Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn - Book Review & Giveaway


Book Review
By Suze
 
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Kanacha doesn't look like her classmates. She lives in Kansas together with her mother and grandmother, but most of her family members are living in Thailand. Kan does her best to be a good Thai girl and she tries to fit in at school. She designs her own clothes and would love to go to art school. She has three good friends, who don't always understand her, she is secretly in love with Ethan, but doesn't dare to talk to him and secretly she's feeling a little bit lonely. When Kan's mother brings Shelly home with her, a girl her age who needs a place to stay, Kan sees it as a chance to really bond with someone. Will this be a good plan?

Shelly wants to be like Kan. At first Kan is flattered she's looking up to her, but Shelly doesn't know how to stop. It's like she wants to have everything Kan has and be with the people Kan likes to spend time with, especially Ethan. Shelly tries to become Kan's best friend, but something isn't right. She might tell Kan she's her best friend, but Kan doesn't trust her new housemate. Are there valid reasons for her to be suspicious and what will Kan do when Shelly goes too far to be part of her life?

Girl on the Verge is an interesting gripping story. Kan is a sweet girl who always feels like she doesn't belong. The boys at school don't seem to notice her and people always comment on the color of her skin, while her grandmother thinks she's way too American to be a good Thai girl. I love how open and honest Pintip Dunn writes about her struggles to find her identity and to be happy with who she is. Kan is gorgeous and talented, but she needs a bit more confidence. She's a wonderful and brave person and I loved reading about her.

Shelly is creepy. She gave me the chills from the moment Kan's mother introduces her. She's way too intense, doesn't know how to stop and doesn't seem to have any scruples. Pintip Dunn skillfully creates an eerie atmosphere around her character, letting the reader know there's something wrong while slowly revealing what it is. Finding out more about Shelly and her background kept me on the edge of my seat.

Girl on the Verge is a multilayered story with plenty of surprising twists and turns. I liked how Pintip Dunn describes the thoughts and feelings of both Kan and Shelly. It was interesting to find out more about their character traits and motivations. Girl on the Verge is a captivating fast-paced story with plenty of vivid descriptions and fascinating details. I really liked this book and couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen to Kan and Shelly. I loved this intriguing, oppressive and compelling story.
 
Advice
 
Girl on the Verge would be a great choice for readers who love a good thriller with interesting main characters.
 
About Pintip Dunn
 
 
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com
 
Author links:
 
Giveaway
 
One very lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
 

 

Burn for Me and White Hot by Ilona Andrews - Book Reviews & Excerpt

 

Book reviews
by Suze

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Nevada has saved her family's business and is working hard to make sure money keeps coming in. She's a private detective with a special skill that is incredibly useful when she needs to interrogate people. In a world filled with magic and class systems that are based on power she tries to keep a roof over her family's head. In order to prevent them from being evicted she has to go after a powerful Prime, someone with the highest magical ranking, and bring him back alive. Will Nevada have the skills to pull this off?

Nevada isn't the only one who is chasing her target. When another Prime, Mad Rogan, captures Nevada she doesn't have much choice, she has to work with him in order to survive. Together they go after their mutual suspect. However, there's plenty of attraction between them and it isn't wise for Nevada to get involved with a Prime. She's sure it won't end well and she isn't interested in a broken heart. Can she resist Rogan long enough to make her mission succeed?

Burn for Me is a gripping story about magic, passion and mystery. Nevada is tough, she's got an iron will, she loves her family very much, and therefore doesn't mind to shoulder a lot of responsibility, and she is incredibly smart and gifted. When she meets Mad Rogan she knows there's a connection, but being with a Prime usually ends with a nasty breakup. Rogan is persistent and used to getting what he wants, but Nevada isn't afraid to speak her mind and knows how to keep her distance. I loved their chemistry, their game of pushing and pulling and their amazing ability to work together. They're impressive main characters and I really enjoyed reading about them.

Burn for Me is set in an interesting society. I loved the class system based on magic and liked reading about the different kind of powers people can have. The world building is admirable, Ilona Andrews has plenty of brilliant skills in this area. Something else I absolutely loved about this book are the combat scenes. They're realistic and vivid and reading them kept me on the edge of my seat. Every detail in an Ilona Andrews book is always exactly as it should be and that makes the stories perfect for me, Burn for Me is no exception. I highly recommend the Hidden Legacy series.

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When someone needs Nevada's help to track a dangerous murderer she's reluctant to take the case, because it's too dangerous for her small business. She runs her family's investigative agency and is responsible for a large household consisting of people with various magical skills. Nevada tries to keep her own skills hidden from the outside world. What she can do is useful in her line of work, but she doesn't want to share her abilities with the rest of the magical classes to keep herself safe and remain in the shadows.
 
Nevada's new case makes her cross paths with the dangerous Prime Mad Rogan once more. Primes have the highest magical ranking and are therefore incredibly rich. Mad Rogan isn't an exception and when he wants something he'll make sure he gets it. However, Nevada isn't someone he can easily seduce. She knows how to say no and he's putting in a lot of effort to change her mind. Will they be able to find their murderer, what kind of evil plot is behind the case they're looking into and will Nevada be able to keep her distance from the dangerous man she's so attracted to?
 
White Hot is another amazing Hidden Legacy novel. Nevada is strong and capable. She's trying to find out more about her magic, so she can train herself. Her opponents are powerful and she needs every possible skill she can master to fight them off. Nevada and Mad Rogan are a great team. Together they're a force to be reckoned with, but their adversaries are numerous and prepared. I couldn't wait to find out if they'd be able to fight them off and read White Hot in one sitting. It's a fantastic story from beginning to end and I couldn't put it down.
 
The Hidden Legacy series is fascinating, intriguing and gripping. I love how the different kinds of magic are being described, they're coming to life very well due to the vibrant and colorful descriptions of the powers of the main characters. One of my favorite parts of every book by Ilona Andrews is the way movement is being described. The battles that are being fought are thrilling and the way the authors are expressing themselves is absolutely stunning. White Hot is a brilliant passionate story about intricate conspiracies, original magical powers and intelligent detective work. I love this terrific series.
 
Advice
 
When you want to start reading the Hidden Legacy series you should read book one, Burn for Me, before you start reading book two, White Hot, to understand the entire story.
 
About Ilona Andrews

“Ilona Andrews" is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series—the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge—and are working on the next volumes for both. They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

Author links

   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Excerpt

“My wife is dead.” His voice shook with barely controlled emotion. His eyes glistened. “She’s my light. She found me in the darkest time of my life and she saw something in me . . . She believed I could be a better man. I didn’t deserve her or the happiness we had. She loved me, Nevada. She loved me so much, in spite of my faults, and I was the luckiest man alive because when I opened my eyes in the morning, I saw her next to me. She had integrity. She was kind and intelligent, and she tried her hardest to do the right thing so this world would be a better place for our child to grow up in. She didn’t deserve this. She deserved to be happy. She deserved a full and long life. Nobody had the right to rob her of it.”

His face contorted with raw pain and grief. I was trying so hard not to cry. “I love her determination. I love her spirit. I’m proud to have been her husband. And now she’s dead. Someone took this wonderful—this truly beautiful—human being and turned her into a corpse. I saw her on the morgue table. She’s just . . . cold and lifeless as if she never was. Everything is gone except for our daughter and my memories. I have to strive to be the man she thought I was. When my daughter grows up, she’ll ask me why her mother was murdered and I’ll have to answer her. I have to account for my actions. I want to tell her that I found those responsible and I made sure they wouldn’t hurt anyone else.”

He brushed moisture from his eyes with a furious swipe of his hand. “Nobody else will do this. Her family doesn’t have the means, my family doesn’t care, and her employer might have murdered her. There is only me. Will you help me? Please.”

He fell silent. He was sitting here asking for my help and I couldn’t throw him out of my office. I just couldn’t. I remembered when Mom sold our house to pay for Dad’s bills. I remembered when we mortgaged the business and kept it from him, because it would’ve killed him faster than any disease. If someone I loved was murdered, I would do the same thing Cornelius did. He had nowhere to turn. If I slammed the door in his face now, I wouldn’t be able to look my reflection in the eye.

I reached into the top drawer of my desk and took out the blue new-client folder. I opened it so it faced him, placed it on the table, and wrote $50,000 in the margins on the front. “This is my retainer. This stays with the agency no matter what happens. It’s nonnegotiable.”

I used my pen to circle the bottom number on the right side. “These are our rates. This job is likely to be high-risk, so the top rate right here will apply. As you can see, it’s a daily and not hourly rate. Depending on the situation, I may have to charge you hazard pay or additional expenses. The retainer acts like a deductible. Once the amount billed to you exceeds it, you will make additional payments in installments of $10,000. After we’re done here, you may want to go to the bank and withdraw at least $20,000 in cash. We may have to bribe people . . .”

“Thank you.”

“This is a bad idea. Please reconsider.”

He shook his head. “No.”

I walked him through the privacy policy and had him sign all of the waivers. “What happens once we find whoever is responsible?”

“I’ll take care of things from there.”

“Meaning you’ll kill your wife’s murderer.”

“It’s the way Houses handle things,” Cornelius said.

“Well, I’m not a House. I’m a person with a family, and I respect and try to obey the laws of this country. I won’t hesitate to defend you or myself, but I won’t condone murder.”

“Understood,” Cornelius said. “How do we start?”

“I need to be able to speak to Matthias Forsberg. I need face-to-face time so I can ask him some questions. I can make the necessary calls tomorrow, but he’ll refuse to see me.”

“You don’t have the social status and you work for his competitor.” Cornelius nodded. “Matthias is an active participant in the Assembly. He never misses a session. Tomorrow happens to be December 15th. The session starts at 9:00 a.m.”

“I don’t have admission to the Assembly.” The Assembly was an unofficial executive body that governed the magic users at state and national levels. The Texas State Assembly met in Houston. A family had to have at least two Prime-caliber magic users in three generations to be considered a House and each House had a single seat. Technically the Assembly had no power within the US government, but, practically, when the Houses spoke in one collective voice, both Congress and the White House listened.

“A family name has to be good for something, right?”

Cornelius smiled. It never reached his eyes. They stayed bitter and haunted. “As a Significant and a scion of a House, I’m free to attend the Assembly and bring a companion of my choice. I intend to be an active participant in this investigation, Ms. Baylor.”

“Call me Nevada,” I told him. “Good. Then we’ll meet here tomorrow at seven.”

US only giveaway

One very lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81303/

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

JillyJilly Rainbow Mug, Notebook and Mirror Set & Book of Choice Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Rainbow notebook, mug and mirror set made by JillyJilly and a book of choice worth $10. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Book Review - The Things We Do For Love by Anita Louise

Kindle Scout

Review by Anniek

Shelly finally has her life back on track. She divorced Nathan, her abusive husband, and lived with her friend Brooke for a while, together with her teenage daughter Mary Beth. Now she has a place of her own and she loves her current situation. Shelly knows that Luke, Brooke's brother, is in love with her and if she's honest with herself she is very attracted to him as well. Luke has always been there for her. Now that he's helping her with the organization of a party they both can't deny their feelings any longer. Will they get together after all these years and will Mary Beth be able to accept a new man in her mother's life?

Luke has loved Shelly for as long as he can remember. He always knew that her husband was not a nice person, but he couldn't stop Shelly from marrying the man she thought she loved. Even though he's had lovers, he never committed to any of these women. Now that Shelly is single again, Luke has his second chance at finding happiness. He'll do whatever it takes to win Shelly's heart this time. Will Luke and Shelly finally have their happily ever after?

Shelly was a young and insecure girl when she got into a relationship with Nathan. Her ex-husband made sure that she knew how much she needed him in her life. When Shelly got pregnant with Mary Beth she stayed with Nathan and tried to make the best of the situation. She endured a lot before a horrific event showed her that enough is enough. She did everything she could to make sure that she and her daughter got a chance at a secure and safe life. Shelly is so strong and I love how she connects with Mary Beth. She has a big heart and she deserves nothing less than a man who worships her.

Luke is a cop and a loyal friend and brother. He always was cute as a boy, but he grew up to be a fantastic man. Luke is handsome, kind and caring. He’s the kind of man you can depend on and would do anything for the people he loves. I loved the way he interacts with his siblings and how he understands how important it is for Shelly that he builds a solid relationship with mary Beth. Coming from a large family Luke knows all about unconditional love. His parents still show him what it's like to be with your soul mate. I was wishing for him to be able to have this kind of love as well and couldn't wait to find out if his dreams would come true.

The Things We Do For Love is the sixth book in the Adlers series. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Shelly and Luke’s story. I have a soft spot for men in a uniform and ever since Luke was introduced I was curious about his background. All of the books in this series are written with so much love for the characters, I can feel Anita Louise's devotion in every word. I have loved the Adler family ever since I read the first book, Just The Way You Are. The whole family is so loving and caring that they found a place in my heart. I'm a big fan of this series and I'm always excited when I can start reading the next Adler story.

Advice

The Things We Do For Love is a heartwarming story about overcoming abuse and choosing to love again. If you love to read about big and loving families I highly recommend any book in the Adler series. The books can be read as standalones, as Anita Louise gives you enough information in every novel.

Kindle Scout

Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing platform for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help to decide if a book gets published.

You can nominate The Things We Do For Love on Kindle Scout.

If The Things We Do For Love is being chosen to be published by Amazon, everybody who has nominated this amazing story will receive a free kindle copy of the book.

Book Review - Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

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Review by Suze
 
Sally has written a book about her life that's about to be published. In this book she writes about her relationship with Cooper. When his nephew Liam lost everything when he was just a seven-year-old boy, Cooper was there for him together with Sally. Cooper and Sally never spoke about their relationship to anyone and in her book Sally writes about the man who managed to steal her heart and brought her happiness for many years. Sally had a rough start in life, but moving to Nantucket was the best decision she could have made.
 
Cooper is a Vietnam veteran. He's lost a lot and on Nantucket he's trying to distance himself from the war that brought him so much heartache. There he meets Sally. She's followed her heart and ended up on Nantucket to have a fresh start as well. While they instantly connect there are less than ideal circumstances that are making it impossible for Sally to be open about their relationship. Is it possible for them to live with Sally's obstacles and restrictions and will their unconventional relationship bring them the love they both deserve?
 
Summer Dance is a beautiful story about unconditional love, real life, faith and happiness. The main characters are wonderful, they have their flaws, but they are special people and it's easy to like them. I loved Sally's determination and her will to fight for a good life. She's smart and resilient and she's a kind and caring friend. Cooper is traumatized and has lost a lot, but while he's damaged and tries to escape his past there's still plenty of room left in his heart for love. He's a kind man and takes excellent care of his nephew Liam and his unofficial girlfriend Sally. Their lives are interesting and I couldn't put Summer Dance down, I had to keep reading until I knew the entire story and read the book in one sitting.
 
Nan Rossiter's gorgeous descriptions of Nantucket itself and what life is like on the island are making her story come to life incredibly well. I could easily picture everything she's writing about. The stunning settings combined with the interesting main characters are making Summer Dance a terrific read. I loved this fantastic romantic story. It warmed my heart and it put a smile on my face at the happy moments and tears in my eyes at the sad ones. I highly recommend this amazing book.
 
Advice
 
Summer Dance is the perfect choice for readers who love life stories filled with beauty, tragedy and love. It's the second book in the Nantucket series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Nan Rossiter



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks - especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. Nan's second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer's. UNDER A SUMMER SKY ties the first three books together in an unexpected way, and NANTUCKET touches on the difference time can make, the truths that never alter, and the bittersweet second chances that arrive just in time to steer a heart back home. FIREFLY SUMMER is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow the deepest heartaches, and Nan's new novel, SUMMER DANCE, brings together characters from her acclaimed novel NANTUCKET in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO'C'SLE: HENRY BESTON'S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called "a lovely vision of one man's communion with nature" by Publisher's Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons and a black Lab named Finnegan.

To learn more visit www.nanrossiter.com

Book Review - Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

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Review by Suze

June's stepmother is a horrible woman and together with her daughter she's making June's life incredibly awful. June's father doesn't take his daughter's side and June has nobody to turn to. When she meets Blister she finds a kindred spirit. They spend a lot of time together in the woods, the only place where June feels safe. Not even Blister knows what June's life at home is really like though. Will June eventually be believed or will her stepmother be able to continue without being stopped?

Paper Butterflies is one of the most impressive books I've ever read. The things June's stepmother does to her stepdaughter made me nauseous and I constantly had tears in my eyes because of everything June has to go through on a daily basis. June has a tough life and nobody's there to help her. She can't escape and there's nothing she can do. Being powerless and incapable to fight back is an awful feeling. I kept hoping life would have something better in store for June and finding out what would happen to her kept me on the edge of my seat.

Fortunately Blister is there for June and he makes her happy, which is the only light in her life. He's kindhearted like June and they have fun together. However, Blister is as young as June, so he can't actually do something for her besides making her free time as nice as possible. I loved that he keeps trying though. June deserves much better than she gets. Reading about her struggles made me emotional, but I couldn't put Paper Butterflies down, I had to know what would happen next and couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

Lisa Heathfield has written a raw story about abuse, cruelty and consequences. The story is dark and there are many awful moments. It's beautifully written and reading about June's had quite an impact on me. I can't stop thinking about the wonderful sweet and innocent girl and the evil her father invited into their once so peaceful home. Paper Butterflies isn't for the weak hearted. It's a brilliant moving story, it made me cry and it made my heart ache, but I couldn't stop reading. What happens to June is terrible, but the story is incredible and I highly recommend it.

Advice

If you love impressive stories about the darker side of life, Paper Butterflies is an absolute must-read.

Monday, May 29, 2017

With Love For Horror Books - Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague & Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War by Michell Plested - Book Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

 
Review by Anniek

A group of scouts are in the woods together with their scout leaders. They have been out there multiple times. It's about learning survival skills and working together as a group. While they're breaking up their camp to go back home, some strange noises are coming from the woods. On the dirt road they are being confronted with a car accident. This accident looks strange, but they can't figure out what isn't right about it. Because of the thick fog they decide to wait a while before they continue. When it turns out that the world is no longer the same world they left behind, the scouts have to rely on all of their skills to make it out alive. Will they be able to make it as a group?

The scouts and their leaders are a strong group of people. The scout leaders are also the dads of some of the boy scouts, so that created a scary double role. Of course they want everybody to be safe, but keeping your own child safe will always be the top priority of any parent. I liked it a lot that everyone stays kind, people are helping each other out and are recognizing strengths instead on focusing on weaknesses. Even if someone makes a mistake or misjudges the situation they all choose to stay together. This positivity is a perfect example of what being a member of the scouts and a close group of true friends should be all about. This filled me with hope about how their journey would turn out.

Michell Plested has written a zombie story with several unusual twists and turns. It gives another perspective on the traditional zombie stories that are already out there. Being a big fan of zombie books, series and movies there is not much that can still surprise me, but Scouts of the Apocalypse did exactly that. Scouts of the Apocalypse is fast-paced and it kept me on the edge of my seat. It's a gripping and thrilling story about a group of young boys with their scout leaders, who have to fight their way through the zombie herds to get home. If you're a lover of the zombie genre, just like me, then I would highly recommend Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague.

Advice

Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague is a chilling read filled with hope and skilled survivors. It's a perfect choice for zombie fans.
 
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Review by Anniek

A close group of scouts has found a safe place to stay and the members are bringing in more and more zombies. They've learned that if a body is intact enough a zombie can be cured. They're able to bring back the people they once were. The zombies that are cured are able to heal other zombies, but they also repel them. Zombies will move away if a former zombie comes near. Now that the undead start dying for real time is running out. Scout leaders Mike and Jeremy plan on going to the city to find out what happened to their families. What will they encounter? Will they be able to find and possibly rescue their family members?

The group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse has grown since they found out how to turn people back from being a zombie. There are still a lot of people that need to be saved. When Mike and Jeremy leave to go to the city, Ricky and Michael go with them on their mission. Ricky and Michael are determined to find more help and later they go on their own separate journey. On a school campus they find a geneticist who has captured her zombified husband and daughter. With the hope of getting them back she helps Ricky and Michael with their investigation. How long will it take before their questions have been answered? Is there an easier way to bring back the people they love?

Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War is the second book in a series and continues where Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague ends. I loved reading about the scouts again and was very curious to see where their journey would take them. This book is filled with hope and determination. Never before have I read a story where zombies could be cured and I liked the positive vibe that comes with being able to rescue the people that were lost. This gives the zombie genre a whole new direction. Michell Plested knows how to keep you hooked and I couldn't read fast enough to get to the last pages. He is an experienced and skillful writer and he has written another brilliant story that I highly recommend.

Advice

Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War is a story with strong main characters and young boys who learn to survive in a new world. I think that this series is an absolute must-read if you love the zombie genre.

About Michell Plested


Michell (Mike) Plested has been reading Science Fiction and Fantasy since he was six years old and writing for almost as long. He is an author, blogger and podcaster living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He writes in multiple genres spending most of his time with Science Fiction, Fantasy and YA Adventure.

He is the host of the writing podcast “Get Published”, a 2009 and 2011 Parsec Finalist and the Science Fiction Comedy podcast GalaxyBillies that has been called “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Beverley Hillbillies” by his listeners.

Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero is Michell’s first published book.

Michell is also completing work on the anthology "A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil" with editing partner Jeffrey Hite.

Author links

Website: http://www.michellplested.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michell.plested
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mplested
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4442953.Michell_Plested

Guest post

The inspiration for my stories
by Michell Plested

I am occasionally asked where my ideas come from and I always try my best to answer. I’m not entirely sure it is a helpful answer because, it is short, sweet and extremely vague.

In a single word, I get my inspiration from…Everything.

I told you it might not be helpful. Let me give you some examples of different things that have resulted in stories of one kind or another.

When I think about the inspiration for my Scouts of the Apocalypse series, the original idea came while I was driving out to our yearly survival shelter camp. The area we camp in is remote with little to no cell phone coverage. It is very wild and is infrequently travelled by hunters and logging trucks.

Did I mention it’s remote?

The thought popped into my head that the world go change while we were at camp and we wouldn’t even know it until we were almost home. It seemed like an interesting idea I could one day explore in my writing. Little did I know my Scouts were planning an evening of ghost stories around the fire.

Very BAD ghost stories.

After the third very BAD ghost story (Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose were the heroes of each one) I stepped in. I told them I had a story for them that would put those ghost stories to shame.

I took the idea I’d thought of as I drove and created a tale of Scouts and Zombies. I used my Scouts as the characters and it took place the day we left camp. I used landmarks we would see going home to place the story. The Scouts were mesmerized and listened intently. When I was done, I congratulated myself on pulling off the story (it was the first one I’d told around the campfire from scratch).

It wasn’t until we were back home that I realized how successful the story had been. Every one of the Scouts came to me and told me they hadn’t seen any zombies on the way home. The leaders later told me that the Scouts stared out the vehicle windows, focused on the countryside as it sped by, not saying a word.

I knew I had to write it down immediately. The result is the first two books in the series with a third on planned to finish the trilogy.

I’ve also gotten stories from songs, newspaper articles, sermons in church, other stories, history and television shows. Some of my favorites are based on events that have happened to me.

That’s where my Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero series is largely from. Many of the events in the books are based on things that I did, saw or was told when I was much younger. For example, Mik’s sidekick, a mongrel dog named Krypto, is based on several of the dogs I owned when I was a boy. The treehouse that is his secret headquarters is based (loosely) on a treehouse my dad and I built.

It’s always fun to write those stories because, in a way, I get to relive an idealized version of my childhood and share that with my readers. It’s also rewarding because the Mik character really represents the person I’ve always wanted to be (and no, I’m not quite there yet).

The fact that I get my inspiration from so many different sources means I never know when I’m going to be struck with a new idea. It also means that I have more story ideas than time to write them.

So, I keep a list of the best ideas in hopes that, one day, I will be able to use them. I know I can’t possibly use them all, but it’s fun to know that I will never be at a loss for things to write about. New people, places and events I can astonish my readers with and, hopefully, bring some joy to them along the way too.

Where do I get my inspiration from? Everywhere. Probably even from you.
 
Giveaway

Five very lucky readers of With Love For Books will win amazing prizes. The first prize is a signed paperback copy of Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War and digital copies of both books, the second prize is an unsigned paperback copy of Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War and digital copies of both books and three runner ups will receive digital copies of both books; Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague & Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War by Michell Plested.


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.



Book Review - Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café by Rachel Griffiths

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads
 
Review by Suze
 
 Allie always dreamed of having her own café. After becoming a widow she opened The Cosy Cottage Café in the beautiful Heatherlea. Allie's two children are both grownups now and only the youngest is still living at home. Allie has good friends, she loves her children, she's fond of her cats and she has her café. Life has given her a second chance and she thinks she has it all, but maybe things could get even better.
 
When Allie's old friend Chris is back in Heatherlea, Allie is incredibly happy to see him again. Chris is a successful author and he hasn't been back in the village for quite a long time. The reason of his return isn't a happy one and Allie wants to be there for him. While spending more time together they discover they still like each other, but will Chris stay long enough to see if there are any romantic feelings between them?
 
Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café is a wonderful heartwarming story. I instantly fell in love with the amazing atmosphere of the setting and Allie is the perfect hostess, she makes everyone feel comfortable in her lovely place. She's talented, kind and caring and she's always there for the people she loves. My heart ached for her because of what happened to her in her past. Allie's so easy to like and I kept hoping she would find true love and happiness. Chris is just as friendly as Allie and that is why I immediately enjoyed reading about him as well. Their easy friendship made me smile and I couldn't wait to find out where their reacquaintance would lead.
 
Rachel Griffiths has a warm and welcoming writing style and she has a great sense of humor. She's written a funny lighthearted story with fantastic main characters. I also loved her mouthwatering descriptions of Allie's food. Her vivid descriptions of the café itself and everything that happens inside make Allie's story come to life very well. I enjoyed reading about her summer parties and the joyful good mood the characters are in. Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café is a cheerful sunny story. I absolutely loved this charming feel-good novella.
 
Advice
 
If you love heartwarming romantic stories that have a beautiful welcoming setting you should definitely read Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café. 

Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Book review
by Suze


Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Sloan managed to get away from her family and the oppressive life she used to lead. She had help from one of her brothers and he's assured her that nobody will be able to find her. Her biggest wish is to be free and have a life of her own, far from her criminal family and their underworld politics. She finds herself a job and finally she can start living the life she's always dreamed of. When she meets Jude she's instantly attracted to him, but Jude isn't safe. Will Sloan risk to lose her newfound freedom for a man and is she really as well hidden as she thought she was?

Jude has one mission in life, revenge on the people who killed his family. He works alone and he isn't looking for complications, like falling in love with a harmless and inexperienced woman like Sloan. Especially not because when someone would link their backgrounds they'll be put in an extremely dangerous situation. It isn't easy to stay away from the woman whose company he craves though. Will Jude and Sloan be willing to risk everything they value in life for each other?

 Forbidden Promises is a gripping story. Jude isn't afraid to kill, he's used to hiding, spying on people and shadowing his targets. Sloan's had a sheltered upbringing and she's only just discovering what it's like to stand on her own two feet. Jude is her neighbor and he isn't who he says he is. Sloan feels at ease with him though. There are plenty of sparks and their chemistry is amazing, but their histories are complicating things between them. Katee Robert alternates hot scenes with underworld schemes, old and new feuds and unsafe situations. This kept me on the edge of my seat and I was really curious to find out if Jude and Sloan would be able to survive and have a chance together.

 Katee Robert's writing has a nice flow. She writes about characters who definitely aren't sweet in a raw and honest way. Jude is tough and ruthless, but he also has a soft side. Every situation is being described from different angles and that made the story extra interesting for me. I love how Katee Robert plays with the boundaries between good and evil. Even though her characters have flaws and they are rough and sometimes cruel there's plenty to like about them as well. This makes her stories fascinating and original. Forbidden Promises is a great book with a wonderful fitting ending.

Advice

Forbidden Promises is the fourth book in a series about an interesting family, The O'Malleys. The books can be read as standalones, as Katee Robert gives her readers enough information so they can easily follow the story. If you'd like to have all the details, however, I'd start with The Marriage Contract.

Book trailer



About Katee Robert


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Author link Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Instagram

Guest post

The O'Malley family
by Katee Robert

The O’Malley family has been a true delight for me to write. They deal with things so far beyond the average scope of experiences—life and death politics, arranged marriages, enemies waiting for a misstep—but at their heart, they’re a family like any other. Complicated, with a solid foundation of love and a dollop of communication issues.

When I set out to write this series, the O’Malley siblings really jumped off the page from the very first scene with Teague and Carrigan and Aiden. Each of the siblings slowly unveiled their hopes and dreams over the course of the first couple books, and Sloan’s book, Forbidden Promises, is no different.

Up to this point, Sloan has been the wallflower in the room full of fiery personalities. Her survival skills are made up of flying beneath the radar and blending in, and her siblings all view her with varying degrees of protectiveness. All of these elements are ones that we recognize, even if we didn’t grow up in large family.

It’s only the stakes that are different. With enemies closing in from every corner, Sloan finding her freedom and independence suddenly rockets her into danger unlike she’s dealt with up to this point. Her over-protective brothers have spent so long watching over her, they’re having trouble realizing that maybe she is capable of standing on her own two-feet.

It was so much fun to play with those elements and put them together into a story set in one of my favorite places—the Oregon and Washington coasts. And there’s a bit more of the O’Malley family dynamic left to explore—the responsible (and a bit manipulative) oldest brother, Aiden, and the rebellious youngest sister, Keira, will each see their stories told!

Giveaway

One very lucky winner will receive an O'Malley heroes candle set and a $30 Amazon gift card. Three runner-up winners will get their choice of a digital copy from Katee Robert's backlist.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

With Love For Reviews: The Importance of Reviews - Guest Post by Jane Linfoot



The importance of reviews
Guest post by Jane Linfoot

As a reader, you might feel that the people who write books are out of reach. But we definitely aren’t. We’re here. We’re listening. And if you enjoyed our books, we’d love you to tell us. There are two easy ways you can show a writer you loved their book – first, by leaving them a review, and second, by reading their next book. I can’t express enough how grateful authors would be for either of those things to happen. If it’s both, we’ll be whooping at our laptops.

Reviews don’t need to be long. A few words are enough for a writer to be really thrilled that you’ve taken the time. They’re also really useful to other people who might be thinking about buying the book. Amazon reviews work especially well. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will show it to other readers, and choose it for special offers. And you don’t even have to have bought the book from Amazon to leave a review there. But if you do leave a review for a book you like, not only are you making a lonely author’s day. You’re spreading the word to other readers and buyers, and along the way you’ll also be playing a part in helping to make that book more successful.

I love getting reviews for my books, and I read every one – good and bad! – and take notice. It’s great to have the longer reviews from bloggers, but the shorter ones, written from the heart from readers mean just as much, in a different way. If someone writes the two words “loved it” it makes me happy for the whole day. It shows me they cared enough to take the time. If they add any extra detail, even better. Someone once simply said my book had kept her smiling through a run-ragged half term holiday. That made me go dancing round the kitchen shouting ‘yes, this is why I do this’. 

If you’ve read a book and enjoyed it please leave a review!

About Jane Linfoot


I write happy fiction, with feisty heroines and lots of heart. 

Writing is cool, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the chaos – happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket.

I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage & most things french. When I’m not on facebook or twitter, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

Writing romance has always been my dream. Hope you enjoy the books!

Author links

Twitter @janelinfoot

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Books & Tea Tote Bag, Pillow and Notebook Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Books & Tea tote bag, pillow and notebook set. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Friday, May 26, 2017

With Love for Reviews: Guest Post by Terry Tyler



With Love for Book Reviews

When you've reached the end of a good book, do you close it and move on to the next, or log on to Amazon or Goodreads and leave a few words to say what you thought? If it's the latter, and you're not a book blogger or writer, you're in a much appreciated minority. It's said that only 1% of the reading public review what they've read. If you're in that 1%, be assured that writers everywhere love you! Doesn't matter if it's not a 5*, glowing review, the fact that you took the time means so much. For the 99%, I'm hoping I can persuade you, the next time you finish a book, to put fingers to laptop keys or tablet keypad.

Why do book reviews matter?

- You're helping the reading public make up their minds. Do you look on TripAdvisor before deciding on a hotel? Or seek out recommendations for restaurants you might visit? Book reviews serve a similar function. I don't know about you, but I always read them before buying. Always. I read a selection. If a 5* says the book is outstanding, I'll browse the others to see if anyone else was similarly impressed; I've learned to tell the difference between great enthusiasm and kind diplomacy. Aside from personal preference, it’s certain that indications of bad language, or lazy proofreading, or violent scenes, or particularly long descriptive passages, give readers an idea of what to expect.

- If you've loved a book and think the author deserves a leg up in today's highly, highly competitive market, your review will help them. Amazon's algorithms work similar to those of Google; the more a book is downloaded on Kindle Unlimited, bought, clicked on or reviewed, the more visible it becomes on Amazon; more people will see the book in their 'recommended' lists. Even a less than positive review helps this visibility.

- If you really enjoyed what you've read, it's a lovely way of saying thank you to the author. I first started leaving reviews when I was so impressed by a book that I wanted to tell everyone about it. The first time I reviewed a well-known author, she sought me out on Facebook and thanked me. Gave me a bit of a kick!

- If you weren't so keen, saying what you didn't like can be helpful to the author. The wise writer will read his or her less positive reviews and learn from them. Of course it's not your responsibility to teach writers to improve, but this brings me to my final point:

- It's your good deed for the day. Remember, a review doesn't have to be a clever, literary critique. Just one short paragraph saying what you thought is every bit as welcome. And even though the writer may not know who you are, if it's a good review you will have made one person very, very happy indeed!

About Terry Tyler


I have thirteen books on Amazon ~ ten full length novels, two novellas and a short story collection. My latest publication is a psychological mystery/thriller/suspense drama ~ The Devil You Know is about five people who fear that a local serial killer might be a person close to them.

I write most contemporary fiction, about the issues that concern so many today; divorce, infidelity, addiction, obsession with celebrity, dysfunctional families, body/image issues, meeting people via social networking sites. Three of my books (Kings and Queens, Last Child and The House of York) are modern day retellings of historical periods in the Tudor and Plantagenet eras.

Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Blog | Amazon UK | Amazon USA

Books by Mary Balogh and Carol K. Carr & Mugs Giveaway

 
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win three books by Mary Balogh, three books by Carol K. Carr and two mugs. Good luck!
 

 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

With Love For Horror Books - Of The Trees by E.M. Fitch - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads
 
Review by Suze

Cassie and Laney are best friends. Laney is an amateur ghost hunter and Cassie spends many nights at the cemetery with her waiting for a ghost to appear. She can hear whispering in the trees and knows something is there when she sees a strange light, but what is it? A night at the local carnival changes everything. Laney starts hanging out with older guys, people Cassie doesn't trust. They make her feel afraid and something isn't right about them, every time Cassie sees them they've subtly adjusted their looks. Cassie hopes the creepy men will leave town, however, when the carnival is over they are still there.

Cassie's other best friend, Ryan, is the only person who makes her feel safe. While Laney is being pulled into something that makes Cassie's skin crawl she seeks comfort with Ryan. Things are getting worse when people Cassie knows are being killed. There aren't any leads and Cassie has a lot of useful information to give to the police, but they don't take her seriously. Cassie might lose everything she holds dear. She fears for Laney's life, will she be able to get her friend back and save her or is it too late for Laney?

Cassie is a sweet girl. She cares about her friends, she's always looking out for them and she tries to keep them safe. When terrifying things start happening in her hometown she can see, feel and hear the danger, but she can't keep it away from the people she loves. Both Cassie and Ryan are generous and kind people and I kept hoping they wouldn't get in trouble. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out if they'd survive the frightening situation they're in. Laney seems to be at the center of it and she keeps pulling away from Cassie more and more. She's adventurous and a little bit self-centered and I kept hoping she wouldn't drag Cassie into whatever is happening to her. This kept me on the edge of my seat and I absolutely loved that.

Of The Trees is a fantastic creepy story. I liked how uneasy E.M. Fitch made me feel while I was reading her story. Something isn't right, but it isn't clear what it is and that gave me the chills. I had a lot of questions while reading the story and couldn't wait to find out more details about what's happening in Cassie's town. Being in a dark forest is incredibly spooky, especially when evil is lurking in the shadows. E.M. Fitch's vivid descriptions of the danger Cassie is in are fantastic and they genuinely spooked me. I loved this amazing eerie story.

Advice

If you love books about terrifying humanlike creatures that are lurking in the shadows and are about to come to the surface to wreak havoc, Of The Trees is an excellent choice.

About E.M. Fitch
 

E. M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters she is usually corralling her four children, or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.

Author links

Website: http://www.emfitch.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorE.M.Fitch
Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinmfitch
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7890891.E_M_Fitch

Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m an author, obviously. I love quirky, creepy, and strange things, whether they be movies, television shows, books, or podcasts. I’m a wife, and I’m the mother to four quirky little kids. I live in the small town that I grew up in, though I went away for college and a quick burst of life following that. I love tall trees, coffee, quiet time, and adventures. My favorite places to visit are those with history: haunted hotels, historic battlefields, origins of fascinating stories. Take me to those places; and if I can’t get there in person, then take me by story.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

Oh, so many things! Crazy adventures, for one. I’ve been skydiving twice and I definitely recommend it! I jumped in a cage in the waters surrounding the Farrallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco looking for some Great White Sharks - none showed up that day, at least not close enough for me to see through that murky water; but just being there, getting tossed about as “live bait” in the shark cage was enough to make my heart pound.

Gentler things make my heart beat faster, as well. I love to be in the woods, hiking and exploring. The ocean is another favorite place of mine. A great book excites me, as well as deep conversation with a cherished loved one.

3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?

Freddy Kruger. He counts as a classic horror monster, right? Not only was he a terrible man in his living days, he can haunt your dreams. Not being able to go to sleep? That’s a true, living nightmare!

4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?

Grab my hatchet, all my spare weapons (including this beautiful knife and scabbard my husband bought me one anniversary), and hike it into the woods. I’d have to head south, that’d just be logical, the winter would be too cold to survive where I live. My ideal would be to find myself a secluded island to wait out the apocalypse on. Oh, and I’d get my loved ones… did I mention that? See? I'm kind of a loner at times, or at least, I’d like to be.

5. What's your favorite horror movie?

My favorite classic is The Nightmare on Elm Street, but there are several that scare me to death! The Exorcist is another classic that will go down as scariest movie ever for a long, long time. I was also incredibly jumpy during Insidious, which is terrifying. And I love the campy horror feel to Scream, an instant classic in both fun and scares. Oh, and speaking of fun horror, The Cabin in the Woods, because Joss Whedon is amazing and that movie was the most fun I had had in the theaters since I was a teen and not actually watching the movies I went to.

6. What's your worst nightmare?

Forced socialization? Okay, so don’t laugh at me! But I have no good answer for this, and I know it. It’s similar to ‘What’s your biggest fear?’ and I have no good answer to that either. Most things people seem to be afraid of are related to dying… and I understand it, sorta, but also I kinda don’t understand, because we all die, right? Of course. So I try to focus more on growing to my fullest, learning as much as I can, and becoming a better person.

But forced socialization is close to my biggest, living nightmare. Any of my good friends would tell you that. It’s kind of a running joke in my circle: Oh, no, Erin! Did you have to make a new friend today, how awful for you! They tease, and I laugh, but seriously, yes - it is my worst nightmare!

7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?

I want Saoirse Ronan in the role of Laney! I think she is an amazing actress with a terrific range. As for my point-of-view lead, Cassie? I’m not entirely sure. A redhead. Possibly an unknown? Aidan would have to be dark and delicious. Someone with a look like KJ Apa. Corey is another mysterious, yet serious, guy. Tyler Blackburn would be perfect in this role.

8. What inspired you to write horror stories?

Inspiration comes from the funniest places. You know, at first, I hadn’t realized I was writing horror. That sounds ridiculous. But my first novels, my zombie books, I affectionately call them, they’re part zombie, part apocalypse, part coming-of-age. The main theme in all my books is growth, I want my characters to grow up on page, to learn something. So at first, I wasn’t focused on the horror, I was focused on the growth. And when I went to market the book, I got stopped short: what was my genre? This is a terrible and backwards way to fall into a genre, I fully admit. But it’s the honest truth of my journey. My husband looked at me kind of funny and said, “Honey, you’re writing about zombies. Weren’t you aiming for horror?”

Duh! Stupid me. Yes, all along, I really was writing horror. So I fell into it, in a way. What inspires me to stay there? Horror is fun! I love the spooks, the history behind the stories, the research into demonology, fairies, legends. The background to our ancestors’ fear is deliciously intriguing. The sense of fear itself — that heart pounding, jumpy, tingling-in-your-gut excitement — that draws me back each time. I like to scare, to unsettle. And I love to be scared and feel unsettled. It’s a primal reaction, and we face our fears each time we dip in. The more you face your fears, the less afraid you become. The more you research the source and cause of fear, the more you master. You come to master not only fear, but large parts of yourself. So, it comes back to growth, my growth, the growth of my characters, and hopefully a smidgen of personal growth in my readers. Horror makes the world a better place. (And I bet you weren’t expecting that as an answer!)

9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?

I feel I answered a lot of that above! Haha, I should have read all the questions before I started answering. I’m tempted to cut and paste. But no, here it is: I love horror because it holds up a mirror to the basest of human reactions, it challenges us to stare them in the face. If you accept the challenge, you then have a choice: remain afraid, or take steps to grow. Aim for bravery, read and learn, take chances and go experience things! Horror shows us ourselves, and it dares us to be better.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m not going anywhere! So expect to see a lot from me. I have the sequel to my recently released Of The Trees, which is entitled At Woods Edge, currently in the editing phrase. No release date yet announced, but that’s coming soon! I have a collection of short stories that will be out in time for Halloween that feature goblins, ghosts, and ghouls. I have a Dark Fantasy entitled Monsters It Hides that I’m so excited about! That’s being edited currently, and I will be seeking representation. If anyone wants updates, you can find out more about me and my work on my website, www.emfitch.com. There’s a newsletter you can subscribe to (I don’t bombard, I promise! You’ll get notifications when my work comes out, or if I have something out for free - I love to give things away when I can). And, of course, you can find me as E.M. Fitch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Of The Trees by E.M. Fitch.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.