Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review: It Had to Be You by Melissa Kate

It Had to Be You by Melissa Kate is a cute romance and a quick read. Emma has a confectionary shop in town and Oliver is the Chief (I wasn't clear on this - he's a small-town Intelligence chief on the police department who gets called into the big city for special cases. It didn't make sense to me, and unfortunately, his job is a big part of the story). Emma and Oliver were best friends until high school when Oliver suddenly pulls away and becomes a lothario and confirmed bachelor. They are brought back together after an auction when Emma "bids" on Oliver and wins him to make renovations at her shop.
I like second-chance romances, but this was all over the map with extra storylines and padding that seemed to be thrown in. For example, there's a domestic disturbance call that results in a father being called in for a drunk-and-disorderly after embarrassing his young son. This was supposed to be funny (it wasn't), and I kept waiting for the son to show up again in the story. Maybe Oliver would befriend him? But nope, didn't happen. The same went for the prankster storyline (if Oliver is such a highly trained officer that he gets called in for kidnapping and serial murder cases, why is he also chasing pranksters or teaching a senior defense class?) It was too much of a mess for me to enjoy this the way I wanted to. I would have preferred that the romance be developed more. It's not a horrible book, but I wish more of the potential had been developed. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read the ARC.

Trad Tuesday: The Water is Wide sung by the Indigo Girls, Jewel, and Sarah McLachlan



The Water is Wide is of Scottish origin and dates back to the 1600s. It is a very popular folk song and has been sung by many performers. The version here is sung by the Indigo Girls, Jewel, and Sarah McLachlan at one of their Lilith Fair appearances.

Lyrics:
The water is wide, I cannot get over
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
I know not if I sink or swim
I leaned my back against an oak
Thinking it was a trusty tree
But first it bent and then it broke
So did my love prove false to me
I reached my finger into some soft bush
Thinking the fairest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the fairest flower behind
Oh love be handsome and love be kind
Gay as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew
Must I go bound while you go free
Must I love a man who doesn't love me
Must I be born with so little art
As to love a man who'll break my heart
When cockle shells turn silver bells
Then will my love come back to me
When roses bloom in winter's gloom
Then will my love return to me

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: The Council by Kayla Krantz

When I started this book, I thought it might turn into Divergent with witches, but boy was I wrong. It's so much more than that.
Lilith comes from parents with no powers, but she lives in Ignis, one of the sections of the Land of Five, that deals with fire power and hopes to develop those powers. Instead, she has telekinesis, a power which generally resides in inhabitants of Mentis. She also has had a painful leg since childhood, the result of a magical accident with fire. However, the more she probes, the more she finds that the 'accident' wasn't what she's always been told. Her powers are a mystery too.
Lilith is feisty and brusque, but extremely interesting as a protagonist. She's very strong-willed, but not always morally right in her stands. When she is dragged into the Council, the ruling body of the Land of Five, she must develop her powers amid conflicting loyalties to her old friends and new associates.
I'm anxious to find out what happens in the next book. I'd recommend this book to lovers of paranormal, witches, fairies, and magic.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Release and Review: There are no Such Thing as People by Michelle Williams-King

This is a wonderful book for children, charmingly illustrated and rhymed. Little Monster is afraid of the boy in his closet. This a sweet book for bedtime reading, especially for a child that might have trouble settling down at night or naptime. It comes as an ebook or in paper book and is a great addition to any child's library.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Release: Helping Helper by Tara C. Allred

Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date Published: 3/23/2017

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"He’s not a friend, he’s my husband. And he’s gone.” 
En route to Salt Lake City, intending to start over, their car breaks down near the struggling mining town of Helper, Utah—and then Tony leaves Kora behind.
Alone, broken and angry, especially that her family was right in their judgment against Tony, Kora decides to stay in Helper and aid in it’s art-centered transformation.
But in working to save her new home, Kora learns first love only happens once.
For a second chance at love, a much greater risk is required.




Excerpt


Chapter One
    

A cloud of smoke billowed over the hood of the old 1984 Buick causing Kora, after three hours of silence, to finally speak. “Tony! What’s going on?”

“Oh no!” With his long fingers, Tony gripped the steering wheel and leaned forward. The engine went quiet. Suddenly, the car was coasting. Tony steered it to a halt along the dirt shoulder. Smoke poured out above them.

“What is it, Tony?” Past the windshield, Kora stared at the stream of white caught between them and the green mile marker ahead. “Is the car on fire?”

“No,” he said. But there was fear in his tone.  Quickly, he masked it with a calmer assurance. “It’s just overheated.”

The fear transferred to Kora’s voice. “You said you got that fixed!”

With two hours before they reached Salt Lake, and six hours of tension behind them, Tony finally faced her. “I did,” he said calmly. “I replaced the radiator hoses and cap, and it’s fixed.”

She kept her eyes on him, glaring as she pulled her dark blonde hair into a hasty bun. “Then what is it?”

He shrugged, but Kora caught the alarm surfacing in his eyes before he turned to the door.

As soon as he lifted the hood, the full force of steam released itself, tumbling out toward the blue sky.

She opened the passenger door. The hot desert air greeted her. She slipped on her old heavy sandals and approached the hood to find Tony clutching his forehead, his lips moving, hot words streaming out. But when she got close, his speech ceased.

“So what are we going to do?” she asked.

Like a poorly-choreographed dance, he slipped past her, making his way nearly the entire circumference of the car before sliding back into the driver’s seat.

Kora stepped toward the engine, steam hitting her face. She shifted away. Warmth from the sun hit her back. Another step and she watched Tony turning the key in the ignition.

Nothing happened.

Another attempt.

Tony banged his fist against the steering wheel. “No!”

She approached the driver’s side to catch Tony’s cheek spasm. “I’ll walk to the nearest town,” he said. “I think the last sign we passed said it’s five miles ahead.”

“Okay.”

He shifted from the driver’s seat, causing Kora to step back.

“I just got to see how far a garage is.” He marched over to the hood. “Get some help towing this in.”  He released the hood prop, then slammed it shut.

“Does the car need to cool off more?” she asked.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said gruffly.

“Should I come with?” she tried to sound sweet, but an edge from hours before lingered there.

“Just wait in the car.”

“Its a hundred degrees out here,” the tension was back. “What if I fry?”

A sad smile twisted across Tony’s face. “What do you want me to say? If this town doesn’t have what we need, we might be walking for miles.”

“Then let’s walk.” Kora grabbed her purse and looked back to see Tony studying her thick wooden sandals.

When he looked up at her, his face remained tight. “You sure?”

“Yes!”

He shrugged then turned back to the driver’s door, retrieved the keys, locked the Buick doors, and began their march toward help.

Gravel crunched under Kora’s sandals. With each step, she listened to the shifting of rocks under her small frame. Where most couples gain weight after marriage, often both she and Tony had lost pounds during their six years.

With the back of her hand, she swiped away sweat drops running down her face, only to feel more accumulating at her hairline. The sun’s rays seemed to beat in anger, lashing vengeance on Kora for her unkind words to Tony.

At the start of their journey, she hadn’t meant to be so harsh. But the words had just come, one after the other. Spite building on each beating word. 

Now she watched him walk, his hot boots tromping down on the gravel in front of her. His crunch louder than hers.

“How much further?” she called out to him.

At first there was no response. Then he shrugged.

She shrugged back, sharing hers with no one except the wrath of the sun.

While her feet carried on their rhythmic crunch, Kora looked up in defiance at the sky. Then for a moment, she closed her eyes and let the flaming air greet her face. She sensed the sun challenging her, pushing her until she begged for relief, but she would carry on. Her father had blamed her for such intense commitment, such loyalty inside her. He had seen it as her weakness. She saw it as her strength.

And with that strength, she’d get through this, she’d find a breeze of hope, a sweetness in this life Tony had promised her. A fulfilment that was long overdue.

By the year 2000, which was only four months away, Kora would have the future she wanted, the earnest desires of her heart. 

She opened her eyes to see a pillow of cloud, a bright, white cloud, shifting toward the sun, the promise of temporary relief. Once the sun was covered, she saw the radiant blueness, set against the red desert hills that surrounded them. She also saw the road, the long highway that stretched out into the hills in front of them.

Then she spotted it, a structure, a building of sorts, followed by another. She extended her stride, just as Tony did. The town was coming.

   Soon the green highway sign welcomed them to Helper. And they followed the descending road until Kora spotted Speedy Lou’s, a fast food joint, which although run down, seemed able to offer some form of refreshment.

Tony arrived before her, pausing in front of the entrance, as if Kora’s slow steps had spoken to him. “Do you want to stop here?” he called out.

She hated to admit it, but tears were burning in her eyes. The promise of water, a spot to sit down, a break from a growing blister and the blazing sun, she bit her lip and nodded.  Then she tried to walk the final steps calmly, keeping her face stoic. As soon as she was inside, she collapsed into a nearby booth. With a bit of effort, she dug into a pocket of her jean cutoffs while scanning the menu. “Do you want something?”

He stood near her. “No.”

She dropped a nickel followed by a dollar bill onto the table. It wouldn’t go far, but it was something. “You sure?” she said, looking at her offering with a slight laugh. Then she glanced up, catching his look, a softness in his eyes that hadn’t been there in weeks. He added a dollar to the humble pile.

“Yeah. I’ll keep going, see what kind of help’s here.” Then he slipped out the door. But before Kora could manage the strength to stand, the door’s entrance bell rang, and there he was again standing above her.

“Here.” He set down a small stack of folded bills.

“Tony!” Kora found herself laughing at the ten-dollar bill that looked up at her. “I don’t need that much.”

His hand slid over hers, and the touch surprised her, as did the tenderness in his voice. “No. It’s for you. Just don’t go overboard on your hamburger fixings.” Then he kissed her forehead, a gesture he hadn’t made in days, before slipping back out the door.

Kora unfolded the bills to find along with the ten, two fives, and a twenty-dollar bill. She stood up and looked out the window, but he was gone.


About the Author

TARA C. ALLRED is an award-winning author, instructional designer, and educator. She has been recognized as a California Scholar of the Arts for Creative Writing and is a recipient of the Howey awards for Best Adult Book and Best Adult Author. She lives in Utah with her husband.
Her other published works include Sanders' Starfish, Unauthored Letters, and The Other Side of Quiet, a 2015 Kindle Book Award Finalist and Whitney Award Winner.
To learn more about the author, visit www.taracallred.net.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trad Tuesday: Òran Do Phrionnsa Teàrlach performed by Gillebride MacMillan



Òran Do Phrionnsa Teàrlach is a song about the Jacobite Rebellion and specifically Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Battle of Culloden took place April 16, 1746 and the aftermath caused the disruption of Highland culture for many years, almost wiping it out.
Gillebride MacMillan is "the Bard" on the STARZ series of Outlander so this video features many scenes from the series. He sings it in the tradition Scottish Gaelic.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review: Eden's Demise by Angelique S Anderson

Eden's Serum is the second book in the Eden Series and continues the thrill ride from the first book.
Lars Morello, the evil mastermind of Eden's serum, has now adapted it so once injected, the subject must obey his commands. He uses it to take care of some of his enemies and now Adam and Evelyn are being targeted.
The writing here is excellent and the book is a quick read as the reader wants to know what happens next.The story moves right along, the villains are evil, and generally, this is a good read. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: Fire and Ice (The Aldurian Chronicles #1) by Jessica Fisette

Allie must find her boyfriend, Phoenix, even though she can't really remember the night he
disappeared. She crashed her car into a river and almost drowned, but she's sure he's still alive though her family and friends think he's dead. When the stranger who saved her live that night appears, Allie finds that there is much more to her story.
This book has it all: some sci-fi, some paranormal, fighting, battles, and high-speed chases. This first book of The Aldurian Chronicles is a promising start to this series. It's not the type of book I'd normally read, but I enjoyed the storyline, especially Allie's backstory.

Link to Amazon

New Release: Life & Love Poetry by Taneisha LaGrant

Poetry
Date Published: 14 April 2017

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Love is a journey. Step 1. Fall in love. Step 2. Experience conflict. Step 3. Move on and heal or heal together. Is love really like this formula though? It all seems so simple. 

This volume of poetry is broken up into similar sections where Taneisha LaGrant takes you on the journey of falling in love, fighting to stay in love and learning the most important discovery of it all. The key to what's missing can't be found in everyone else but it can be found in this volume of poetry. Stay tuned until the end and you may discover the most important aspect of love there ever was to be discovered.


Excerpt
 Section I: In Love

Love is staying true to who you are, yet having the ability to give to someone else. It’s not because they forced you to but because you desire to serve them, and they desire to serve you. The submission between two equal parties, knowing each other’s needs along with the desire to grow closer together, while still maintaining unique individual identities. Love is becoming one and still maintaining a sense of self with no jealousy or envy of the other person.
Another excerpt choice:
 Mental Stimulation I

Naked, bare, and unashamed,
Is that what you wish for me?
I’m not talking physically,
What would happen if I did?
My wavelengths have wavelengths,
After you’ve discovered all there is to discover,
Would you still be curious?
Or want more,
Or would this dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Would the land be prepared for harvest and fertilized harvest?
Or be scorched,
By the burning sun…


About the Author


Taneisha LaGrant is a poet from Gretna, Florida. She obtained her English degree from the American Military University. Taneisha currently resides in Washington with her husband and two children. In her spare time when family matters and writing isn't taking over, Taneisha can be found reading a new romance novel, watching a comedy, running and on occasion playing video games with her husband.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Release: Sweet Water by Lena North

YA Romantic Fantasy
Date Published: March 31, 2017

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Jiminella “Jinx” Sweetwater is a genius. She’s a scholar, an inventor, hardworking and loyal, and well known in the scientific circles around the University in Prosper City.

Being smarter than everyone else might seem like a good thing, but it isn’t. At least, it isn’t to Jinx who has two friends, a small condo, and no life.

After a fight with her best friend Wilder, it just gets worse. Someone breaks into her home and when her parents show up in all their hippie-like glory, Jinx has had enough and escapes to a small village by the sea.

Suddenly, Jinx finds herself involved in village life, living with the unpleasant Mrs. Fratinelli and trying her best to juggle all the things that seem to end up on her plate. And then there’s calm, cool and gorgeous Dante – Snow’s boyfriend, who seems to see right through the shields Jinx has put up around herself, straight into her mind.


Other Books in the Birds of a Feather Series:

Birds of a Feather, Book 1
Publisher: FAB Publishing
Release Date: December 14, 2016
 YA Paranormal Romance, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy


Wilder’s wonderful grandfather is dead, and so is her mother, but Grandpa Willy gives her one final gift in his will – the knowledge that her father is only her step-father.

Once she meets Hawker, the scary man who turns out to be her real dad, her life takes an unexpected turn. She finds out about a heritage she never knew she had, and secrets from the past are uncovered as she fights to save her part of the world from destruction.

And then there’s Mac, with his green eyes and a soft voice that flows through her like sweet honey. He’s there to help Wilder when she needs it the most, and as she struggles with how to fit into the group of people around her dad – having Mac in her life becomes more important with every bad thing that happens.

“Wilder” is the first in the Birds of a Feather series and a spin-off from the Dreughan trilogy. It’s set in modern time and can be read stand-alone.

Excerpt

I kept swimming, but it was mostly to keep me floating while I tried to decide what to do. Go back seemed the best option, so I turned, but my arms felt like lead, and I was suddenly so tired. The cold water was affecting me, my head hurt, and my mind was spinning. I took a deep breath, but a wave filled my mouth with water at the same time, and suddenly I was under the surface, sinking. I tried to think as I was coughing and clawing my way up but it seemed impossible. Once I got my head above the surface, I coughed up more water and tried desperately to get some air into my lungs.

Then a bird shrieked just above me. And then another one. When I raised my head, two large shadows were circling me, and I recognized Wilder s hawk. And Snow’s Osprey.

I moved slower and watched them for a while.

“If I don’t make it, tell them that I’m sorry. Tell them that I tried,” I rasped out.

I was so tired, my head hurt, and I couldn’t seem to get enough air into my lungs. The birds shrieked again as if they tried to force me to not give up, so I pushed myself to continue swimming, although I didn’t move forward much, and my strength was disappearing fast.

“Go left, Nellie. Go with the current.”

The voice came from nowhere, and I looked to the sides, but all I could see was darkness. Then I realized that it was inside my head.

Dante.

“Trust me,” he said. “Go with the current.”

I didn’t have to think. I trusted him, so I stopped swimming without hesitation, and concentrated on staying afloat. Moving with the soft sweet water through the night felt like a dream, and I wished I could close my eyes, just a little while. Then I heard the Osprey shrieking on my left side, again and again.

With an effort, I turned my head and there it was. A dark shape loomed, and it was close. Gathering my last strength, I started moving my arms and legs, stroke after agonizing stroke. It felt like forever, and I wasn’t sure I’d manage to veer off fast enough, but finally something grazed my leg. I did one more stroke and felt the bottom of the river under my feet.

Then I crawled up on the island and lay there, face down. Breathing. Alive.

I wasn’t safe, but I would be, and I was injured, but I’d heal. I lay there for a long time without moving, but I didn’t care. Eventually, someone would find me. The birds knew where I was so someone would come up the river from Marshes, and they’d find me.

Several minutes passed, and all I could find in me to do was breathe deep ragged breaths of the fresh, cool night. Slowly my left hand curled up, grabbing a handful of muddy soil from the river bank as if on its own accord tried to hold on to solid ground. Dante had told me what to do, and I knew that if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have made it. Then I started crying.

A soft chirping sound made me slowly open my eyes. Wilder’s beautiful black hawk sat next to me with its head tilted as if it tried to assess how I felt.

“I’m good,” I whispered. My voice was hoarse, so I cleared my throat, and tried again. “Tell Wilder I’m okay.”


About the Author

The proper way to put it here would probably be to describe how I love to play with our two big dogs, adore my fantastic daughters and how much I love to read.

Another way would be to use my imagination and then I would be a super powerful warrior woman, think Xena the warrior princess (though with less tacky clothes). Or when I think of it, maybe I’m actually more of a Hercule Poirot (sans the suit and moustache). Or maybe I’m like Aragorn, strong and cool and then I might get to meet Gandalf! Or I could be Bella’s pretty cousin and snap Jacob up in a second (yeah, I’m so not team Edward), or wait, maybe I could be like one of them heroines in historical novels who swoon all the time. I’ve always wanted to swoon…

Well, I guess you get how my mind is working (or not working, some say). Anyways, I like to write. Stories, adventures, romantic and happy stuff mixed up with sorrow and hardship, and bit of laughter here and there because the way I see it – life is way too short to go around feeling grumpy.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trad Tuesday: The King's Shilling sung by Mick McAuley, Winifred Horan, and Colm O'Caoimh


This is in the traditional mode though written by Ian Sinclair in the 1970s. It has been performed by many people; I featured a version sung by Karan Casey and James Taylor previously.

Ian has taken a traditional folk theme of the young man beguiled by the recruiting officers into joining the army and sealing the deal by his acceptance of money, the King’s Shilling.

According to the BBC website, History Factfiles, War and Conflict: “For many years, the private soldier's daily pay was one shilling, although money was deducted from this to pay for such things as rations, some items of uniform, medical treatment, breakages and barrack damages. It was not until 1847 that it was ordered that all soldiers had to receive at least a penny a day regardless of deductions. One shilling was given to young men who agreed to enlist in the army, and a variety of subterfuges were used by recruiting sergeants to persuade a young man to accept the money.

Often a potential recruit was made dead drunk and the shilling was slipped into his pocket: sometimes a sergeant might give a young man a shilling to run an errand for him, and then declare that he had volunteered. Once a recruit had been attested before a magistrate he received a more substantial bounty, but usually found that this was swiftly consumed in drinks for the recruiting party, ribbons for the sergeant's wife, and items of uniform that had to be purchased.”

Oh, my love has left me wi bairnies twa
An that's the last o him I ever saw
He joined the army and he mairched tae war
He took the shilling, he took the shilling,
An he mairched tae war
Come laddies, come
Hear the cannon roar,
Tak the King's Shilling,
An we're aff tae war
Oh, he stood sae proud an sae gallant then
Wi his kilt and sporran and his musket gun
The ladies kissed them as they mairched
awa
And they sailed awa by, they sailed awa
by the Broomielaw
The pipes did play as they marched along
And the soldiers sang out their battle song
"March on, march on," cried the captain gay
For king and country, for king and country
we will fight this day
Well, the battle raged to the sound of guns
And the bayonets flashed in the morning sun
The drums did beat and the cannon roared
And the shilling didn't seem, oh the shilling didn't seem much worth no more
The men they fought and the men did fall
Cut down by bayonet and musket ball
and many of these brave young men
Would never fight for, would never fight for their king again
Come laddies, come
Hear the cannon roar,
Tak the King's Shilling,
An you’ll die in war
Words:
Broomielaw: the dockside in Glasgow where soldiers took ship to go to war
King’s Shilling: offered to likely young men by recruiting officers. Its acceptance was regarded as a binding agreement to join up.

lyrics and info from http://sangstories.webs.com/kingsshilling.htm

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: Phoenix Always by Jae Dawn

Phoenix Maison has lived through many lifetimes and remembers them all. Now that her birthday is approaching, she knows that this may be the one where she dies again except this time she wants to stay. She likes her life in New Orleans, her family, and her girlfriend. The only life she can't remember is the first one, the one that started this cycle. If she can finally figure out what happened then, she might be able to break the curse.
Phoenix tells her own story and an interesting one it is. Phoenix must deal with all sorts of paranormal creatures and she is a plucky heroine. Of course, she's  not your typical high school student with the number of lives she's lived, but in many ways, she's also a product of her times which is one of the reasons she wants to remain in this life.
The New Orleans setting is fascinating and the author incorporates much of the culture and descriptions into the story. New Orleans is often the setting for paranormal stories, but I found this a fresh view of the city and a story with a very different take on the usual paranormals that I enjoyed very much. This is the first book in the series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I received an ARC from the author and am giving an honest review.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: Strawberry Kisses by Marianne Rice

Strawberry Kisses is the second book in this romance series about Rocky Harbor, Maine. Rachael
Riley was recused by her brothers from an abusive relationship and brought home to Maine. She's spent the year since hiding in her mother's kitchen and baking for the local coffee shop. Her sister Lucy attempts to get her out of her shell by enrolling them in a self-defense class.
The class is taught by Jake Morgan who also does landscaping on the side. He is attracted to Rachael and manages to also bring back some of the 'real' Rachael who was lost when her ex-boyfriend abused her. Jake has issues of his own, and it takes a while for him to confide in Rachael about his past.
The Riley family is interesting in that all of the six kids were adopted and came from abusive or uncaring homes. Now they have to overcome their issues to find the meaningful lives that their adopted parents want for them. Rachael was more neglected than abused, unlike some of her siblings, but that makes her all the more sensitive in looking for love.
Jake was raised by good parents but chose the bad-boy lifestyle. When it all goes wrong, he has to learn how to be the son his parents raised him to be. This romance story is just as much about the choices made by the hero and heroine as the romance itself, and that makes the reader think. But the love story is sweet too, and Rachael and Jake are a good pair.
Living in Maine where the story is set, I enjoy the mentions of places I walk by every day. I also can't wait to read the next book which is about Colton.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Trad Tuesday: Cold Glencoe by Rise



Cold Glencoe is a fairly new song but sung as a traditional "story" song. It tells the story of when the Campbells came to Glencoe in the winter of 1692 and were taken in by the MacDonald clan there, saving them from freezing. The MacDonalds were rewarded by a massacre; most of the few survivors froze to death in the winter cold. The feud between the two clans has long been part of history and it didn't help that the Campbells supported the English King William of Orange.

Rise was a Scottish band from the Isle of Bute that made two great albums, Uncertain Wonders and Posing as Human, but disbanded after that.

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Release: The Amarant by Tricia Barr with Excerpt



Paranormal Romance
Date Published: February 2017

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A fictional world brought to life, a dark romance that promises eternity, and a secret that threatens to end it all.

Crimson Wilkinson is a teenage girl who, having survived a dark childhood, finds her escape in reading a popular vampire series. After some investigation, she becomes a very active part in the very true vampire stories the world thought were fiction and falls in love with their author, Nicholae Albaric, the sweetly lonely vampire celebrity. But her happiness is short-lived as she discovers she has a rare gene that makes the carrier extremely powerful if turned into a vampire, and she is targeted as the vampire community’s number-one most-wanted, some who want to kill her before she becomes a threat, and others who want to use her powers to their own ends.

Other Books by Tricia Barr


Ya Paranormal/Fantasy

Phoenyx Blake has a secret. When she wakes in a dungeon with three strangers, she is forced to face it, which isn’t easy seeing as her cellmate, Sebastian, has starred in her dreams. As days pass, they learn they are each one of the four elements bound in human form and they have been abducted by an ancient society that plans to kill them and steal their powers. If they hope to escape, they must master their powers, and Phoenyx must learn to let go of fear and let love in, before it’s too late.


Excerpt

Kerrich entered the coven house with a smile on his face, walking past all the other vampires with a sense of self-importance, for he had news for Delilah, news that would intrigue her greatly.

He walked down the hall toward Delilah’s master bedroom, not making eye contact with the girls who watched him with curiosity. Of course they should stare. Kerrich knew how pleasing he was to look at. But he would never pay these girls any mind; his attention and complete devotion belonged to Delilah.

He stopped before her door, waiting for his mistress to give him permission to enter. Not a second after, the door opened by no other force than simply Delilah’s will. His goddess sat on her lavishly garnished canopy bed, wearing a penoir of white lace, reading a book by candlelight. She is more lovely everyday, he thought. She is like the Moon, with luminescent flesh and ringlets that are spun of the night itself.

She raised her pretty eyes from the pages of her book and trapped him in her gaze.

“What news do you bring?” she asked, her voice like tiny bells.

He came around her bed and knelt on the floor beside her.

“I have been keeping a close eye on him, just as you instructed,” he said. “And I have noticed a strange new development. For several months now, he has been watching a mortal girl.”

 “A girl?” she mused. “I didn’t know he hunted girls. His tastes have changed.”

“No, he isn’t hunting her,” Kerrich said. “He just watches her. For some reason, he seems very interested in her.”

She looked away thoughtfully for a moment.

“Kerrich, do you love me?” she whispered, stroking his cheek ever so tenderly.

“With all my heart, mistress,” he vowed, wanting so badly to take her snow white hand and plant a kiss on her fingers.

“I want you to follow this human. Watch her closely, but do not let him know you are watching. I want you to find out what is so special about this girl, what he finds so interesting about her.” She looked down into her lap, with a smile that was an impossible merger of innocence and wickedness. “She will be the key to my revenge.”


About the Author

Tricia Barr always loved creating worlds and romances through writing; however, loving history and the idea of travel more, she pursued a degree in Anthropology. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 and looked hard for a job in her field for two years before she realized that her degree would not allow her the travel opportunities she truly wanted.

Now she works as a writer and a jack-of-all-trades with her husband, Eric Barr, leaving them both plenty of time and freedom to travel on their own terms as they raise a family.


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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review: Elven Dwarf by Amanda Redhead and Craig Petillo

Aliaga is the daughter of a healer and a blacksmith, but Crugeon, the father, also know who to wield an ax and is a great warrior. She's also a dwarf, a member of the Norhar clan. The story starts when she is just a child and progresses from there. Not to give much of the story away, she is adopted by wood elves partway into the tale as her clan falls to disease and battle. So she is renamed Alluria and raised as an elf and thinks of herself as such.
As she gets older, her elven father worries about her finding a mate. When a dwarf named Heptos visits, he thinks he's found a perfect mate for Alluria.
Even before this, a demon has stolen a powerful talisman from the council at Druid's Stone though it won't work without a tome containing its spells. The tome is hidden away and various orcs, goblins, and other evildoers want control of both the talisman, a jewel, and the tome. Adventures ensue, battles are fought, and Alluria is right in the middle of it all.
This is a stirring tale in the vein of Tolkien's books. Neldorailin is a dense and rich world with a lot of characters of all the typical fantasy types, but here the authors have woven a tapestry of colorful characters. There are heroines and heroes, dragons, mages, goblin kings, and evil orcs. Some of the characters are quite funny and provide good comic relief. There is a lot of detail and names which are fine for the most part, this being a high fantasy book, but can slow the story down in places with a bit too much telling and not enough showing.
I look forward to more stories from Neldorailin and recommend this book to lovers of high fantasy.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trad Tuesday - Tramps and Hawkers sung by Old Blind Dogs



Tramps and Hawkers is an old Scottish song supposed written by 'Besom Jimmy' in the 1800s. Another Jimmy, surname MacBeath, brought the song to the attention of modern songsmiths and it has been sung by The Dubliners, Luke Kelly, and the Battlefield Band. I happen to prefer this version by Old Blind Dogs.

Tramps And Hawkers

19th Century        
from the singing of Jimmy MacBeath    
         
Oh come a’ ye tramps an hawkers an gaitherers o bla,              
That tramps the country roon an roon, come listen ane and a’
I’ll tell tae you a rovin tale and sights that I have seen
Far up into the snowy North and South by Gretna Green

I have seen the high Ben Nevis a-towerin to the moon,
I’ve been by Crieff and Callander and roon by bonnie Doune,
And by the Nethy’s silvery tides an places ill tae ken                   
Far up into the snowy North lies Urquhart’s bonny glen

Aftimes I’ve lauched into myself when I’m trudging on the road,
Wi a bag o bla upon my back, my face as broon’s a toad,
Wi lumps o cakes an tattie scones an cheese an braxy ham,            
Nae thinking whaur I’m comin fae nor whaur I’m gaun tae gang

I’m happy in the summertime beneath the bricht blue sky,
Nae thinking in the morning at nicht whaur I’ve tae lie.
Barns or byres or anywhere or oot among the hay,
And if the weather does permit I’m happy every day

Oh Loch Katrine and Loch Lomon’ have a’ been seen by me,
The Dee, the Don, the Deveron that hurries into the sea,
Dunrobin Castle, by the way, I nearly had forgot,
An aye the rickles o cairn marks the Hoose o John o Groat.

I’m often roon by Gallowa or doon aboot Stranraer,
Ma business leads me anywhere, sure I travel near an far.
I’ve got a rovin notion, there’s nothing what I loss,
An a’ my day’s my daily fare and what’ll pey ma doss.

I think I’ll go tae Paddy’s land, I’m makin up my min’
For Scotland’s greatly altered now, sure I canna raise the win’
But I will trust in Providence, if Providence will prove true
An I will sing of Erin’s Isle when I come back to you.

Words:
Aftimes
: often
Bla: blaw, travellers’ cant for oatmeal
Braxy ham: salted meat from a sheep that died of braxy, an intestinal disease
Cairn: landmark heap of stones
Doss: night’s lodging
Erin’s Isle: Ireland
Ill tae ken: of bad repute
John o Groat/Groats: furthest north building in Scotland
Lauched: laughed
Loss: lose, miss
Paddy’s Land: Ireland
Pey: pay
Rickles : loose heaps

from: http://sangstories.webs.com/trampsandhawkers.htm

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review: The Second Wife by Kishan Paul

Alisha is very happily married, a successful psychiatrist, who is kidnapped by a Pakistani arms dealer to become his second wife. He saw her at a conference and decided that she would be perfect to provide him the son he's always wanted and can't get from his first wife.
Her husband David and family have no idea where she is but don't know how to get over her disappearance despite two years having passed. Suddenly, David is given information that proves that Ally is alive and living in Pakistan.
This story is told in alternating POVs between Ally and David, and it also skips back and forth from the time of the kidnapping to the present. It started out pretty well - the villain, Sayeed is really evil and what happens to Ally is horrific. David's character is plausible also - he is still in despair over his missing wife, but is trying to move on. My problem was the character of Eddie, the mercenary David finds to help him recover his wife. I found him very confusing as to what his motives were; he took way too long to rescue Ally and really didn't seem to help David all that much, fighting with him and sending him on stupid missions. The story kind of disintegrates and the extra coda tacked on with Eddie made no sense at all.
The book also could have used a better editor. One of my pet peeves happened right at the beginning where Ally shakes her head and agrees. You nod to agree and shake your head to disagree. There were other places where I was taken out of the story for things like this.
It was a good thriller though it dragged on a bit long.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

New Release, Giveaway, and Excerpt: Looking Back on Forever by Kat Alexander

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: February 27th

There are moments in time that stand out more than others: your first kiss, a special birthday party, seeing your baby for the first time, an intimate conversation, a first date, even something as little as sitting around a dining room table with friends. This is the story of the moments that stood out after I first laid eyes on Noah Gish. ~ Claire Sawyer
The city, it used to be a place I loved and missed with an ache in my gut. It was home. The place where I grew up, where I had fun, where I had my friends, where life was as good as I knew it to be. Then I was shipped off to a place that begins the story of how I fell in love, just to screw everything up. ~ Noah Gish

Excerpt:

That thought is halted the minute she walks in. Long, soft waves of brown swish inside the doorway. Below that hair is a petite, very petite, package full of curves. flawless ass wrapped in some tight jeans, tiny waist, full breasts seen at a side profile, outlined in a gray V-neck shirt. Those soft globes peeking out as she inhales. The ideal hourglass figure.
I haven’t even seen her face and I’m already picturing what I would do to her. I want to feel her skin. I can imagine how silky it would feel, how soft and conforming to my grip. How it would feel under my lips. Taste on my tongue. I want to lick her back. Every curve of …
Again my thoughts come to a halt. My erection stops mid-growth. Her face. Those eyes. My heart stops. It literally. Fucking. Stops. I don’t even think I breathe.
I’m not a fan of clichés, but from my reactions—my stopped breath, my stopped heart, the jaw dropping, eyes devouring, not to mention sexual thoughts paused … and now my heart is beating like I just ran a marathon, quick breathes, heart attack approaching. If I believed in it, I think I am experiencing love at first sight. And from the looks of her—paused mid-step, eyes locked on mine, rapid breathing, mouth parted, now trying not to look at me—I would say she is experiencing the same dubious phenomena.
Her face, if it had to be described in one word, it would be angelic. Her skin is impeccably fair, with a pretty blush to her cheeks. Her eyes are big and doe-like, so sweet, innocent, and the most beautiful shade of blue I have ever seen. They are fanned by the thickest lashes, and the arch of her brow just begs to be outlined by a finger. Her lips are the closest to natural red I have ever seen on a girl. And I know it’s not makeup; there isn’t a stitch of it on her pretty fresh face. Her nose … I want to press a kiss to that little nose.

What the hell am I saying? One look at this girl, and I am a puddle of mush.





Literature is my passion. I like to challenge myself and grow in my writings. I have many unfinished books and some that have been published under a different name.


My passions include the arts: music, photography, writing, dance, painting, films, architecture—anything that is creation. There is not much I don't like; and if I don't like it, I at least appreciate the process it took place to create it. This is something incorporated in all my books.



In my spare time, I enjoy being out in nature, travelling, spending time with family, and reading. I read everything, from contemporary to paranormal, and history to science. Learning is something very important to me.


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$50 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Looking Back on Forever

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Release and Excerpt: Creepy Hollow by Rachel Morgan



YA Fantasy
Date Published: March 14, 2017

Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale has one job: protect humans from dangerous fae. It’s a job she’s good at—until the cute guy whose life she just saved follows her back into the hidden world of magic. Now she’s broken Guild law, landing herself in a whole lot of trouble. The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the guy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget the magical world he’s discovered. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, plenty of mystery and intrigue, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a deadly plot that threatens not only her own life, but her entire world.



Excerpt

I cry out as the boy grabs hold of my arm. I stumble on the invisible path, my mind loses hold of my destination, and I tumble out of the darkness and onto the forest floor. I don’t usually exit the faerie paths so clumsily, but I don’t usually have a human boy on top of me.

I lie there blinking as the reality of what just happened strikes me like a slap in the face.

A human.

In the fae realm.

And I’m the one who brought him here.

No no no NO.

I give the guy a good kick and he lands on the ground beside me with a groan. “What did you do that for?” I yell, jumping to my feet. “You can’t follow me through! That’s not how this works.”

He sits up and stares at his surroundings—the wildly tangled trees; the creeping mist; the shifting smoke-like colors in the yuro plants’ leaves—with a mixture of horror and awe on his face. “That … was …”

“Probably the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done.” I doubt he’s listening to me though.

“I think you were right about the dreaming thing,” he says. “There’s no way this could be real. Am I high on something?”

“Ugh.” I clench my fists so tightly I can feel my nails digging into my skin. “It’s magic, you moron.”

He looks at me and frowns. “There’s no such thing as magic.”

“Well, you probably think there’s no such thing as faeries either, and yet here I am.” And here he is. In my forest. My home. I kick a flurry of leaves into the air. Their colors shift rapidly in protest, cycling through an endless palette: lavender, magenta, burgundy, sienna. I bury my face in my hands. I have so failed this assignment.

“No way,” he says, rustling the leaves as he stands. “You can’t be a faerie. You’re way too big.”

I lower my hands. “Excuse me?” I’ve been called many things in my seventeen years, but ‘big’ has never been one of them. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Aren’t faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?”

“I’m not Tinker Bell!”

He takes a step back. “Okay, okay. Since this is a dream, I guess you can be whatever you want to be.”

“Did it feel like a dream when I kicked you just now?”

“Actually, that did kind of hurt.” He rubs his leg.

I shake my head. “This is such a mistake. You should not be here.”

“So you don’t have wings then?” he asks, completely ignoring what I just said.

“Sure I do. They’re in my pocket.”

“Really?”

“No!” I’m trying to think of the best way to fix this, and I wish he’d keep quiet.

“Oh, wait, you do have a wand though. I saw you using it on my wall.”

“It’s not a wand, it’s a stylus. Just a stick, really.”

“But it—”

“You know, if it weren’t my sole purpose in life to protect humans like you from crazy magical fae, I’d leave you here to find your own way home.”

“Is that what you were doing in my room?” he asks after a moment.

I sigh. Why am I telling him any of this? “Yes. I was on assignment.”

“I was your assignment?”

Wow, you catch on fast. “Yes.”

He hesitates a moment, then grins. “That’s kind of hot.”



About the Author

Rachel Morgan spent a good deal of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making, crafting endless stories of make-believe and occasionally writing some of them down. After completing a degree in genetics and discovering she still wasn’t grown-up enough for a ‘real’ job, she decided to return to those story worlds still spinning around her imagination. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.

Rachel lives in Cape Town with her husband and three miniature dachshunds. She is the author of the bestselling Creepy Hollow series, and also writes sweet contemporary romance under the name Rochelle Morgan.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Rite of Wands by MacKenzie Flohr

The Rite of Wands is interesting, a perfect fantasy book for MG and YA fantasy lovers. It is told in alternating points of view by Mierta McKinnon and Orlynd O'Brien, two young teens. Mierta goes through the Rite of Wands and sees a dark future for himself. Orlynd is brought to King Francis to act as his warlock.
Mierta is a potion maker, a skill that he uses to try to avoid his fate. Orlynd has visions though he can't always interpret them as quickly as he needs to. He is caught in the schemes of Anya, the woman who is brought to marry Francis's son.
The author is very good on detailing the environment in which the characters find themselves, helping the reader to visualize in great detail the surroundings of Mierta and Orlynd. I found the dialogue a bit stilted at times and I personally didn't like Orlynd's dialect. There's a glossary in the back to help interpret what he was saying, but I found his speech distracting and it kept taking me out of the story. Other readers may not have this issue. I'd also warn the readers that this has a cliffhanger ending.
I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this ARC. I did enjoy the story and I'm eager to see what happens next.