YA Corner: A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive

Happy Halloween!  Today I have a great review celebrate Halloween.  A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive is a great young adult paranormal romance.  It’s a classic story about the goth girl and popular athlete fall in love with some death mixed in there.  It’s an easy quick read that will take you on a surprisingly emotional ride at times.  For my full review be sure to check it out after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a Happy Halloween!  Don’t eat too much candy!  🙂

13411964Book Blurb:

Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves. But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia’s hands, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up? With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has new meaning. But what Xylia doesn’t realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she’s thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia’s this time.

Review:

Xylia is a normal girl except for her obsession with cemeteries, attending funerals and visiting the terminally ill.  All the while she is a bit of an outcast with her obsession she harbors a crush on one of the hottest guys in school.  Landon is popular and a soccer god.  When Xylia is at the soccer game where Landon passes out she is forced to help try to revive him with her father.  despite her efforts Landon dies and she can’t wrap her mind around it.  So Xylia’s obsession crosses over to her visiting the morgue where Landon is.  For reasons unbeknownst to her she decides to kiss him and he wakes up stunning her and the world.  As that one act changes their lives, Landon can’t help but want to know more about the girl with the green eyes and Xylia finds herself hiding from Landon.  But, the more Xylia runs the more Landon is intrigued by her and why she is all he can think about.  In almost a fortuitous coincidence they find themselves on a trip together and find out more about death and themselves then they thought possible.  But, in the end with that one kiss Xylia has upset the balance of life and death.  Someone must die to restore balance.

I really liked this book.  You really fall for the characters and develop an emotional tie to them.  When a choice must be made you really don’t want either choice.  Xylia really develops as a character and her suspicious behavior is explained and understood.  Landon is also more than you expect.  But, in the end you do ask if it’s just that near death experience that makes him care for Xylia or not.  The story was great.  I enjoyed that the point of view went from both Xylia and Landon.  I would have really like to have known who the “angels” were.  They were quite mysterious and when asked what they were they never explained.  Overall, it’s a great quick read with a wonderful story.  It is quite fitting for todays holiday.

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Coffee and a Review with A Wicked Deception by Margaret Tanner

untitledWelcome to yet another week closer to Christmas.  I can hear all the groans out there and I sympathize.  So, to take your mind of the impending holidays I am starting your week off with a wonderful historical romance.  A Wicked Deception by Margaret Tanner is a refreshing topic with wonderful characters and an even better backdrop.  For more on my review check it out after the book blurb.  Have a great week everybody!

51W0vfiUVcL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Book Blurb:

In 1854, the Australia goldfields swirl with the heated danger and betrayal of the Eureka Stockade rebellion. At the center of this maelstrom is Melanie O’Dea, a woman with a price on her head and the authorities on her heels. Melanie accepts aid from a neighbor, The Honorable Michael Guilford, but this places her in even more peril. After he seduces her and callously discards her, Melanie is left to fend for herself. Can she endure such treachery and survive the sweeping winds of uncertainty?

Review:

Melanie O’Dea is madly in love with Robbie Pritchard.  The only thing standing between the two marrying is her brother James.  James demands that Robbie make a good living before handing over his sister.  Robbie is working in the goldfields.  At this time it is very tumultuous and dangerous.   Robbie is part a group rebelling against officials who are making the miners lives very difficult.  It unfortunately this that brings Melanie into a dangerous situation and turns her into an outlaw.  When she is on the run she is aided by her neighbor, Michael Guilford, who she used to think she was deeply in love with.  During their journey Melanie finds out some devastating news about Robbie and her brother and forces herself to try to move forward with her old love.  It isn’t until after Melanie moves heaven and earth to follow her old love that she finds she has been deceived in a most painful way.  Against all odds Melanie must survive.  How to do that she doesn’t know, but the one thing she knows is that she must.

This was a great historical read.  I loved the story and the little known subject of the Eureka Stockade rebellion.  It really got my historian juices flowing.  I love this part of history especially with the rebellions of miners and others.  This is a more obscurely known rebellion to Americans, but it is no less interesting.  The love story interwoven in the back story of this rebellion was flawlessly done.  The emotion that is brought to not only the historical part but the deception and betrayal that Melanie has to endure is fantastic.  I must say that through the trials it’s the ending that makes everything ok.  I did shed some tears but in the end I was smiling.  If you want a wonderful journey to the past with an emotional component you will love A Wicked Deception.

Fresh Face Friday: She’s Got Dibs by AJ Nuest

TGIF!  I hope you all have had a great week.  Not sure where your reading from but here Fall has definitely arrived.  So, to warm up your nights I am spotlighting a steamy romance by AJ Nuest.  She’s Got Dibs is a wonderful romantic and comedic book with a wonderful story and wonderful characters.  Not to mention an extremely hot philanthropist billionaire.  Be sure to read my whole review after the book blurb.  Hopefully this book will warm up your nights this weekend.  I know it did mine.  🙂

17839367Book Blurb:

True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted–twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents’ plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?
Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand–his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have–a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams.

His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiance be their final undoing?

Review:

Tessa Adams finds herself stranded in New York due to an ice storm.  When Tessa finds out she won’t be flying back to Chicago she is seated next to a very handsome and somewhat/possibly crazy man.  It is thanks to him though that she finds a place to stay the night.  Dibs sees Tessa and knows he must get to know her ever for a little bit.  Tessa and Dibs ride together to the hotel and Dibs buys Tessa dinner.  One thing leads to another and Tessa and Dibs have a very steamy night together.  Dibs wants to see Tessa more, but at the last-minute Tessa leaves Dibs and heads home on the first flight.  Tessa believes she won’t see Dibs again until the first bouquet of flowers arrives to her event planning business.  Tessa tries to ignore Dibs in every way possible until she gives him an emphatic NO.  Thinking she is finally free of Dibs and her business is building she has another fateful flight with Dibs.  With this flight they decide to become friends.  Soon, Dibs flies under Tessa radar and takes up residence in her heart.  All of a sudden friendship is no longer possible and it isn’t what either of them want.  Finally, they come together and what Dibs has known all along Tessa learns that they are wonderful together and shouldn’t be just friends. Though they fall for each other soon obstacles are in the way and decisions must be made.  Will Tessa be able to finally find true love or will she give everything up for the sake of her heart.

I adored this book!  I laughed, cried, laughed some more and totally fell in love with Dibs.  The story was phenomenal and really drew me in.  It’s a love story through and through.  AJ Nuest definitely has you fall in with all of her characters and their story.  The story between Tess and Dibs turns into a wonderful version of Romeo and Juliet without all of the dying.  Dibs’ family and Tessa’s friends make a great supporting cast.  They help to cause strife and propel the story in a natural direction.  I can’t tell you enough had wonderful and fun this read was.  It was a bit reminiscent of Tara Sivec’s books.  The dialogue between Dibs and Tessa is so very natural and is one of the best parts of this book.  It is the dialogue and Dibs’ ultra romantic gestures that will make any woman reading this book fall head over heels in love with him.  I even found myself cussing Tessa out because of her decisions in the beginning.  Overall, this is one of the best romances I have read in a while.  If you want a steamy read and ready for a new book boyfriend pick up She’s Got Dibs.

4842750Author Bio:

Multi-published, award winning author, AJ Nuest resides in a small farming community in NW Indiana. A wife, mother and freelance editor, she shares her home with a variety of spoiled-rotten pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship.

YA Corner: Windmills by Lyndi Alexander

It’s Hump day!  I hope all of you are having a great week thus far.  Today, I am bringing to you a young adult book that mixes a few different genres.  Lyndi Alexander’s book, Windmills, is an adventure with a dash of apocalyptic danger thrown in there.  It is quite a good read and definitely good for the young adult crowd.  Be sure to check out my full review after the book blurb.

18229923Book Blurb:

Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.

Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.

But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.

Review:

Kwan is a young girl living in China during a time when world is going through a terrible plague.  China seems to be at the farthest reaches of the plague and she has been safe living with her Aunt and her cousin.  Her father and mother have gone to America where the plague began and they hope to help find a cure.  Six months after her parents left Kwan gets a letter from her father asking for specific herbs and for Kwan to travel to America to deliver the herbs.  Kwan wants to desperately help her parents and seeks the help of her sensei.  Soon they are on their way via a cargo ship.  But, unbeknownst to Kwan, she and her sensei are being stalked by an assassin.  The dangers of a lawless and desperate society pose many threats.  Kwan’s adventure leads her to find out how tough and determined she is.

This book was a refreshing young adult read.  It had a lot of adventure elements along with the dangers of an apocalyptic society.  I enjoyed characters of Kwan and her sensei Li Zhong.  I thought it was quite interesting that even in a deevolutionized society the idea that the Chinese will still try to cling to the values and societal structures that have endured centuries.  It was interesting to see Lyndi Alexander try to balance the new world deconstruction while trying to mesh the values of a society that values structure.  Much of this book is looking at how Kwan will over come one’s engrained nature and find the courage to do what is necessary.  What is necessary isn’t always right.  I was a bit disappointed in the end though.  The book abruptly ends with no definitive answers for any of the storylines or characters that you follow through the book.  This may be the first book in a series but in anything I have read I do not see any indication that there will be a follow-up.  I do hope there is because I feel resolution needs to be given to these characters.  All in all, this was a good book with a lot of potential for more.

Coffee and a Review with Embrace the Darkness by Lilly Gayle

coffeeHappy Monday!  This week I am going to start your week off with a steamy paranormal romance, Embrace the Darkness by Lilly Gayle.  This is a good addition in the genre of paranormal romance.  In a genre filled to the brim with vampire romances this is a wonderful addition with a twist.  If you are a fan of vampires that are sexy you will love this book.  Be sure to check out my whole review after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a wonderful beginning to you week.

17449898Book Blurb:

An experimental vaccine gives vampire Gerard Delaroche hope for the first time in two centuries–until two people are brutally murdered, and he suspects a conspiracy between vampires and mortals. To solve the crime, he must put his trust in a beautiful detective. But is former soldier and MP turned detective, Amber Buckley, a threat to his existence? Or the answer to his prayers?

Amber Buckley and her partner are assigned to do follow up interviews in the Lifeblood of America slayings. Amber believes she and Reid are just new eyes on a cold case. That is, until she meets Gerard Delaroche. Something about him teases long-buried memories Amber would rather not chase. However, the two join together, falling into more than resolution of a murder case. It seems Amber has some dark secrets of her own.

To find their way into the light, Amber and Gerard must first EMBRACE THE DARKNESS.

Review:

Amber is a former soldier turned detective.  She has horrible reoccurring flashbacks about her time in Iraq and her time in Germany recovering.  What Amber doesn’t realize is the new case her and her partner are on will throw her into a world she has always been a part of but never really knew.  Amber is assigned to research murders at a facility that works on vaccines, but that is not everything they do.  The secret vaccines are actually for the vampire virus and Gerard is one of the founders/vampires who are working on this secret vaccine.  As Amber nears the true answers her flashbacks of previous encounters with vampires start coming back.  She thinks this is just a post traumatic delusion but as she gets closer to Gerard he reveals his secret and they decide to work together.  What Amber doesn’t expect working with Gerard is to fall in love with him while discovering secrets of her own.  In the end can a human and vampire work together to keep the vampire secret?  Also, will they be able to cross the vast divide that lies between them to work together both professionally and very personally?

I really enjoyed Embrace the Darkness.  As many of you know I am a fan of paranormal romances and this one did not disappoint.  This is actually the second book in Lilly Gayle’s series.  Though I must say that you can probably read this book as a stand alone.  I did, but I do want to go back and read Megan and Vincent’s story.  I adored Amber and Gerard’s love story.  Also, the intimate scenes are steamy and quite exciting.  The story with the intrigue was a great addition that kept you hooked and wanting to read more.  I think that Amber finding out about her parents and her heritage was a great addition that truly helped to move the story along.  Overall, this was a wonderful read that will keep you turning the pages up until the end.

Fresh Face Friday: Loveland by Andrea Downing

TGIF Everyone!  Today I am featuring a wonderful historical romance, Loveland by Andrea Downing.  The story is wonderful between a Lady from England’s royalty and a lowly cattle rustler.  It’s quite lovely and very real for a historical.  It has some romanticizing of the Old West but for the most part it is fairly realistic.  Make sure to keep reading for the rest of my review.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and if you’re not planning on doing anything pick up a good book!

Book Blurb: 15761634

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society –and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life…Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order.
The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

Review:

We first meet Lady Alexander Calthorpe as she is being dragged out of the ranch she loves and forced to go back to England to her father.  She has lived on the ranch for 4 years and loves the life, the people and the surroundings.  So, it’s no surprise when she returns five years later a full-grown woman.  She is ready to be independent.  All she wants to do is paint and ride on the ranch.  She gets her wish but she also gets more.  When Alex realizes Jesse Makepeace is still on the ranch and as handsome as ever this puts a small kink in her plans.  Alex and Jesse have been friends since she lived on the ranch before.  The biggest change is that she is no longer a little girl and Jesse is shocked at the beautiful young woman she has become.  Through trials and tribulations Jesse and Alex find themselves falling in love.  Unfortunately, there are many outside forces that want to see them separated.  Can Jesse and Alex fight for the love they both deserve or will the world win and kill the flame that burns between them.

This was a wonderfully romantic book.  I loved the scenery, the characters and the story.  It almost felt like a western Pride and Prejudice.  I adored Alex’s spunk.  She really came into her own as a character.  Her story develops beautifully and with that allows for her and Jesse’s love to grow.  I enjoyed that it wasn’t a quick romance.  You could feel the love grow.  It felt much more realistic that way.  Jesse was also a great character.  Any woman would fall in love with this cow puncher.  But, it’s not just that he’s hot he is much more.  The depth to his character shows and makes an impact.  Overall, I have to say the biggest character was the backdrop of Colorado during this time.  Andrea Downing’s description are wonderful and really want to make you go and see the Colorado that Alex sees.  All in all this is a great romantic read.  Every character has a purpose as does every word.  I would recommend this for anyone looking for a good western romance.  I know I’ll be looking for Andrea Downing’s next book!

Author Bio:

6446229Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter,  and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, is her first book.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

YA Corner: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks

Today I’m lucky enough to spotlight The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks.  This young adult paranormal is a great story with some interesting paranormal aspects.  It is unique characters both real and paranormal.  I have found a new series I will be following. For my whole review be sure to read my full review after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a great hump day!  What Day Is It???  Sorry couldn’t resist.

Single tree in field during winter 2Book Blurb:

Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead — just like the prom queen did.

While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.

She should have listened.

Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.

Review:

We first meet Leigh at her mom’s gravesite on the day of her funeral.  This is a day that will change Leigh’s life forever and it’s not just because her mom has died.  While standing at the gravesite she sees a girl who was dead a couple of weeks ago walk toward her in a horrific look of dirt, mud and gore.  Leigh hurries back to her family only to return later to bury some of her mom’s favorite items so that she will stay in the ground.  While trying to bury the items at her mom’s grave a strange boy comes along telling her not to do that.  That she should never offer gifts to the dead.  Leigh ignores the “Scary boy”  as she comes to call him and does exactly what she wants.  Though Leigh continues to do what she likes strange things begin to happen starting with visits from the undead girl from school and culminating with a spider infestation in her house.  At first Leigh doesn’t know how this all connected to her or why this is happening but she soon discovers that she must make some decisions that will save those she loves but possibly hurt the world. 

This was a wonderful book.  It was a fast paced easy read.  It keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next.  I loved Leigh’s character.  I thought she had just the right amount of teenage angst with a touch of responsibility that is thrust upon teenagers going through what Leigh has been through.  I also loved the love triangle.  It’s still a bit unresolved but I do find that this plotline allows for more in the series to come.  The supporting characters of Cal, Jo and Tram are wonderful additions.  They ad depth to the story without slowing things down.  Jo is the best friend for Leigh.  She adds just enough quirkiness along with an emotional attachment that Leigh’s character needs.  It’s not just the characters though that makes this story great.  It’s the paranormal world that Lindsey R. Loucks has created.  The story with the sorceresses and the Trammelers was unique and something I have never come across before.  I am quite excited to see where this series goes.  It has a lot of potential and a wonderful start with this first book, The Grave Winner.

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