Friday, February 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Stone Guardian by @PaulinaShelf #review

Fantasy Romance
Date Published: November 18, 2014

Element – Fire (Healer/Destroyer)

Royal House – Purple

Milcah was born to rule along side an evil mother. Milcah's father was taken against his will and forced to give up his seed to produce a child with unimaginable powers. At a young age she was taken away from the only home she knows and forced to forget, again and again.Raised by a detached stepmother, Milcah learned to depend on herself and her best friend, Mary for support. When Mary suggest a vacation, with a scenic route, to the Grand Canyon Milcah believes she is finally getting the chance to see outside her small town. Packing a few things and climbing into her old beat up car, she never imagined she would find a new side of herself.

Lost on a back road, Milcah meets her destiny in a small town named Beacon. When her mind is unlocked, she finds she has a past that will lead to the salvation or damnation of the world.

This is book one in The Witches Amulet series.

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A vivid new world from Paulina Woods. I really enjoyed the concept and the vision Paulina had for this novel. There were a few things that could have been better executed such as the characterization and pacing, but all in all it is a great read. The ending leaves a bit to be desired so be prepared to anticipate book #2!

Paulina is a small town girl with big dreams. She is the second oldest of three talented siblings.
As early as three she was directing her family around acting out whatever current story was in her head. At four between her older brother and her, a whole universe was created which the younger siblings were introduced into as they were born.
Her natural ability to tell a story took her down many paths. She wrote plays, poems, small children books and short stories all before she entered high school.
When picking a career her councilor told her writing was a dying art and so she went to school for veterinarian science. Three years later she dropped out of university and enrolled in the local community college with a major in journalism
In 2008 she graduated with her BA in Communication/Journalism from Cal State Fullerton.

Life happened and her dreams were put on hold until 2013 when she started a review blog. This year her first book in her Witches Amulet series will be released. 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blog Tour: A Manual For Marco by @ShailaAbdullah #interview

Children's Picture Book
Date Published: February 1, 2015

A Manual For Marco:

Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling

Why does he act that way?
Pages from the diary of an eight-year old girl who decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.

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What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The toughest challenge for me as a busy working mother is to find adequate time to devote to writing, which often takes a back seat to my other obligations. Unlike other writers who set aside time to regularly focus on their talent, I write in bursts. When I am on an assignment or have an idea in my head, I often stay up late or wake up early to write.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Coke Studio hits from Pakistan. I love how they are bringing back folk songs, as well as gems from the past. They create fusion versions of the old classics using modern as well as traditional musical instruments.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Yes. I never finish any writing projects without having two rounds of beta readers. I try to have a good mix of readers, writers, and editors in the group. Often I give my critique group questions to respond to about story lines, characters, and plot, and ask them to be very critical in their analysis. I find that having fresh views from the readers helps me tremendously. I recall that it took me 9 months to write my second book Saffron Dreams, and 3 years to edit it. In the end, my publisher had to yank it away from me to publish it.

What book are you reading now?
I am in the midst of reading Keepers by Anoosha Lalani who happens to be my talented young niece. She landed a traditional publishing contract at the age of 18. We are very proud of her.

How did you start your writing career?
Writing for me has always been as natural as doing art or design. When I decided to make design a career, I promised my father that writing would be a very serious hobby. With five books under my belt, I have proven that I do take writing vey seriously.

Tell us about your next release.
After releasing A Manual for Marco earlier this month, I am taking a much-needed break for a while. Trying to do three books in a year has exhausted me.

 Join the conversation on Twitter 

Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written five books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A Manual for Marco. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award and Patras Bukhari Award for English Language. Several academic institutions have adopted her books as course study or recommended reading, including the University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, California State University, and George Washington University.  Learn more about the author at

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blog Tour: A Flower in the Snow by Mark Cosman

Non-Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: July 2014

"Mark Cosman’s message speaks to mothers and fathers everywhere; this is a beautiful and sensitive book." Mrs. Nancy Reagan 

My daughter. Berlyn, was asleep on a fold-out couch at her high school prom party when a former classmate and high school dropout shot her in the head for no apparent reason. Her murder prompted me to leave the rubble of my beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves. “A Flower in the Snow” is the result of that odyssey.


This is a heartwrenching novel that stems from the most horrific things a parent could go through. The questions and thoughts that the experience brought on are ones that really make you as the reader think about what you would think in his situation. Its very well written and deep and thought-provoking. 

Mark Cosman’s writing began when his daughter, Berlyn, was murdered following her high school prom. It was when Mark left the rubble of his beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves. “A Flower in the Snow” is a result of that odyssey.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PROMO: Chosen by @christinejpope #excerpt #giveaway

Paranormal Romance
Date Published: February 4, 2015

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It began as a fever of unknown origin that its victims dubbed “the Heat,” but as it burned through most of the world’s population, it became known simply as “the Dying.” And for those left behind, the struggle has just begun….

In the aftermath of the Dying, survivor Jessica Monroe is protected and guided by the gentle voice of an invisible being she thinks of as her guardian angel. When she reaches the sanctuary he’s provided for her, however, she realizes that her unseen companion is no angel at all. The destruction of humanity was only the first step in a much larger plan, and now Jessica must struggle to discover her own role in a frightening new world where everything has changed.


Now was the time to say a few words, but nothing seemed to come to mind. I couldn’t even remember the Lord’s Prayer, or more than the first few words of the Twenty-third Psalm.
“The Lord is my shepherd,” I began, then shook my head. What came next? The lines were all jumbled together in my head, nonsense syllables that sounded like something straight out of “Jabberwocky.” And what did it matter, anyway? We weren’t a religious family; we went to Christmas Eve services some years and some years not, maybe Easter. I’d gone to Sunday school when I was really little, but my parents hadn’t even bothered with that when Devin came along.
For the longest time I stood there under the oak, the sun disappearing altogether, deep dusk falling upon the yard. Then I moved, and the motion-sensor light mounted to the side of the garage flashed on.
“I love you all,” I said finally, then set the Waterford vase and the football trophy on top of their grave.

After that, I went back inside and shut the door behind me. It seemed to echo in the unnatural stillness of the house, and I realized it was hardly ever this quiet — someone always had the TV on in the background, or there was music playing, or somebody talking on the phone. Now the quiet pounded against my eardrums, and I realized how big a three-bedroom, two-thousand-square-foot house could feel when you were the only one in it.

The only one in the world….

The thought whispered through my mind, and I did my best to ignore it. Surely if I were immune, and not just having extremely delayed onset for some reason, that meant other people had to be immune, too. How many? I couldn’t begin to guess. I didn’t know the mortality rate of the disease. Even if 99.9% of the population was dead, that would leave around a thousand people still alive in the greater Albuquerque area, if I was doing my mental math correctly.

I turned on the overhead lights in the kitchen, then went through the house, turning on all the lamps. Maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing to do — maybe advertising my presence would do more harm than good. But I couldn’t sit there in the dark, not after everything I’d been through that day. Besides, when I peeked out through the curtains, I saw mine wasn’t the only house on the street that was all lit up. Most likely the others just had their lights on because no one was around to turn them off, but it did make mine seem less conspicuous.

“Are you there?” I asked of the darkness. Even a voice that was only a product of my imagination was better than this deep, deep silence, the kind of quiet you should never hear if you lived in a big city.

No reply, of course. My gaze shifted to the remote control, still lying where I’d last dropped it on the coffee table. I didn’t quite dare to turn on the television, not after what I’d seen the last time around. I could only imagine how bad it must be by now.

But there was still the stereo, and all the CDs my parents wouldn’t get rid of, despite Devin and me telling them all that plastic just took up space and that they should just rip all their music off those CDs and then play it through Apple TV or something. And now I had to be grateful for their stubbornness, because that meant I could get up and choose something to blot out the silence. My father liked country, but old country, like Hank Williams and Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, and my mother preferred classical. That sounded better to me right then, so I found her favorite, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, and put that on.

It actually was better, with the sound of an orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy on the piano overriding that awful stillness. Or at least it was better until I realized that no one would ever play that piece live again, that there would be no more symphony orchestras or Arcade Fire concerts or anything, ever again.

“Oh, God,” I gasped, pushing myself up from the couch and running into the kitchen, where I turned on the faucet and splashed cold water in my face. As if that could begin to help. It was all too big to comprehend, so awful and enormous that I could literally feel the horror of it beginning to sink in, like some  noxious chemical seeping into my skin.

And then it was as though strong, invisible arms wrapped around me, bringing with them a soothing warmth. Unseen lips brushed against my hair, and I heard the voice again.

Be strong, my love. Be strong for just a while longer.

Just as suddenly, the presence was gone. I held on to the tile of the kitchen counter, feeling the cool surface beneath my fingertips. In that moment, I truly wondered if I’d lost my mind.

What other explanation could there be?

About the Author

A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Christine Pope writes as the mood takes her, and her work includes paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and science fiction/space opera romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor and graphic designer in addition to writing fiction. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Files series and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though...not yet, anyway!

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Three ebook copies of Chosen

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog Tour: Sex. Coffee. Time Travel by @tymslyder #review #giveaway

Romance / Adventure / Suspense
Date Published: Jan 20, 2015

(Time Frame Series Book Two) 
In Book Two, Adventure-Romance author Lesley Meryn has her 'second date', a little bit of Time Travel, with the volatile yet seductive scientist Miles Sherwood. She wakes up to a spring day in 1765 Yorkshire. Miles should be there, waiting for her, but he's nowhere to be found.
Circumstances spin rapidly out of control. Someone keeps trying to kill her new Eighteenth Century companion and self-appointed protector, Mick Kenning, a handsome and hunky stableman at the New Inn. Lesley helps him to foil these clumsy, but persistent and mysterious attempts on his life.   
As the days pass, Miles remains missing. The clock is literally ticking down the days. She has less than two weeks to find him or she may be trapped in the past. Has Miles fallen victim to the very real dangers of an earlier time?
Complications multiply with the appearance of an elusive, badass, Highwayman. With a hefty price on his head, agents of the Crown have arrived at the New Inn to track him down. For Mick it's personal, he despises the Highwayman. The Highwayman, not satisfied with jewelry, and coins, stole away the woman Mick once loved.
Will Lesley find Miles in time? What has happened to him? Will Mick ever find out who wants him dead? Will he ever find outwhy?
Balancing between high adventure, sword fighting, fisticuffs, pistols, and daggers, Lesley must use her wits, imagination, and every trick from her own books to find Miles, survive the Eighteenth Century, and return to her own time. 

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Elle Brookes has characterization down to a science. Her characters really run the show and make the story so fun to read about. 

This was a very action packed Romantic Suspense that definitely kept me flipping pages. There were surprises along the way that definitely shocked me. Anything but predictable. 

Great pacing and a well written storyline. I look forward to reading more from Elle Brookes.

Elle Brookes grew up in Los Angeles, California, but lived in Jamaica for three years when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She moved to San Francisco and studied at the California Culinary Academy, and went on to become a private chef to a well-known L.A. based television production company.
From an early age Elle was a voracious reader of adventure stories and from elementary school through high school, she started writing her own stories of places foreign and exotic.  She studied Art History and continued writing in college, focusing on short stories. 
A dedicated and passionate traveler, Elle has explored river caves in Jamaica and Costa Rica, hiked glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, and done dogsledding in Greenland and Iceland. She's danced a fa'a Samoan haka and slept in a fale on the island of Savai'i in Samoa, hiked in the northern mountains of Thailand along the border with Myanmar in the Golden Triangle, and in Haiti, she witnessed a white goat ceremonially sacrificed to Erzuli Freda by a powerful Houngan. For a time she did Performance Driving in Southern California, and has years of study and experience dedicated to fencing, theatrical combat, archery, and horsemanship.
Elle currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie, and her hedgehog, Quiller.Website:

Twitter:  @tymslyder

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by @jruthwiebe #review #giveaway

Book Two in the V Trilogy

Young Adult Fiction
Date Published: January 20, 2015

   Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.

Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves…or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben’s destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?


I think that this series definitely shows promise. I loved the writing style and plot development. There was plenty going on and a lot to keep the readers attention. The main thing that I saw as a downfall was the fact that Anne can be a little unlikable as a main characters. I understand growth is important in characters, but I wish she would have matured a bit more from the first book to this one. 

There is mythology, mystery, and plenty of twists to keep you on your toes. Definitely worth the read.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blog Tour: The Devil's Music

Non Fiction
Date Published: August 2014

Certain musical modes, tones, and instruments have been used to represent evil for centuries. From the torturous musical instruments depicted in Hieronymus Bosch's famous "Garden of Earthly Delights" to the dark tones that announce the presence of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films, from the cantatas of Bach and the operas of Mozart to heavy metal, music has been used to represent a gallery of rogues and demons including the devil himself. But can music do more than suggest the presence of evil? Can certain music actually embody evil? Since antiquity many have thought so. And this belief combined with religious and philosophical concepts drawn from Eastern cultures has influenced the direction of Western culture, its mythology, cosmology, theology, and politics, and consequently the structure of Western society itself. This book recounts the history of demonic music and its extraordinary influence on Western culture. 

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blog Tour: The Long Journey by Cara J. Swanson #review

Political / Non Fiction
Date Published: March 2014

Imagine a world with no cell computers. A world still devastated by the effects of global pollution, of massive climate change, of widespread genetic
manipulation, of nuclear war. Imagine a world where WE are the ones in the history books.
What will they write about you?
Join the Seeker Khadija and her Seeker-Partner, the Gen-a-wolf Ula, as they track a thief into the dangerous Highlands that border the White River. They are to take the thief back west, to the prison of Valley City - the last city on the continent and the sole remaining vestige of civilization. Valley City was built by the head of the North American Corporation just before a series of short and brutal wars that marked final global economic and environmental collapse; what is now referred to as The End. Khadija and Ula live in a world where electricity and technology exist only in stories from the old days, and the leaders of Valley City are said to be descended from the wisest of the Before People. But they are about to discover that everything they've been taught, and everything they think they know about the world around them, is not quite as it seems.
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This novel was a bit hit and miss for me. Overall I enjoyed the novel, but there were a few things such as writing style and changes throughout the novel that made it a bit difficult to read. 

The storyline itself is very well put together and definitely manages to keep the readers attention. 

I felt this made me look at certain things in a different light. It is definitely a bit of a thought provoking novel and worth the read. 

Cara J. Swanson was born in Colorado somewhere around thirty-six years ago, and
immediately leapt to work on her first story. She did not venture into self-publishing until 2006, however, when she formed Nighthawk/Raven Publishing to publish her first book, Blood Cult: Book I of the Elvestran Chronicles. She has since published the sequel, Daígu, a companion
Dictionary, and is working on the third in the series (The Desert Wanderer) as well as a murder mystery (When Demons Dance) and has recently published a futuristic partially fiction book titled The Long Journey. She has two mottos; “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel,” and “I wish I was capable of working on one project at a time. But I’m not.” All her books are published under her personal four tenants of walking the Red Road: dedication to family, dedication to community, dedication to social justice, and dedication to ecological health. She is a signatory member of the Green Press Initiative. She can be contacted by emailing