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Monday, 28 December 2015

THE HOWLING HEART Tour & Giveaway


To love a werewolf, you must love the wolf.
Werewolves take center stage in my aptly titled paranormal romance novel The Howling Heart. I think my werewolves are unique, because they’re descended from a 13th century Scandinavian wolf that was blessed with the ability to shapeshift into a human by M├íni, the Norse god of the moon, and Freya, the Norse goddess of love. They conjured this miracle by laying their divine hands on his wolf body, and placing a special light inside him. His descendants later adopted the species name Varulv, which means “werewolf” in Swedish and Danish. They also refer to “The Light Within” as the source of their supernatural power. Varulv are actually wolves in human guise that have learned to behave as humans to survive in a human world. They are born as wolf pups and have to sleep in wolf form, because it takes a conscious mind and energy to retain human form.

Riley is a young British werewolf now living in the small secluded town of Black River in the Colorado Rockies. The town is inhabited exclusively by Varulv. He falls in love with Paige, a young human woman from New York City, when they first meet as children. The only thing he’s ever wanted is to make her his mate. One of his challenges is helping her understand that he’s a wolf first and a human second. She needs to accept this if their relationship is going to work.

"What you're looking at is just a physical representation of what I'd look like if I was human. It's a tangible illusion…it’s not what I really am. I can appear, act, and speak like a human, but I’m not one. I was born a wolf pup, not a baby. I had to learn how to take my human form and control my shifting." -- Riley

Because of Varulv’s complex nature, there’s a chance Riley could never be human again. My werewolves can lose The Light Within if their wolf bodies are injured severely. If that ever happens to Riley, how would that affect his relationship with Paige? Would she still love him? Would she still make love to him? Those are pivotal questions, and I felt it was necessary for the characters to have the discussion in the book. On several occasions, Paige needed to be reminded that Riley was a wolf. She couldn’t delude herself into thinking she was committing to a human.

Riley fell asleep first, and I felt his soft fur on my face. His body temperature was warmer. His front paws wrapped around me, and I realized this was the most intimate I'd been with his animal form. He would never sleep with me as a human, and I had to accept it if I was going to be with him.

I wanted her to consider the possibility of Riley losing his light, and realize the depth of her love for him. I hope readers are intrigued by The Howling Heart, and will approach it with an open mind like Paige. It’s a different “breed” of werewolf romance.


The Book

The Howling Heart by April Bostic
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance


About The Howling Heart:
Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv---wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.
Source: Info in the About The Howling Heart was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):
   

Meet The Author

About April Bostic:
April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled "A Rose to the Fallen".

Her first short story, "Right Here, Right Now", released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories: a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled "Eros, My Love", and a sexy romantic comedy entitled "Love Addiction".

After five years, she released her second novel, "The Howling Heart" in August 2013, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April also released her fourth short story in December 2013, a historical paranormal romance entitled "A Dark Scandal".


Tour Schedule

December 27th: Launch
December 28th: Cherry Mischievous
December 29th: Reading Addict
December 30th: Mythical Books & Becky on Books
January 1st: Cover2Cover & Enthralling Dimple
January 3rd: Grand Finale


Giveaway

$25 Amazon eGift Card & ebook of The Howling Heart
Open internationally
Ends January 9th


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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

SWEEP IN PEACE Review


The Book

Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews
Book 2 of the Innkeeper Chronicles series
Read by Renee Raudman
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: ebook, & audiobookAudiobook


About Sweep In Peace:
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn is a living entity that defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn… and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…
Source: Info in the About Sweep In Peace was taken from the author's website at http://www.ilona-andrews.com/blog/book/sweep-in-peace on 23/10/2015.

Buy Link(s):
   

Excerpt:
Chapter One

When visitors came to the fine state of Texas, they expected a dry, rolling plain studded with longhorn cattle, oil derricks, and an occasional cowboy in a huge hat. According to them, that plain had only one type of weather: scorching. That wasn’t true at all. In fact, we had two types, drought and flood. This December, the town of Red Deer was experiencing the latter kind of weather. The rain poured and poured, turning the world gray, damp, and dreary.

I looked outside the living room window and hugged myself. The view offered a section of flooded street and, past it, the Avalon subdivision hunkering down under the cascade of cold water determined to wait it out. The inside of Gertrude Hunt’s Bed-and-Breakfast was warm and dry, but the rain was getting to me all the same. After a week of this downpour, I wanted a clear sky. Maybe it would let up tomorrow. A girl could hope.

It was a perfect evening to snuggle up with a book, play a video game, or watch TV. Except I wanted to do none of those things. I’d been snuggling up with a book, playing video games, or watching TV every night for the past six months with only my dog, my inn, and its lone guest for company, and I was a bit tired of it.

Caldenia exited the kitchen, carrying her cup of tea. She looked to be in her sixties, beautiful, elegant, and cloaked in the air of experience. If you saw her on the street in New York or London, you’d think she was a lady of high society whose days were filled with brunches with friends and charity auctions. Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren, was indeed high society, except she preferred world domination to friendly brunches and mass murder to charity. Thankfully those days were behind her. Now she was just a guest at my inn, her past barely an issue aside from an occasional bounty hunter stupid enough to try to collect on the enormous price on her head.

On this evening she wore a sweeping kimono the color of rose wine, with gold accents. It flared as she walked, giving her thin figure a suitably regal air. Her silver hair, usually artfully arranged into a flattering hairdo, drooped slightly. Her makeup looked smudged and short of her typical impeccable perfection. The rain was getting to her as well.

She cleared her throat.

What now? “Your Grace?”

“Dina, I’m bored,” Caldenia announced.

Too bad. I guaranteed her safety, not entertainment. “What about your game?”

Her Grace gave me a shrug. “I’ve beaten it five times on the Deity setting. I’ve reduced Paris to ashes because Napoleon annoyed me. I’ve eradicated Gandhi. I’ve crushed George Washington. Empress Wu had potential, so I eliminated her before we even cleared Bronze Age. The Egyptians are my pawns. I dominate the planet. Oddly, I find myself mildly fascinated by Genghis Khan. A shrewd and savage warrior, possessing a certain magnetism. I left him with a single city, and I periodically make ridiculous demands that I know he can’t meet so I can watch him squirm.”

She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell. “What civilization did you choose?”

“Rome, of course. Any title other than Empress would be unacceptable. That’s not the point. The point, my dear, is that our lives are beginning to feel dreadfully dull. The last guest we had was two months ago.”

She was preaching to the converted. Gertrude Hunt required guests, for financial and other reasons. They were the lifeblood of the inn. Caldenia helped some, but for the inn to thrive, we needed guests—if not a steady stream, then a large party. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to get those guests. Once upon a time, Gertrude Hunt had sat on a crossroads of a busy road, but decades passed, the world changed, the roads shifted, and now Red Deer, Texas, was a small town in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t get much traffic.

“Would you like me to pass out flyers on the corner, Your Grace?”

“Do you think it would help you drum up business?”

“Probably not.”

“Well then, that answers your question. Don’t get snippy, Dina. It really doesn’t become you.” She glided up the stairs, her kimono flowing behind her like a mantle.

I needed tea. Tea would make everything better.

I went to the kitchen and reached for a kettle. My left foot landed in something cold and wet. I looked down. A small yellow puddle greeted me. Well, doesn’t that just take the cake?

“Beast!”

My tiny Shih Tzu dashed into the kitchen, her black and white fur waving like a battle flag. She saw my foot in the puddle. Her brain decided it was time to beat a hasty retreat, but her body kept going. She tripped over her own paws and smacked headfirst into the island.

“What is this?” I pointed to the puddle.

Beast flipped onto her feet, slunk behind the island, and poked her head out, looking guilty.

“You have a perfectly good doggie door. I don’t care if it’s raining, you go outside.”

Beast slunk about some more and whined.

Magic chimed, a soft not-quite sound only I could hear—the inn letting me know we had guests.

Visitors!

Beast exploded into barks, zooming around the island in tight circles. I hopped on one foot to the kitchen sink, stuck my foot under the faucet, and washed my hands and my foot with soap. The floor under the puddle split, forming a narrow gap. Tile flowed, suddenly fluid, and the offending liquid disappeared. The floor resealed itself. I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel, ran to the front door, Beast bounding at my heels, and swung it open.

A white Ford Explorer was parked in the driveway. Through the screen door I saw a man in the driver seat. A woman sat next to him. Behind them, two smaller heads moved back and forth—kids in the backseat, probably stir-crazy after a long trip. A nice family. I reached forward with my magic.

Oh.

I’d thought the chime didn’t sound quite right.

The man got out and ran to the front door, shielding his glasses from the rain with his hand, and stopped under the porch roof. About thirty-five, he looked like a typical suburban dad: jeans, T-shirt, and the slightly desperate expression of someone who had been in a car with small children for several hours.

“Hi!” he said. “I’d like to rent a room.”

This was exactly why Gertrude Hunt had a private phone number and no online listing. We weren’t on any tourist brochures. How had they even found us? “I’m sorry, we have no vacancy.”

He blinked. “What do you mean, you have no vacancy? It looks like a big house, and there are no cars in the driveway.”

“I’m sorry, we have no vacancy.”

The woman got out of the car and ran over. “What’s the holdup?”

The man turned to her. “They have no vacancy.”

The woman looked at me. “We drove six hours in this rain from Little Rock. We won’t be any trouble. We just need a couple of rooms.”

“There is a very nice Holiday Inn only two miles from here,” I said.

The woman pointed at Avalon subdivision. “My sister lives in that subdivision. She said the only person who ever stays here is some old lady.”

Ah. Mystery solved. The neighbors knew I ran a bed-and-breakfast because that was the only way I could explain the occasional guests.

“Is it because we have kids?” the woman asked.

“Not at all,” I said. “Would you like the directions to the Holiday Inn?”

The man grimaced. “No, thanks. Come on, Louise.”

They turned and went to their car. The woman was mumbling something. “…outrageous.”

I watched them get into the car, reverse down the driveway, and leave. The inn chimed softly, punctuating their departure.

“I thought we had guests!” Caldenia called from the stairs.

“Not the right kind,” I said.

The inn creaked. I petted the doorframe. “Don’t worry. It will get better.”

Caldenia sighed. “Perhaps you should go on a date, dear. Men are so attentive when they think there is a chance you will let them into your bed. It does wonderful things to lift your spirits.”

A date. Right.

“What about Sean Evans?”

“He isn’t home,” I said quietly.

“Too bad. It was so much fun when he and the other fellow were around.” Caldenia shrugged and went up the stairs.

About five months ago, I watched Sean Evans open a door and step through it to the greater universe beyond. I hadn’t heard from him since. Not that he owed me anything. Sharing a single kiss could hardly be called a relationship, no matter how memorable it was. I knew from experience that the universe was very large. It was difficult for a single woman to compete with all its wonders. Besides, I was an innkeeper. Guests left to have exciting adventures and our kind stayed behind. Such was the nature of our profession.

And telling myself all those things over and over didn’t make me feel better. When I thought about Sean Evans, I felt the way business travelers from Canada might feel about an overnight trip to Miami in the middle of February. They would ride in a taxi, see the beach outside their window, knowing they wouldn’t get a chance to visit it, and wonder what it would be like to walk on the sand and feel the waves on their feet. Sean and I might have been great if only we had more time, but now we would never know if that beach would’ve turned out to be paradise, or if we would find jellyfish in the water and sand in our food.

It was for probably for the best. Werewolves were nothing but trouble anyway.

I was about to close the door when magic brushed against me like ripples from a stone cast into a calm pond. This had a completely different flavor. Someone had entered the inn’s grounds. Someone powerful and dangerous.

I reached for my broom, which was resting in the corner by the door, and stepped out onto the front porch. A figure in a gray rain poncho stood by the hedges, just on the edge of the inn’s grounds, politely waiting to be invited inside.

We had a visitor. Maybe even a guest, the right kind this time. I inclined my head, more of a very shallow bow than a nod.

The two doors behind me opened on their own. The figure approached slowly. The visitor was tall, almost a foot taller than me, which put him around six two, maybe six three. He walked into the inn. I followed him, and the door closed tight behind me.

The figure pulled the cord securing his hood and shrugged off his rain poncho. A man in his early thirties stood in front of me, muscular but lean, his shoulder-length blond hair pulled back into a haphazard ponytail at the nape of his neck. He wore a white shirt with flaring sleeves, dark gray trousers, and supple black boots that came midway up his calf. An embroidered vest hugged his frame, black accented with blue, emphasizing the contrast between his broad shoulders and flat stomach. A leather sword belt graced his narrow hips, supporting a long, slender scabbard with an elaborate basket hilt protruding from it. He probably owned a wide-brimmed hat with some fluffy white feathers and possibly a cloak or two.

His face was shocking. Masculine, well-cut but not at all brutish, with strong elegant lines people usually called aristocratic: high, broad forehead, straight nose, good cheekbones, square jaw, and a full mouth. He wasn’t at all feminine, yet most people would describe him as beautiful rather than handsome.

The man smiled at me. Quiet humor tinted his pale blue eyes, as if he found the world a perpetually amusing place. They were the kind of eyes that shone with intelligence, confidence, and calculation. He didn’t look—he watched, noticed, and evaluated—and I had a feeling that even when his mouth and his eyes smiled, his mind remained alert and razor-sharp.

I had seen him before. I remembered that face. But where?

“I’m looking for Dina Demille.” His voice suited him well: warm and confident. He had a light accent, not really British, not really Southern US, but an odd, melodious meld of both.

“You found her,” I said. “Welcome to Gertrude Hunt Inn. Your poncho?”

“Thank you.” He handed me the poncho, and I hung it on the hook by the door.

“Will you be staying with us?”

“I’m afraid not.” He offered me an apologetic smile.

Figured. “What can I do for you?”

He raised his hand and traced a pattern between us. The air in the wake of his finger glowed with pale blue. A stylized symbol of scales, two weights in the balance, flared between us, held for a second, and vanished. He was an Arbitrator. Oh crap. My heart sped up. Who could possibly be suing us? Gertrude Hunt didn’t have the finances to fight an arbitration.

I leaned on my broom. “I’ve received no notice of arbitration.”

He smiled. His face lit up. Wow.

“My apologies. I’m afraid I’ve given you the wrong impression. You’re not a party to an arbitration. I came to you to discuss a business proposition.”

Business was so much better than arbitration. I pointed at the couches in the front room. “Please sit down. May I get you something to drink, Arbitrator?”

“Hot tea would be fantastic,” he said. “And please, call me George.”

#

We sat in my comfortable chairs and sipped our tea. George frowned, obviously collecting his thoughts. He seemed so… pleasant. Cultured and genteel. But in my line of work, you quickly learned that appearances were often deceiving. I clicked my tongue, and Beast jumped on my lap and positioned herself so she could lunge off my knees in an instant. Being cautious never hurt.

“Have you heard of Nexus?” George asked.

“Yes.” I had visited Nexus. It was one of those bizarre places in the galaxy where reality bent into a pretzel. “But please continue. I would rather have all the information I need than assume I know something I don’t.”

“Very well. Nexus is a colloquial name for Onetrikvasth IV, a star system with a single habitable planet.”

He didn’t stumble over the name. That must’ve taken some practice.

“Nexus is a temporal anomaly. Time flows faster there. A month on Earth is roughly equivalent to over three months on Nexus. However, biological aging proceeds at the same pace as on the planet of origin.”

My brother, Klaus, had once explained the Nexus paradox to me, complete with formulas. We were trying to find our parents at the time, and the complex explanation had flown right over my head. I chalked it up to magic. The universe was full of wonders. Some of them would drive you insane if you thought about them too long.

“Nexus also contains large subterranean reserves of kuyo, a naturally occurring viscous liquid that, when refined, is used in production of what my background file calls ‘pharmaceutical assets of significant strategic value.’”

“It’s used to manufacture military stimulants,” I said. “They affect a wide variety of species in slightly different ways, but typically they boost strength and speed while suppressing fatigue and fear. They turn humans into berserkers, for example.”

George smiled. “I should probably speak plainly.”

I smiled back. “It would save us some time.”

“Very well.” George sipped his tea. “Kuyo occurs throughout the galaxy but only in small quantities, which makes Nexus extremely valuable. Currently there are three factions fighting for control of the planet. Each claims the rights to the entirety of Nexus’s mineral wealth, and none are willing to compromise. They’re engaged in a bloody war. It’s been going on for a little over seven Earth years and almost twenty years in Nexus’s time. The war is brutal and has cost everyone involved a great deal. Cooler minds on all sides agree it can’t continue. The matter has been referred for arbitration by one of the interested factions, the other two agreed, and here we are.”

“I’m guessing one of the factions is the Merchants?” When we landed on Nexus, we’d ended up in a Merchant spaceport. Merchants facilitated interstellar trade through the known galaxy and its many dimensions. When you needed rare goods or a large quantity of goods, you went to see a Merchant. They were motivated by profit and prestige.

George nodded. “Yes. The war is cutting into their profits.”

“Which family? The Ama?”

“The Nuan. The Ama family cut their losses and sold its holdings on Nexus to Nuan two years ago.”

Suddenly his presence here made a lot of sense. “Is Nuan Cee involved?”

“Yes. In fact, he was the one who recommended your establishment.”

Before my parents disappeared, they did a lot of business with Nuan Cee. Running an inn sometimes required exotic goods, and he procured the rarest items. Even I had done a deal with Nuan Cee. I’d bartered the world’s rarest honey for the eggs of a deadly giant spider.

“Your tea is delicious,” George said.

“Thank you. Which are the other two factions?”

“House Krahr of the Holy Cosmic Anocracy.”

Six months ago I had sheltered a vampire of House Krahr after he was injured trying to apprehend an alien assassin. His nephew had come to rescue him. The nephew’s name was Arland, he was the Marshal of his House, and he had flirted with me. At least flirted in vampire terms. He’d assured me that he would be ecstatic to be my shield, and I shouldn’t hesitate to rely upon his warrior prowess. He’d also gotten drunk on coffee and run through my orchard naked.

Good God, who could hold the vampires of Krahr off for twenty years? They were one of the most ferocious sentient species in the galaxy. They were predators who lived to war. Their entire civilization was dedicated to it.

“And the final faction?”

George set his cup down. “The Otrokars.”

I blinked.

Silence stretched.

“The Hope-Crushing Horde?”

George looked slightly uncomfortable. “That’s the official name, yes.”

The Otrokars were the scourge of the galaxy. They were huge and violent, and they lived to conquer. They’d started with one planet and grown their holdings to nine. Their name literally meant Hope-Crushing, because once you saw them, all your hopes died. The Holy Anocracy and the Horde had collided several times over the past three centuries, always with disastrous results. The two species hated each other so much their feud had become legendary. Half the jokes in the galaxy started with “a vampire and an otrokar walk into a bar….”

Having vampires and Otrokars together in close proximity was like mixing glycerin with nitric acid and then hitting it with a sledgehammer. They would explode. It would be a slaughter.

I leaned forward. “So you need a neutral venue to hold the arbitration?”

“Yes. An inn on Earth is ideal. It is defined as neutral ground, and we can rely on an innkeeper’s power to keep the participants in check.”

“Let me guess: you’ve tried other inns and everyone turned you down. Am I your last stop?”

George took a deep breath. “Yes.”

“There was an attempt to broker peace between Otrokars and the Holy Cosmic Anocracy during their Ten-Year Conflict,” I said. “About fifty years ago.”

He braided his long, elegant fingers into a single fist. “Yes, I’m familiar with it.”

“Then you also know how it ended.”

“I believe the patriarch of House Jero lunged at the Otrokar Korum, and Korum beheaded him.”

“He ripped the patriarch’s head off with his bare hands and then proceeded to beat the Marshal of House Jero to death with it.”

“Well, the venture does sound risky when you put it that way…”

“It’s not risky, it’s suicidal.”

“Should I take it as a no?” George asked.

This was a really bad idea.

“How many people do you expect?”

“At least twelve from each party.”

Thirty-six guests. My heart sped up. Thirty-six guests, each with robust magic. This would sustain the inn for years to come. Not to mention that if I managed to pull this impossible thing off, it would raise the inn’s standing.

No. What was I thinking? It would be crazy. I would have to keep the peace between thirty-six individuals, each dying to kill the other. It would be terrible. The risk… The gamble was too great.

What did I have to lose?

George reached into his pocket, produced a small tablet about the size of a playing card and just as thin, and showed it to me. Two numbers: $500,000 and $1,000,000.

“The first is your payment in the event the arbitration fails. The second is payment if we succeed.”

Five hundred thousand. We needed the money. I could finally upgrade my books. I could buy the additional building materials for the inn.

No. I might as well set Gertrude Hunt on fire.

My gaze fell on the portrait of my parents. They were looking at me. Demilles never backed down from a challenge. But then, we didn’t take unnecessary risks either.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I could simply sit here and continue to wait for a chance traveler to happen my way…

“If I do this, I would need you to meet my conditions,” I said.

“Absolutely.”

“I want agreements of reimbursement to be drawn up and signed by all parties. I want a sum of money to be set aside in escrow from each faction and placed under your control. If they damage the inn, I want them to pay for the damages.”

“I find that reasonable.”

“I need each party to review and sign Earth’s nondisclosure policy. Ordinary citizens of this planet can’t know of their existence. For example, we may experience visits from local law enforcement, and I want it expressly understood that nobody will be crushing necks or ripping off heads.”

“Also reasonable.”

“I may think of some additional restrictions. Do you have any concerns?”

“A couple.” George leaned forward. “The nature of the relationship between the inn and its guests isn’t quite clear to me. Why does the inn require guests?”

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” I explained. “The inn provides the guests with shelter and food. It sees to their every need. In return, it feeds on the natural energy all living beings emit. The more varied and powerful that energy, the more magic the inn is able to generate and the stronger it becomes.”

George narrowed his eyes. “So is the inn empathic?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Can it influence the mood of its guests?”

“Only in as much as we are all influenced by our surroundings.”

George frowned. “I’ve read of some cases that suggested a link can be forged between an inn and its guests.”

Oh. That’s what he was getting at. “That’s not exactly accurate. It is possible for the inn to forge a mental link between an innkeeper and a guest, but the inn can’t influence the guest’s mental state. The linking ritual has been done only a handful of times in rare cases when the inn or guests were in danger. For example, when the identity of a murderer had to be confirmed. The guest has to be a willing participant in the process and try to forge the link. So if you’re asking me whether the inn can magically make the guests more agreeable and likely to sign the peace treaty, then no. I can make sure the peace delegates have the softest linens and the most tranquil of rooms, but I have no power to influence them. Even if I could, I wouldn’t. The privacy of my guests is sacred, and I am meant to remain as a neutral party. It would be a breach of ethics.”

“Oh well,” he said. “It was a thought.”

Considering the enormity of the task at hand, I could understand why he would reach for any possibility that could influence the outcome. “Anything else?”

“Yes.” George turned and glanced at the modest room. “I mean no disrespect, but your establishment is considerably smaller than I was led to believe. I don’t believe we have enough room.”

I rose. “Have you stayed at many inns?”

“No. I’ve visited several in connection with this summit, but I haven’t had the pleasure of being a guest. Yours is my first.”

I pulled the magic to me. What I was about to do would likely drain most of the inn’s resources and mine. If he walked away from our deal after I was done, it would take us a very long time to recover. But if we could get guests, it would all be worth it.

I picked up my broom. The magic vibrated within me, building and building, held so tight, like a giant spring compressed to its limit. George rose and stood next to me.

I raised the broom, bristles up, pictured the interior of the inn in my mind, and brought the broom down. Wood connected with floorboards with a dry knock.

Magic rolled through the inn like an avalanche, the wood and stone suddenly elastic and flowing. The interior of the inn opened like a blossoming flower. The walls moved apart. The ceiling soared. The magic kept streaming out of me, so fast I felt light-headed. Polished pink marble rolled over the floor, sheathed the walls, and surged up, forming stately columns.

Next to me George stood very still.

Two-story-tall windows opened in the marble. I leaned on the broom for support. Vaulted ceilings turned pure white. Crystal chandeliers sprouted like bunches of exquisite blooms. Golden flourishes spiraled and curved on the floor. Lights flared among the crystal.

I cut off the magic. The power snapped inside me like a rubber band. I reeled from the impact.

The grand ballroom spread before us, grandiose, elegant, and glowing.

The Arbitrator closed his mouth with a click. “I stand corrected.”
Source: Excerpt was taken from the author's website at http://www.ilona-andrews.com/blog/book/sweep-in-peace on 23/10/2015.

Books In The Innkeeper Chronicles:


Review

My Thoughts:
I Beta Read for the first book in this series and I was in love with it! So for this second book I decided not to Beta Read when the author called for Beta Readers because I wanted to experience the full book in its finality and in it's full glory... and I was reminded again why I love this series and this author all over again! So much so that I bought the audiobook after I read the ebook and currently re-listening to it! So I am an old die-hard fan, so this review might be nothing but fan-girling rave. Still, no one can dispute my claims to it's masterful and compelling story telling quality! Superb world building! And well-developed characters who fells like old friends... five out of five!


Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 5
Plot = 5
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries



FTC Disclosure:
Copies of the book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Friday, 18 December 2015

SELAH'S SWEET DREAM #BookBlast & #Giveaway


The Book

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Selah's Sweet Dream by Susan Count
Genre: kid lit


About Selah's Sweet Dream:
Twelve-Year-Old SELAH (Say-la) aspires to be an equestrian superstar. That would require a horse.

HER DILEMMA: Grandpa wants nothing to do with horses.

THEN: Selah sees buzzards circling the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They are stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope.

DANGEROUS: The horse is wild and defiant - jeopardizing Selah’s dreams.

FOILED: The legal owner searched for the horse for two years and wants it back.

BUT: Selah is confident that God will provide her heart’s desire.

MEMORIES: Grandpa shows Selah a video, from long ago, of a phenomenal equestrian. Selah declares that she wants to be like her and Grandpa explains the rider was her grandmother.

HOPE: A world renowned horse trainer offers to train Sweet Dream and Selah.

FOILED AGAIN: Her parents could ruin everything unless Sweet Dream’s unruly behavior ruins it first.

LOST: Selah’s opportunity to mirror the equestrian talent of her renowned grandmother evaporates when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility.

NEVER GIVE UP: Will Selah gather her courage and face up to the trainer to save her aspirations?
Source: Info in the About Selah's Sweet Dream was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):


The Early Buzz About the Book

"An engaging horse tale with a lot of heart... The story also has plenty of suspenseful passages to keep readers engaged." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"Never a dull moment…" ~ 5 Star Review, Readers' Favorite

"A delightful read for anyone who enjoys a wholesome page turner!" ~ Cathymar, Amazon

"I loved this book! The author is a master story-teller and also taught me a great deal about horses in the book and clearly demonstrated how devoted one person can be to her horse." ~ S. Baggett, Amazon

"This story details hopes, determination, family values and best of all, a magnificent horse with a good bloodline ... A perfect book for horse lovers and all thing 'horse!' " ~ D. Fisher, Amazon



Meet The Author

About Susan Count:
As a young girl, I was captivated by The Black Stallion series. Ownership of a real horse was beyond my grasp, so I consumed horse books. I am still a devoted student of equine training techniques of all disciplines and an avid equestrian. Now caretaker of three equine blessings, I consider them a gift of His unmerited favor.

The only thing more fun than riding horses is writing stories about them.

Pinterest fulfills my desire to have a horse of every color. Ride along: https://www.pinterest.com/susancount


Giveaway

** Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice

Giveaway ends: December 31, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Susan Count and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.



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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

WHIPPERSNAPPER Cover Reveal

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The Book

Whippersnapper by Michael Rupured
Genre: contemporary romance (m/m)


About Whippersnapper:
Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver.

Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody — especially young people.
Source: Info in the About Whippersnapper was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):


Exclusive Excerpt:
“Fighting about what?” Jules hadn’t seemed the least bit agitated or annoyed. Tellumo hung Trish’s coat on a hook on the back of his front door, leaving it ajar so Jules could get in with her hands full. “The car thing again?”

Trish nodded, plopped onto the sofa, and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “We’ve argued about it for weeks. She wanted your Christmas present from us to be the money for a down payment.” She patted the sofa cushion and motioned for him to sit. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve missed you too, and having a car would make visits home easier, but if you don’t want the responsibility….”


Check out all the exclusive snippets from the book at:





published by

Dreamspinner Press



The Cover Artist

Maria Fanning



Meet The Author

About Michael Rupured:
Michael Rupured loves to write. Before learning the alphabet, he filled page after page with rows of tiny circles he now believes were his first novels, and has been writing ever since. He lives in Athens, Georgia, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, came out as a gay man at the age of twenty-one in the late 1970s, and considers surviving his wild and reckless twenties to have been a miracle. To find out what Michael’s up to now, visit his blog (rupured.com), follow him on Twitter (@crotchetyman) or send an e-mail message to mrupured@gmail.com.




Giveaway

Winner’s Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card


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Monday, 14 December 2015

THE SECRET LIFE OF DAYDREAMS #BookBlast & #Giveaway


The Book

The Secret Life Of Daydreams by Lucinda Whitney
Genre: contemporary romance


About The Secret Life Of Daydreams:
Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.

As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through.

Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?
Source: Info in the About The Secret Life Of Daydreams was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):


Excerpt:
Sofia walked back to meet Josh and they strolled together past the deck at the reception center and the start of the trail. She unfolded the map and held it up between them.

She pointed at the spots of interest. “This is the suggested route. The main road goes up the hill to the western fortification wall. At the acropolis, there’s another wide road that intersects in the opposite direction.”

She circled several areas. “These areas are the residential nucleus and along the way we can see the remains of the round dwellings and the more common rectangular ones.” There was more but she looked up to Josh. “Are you okay with following this route?”

“I’m here to follow you.” He swept his right arm in front of her. “Just lead the way.”

Sofia straightened and pocketed the map. Josh carried too much and she hesitated. “Wouldn’t it be easier for you to use the equipment if I carry the backpack?”

He paused for a moment and surveyed the area then chuckled. “Sneaky, aren’t you? I know what you’re trying to do here.”

Why did guys always think they had to do everything to prove their virility? Such a macho thing. She splayed her hands on her hips. “It’s the twenty first century. I can carry my share. Besides, this is more like a business outing, not a date. Which means you don’t have to carry stuff for me.” She extended her hand for the backpack.

“What if I believe in chivalry? You won’t give me a chance to practice it?”

“And what if I’m a feminist? You won’t respect my views?” She was pushing him now and enjoying the banter.

Josh eyed her and held quiet, the corner of his mouth twitching. Sofia wanted to laugh. He was probably trying to figure out how serious she was about feminism. After a few seconds, he set down the tripod and removed the backpack, but his eyes crinkled with a lack of seriousness belied by his actions.

Sofia took the backpack from him and put it on. It wasn’t even as heavy as she’d expected. “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” She started up the trail then turned back to Josh. “And you still have your man card intact,” she added with a smile.

Josh laughed. “Sassy, aren’t you?”

“Come on, we don’t have all day,” she pressed in a teasing tone.


Praise for the Book
"Lucinda Whitney's The Secret Life of Daydreams whisks readers away to Braga, Portugal, a setting so vivid with color, texture, and life, they'll want to book a flight and travel there themselves. Josh is the hero many of us dream of, and Sofia a heroine who holds out for all she deserves. Overall a delightful romance far from the ordinary in both distance and scope." -- Michele Paige Holmes

"The romance is fantastic and with enough tingle to make my heart flutter. The conflict between the characters is believable and I longed for them to work it out, even though it wouldn't be easy." -- Laura D. Bastian

"The Secret Life of Daydreams is a story that explores the question "What if you got a second chance with the one that got away?" Readers will be rooting for Sofia and Josh to find a way to make their dreams come true despite the obstacles life puts in front of them."-- Sally Johnson

"This book was a delightful journey. I loved getting to know Josh and Sofia, cheering for them, growling at them, and sharing a happy sigh or two with them. The gorgeous setting of Portugal was an added bonus!"-- Alison Woods


Meet The Author

About Lucinda Whitney:
Lucinda Whitney was born and raised in Portugal, where she received a master's degree from the University of Minho in Braga in Portuguese/English teaching. She's a cancer survivor, and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Salt Lake Temple Square Visitors Center mission in Utah.

She lives in northern Utah with her husband and four children. When she's not reading and writing, she can be found with a pair of knitting needles in winter, or tending her herb garden in the summer. She also works part-time as a substitute teacher.


Giveaway

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Book Blast Giveaway - $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in Paypal Cash

Ends 1/3/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. 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 enter for you. 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. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



 
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