Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Terminus by Joshua Graham

Author: Joshua Graham
Title: Terminus
Publication:  April 1st 2013
Publisher:  Redhaven Books
Source: Publisher via Blog Tour

About the Book:

How far must an angel fall to find his destiny?

Having witnessed one too many senseless deaths, Nikolai, a disillusioned Reaper 3rd Class, resigns his commission with the Angel Forces after a tedious century of gathering souls.

Immediately, another division recruits him with the promise of a more rewarding career, and issues his initial assignments: To bring down a few very dangerous threats to the human race.  In the process, Nikolai falls in love with one of his targets—Hope Matheson, a woman who will lead thousands astray.
Caught between conflicting agendas, Nikolai chooses to “fall” from his celestial state and become mortal in order to circumvent angel law and be with her.  But for angels and humans alike, things are not always as they appear.  Still a target, the threat against Hope’s life intensifies.

Now, in order to save her, Nikolai must rally the last remnants of his failing supernatural abilities to prevent her assassination, as well as the destruction of an entire city by a nuclear terrorist strike.

But his time and power are running out…

Terminus is a perspective-altering saga that delves into ageless themes of redemption, destiny, and the eternal power of love.

Nick is an angel reaper, who has grown tired of the work that he does. He feels that after years of reaping, he should have proven himself to the Father by now and deserves a promotion but Tamara, who is like his guardian, believes he's not there yet. He knows he messed up that one time as angels have rules and he's lucky to even have this job. Nick's last assignment touches him in a way that he's unable to shake and it eventually becomes too much for him to bear. After this assignment, Nick decides he's tired of waiting and leaves, only to find himself in a dark room and now employed with a mysterious organization that offers him the chance to do more meaningful "reaping". He has to make ensure the destruction of a few humans that will cause much devastation to the human race. He never expects to be drawn towards one of them, torn between his desire to complete his tasks in hopes of promotion and saving the woman that makes him feel his humanity...his choice could change everything.

I liked Nick's emotional struggle and his perspective. He's not a bad angel, just hurt and conflicted about everything that's happened after his mistake. He's hardened his heart to feeling compassion towards humans. Now, when he meets Hope, he begins to see things differently and it's something about her that makes him reluctant to push her to the edge. It's interesting seeing how his choices impact the lives around him, whether good or bad and how these events in a way change him. Overall, I think the plot, characters and the flow of the story are good. This would be great story for paranormal suspense lovers!

First Chapter Reveal:
        The man in the black leather jacket had looked down for just three seconds to read a text message on his phone. And in the interim, his five-year-old Houdini of a stepdaughter Chloe had unstrapped herself, climbed out of her car seat, and slipped out of sight—nowhere near the doorway of the office where he was to meet his contact. 
        Just three lousy seconds! 
        His mouth went dry. 
        He scanned the streets, sidewalk, between cars, to the left then right then a quick three-sixty. Despite the thorough sweep, which took all of two seconds, he didn’t see her.
         She didn’t answer, but he spotted her. Way down the street, her auburn pigtails bouncing with each step. 
        “Chloe! Wait!” He slammed shut the back door of his Focus. Didn’t bother to lock it.Ran up the sidewalk—fast. But the little stinker was fixated on a black cat luring her across the imaginary border that separated thegentrified arts district of Carleton Village and the slums of East Brentwood. 

         The cat bolted around the corner at the sound of the man’s agitated shouts. Both hands outstretched, Chloe giggled and ran even faster. 
          He nearly tripped over an uneven seam in the sidewalk as he ran, his heart going faster than his feet. 
          A pair of SDPD squad cars with flashing red and blue beacons raced past Birch and came to a screeching halt somewhere around the corner of Lamont. 
         The little girl turned the same corner and vanished behind the red bricks of the apartment building. Straight onto Lamont. 
        “Stop, Chloe!” He’d gained but was still several steps behind. 
         The sound of a policeman shouting filled his head. Could things get any worse? He ran even harder. 
          It all happened within a matter of seconds. 
          Three lousy seconds. 
          That's what it took for him to round the corner and make out the figure fleeing the pimped-out Honda Civic that had crashed into a hydrant. The gunman shot at the cops, who now stood behind the open doors of their angled cars. 
          The man in the black leather jacket leapt at Chloe. 
          “Get down!” 
           Over his shout, the shouts of the police, the screams of frightened pedestrians, came a deafening pop! whose impact toppled him.
           Chloe screamed. 
           A sudden chill overtook him as a crimson pool expanded around his face, now planted on the cold concrete sidewalk. He tried to speak, stretched his fingers towards Chloe. Felt nothing but the cold pumping though his entire body. 
           Life didn’t flash before his eyes. 
           He heard more gunshots. 
           The last thing he saw was Chloe lurching back, her pigtails flailing to the side. As though in slow motion, she was falling.
           He never saw her hit the ground. 

        AS A REAPER OF THE THIRD LEGION, Nikolai—Nick, as he preferred to be called these days—had attended to more human deaths over the last thousand years than he cared to. Countless lives and memories snuffed out like the wick of a candle. It had all become routine, meaningless. 
      The ability to traverse the entire planet in the blink of a human eye had long grown commonplace, its charm lost somewhere between King Malcolm II’s victory in The Battle of Mortlach and Guttenberg’s invention of moveable type. These days he spent most of his time assigned to the northern hemisphere, one of the least active territories on earth. 
       As for leaving the planet, he typically only did that on days when he escorted a soul to the Terminus. 
       A day like today. 
      Nick waited while the OR surgeon continued trying to save the little girl from multiple gunshot wounds. 
      “My husband was killed,” the beautiful woman standing in the door said, her voice breaking. “She’s all I have.” 
     “We can’t keep her going like this,” the surgeon said gently. 
     “She’s not even five. 
      “I’m truly sorry. But it’s time to let her go.” 
      “No!” The mother rushed forward, knocking over a metal tray and all its equipment as she reached out to her daughter. The nurse caught hold of her arms and held her back.
      “Please, don’t let the last few moments of your daughter’s life end like this. Let her go with some dignity,” the surgeon said. 
      Nick tuned out the mother’s voice as she got hold of herself. Having to watch this sort of thing was perhaps the worst part of his punishment. Far worse than his demotion.Worse than when he was a guardian a millennium ago. He’d seen tens of thousands die horrific deaths on battlegrounds in the physical realm—even intervened and partaken in sanctioned kills himself. But at least he’d been helping rid the planet of those who’d deserved it. 
      This was much worse. 
      Nick’s reflection didn’t show in the mirror, but in it he could see the surgeon calling the time of death and switching off the EKG machine, the little girl lying pale and still, the lovely mother weeping. 
      And now the warm golden light that only Nick could perceive filled the room, enveloping the body. It was about to happen. 
     The little girl’s ethereal form sat up and separated from her expired mortal body. She looked to her mother, confused. 
     “Mama? Why’re you crying?” 
      Her mother didn’t respond. How could she? 
      Callous as Nick’s heart had grown over the years, these moments always wrenched it.
      “It’s okay, little girl.” 
       She turned to him and stepped off the operating table. Had she been older, she might have reacted with panic as most do when they see the blood on the sheets, the surroundings, the grief-stricken loved ones standing over their body. But she was too young to understand. She smiled and tried to touch her mother’s head. Her hand passed right through it. She giggled and did it again. 
      “That’s funny, Mommy.” 
       Nick hated this. He should never have to take a child this young and innocent to the Terminus. He forced a smile and approached her.
     “What’s your name, love?”
      “Chloe.” Again she giggled, now prancing around the OR passing her hands through cabinets, walls, chairs, her mother. “Funny!” 
       Nick put his hand on her shoulder and her smile faded. This was the part he hated most. An expression common to people much older than Chloe replaced it. A look of recognition.Finality. 
     She’s too young. 
     She looked back to her mother, still weeping over the empty shell that had been Chloe’s body. Then she turned back to Nick with tears in her eyes. 
     “It’s time to leave, isn’t it?” 
     “Come, say goodbye to your mum. She’ll feel it, and it’ll make her happy—if only for a moment.” 
      “Okay.” She reached up, put her tiny hand in Nick’s. Like an electrical current, a twinge that originated from the core of her spirit flowed into his. By now he should have been used to it, but he wasn’t. 
      “Come on, then.” 
       Chloe didn’t seem to pay any mind to the fact that her mother could neither see nor hear her. She leaned over and kissed her mother’s auburn hair, tried to stroke it without her hand passing through. 
       “It’s okay, Mommy.”
       And in that moment, her mother stopped crying, sniffled, and looked up, her eyes incongruously hopeful. 
       Chloe choked back a little sob and tried to wrap her arms around her mother’s neck. 
      “I love you, Mommy. Have to go bye-bye now.”
       Her mother blinked. Nick waited a couple of seconds, then gave Chloe’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. 
     “The last bit, love. Go on.” 
      She nodded, understanding what he meant—spirits always seemed to know this instinctively when first separated from their bodies. Placing her forehead against her mother’s, she joined her with shut eyes and poured out the very last of her mortal memories, the essence of their all too brief life together. 
       No matter how many times Tamara had tried to explain the human need for closure, to Nick’s mind it was still sentimental. Nonetheless, he waited patiently for Chloe’s spirit to converge for a moment with that of her mother’s.  
       Her mother smiled, her eyes closed. It was only a moment, but she seemed at peace. When she began to cry again, Chloe kissed the top of her head and returned to Nick, sadness briefly tugging the corners of her mouth down. Then her eyes and face began to glow.
       She took Nick’s hand. 
       Her mother’s tears and sobs penetrated the emotional barrier he tried to forge. His hand began to glow—how simple it would have been to use his healing ability and restore the little girl’s mortal life. Just one touch. 
       But it was not allowed. 
        Nick had learned—the hard way, in England, a century ago. But what good was such an ability if it could not be used where needed? 
       What’s the point of my existence, for that matter? 
       He started walking out of the room, an entirely human and unnecessary habit he’d developed from mingling with mortals over the years. 
      “Ready, Chloe?” 
      “I miss her.” 
      “She’ll miss you a lot more.” 
      “How come?” 
      “Because mortals don’t know what it’s like on this side.” For them, time was a driving tyrant: linear, merciless, flowing in one and only one direction. Why would anyone want to go through a short pittance of a life with all its sorrows—seventy, maybe ninety years—only to grow feeble and stupid towards the end? At least Chloe had been spared that. 
      Yet something about this premature departure troubled him unreasonably. He’d reaped the souls of children before, never liked doing it, but in Chloe’s case the pain was quite a bit more acute. 
      As memories from the past surfaced, Nick without thinking released Chloe’s hand and floated freely in the room. Before he knew it, he found himself standing beside her mother. The auburn hair falling over emerald eyes shimmering with tears made her look achingly beautiful.
      Her weeping subsided. Her lips moved ever so subtly. 
      She was praying. 
     Again without thinking, Nick stretched out his hand, gently reached toward her face with his fingertips, taking pains not to touch her so she wouldn’t perceive his presence.
      Or would she? 
      She gasped with a start, her face lighting up. 
      Damn. Nick had inadvertently touched her hair and revealed himself. 
      He instantly slipped out of her perception. It had lasted only a second, but she had felt his presence. Seen his face. 
      She bolted to her feet and looked around the room, returned to her seat when she saw no one. 
      “Let’s go, Chloe.” Nick took her hand. 
      “What happened?” 
      “She’ll be all right.” He led Chloe to the door, hoping he hadn’t just lied to her. 
        Chloe turned back to see her mother, waved, and said, “Bye-bye, Mama.” 
        Nick, against his better judgment, turned and looked at the mother too. Any trace of that brief moment of euphoria mortals experience the first time they encounter an angel had been replaced by deep grief. He’d seen such pain far too often, but this was the strongest he’d felt it himself in a long time.  
        Human emotions.
       As though they were his own. 
       He hated it. Hated the fact that he was starting to feel them again. 
       They were alien, perverse, just...wrong! 
       With a shudder, he held Chloe’s hand and crossed the divide.

About the Author ~Website
Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD). 

Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California. Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press. 

Writing under the pen name Ian Alexander, Graham debuted with his first Epic Fantasy novel ONCE WE WERE KINGS, an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories and Award-Winning Finalist in the SciFi/Fantasy category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, as well as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of The USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards, and an Award Winner in the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards in the Teen/Young Adult category. ONCE WE WERE KINGS is available in ebook and hardcover editions.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Siren's Secret by Heather Ostler

Author: Heather Ostler
Title: The Siren's Secret
Series: The Shapeshifter's Secret #2
Publication: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Julia's life has gone from complicated to nearly impossible! When Julia loses her shapeshifting powers and her appearance changes in alarming ways, she flees to Sirenity, where she learns an incredible secret about her mother. In this thrilling sequel, Julia must take greater risks and make bigger sacrifices as she discovers who she really is and what she can really become.

Since her encounter with her mother Alexis, at the ball last year, Julia has been in hiding back home away from Ossai until it's time for her to return to school. she spends her days practicing shifting and thinking of her boyfriend Terrance, who decides to surprise her with dinner for her birthday but he never expects her to be approached by a Siren. Her father and protectors feel it's best to leave early and take her back to Lockham Castle, where they believe she will be safe. Yet, when the siren calls Julia life may change forever.

I liked this story and all the different aspects of the Ossain culture. Julia can come off as self-centered, stubborn and selfish but she's just a terrified teenager going through an unexpected change in a time when she's already has to cope with the fact that she is a princess, shape-shifter and from a whole entire new world. Julia is also in love and the new revelation about her heritage could put a nail in her hopes of a future with him. I will be honest, not really feeling Terrance, it's just something about him that doesn't sit well with me and I think the "love" part happens too fast with them. Caleb, one of her protectors, though intense... seems a better match for her, if he doesn't scare her away with the information that's been eating at him since last year. Julia's life is complex and loaded with secrets that will alter everything she's come to know. I enjoyed the characters, pace, story and the world that Ostler has created and look forward to reading the next book. Overall, this would be a quick, clean fantasy romance for teens looking for a good read without sexual content. 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #18 : Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson
Expected Release: August 2013

Goodreads Synopsis

An undead serial killer comes for DJ in this thrilling third installment of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi. 

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combatting an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Chemistry of Fate by Meradeth Houston

About the Author:
Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

She’s a Northern California girl, but now lives and teaches anthropology in Montana.

When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!

She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!

If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most writers love reading. What are some of the books that influenced you the most? Anything you’d like to recommend? 
I absolutely love A Wrinkle In Time. It’s one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t picked up a copy—definitely check it out :). I’m a big fan of most of Madeline L’Engle’s work, along with JK Rowling’s. There are so many other favorites, too, that it’s impossible to name just a few!

What is your favorite part of the writing process? What about it makes you love it?
Writing a first draft, hands down, is my favorite part. I love getting lost in a new world and new characters for the first time and seeing where the story takes me. There’s nothing quite like it!

What’s your biggest pet-peeve when it comes to the writing world? Does anything get under your skin and itch?
I’m going to have to say proof-reading . I seriously wish I could just type something and have it come out without a single typo! However I never will manage that feat it seems, and I swear it’s impossible to catch them all on my own.

 If you could meet any writer, living or dead, and pick their brain over coffee/tea/hot-chocolate, who would it be? What would be your first question?
I have to say that having some tea with L’Engle would be amazing. I’d love to hear more about her inspiration for Meg. Of course, a meal with Shakespeare would also be pretty interesting, though I doubt I’d be able to put together a coherent sentence!

Thanks for stopping by to chat with us!
Thanks so much for hosting me today!!

Book Blurb:
“They are everywhere, can be anyone, and are always the last person you’d expect.” When Tom stumbles across his grandfather’s journal, he’s convinced the old man was crazier than he thought. The book contains references to beings called the Sary, immortals who are assigned to save humans on the verge of suicide. They certainly aren’t allowed to fall in love with mortals. Which the journal claims Tom’s grandfather did, resulting in his expulsion from the Sary. As strange as the journal seems, Tom can’t get the stories out of his head; especially when he finds the photo of his grandfather’s wings.

Tom’s only distraction is Ari, the girl he studies with for their chemistry class.

Ari has one goal when she arrives in town: see how much Tom knows about the Sary and neutralize the situation. This isn’t a normal job, but protecting the secrecy of the Sary is vital. If Tom is a threat to exposing the Sary to the public, fate has a way of taking care of the situation, usually ending with the mortal’s death. While Ari spends time with Tom, he becomes more than just an assignment, but how far can a relationship go when she can’t tell him who she really is? When she finds out just how much Tom actually knows about the Sary, Ari is forced to choose between her wings, and her heart.

THE CHEMISTRY OF FATE is a companion to COLORS LIKE MEMORIES and is set before the latter takes place. It is geared toward an upper YA, or New Adult audience. 

Amazon | BN | iBooks | MuseItUp Publishing
Chemistry of Fate will be $2.99 during the tour

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Giveaway: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

About the Book
This explosive and deeply layered literary thriller set in the American West has been praised by John Irving, who says, “RED MOON is a serious, politically symbolic novel—a literary novel about lycanthropes. If George Orwell had imagined a future where the werewolf population had grown to the degree that they were colonized and drugged, this terrifying novel might be it.” 

Every teenage girl thinks she’s different. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge, and the battle for humanity will begin.

Through strong prose and a fresh perspective on the horror genre, Percy crafts a world both familiar and frightening. As Peter Straub says, “Percy has one great advantage over most writers who attempt ‘literary horror’: he understands the literature of real horror from the inside out, and he speaks it like a native.” RED MOON’s unforgettable characters, grisly action, and gripping storyline will have readers tearing through the pages and relishing the prose. 

Praise for Red Moon
"A splendid read. . . . Percy focuses on a trio of engaging and beautifully drawn characters. . . . [Percy] humanizes the werewolf, turning him from snarling beast into a creature for whom we feel compassion and affection.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Extraordinary . . . [Percy's] precision-crafted prose conveys an astonishing amount of detail. . . . By tapping the zeitgeist of the contemporary sociopolitical climate and distilling it into a potent myth concerned with the tyranny of the majority and the demonization of the Other, he has written an ambitious, epic novel that deserves to reach a larger readership beyond genre audiences.”
Stefan Dziemianowicz, Publishers Weekly

“This literary thriller by an award-winning young writer will excite fans of modern horror who enjoy a large canvas and a history to go with their bloody action. . . . Fans of Max Brooks’s zombies and Justin Cronin’s vampires will enjoy the dramatic breadth of Percy’s tale of werewolves.”—Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author
Benjamin Percy has won a Whiting Writers Award, a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of the novel The Wilding (Graywolf Press, 2010) and two short story collections, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2006; re-released in e-book format by GCP, 2013). His work has appeared in Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, Men's Journal, Outside, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, Tin House, and Best American Short Stories. 

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mother Sea Turtle Month Giveaway!

Stephanie Lisa Tara presents Mother Sea Turtle month!  Mothers need to stick together; whether scaly, feathered, furry or skinned! And to celebrate this Mother's Day and the release of her newest turtle book, Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book—which is the companion follow-up to her first international bestseller, I'll Follow the Moon—Stephanie Lisa Tara is giving away 2 gorgeous, large plush sea turtles (26"L x 8"H x 16"W) to reviewers!

In addition, if you purchase Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book you can get her other turtle book, I'll Follow the Moon, for FREE!  This is available to the first 20 people who purchase. 
Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is available on Amazon HERE.  Please contact Candace at candacesbookblog(at)yahoo(dot)com with receipts, inquiries or questions!

 Dear Turtle Activists,

I want to thank each and every one of you for your tireless dedication and love to our cause! I have written this book FOR YOU! I dedicate this book TO YOU! 120 pages of fotos, facts and fun!

Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book has a primary goal: SAVING SEA TURTLES FROM EXTINCTION. A portion of proceeds from this book go to charitable organizations like the Turtle Foundation ( of whom my first turtle book, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON—is a proud sponsor.

If you are new to us—please join with us, for together, holding hands, we can effect change. Yes—really! xoxo. SAVE GREEN SEA TURTLES on Facebook ( is our hugely popular hang-out—tens of thousands of Activists-strong. Please join us!

NOW—prepare for something totally new and amazing!

Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is not your typical scientific turtle book: my special book is all about having FUN! Enjoy the mini FLIP-BOOK in the corners and create a movie of your own! Click the ebook pages—or thumb through manually in the paperback—YOUR CHOICE!

I've written these chapters in a fun, chatty voice—you know, the one YOU use when talking up your favorite topics! Don't be surprised if you find yourself giggling as you turn pages! Enjoy breathtaking photography, incredible facts, and way-out wow'ing surprises that these millennium-old creatures have to share.

AND: TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE! Yep! Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is my second turtle book—it's a perfect TWIN to my first international bestseller, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON: buy BOTH TOGETHER for your shelf. Two little twins; one a fable, one fotos, facts & fun.

So, in closing...please accept this deeply personal gift from me, your faithful sea turtle leader, the turtle-lady, or Stephanie Lisa Turtle - as I was renamed recently by a fan—from my heart to yours.


I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed.
Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!
Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.
I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.
Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara

Cause pages (each supports a book's vision):
Stephanie Lisa Tara's Personal Sites:


15 lucky people will win a copy of Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book. You must be 13 or older to enter. Open to US addresses only.  Giveaway runs from May 12th to June 12, 2013
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Two lucky reviewers will win a Melissa and Doug Giant Plush Stuffed Sea Turtle that retails at $34.99 and measures 26"L x 8"H x 16"W.  You must review Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book on Amazon to enter.  This giveaway runs from Mothers Day, May 12th to June 12th, 2013.

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And you can still enter to win a Kindle Fire! 

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Review & Giveaway: Kissing Fire by A.M. Hargrove

Author: A.M. Hargrove
Title: Kissing Fire
Publication: April 15, 2013
Publisher: A.M. Hargrove
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Blog Tour

Preston Mitchell has many secrets. As an undercover DEA agent, he’s lived a life of danger and obscurity. A relationship was never a consideration...until the lovely

Avery Middleton stumbles into his life.

To the outsider, Avery has it all...wealth, family, connections and a great job. But on the inside, she’s miserable. With a selfish mother driving her to the brink of insanity, a kooky neighbor that has zany plans for her to become a sumo wrestler, and a social life that’s in the toilet, Avery decides her only salvation is to get the hell out of town and start a new life. So she moves across the country and right into the path of hot and sexy,


Unfortunately, Avery ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is now running for her life. Preston is determined to protect her but she suddenly finds herself irresistibly captivated by him. There’s only one problem. Preston’s covert missions have created a load of mental baggage resulting in an impenetrable wall around him that no one can break through. But Avery rocks Preston’s world because she is nothing like anyone he’s ever met and something extraordinary begins to develop between them.

Can their love survive in this world, where danger, intrigue and deception lurk on every corner?

Three words: Hot, Steamy and funny! I would also like to say up front, not for teens because that's what I usually review. Now, that said I think I blushed so much to the point I should be a whole new shade. Yes, it was like that and I loved every minute of it. These two characters are a perfect fit because each one is broken and damaged in their own way but it's how they heal one another that makes this a beautiful relationship to watch unfold. Preston is an undercover agent that is still traumatized from a past experience that left him feeling unworthy of real love. Avery has body issues and her relationship with her mother is not what she would like it to be but life just gave her chance to start over and move on with a new job. She meets Preston, who is going by a fake name at the time, by chance at her brother's home and the moment they see each other the thoughts they think are hilarious. I will say that Preston *clears throat* brings out the animal in Avery. Ha! The writing moves well and Hargrove has developed these characters in a way that will make you love them.  Overall, this is an interesting read that contains a great deal of sexual content. For a moment, I felt like I was reading a Harlequin romance but the heart of this story is what touched me the most and my recommendation is for adult readers.

    Boy oh boy, was Preston hot. Make that boiling. Scorching. Molten lava kind of hot. Messy dark brown, slightly wavy hair that was not long but not short either. And, oh what a mouth he had. His mouth made me want to jump on board and ride that train for life. His lips were the perfect kind of full and every so often, he’d run his tongue across them and I’d automatically squirm. His face was pure angular perfection...high cheekbones with those slight hollows beneath them, that were the perfect shape to accommodate my lips. But those oh my. They were golden brown, like coffee with lots of cream. I could only imagine what they looked like right when he was...  
    Cheezits Ava, get your head out of the bedroom!
   “Wouldn’t you agree Ava?” my brother was asking me. 
    I shook my head and swallowed. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
   “We were talking about the weather here in the summer and I was saying how much more pleasant it is than in Charleston?” 
   “Oh, yes it is.” Was my voice breathy sounding, or was it my imagination?  
    Preston was wearing jeans that rode low on his hips. They were tight and he had a superior set of buns. What would I pay to see those babies? 
  “Ava? What do you think?” someone asked. 
   “Buns!” I blurted out. 
   “Excuse me?” Caroline, my sister-in-law, asked. 
     Holy Toledo, did I just say buns out loud? What the hell Ava!!! 
    “Fun! Anything sounds fun!” I quickly said. 
    “Ava, you look a little flushed. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” 
    “Hot! I mean no, I’m fine.” I looked across the room and my face totally flamed. Everyone was staring at me. I had unbuttoned my blouse and was fanning myself. I’d noticed that Preston had a gloriously hot tattoo of a sideways cross on his arm. I think I needed to go home. 
     “So Avery, where are you staying?” Caroline asked. 
     “Oh, I’m at the Four Sexy. Seasons! I mean the Four Seasons.” 
      Oh dear God, I need to get my act together here.

Author Bio

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had ├╝ber quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window.   She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

 Boss:  Hello
 A.M.:  Boss, is that you?
 Boss:  Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?
 A.M.:  Er... right.  Well, I'm calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate.
 Boss:  Why ever would I want to do that?
 A.M.:  Because I quit!
 A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.
 A.M.:  Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?
 Hubs:  Sure... Having some car trouble?
 A.M.:  Not at all.  I don't have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job.
 Hubs:  WHAT?!
 A.M.:  It's time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist.

 So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks.  Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love.  Survival and Resurrection are her first and second full length novels in the series and Beginnings is the prequel novella.  Her third installment, Determinant, will be released on June 30, 2012.  (It didn’t happen exactly like that, but you get the idea!)

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My Sunday Post #18

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 
~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~

Last Week on the Blog
Sunday Post #17
You Are Mine by Janeal Falor ~Excerpt & Giveaway
No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop
Waiting on Wednesday #17: Champion by Marie Lu
Kindle Fire Giveaway
Impostor by Susanne Winnaker  ~Guest Post & Giveaway
Sugar by Jewel Rhodes Parker ~Review
A Match Made in Heaven by Trina Robbins ~Review
Tenative Schedule for this week 
Sunday Post #18
Kissing Fire by A.M. Hargorve ~Review
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy ~Giveaway
Chemistry of Fate by Meradeth Houston ~ Interview & Giveaway
Waiting on Wednesday #18
Siren's Secret by Heather Ostler ~Review & Giveaway
Terminus by Joshua Graham ~ Review 
Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo ~Review

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Abberant by Ruth Silver
Escaping Darkness by Theresa McClinton ~ Giveaway Blast

New This Week 
Received from Author via Blog Tour
Thanks to Adriana Ryan

Received from publisher via Netgalley 
Thanks to Cedar Fort Publishing

May 28, 2013 ~Interview

May 30, 2013 ~Review

May 31, 2013 ~Review

I have got to start writing my reviews as soon I finish the books like I used to. Lately, the past couple of months I'll read about 5 or 6 books before writing the review. :/ 
Any who, Happy Holiday Weekend!
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