Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading Addiction Book Review: Hacienda Moon

Author:KaSonndra Leigh  
Title: Hacienda Moon
Publisher: The TriGate Group  
Publish Date: July 27, 2012  
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Reading Addiction Book Tours and the author
Book Blurb: Love, obsession, and betrayal, the most powerful human emotions, are spun together in this gothic novel. Tandie Harrison is a police medium who has just suffered a divorce after losing both her psychic visions and her daughter in a car accident. When she leaves New York City to start a new life near her hometown, she moves into the alluring plantation house, Chelby Rose, and falls for its charismatic caretaker, Eric Fontalvo. Their burgeoning affair ignites a centuries old curse, ensnaring them in a web of danger, deceit, and intrigue. Soon Tandie learns that in placid Bolivia, the mystical worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Hacienda Moon is a seductive tale of one woman’s journey to confront the demons of her past and find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.  

Review: I have to admit, I'm a sucker for Gothic novels and this one is really great.  It comes complete with a psychic, a curse, some witches, possessions and a few dead bodies. The first chapter or so were a bit slow. I struggled to understand the accident that cost Tandie her daughter, but as things moved along they made sense. What really impressed me the most was the historical elements of the story.

KaSonndra really brought the reason for the curse to life in the pages. As she gave away bits of the story over time, it kept me turning the pages. I wanted to know more. I wanted to find out how the curse was broken. I wanted to find out what role Baby B played in helping her mother from the other side too.

Usually the climax of gothic novels isn't very fulfilling, but that's not the case with Hacienda moon. In fact, I was really surprised at who the evil spirits were possessing, or dwelling within. I was also surprised at how part of Tandie's past is tied in with the evil. This is a great dark and stormy night read. Its not very long, only 245 pages, but after the initial chapters it moves along at a nice pace and will keep you interested until the last page is turned.  

Rating: 4 flowers


KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives
in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She likes to
write about people doing fantastical things in magical worlds. Her two
sons have made her promise to write a boy book next.

She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE,
Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora's Box (good writer's
block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated
to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies,
Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.

Twitter: @kasonndraleigh
Blog
Facebook

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Snacks

We all know that coffee and books go together quite well, but sometimes you get the munchies when you're reading, right?

Heck, if it weren't rude, I'd have my book out at the dinner table.

OK, I already do that...

My mother collects cookbooks and over the last year or so, I've really gotten bitten by the cooking bug. I love finding new recipes. This weekend I found a Pillsbury cookbook that had some great snack recipes. One was for Cinnamon/Sugar Tortilla Chips

Here they are on the cooling rack, getting ready to be eaten.

Do you know how easy these are to make?

5 8 inch tortillas make a nice sized sandwich back full.

Brush each side of the tortilla with water and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on both sides.

Cut up the tortilla in 8 pieces and place on a greased cookie tray. (I used butter spray)
Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes and then cool for 10.

These taste really yummy with that new dark chocolate cream cheese.

This is a great reading snack!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reading Addiction Book Tours Promo Spot: Hacienda Moon

Gothic Romance
Date Published: July 28 Synopsis:  A Pathseekers Novel Love, obsession, and betrayal, the most powerful human emotions, are spun together in this gothic novel. Tandie Harrison is a police medium who has just suffered a divorce after losing both her psychic visions and her daughter in a car accident. When she leaves New York City to start a new life near her hometown, she moves into the alluring plantation house, Chelby Rose, and falls for its enigmatic caretaker, Eric Fontalvo. Their burgeoning affair ignites a century old curse, ensnaring them in a web of danger, deceit, and intrigue. Soon Tandie learns that in placid Bolivia, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected.
Hacienda Moon is a seductive tale of one woman’s journey to confront the demons of her past and find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.



KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives
in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She likes to
write about people doing fantastical things in magical worlds. Her two
sons have made her promise to write a boy book next.

She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE,
Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora's Box (good writer's
block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated
to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies,
Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.

Twitter: @kasonndraleigh
Blog
Facebook
Book Excerpt:
How many months has it been since you last had sex?" Frieda asked Tandie while taking a drink. She nearly spit out her Bahama Mama as she glanced around the club full of people, thankful they sat in a place where a rock band was playing.  "It's okay to say: 'Frieda I haven't had sex in ages. Jack was a royal bastard who made me feel like the ice queen. So I never wanted any.' "Frieda took another swallow of her drink.
Even Tandie had to laugh, even though she was glad to be the designated driver. “Must we talk about something like that in a club?”
"Like that? Do you mean to say sex? Let me hear you say it?" Frieda teased.
Tandie rolled her eyes upward. "You know what I meant."
“If we weren’t in a club, you would still clam up. Mental note to me: Must take my bestie out more often before she forgets how to have any kind of fun at all. Deal?”
“All right, deal. Anything to keep you quiet.” Tandie glanced around, taking in the club scene. She hadn’t been anywhere near a dance floor like this one in almost six years. Getting involved with someone hadn’t even crossed her mind, especially while she still grieved for Breena. In the presence of a cute guy, she either stuttered or dropped her tampons at his feet.
“Frieda Tyson. You made it,” a dark-haired woman with a braid sweeping her waistline announced. A gangly man stood behind her, scoffing. Dressed in an apron, he was the thinnest male Tandie had ever seen. Spiky brown hair gave him a rock star look and the thick-rimmed glasses he wore reminded her of a movie she couldn't quite finger.
Frieda stood, embraced the woman, and stepped back to admire the huge diamond on her left hand. “Whoa! You must’ve really whipped it on him, Shania.”
“It was those tips and pointers you gave me. Now I know why you’re such a good therapist.” The two women exchanged laughs, while the gangly man standing behind them shook his head and sighed.
"Excuse, me," he said to Tandie and Frieda, "Shania, can you tell me where to sit this box of glasses. It feels like I'm holding an elephant."
"Gus, my fearless multi-tasker. Meet my co-worker, Frieda, and her sidekick I haven't met," Shania said. Her voice was light and her carefree attitude made Tandie want to know more about her.
Frieda turned to Tandie. “This is my good girlfriend, Tandie Harrison. She recently moved back here. Keep an eye on this chick, Shania. She intends to be a bestselling author.”
“Ah yes. I’ve read one of your non-fiction pieces. I especially enjoyed the one where you explain how you channel psychic energy. Excellent piece of literature,” Shania said and turned to Gus. "Put those over behind the wet bar. Those are for the Geisha celebration next week."
"It's about time," he muttered and turned to Tandie and Frieda, "Nice meeting you ladies. Try not to be strangers." His eyes were locked on Tandie, making her feel uneasy.
“Thanks,” Tandie said. Gus nodded and moved on toward the bar.
Tandie's gaze drifted off to the right side of Shania. The man sitting at the bar, the same man she’d run into at the airport a week ago, had his gaze locked on her. Tandie looked away, pretending not to notice him. But each time she glanced back in his direction he was still watching. Her breath hitched, and her pulse increased. It was the same feeling she experienced before when she last saw him.
Hugging her shoulders, she suddenly had the urge to leave the area. Frieda and Shania were engrossed in their own conversation, so Tandie had no problem slipping away.
She had wanted to investigate the rooftop dining area ever since they arrived. She headed up the steps leading to the balcony, taking in a quick breath when the cool nighttime wind bit into the top Frieda made her wear. A July night at the beach sometimes packed the same ice-cold punch as a September one. There were fewer people sitting at the tables.
Leaning on the rail facing the ocean, she took in the black view and listened to the waves sloshing against shores invisible in the nighttime hours. Something rode the waves in the distance. At first glance it resembled a cruise ship sailing along fully lit. Tandie moved over to the telescope attached to the rail and glanced at the ship. Inside the lens, the ship’s form changed. It was more like a blurry silhouette of a ship. Straining to focus on it, Tandie stretched her eyes until they felt dry. And then like magic, the ship disappeared completely from view. No lights, blurry outlines, no nothing. “Whoa. Too much Bahama Mama tonight, I think.”
"Nope. It's not your wine. Not that you'd be the type to get drunk," a woman's deeply accented voice said from behind her. The woman dressed in a red shirt and black jeans was pretty in a gothic kind of way. Her dark red lips blended in with her deep auburn tresses; but her eyes lined with mascara reminded Tandie of a burglar.  "There's really a ship out there, but only certain ones of us can see it. Creepy isn't it?"
The woman studied the ocean, lost in her thoughts. Tandie always attracted strangers who would suddenly start spilling all their secrets. It had been that way for her ever since she was a little girl. But this woman along with the disappearing ship she had just seen succeeded in making her jittery. The chill in the air increased and the thin cottony blouse she wore did a lousy job of blocking any wind.
"Wow. It's really cold up here. I'm heading back inside."
"Don't you wanna know why you can see it?" the woman asked.
An invisible force stopped Tandie in her tracks. There was no way this woman could be talking about the ship she just saw. "Not really, I’m good," Tandie answered truthfully, turning to study her face.
"We can see it because I'm touched by death. And you…" she turned and narrowed her eyes at Tandie. "You got the witches mark. I can smell dark magic on somebody all the way from my house."
Feeling a bit anxious, Tandie turned to go back inside the club. The woman moved in her path and stepped closer to her face. "You stay away from what's mine, witch. Do you hear me?"
"I don't even know you. It would be hard to take something from a person I don't even know," Tandie said, inching back toward the telescope. She really wished her psychic intuition still worked.
"Abby! What's going on?" a male's deep voice said behind the woman. She flashed a bright smile just before she turned around and said, "Not a thing. We girls were just having a little chat."
It was him, the man from the airport and the bar. He strolled toward them. His dark shirt and blue jeans gave him a strikingly mysterious appearance under the balcony’s lights. With his gaze locked on Tandie, she suddenly understood the woman's warning. Sure, he was drop-dead sexy; but it was more like the turn-me-into-a-zombie kind of death. That way I can come back and kidnap you when I'm ready.
"I'm sorry, ma'am. Abby doesn't mean to be this way. We still have to keep child locks on the cupboards because of her."
Abby clucked her tongue. "Don't you dare talk down to me."
"Look, people. I don’t have a clue about who you two are; but y’all need to work out your problems. I'm heading back inside to get my friend. Try to have a good night," Tandie said and headed back into the club before the man could say anything else, and before that woman accused her of being a witch again.
             

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: Brush Of Angels Wings

Author: Ruth Reid
Title: Brush Of Angels Wings
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: April 10, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: NetGalley
Book Blurb: He doesn’t plan to stay Amish. She doesn’t have a plan. Then an angel draws their hearts toward God . . . and each other. A buggy-racing champion, a hardworking field-hand, and a terrible cook, Rachel Hartzler does not fit her Amish community’s standards for an eligible bride. Hurt by their rejection and still grieving the loss of her brother, Rachel is ready for change. She’s not, however, ready for Jordan Engles. Rachel’s father hired him to help tend the fields so Rachel can learn to cook and sew, thus increasing her chances of finding a husband. She can’t understand why her father doesn’t want her help and blames Jordan for trying to replace her beloved brother. Jordan plans for his time on the Michigan farm to be short. Before his mother passed away, he promised her he'd give her Amish roots a chance. Upon her death, uncertain about what else to do, he came to stay with his Uncle Isaac in Hope Falls. He's curious why his mother left the community she obviously loved. But it doesn't take Jordan long to conclude that the strict lifestyle and the three hour church services are not for him. But there isn’t just human interaction at play. Nathaniel, an angel of God, sees the potential in Jordan and Rachel’s hearts from heaven’s perspective. His goal is to shepherd them toward the path of healing and love. When tragedy strikes, then strikes again, this angelic being is sent to guide them toward the healing and abundant life promised in God’s Word – if only they will listen.


Review: Ruth Reid is one of my favorite authors in the Amish fiction genre. She manages to create the drama that seems to go along with these books, but somehow manage to bring about a happy ending. In this story Rachel is still grieving the loss of her brother, she is indirectly responsible for an accident that injures her as well as one other personal tragedy. She manages to have a love/hate thing going on with Jordan. Then there are the angels, the heavenly angel and the angel from that other place. Both are using their influence on Rachel and Jordan. Rachel was a character that is a bit hard to like at first. She's stubborn and nasty. (the result of the angel and devil on her shoulder kind of thing). Both Rachel and Jordan have some growing to do before they can find happiness. Rachel more so than Jordan. Rachel's shortcomings were a little too typical. She can't cook, therefore she can't find a husband. As I read, it seemed more like she had the attention span of a fruit fly which was why she failed at cooking. And when it came to the pie that Jordan ate early on, that failure was a deliberate mistake. The accidents and losses are what brings the two together and help them grow. I like that Jordan left the community for awhile to get to know his father. I would have liked more of a relationship to have developed between the two..and it would have been nice to learn more about his mother, Gracie. You only get bits and pieces about her. This book has so much sadness. If you are one that is brought to tears easily, you'll be crying many times while reading this book. I know I was, especially when Sadie has her baby and the events that follow. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the exchanges with the angels too. This series is unique in this genre. I can't wait for the next book.


Rating: 4 flowers


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things

I remember when summertime was my favorite time of the year for reading. Now I'm lucky if I can finish a 400 page book in three days.

I'm not sure if I can call it a reading slump, because that would imply that I can't read at all. I can, but my attention span is like that of a fruit fly or a gnat.

I can read about 100 pages a day, nothing more.

I simply can't do it.

And yet I have so many tour stops that I've got to force myself to read, and forced reading is never a good thing.

I just wish I could break this funk I'm in. I want to read. I have so many books waiting that I know are going to be fantastic.

I think I'll blame the heat. We don't have central air in our house so it gets pretty oppressive sometimes, especially when the temps get up in the 90s. I start to read and I end up falling asleep.

It just isn't fair.

Anyone having the same problem, or is it just me?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Charlotte Markham & The House Of Darkling

Author: Michael Boccacino
Title: Charlote Markham and the House Of Darkling
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: July 24, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found murdered on the outskirts of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, the place for the Things That Cannot Die, where Lily Darrow, the late mistress of Everton, has been waiting. She invites them into the ominous House of Darkling, a wondrous, dangerous place filled with enchantment, mystery and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human. However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling, one whose outcome will determine not just the fate of the Darrows, but of the world itself. Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.
Review: If you like Gothic fiction, things that go bump in the night or otherwise strange stories, you definitely want to grab this book.

I have to say, I wished this book were published closer to Halloween, because it it so perfect for autumn reading. At first it coasts on fairly normally as you get to know Charlotte and her young charges, as well as the household at Everton.  It isn't until the nanny is killed in an unspeakable manner that you start to get the notion that there's something not quite right there.

Then one of the boys has a dream and Charlotte takes them for a walk in the forest and there they find Lily Darrow. Did I mention, she's dead?

To get a good idea what this novel is like, think Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton with a touch of Bronte. From the very first page I could envision this as a movie. I want it to be a movie. I want Danny Elfman to do the film score...I want Johnny Depp to star in it!

I want to reread this in October so the full creepiness of the story can sink in.

This book was so many kinds of awesome.

Rating: 5 flowers



 Author Info:  websiteFacebook , and Twitter

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Book Revew: The Flower Bowl Spell


Author: Olivia Boler
Title: The Flower Bowl Spell
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: May 3, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Bewitching Book Tours and the author
Book Blurb:Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life. The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s sexy rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself. 
Review: There are many reasons why you would fall in love with a book. In this case it is because Olivia's writing style resembles another favorite author of mine, H.P. Mallory. Memphis is probably one of my favorite characters this year. She's quirky, she different and she's far from perfect. Oh and she's a witch, who doesn't want to be a witch.

Of course the rest of the world has other ideas, especially when strange things start to happen, fairies in subways, old friends showing up and dropping their children off with no explanation. I loved Cleo and Romola, they were fun kids.

Yup there's a lot of crazy going on here. And for awhile, you wonder if this is just another Chick lit story with a touch of paranormal, we find out more about what's going on with the magick. I loved rock star Ty and the plot twists that surround him and his girlfriend from the Yeah Rights.

This was a super fun paranormal mystery. I hope Olivia keeps up with Memphis because she's a character you can definitely come to love

Rating: 5 flowers

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours: The Flower Bowl Spell w Guest Post by Olivia Boler



Writing Time—What’s That?
Thank you so much to A Chick Who Reads for letting me guest blog today. My new novel, The Flower Bowl Spell, is about Memphis Zhang, a San Francisco Wiccan who is trying to take control of her life by banishing magick from it, but finds that the magickal world doesn’t always cooperate. I’m finding that the mundane world doesn’t either.
 Today, for example—I’m mom to two young children, both in summer camp, and I mixed up the times for pick-up. My poor son was the last one at his camp, and his counselor was not too happy with me. In a way, this is a perfect illustration for the question I’ve been getting asked a lot lately: “When do you have time to write?” The answer, given with a slightly hysterical laugh: “I don’t.”
Not anymore. Not with a 4- and 7-year-old. Not with shuttling the kids to and from camp or school, gymnastics, ballet, swimming, singing, piano (remember, there’s two of ‘em). Not with work (I’m a freelance writer). Not with PTA. Not with being Room Parent. Not with promoting this novel. I am the personal assistant and chauffeur to three people, including me (my husband—well, I’m his personal clothes shopper, but that’s, like, twice a year, tops). Lots of balls in the air, people. Lots of balls in the air. Sometimes, they get dropped. Like not double-checking on camp pick-up times. Or making time for writing.
To be honest, the last time I wrote anything novel-length, my oldest was in utero. That’s right—it’s been over eight years since I drafted an original book-length anything! Since then, I’ve been editing and rewriting, or turning other projects, like a screenplay I wrote ages ago, into books, or writing short stories. Actually, after all these years of penning them, I have enough stories for a book-length collection, but somehow, I feel weird counting it.
Here’s the truth: I write with not a lot of regularity. I fit it into the nooks and crannies of my day-to-day, when I’m not compelled to do laundry, unload the dishwasher, or replenish our food stocks. I have many projects started, including a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell, as well as a young adult prequel. There’s also a 99-percent completed first draft of an upmarket women’s novel about two sisters who own a San Francisco tearoom and their romantic (mis)adventures. What I need is focus, to concentrate on one of these projects and get it done.
What do you think, readers? Which project of mine would you like to read next?  




THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL 
by Olivia Boler

Blurb:

Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life. 

The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s attractive rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.


Praise for THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL:

"Olivia Boler's The Flower Bowl Spell is a genre-bending ride with sexy rock stars, Californian witches, children with potentially otherworldly gifts, and the occasional fairy. But it is also a story of identity, of the sometimes warring facets that make and shape a human being. Beautifully written, witty, and brimming with both ordinary and fantastical life, The Flower Bowl Spell will charm readers everywhere." -- Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Book Trailer http://youtu.be/tq2bMQNyLeY


THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL—Excerpt One

I wake from a light doze, no more than ten minutes. Outside, the sun has barely shifted. Cooper lies by my side watching me, a smile on his lips, his eyes a little confused with love.
“Time for the sunset now?” I yawn.
“Yes, by all means. The sunset.”
He rolls to the edge of our bed and I watch him walk out the door to the bathroom. I hear him turn on the shower and start to mumble-sing “TorĂ©ador” from Carmen, his favorite shower song.
Cooper knows about my Wiccan upbringing and refers to me and Auntie Tess as the Asian Pagan Invasion. I’ve even shared tales of some of the more far-out stuff, like the green glow that would suddenly emanate from candles when our former coven would chant around a pentacle circle. But we don’t talk about fairies. Or inanimate objects coming to life. I tried to once, and he told me I had a very active imagination as a child, a sure sign of greatness of mind. Who am I to argue?
Besides, I knew he’d say something like that. Cooper is supportive and easy to read. It’s why I chose him. But he’s not able to handle the fact that my imagination only gets me so far. For reasons I don’t even understand, I can see and do things other witches can’t, things you read about in fairy tales. Only two others know about me. One is Auntie Tess, yet we never talk about it. Something stops me from sharing too much, and something stops her from asking. The other person—well, we haven’t spoken in a long, long time.
I study the ceiling, my old friend. There’s a crack that’s been there forever, before I moved into this place. I’ve never liked the ceiling light fixture and pretty much ignore it, even though each time I pass a lamp store I study the possibilities. Cooper tells me to wait until we buy a place of our own. But I doubt we’ll ever leave this apartment. Still, that lamp with its 1950s design of starbursts and boomerang angles just does not fit with the Edwardian crown molding and—
Something behind it moves.
My breath catches. I blink. What could it be? A mouse? A giant spider? Something small. Something that darts. With wings.
A face peeks over the rim of the lamp. As I sit up it ducks away, disappearing from my view. I feel something, almost like a raindrop, hit my belly, and I jump low into a crouch. Slowly I stand up on the bed, trying to balance on the lumpy old mattress. I reach for the lamp. I’m too short.
“Did you just spit on me?” I holler. “What do you want?” And where, I wonder, have you been?
Footfalls pound down the hall. Cooper stands in the doorway of our room, dripping wet and naked. He looks me up and down. The shower is still running.
“Why are you yelling? What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Nothing. There’s something there.”
“Where?”
I point. “The light. The lamp.”
For a second, I don’t think he’s heard me. He continues to stare at me like maybe this is the moment where he sees the truth about me and it all ends between us. It’s only a fraction of a second and then he steps onto the bed—he’s a good foot taller than I—and unscrews the knob that holds the shade in place. Carefully, he removes it before peering inside. He raises his eyes to me.
“You’re right. There’s something here.”
I open my mouth but don’t say what I’m thinking: Are you magickal after all? He pauses, making sure I’m ready. I nod. He holds the shade toward me like—I can’t help thinking with a wee shiver—it’s a sacrifice.
Inside are bits of asbestos. Dead flies. Lots and lots of dust.
“Oh,” I say. “Oh.”
“Confess.” He wipes the dripping water from his wet hair out of his eyes. “You just wanted me to pull the ugly lampshade down. Am I right?”
I look up at the glaringly bright lightbulbs in their sockets. There’s a hole next to them—a swallow could fit through it, or something of that ilk.
“Yeah, big C,” I say. “You caught me.”
“You are a piece of work, Memphis Zhang.”
“You mean a control freak.”
Comme tu veux.”
Cooper goes back to the bathroom. He turns off the shower and I hear him toweling off. I stretch out on the bed and study my bod. The spot where I felt something drip on my skin is dry, clean as a whistle. Cooper comes back into our room and starts to dress.
“What did you think was there, anyway?” he asks.
I raise my hands in a helpless shrug. “A squirrel?”
He snorts. “A squirrel.”
“Yeah, you’re right. That’s crazy talk. It was probably a fairy.”
“Or the ghost of Columbus.”
“Ha ha.”
Yet, I know it was a fairy because he smiled at me.






Author Bio 

Olivia Boler is the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. Poet Gary Snyder described SMOKE GIRL as a "dense weave in the cross-cultural multi-racial world of complex, educated hip contemporary coast-to-coast America...It is a fine first novel, rich in paradox and detail."

A freelance writer who received her master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis, Boler has published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her family. To find out about her latest work, visit http://oliviaboler.com



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: False Impressions


Author: Terri Thayer
Title: False Impressions
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Aug 3, 2010
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Third in the Stamping Sisters mystery series. Professional rubber stamper April Buchert is shocked to discover that the brother of one of the Stamping Sisters faked his own death, only to really die in a tragic car accident-that was not an accident at all. Now this heated family drama could cause one cold winter if the killer isn't found.
  Review: Have you ever had a story that was absolutely perfect until the very end, when the author does something that just doesn't sit with you at all?

Well that's the case here.

The story is really intriguing, and April is a better than usual cozy heroine. She's spunky, but not obnoxious. Plus she has a boyfriend that she's pretty serious with. There's no one telling her she has to remarry. (April is a divorcee). I loved Mitch too. Especially his surprise at the Ice Festival that goes terribly wrong.

The mystery involves a family member who is involved in a local drug operation. (crystal meth) Not the usual subject for a cozy mystery. There's a lot in this short book about J.B.'s faking his death and how he had been trying to turn his life around. He was really a likable character and it is a shame he was one of the murder victims.

But that's not the thing that bothered me. Hey, it is a cozy mystery! Someone has to die! That's the whole point.

But did they have to kill of some likable secondary characters at the very end before the climax?

I don't want to give away who...but all I can say is when you hit the end your jaw will drop and then you'll throw the book at the wall.

The resolution of JB's murder is satisfactory though. It is a shame Terri had to end this book the way she did. I thought I was going to dive into this series, but I'm not sure if I want to now.

Rating: 3 flowers


Friday, July 20, 2012

Innovative Online Book Tours Guest Post: M.C.V. Egan

Do you talk to your plants and animals? Could that possibly be related to past lives?

By M. C. V. Egan   
                                                                                          
I had recently a very interesting correspondence about past lives. In it the person who wrote to me wondered what mi opinion was as to the possibility of being born of different gender in each life.
Just like the movie I love and used for fun in The Bridge of Deaths (spoiler for any who have not seen it) Dead Again with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branaugh in a very clever past life twist the man was the woman and the woman was the man.

To me the very first element of such a discussion begins with a belief in the soul or spirit. This requires an understanding that whatever shell the soul is using is simply that a shell.

Conversations of course can and do get heated as so many philosophies have such different understandings about the soul or spirit.

I find that as skeptical as I am by nature I find that there is soul energy and spirit energy in everything around me. I sometimes wonder if we could really say that the human soul is superior and different from the soul of say my dog.

Hans Christian Andersen explains in The Little Mermaid (the real one he wrote not the Disney version) that the human soul is immortal whereas the soul of a mermaid lasted a mere 300 years.

I have come to believe that we are one with the Universe and as such we all share a Universal Energy we can call by many names. Such statements have gotten me in trouble as I am surrounded by the tremendously conservative and religious.

After much thought and observing the extraordinary beauty of much of the plant life that surrounds me here in South Florida or the compassionate and healing reactions my little five pound Chihuahua shares with all around him I cannot help but question; What makes me superior in any way to them?

So my friend wanted to know if I believed we could be man in one life and woman in another, if as our soul exchanges body it chooses different genders. I stopped questioning that the moment I started to believe in re-incarnation; if we come back why would we come back the same?

So I jumped into what just a few years ago I would have considered absolutely absurd. But after the bond I have forged in the last eight years with my pet Chihuahua and because the Pink Hibiscus was the favorite flower of someone close to me that passed away, and every morning when the pink Hibiscus are in bloom and I walk my dog I say a prayer for my lost friend and her family, and the energy, the love and colorful fun she brought to all she touched feels so real; that I began to great the pink Hibiscus by her name.

I talk to plants and I talk to animals and I often wonder if I will come back as one of their kind.



Synopsis:

On August 15th, 1939 an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. Crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykobing/Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland with the world at the brink of war the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police, created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

In the winter of 2009-2010 a young executive, Bill is promoted and transferred to London for a major International firm. He has struggled for the better part of his life with nightmares and phobias, which only seem to worsen in London. As he seeks the help of a therapist he accepts that his issues may well be related to a 'past-life trauma'.

Through love, curiosity, archives and the information superhighway of the 21st century Bill travels through knowledge and time to uncover the story of the 1939 plane crash.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve "One of those mysteries that never get solved" is based on true events and real people, it is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through sources in Denmark, England and the United States, it finds a way to help the reader feel that he /she is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

The journey takes the reader to well known and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. The journey also takes the reader to the possibility of finding oneself in this lifetime by exploring past lives.

About the Author
M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida with her husband and teenage son. She is fluent in four languages; English,Spanish,French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the 'mystery' of her grandfather's death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. The story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of past lives and psychics.



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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Temptation and Twilight


Author: Charlotte Featherstone
Title: Temptation and Twilight
Publisher: HQN
Publish Date:  June 19, 2012
Buy:Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred-except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him but hatred. All of society believes Elizabeth, the blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor's ancient diary-filled with exotic tales-she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly agrees to allow Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the "veiled lady," to help her solve the mystery. Eager to be Lizzy's eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger
Review: This is book 3 in the Brethren Guardian trilogy. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book because of the tension between Iain and Elizabeth. It was a little too much to handle. Iain was entirely too overprotective for anyone, especially Elizabeth not to realize that he had feelings for her. There conflict takes up a little to much space in the book and the story plods along at the beginning. It is hard to decide if you like Iain or not, especially when Lizzie is being pursued by Lord Sheldon.

I loved Sheldon. For the most part, I thought Lizzie should end up with him and damn the story line. As the story line continued, I kept my fingers crossed that he was going to be a villain, because there are times when it is hard to tell. I'm glad in the end he was one of the good ones. It is a shame that he couldn't have found someone too.

Sheldon was what really kept this story going, even though Iain made sure Lizzie was going to have doubts about him. I also liked how Sheldon's character helped reveal more about the Templar Knights and Sinjin and The Veiled Lady.

The conclusion really came as a surprise to me. By mid story you knew who Orpheus and Georgiana were, but the connection to the Brethren was a real shock to me.

Overall, this was a satisfying read. Lizzie was not your typical heroine. She was blind and she isn't thin, which I liked. It is a shame the cover can't display a woman that looks like what readers would picture for Lizzie. Charlotte Featherstone is now one of my go to authors for regency era historical romance.

Rating:  4 flowers


Monday, July 16, 2012

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Darkness All Around

Author: Doug Magee
Title: Darkness All Around
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: June 19, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the Publisher
Book Blurb: When there’s DARKNESS ALL AROUND . . . some memories are best forgotten Within the span of one harrowing week, Risa’s alcoholic husband, Sean, disappears, and her best friend, Carol, is brutally murdered. Eleven years later, Risa has seemingly put her life back together again, comforted by the love of her new husband, who is a local politician, and the knowledge that Carol’s killer has been convicted. But then just as suddenly as he had disappeared, Sean resurfaces— sober, plagued by horrific recollections of Carol’s murder, and convinced he was the real killer. Sean’s startling claim buzzes through their small Pennsylvania community, and Risa is left to wonder if the man she still loves actually committed the grisly murder. Her growing belief in his innocence sends her on a treacherous search for the truth: a search that reveals ugly secrets that her new husband and the town’s law enforcement community are hiding. Part murder mystery, part love story, Darkness All Around is a gripping exploration of the depths of the criminal mind, the fine line between the truth and a lie, and the bravery of the human heart.

Review: Darkness All Around is a different kind of mystery. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but the read was definitely a pleasant surprise. What was different in this story is the relationship aspect. Most of the books in this genre that I've read seldom focus on the people involved. This isn't the case here, and that really almost takes away the whodunit from the story, especially as the whodunit is a case that's been closed for years.

I was drawn to the story because it is set in Pennsylvania. I'm from the state, so that's always a draw for me, but what kept me turning the pages were the characters. I loved Risa. You could tell there were some cracks in the marriage as the story starts out. Her politician husband is not easily likable to the reader.

So to say the outcome was a surprise would be a lie, however Doug's writing is engaging because he creates characters that you can relate to. I could almost see the newscasts about Alan's run for office and Kevin's drive for football glory.

The small town of Braden really comes alive too. No surprise that everyone knows everyone's business. Anyone that lives in a small town can tell you that.

It is the mystery that is a little bit ho hum, because the end of the prologue pretty much tells you who the killer is. I won't say what character said it..but "Maybe she deserved to die." isn't the typical remark from an innocent bystander.

Sean is the real focal point of the story. You want to dislike him for the way he was; a not so good father, a violent drunk etc. But you can see a turnaround in him. You know he wasn't perfect but you like him anyway. You know that there's no way he could have played a part in killing Carol, even though things in his memory are telling him otherwise.

If the outcome weren't so predictable this would have been a perfect read, but it still was a great one and one that I would recommend to anyone that likes a little mystery in their life. I'd also recommend it to fan's of women's fiction, because Risa was such a strong character.

Rating:  4 flowers








Many thanks to TLC Book Tours  for letting me host this spot. Check out the other reviews and stops on the tour!

Tuesday, June 19th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Thursday, June 21st:  You’ve GOTTA read this!
Monday, June 25th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, June 26th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, June 27th:  House of Crime and Mystery
Thursday, June 28th:  Inside of a Dog
Monday, July 2nd:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, July 3rd:  Reviews by Lola
Thursday, July 5th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Monday, July 9th:  Man of La Book
Tuesday, July 10th:  Wordsmithonia
Thursday, July 12th:  Well Read Wife
Monday, July 16th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 18th:  Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Thursday, July 19th:  Drey’s Library
TBD:  Murder by Type
TBD:  Raging Bibliomania

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Reading at the YMCA

Everyone sing with me..."It's fun to read at the Y M C A."

Really it is. Or at least it is fun to get books at the YMCA. I know I've mentioned it, but my Y has a lending library. I like it more than exercising. OK, I like just about anything more than exercising, but that is beside the point.

Thanks to my parent's hospital stays in the last few months I haven't been working out.

Pokes at the pudge gathering around my middle.

That's becoming quite apparent. I've also missed out on the books that people bring in. See our lending library is great for those books that you only read once...harlequins etc

Today I picked up a couple of cozy mysteries to read, both series books, so yay for finding new stuff to read for free.

Let's face it, free reads are often the best ones!

Do any of you have a favorite lending spot?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Why I Review

I think we've all talked about why we review or blog. I was actually reading someone else's blog and it got me thinking about the reason I started this blog.

I love to read and many times I forget what I've read especially when it comes to romance novels. I've read a lot of Harlequins multiple times, not because I wanted to.

My goal has always been to read and then review the book no matter what I felt about the book. I don't want my blog to be fool of all great reviews nor do I want it to be filled with negative ones either. I want honesty in my blog.

I've always hoped that in the course of building this blog I'd acquire some like-minded friends. (That hasn't happened much, but who knows) My taste in reading material has always been pretty eclectic. I'll read anything that strikes my fancy.

Lately I've been wishing I had more time for the blog. I've been stuck on one book for the last 2 days, not because it is a bad book, but because I can't find time to open the darn thing.

Here's hoping I find some time soon. I hate to leave the blog silent for more than a few days, and I really have outgrown the whole meme thing. I just want to read and review my books.
 
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