hospital, pronto.”

She might be right, except I felt better with each passing second.

In the short amount of time we’d been standing here, my body had become somehow more…energized. Like I’d downed an entire bag of Skittles, and the sugar high was kicking in. My fingers twitched, and my feet almost bounced on their own.

“Sam, I’m fine,” I reassured her. “I feel more awake, but that’s it. I actually feel like I could go for a run right now. Whatever happened, it didn’t hurt me. It worked the opposite.”

Sam wasn’t buying what I was selling. “It’s the middle of winter in New York City, and you hate running. You refer to runners as self-torturers who love inflicting pain on themselves. That alone means we should take you in. You’re not yourself, and this proves it.”

“Well, hm, you might be right about the running part,” I said. “But according to how I feel right now, I might have to alter my definition of self-torture. I could be missing out by not giving it a try.” She crossed her arms. “Seriously, Sam. I’m not lying. I feel amazing. I have no explanation for what happened, but I have no scorch marks on my body, no gaping holes in my chest, and nothing else is smoking. Let’s not make this a big deal, okay? Even though you said the noise was loud, you two seem to be the only ones who heard it. No one else is here.” I glanced at Tom. The kid had four looks: bored, ultra-bored, slightly happy, and confused. He was giving us confused now—the same expression he wore whenever we tried to explain how invoicing worked. I turned back to Sam. “Let’s get back to work. This entire thing is embarrassing, and we’ve been gone so long the customers are going to riot. Please, Sam. I can’t afford to have Nancy fire me. I can barely cover rent as it is.”

Sam rolled her eyes, dropping her arms. “Fine, but I’m keeping an eye on you for the rest of the day. If you so much as sneeze in the wrong direction, I’m calling an ambulance. I mean it, Phoebe. I’m not taking any chances.”


“Dude, you know”—Tom shoved his hands in his front jean pockets, tugging them down impossibly lower—“when you were lying there, you looked totally dead. I’ve only seen one other dead guy before, but you looked just like him. Kinda freaked me out.”

“Thanks, Tom. That’s really helpful.” Judging by the artful green leaves proudly displayed all over his attire, he was a real poster boy for Sherlock Holmes. Anything could look dead if it wasn’t moving. “I was clearly breathing the entire time, since I’m standing here alive. Fainting can look an awful lot like dead. The subtle difference would be in the chest movement.” I nodded to Sam. “I’ll just clean up these boxes and meet you out on the floor.” Macy’s didn’t mess around with their shoe department in New York. It spanned two floors, and it was always busy.

“Okay,” she relented. “If you’re not out in ten minutes, I’m coming back to find you.”

“Got it.” I was relieved when she finally walked out of the stock room. I wanted to forget this craziness had ever occurred.

Tom bent over to help me as I gathered up the errant shoes. “Dude,” he said, “can I touch your arm? I’ve never touched anyone who’s died before.”

(STRUCK is out May 24th!)

giveawaybanI bet you now want to read the book?? I thought so!

Amanda is offering a digital copy to one lucky winner!

Comment below with your favorite form of art, your email addy, and the format in which you would prefer receiving the book!
Open internationally
Ends June 16th, 2016


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Fair Tours: UTOPiA Con 2016

*Post in partnership with Palasso, but it does not alter the information given in this post*


*Post in partnership with Palasso, but it does not alter the information given in this post*

Utopia Con will be held in Nashville, Tennessee this June 22nd-26th at the Millennium Maxwell House.  In their own words Utopia Con “was created to stir the pot, to shake things up, to challenge the publishing conference and signing status quo.”   This seems to be an event where people can exchange of dreams and ideas in the worlds of storytelling.


At its heart UTOPiA con is a Con with a difference. It was created in 2012 to give voice to many of those in modern science fiction, fantasy and paranormal literature whose voice had been muted. In its beginnings as UtopYA Con, main focus of the conference was women in the industry and ways to inspire, influence and empower them. Over the last five years they have changed the spelling of their name and have broadened their scope to include authors of all genders who like to showcase strong female characters in their speculative fiction.

There are a variety of events that will take place over the four days of the convention. The first day will be mainly concerned with registration, the keynote speech by Myra McEntire and finishes up with the Delinquent Debutante’s Burlesque Show.

The festivities continue Thursday with registration and a welcome address. All four days there will be exhibitors and signings in the Grand Ballroom. There will be several presentations on topics ranging from bloggers to self-publication to how to create a book trailer. Some more unique events will be held like ‘Pajama Party Game Night’. They are will also be a screening of a fan film short titled ‘Severus Snape and The Marauders’.

There are many good hotels near the convention and it is always better to make arrangements early.  Nashville can get pretty hot and humid that time of year so, if you plan to attend the conference, plan your wardrobe accordingly.  I would suggest light breathable fabrics for the outdoors. Air conditioning can start to get a bit intense after a while, you may want to bring something easy to take off and put on like a sweatshirt or sweater that for the convention and its panels.

Some attendees may even decide to stay a few days more to visit some of the sights.  For those have an appreciation of country music, there is the Ryman Auditorium as well as the Grand Old Opry to visit. There are also museums The Hermitage and The Parthenon and nightlife of places like Music Row there is much to do and see. Something new since I grew up there, Nashville has its own zoo with The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

For a unique look at science fiction, fantasy and paranormal literature, make your way to UTOPiA Con this June. You can also show your support with:




on Twitter!!!Roberts Signature


Monday, May 23, 2016

Soundless by Richelle Mead

This book is beautifully written. Inspired by Chinese folklore and culture, Richelle Mead was able to paint an exquisite setting for this standalone book. I haven't read anything like it and it's refreshing to read such an intelligent and meaningful story. While the book is quite short, as a reader you develop a strong admiration for the characters, especially Fei who has defied all odds.

The heroine of the story is Fei, a young artist and apprentice. Her main duty for her community is to paint and record everyday events. Her mining village is a small one, isolated in the mountains, and their only way of communication and trade is through a zip line with a township at the bottom of the mountains. Isolated generations ago, everybody in the community has lost their hearing, and many are on their way to losing their eyesight. For Fei, as an artist, her sight means everything, so she dreads the day where vision loss will leave her with no purpose, no duty and no honour. So, quite surprisingly, in the middle of the night, she is blessed with the sense she never born with. At first, noises are a hindrance and she hides her new ability, but then she uses her newfound hearing to travel down the mountain, something no one has done in generations because of the fear of being buried alive in a rocky avalanche.

Along with her childhood friend, Li Wei, she unravels the mystery behind her village's isolation and deafness. They have been lied to and used for years without realizing they were actually slaves to a tyrannical king. I love Fei and her courage. She's the type of heroine that inspires without fancy abilities or incredible strength. She simply searches for balance and righteousness, and in doing so, she rallies her entire village to stand up for their rights. Fighting oppression is the main theme in this novel, and while slavery has been condemned in the western world, there are still some cultures that consider it justifiable. This is 2016, and we have come a long way as humans, but we can't forget that oppression is still present in some societies. Personally, I feel like this story has a lot to teach.

Fei relies almost entirely on her vision and Richelle Mead conveys that wonderfully through vivid imagery and wonderful description. When Fei starts hearing sounds, I thought it was brilliant how the author was able to convey emotion through sound, such as Fei's surprised reaction when hearing rain for the first time, or the pain she felt when she heard someone cry in anguish. Simple noises like birds singing and teacups clinging might be very ordinary for those people blessed with hearing, but for Fei who had never heard such noises, they were awe inspiring.

As an optometrist, I see patients weekly that are on the verge of losing their eyesight. To have a fictional writer describe that in novel and to convey such a message is wonderful. Pity and sympathy might be something we feel for someone about to go deaf or blind (or already there), but in my opinion, most people afflicted would prefer empathy. That we understand what they're going through but still allow them to function and be a part of society. That's the general feeling I got from the villagers that were going blind. They wanted to keep working, knowing that it was their honour on the line. However, I think it's important that they ask for help whenever the situation it too dire. No one should be forced to work or do something if they are unable to, or if it puts them in jeopardy.

Personally, I thought Soundless was a little bit too short but despite that fact, I think it was able to convey many different lessons, along with a great story rooted in Asian mythology. I wish we could have learnt more about the history and the folklore of Fei's village, but I think what we don't know adds a little mystery to the story. The novel was very well written, and unfortunately, I feel will be overlooked by Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy fans.

stephsig moon

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [211]

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!


 Hey guys! I didn't get any new novels in a while but I got something pretty cool this week!

I got a poster and an adult coloring book featuring the Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

13234961_10154150603625429_220567900_o13262593_10154150603530429_1335142836_oIsn't it awesome ??

You can also get your own poster here.

So what did you guys add to your shelves this week?

[inlinkz_linkup id=634752]


Friday, May 20, 2016

Best Online Stores For Cheap Quality Books by Tim Kopp

** This post is in association with Tim Kopp, written by the man himself. **

Best Online Stores For Cheap Quality Books

gpWhen you are looking to buy a book, Amazon is often the first place to look. However, they don’t have everything.  In a situation where you can’t find the exact book you are looking for, you are left with trying your hands at the local bookstores or giving up the search. Not anymore!
Here are some online stores you can count on to deliver where Amazon has failed.

Better World Books

You can count on them for your eBooks, fiction and nonfiction.   This online shop also gives you a chance to contribute towards a good cause. When you make a purchase, a book is donated to someone that needs it.  You can find books on everything from health to business to using PayPal for playing online chance games. Their eDelivery feature is equally very useful as it means you could have any physical book scanned and sent to you in a digital format within a few hours.


This is where you should look for textbooks and digital textbooks.  The store aims at helping as many people as possible to save money on textbooks. They have a very flexible rental programme that allows you to get the best of the books.  You can find books with ISBN as standard but many students will appreciate the school search feature that lists books required for certain courses at your college and/or university.


This is the home of hard-to-find titles and textbooks. The company runs a standard buying and selling operation but doesn’t stop there. It has a vast network of Independent sellers making it a hot bed for books that have been out of print for years.  The rental option here allows you to return rentals for a complete refund within 21 days. The books should however be kept in reasonable condition.


This is another great place to look for rare books and niche topics. The company takes pride in being a one-stop shop for true bibliophiles. You will find collections put together by independent booksellers.  Most of the sellers focus on specific niche interests, rare books and antiquarian books. You can search for books through titles and authors and you can equally browse by seller.

Books A Million

The company operates a popular retail chain so it isn’t surprising that the online arm is as great as it is. This is the place to be for your new books and eBooks including bestsellers. They also offer great bargains on pre-orders. It is a hot choice for addicted eReaders as you are sure of getting that hot title almost immediately it hits the shelves.


This is another great option for finding your textbooks.  The rental process is some of the best in the industry.  You have several options for extensions and your rental fee can count towards the cost of the book if you elect to make buy, days down the line.  Returning of books is equally straightforward as there are several drop-off options.

Your search for important books should no longer end on Amazon!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After is the third book in the Something Strange and Deadly series.  For the first two books' reviews, click here:  Something Strange and DeadlyA Darkness Strange and Lovely.  There won't be any spoilers for Strange and Ever After in this review, but there may be spoilers for the first two books.

Strange and Ever After wraps up this trilogy really well!  The characters remain true, and continue to show growth; the setting is awesome; and the pacing feels just right.  Sometimes finales to trilogies or series can feel a bit rushed or even anticlimactic--this wrap-up feels excellently planned.

I definitely recommend that you begin at the beginning with this trilogy in order to truly know the characters.  Susan Dennard doesn't waste any time or words on character descriptions or background before rushing right into plot in this novel.  In fact, Strange and Ever After opens mere minutes after A Darkness Strange and Lovely ends, and the reader is immediately thrown into the midst of the Spirit Hunters clique as they race across the sky in an airship.  (The airship is described to be very similar to a zeppelin.  Very cool.)  I love hearing Daniel and Joseph's Creole accents in my mind as I read, and picturing the lovely Jie.  I love that Dennard doesn't phonetically write out the Creole accent... that style of writing always slows my reading pace!  I appreciate that she trusts her readers to remember who has what accent.  At the outset of this book, I didn't actually care overly much for Eleanor, the main character.  Most of the time I don't end up caring for books where the main character isn't overly likable, but not in this case- in this case, Eleanor undergoes so much believable character growth that I ended up liking her, and the book, all the more for the rough start.  Dennard also gives us character growth in Oliver.  Yes, she manages to write maturity and emotional growth into a paranormal being!   That is talent, my friends.

Not only are all the characters lovable in their own ways, the setting alone would be enough to recommend this book.  Egypt!  The settings for this trilogy keep getting better and better.  Victorian Philadelphia, Paris, and now Egypt!  High society with balls and gowns + steampunk inventions!  Rich history + zombies and magic!  What more could you ask for than an adventure involving crystal pulse pistols used to fight hordes of reanimated mummies?

Finally, I can also say that this finale reads really smoothly in terms of pacing.  I read it in one day and was never bored; never tempted to skip ahead.  I was also never overwhelmed, and never had to reread a passage for missed details.  There was a really well-written huge battle that did not have a predictable end- I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat the whole time!  Then there were great details in the final chapter that let you know where your beloved characters end up.

I would love to see more books from this world!  Ms. Dennard, can we get a spin-off series?


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

A young man finds himself at a school hidden from all those who are not intended to see it.  The school is a place to learn about subjects he thought was only imagination.  Once he was accepted in this school, this young man embraced the truth about his magic ability. Then he and his new found friends find themselves in the middle of a mystery and an adventure.  Nope, this isn't Harry and company, this is the premise for the book The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

While in the broad scope the two books have similarities, there are significant differences in the details.  First of all, there is way more drinking and sex in this book. The setting is a college in modern day upper New York.  The main character, Quinton Coldwater, is a seventeen year old high school student who gets an accelerated acceptance into Brakebill's University.  I find it amazing that even though we are with Quinton at the beginning of his magical career, he never seems to have a sense of wonder at his discovering magic is real.  We do see his transition to a more experienced  and how his new found talents change him.  His friends, Penny, Elliot, Janet and Alice go through many of the same changes on their road to magical knowledge.  Here's where I feel like a broken record: even though these characters have a progression of sorts throughout the story, I cannot honestly say I like most of them. Most of them seem to evolve rather than actually grow.  I'd rather see a clever "bad guy" become an even cleverer "bad guy" rather than just be come a slightly different "bad guy".

The story starts off well.  We learn much about the school and some the characters through exposition.  The part I have difficulties with is how long it takes to get payoff for some things established early on.  There is also a bit of a pacing problem.  Space between really exciting events often seem to drag and add little to the story itself. It also seemed to me to be enough story for two books with the right changes.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman is an adult version of Harry Potter only without the grand sense of discovery. Due to the level of violence and sexual content, I have to put this deep in the PG13 rating bordering on R.

Roberts Signature

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reader Abduction by Eve Langlais

I've been hooked to this series, ever since I started reading it about a year ago. Curiously, I haven't read anything else by Eve Langlais, besides this series. I think it's the hot purple aliens that keep me coming back for more. This novella is the seventh in the series, and although it's not my favorite of the series, it was still a fun and enjoyable read.

Eve Langlais took a different approach with this story. Instead of your typical Alien Abduction, like in her past stories, her story actually opens at Romancing The Capital 2016, an actual romance book convention that took place a few weeks ago. The story is written from Brigitte's point of view, a romance reader who has helped Eve Langlais organize the convention. Little does Brigitte know, Eve has been in contact with real purple aliens in order to pawn off some of her readers as suitable mates to the purple mercenaries. I don't think I'm a big fan of this twist. Eve Langlais makes a personal cameo in the the book, along with some other romance writers who probably attended the convention (name dropping?). I find the whole concept a bit strange. I do find it fitting, however, since I personally attended Book Expo America, but there were no purple aliens there (not that I'm aware of), so it's very good timing.

Brigitte has been a huge fan on Eve Langlais' Alien Abduction series too, and when this purple hunk appears at RTC, she thinks it's all part of the show, a paid actor playing a good role. She soon realizes that she and 11 other single females are being abducted for real to be sold off as mates to purple aliens. I wish we could have gotten to know more about Brigitte and her alien, Phyr. The lack in character development makes the story go by fast but lack in detail. Your typical Eve Langlais banter between characters is definitely present, but I wish we could have gotten more of everything.

I wouldn't recommend this series based on this book alone. It's by far my least favorite of the series even though it was a fun and easy read. The characters were fun but lacked substance. The scenes were steamy by lacked emotion. I think, overall, story lacked information and detail. Even the sex scenes seemed rushed. If the author ever publishes an eighth book, I will definitely check it out but hopefully the author will go back to her original form.

stephsig moon

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [210]

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!


Good morning everyone! I'm blogging from Chicago today because I've attended BEA (BookExpo America) this week. So far, I've had a wonderful time here in the Windy City. I've met wonderful bloggers and authors, had the chance to go see a Cubs game and received a good amount of galleys. I will have a BEA wrap up post published next week, but for now, I'll start by sharing my book haul from BEA, and a few book I purchased last week.

I'm actually embarrassed by the amount of galleys I picked up, but quite honestly, so many of them looked amazing that I couldn't resist. One thing is guaranteed, publishers have come up with a great list of books for the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

The first picture are the couple of books I purchased last week, and the second is my haul from BEA! (Sorry about the bad lighting in the second one. It was the best I could do, last minute, in my hotel room.)

Version 2

sts bea 2016 c


The Crown by Kiera Cass

Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

For Review

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Futur Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Nevin

The Reader by Traci Chee

Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Panacea by F. Paul Wilson

Don't Tempt Me by Lori Foster

The Life She Wants by Robin Carr

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Dare to Love by Carly Phillips

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

A Heart Revealed by Josi L. Kilpack

Forever and Forever by Josi L. Kilpack

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Aberrant by Ruth Silver

One With You by Sylvia Day

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

The Continent by Keira Drake

Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Any other bloggers with a BEA haul? Did you personally indulge in new books this week? No matter what you got, show me what's stacking your shelves!

stephsig moon

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers

Most people are pretty familiar with the Disney version of Mary Poppins.  But not everyone knows that Mary Poppins is the first in a whole series of books, and that the tone of the books is quite different from the Disney version of events.  I highly recommend you consider checking out these slightly grittier books.

Mary Poppins Comes Back is the second book in the series.  If you've seen  the Disney movie, you could easily pick up this book and start from here; if you know nothing about Mary Poppins, I'd recommend starting with Mary Poppins.

So in the books, Mary is rather stern with the Banks children, but it works.  She's also a bit uptight, domineering, short, and bossy.  She even tells Mr. and Mrs. Banks what to do sometimes!  She sets her own schedule, coming and going out of their employment at her will, not theirs.  When she puts the kids to bed, she simply tells them to go to bed and then leaves the room.  No sentimental storytime or good nights.  In the movie, she cheerily sings "Spoonful of Sugar" and magically makes castor oil taste delicious; in the book she makes the kids take the med without changing the taste or singing a song.

However, the magic is definitely still there, and that's what makes these books so excellent.  No matter what is happening on Cherry Tree Lane, Mary Poppins and her magic can distract and/or make things better.  This series of books is almost written like a series of vignettes; the chapters can easily be read one at a time, as there's no cliffhanger endings.  In each one, one or more the Banks children is facing a conflict and in each one something magical happens.  Also at the end of each chapter:  Mary totally denying that anything unusual happened.  For example, in one story Jane Banks wakes up having a bad day.  (Yes, a very minor conflict, but a conflict in the life of a child still.)  She ends up magically shrinking down and "entering" the world depicted on the side of a fancy porcelain bowl on the mantelpiece, where she meets three young boys.  When things don't go as well as hoped for, and Mary has to rescue her, she comes home in a much better mood and much more appreciative of the life she does have.  Mary, as usual, tells Jane that she imagined the whole thing.  Yet, Mary's scarf is clearly visible in the picture on the bowl after the whole escapade!

The magic continues throughout the book... the children meet Mr. Turvy and his wife, Mrs. Topsy.  They also go bouncing through the park, buoyed by big colorful balloons.  And finally, they also learn the story of the King of the Castle and the Dirty Rascal, and learn that Mary may have been involved, of course.

If you find yourself needing a magically surprising escape, like the Banks children sometimes do, check out the Mary Poppins series!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury

A young girl is given the opportunity to literally   like royalty.  She would live in the king's castle and be treated like a princess.  All she had to do was forsake her family and have people fear her touch since it kills people instantly and painfully.  Small sacrifice since she gets to marry a prince (who's immune to her touch) and eventually become Queen. Right? This is the circumstance of the Twylla, the main character of The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury.

This is a narrative that takes place almost completely within the protection of the castle.  I believe the location is fictional unless I'm really bad at Medieval geography.  This does reinforce the idea that even though Twylla is not a prisoner, in many ways she is a captive of her circumstance and her fate.  The disadvantage is made all too apparent as the story begins to slow down in so many places.  Action in a story doesn't have to always have to be physical because challenges come in many shapes and forms.  It does have to be somewhat pronounced and not so repetitive.  The jewel of this story to me comes in the form of twists.  There are some credible literary acrobatics performed in the telling of this tale.  Of course, I'll give none of them away here.

What I will say is something I don't like to admit.  I could not find any of the characters likeable.  I can't place my finger on why.  The main characters get well rounded or at least we start to see their motivations and glimpses of who they are.  Twylla is the best developed which comes mainly from the fact that the story is told from her viewpoint.  The Prince and one of Twylla's guards are the others we really get to know since they spent the most time with her.

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury is a book that shows much promise that could be delivered in the rest of the series.  This part of the story is a bit lacking and perhaps should have been a bit longer.  It discusses mature subjects and has some mild sex scenes all of which lands it a solid PG13 rating from me.

Roberts Signature

Monday, May 09, 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown is the last book of this series, and while it isn't the greatest ending, I think it gives us better closure than the third book (the series was originally meant to be a trilogy). I've never really been a big fan of this series. I've always felt like the writing was immature and the character were never the greatest, but I've always been curious about the story. Almost like you can't help but slow down and look at the car crash.

Eadlyn Schreave is the heir to the throne of Illéa, the country that was once USA, Canada and Mexico (yes, I know, unrealistic and will never happen). She was born to rule, and although she knew she would eventually have to choose a suitor to help her do so, she never thought she would be force to choose someone so quickly. The selection was meant to help her find a husband, but for Eadlyn, it just seems to have made things more complicated. She's forced to go on awkward dates, to keep her country apprised on the progress of the selection, all while running the country as her father, the King, temporarily steps down to take care of her sick mother. She was able to it cut down to the top six quite easily, but she still hesitates to give her heart out to anyone. Raised to one day be ruler, she has always kept her feelings to herself, which is making it difficult to find someone to love.

Personally, I'm disappointed in final book of this series. Eadlyn fell short as a main character in the previous book and I thought she would redeem herself in this one. Her suitors also felt flat. There wasn't any real connection between them. She does end up falling in love with the most unlikely boy, but it doesn't feel real. I feel like it happened too quickly, like there isn't anything holding them together except a few awkward moments and a few stolen kisses. I actually thought there was a better connection with another boy but she dismissed him completely, actually banning him from the palace.

My favorite scene is near the end, the one between Eadlyn and her father, King Maxon. I think it's the most touching and insightful scene of the book. For once, Eadlyn shows some real emotion and finally gathers her courage to make a decision for her happiness, not just because it's the right choice for her country. I admire her for following her heart for once. I also admire the major decision she makes for the future of her country. It might be an unconventional choice in a time of turmoil, but ultimately, I think she did the right choice.

This series has been fun for the most part, but it's definitely not my favorite. More conflict, more struggles and better a execution would have been necessary in order to make it great. After five books, the writing and the characters still feel immature and unpolished. I love Eadlyn's final speech, and I think it's a good ending to a mediocre series, but ultimately, I regret having invested so much time in this series.

stephsig moon

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Stacking The Shelves (209)

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!


 Hello all!  Since the last time I hosted Stacking the Shelves, I've given birth to a beautiful baby boy.  I'm still working on how and when to fit in much reading time between feeding and diaper changing and baby rocking.  Definitely not complaining- I can happily spend an hour just watching him sleep.  It's crazy.  :)

Baby Harris

Also since my last time hosting, I did bring home a few new books (both via Amazon.com; I'm not doing much leaving-of-the-house these days) and plenty of library books (baby slept through his entire first library visit).  Keep reading to join in the fun and share what books you've brought home this week!


On Becoming Babywise Gary Ezzo Ology Marty Machowski

On Becoming Babywise by Dr. Gary Ezzo with Dr. Robert Bucknam:  Already read a library copy of it, but now that I have the actual baby living with me, I needed to own my own copy.  Fingers crossed the sleep training goes well!

The Ology by Marty Machowski:  One of our pastors at church recommended this one.  It's super sweet!  Beautiful illustrations on thoughtful meditations; enjoyable by ages 0-150!



They Say We are Infidels by Mindy Belz: recommended by a friend.

Baby 411 by Dr. Ari Brown with Denise Fields:  also recommended by a friend.

Storm Warning by Billy Graham:  recommended by a pastor.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp:  recommended by our pediatrician.  (And the baby on the cover does look quite happy- here's to hoping this one works, too!)

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff:  I really liked What to Expect When You're Expecting, and am looking forward to this sequel.

Blessed, Blessed... Blessed by Missy Robertson with Beth Clark:  an impulse pick-up at the library.  I love the Duck Dynasty folks and their books!

Many Ways to Say I Love You by Fred Rogers:  another impulse pick-up at the library.  A book of quotes for children and parents by Mr. Rogers.

The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien:  another impulse pick-up at the library; I love when a favorite deceased author has a surprise "new release!"

Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers:  I had started this one as an audiobook on my commute... then had a baby and lost the commute so I picked up a physical copy to finish it!

And you?  What did you bring home this week?


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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillian by Richard Roberts

At a time when we have plenty of examples of the anti-hero (e.g. Batman, Deadpool, The Punisher)  Richard Roberts gives us a view of the other side.  Instead of a hero that sometimes bends or breaks the rules, we get a villain that winds up committing some heroic actions in the middle of nefarious plans.  That is part of the premise for Richard Roberts' book Please, Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain.

This is a book that I believe did a very good job of straddling the line between reality and comic book fantasy.  It often brought to mind some sort of combination of The Incredibles and Big Hero 6.  The book maintains a certain level of accuracy with it's setting of modern day Los Angeles, CA but, with the added conceit of superheroes being real and out in the open (for the most part).

We get introduced to this world through the eyes of Penelope (Penny) Akk, our main character and daughter of two well respected superheroes.  When she begins her story she's 13 years old and her powers have not yet developed.  As the story progresses, not only do we get to learn more about her powers as they develop, we also learn more about Penny as well as her two best friends Clair and Ray. Of course, being only 13 years old, we get to see these three learn themselves as they navigate the treacherous world of adolescence.

Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain is a good example of Young Adult fiction that actually is not too young and not too adult.  It is a good read for a younger teen that could actually spark discussions or at least a few interesting questions among the family.  The violence in it is milder than most Young Adult fiction so, I wouldn't hesitate giving this to somebody of middle school age.  I'd have to give it somewhere between a PG and PG13 rating.

Roberts Signature

Monday, May 02, 2016

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

This book is absolutely amazing. The world, the characters, the story, the writing... Everything about it is noteworthy. I thought the first book in the series was great, but somehow Golden Son was able to surpass it. In this sequel, the series heads for space and continues Darrow's mission to ultimately crumble the current society's hierarchy.

Now that the Institute is over, Darrow and his friends are thrown into real life situations and conflicts. The Institute may have been viewed as a "game" to some, but the characters soon realized that the Institute wasn't a game and enforced no rules. If the Institute taught them one thing is that life has no rules and only the resilient survive. Darrow may be fresh out of the Institute, but he's as intelligent and analytical as his superiors. He never imagined working under his arch nemesis's banner, but he figures it's probably the best way to play out his mission.

I'm not a big fan of violence in real life but I've gotten used to Pierce Brown's writing. It's brutally honest, and he while I'm sure he thinks twice about killing off important characters, no one's really safe. Death seems to follow Darrow, but his mission demands sacrifices, even if that means putting his friends and allies at risk. Darrow is a born leader. There's a quality in him that inspires people and makes them want to follow him, even if it's foolish. Eo saw this in him, even before everything started. She saw the potential he had, that he was born to be more than a Red miner, although I doubt she had this in mind for his future. In the end, she knew she had to sacrifice herself in order to motivate him, to inspire revenge and vengeance. Darrow's feelings for his murdered wife never seems to fade, and I find it very touching how much he still cares for her, despite the fact that she came from a very different world.

I love a good space novel for all the science and navigation details, but this series doesn't really need all the minor details of space travel and battles. The story is more about the characters and their own development. Darrow's inner dialogue is the root of the story and makes us understand his reason for persevering and suffering through the pain. I also really appreciate his continuously evolving relationship with Mustang. He definitely hesitates when it comes to Mustang, probably because he feels like he's cheating Eo's memory by getting close to someone else. Mustang has proven herself to him time and time again, and despite her family's reputation, would probably understand Darrow's situation. I kind of want the two of them to end up together, but then again, as a loner, Darrow could probably accomplish so much more.

Sevro is probably my favorite character. Darrow's most trusted advisor and ally, I consider them friends. Although, Sevro would probably hate the term friends. He leads the Howlers who are the unlikeliest but most cunning graduates of the Institute. It's Sevro's loyalty that I admire the most, and despite learning some of Darrow's most damaging secrets,  he still follows him. With Sevro, Darrow's goal to overturn society might just be possible. Darrow hopes to eliminate the coloured classes and free the bottom colours from slavery. I find it ironic how this coloured hierarchal society shuns demokracy despite being inspired by greek mythology and philosophy. As most of us know, ancient Greece is the birthplace of democracy which makes their system is so hypocritical and wrong.

Pierce Brown is a pure genius with words and storytelling. I'm sure the last book of the trilogy will be as thrilling and brutal as the first two. In a way, I'm glad it took me this long to discover this amazing series because this way, I've been able to read them back to back and avoid suffering the cliffhangers. If you want my opinion, this is the one series you have to read and finish this year. It's brilliant, brutally honest, and doesn't shy away from the truth.

stephsig moon