Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Conning for Keeps (and giveaway)

About the Book
EBook: 110 pages
Release Date: February 3, 2014
ISBN: 978-1662664719
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Lovers undercover…

Secret Agent Marissa Jones has a gift. A con artist to the core, after deep hypnosis she can turn into someone else entirely. Marisa’s gift has gotten her into hot water over the years, but now more so than ever. With her smoking hot partner by her side, she needs to convince him that not only is she her true self, but also that she can be trusted—even in spite of her past.

…or traitors to the cause?

Trevor Harris has his own issues with the mission, he’s got revenge to seek, a cursed painting to secure, and Marissa’s sugary-sweet alter-ego to ignore. But when he releases Marisa from her mental cage and things get a little too hot, he ends up finding out what falling for a con artist really means—bigger trouble than ever before.

I've been a fan of Seleste deLaney's work for a while. I read Gaming for Keeps when it came out and was thrilled when I heard it was going to be a series, TRAIT, and continue with Conning for Keeps.

The second TRAIT novella was just as fun and action-packed as the first. We meet Trevor and Marissa, both agents of TRAIT who are sent undercover to bring down Leo Canalis, the head of a large mob organization.

It should be simple, but Trevor and Marissa have feelings for each other that they aren't supposed to act on. They also don't know how the other feels about them. Which causes even more trouble now that they're thrown into a situation where they must prove that they're a loving, engaged couple.

You all now have a chance to enter to win this fast, fun, sexy read below. And be sure to check out book one, Gaming for Keeps.

About Seleste:
Seleste started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories.

After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.

She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour: Entangled in Romance.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: Doll Bones

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

I snagged a copy of Doll Bones by Holly Black the day it hit shelves. I'm a huge fan and have read most everything she's published. The Spiderwick Chronicles and beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles were both fabulous series, and so I was excited to read this new middle grade.

Doll Bones is one of my favorite books of 2013. It's fun and adventurous, but also sad and touching. Zach, Poppy, and Alice are all kids on the brink of becoming teens. Soon they'll be too old for their games, running around playing with dolls and action figures, creating these stories with their toys. When Zach's father declares he's too old to play, and tosses his toys out in the garbage, it sets him and his friends on a path to give up their game.

But they have one more adventure before they finish. One of Poppy's dolls, the queen, is a china doll. Poppy claims a ghost comes to her in her sleep and says that her bones are used to create the china of the dolls bones. The ghost vows not to leave her alone until the doll finds it's way to her parents' graves. So Poppy, Alice, and Zach agree to get her there.

This novel is creative and funny and creepy and very entertaining. By then end of the book, these three friends are more grown and on their way to adulthood. It made me think of the games I used to play and how much I miss that carefree time. Being an adult can be so boring. So thank the goddess for books like these.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Even if middle grade fiction isn't your thing, I think you'll like this one. And if you need a bigger selling point, it had a very similar vibe to Neil Gaiman's, Coraline.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: The Keeper

Abisina is ready to assume the role of Keeper that has been her destiny, leading the future of the Watersmeet community. But the survival of the land depends on the north and south - the centaurs, dwarves, fairies, humans, and fauns - joining together to confront a gathering evil. The rift that opened in the Mountains Eternal has continued to spew forth terrible creatures: uberwolves, leviathan-birds, minotaurs. Abisina knows that the most challenging creature of all has arrived - though what shape it will take is still a mystery.

She sets out to bring the folk together to confront this unknown evil, but the land has never been more divided. As she faces hostile centaurs, ambitious fairies, the destruction of the only home she's ever known, and separation from those who love her, Abisina doubts if she has the strength to be the leader that everyone needs. Even the power of the Keeper's necklace doesn't seem to be enough - and when that is taken from her, she's left on the brink of hopelessness. Can Abisina's faith in the power of love, acceptance, and unity that she's learned from her friends and family survive this final test?

The Keeper is the third book in Ellen Jensen Abbott's Watersmeet trilogy. It's a high fantasy adventure with humans, dwarves, centaurs, fauns, fairies, minotaurs, and more.

Abisina is on a quest to unite Watersmeet with the other lands both north and south of the mountains. They've been separated for so long and are opposed to be one people that Abisina certainly has her work cut out for her. As if that isn't enough, the big bad is back, and he's determined to win once and for all.

Abisina has her friends and allies, but not all are to be trusted. She's separated from family and concerned for their safety. Parts of this story are touching and parts are terribly sad. Not everyone lives to see if Abisina succeeds in her mission.

I really enjoyed the conclusion to this wonderful story. I'd been waiting for well over a year for it. It certainly doesn't disappoint. I couldn't put this down and gobbled it up in only a day. I'm going to miss Abisina, Watersmeet, and all of the friends I met along this journey. If you haven't read this treasure, be sure to pick up a copy soon. At least you won't have to wait in between novels.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Everlost

All she ever dreamt of was to be human.

With one kiss, Tatiana has discovered a love for a man she’d hated—the prince of Natatoria. Through the botched rescue attempt by her father against this union, an army of rebels has revealed their identity and intentions—treason. When the King is fatally injured, Azor takes things into his own hands and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants: to be king. Including killing Tatiana’s father.

Jacob had always been loyal to the crown, that was until his brother‘s banishment to die on Bone Island without an explanation. Invited to help on a mission with Jack, leader of the underground army, Jacob learns the truth about the kingdom and of Jack’s daughter, a girl with beautiful blue eyes and a heart of gold. Falling for her—a promised princess—wasn’t supposed to happen.

Caught between the bond and her family, Tatiana, the future Queen, must overcome the promise to fight for what’s right and uncover the truths of the past or all will become Everlost.

I've been finishing a lot of series lately, and most recently that was Everlost by Brenda Pandos. It's book three in her mermaid trilogy. The first was Everblue, followed by Evergreen.

Everlost continued on the story that the first two set up. However, it almost felt like a companion novel. The first two books switched between Fin and Ash, alternating points of view. This book followed Tatiana while she was stuck in the mermaid's homeland, Natatoria. Despite that, I had no trouble diving right back into this world.

I really enjoyed Tatiana's story. While some of what happened was predictable, the world, rules, and customs that Brenda created were interesting. And there were some twists and turns that surprised me. I love that Tatiana was a strong character, a feminist while still having a girly side. Her struggle to overcome a bond that was forced on her was inspiring, showing that had control of her life, not some guy. Even if he was a prince.

I thought she wrapped the story up nicely, but that's not going to stop me from wishing that another novel (or even a short story) set in this world will pop up. I don't want to leave these characters. If you haven't read this series, now is the perfect time to check it out. Everblue is free for your Kindle, so get it today!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Phantom Eyes

Every child in Belle Dam is taught about the feud from an early age. There are ‘our’ people and ‘their’ people. Friends and enemies. Associates and strangers. It’s the kind of town where eyes are always watching, and you don’t need a reason to sell out your neighbors.

But the feud is a lie. As a new wave of fury sweeps through the town, creating a third front to an already overtaxed war, Braden has been broken worse than ever. His innocence? Shattered. His heart? Crushed. His magic? Gone. His new life? Ruined. And this is only the beginning.

Beneath the city lay deep wellsprings of power. The one who controls them is the one who will win the feud. In a city filled with puppet masters, Braden must elude their strings and end the feud once and for all. But first, he must outsmart his father, evade Catherine’s dark magic, regain what was stolen from him, trick a phantom who refuses to die, and foil a demon’s master plan.

Even then, he may not survive. Because power is a problem, and victory comes with a cost…

Phantom Eyes by Scott Tracey is the final book in the Witch Eyes trilogy. In Witch Eyes, Braden moves to Belle Dam and finds himself in the middle of a feud. In Demon Eyes, the feud becomes even more dangerous. In Phantom Eyes, he finds out the truth and risks his life to save those he cares for.

There is a definite surge of witchy books hitting the shelves in the teen section. I, for one, am loving this trend. I really enjoyed this trilogy, and the witchiness is certainly part of why I picked up book one. There are several factors that make this book a bit different than the other witchy books one the shelf. For one thing, it's written by a male author with a male witch narrating. The YA section is dominated by female authors, and it's always a refreshing change to see something different. There are a fair number of books with a male narrator written by women (Caster Chronicles, Curse Workers). And while I enjoyed both of those series, this book had a completely different feel.

Another thing that makes this series stand out is Braden's sexual orientation. Gay main characters is not a new thing in YA, but in my experience this happens a lot more in contemporary, where the character is dealing with coming out, family issues revolving around his sexual orientation, being a part of a same sex couple for the first time. There is none of that here. Braden is gay and that's that. Being attracted to the same gender is a non-issue for him and his friends and family.

Phantom Eyes was impossible to put down. It was fun and fast paced and kept me guessing. Braden had gotten himself into quite a tight spot, and I had no idea how he was going to get out of it. I really enjoyed the story and how Scott Tracey wrapped up Braden's story. I can't wait to start his new witchy series, The Legacy of Moonset (also by Flux books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cover Reveal: Conning for Keeps

Did you read and love Gaming for Keeps? If not, you're missing out. Go order it now! If so, you'll be pleased to hear there's another book in the series, Conning for Keeps, that you can preorder now before it's February 3 release date. And here's the cover. What do you all think?

Lovers Undercover…

Secret Agent Marissa Joens has a gift. A con artist to the core, after deep hypnosis she can turn into someone else entirely. Marisa’s gift has gotten her into a lot of hot water over the years, but now more so than ever. With her smoking hot partner by her side, she needs to convince him that not only is she her true self, but also that she can be trusted—even in spite of her past.

…or traitors to the cause?

Trevor Harris has his own issues with the mission, he’s got revenge to seek, a cursed painting to secure, and Marissa’s sugary sweet alter-ego to ignore. But when he releases Marisa from her mental cage and things get a little too hot, he ends up finding out what falling for a con artist really means—bigger trouble than ever before.

At a young age, Seleste discovered the trick to not being afraid of the monsters under the bed was to turn them into heroes. Since that time, she’s seen enough of human monsters that she prefers to escape to fictional worlds where even the worst demons have to play by the rules and the good guys might end up battered and bruised (or dead), but they always win. And really, isn’t that the way it should be?

She is in the process of relocating to southeast Michigan with her two kids (and a pair of fierce, attention-hungry slobber- monsters of her own) and is hard at work on her next book. In those rare moments when she isn’t battling terrorists, vampires, or rogue clockworks, she can be found all over the Internet, where she loves to interact with readers.

To that end, you can find her at:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: The Dream Thieves

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater was very high on my holiday wishlist, and I was thrilled when I unwrapped it. I loved The Raven Boys so I was excited to delve back into this world.

As with all of Maggie's books, the story takes time to unfold. Her books are rather slow reads for me, as they're so interesting and beautifully written that I read slow and savor each word. When the writing is this good, there's no need to rush through it.

The Dream Thieves picks up where The Raven Boys left off, the search for a sleeping Welsh king, Glendower. Each of the characters have an important role to play in finding him. This book features Ronan a bit more than the first one, letting us get to know him better. He's kind of a jerk, but it's obvious that he cares a lot about the important people in his life. And I like the evolution he goes through in this book.

Another thing that made me love this book more than the first, was the inclusion of Jane's Blue's family. I think my favorite character in the entire series is Maura, Blue's mother. If I could pick any place to live out of any book I've read, I think it'd be 300 Fox Way. There is never a dull moment around there. I love the eccentric personalities that Maggie created it.

Book three doesn't have a title yet, but I'll be eagerly awaiting that and the cover. Because the covers. are. so. fantastic! If you haven't read this series, go pick up The Raven Boys right now. And you should probably just pick up The Dream Thieves while you're there to save yourself the trip. Or, if you want signed copies, they are always available at Fountain Bookstore in Virginia. PS... they will ship to you!