Monday, August 25, 2014

Bait Shop Blues by Nancy Schumacher aka Nancy Pirri

Rated 4 STARS

Two people have an immediate attraction but they don’t want the same things in life.  This is the problem for Cassandra Thompson and Lief  Eagle.  He thinks she is a Marilyn Monroe look alike and falls for her hard but he only wants her physically.  She thinks he is a gorgeous hunk of man but having taken a vow of celibacy, she is interested in a romance that leads to marriage.
They butt heads not over their relationship but over the ownership of Gateway to Paradise, the bait shop that Cassie’s grandpa and Lief’s foster father left to both of them.  Cassie wants to make improvements. Lief wants things to stay the way they are.
Will these two people ever be on the same page?

I love a good romance and Bait Shop Blues didn’t let me down.  Cassie was a fish out of water who learned to adapt quickly and embrace Gateway as her home.  She was brave yet vulnerable at the same time. Personally, I had to get rid of the notion that because she was a MM look alike that she would be a little dumb and overtly sexy.  That turned out to be the exact opposite of Cassie and I loved that.
Lief however did not share my joy.  He wanted MM since he was a young boy.  His fascination with her was complete and even his mother wondered where that came from.
Lief was a complete outdoorsman.  He loved where he lived and didn’t want anyone encroaching on his pristine territory, especially Cassie.  He also had an abiding love for Cassie’s grandfather and was trying to keep Gateway as he thought old Tom would want.
After a disastrous trip the couple takes, you’ll wonder if these two are really meant to be.

If you need a good summer read or a book to take on vacation, I would recommend Bait Shop Blues.
You can find Bait Shop Blues here:Barnes and Noble

The first five people to comment about Bait Shop Blues will receive a free copy of the book!! Don't miss the opportunity to read this fun book.  Thanks to Nancy for her generous offer.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Man Test by Amanda Aksel

 Rated 4 STARS

Marin is a lucky woman.  She has great friends, a good job as a couples counselor and she is engaged to be married in only four months.  After a bachelorette party in Vegas, Marin decides to surprise her fiancĂ©e and come home early.
She finds him in bed with another woman, won’t listen to any explanation and goes to pieces.  In her despair, she comes across a book that proposes that all men are liars and cheaters and Marin decides to go out and prove it.
Her friend, Holly isn’t thrilled with the idea but she is off on the trip of a lifetime and  Marin’s friend, Telly is totally against exclusive relationships so she’s all for it.
Marin has to find a great guy who seemingly wouldn’t cheat so she can prove that he does and thus, prove her theory.
Enter James, the best man at the wedding of her friend Rachel who she has known since Rachel was a baby and the girl she went to the bachelorette party for.  James comes to Marin’s rescue after an embarrassing fall and they start a relationship.
The problem is James is falling for Marin and she is using him to prove a point.
How this all works out makes the story of The Man Test. 
The Man Test was a typical romance….just the kind I like if done well and hate if they are too sappy or predictable. Aksel hit the mark with this story though.  Her heroine is hell bent on proving her point but basically she’s a nice woman who’s had a rough time of things.
I felt all kinds of sorry for poor James who was completely unaware that he was being used.  He was so kind to Marin sometimes I just wanted to shout out, She’s not serious.  This is all a game.  Of course, even if I did it would have done no good.
Marin’s friends, Telly and Holly were complete opposites but were a good team just the same.  They were supportive of Marin in her time of need but when she needed to face reality they weren’t afraid to tell her.

All in all, I enjoyed this little romance and I think you would too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guest Blog Victoria Bastedo

Today my guest blogger is Victoria Bastedo, author of Roots Entwine.  She tells us a little about herself and how she came to write her book. Thanks, vicky for sharing with us today.

Fantasy Time. Think rich, green forests. A boy with a mysterious ability rides into a forbidden land to prevent a war, catch a heinous criminal, and save his team. But will he lose his own life in the process?
Hi everyone! I’m very grateful to have been invited to share a little post with you. My name is Victoria Bastedo. I have been given a rich life by God, filled with a lot of people and possibilities. I have six children who are all attractive, intelligent and able-bodied. (They are too!) I have two adorable grandbabies. Thirteen years ago a dream woke up in me- to be a published writer. I didn’t think much of my chances, in today’s writing environment. But I was having so much fun trying that it didn’t matter. Along the way I’ve made some great friends in the writing community. I’ve learned how to do the best that I can do, although now that I’m in my fifties I think I’d better strike while I can, before the window of brain clarity closes!
Of course I’ve had some trials too. My children have gone through an array of troubles and challenges (some of them self-inflicted) and I’ve gone through alongside them. We’ve had some anxiety and depression, dyslexia and some things that have never been diagnosed! Putting myself in their shoes I realized that their brains are unique and beautiful. I wanted to write something about that, to create a character that has to live with a brain that works differently than everyone else. Mostly I wanted to say that his uniqueness can be a gift to the world, depending on whether he chooses to live his life in community with others or to hide selfishly in his forest away from people forever.
So here’s the blurb on the back of my book. Thank you so much, Sue, for being so kind as to read it and review it for me. You, too, are a blessing to the world! 
           15-year-old Joaquin can hear a man’s heart beating a half a mile away. He can see in the dark when others are stumbling. One whiff and he can tell what was served for yesterday’s dinner. But then he needs near-coma sleep to heal his brain from the searing pain. He’s a Phoshat, and his ability comes with a price. 
Rumors spread about the mysterious Phoshat living in the forest around his family’s estate. Then Kallum comes, the tall stranger who leads a mission team for the king. He’s determined to add a Phoshat to the list of talents that his team boasts. He takes on the responsibility of a teenaged, untested Phoshat, and they set out, but soon it’s evident that Joaquin’s gift is so powerful that it almost swings out of control. As their journey goes on and unconsciousness overwhelms Joaquin over and again, Kallum begins to question whether Joaquin is ready for the dangerous mission that’s growing more intense every day.
Joaquin wonders too. Why was he born different than everyone else?
Roots Entwine is a young adult fantasy adventure. A tree standing alone shades no one, but entwining his life with his team moves Joaquin towards the inevitable choice he must make for them. It’s up to him to decide what the sum of his life will be, and if his inborn ability will be a curse to him or the gift that saves his friends.
Here too, is my book trailer that I made. These are photos that I’ve taken from my home, in the rich Pacific Northwest. But mainly listen to the very talented young man who sings the song. That’s my son-in-law Ryan!

God bless you guys, and thanks for reading!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Roots Entwine by Victoria Bastedo


Joaquin Briec doesn’t have a secret, he is the secret.  He has an ability called Phoshat that allows him to open his senses and see, feel and hear things in a whole new way.  He is hidden away by his family and no one in town knows of him except as a legend or rumor.
All that changes when a stranger comes to town in search of a Phoshat who can do service for the king.
Joaquin decides, after an attack on his village, to go with the man Kallum and learn more about his gift and the world.
Others are added to their team and they go on a mission into a little know land called Shenandya to find out if the enemy of all the surrounding countries is truly in hiding there.
Joaquin soon learns that his abilities are often a curse and leave him devastated both physically and mentally.  His colleague, Hesir, isn’t sure that Joaquin should be there at all.  Kallum insists that Joaquin’s ability is invaluable to them and Joaquin proves it by leading them to a town in Shenandya after capturing their border guards.
An alliance with the Shenandyans and the use of all the skills of the team will be needed to bring down Scarvus and his assistant Phoshat.  Can the team pull together and get the job done?  Or is Scarvus going to ruin the lives of the Shenandyans like he did the Cortri?


First, I have to say I am a huge fan of fantasy fiction.  I tried not to give away too much of the plot in the above passage so that you can enjoy this adventure as much as I did.
Joaquin was a good, little hero.  At fifteen and with not much experience with people, he faced a huge challenge in spite of the danger that threatened him in so many ways.  He learned to care for people and let them in so they could care for him.  He was honest and open.  I loved everything about him.
Kallum was a good team leader and a good teacher for Joaquin.  His friends that he added to the team were his good and true friends who had been in battle with him before so he knew he had a team that could be trusted.
Hesir was my favorite though.  He was big and gruff and hated Phoshats for good reason.  He seemed distant and unobtainable as a friend but Joaquin wore him down with his honesty and guilelessness.  Hesir also had a softer side that was revealed when I learned of his special talent.
Milte, the silent warrior and Pearce, the comic, were a team to be reckoned with.  It was revealed that they had special talents too.  I liked the way the author wrote these characters.  They seemed real to me and very likeable in their own ways.
The evil Scarvus and his Phoshat were horribly evil and made for viable adversaries for the team.  They did horrible things and I was afraid for Joaquin when he was in their clutches.
All in all, this was an engaging and exciting story which I enjoyed very much.  It is suitable for the YA crowd but anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure would enjoy it too.
You can buy this book at Amazon

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pepped Up by Ali Dean

Pepped Up
Book Description

Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town -- and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.

Pepped Up is the first in a series that follows Pepper through high school and into college. All Pepped Up, the second book in the Pepper Jones series, will be released on July 11, 2014.

*This book contains mature content.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post Daniel Diehl

Today I welcome back, Daniel Diehl, the author of The Merlin Chronicles series.  Dan got me very interested in Merlin in the modern world so I asked him to tell us a little about the real Merlin. Who was he?  Did he even exist?  Here's his answer:

Which Merlin is this?
 Students in one of my writing classes asked me if any of the characters in the Arthurian romances were based on real people.  While the standard answer is ‘maybe, but we just don’t know’ there is really a lot more to it than that.
            While Arthur himself may or may not, be based on any one or more people, and others like his adulterous wife, Guinevere, and his numerous knights are certainly fictitious the most implausible of all, Merlin, was actually a very real person and it is on this man that I based my Merlin.  Much frustratingly incomplete work on tracking down the historical Merlin has been done but, briefly, this is pretty much what we know.
            The real Merlin, like my character, was of Welch origin, was named Myrddin Emrys ap Morfryn (Myrddin, or Merlin, translating as Eagle), lived roughly between 480 and 570 A.D. and he was either a Christian monk or a priest.  Among the verifiable historical characters that he seems to have known was the Saxon warlord known as King Vortigern, whom we will meet in the second book of the Merlin Chronicles.  Merlin would have been just a boy when he encountered Vortigern sometime around 490 – 510 A.D.
It seems that, like my own Merlin, he attended a battle to give spiritual support to his liege lord and that the sight of the slaughter drove him mad.  What, precisely, he raved about as he wandered through Wales, northwestern England and southwestern Scotland is unknown but, like our own Merlin, villagers were frightened by this half wild man and drove him off in a hail of sticks and stones and calling him Myrddin Wyllt, meaning Merlin the wild.  Supposedly, in his madness, Merlin had gained the ability to ‘see’ or make prophecies and the belief in his power to fortell the future brought him to the attention of many in high places.
            Whatever it was that the old man was raving about it seems to have hit too close to home for a petty war lord named Rhydderich Hael (translated as Roderick the Generous, which he obviously was not).  Hael fancied himself king of Strathclyde and kept his ‘castle’ – actually a fortified hill fort – at what is now Dunbarton, Scotland and seems to have been, at one point, a friend of Merlins, possibly inviting him to court as an advisor.  What Merlin might have said, or why it upset Hael, we will never know but there is some surviving evidence that Hael ordered the old man’s murder which took place near the mouth of a Strathclyde river at the point where it emerged from an underground cave. 
            There are still numerous writings which purport to have been executed by Merlin but unfortunately there is scant evidence to support these claims.  But the historical Merlin retains deep roots in his homeland of Wales.  The oldest inhabited town in Wales is named Carmarthen, which is a corruption of two words; the first being ‘caer’ often used to mean castle but actually translating as ‘place of refuge’.  The second part of Carmarthen came from, as you may have guessed, Myrddin.  Hence, Carmarthen literally means Merlin’s place of refuge.

To learn more about the real Merlin I recommend the following two books in the order they are presented ‘The Quest for Merlin’ by Nikolai Tolstoy and ‘Chasing Merlin’ by Sarah White.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Revelations, Book One of the Merlin Chronicles by Daniel Diehl


When Jason Carpenter is put in charge of his first archeological dig, he hopes his life will change.  When he finds a mysterious blue crystal sphere, his life does change but not in the way he expects.
When the blue sphere suddenly explodes, Jason meets up with a man who claims to be Merlin.  Yes, that Merlin.  At first Jason things he is a dotty old man but the more they talk and get to know each other, Jason suspends his disbelief and listens to the story Merlin tells him.
The age long battle between Merlin and Morgana LeFay is still going strong and he has only escaped her wrath by being hidden within the sphere.  Now that he is out his dearest wish is to get back inside a similar sphere and keep hidden from Morgana and her evil plans.
Their quest to find Morgana and defeat her involve recreating the sphere, hacking her entire computer system since she now owns a huge corporation with holdings all over the world and Merlin finding a way to seal the portal that will let Morgana bring dragons back who will ravage the earth as they once did.
During their journey, they meet enemies and friends and finally get to Morgana’s hideout in Mongolia but the journey isn’t ended and the two are about to face the most frightening of beasts.

I loved Jason.  He went from being a skeptical boy to a young man who was worthy to stand alongside Merlin.  His initial hesitation to believe Merlin turned into a trust and bond that was touching and very real.
Jason had a love interest in a fellow student, Beverly.  She was a fine and clear thinking girl as well as attractive and I must say, very understanding of the situation.  She was loving toward Jason and Merlin although she thought Merlin was Jason’s grandfather for a time.  She was stunned to learn the truth but trusted Jason enough to believe it.
Merlin was a delight.  He was smart and clever but just enough in awe of the present to make him loveable.  He had a fondness for Jack Daniels and pizza.  He had been locked away for centuries and to be in this world absolutely fascinated him.  I could just picture him when they bought him a tweed suit and gave him a haircut and a beard trim but was rather glad when he reverted to his old familiar self.
Morgana Le Fay was the meanest, nastiest, evil character that there ever was.  She makes that Maleficent look like an amateur!  She had power and cruelty and she wasn’t afraid to use either.  She was a master manipulator and had plenty of money to back up her insidious plans.

I couldn’t help but root for the good guys in this wonderful novel.  They were a loveable team and their allies were also.  I can hardly wait to find out what happens in the next book because it ended rather abruptly with a creepy Morgana.
Book 2 is on its way and I can't wait to get my hands on it to find out what happens next.
You can find Dan's books here: Amazon

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan


Rated 4 STARS

Rania and Adam are as mismatched as can be.  She is a devout Muslim who is shy and withdrawn.  He is a womanizing Romeo who has feelings for no one until he has a strange encounter that he can’t explain and the woman involved totally intoxicates him.
Shortly, he meets Rania for the first time and when their eyes meet, he is reminded of the other woman and he is hopelessly ensnared by Rania’s beauty.  She does not have the same reaction however and does her best to avoid him at all costs but Adam is relentless.
After spending time with one another, Adam realizes that Rania has a dark past and Rania realizes that Adam respects her and her wishes to remain celibate.
The two form a bond that becomes a strong friendship which seems to be leading toward romance.  Can Adam overcome Rania’s fears and become her lover?  Can Rania ever truly shed her past and accept herself so she can love Adam?

This book was not what I was expecting.  I enjoyed the growing relationship between Adam and Rania but some things bothered me too.  He seemed to be two people.  On one hand he was kind and accommodating but then he would practically force Rania to do his bidding.  In some ways he seemed like a child and in other ways he seemed like a dominating parent who always had to have his way.
I can’t imagine what is going on inside of Rania’s mind.  She seems to not only have a horrible past but another force seems to be at work and she can’t control it.  I thought she was strong in her convictions but still let herself feel friendship for Adam.  She chastised herself a little too much and didn’t think she deserved any kind of life or happiness. I wished she wouldn't be quite so hard on herself.
At the end of the book, nothing was revealed which was kind of a letdown.  I would have liked something to be resolved even though there is a sequel to this book.
I know nothing about the Muslim religion so I got some insight there which I found very interesting.  The whole concept of God and forgiveness is important to both characters.

This is definitely a romance with a twist so give it a try.