Friday, February 21, 2014

Guest Review: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

Belle Epoque
by Elizabeth Ross
Pub: 6/2013
336 p.

Summary: When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service – the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.
Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.
Isabelle has no idea her new “friend” is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer the deception continues, the more she has to lose.
Beth's Thoughts: At its heart, this is a story about the nature of beauty. Is beauty something that exists in the appearance of a person, or in the quality of that person's mind and heart? Is beauty ornamental or useful, objective or subjective? These questions are asked by Maude as she tries to make her way in Paris, and are juxtaposed nicely against the backdrop of the building of the Eiffel Tower; many characters see the Tower as ugly and an eyesore, but others praise it for its feats of engineering and see it as beautiful in its own way. The book does seem to answer its own questions, by having the most physically beautiful character be the most black-hearted and mean-spirited person in the book, but to me the book never feels preachy about its morals. Rather, it explores them through Maude's experiences, often exhibiting moral and social truths in contrasting pairs. For example, the obligatory “love triangle” men represent the two worlds that Maude finds herself caught between: the opulent and rigid aristocracy and the artistic and freedom-loving bourgeois. As she learns more about these men, Maude learns more about herself and her place in each of their worlds. Marie-Josee, Maude's friend from work, contrasts Maude's growing friendship with Isabelle while nicely paralleling it. Marie-Josee is maternal and extroverted, while Maude tends to be more self-focused. Isabelle's scientific mindset is such that she and Maude often look at the same things with vastly different approaches. Both of them teach and encourage Maude, and give her something she had been missing in her life until this point. While, through her relationship with Isabelle, Maude finds herself straddling these disparate worlds, eventually she realizes she cannot continue to live in both. It is her discovery of the beauty of her own dreams, and remembering the things that truly matter to her, that allows her to choose the path to her own happiness.

I loved this book. The story is told in first person present tense, which I thought was an interesting choice. It really lets the narrator's voice come through, and Maude is a truly enjoyable narrator. It is easy to identify with her desire to be seen for her true worth rather than to be dismissed as something less worthy. While she often feels defeated by circumstances, Maude never wallows in self pity and she doesn't wait for others to fix her problems for her. There is romance in the book, but that is not the focus of the story, and I really enjoyed that. Maude comes to Paris with a specific goal: she doesn't want to marry the man her father picked, and her artistic soul wants to see more of the world. Yet, knowing so little of the world, she is unsure as to how to direct her passion. I enjoyed going on her journey with her as she explores her options, and ultimately discovers the passion that fills her life with beauty. And, on a personal note, I feel like this book has finally healed my reader's sensibilities from the soul-crushing putrefaction that was Tiger's Curse. Thank you for that, Ms. Ross.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

SOUL BETRAYED Trailer Reveal




I am super excited to be able to share the trailer for Katlyn Duncan's SOUL BETRAYED, the third and final book in The Life After trilogy, coming February 27, 2014 from Carina.

The covers for each book in this series are gorgeous and the trailers are just as amazing.

If you haven't yet heard about this awesome series, available in eBook format, just check out the descriptions below.

And if you'd like the chance to win an Amazon eGift Card, the author has offered one up for giveaway. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

Now, without any further ado, let me present to you...

The Soul Betrayed Trailer



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About Soul Betrayed



COMING FEBRUARY 27, 2014

Series: The Life After #3
Publisher: Carina
Print length: 223 pages
Format: eBook

Description...

The final installment of The Life After trilogy...

A Life for a Life

The battle between Shadowed and Guard has brought destruction and terror to Gate Seven and now Maggie wants revenge. As the only after-life being who can save the souls from ultimate death Maggie comes face to face with her own human body, preserved for a century, waiting for just this moment to arrive.

Yet, how far will Maggie go to exact her revenge on the Shadowed? And when she comes face to face with her past, how will she survive the onslaught of memories she thought long gone?

For when the truth comes out all is not what it seems and Maggie has finally run out of time... She must choose her destiny or watch all she has perish in the fight for her life!




***

About Katlyn Duncan


Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.





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The Giveaway
This reveal includes a giveaway for a $15 Amazon eGift Card to one winner, ending on February 28th.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below...




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About Soul Taken


Series: The Life After #1
Release date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Carina
Print length: 223 pages
Formats: eBook

Description...


Book 1 in The Life After trilogy.

After-life just got a lot more complicated

Maggie is a Soul Collector. Its her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After but during a mission to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girls body.


Trapped, Maggies soul is catapulted into Allys life and the human world she hasnt experienced for one hundred years. But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girls soul dies

To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggies could be next!




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The Soul Taken Trailer




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About Soul Possessed


Series: The Life After #2
Release date: October 28, 2013
Publisher: Carina
Print length: 256 pages
Format: eBook

Description...

Life after Life

Now Maggie has been given the chance of her after-life to become a Guard, nothing will stand in her way. Not even the undeniable attraction she feels for her trainer and past loveJackson. But when the battle between Shadowed and Guard begins again which side will she choose?


When her boss, Felix, partners Jackson and Maggie up with Ally and Cooper to investigate terrifying Shadowed activity, she doesnt think it could get any worse. Jackson and Cooper barely tolerate each other and this time, Maggie isnt just proving her loyalty to the Guard during one mission...she has a side mission too. One so secret and so dangerous she cant tell a soul...

Book 2 in The Life After trilogy.




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The Soul Possessed Trailer

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guarding Angel Cover Reveal

Guarding Angel by S. L. Saboviec
(Fallen Redemption #1)
Publication date: April 28th 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:
Guardian angel Enael can’t seem to keep her human Wards in check. They’re the ones who choose their paths before reincarnating—-she’s just there to help make sure they stay on track. But it’s not as easy as it might look.

When she meets and falls in love with charismatic Kaspen, a fellow Guardian, Enael’s feelings about Heaven, Hell, demons, and the life she’s known are turned upside down. Worse still, angel-turned-demon Yasva, Kaspen’s former love, still holds him in her clutches. Even as Yasva works toward obtaining complete control of Earth, she taunts and haunts Kaspen’s and Enael’s lives.

Now Enael is forced to face her past (which is centuries long and bursting with secrets), her present (which is terribly unfulfilling and full of questions), and her future (which becomes more uncertain as time passes). Armed with a newfound love and fear of losing it all, she must figure out how to save the world—-and the angel she loves. Which side will win? Who will Kaspen choose? Will Heaven and Earth continue to exist, or will everything go to Hell?
----

AUTHOR BIO
S. L. Saboviec grew up in a small town in Iowa but now lives in the suburbs of Toronto with her Canadian husband and expatriate cat. Books that captured her imagination include Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series, Sylvia Browne’s The Other Side and Back, and Stephanie Meyers’ The Host. You can find her tweeting random nonsense on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/saboviec), pinning all the awesome fantasy and book pins on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/saboviec), and opining about the latest book she read on her blog (http://saboviec.wordpress.com).



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Monday, February 10, 2014

ANOMALY Cover Reveal





About the Book 
Title: ANOMALY (Schrodinger's Consortium #1)
Author: Tonya Kuper
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: November 4, 2014
Pages: 400
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon


What if the world isn't what we think?
What if reality is only an illusion?
What if you were one of the few who could control it?
Yeah, Josie Harper didn't believe it, either, until strange things started happening. And when this hot guy tried to kidnap her, shouting about ultimate observers and pushing and consortiums hell-bent on controlling the world… Well, that's when things got real. Now Josie's got it bad for a boy who weakens her every time he's near and a world of enemies on her tail who want to control her gift, so yeah, she's going to need more than just her wits if she hopes to survive much longer.

Einstein never saw this coming...



About Tonya:
YA scifi author of ANOMALY,
out 11/14, Entangled Teen. Represented by Nicole Resciniti. Contributor at
yastands.blogspot.com & allthewritenotes.com. Music freak. Chocolate
addict.



Giveaway Details:

1 eARC of ANOMALY International
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

KNIGHT ASSASSIN Cover Reveal + Excerpt Post



About the Book
Title: KNIGHT ASSASSIN
Author: Rima Jean
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Pages: 216

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes
& Noble

Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot
control—powers that others fear and covet. Powers that cause the Templar
Knights to burn Zayn’s mother at the stake for witchcraft. When a
mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of the
heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to
harness her supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of
Jerusalem's court in disguise with the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay,
her mother’s condemner. But once there, she discovers Earic Goodwin, the
childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—and his
ocean-blue eyes don’t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one
love she has left?




Exclusive Excerpt!
Earic emerged from behind a rosebush, his eyes glistening at her. He looked misplaced, this
broad-shouldered monk-warrior, wandering amid the blooms of an Eastern garden. Even at night, the reds and golds and pinks were vivid and breathtaking. “Is Marguerite well?” he asked immediately, his brow creased with concern.
Zayn frowned as he sat beside her on the bench. “She has been better.”
“Her injury—”
“It is healing well. It’s not her leg that ails her so much.” Zayn looked down into her lap.
How would she tell him what Marguerite should be telling him herself? This whole situation was terribly uncomfortable. “Lady Melisende has forbidden her from keeping your company.”
He exhaled, looked down as well. “I thought she might.” Zayn tilted her head to look at his
profile. His hair was freshly washed and still damp, dark at the roots and shorter than before. Gone was the baby-faced Fair Boy she remembered; the man beside her had a network of scars on his sun-baked face and neck. His palms were like cracked leather, and the scent of sandalwood mingled with the musk of a man. She was surprised to find that it did not repulse her. In fact, it did
quite the opposite. She glanced away.
“She never did approve of our friendship,” he said with a sad smile. “I was not good enough
for her daughter. And I don’t disagree—I am not good enough for Marguerite.”
“Oh, stop,”
Zayn said impatiently. “Just because you were not born into the right family doesn’t mean you cannot be friends.”
Earic looked at Zayn. “I suppose. But Marguerite is something special.”
Her expression softened. “Yes. I agree.” She hesitated for a moment. “She wanted me to tell
you that no matter what, your friendship will endure.”
His smile was like a bolt of lightning in the dark. “Of course it will. Just like ours has.”
Zayn focused straight ahead, her blood beginning to hum. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Zayn.” His voice was hoarse with emotion, his hand gently brushing against hers. “I know
it’s you. I knew it was you the moment I saw you.”
“Your enemy,” she heard herself say, turning to look at him.
His voice was barely a whisper. “God’s bones! What have you become?”
Emotion clogged her throat, made her voice rasp. “Forget you ever met me, Earic. You
must forget. I must kill you otherwise.”
“You can try. You won’t succeed.” He moved his hand up her arm, sending sparks throughout her
body. “I had intended to visit Monteferrand soon. I wanted…to find you.”
She shook her head, her breath coming quickly now. “Find me? Why? You are a Templar, have
you forgotten? And I…I’m not the girl you remember, not even a shadow of her.”
“I follow no one’s law but my own.” His face was illuminated from within. “As for the girl from Rafaniya… She’s here, I can still see her.” He raised his hand to her mouth and touched her lips with his forefinger.
Her every nerve  tingled in response, her brain woozy with realization. Was it possible that he
had feelings for her? In the blink of an eye, her hand flashed out, seeking his throat. Before she could grasp him, he’d snagged her wrist in his powerful fist. Her other hand lashed out; he stopped it as well. Her body rose in fury, but he rose with her, twisting her forcefully against him. Locking her within his arms, he lowered his head. “I won’t touch you, Zayn, I swear it. Please, control
your strength. I don’t want to hurt you.”
The roar abated; her strength retreated like a falling tide. She gasped and slumped against him.
How was he so strong? She was surprised how far up she had to look to meet his gaze. “I don’t understand. How…?”
His lips were inches from hers. “Haven’t you realized it yet, Zayn? You and I…”
His breath mingled with hers, intoxicating her. “What?” she managed to whisper.
Rather than answer, he dipped his head just a fraction and touched her mouth with his.
The spark his lips ignited was so very different from the one created by her power. A warmth spread throughout her body, turning her muscles to jelly. She felt completely, utterly human in Fair Boy’s arms, and it was too good to be true…
She pulled away abruptly, horrified. “I have to go. I can’t… You must forget about me,
Earic. Or else you put your life in danger.” Before he could reply, she turned and hurried away, breathless with fear.




About Rima:
Rima Jean received
a degree in archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. After a dismal law
school experience, she floundered a bit before accepting her calling:
storytelling. She resides in Houston with her wonderful husband and two
beautiful daughters, where she writes, edits, and dabbles in digital art.








Giveaway Details:


1 eARC of KNIGHT ASSASSIN International


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Monday, February 3, 2014

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

Operation Bunny 
by Sally Gardner
illustrated by David Roberts
Henry Holt and Co- NetGalley
Feb. 2014

Book Jacket Summary
When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed. And a fairy-hating witch, a mischievous set of golden keys, and a train full of brightly colored bunnies are just a few of the surprises that come with it.

With the help of a talking cat called Fidget and a grumpy fairy detective called Buster, it is up to Emily to save the fairies and get to the bottom of Operation Bunny.

My Thoughts
 Daisy and Ronald Dashwood adopt a little girl that has been left in a hat box at a train station. However, Emily is not what they expected when they meant to have a child and slapping a blond wig on her will only hide a small difference. Things change when the triplets arrive and Emily is reduce to a kitchen drudge but she is also able to make friends with Miss String next door. This opens a whole new world for Emily and is found to be the Keeper of the Keys.
This is a wonderful book that takes people being turned into pink bunnies and evil witches that want to kill all the fairies in stride. Emily hardly has time to think while running away with a giant talking cat and trying to find a magic shop on legs. It is fast pace and I really like the way Gardner has a wink and a nod with each over the top thing that happens.
I would definitely pick this one up for a preteen and have fun reading it myself afterward. Cannot wait for the next in the series.

Book Pairings
A Question of Magic by E.D. Baker


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