Saturday, July 26, 2014

Reviewing Your Universe

Normal is the Watchword (The Watchword series)
By Jasmine Tru
Free ecopy provided by author for honest review
Rating:  3.0 Stars

The world is filled with unknown wonders. Some of us are lucky to see some of them. Others are fated to be part of them.

Juniper’s a senior in high school, and her life is as ordinary as it gets. She spends her school hours battling senioritis with her best friend, Carrie. Then she meets Darius, a guy she’s never really noticed before, and things get interesting. They have a connection she can’t explain…at least she thinks they do. She’s just not ready to trust her instincts.

With her senior photography project due in two weeks, one she hasn’t even started, Juni focuses on her schoolwork and stops procrastinating. Inspiration strikes, and she thinks of the perfect subject for her project. She has no way of knowing her choice will change her life forever, and nothing can prepare her for what follows.

I loved the premise of Normal is the Watchword. The story line moved forward without giving away an important part of the plot. The characters were driven by an instinctual need to discern right from wrong, find justice and make amends. These are all laudable character traits and give plenty of room for conflict.

For me personally, the opening page rocked, but the story started slow. A huge bit of back story front-loaded the novel, the first active dialogue came on page 10, and heavy narration marked the book’s tone. Decisions made by both Juni and Darius were inconsistent with emotions, dangerous and implausible. Yes, they are teenagers, but both are intelligent characters and more should have been expected from them, not less.

While I would have enjoyed more character depth, enough was given for me to like the characters. I am interested in seeing how things progress in Loyalty (Watchword #2) between the good and bad guys, and especially between Juni and Darius.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reviewing Your Universe

Ignited by Desni Dantone
Published by Laine D Publishing
Ecopy obtained from Amazon free promotion
Rating:  4 Stars

A rockin’ new urban fantasy series!

Being a teenager is, well, brutal—and 17-year old Kristina Young has more reasons than most to understand how truly harsh life can be.

Her family was murdered when she was a toddler, throwing her into the foster system. When she was eleven, her foster father became a threat instead of a caregiver. At 17, she was in an accident and survived, while her two best friends didn’t.

While each of these incidents reveal tragedies in her life, they’re also responsible for her deepest secret. A blue-eyed guardian angel that always protected her and kept her safe. Right up to the night he reappears in her life and saves her again. Except this time, she’s not a little girl and she wants answers. Like who he is and why he continues to save her.

When the answers come, so does the ever-increasing danger to her life. Her savior, Nathan, is from a race of hybrid demigods called Kala. They battle an evil race of demigods called Skotadi. Since he has no idea why the Skotadi are after Kris, they go on the run, hiding from those that want to kill her.

Kris finds herself in the middle of a war she never knew existed, never asked to be a part of. When they learn why she’s so important, everything changes. Time becomes her worst enemy. She needs information to change her destiny, and Nathan’s willing to do anything to get it.

This is a great beginning to a new young adult urban fantasy series. There are romantic elements. There are some paranormal elements. While there is no true romance and a conclusive happily ever after, I love the groundwork that’s been laid. Love doesn’t happen instantaneously, and I, for one, am thrilled to see a heroine that thinks about her emotions and considers actions and consequences.

While there is a love-triangle conflict, it doesn’t detract from the story. There’s a purpose behind the characters and their respective positions, and I can’t wait to see how it changes and develops in the next book.

With all of the positive, why not a solid 5 rating?

I didn’t have a good enough handle on what the overall factions were really after. What they were and where they came from was explained, but not enough detail was given to help me understand their real purpose and drive. How they functioned.

I also felt the best friend Callie’s inclusion in the dark moment and rest of the story felt gratuitous. She is human, with nothing to offer the maturing demigods with powers. Callie has no real reaction to the demigods’ existence, the danger, or Kris’s impending change. Other than Kris needing a female friend, she didn’t add anything to the story. I hope in the next book she does.

My last issue was the title. It’s a great title, but it gave an expectation that wasn’t realized. With demigods involved and otherworldly powers, the title suggested a fire-related element that never appeared. Maybe it’s my own issue and I read too much into it.

Overall, I enjoyed Ignited. Ms. Dantone has captured my attention, and I eagerly await the release of Sacrificed!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reviewing Your Universe

Magic Academy by Jillian Keep
Published by Pathforgers Publishing
Rating: 3 Stars

 Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want?
Firia is. She’s a human serving in a society run by magic-wielding elves. She can do some magic on her own, and her goal is to win a competition at the yearly magic contest from which academies recruit their students. But she knows she’ll never win without help. So she summons a demon and binds him to her in order to boost her magic.

The results are everything she hoped for. She wins at the competition, gets into the top magic academy and begins her training as a sorceress. Then things get interesting and complicated. Firia is attracted to her demon Varuj, as well as Mae’lin, a very sweet elf attending the same school.

She must study hard and practice hard in order to pass her exams and stay in school. Varuj and Mae’lin both help Firia succeed in different ways, but she is confused and torn between her feelings for both men. Firia doesn’t want to hurt anyone but knows she must make a choice between the life she wants and the life she could have, and between the men that can give her either.

Magic Academy is a high fantasy concept at its best. However, I would NOT classify this as YA ever, nor would I call it New Adult. This book has a new adult plotline defined by erotic elements. Let me be the first to say the sex scenes were smokin’ hot. Unlike other reviewers, I didn’t get the heebie jeebies by the tone, verbiage or pairing.

Varuj is a demon with a demon nature. His description and actions followed the world’s rules and fit his character development. Firia’s burgeoning social and sexual enlightenment also fit her character development. All of this worked for me.

My biggest issue with the book is the large amount of “telling” versus showing. Another stumbling block for me was the ending. I got to the end and went, “Huh?” I kept trying to turn a page on my Kindle, thinking it was digitally stuck. Instead, the story had concluded with a rushed climax (no pun intended) and a cliff-hanger ending. If this is a standalone book and not the first book in the series, wow. There needed to be more resolution with the storyline for readers to get a conclusion without a HEA.

Would I recommend Magic Academy? To certain types of readers, absolutely. Will I read the next book in the series? You bet. I like Ms. Keep’s voice. I think her writing will improve, and I really want to read more of Firia and Varuj’s story.

*Netgalley arc provided for honest review

Monday, September 23, 2013

Milestones and Celebrations

Hobbies, personal interests and even exercise time go by the wayside when one goes about the business of living life.This last year's been crazy both good ways and bad. Renovating our new home has been a huge project. Getting our old home ready go to on the market, at the same time as the new home renovation, has been insane. Hubs being incapacitated from not one but two foot surgeries, while trying to accomplish everything, has been a nightmare.

Somehow, we've managed to survive.

Thankfully, hubs is doing great. He's on the mend and back at work. The old house goes on the market October 1st. Renovations on the new house aren't completely finished but everything looks great and every day offers us another reason to love our home.

On a personal front, our third daughter graduated high school in June and our second daughter finished her first year of college the same month. Today, ironically, both of those girls started on a new path. Daughter number two was accepted into the medical assistant program. She is working toward a nursing degree. Daughter number three started her first day of college. She is following her big sister's footsteps toward the nursing program as well. Daughter number one works two jobs, always moving toward her personal goals. And daughter number four, though still in high school, already has her eyes on a music scholarship for singing, piano, violin...maybe all three.

So this last year is marked with milestones and celebrations in our family's journey through life.

And even if I'm the only one that reads this blog, this is my private clifftop for shouting, cheering and pom pom waving in celebration. I am so proud of my girls. Every day I look at what the four of them have accomplished or are working toward accomplishing, and I realize how blessed I am to have such strong, driven, nurturing daughters. The world is a big, harsh, beautiful place. I can't wait to see each one of them find their niche...and make a difference.

World, meet my daughters.

Girls, the world is yours.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2013 Lunar Love Giveaway Hop

2nd Annual
Lunar Love Giveaway Hop
March 8th to 13th

Thank you soooo much for the invite, ladies. Last year was a blast, and I'm excited to be on the list again for 2013!

So, if you've landed on my blog, it's because you love to read. No, I'm not psychic (it's a blog hop so I had a heads up) but several characters in my Tueri Fated Souls series are. In fact, the entire Tueri race are psychics. Tueri is Latin for protect, and that's just what the Tueri do...they protect mankind from supernaturals, preternaturals or just plain bad guys that threaten harm.

Now, not everyone reads the paranormal genre - although again, you're here, so you most likely do. I love the genre. I cut my teeth on fantasy and sci-fi, graduated to supernatural horrors and finally immersed myself in paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Why do I read these genres? Pure escapism. I love my life, but -like everyone else's- it gets hectic. I work in court everyday, surrounded by real life. Turning a page and falling into a completely different world always soothes my overloaded senses.

How about you? Why do you read the genre you do?

Thanks for stopping by. To show my appreciation (and because I love contests) I'm giving away your choice for one of three prizes:

1. $10.00 Amazon gift card or 
2. A print copy of Moonlight Blue or 
3. A print copy of Crimson Sunrise.

Just fill out the rafflecopter below, and then click here for the full list to continue hopping! I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's Love Got To Do With It

Welcome to the What's Love Got To Do With It? Blog Hop. Many thanks go out to Lynn Rush for inviting me to join the fun!

February, the month of love...or the possibility of finding the ever elusive one. For some lucky people, finding your soul mate happens when you're young, without much heartache involved. The rest of us spend a good chunk of our lives nursing a bruised heart while looking for our other half. (Hope you're all one of the lucky few!)

For Saari, a true immortal, love's been more intangible. Cursed in 1499 has given her more time than most, so you'd think she has the whole love angle worked out by now. Not so much.

But then the universe decided to shake things up a bit and send her a soul mate...or two. Sure, that sounds cliched. But what's a girl to do when she finally has a chance at answers she's been looking for her whole life?

Ask the right questions, and wonder what's love got to do with it. 

You can read about Saari's journey in the Tueri Fated Souls series in Moonlight Bleu and Crimson Sunrise

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to enter the rafflecopter below for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake

Hello, and welcome to The Year of the Snake Blog Hop. Many thanks to Wendy Russo for inviting me to play.

Today we say goodbye to the year of the dragon and hello to the year of the snake. So this hop is dedicated to excerpts of deception, delusion, opportunism, and perhaps simply snakes.

Here's my excerpt.  Enjoy!

(Josie is the antagonist in Crimson Sunrise, and she has a plan that will launch herself in a new seat of power. She's not above using anyone to get what she wants, including her convenient for-now husband.)

Caleb crossed his arms over his chest. “You knew Dhelis’s mate
would drown. Why did you bother telling her you loved Dhelis?”

A thrill of power shot through Josie. She’d been right about his
being jealous. Men were so easy. A pull here. A tug there. I’m a
freaking puppeteer.

“Because,” she answered with exaggerated patience, “some Tueri
couples are telepathically linked. I don’t know if their match has
achieved that connection, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I didn’t
want her warning Dhelis—or Brogan for that matter. I wanted to
keep her off balance. Break her concentration through anger.”

There was no way Dhelis, Brogan, and Saari had already
achieved that kind of shared power, but Caleb didn’t know that.

“Dhelis’s blood type is a perfect match for me. If Saari hadn’t
come along when she did, I’d be bound to Dhelis and already
pregnant,” she answered, pouring sweet innocence into her words.

He all but growled with frustration. “I’m a perfect match for
your blood type, too. What do we need him for?”

“For starters,” she reminded him, “You’re only a half-breed—and
the Tueri half isn’t from a Stone Rider. For the abilities to be passed
on, I have to get pregnant by a Stone Rider.”

He glared at her.

She tightened her invisible hold. “This is only business, baby.
You know that. I’ve already explained this. Chimeras carry multiple
strands of DNA within their own, so we always reproduce Tueri
abilities. His mother was a chimera, like me, and his father was a
Stone Rider, like mine. That means a successful breeding between
our genetics will produce the highest Stone Riding abilities
possible. Dhelis is the best choice.”

“So?” he drawled.

“That’s the price for our immortality.”

Caleb’s expression changed as understanding dawned. “He
agreed to turn us? What were your terms?”

“Of course he did.” She ignored the second question and looked
up at him from under her lashes. “Do you think I’d be able to go
through this without you?”

“How do you know he won’t double cross us?”

Josie smiled. “Because he needs me. I’m his breeding queen. My
gift is passing on Tueri abilities through my progeny—and I heal
within hours of childbirth. So I can get pregnant again immediately
after giving birth. Once we combine the gene pool, vampires will
have an immunity, or affinity depending on the perspective, to
Tueri crystal. And the vampires will be able to give birth. They can
reproduce the same immunity.”

“Then he only needs you for the first child, not the rest,” he

“Not true. Genetics are a crapshoot. We’ve established the best
odds by using Dhelis’s genetics mixed with my own: that’s Chimera
and Stone Riding abilities on both sides back eons of generations.
But that’s not a guarantee. So, he’ll need us both.”

His mouth turned up in a feral smile.

She’d finally convinced him to play the game. Her nerve endings

Poor sod. He doesn’t realize I meant Dhelis when I said we’d
both be needed.

I'm giving away a free copy of Crimson Sunrise to one lucky winner. (U.S. winner gets choice of print or ecopy. International winner ecopy only.)

Just follow my blog, leave a comment below with an email address, (sorry, couldn't get the rafflecopter to work) and click the links below. 

Thanks for stopping by!