Saturday, January 31, 2015

Steampunk Saturday: A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair #3) by Emma Jane Holloway

This Steampunk Saturday, I have the final book in The Baskerville Affair Series! It took me forever to get going in this series but once I did, I tore through all 3 books in a few days. I loved this series as it built a bridge for me with my husband. I think that is the absolute best to be able to find books that open doors for conversation between people who are reading different things. My husband had recently finished reading the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes and he has a history degree so this series made lots of great conversations possible. Here's the cover and Goodreads blurb for A Study in Ashes:

As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, in handcuffs and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.

Not even Niccolo, the dashing pirate captain, and his sentient airship can save her. But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.

But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is…he’s dead.
I loved that Evelina was not the sole focus of this book.  It was great to see so many of the supporting characters as they grew into their own strengths and places in the world.  Nick was so brave and strong, he is such a great character and a good friend to Evelina.  Tobias finally decides to make his life mean something.  He finally stands up for his wife and son  and takes responsibility for his own choices.  We really get to see Holmes and Watson working in the background.  Bucky continues to be amazing as he fights for the woman he loves.  Bird and Mouse go on an epic journey and the younger sister, Poppy, proves to be more like Evelina than like Imogen and Tobias.  Imogen is surprisingly brave.  You can really see what makes her such a good friend to Evelina.  I adored this series and highly recommend it!

Click here to add A Study in Ashes to your Goodreads. You can find author Emma Jane Holloway on her website, on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest. I give A Study of Ashes 5 Fairies for the perfect ending to a wonderful series.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Libby Austin Teaser Tour

infinityteaser (1)

Welcome to the teaser tour for the contemporary romances through infinity and thanks for the memories by Libby Austin! 

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hmm Not much to tell. I’m a wife and mother who’s obsessed with books. My favorite color is green, I love crime shows but have a weak stomach, I have a very dry sense of humor, and I’m a Dr. Pepper addict.

2. Your book through infinity, what is it about?

through infinity is about a family coming together when one of them is in need. The overall theme would be ‘does love reside in our heads or our hearts’.

3. Where did the idea for your book come from?

The idea for the book came from my son. My husband had been working out of town for several weeks. He came home for a surprise visit. Our son ran up to him and said, “Hi, Dad! Do you remember me?” Of course my husband said yes, but I wondered what would happen if you didn’t remember, and from there, through infinity was written.

4. The children in the book, their characters where amazing, and Dawson I think will have a special place in readers hearts. Can you tell us about Dawson and is he based at all on someone?

Dawson is probably the only character who’s really based on a real person. He’s based on my son and the son of my editor. Both of our boys share similar traits. I took some of the characteristics from each of them and created Dawson.

5. Do your characters talk to you?

No, they really don’t. It’s more like I see what happens between them.

6. How difficult was it to write about Candice's recovery?

Candice was a difficult character to write because she’s very self-contained, and like most people, she had some thoughts she didn’t want to acknowledge. She’s not very vocal in her feelings and she felt a lot of shame for not “automatically” loving her family. I think that’s a struggle some new mothers, and fathers, deal with. Loving someone, even your child, isn’t always automatic. A lot of parents feel judged for that and guilty for that, so it was something I wanted to highlight.

It was difficult, in a sense, to keep it true to a story of a family coming together without sensationalizing it and turning it into a soap opera. When I wrote through infinity, it felt like most of the “drama” I could add was contrived and really didn’t fit with the story, so I kept it true to the storyline I envisioned.

7. What authors have inspired you?

Too many to name. Even authors of books that I didn’t connect with inspired me because they took the step to put their work out there for judgment. But to name a few:

Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Johanna Lindsey, Annette Broaderick, Jaci Burton, Tracy Anne Warren, Norah Hess, Kelly Elliott, Aleatha Romig, Anne Elliot, Colleen Hoover, Rebecca Shea, Jessica Sorensen, Gena Showalter, Megan Hart, Lauren Dane, R. D. Cole and Nyrae Dawn

But most of all, Lois Faye Dyer.

8. Talk about your cover, where did the idea come from and who designed it?

Aww the cover. I could probably write a book on that alone. Lol When I came up with the concept of the cover, I knew it wanted the infinity symbol on it with a color scheme of gold and/or silver. I didn’t want the infinity symbol to be broken, but it needed something to highlight the tension of the story. One night, as I lay in bed (which is when all great ideas seem to appear), the idea of missing puzzle pieces came to me. I passed that on to the cover designer I was working with at the time. When I received the cover mock-up from the designer it was nothing like I envisioned. It had a very somber tone to it, and while through infinity deals with a somewhat somber subject, the overall tone of the book is hopeful, or at least I hope it is.

After seeing that mock-up, I knew I wanted what I was envisioning to capture the story. I approached a different designer with my concept. I had figured out that I wanted something to represent her family as the missing pieces of the puzzle, but I didn’t want faces and I didn’t want silhouettes because they just didn’t convey the correct emotion. That night I was going somewhere and I put on my charm bracelet, and the light bulb turned on, which is where the pictures under the missing puzzle pieces came from.

The next issue was the positioning of the infinity symbol itself. Normally the infinity symbol is orientated horizontally, but that left too much blank space on the cover, so we turned it. Turning it, to me, kind of represented how Candice’s world had shifted.

Then as you see in the book with the chapter headers, the puzzle becomes filled in as Candice gets to know her family, which is why the back cover is a completed puzzle. The puzzle pieces, along with the colored background, also represent another sub‑storyline in through infinity.

Overall, the cover has been well received. I find that those who didn’t like it before they read the book, love it once they’ve finished. Choosing not to put a ‘standard’ cover on it was a risk, but I wanted the cover to really represent the story, and story isn’t about sex, although there’s chemistry.

Nathan with Nate’s Art did the final cover. He did a great job of turning my vision into reality.

9. Do you have a special time of the day you like to write?

I would probably write more at night if I could, but my early morning alarm clocks don’t cooperate with that schedule.

10. What has been the hardest thing about writing?

Writing wasn’t hard. Writing something that was coherent that people would want to read was hard. It’s everything that comes after writing that’s hard.

11. Will there be a follow up book to through infinity?

There will be one more book and a novella for the Woodruffs. Jason’s POV will be told in & beyond… There will be scenes that the reader didn’t get in through infinity. Jason had his own struggles that weren’t shown in through infinity. That was a conscious decision on my part, because I felt that the reader wouldn’t empathize as much with Candice and how lost she felt if they had all of the same knowledge Jason had.

SPOILER ALERT: Candice and Jason are together and they will stay that way, so I can’t imagine another story for them.

12. Do you have any writing rituals?

Nope. Not one. Maybe I need some.

13. What other projects do you have for the New Year?

Reft- a completely new book

& beyond… - Jason’s POV

DamN – a standalone novel

Love Defying

14. Coffee, Tea, or Soda?

Dr. Pepper and occasionally a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce or Gingerbread Latter.

15. Jason Woodruff, Candice's husband in through infinity, I fell in love with him and the reviews from other readers all say how much they loved him. Did you realize that he was going to mean so much to your readers?

I would say I was hopeful. He’s very open about what he feels, and he’s loyal. Those are characteristics my husband has and I fell in love with him, so I guess I can understand falling in love with Jason. He’s what I would want if what happened to Candice happened to me.

16. You’re a new author, can you give any advice to others who are just starting out?

Hire an editor. Invest in your project, but be realistic about its potential. Be personable and understanding. Everybody has lives, and most blogs and readers are inundated with request to read books. It’s a slow process. Keep writing. Write, write, write, and write some more.

Infinity_cover_nobleedAbout through infinity:

Candice and Jason Woodruff had everything going for them: a strong marriage, the family they’d dreamed of, and successful businesses. When they made their wedding vows, they promised to love each other through infinity and beyond…but Candice doesn’t remember making that vow. Candice doesn’t remember the last eighteen years.
After a medical emergency, Candice awakens to find herself a married mother of four. She’s surrounded by a loving family of strangers, but Candice struggles to claim an identity while learning to be a wife and mother.
Candice is no longer the same woman Jason fell in love with all those years ago. Can they learn to love each other in this new reality?
Through Infinity is one woman’s journey as she rediscovers the love of her husband and children. But will that new found love be strong enough to carry them through infinity and beyond… 

GoodreadsAmazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo | Inktera  | Google Play | Google Books  

through infinity is only .99 cents for a limited time! 

About thanks for the memories:

Jason knew Candice's biggest Christmas wish was to remember the past eighteen years. As Thanksgiving approached, Candice retreated further within herself. Jason enlisted the help of their family and friends to grant Candice's wish. Each shared their cherished memories and placed them in a tin. Surprised to find the collection of tins, she couldn’t help but wonder what was inside.

With each memory, Candice felt a little more connected to the life and people she’d forgotten in the wake of her accident. Each one brought a sense of fulfillment and longing. When Christmas day arrived, would Candice be able to say thanks for the memories?

Grab thanks for the memories for FREE at Libby's website! 

About the Author:

One day some words came to mind, so I wrote them down. Soon the words became sentences, which formed paragraphs, which, in turn, formed chapters. Before long, those words had become a book.

When I'm not reading or writing, I'm a wife, mother, and business owner. I've lived on the Gulf, East, and West Coasts, but as a born and raised Southern girl, my favorite will always be the Gulf Coast. There's just no place like home...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Last Rite (Personal Demons #3) by Lisa Desrochers

I began reading the Personal Demon Series years ago when I met Lisa Desrochers in New York at Book Expo America.  I loved the covers of her books and her amazing presence at YA events.  I had not had time to get my hands on a copy of Last Rite when it came out so when I saw it sitting on the self at the local library, I knew it was time.
In this final installment of the thrilling, edgy Personal Demons series, the battle between Heaven and Hell has become critical, and Frannie Cavanaugh is right at the center of it.

With the help of the powerful angel Gabe and demon-turned-mortal Luc, Frannie has been able to stay one step ahead of the forces of Hell. But when the demons killed Frannie's best friend and destroyed her brother, they raised the stakes. If Frannie wants to keep her family and friends safe, she knows she has no choice but to go on the run.

Their best defense is the power Frannie has been struggling to master, but her attempts to hone her skill go horribly awry. If Frannie doesn't learn fast, the consequences could be devastating--even apocalyptic.

What happens when you can't outrun Hell...or trust the ones you love?

I was not sure how Lisa Desrochers would be able to end this series in a satisfying way. I worried that every one of the characters that I had fallen in love with would die in an awful ending. I should have trusted Frannie and Lisa Dez more! The ending was so satisfying and interesting and believable that I loved it. I was so glad that it ended the way that it did. I loved the overall message that came from the story. I loved seeing God in a book about demons and angels. That has been my biggest complaint with Supernatural as they showed the battle for the world between Heaven and Hell. How could God be absent when that is going on?! Spoiler alert- God is not absent for Frannie. God is there to help her see the light in the darkness. I loved that we got more of Luc's viewpoint in this book. He is my favorite character overall. He is so sweet but also dark and complex. I love him to bits. Love him. I was so sad to see the series end but it was a satisfying ending. I feel like I don't need to know what happens to them after Last Rite. I feel like it is all going to be okay.

You can click here to find the Personal Demons series on Goodreads. Remember, you can find more on Lisa Desrochers and her books on her blog and you can follow her on Twitter. I give Last Rite 5 Fairies for a lovely ending to a great series that I adored!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans

I received a copy of Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans from Less Than Three Press through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  Here;s the cover and Goodreads blurb:

Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a cafe while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves him wondering if they're on the same page about what dating means, and if that's what they're doing.

I want to get the trigger warnings out of the way first. I want to say that there is talk in this story of parents refusing to deal with their child's gender correctly. There are also moments when trans characters are treated hatefully. Be aware of these possible triggers. I found that this story was an interesting look at the sometimes tricky world of a transgendered person. I learned about the use of pronouns and names. I found it absolutely heartrending that the emotional turmoil of P's life has the ability to tear down Jalen as well. It makes so much sense that a life that can be so emotionally tough already can lead to those emotions leaking out all over your loved ones. I know it is true in my life and it is definitely true in P and Jalen's lives. I found this story to be sweet, nerdy and emotional.

This story can be found as a part of the Geek Out Bundle from Less Than Three Press. You can click here to find the story on Goodreads. I give Long Macchiatos and Monsters 3 Fairies for a truly interesting story of romance and friendship.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Steampunk Saturday: A Study in Darkness (The Baskerville Affair #2) by Emma Jane Holloway

For this week's Steampunk Saturday, I have a review of A Study in Darkness from The Baskerville Affair series by Emma Jane Holloway. Here's the cover and Goodreads blurb:

When a bomb goes off at 221B Baker Street, Evelina Cooper is thrown into her Uncle Sherlock’s world of mystery and murder. But just when she thought it was safe to return to the ballroom, old, new, and even dead enemies are clamoring for a place on her dance card.

Before Evelina’s even unpacked her gowns for a country house party, an indiscretion puts her in the power of the ruthless Gold King, who recruits her as his spy. He knows her disreputable past and exiles her to the rank alleyways of Whitechapel with orders to unmask his foe.

As danger mounts, Evelina struggles between hiding her illegal magic and succumbing to the darker aspects of her power. One path keeps her secure; the other keeps her alive. For rebellion is brewing, a sorcerer wants her soul, and no one can protect her in the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper.

Evelina has such a hard time toeing the line between darkness and light when she has to deal with Magnus. She is smart enough to try to keep from falling into his promises of power but she is still drug deeper into his creepy little world of darkness. The story of Jack the Ripper is one of the quintessential mysteries of the Victorian Era and I love it when authors and creators can bring that mystery into their work because it makes the world seem that much more real. The events in Whitechapel place the story directly into our world. The author also made the story of the Ripper blend seamlessly into their story-which I loved. It made sense so I was not pulled out of the story by the story of the Ripper. By the end of the story, I actually managed to detest the Gold King even more than I had previously. The fact that he saw his daughter as a pawn to be used and not an heir to take over his business really made me mad. How could he trust her enough to ask her opinion and then get so mad that she wanted to take over the business?! I just could not stand him. I also ached for Evelina when she found Nick again. He had grown into himself and he was no longer the circus boy who loved her. When she finds him again, he is so sure of who he is and they still find themselves with feelings for one another... it was so realistic and sweet. I loved it. Poor Bucky and Imogen, though. They tried so hard to earn their own happiness and it was kept from them. Bucky is a much better person in my thoughts than Tobias. Tobias is just so weak and so selfish at times but Bucky is so real and genuine. Bucky is willing to fight for what he wants and Tobias is not. Tobias could not see any answer but the easy path. Bucky is willing to do what it takes to get his happily ever after. I adore Bucky and Nick because they seem to be strong and secure in themselves and that makes them so much more willing to fight for their futures. I love that in their characters. Next week I will have my review of the final book in the trilogy.

You can click here to add A Study in Darkness to your Goodreads. You can find author Emma Jane Holloway on her website, on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest. I give A Study in Darkness 4 Fairies for a dark and mysterious romp through Whitechapel and into the world of the airship pirate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Duke in Denial (Scandal in Sussex #1) by Alexandra Ainsworth

I received a copy of The Duke in Denial through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I love an historical romance so I was super excited to get this opportunity. Check out the cover and Goodreads Blurb:

Sebastian Lewis never expected to become a duke. But with the sudden deaths of his cousin and uncle, Sebastian’s position changes. He is determined to fulfill his new responsibilities with grace, even if it means remarrying, and even if the attractions of women, so often lauded by poets, fail to interest him.

Captain William Carlisle, newly returned from India, is elated when he meets Sebastian. Nobody knows of his inclinations, but his harrowing experiences in battle have prompted him to reach for the type of companionship he longs for. He thinks Sebastian might feel an attraction as well, but to his dismay, he discovers that Sebastian is courting his sister Dorothea.

After a semi-arranged engagement and a disconcerting romantic tangle with William, Sebastian escapes London to look after his manor, only to face mysterious thefts, a headless ghost, and the arrival of his fiancée, her brother, and his family. Sebastian’s new estate sits on the south coast, England’s most vulnerable location, and Napoleon has set his sights on conquering the area. Amid this growing turmoil, Sebastian must sort out his feelings for his fiancée’s brother and keep his home safe . . . and determine if he has the courage to reach for his own happiness in the process.

I did not see the ending coming. I worried the whole way through the book that the duke would never get his happily ever after. I found the way that the author resolved the romance to be plausible for this time period. I also thoroughly enjoyed that she portrayed both men as strong individuals who weren't just cookie cutter Regency Era Rakes. Sebastian's desire to do the right thing for his family and for Dorothea is both adorable and heartbreaking. I was elated when his family shows compassion for him. I hate the thought that anyone would have to choose to put their own feelings aside for another but I know it happened in the Regency Era but I still wish that everyone could find love and be true to their own hearts. I loved that William had come back from battle with such a positive attitude. War and battle can tend to destroy those who have experienced them. I was glad to see that William had such a positive outlook even after seeing such horrors. I did not care for Dorothea. She just rubbed me the wrong way even though I still felt bad for her at times. As a woman, she had so few opportunities that it made her behave in ways that I hated. I thought that the women in the story were selfish and a bit one dimensional. The portrayals were true to the era though, so I can forgive them. Overall, I loved this book and I think that it may be a new favorite! I plan to read and reread this one!

You can click here to add The Duke in Denial to your Goodreads. You can find author Alexandra Ainsworth on her website, Facebook and on Twitter. I give The Duke in Denial 4 Fairies for a lovely M/M Regency romance that I absolutely adored!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair #1) by Emma Jane Holloway

I started ready A Study in Silks over a year ago... and then my life went to Hell in a handbasket.  I finally was able to finish the book in the last week and even tore through the rest of the series.  It felt amazing to have accomplished it!  To celebrate, I am bringing back my favorite feature of all time: Steampunk Saturdays!

London, April 4, 1888 ~ Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?

I loved this book. I really did. Nick is every girl's dream of a hero. He is the boy that Evelina has always known and now he is the man who refuses to give up on her. He will give anything to keep her safe. I really enjoyed all of the Sherlock references because it gave me something to discuss and share with my husband who recently read ALL of the works about Sherlock Holmes. He and I could laugh together about Mycroft and his ridiculous club and everything. It was great. I hated Lord Bancroft and the steam barons. What has to happen to a person to make them so ...evil? Pragmatic? Selfish? I don't know how to best describe them but to say that they suck. Evelina is a reluctant magic user as well as a reluctant detective. I love that she sort of falls into her roles. Mouse and Bird are great too. I highly suggest this one if you love steampunk or are even a Sherlock fan who is unsure if they like steampunk. The world of magic and makers and steam barons will pull you in and take you on a wild ride through an alternative Victorian London.

You can click here to add A Study in Silks to your Goodreads. You can find author Emma Jane Holloway on her website, on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest. I give A Study in Silks 4 Fairies for a lovely story that took me on a wild ride through a world of steam and magic!