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For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Goodreads Summary

In a post-apocalyptic world, Elliot North is only 18 but has been the head of herfamily’s estate all through her teens. Although she questions many of the tenets of her Luddite upbringing, she has never questioned her duty to provide work, food, and safety to the Reduced and Post-Reductionists living on the North lands.  This duty has caused her to put up with her aristocratic, grasping father and selfish, thoughtless sister.  It has also caused her to lose her best friend and sweetheart, a Post servant boy named Kai.  When Kai returns as a captain of the Postgroup called the Cloud Fleet, Elliot is conflicted about her role on the estate and her desire to finally find freedom and love with Kai…especially since the people who once needed help are becoming less genetically damaged than they had been in the past.  In fact, the Posts can run her estate.

In the secret letters which provide descriptions of their past friendship, I liked both Kai and Elliot.  Their sincere friendship, intellectual curiosity, kindheartedness, and friendly banter/competition are fun to read.  When Kai returns with new friends and new technologies, his deliberate attempts to avoid her cause pain and confusion.    The last letter she finds in the barn knothole is a perfect ending and a perfect beginning. The subject of modification of genes and anatomy is an interesting one.  It mirrors questions most students and adults probably ask as they learn about genetically altered crops, cloning, human growth hormone treatments, etc…  Finding out that Peterfreund’s new book is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion couldn’t give me a reference for the plot or characters since I haven’t read Persuasion yet.  However, the world she creates caused me to wonder about the repercussions of playing “God”…and made me glad that people, like her characters, would still be people –good, bad, selfish, caring, lazy, or whatever.

Four Stars

Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository

*Reviewed by Colleen*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

The Midwife of Venice by

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.

Goodreads Summary

Although it’s against the law for a Jew to give medical treatment to a Christian, Hannah Levi, the ghetto midwife, disobeys her rabbi to help a desperate, wealthy Conte and Contessa. Especially enticing for her is the money she gains; it could ransom her husband who had been enslaved in Malta. Rich alternates her storyline between Hannah in Venice and Isaac in Malta. Hannah and her sister Jessica, a Christian convert, attempt to keep the infant Matteo safe from his drinking, gambling uncles. While in Malta, Isaac uses his wits to remain alive, in order to return to his Hannah.

The history of Venice, Malta, and the social/religious laws of 1575 are fascinating to read about. Rich mentions that she did her homework; she also includes a list of further reading about this time period. Hannah is a multi-faceted character with so many great qualities. She is courageous, kind, sensible, cunning, responsible, respectful, independent, etc… Her thoughts and procedures when acting as midwife put me right in the room. The dialogue between Christians and Jews highlights the somewhat comical differences between the cultural practices of the two faiths. In the end, it is a Muslim woman who helps Hannah save Matteo. The characters, both those who stand in Hannah and Isaac’s way and those who help them, are well-developed and intriguing. The scary, dirty side of Venice adds menace and suspense. Midwife of Venice is a page-turner.

Four Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*
This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Review and Giveaway!: 365 Days! (USA)

“The stories I have tried to tell here are true,” says Glasser in his preface.  “Those that happened in Japan I was part of; the rest are from the boys I met.  I would have liked to have disbelieved some of them, and at first I did, but I was there long enough to hear the same stories again and again, and then to see part of it myself.”

Assigned to Zama, an Army hospital in Japan, Glasser arrived there in September 1968 as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, primarily to care for the children of officers and high-ranking government officials.  But with an average of six to eight thousand wounded per month, Glasser, along with all other available physicians, was called on to treat the soldiers.  The death and suffering he witnessed were staggering.  The soldiers counted their days by the length of their tour—one year, or 365 days—and they knew, down to the day, how much time they had left.  Glasser tells their stories—their lives shockingly interrupted by the tragedies of war—with humane eloquence.

The excerpts are telling…

Page 14…

Peterson was waiting with the medic near the edge of the pad.  The chopper had barely touched down when the crew chief jerked open the door.  The inside of the chopper was covered with blood.  In the dim half-light of the landing pad it looked like drying enamel.

Peterson and the medic started running onto the pad at the same time. Hunching over to clear the swirling blades, the crew chief helped them into the chopper.  The wounded man, his head hanging limply over the edge of the stretcher, was still lashed to the sides of the chopper.  Blood welled up from under his half-body cast.  Grabbing the top of the plaster cast, Peterson tore it off.  A great gush of blood shot up, hit the roof, and then dying, fell away.  He put his hand quickly over the wound and pressed down to stop the bleeding; he could feel the flesh slipping away from under his hand.  Taking a clamp out of his pocket, he took his hand off the wound and, with the blood swelling up again, stuck the clamp blindly into the jagged hole, worked it up into the groin, and snapped it shut.  The bleeding stopped.  The bleeding stopped.

Assigned to Zama, an Army hospital in Japan, Glasser arrived there in September 1968 as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, primarily to care for the children of officers and high-ranking government officials. But with an average of six to eight thousand wounded per month, Glasser, along with all other available physicians, was called on to treat the soldiers. The death and suffering he witnessed were staggering. The soldiers counted their days by the length of their tour—one year, or 365 days—and they knew, down to the day, how much time they had left. Glasser tells their stories—their lives shockingly interrupted by the tragedies of war—with humane eloquence.
This book isn't a YA lovey dovey feel good storyline. This giveaway is for people who want to learn about what it's like to live in the middle of a war. You might have a loved one that once served in the military or known someone who has lost their life… this is for you. It's a tear jerker (so have a box of tissues near you) but it's also a book that makes you take a second look at life. It's a point of view from the wounded. 365 Days is a gut wrenching story about loss in the Vietnam War. Ronald Glasser is a doctor who had many incoming soldiers that needed medical and surgical attention. He sat down with some of them, heard and wrote their stories all of which eventually became the acclaimed book “365 Days”. All that is what the book is about-the war and those who made the fight. Each short story adds to the others making an unforgettable document of that war. These are stories about courage of the warriors, understanding of how much your life can change in one moment, and how the war effects not only the soldiers but the people those around them on the battlefield and at home. It will make you want to hug your family and say "I will always love you". After reading this story, I look at the military differently… I feel like I'm really in their shoes. I'm glad I picked up this book and hope that you will too. Five stars.

5 Stars

*Reviewed by Rachel*

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Huge Blogoversary (belated) Giveaway! (USA/CAN)

Monday, May 28, 2012
My blog is finally one year old!  I have a bunch of arcs/books to share with my fellow book-lovers =)  I have about 17 books listed for the first giveaway of many to celebrate my blog's Birthday.  There will be 4 winners from this giveaway, the first winner receiving 5 books and 3 winners receiving 4.  Thank you very much for helping make this blog a success!  This first giveaway is USA/CAN, but the next FOUR BIG Giveaways will be International.  Don't forget about the other INT contests on this blog though (simple to enter, promise)!

iPOD Giveaway and survival baskets!
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway

^simple comment giveaways, please leave comments for these wonderful authors!!!  Whenever I win an Amazon or INT giftcard giveaway I hold those for my INT giveaways too =)

Of Poseidon Giveaway! (USA/CAN)

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Entice Cover Reveal!

Sunday, May 27, 2012
Ready to look on the beauty that is this cover? 

Find the first two chapters at this link!  Thanks so much to Sourcebooks for letting me help in the cover reveal, this cover is gorgeous!

Betrayed Book Blast and Giveaway!


Lil isn't just an average teenager. She's one of the Nephilim--the descendants of humans and angels--which gives her some serious psi skills and a mission for redemption. Just when Lil thinks she's found a balance between her normal life with human friends and her training to become a Guardian, she's warned that someone close to her will betray her. When the boy she loves starts acting strangely and one of her human friends acquires a supernatural ability, Lil begins to realize that someone is manipulating the people she loves... and won't stop until she's been lured to the dark side.




FACEBOOK PAGE:!/GuardianLegacyBooks









Just like Awakened, Betrayed has risen above all the other books in this genre. She has created such an amazing world for her Guardians & demons where good and evil are not as simple as it seems they should be. ~J. Whitus (Book Junkies) Walking On Bookshelves

Lil is one of my favorite female leads, with all of the traits that you want a strong female lead to have. She's smart, strong, loyal and doesn't know how to back down.~ Missy (Missy's Reads & Reviews)

I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Hardy boys mysteries and fell in love with books
I enjoy good love stories, tingly mysteries and epic adventures. When I finished my college and decided to be a stay-at-home mother, I devoured books like they were going out of production, until reading just wasn't enough. So I started to write.

I've written picture books (unpublished), contemporary and romantic suspense (under the pen name E. B. Walters), and finally YA fantasy (as Ednah Walters).

AWAKENED (2010) is the prequel to the YA series about the Nephilim, The Guardian Legacy series. BETRAYED(book # 1) is now available wherever books are sold, HUNTED (book # 2) will be released in February 2013 andFORGOTTEN (later in 2013).

My adult contemporary with or without suspense is about a west coast Irish-American family series. I've published four Fitzgerald books: SLOW BURN (April 5th 2011), MINE UNTIL DAWN (June 29th 2011), KISS ME CRAZY (Sept 25th 2011) and DANGEROUS LOVE (Jan 29th 2012)

When I'm not writing, I do things with my family, five children and my darling husband of 18 years. I live in a picturesque valley in northern Utah, the setting for my YA series.

Giveaway Details:

$100 Gift Code

Ends 6/5/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Giveaway: In Leah's Wake By Terri Long

Author Terri Long was kind enough to feature me and offer a giveaway to you wonderful readers! 

The Giveaway:  $25 INT Giftcard and 2 Signed books

Several INT Giveaways:

iPOD Giveaway!
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!

USA/CAN Giveway:

Of Poseidon Giveaway!
Summer Essentials Giveaway!
17 Book Giveaway!
Choose a Book Giveaway!

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Frequent Traveller Book Blast and Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win!  Thank you for stopping by!

From the blue oceans of Antigua to the bustling streets of Vietnam, the racing adrenaline at the Green Hell, the devastating natural disaster in Japan and the stunning architecture in Germany, Cathy Dixon finds herself in a whirlwind of fine dining, plush clothes and sheer extravagance.

But is perfection a mask for untold disaster? What is Cathy's secret and how will her world change when the world knows? Will her secrets ever catch up with her or will Cathy continue to sail alongside perfection in the world she has created for herself as a Frequent Traveller?

In conjunction, with the launch of MoonStar Luxury's new website (, we invite you to step into Cathy Dixon's world where more goodies, surprises and a little mystery awaits.

Frequent Traveller, the first book in the Cathy Dixon series will be free from 31 May to 4 June 2012. (Amazon link

Giveaway Details - 11 winners

Grand prize 1 x $50 voucher

10 x $5 vouchers

Terms and conditions

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Guest Post by Author Janey Beasley!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

If Janet could live in a fantasy world,
we asked her what it would be like.
Without hesitation she answered:

"My log cabin (with a hot tub on the porch and a fireplace in the gathering room) would be built rather far off a dirt road where tame wildlife is abundant. My bed and pillow would be so soft I'd sink ever so deeply encasing myself in the fluffiness. The continuous aroma of a north woods forest and plumerias combined would float on the breeze. The trees would never lose their leaves, only change to brilliant colors in autumn then back to green in summer. Flowers would grow in whimsical bouquets. Spider webs with dew drops would be my jewelery. Clear water rivers would run effortlessly through the land (the absolute best for kayaking) ending up in calm lakes lined with stately trees and foliage for water fowl to build their nests. Fluorescent illuminated aquatic species and plants would bring light from the depths to the top of the waters. There would be a dock at the end of every path that leads to the water's edge. At the end of each dock would be a few log chairs with plush seat pads and a table to place a drink. There would be a magic wand on each dock table too - just for creating fireworks or auroras in the evening skies. Sounds of numerous waterfalls of every size toppling from mogul hills and mountain tops would tickle the ears. Snow would never be cold. Birds would land in my hand singing their songs, and I would understand their words. The sky would be pink, purple, blue, amber, and gold. The twin suns would warm my bones during the day, and the three moons would tell me it's time for bed at night as they swooned me with their vocal lullabies. Sprites would be my daily guides through the woods. Fireflies would light my path in the evening. Of course my family and friends would be welcome anytime and could stay as long as they'd like. I would have my soul mate Don and canine companions by my side. Let's see, did I forget anything? Oh yeah...and there would be an endless supply of chocolate and sweet berries."

Synopsis for HIDDEN EARTH Series Volume 1 Maycly:

Maycly is a world everyone longs to experience, but for Iona, left alone to fend for herself, Maycly has become a fading dream. After years of endless searching for her missing family, she had all but given up hope. But the Grand Wizard, SUL, had a plan.

An epic tale of Good versus Evil, Maycly is filled with adventure, trials, love, and epic battles, along with fantastic flora, creative creatures, and characters that come to life. Will Iona discover her true destiny? Will she ever find her missing family? Is Maycly bound to an existence of Evil for eternity? What will happen to Earth? Only the tales of HIDDN EARTH hold the answers.

Your epic journey begins with Volume 1, Maycly.



Bewildered, Iona cut loose again with her gift of chattering. “Let’s see…today I’ve seen a…a…gnome-like guy pop out of a cloud and leave a Dream Decanter on my nightstand. It spewed musical fog that my feet and legs are now dangling in causing my legs to heal. And let’s not forget the three-inch-long buzzing something…whose name, by the way, was apparently Jit? And he…she…I think it was a he…had a face like a human and wings like a dragonfly that he used to fly by my eyes leaving a trail of sparkles. Then he disappeared into the cloud with the little gnome guy…man…thing. I opened a magic letter signed by SUL, and now my birthmark is warm. Are you kidding me?”
     She tried to put all of the recent events together. The poem on the card faded. It and the envelope burst into flames in her hand, making her jump. “Too weird. It didn’t burn me. Well, that was interesting.”
     She went silent, pondering to herself. I will never see this place again. Though it might have been guilt forcing these feelings, she wanted to believe she was truly thankful for the provisions she had received.
     “Yap! Yap! Yap! YOWLY-WOWEEE!” barked Wiskee.
     “Well, there’s another new noise from you. I guess you’re getting a little anxious? All I can say is, it’s a good thing you can’t talk because you’d chatter on more than me!” Iona calmed her small dog, Wiskee, with her touch. “OK. OK. I’m on it.”
     She brushed her hands together and resituated herself on the bed. She thought about her job—she was no longer going to be visiting those in need, and this troubled her.
     “I will see to it they are cared for.” Iona could not believe she was hearing what she thought was SUL’s audible voice again.
     She looked at Wiskee and whispered, “And we’ll never see our strange but lovable friend, Dumpster Man, again.” She had grown quite fond of him.
     With his nose, Wiskee pushed her hand toward the Dream Decanter, but she was still admiring the apartment. “Holy smokes! I can’t leave those!” She jumped from the bed and gathered the only remaining tangible memories of her family and put them safely in the waistband of her pajama bottoms.
     She sat back down on the bed and clutched Wiskee under her arm without thinking. He made the noises to let her know she was holding him a little too tight.
     “Oh, I’m sorry little buddy.” She loosened her grip.
     Saying goodbye to her home was all too familiar and unpleasant. Iona closed her eyes and silently beckoned. Please let this be true. Please, SUL, I want to trust You with all my heart, and believe that You will take me to my family. She reached for the Dream Decanter, never letting Wiskee out of her grasp, and did just as the poem had instructed.
     Window shades dropped with a whoosh and a thud. Iona freaked and spoke from the pitch dark, “I didn’t know we had window shades.” All of the outside noises ceased; the silence was spooky.
     Guarding Wiskee with her life, she crossed her legs underneath her and felt the bed begin slowly turning and moving upward through the darkness. She was afraid of hitting the ceiling but was also afraid to jump because she did not know how high they really were. She reached high above her head and felt nothing. “STAY PUT WISKEE!” She hated to let go of him, but was concerned at their height. Carefully she stood on the bed but could not feel anything above them; she knew she could reach the ceiling if she stood on the bed. Frightened she sat back down and immediately grabbed Wiskee. If we’re floating in space, where are the stars? Where’s the moon? What are we…suspended in time?
     With her next breath she gagged. “What is that awful smell. Ack! That certainly isn’t roses! This can’t be right.” She saw what she thought was a fireball heading toward them. It came up fast from below and just missed the bed on its rapid ascent. Iona screamed. The fireball fizzled out high above their heads like a dud firework. She tossed the Dream Decanter to her pillow and scooted to the center of the bed, not letting Wiskee out of her tight grasp. She felt him trembling.
     She had always longed for adventure, but this was not exactly the adventure she had pictured in her mind. Somberly Iona spoke into the darkness, “What have I done?”

*MAYCLY ON AMAZON: Hidden Earth Series by Janet Beasley
*URL:  HiddenEarthSeries
*BLOG #1: JLBCreatives Blog
*BLOG #2: Live Events And Productions
 *TWITTER: - @JLBCreatives
 *PINTREST: JLB Creatives = Janet Beasley
 *FLICKR - Free photos from Janet: Janet's Scenic Nature Photography


Goddess Interrupted:  Sarika!

Nothing Special: Tiff!

First Comes Love: April!

Mother's Day Event: Chrissy!

Love In Bloom: Kelly W!

Children's Book Week: Rachel P!

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

Goodreads Summary

Fair Game is the third installment of the Alpha and Omega series. Charles is the werewolf’s hit man. If a pack is getting out of hand and killing people / making it difficult for humans, he goes to eliminates them. It’s starting to get under his skin… the ghosts follow him, and he’s afraid of his mate – Anna – getting involved with them. He shuts Anna out of his life, and she doesn’t know what to do. Finally, his father says he needs a break to get away from assassinating because it’s taking a toll on him. Along the way Charles and Anna rekindle their relationship.

This book is sweet romance than hot and steamy. Anna and Charles are always a team to root for… their love for each other makes you go “awwww!” I’ve always wanted a big-bad werewolf on my side. Personally, they’re just so loyal, caring, yummy, and protective. It’s a perfect cocktail for a dreamy man. Plus Charles is more of a “Don’t touch me or look at me the wrong way, and if you do I’ll break your fingers off” guy… it’s one of those situations where YOU want to be the one to uncover the kind and sensitive side. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a sappy romance reader. You don’t need to read the first two books in the series, but it will help immensely. The plot moves forward at a nice pace, so I didn’t skim any pages. I give it five stars.

5 Stars

*Reviewed by Rachel*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!

Friday, May 25, 2012

^You can win any of the above books! While you are here, please enter my Blogoversary Giveaway (17 books!) as well as my INT giftcard comment giveaways courtesy of Goddess Fish. 

iPOD Giveaway and survival baskets!
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway
$75 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway
$20 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway

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Summer Essentials Blog Tour!!! Guest Posts and Giveaways!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Island Breeze: Find out what it was like for Hélène to grow up on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! Salty sea smells every day? I’ll take it!
Okay, so not exactly in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean but I grew up on a very small island off the coast of Canada and it may as well have been the middle of nowhere because looking back, it sure felt like a different world.
First, you have to take a causeway, then a drawbridge, then another bridge before finally arriving to my little slice of island paradise called Petit de Grat. Petit de Grat is not a tropical utopia but it was a pretty unique place to grow up in that:
1.My friends and I used to have sleepovers on my dad’s fishing boat while it was moored in the middle of our harbour. <boat picture>
2.The island only had a few hundred inhabitants but was full of kind-hearted, colourful characters.
3.Wild cows roamed the east end of our island and were known to chase us through forest paths.
So how did my childhood affect my process of writing the Real Mermaids series?
1.My dad took us for boat rides to a town on the mainland called St. Peters. We sailed up a canal from the ocean to a fresh water lake. That canal inspired the setting of my fictional town of Port Toulouse. I often wondered if the purple jellyfish in the ocean knew about the white jellyfish in the lake. It amazed me that two totally different underwater worlds could be separated by just a mile-long canal. That was the inspiration for the mer-world in these books. <canal picture>
2.I wanted my fictional town of Port Toulouse to be small and quaint, with a strong sense of community and full of fun characters like where I grew up.
3.It was a bit harder to work in the wild cows so mermaids seemed like a good alternative. ;-)
You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.

Top Five Summer Splashin’ Activities
Discover Hélène’s favorite summer activities – all involving water of course. Make sure to get your swimsuit ready!
I grew up on a small island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean so splishy-splashy summer activities are some of my favourite things to do.  Here are my top five summer splashin’ activities!
I am so bad at surfing and have only ever managed to stand on my board about three times in my life but it is so much fun to get out there and catch a few waves even if you’re like me and all you can manage is getting up on your knees. This day, it was only 13 C/ 55 F and the water was even chillier. Thank goodness for wet suits!
<surfing image>
My family and I stay at an ocean side cottage every summer and try to schedule our stay during the annual Sandcastle Building Competition. We came in FIRST last year and plan on defending our title again this summer. Jade the mermaid has even been known to make an appearance!
<sand mermaid image>
Creatures of the sea have always amazed me (obviously!) so if you ever get the chance—don’t pass up an opportunity to go whale watching. It’s so magical!
<whale watching image>
Last time, we even discovered a sea cave. I wonder what’s hiding in there…
<sea cave image>
4. RACE!
I joke that I once came in 141st in a race with 140 competitors and that’s not very far from the truth. I am slow. VERY slow. But I love competing in races at least once a summer. These days I usually do walking half marathons (my best time is 3:01 hrs—a glacial pace) but I’ve also been known to do short triathlons. Swimming is probably my worst leg of the race but it’s a great way to cool down for the biking and running part. This is my ‘I’m so glad THAT’S over’ face.
<triathlon image>
Yup, you read that correctly. When you live within driving distance of a dozen hockey arenas like I do, there’s nothing like loading up the back of the truck with Zamboni snow and dumping it in your front yard for an instant pile of chilly summer fun. Snowball fight!

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Golden Chariot by Chris Karlsen: Review and INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Comment for a chance to win a $75 Amazon Giftcard Grand Prize!!!  Comment on this stop for a chance to win ebook copies of Chris Karlsen's paranormal series!

The rare discovery of a ship sunk during the time of the Trojan War has been found off the coast of Turkey, near Troy. Charlotte Dashiell is an American nautical archaeologist and thrilled to be part of the recovery team. The wreck may contain proof of her highly controversial theory about the Trojan War.
 Charlotte is present when the Turkish government agent assigned to guard the site is murdered. Her possible involvement and a questionable connection to a private collector of black market relics bring her under suspicion. Atakan Vadim is the Turkish agent sent to investigate her. Unknown to either of them, the smuggler behind the murder plans to steal a valuable artifact and frame Charlotte for the theft...after they murder her.
Goodreads Summary

The Goodreads summary above gives a great description of the novel without any spoilers.  Readers have heard many theories concerning different topics, but probably haven't heard too many about the Trojan War.  Things begin to heat up after a murder without a clear-cut motive takes place.  Charlotte, the main character, must think on her feet and try to solve the mystery while proving her own theory. 

Charlotte is not a shrinking violet.  She manages to portray bravery, intelligence, and a take-no-prisoners strong personality.  Many readers will love the strong female heroine who doesn't need a savior or hero.  The other characters are interesting.  Atakan, sent to investigate and watch Charlotte, may move up in the readers' esteem when he slowly comes around to Charlotte's side.  At first, everyone seems to suspect the story goes on, some characters, notably Atakan begin to trust her. 

Overall, this story has the excitement, mystery, and intrigue necessary for a fast read.  This book is recommended to adult readers.

4 Stars

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Shouts of “fire” came from all sides of the camp. The west wind blew sparks in the direction of the lab. They could lose the entire camp, but not the lab, not the artifacts.
Charlotte grabbed an empty barrel from the fire line. She ran with it and started climbing the stairs to the shower stall’s water tank. A man’s large hand covered her mouth. His other hand brandished a gun. With the cold barrel to her ear, he walked her backwards down the few steps to the ground.
“Don’t scream.” Little-by-little his palm came away from her mouth.

Author Bio:
I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.!/chriskarlsenwriter

Chris will award eBook copies of her paranormal romance series to one commenter at every stop, a $75 Amazon GC grand prize to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $50 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding hers and the hosts).

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

In Leah's Wake by Terri Long Excerpt and Charity Promo!

Enter to win a $200 Amazon voucher when you buy In Leah's Wake, you will also be supporting The Chicago Food Bank ($1 from your purchase is donated!)  Find more about this contest and promotion here!


Leah had taught her parents a lesson, all right. Here she was, alone on this smelly hide-a-bed in Hope’s living room, the springs poking into her back, wishing more than anything else in the world she was home, in her own room, in her own comfortable bed. She missed her little sister. She had no one to talk to, no one she could rely on. She was all alone here.
Hope’s response to her arrival this morning had been lukewarm. “I guess you can stay,” Hope had said. “I’ll tell my mom it’s just for tonight, so she doesn’t think you’re moving in or anything. You’ll have to sleep on the couch.” As if Leah had planned to confiscate her room.
Strangely enough, Leah missed her parents. Hope’s mom was cool, but she was not Leah’s mother.
Now she could never go back. After the scene in the car, she could never face her parents; she could never look them in the eye. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she keep her stupid trap shut? Her parents hadn’t disowned her exactly; she’d seen their disgust, the revulsion in their eyes. They were probably glad she’d left; glad to be rid of her. Not that she blamed them. She’d disappointed them—again. She’d disappointed everyone. Her mother, her father. Coach Thomas. The girls on her soccer team. The high school dean, who, “for the life of me, Leah,” could not understand why such a bright girl would skip class or let her grades slide. She’d alienated her teachers. Withdrawn from old friends. When she approached, the kids turned their heads or walked away. Worst of all, she’d disappointed Justine.

Author Bio:

It wasn’t until high school that Terri Giuliano Long realized she wanted to be a writer.
“I always envisioned myself as a graphic artist or a painter,” she recalls.  “As a child, I would spend hours alone in my bedroom, sprawled on the floor, drawing outfits for my paper dolls, making up stories, and acting in my own improvisational plays.”
After taking an advanced writing course her sophomore year, Terri discovered her passion for storytelling through the written word, and at 16, she landed her first job as a reporter for The Billerica Minuteman, a daily newspaper produced in her hometown of Billerica, Mass. “At first, I covered sports and other high school news, but after a few months, I was given my own column” she says. “Even though I earned about a dollar a week, I knew then that the only job I’d ever want would be as a writer.”
After graduation, Terri worked as a reporter for the Chelmsford Independent and began freelancing for a variety of other publications, including the Minuteman Chronicle, for which she was a columnist After serving as editor-in-chief of a fitness magazine, she worked in a variety of jobs: writing copy for marketing, advertising, and public relations; editing technical articles for trade journals; and website consulting.
In 1995, Terri, who had received an AB in philosophy fromBostonCollege, enrolled inEmersonCollege’s MFA program to refocus her career and concentrate on literary fiction. At this time, she also began teaching creative and non-fiction writing at Boston College.
In 1998, Terri started to write her first novel, In Leah’s Wake, as part of her graduate thesis. Drawing inspiration from her experiences at the Chelmsford Independent, she completed the first draft within three months.  She recalls, “As a young newspaper reporter, I had written a series of feature articles about families with drug and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms talked candidly about their children, their heartbreaking struggles. Those stories stayed with me.”
Terri, the mother of four daughters, says her primary inspiration comes from observing human nature. She also has an abiding interest in existential philosophy. “Watching and listening to people, hearing their stories – this inspires me,” she says.

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Of Poseidon by Anna Banks: Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway (USA/CAN)!

Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

Goodreads Summary

This book will transport the reader to a very different world, the world of Syrena.  Syrena is currently in trouble...all over a missing girl who is a bit of a "fish whisperer."

Emma and Galen are the main characters.  Their relationship starts off rocky and continues that way through the majority of the book.  Galen is seeking that special girl, he believes there is a strong chance Emma could be her.  Emma is dealing with normal teenage issues, from school to a lack of boyfriend to family.  Emma is more happy-go-lucky, inquisitive, and funny while Galen is more of an enigma.  He can be charismatic, but he can also be a bit of a cold fish at times (punny, I know).

The secondary characters are fun to get to know.  Galen's friend and a relative accompany him on his quest, the sparks from their relationship will keep the reader intrigued.  Many of the secondary characters have a quality that is memorable to the reader, they also play a very important part in the plot.

The events in this book range from slightly romantic encounters to scary whale shockers to the discovery of a whole different world underwater.  The reader will be kept entertained through every scene.  This book is highly recommended to teens/young adults/adult readers.

5 Stars

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You Might Be an OF POSEIDON Fan If…

I’m from the south. Also, I’m southern. (You can be from the south and not actually be southern. Normally these type of people move away, because they don’t fit in here.) Anyhow, to us southerners, Jeff Foxworthy is a mini-deity. His You Might Be a Redneck If… jokes are hilarious. They’re hilarious and we southerners “get” them and we laugh until tears slide down our cheeks and into our mason jar glasses of sweet tea.
But they’re not just jokes. No, they’re actual instruments to help you identify whether or not you’re a redneck. Brilliant, right? No blood-work needed, no background check necessary. A simple yes or no could help you find your true identity. It could help you find where you belong. Give you a sense of purpose in life—well anyway, it’s helpful.
So. I decided that this simple/brilliant method could also work for folks who are contemplating whether or not they should read OF POSEIDON. I’m a bit biased on the subject (you should totally read it), so please, by all means, do take advantage of these valuable tools I’ve provided below:

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You have ever knocked yourself unconscious on some guy’s magnificent pecs.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You think mermaids with fluffy goldfish tails are a bit pansy-ish.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You find chick fights amusing, and not to mention entirely necessary sometimes.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You think royal princes—even hot ones—should be sassed. Often.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You have ever held a funeral for a dead fish before flushing it, or apologized to a dead fish for “accidentally” catching it, even though you were clearly standing on the end of a dock with a fishing pole.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if:  You think insta-love is a metric ton of BS and you prefer your romance slow-simmered and seasoned with bickering and flaws and tingles.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You enjoy spiking the food of your friends and frenemies in order to make them upchuck.

You might be an OF POSEIDON fan if: You think sarcasm is an actual language on which tax dollars should be spent to teach it in a classroom setting at all schools.

So. Could YOU be an OF POSEIDON fan? 


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Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

Enter Today - 5/15-6/4!

Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after? Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever after? Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

Goodreads Summary

Allison Denman and Seth Rayner have been a couple since high school.  Now as the wedding day approaches, nothing feels right to Allison…not the dress, not the flowers in the bouquet that Seth insisted on, not the huge wedding he wanted.  When Seth’s older brother Daniel leans in for a kiss just a week before the wedding, Allison wonders if her uncertainty stems from a yearning for adventure.   She’s always found it by living vicariously through Daniel and his postcards to her.  Now, Allison is a runaway bride trapped in her “five-thousand-dollar, full-length designer straitjacket”.  She winds up running away to Colorado to her aunt, some llamas, and to God. 
Reading how she ran out on a great, if controlling, guy like Seth in the church with hundreds of friends and family watching really bothered me.  Then when Allison struggles, but slowly falls for Seth’s brother Daniel, it bothered me more.  The situation seems so morally wrong, so hurtful…even if she’s trying to do what’s best for herself.  Author Vogt creates great dialogue which made the intolerable circumstances more bearable and almost enjoyable for this reader.  Vogt also introduces supporting characters that add to the story.  Best friend Meghan is outspoken, straightforward, and loyal; stepfather Will is a constant loving presence in her life; Aunt Nita offers sound advice, endless support, and llamas to love.

Three and a Half Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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Win an iPad2 from @BethVogt!

Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!

One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.