My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century


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My Super Sweet Sixteenth CenturyTitle: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Genre(s): Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 260
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on 2012-09-01
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase
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From the back cover...

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze. Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Review

This was my first read from author Rachel Harris and it was fantastic!  There was a little  bit of everything in this book… swoon-worthy romance, fabulous characters, humor, and conflict.  There is a little bit of the contemporary right alongside the historical and the blend of both creates a mystical story that I truly fell into.

Cat is a perfect protagonist who really grows over the course of the novel.  She is a daughter of Hollywood, but she is far from the “mean girl/rich girl” stereotype.  Instead, she was a bit socially awkward, a bit of a loner.  This made her instantly sympathetic and I loved that she was, at heart, every girl.  But as her life changes, we get to see so much more depth.  We see the hurt and the pain, but we also see the passion, the intelligence, and the humor.  Her “cousin” Alessandra was very different from Cat, the epitome of a proper 16th century young girl.  She was also a perfect friend for Cat and the two of them together were as sisters or best friends should be.  And Lorenzo… oh, Lorenzo.  The perfect Book Boyfriend!  Gorgeous, smart, creative, funny… what more could you want?

Some Quotastic Goodness

Throughout history, while day-to-day life has changed, humanity hasn’t (Loc. 217).

I live my life by the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent (Loc. 677).

If looks could kill, I’d be a barbecued pineapple (Loc. 888).

The first is that if beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder , I want the world to see me the way he does. Every flaw, every imperfection that I hate about myself has been made beautiful through his eyes and with his hand (Loc. 1454).

At least I can look like a Kardashian while hyperventilating all over the dance floor (Loc. 2164).

Our second kiss is gentle and passionate , tentative and hungry, all at once (Loc. 2419).

At certain times of the month, I’ve considered chocolate consumption an urgent matter (Loc. 2529).

“There we go, rule number three. Caloric consumption. Thou must not thinketh or worry about the circumference of one’s thighs while at a sleepover (Loc. 2785).”

“And I’ve learned that letting people get close to you doesn’t always lead to pain. Some people are actually worth the risk (Loc. 3127).”

My Recommendation

This was a fun read with great characters and an interesting story.  One thing I really appreciated was the author’s attention to detail.  It kept the experience believable and I applaud that!

5Mugs

About Rachel Harris

Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and losing herself in story. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Fractured Innocence


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Fractured  InnocenceTitle: Fractured Innocence by Julia Crane
Series: IFICS #2
Genre(s): Dystopias, Military Fiction, New Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 298
Published by Valknut Press on 2014-01-14
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
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From the back cover...

Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women. Vance's current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever. The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it's like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

My Review

Fractured Innocence is the fantastic sequel in the IFICS series.  It is is sci-fi, dystopia, romance, and thriller all wrapped up in one cyborg package.  It is also a far darker and more intense read than was the first, Freak of Nature.  In this book, Kaitlyn has come into her own and living her new life in the best way that she can.  Her humanity and her creation to be a weapon have come together to make her what she is today… a black ops-style soldier on a mission of good.

The villain in this book is a bad guy of the worst kind.  He is the leader of a human sex trafficking ring who also dabbles in drugs and illegal weapons.  As much as the story is about Kaitlyn, it is also about Aaliyah, a girl stolen with her little brother off the streets of Detroit.  What this girl goes through in this book, and her fellow captives, fractures her soul and changes her irrevocably.  It is the mission of Kaitlyn and her partner Erik to take this leader down, and everyone with him so that the captive boys and girls can be rescued.

There was such depth of emotion in this book, something that is surprising when you  take into account the main character is a cyborg who had lost much of her humanity.  But we feel her pain and, more than that, we feel the pain of Aaliyah as she suffers through hell.  It is undeniably dark and intense and there are parts that truly touch the heart and shake you to the core.

Some Quotastic Goodness

There’d been a time in the not so distant past when she was lonely and ached for any human connection (Loc. 45).

Kaitlyn wanted Dasvoik to see exactly what was  coming for him. To see the fear in his eyes when he saw a half human raining hell down on him (Loc. 94).

The room seemed to grow smaller as the fear began to swallow her. She was not naive; she knew what he meant by breaking her in (Loc. 595).

And I am probably one of the weakest. She kept that thought to herself. Maybe if she continued to work with Kaitlyn, she, too, would one day be brave (Loc. 2888).

My Recommendation & Rating

Dark and intense,with a heart wrenching story!  FANTASTIC sequel!

5Mugs

About Julia Crane

Julia Crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

Freak of Nature


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Freak of NatureTitle: Freak of Nature by Julia Crane
Series: IFICS #1
Genre(s): Dystopias, Military Fiction, New Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 286
Published by Valknut Press on 2013-02
Format: eBook
Source: personal purchase
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
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From the back cover...

Donate Body to Science. Check. When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was. Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

My Review

I am a big fan of Julia Crane’s writing.  There is a lovely flow to it and the characters are wonderful.  I read her Keeghan’s Chronicles series last summer and was mesmerized by her style of writing.   The world of the IFICS series is very different from that of Keeghan’s Chronicles, but no less engaging.  Where the other series brought the mystical magic and mythology of Ireland into the contemporary world, this series is full of futuristic technology hidden from the rest of the world.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.  Not only is it very different from much of Julia’s other work, I had also read very little “cyborg” fiction.  There has just never been much appeal to me with this subject.  Honestly, it was the striking cover that brought me to it, along with the fact that I have enjoyed her writing immensely.

Half human, half robot… that is who, and what, Kaitlyn is now.  When she donated her body to science, she could never have anticipated what that would mean for her.  Part of the reason “cyborg” fiction has never appealed to me was the fact that I couldn’t see how a story could sustain itself without the emotion that is a part of humanity.  But Kaitlyn has more of her humanity intact that her handlers at the lab know about.  This makes for a fascinating character, as she struggles to find her place… human or machine.  She has been created to be a black ops weapon, something that terrifies her.  Lucas is one of the scientists that helped to create her and is the man who brings her to her humanity.  Although they are older than typical “first love” romantic heroes, there is something innocent about their love, mostly due to Kaitlyn’s lack of memories.  But there is no small amount of steamy attraction, too.  Quess, the granddaughter of one of the scientists, is Kaitlyn’s best friend.  Many times, although younger, she seems to act as Kaitlyn’s teacher and guardian.

Even aside from the romance, it is the intrigue and the intensity of the implications of the science that make this book so fascinating.  Even though Kaitlyn feels emotions, her understanding of what those feelings mean is gone.  She has to relearn all of those things that most of us take for granted.  The idea that the advancement of technology can, and sometimes does, take a place of higher value than does humanity.  This is a scary thought and one that is all too easy to imagine.  There is a darkness to this book that makes you think about some things, to question them.  I love that!

Some Quotastic Goodness

Half-human, half-machine. She didn’t quite fit into either world. I’m an abomination, she thought, her shoulders slumping (Loc. 18).

“How could you possibly think I’m beautiful? I’m repulsive—a freak of nature (Loc. 847).”

“Facebook. It’s like a peek into someone’s private world (Loc 914).”

“I don’t want to be just a weapon,” Kaitlyn said firmly. “I want to be a solution (Loc. 2218).”

My Recommendation & Rating

A fantastic read with a lot of depth and intensity!   

5Mugs

About Julia Crane

Julia Crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

The Bird Eater


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The Bird EaterTitle: The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn
Genre(s): Horror, Mystery & Thrillers
Pages: 290
Published by Ania Ahlborn on 2014-04-01
Format: eARC
Source: Kindle First Reads
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
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From the back cover...

Twenty years ago, the mysterious death of his aunt left Aaron Holbrook orphaned and alone. He abandoned his rural Arkansas hometown vowing never to return, until his seven-year-old son died in an accident, plunging Aaron into a nightmare of addiction and grief. Desperate to reclaim a piece of himself, he returns to the hills of his childhood, to Holbrook House, where he hopes to find peace among the memories of his youth. But solace doesn’t come easy. Someone—or something—has other plans. Like Aaron, Holbrook House is but a shell of what it once was, a target for vandals and ghost hunters who have nicknamed it “the devil’s den.” Aaron doesn’t believe in the paranormal—at least, not until a strange boy begins following him wherever he goes. Plagued by violent dreams and disturbing visions, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s losing his mind. But a festering darkness lurks at the heart of Holbrook House…a darkness that grins from within the shadows, delighting in Aaron’s sorrow, biding its time.

My Review

I absolutely loved Seed by this author so I was happy to get this through Kindle First Reads.  It is horror at its finest, with all of the insanity, creepiness, and gore that one would expect.

Everything about this book is creepy.  It starts out with a bang with death and insanity within just the first chapter.  The madness is at the center of this story, making it just as much of a psychological thriller as a true horror novel.  There is no HEA in this book and that was probably what I loved most about it.  It was an intensely dark tale of insanity, ghosts, fear, and sadness.

I have see others’ reviews of this and one of the complaints is that there are moments of disjointedness and disconnections within the story.  This is something I absolutely loved about it because it mirrored the descent into madness and despair that was so significant to the story.  Another complaint is the lack of absolutely clarity at the end of the book.  Again, this is something that I actually truly enjoyed.  It is a horror novel, a novel that makes the reader question everything.  I like the not knowing, the wondering, the suspense of it all.  That is the point of a horror novel…. to leave you hanging with the “what if’s” still there waiting to terrify you around the next corner,

Some Quotastic Goodness

The very first thing she’d heard at school when the Bells had moved into the house at the end of Old Mill Road was that it was haunted, stalked by the ghost of a kid who had done some terrible, wicked thing (4).

Standing before her was a boy who looked about Aaron’s age, dark hair nothing short of a bird’s nest, his skin waxy pale, and eyes twin-moon round. But none of those features compared to his wicked smile, so maniacally wrong it seemed to inch up toward his ears. Crimson blood smeared across his gums and slithered into the gutters between his teeth (9).

The decay gave it a ghoulish appearance, like a haunted house mirror that magically displayed the dead (24).

“Son,” he murmured, shooting Aaron a distrustful glance. “Rumor has it you’re supposed to be dead (55).”

With his hands covered in paint, he stared at the walls again. They needed to be labeled to match the floor. To beckon the dead (244).

The house was choosing the name for her, and the more times she whispered it into the empty rooms around her, the more right it felt  (267).

My Recommendation

A fantastic read for lovers of the dark and creepy!

5Mugs

About Ania Ahlborn

Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania’s earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She’d spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share. She’s been drawn to the spookier things in life ever since.

Ania has been dabbling in fiction since the age of twelve. She attended the University of New Mexico, where she received her BA in creative writing. ‘Seed’ is her first published work.

Her favorite authors include Stephen King, Brett Easton Ellis, and Poppy Z. Brite.

Beyond writing, Ania enjoys gourmet cooking, baking, movies, drawing, and traveling. She currently resides in Albuquerque with her husband and two dogs, Beau the Scottie and Galaxy the Yorkie.

Raising Chaos Blog Tour

Raising Chaos BannerWelcome to the Raising Chaos Blog Tour!

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Oracle of Philadelphia, so I am very happy to have been a part of the tour for this new book in Elizabeth Corrigan’s Raising Chaos tour!  Elizabeth has also contributed a fun guest post for us.  Be sure to enter the giveaway, too!

Read my 5 mug review here!

For other stops on the tour, visit the Red Adept Publishing tour page here.

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About the Book

CorriganRaisingChaos

When good fails, chaos rises to the challenge.

The daily life of a chaos demon is delightfully sinful—overindulging in Sri Lankan delicacies, trespassing on private beaches in Hawaii, and getting soused at the best angel bar on the planet. But when Bedlam learns that the archdemon Azrael has escaped from the Abyss in order to wreak vengeance against the person who sent her there—Bedlam’s best friend, Khet—he can’t sit idly by.

Only one relic possesses the power to kill Khet, who suffers immortality at Lucifer’s request: the mythical Spear of Destiny, which pierced Christ’s side at His crucifixion. Neither angel nor demon has seen the Spear in two thousand years, but Azrael claims to know its location. Bedlam has no choice but to interpret woefully outdated clues and race her to its ancient resting place.

His quest is made nearly impossible by the interference of a persnickety archivist, Keziel—his angelic ex—and a dedicated cult intent on keeping the Spear out of the wrong hands. But to Bedlam, “wrong” is just an arbitrary word, and there’s no way he’s letting Khet die without a fight.

Buy it:  KindleAmazonNookKobo
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Five Historical Facts I Learned While Writing Earthbound Angels

by Elizabeth Corrigan

I have an authors’ note at the end of Oracle of Philadelphia explaining why the tone and phrases used in the historical periods in my books may not always reflect the time period. My philosophy about historical dialogue goes something like this: People don’t change. My grad school advisor always enjoyed the following quote from Plato: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” We like to think that complaining about the youth today is a new thing, that it genuinely reflects a change in attitude, but it turns out that teachers complained about their students back in 300 B.C. In this vein of thought, when I write scenes from the first year AD, I assume that people have the same basic outlooks they do today, and I want the dialogue to make a reader of today understand that.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t get away with doing no research. People may have been the same, but their governments, economies, and social structures weren’t. So the internet and I became fast friends as I googled my way through the various historical scenes, wondering if I should be grateful the snippets were too short to require in depth detail or annoyed at myself for picking so many different settings to look up.

I thought I would share with you some of the stuff I learned.

1.  If Carrie had worn a toga when she first met Gabriel, it would have indicated she was a prostitute. My editor made me mention what Bedlam was wearing in this scene, which takes place in Rome around the birth of Christ, and I felt absolutely ridiculous doing so. I mean, yes, he probably wore a toga, but I couldn’t help think it would bring to mind toga parties, rather than typical garb of the period. But it was typical—for men at least. After 200 B.C. or so, women didn’t wear togas unless they were prostitutes.

2.  Almack’s had crappy snacks. The Regency England scene was one of the easiest historical periods for me to write, because I already knew so much about it. I’ve been a Jane Austen fan since high school, and I took a whole course in college about the culture surrounding the books. Almack’s Assembly Room was the place to see and be seen in London at the time, and Bedlam takes Carrie to a party there. But when he makes a joke that he’s only there for the pudding, he’s being glib to tick Michael off. Private balls had elaborate feasts. Almack’s had pound cake and bread and butter.

3.  In ancient Mehrgarh, the buildings were made of mud and mostly used to house grain. Other fun facts: Mehrgarh exists. It was a human civilization in Pakistan that began around 7000 B.C. What prompted me to write about such ancient history? Well, I wanted Carrie to be from Mesopotamia, and then I realized Siren’s back story pre-dated hers by quite a bit. It turns out we don’t know that much about Mehrgarh society, except my resources seemed pretty sure they made baskets lined with tar.

4.  No one used chairs until the 16th century. When I got Raising Chaos back from my editor, she was very concerned that I had Siren sitting in a chair in ancient Mehrgarh. I was actually kind of surprised by this, because I was almost positive I had people sitting in chairs before that in Oracle of Philadelphia.  (Yep. Just checked. Mary, Mother of God, sat in a chair. I have the appropriate amount of shame about this.) But I quickly amended the error in Chaos, and will make sure that all future historical events involve chairs.

5.  Women could be barmaids in ancient Rome. When I wrote the ancient Rome scene, I wanted Carrie to be working in a tavern, but I wasn’t sure if it would be permissible. I looked it up, and it turned out women had all kinds of rights and jobs in ancient Rome. Okay, so they were usually midwives and wet nurses and prostitutes, but they could also be scribes and priests. They could even own property! But before you go thinking it was too egalitarian, they weren’t allowed to vote.

So there you have it. Never let it be said that writing a novel isn’t an educational practice. Next up, book 3! I’m studying the Crusades…

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About the Author

Elizabeth CorriganElizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters. She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.

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 The Giveaways

Enter Elizabeth’s fun giveaway, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tour sponsored by…

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