Being sixteen just got tougher…

In THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN, a newly released YA paranormal romance by Pauline Gruber, we got a whole lotta supernatural going on.

The Girl and the RavenSoon-to-be-sixteen year old Lucy Walker is an orphan. Her mother just OD’ed on heroin and she never knew her daddy. Lucy also harbors a strange power–the ability to shoot fire from her hands when she gets angry. Now she’s leaving the trailer park in Tennessee to live with her uncles in Chicago.

She is befriended by the neighbors, a broody yet handsome boy named Marcus and her late grandmother’s BFF Persephone. Learning that her grandmother had been a witch and Lucy is supposed to inherit her powers is quite the curveball. And, what is up with Marcus? Boys never gave her the time of day back in Tennessee, yet he seems almost fixated on Lucy, and her safety.

It soon becomes clear that Lucy’s father isn’t as anonymous as she had believed. In fact, her father has known about her from the start, but he walked away from her pregnant mother and Lucy paid the price of her scorned heart. Of course, that’s probably standard operating procedure when you are a demon… Lucy’s frustrated that she was abandoned to a nightmare life due to his callousness, and refuses all Daddy’s overtures to make amends.

Demons seem to be in abundance in the big city, because there are two who regularly invade Lucy’s room, seeking what? She has no idea. But it can’t be good, right?

As the new girl in town, Lucy expects to struggle. But, not this much. She strives to make choices that will keep her safe and help her to feel normal–so she takes on a summer job babysitting the younger half-brother and sister of her school’s most eligible football player, Dylan. He’s the typical rich kid girls fall all over, and her friends are no exception. Except Dylan starts having crazed dreams and visions–just like Lucy’s mother had–followed by seizures.

Lucy’s sure her demon dad is behind the whole mess, so she takes him head-on, offering to accept his persistent attempts at a relationship, if he’ll release his destructive influence on Dylan. Naturally, Demon Dad has seven aces up his sleeve and Lucy’s so outmatched she can’t see the danger until it’s in her face. Good thing Marcus is more than just a friend–or a boy. His own supernatural powers come in handy when Lucy’s poisoned. And flung off a roof and nearly killed. Twice.

Man, that Marcus has his work cut out for him, keeping Lucy from a pine box fate!

The action in this story is pretty intense. There are so many characters–and the point-of-view switches between characters in several chapters–I had the teeniest trouble keeping up. Particularly with all the shapeshifting. Lucy is a strong character. Almost too strong. She’s so determined to take care of herself, that she jumps into problems she would have avoided–by simply asking for help. I wished she would have been less stubborn, though she takes her bizarre heritage in without even a qualm, which surprised me. I’d have been more than freaked learning that I was half-witch, half-demon. For all the witchiness in her lineage, Lucy doesn’t actually learn any witchcraft, or practice it, in this book. We do see a good deal of her demon-side however. I suppose the rest waits for Book Two. The story ends in a quiet place–no cliffhanger–but sets the stage for further books.

Interested? You can find the THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

If you happen to pick it up, come back and tell me what you thought!

And, remember to keep reading my friends.

Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY! SON OF SET by Kelsey Ketch

Release Date: 5/02/14
Summary from Goodreads:
“. . . the Sons would
never just let him go—alive.”

Seth O’Keefe has broken the laws of his god. He never thought he would
sacrifice his own future to protect a Daughter of Isis. But when the Sons of
Set discovered Natti is the Secret Keeper, he had no choice. Now, Seth and
Natti are on the run from his father, who wants nothing more than to see Seth
dead. With no allies, Seth turns to the Daughters of Isis for help, hoping they
would protect Natti. But when they meet the Daughters, he discovers a secret
that puts both their lives in more danger. Low on options, Seth sees only one
possibility for survival. He must help Natti solve an ancient puzzle and find
the secret name of Ra.

Natara “Natti” Stone is having a hard time swallowing the truth. She can’t
believe what she has learned in the past twenty-four hours: Seth is a Son of
Set blessed with charm; she is a Daughter of Isis blessed with a sliver of Ma
‘at; the locket her grandmother gave her holds an ancient Egyptian secret
linking to Osiris and Isis. That along with being tortured and brutalized by
the Sons of Set, she can hardly hold herself together. Thank God for Seth’s
touch! That warm, tingling sensation that drowns it all out. Yet her heart
struggles to stay focused. She must quickly embrace her destiny before the
secret name of Ra falls into the wrong hands.

*Note: Content for Upper YA*

Book One:
(cover linked from Goodreads)
Available from:
Available from:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg
About the Author
During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate.Daughter of Isis is her debut novel.
For more information, please visit her site at

***Author Links***
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Two prize packs, each
containing a silver ankh pendant with seven knot anklet, Son of Set e-reader
bling, 3 bookmarks, 2 temporary tattoos, 2 character collectable
cards, and 2 wristbands (INT).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Check out all these GIVEAWAYS!!

Hey there! Just catching up on my reading. I have a bunch of new books waiting on my iPad, so I’m diving deep to figure out which ones will make for great posts next week.

In the meantime, I wanted to highlight recent posts that still have active giveaways.

First, I’m giving away a paperback ARC–that’s a REAL book–from Bella Andre (I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU) for anyone in the US and Canada. Just like my Facebook page and then click here to comment on the post for the giveaway. Open through March 21st.

A chance at three great prizes from Daisy Prescott for READY TO FALL.

A chance at Amazon cash and Faery wands from Susan Kaye Quinn for FAERY SWAP.

A chance at a KINDLE FIRE!! from Darkly Delicious YA in the Pot-o-Gold Giveaway.

A chance at Amazon cash from Susan Kaye Quinn for FIRST DAUGHTER.

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

He Sacrificed for TRAINING SEASON–A Review

How much must an athlete sacrifice for Olympic glory?

Training SeasonLeta Blake‘s TRAINING SEASON is just the thing to get you out of your post-Olympics slump. This contemporary, M/M romance follows the Olympic dreams of figure skater Matty Marcus as he rebuilds his mind, body, and career. Too bad he didn’t workout his heart…

Matty Marcus is a World Champion figure skater recovering from a back in jury and a disappointing showing at the Olympics. He is on the verge of bankruptcy and needs money to begin training for the next Olympics two years away. One of his fans offers him a lot of money to house-sit for her Montana ranch and horses while on a six-month trip to Australia/Asia. Having no better prospects, Matty agrees.

Problem is, Matty’s flamboyantly gay. He, perhaps, never says this explicitly in his interviews, but he wears women’s clothes and shoes and makeup, so…it’s pretty obvious. He can’t really un-gay himself, even if the judges don’t favor it.

Matty’s a bit afraid that he’ll run up against some gay bashing in his new remote locale, but, what he finds is his new neighbor–the man who owns the next ranch over, is himself gay. Rob is much more the burly, athletic, male specimen, but he’s drawn to Matty and they engage in a passionate affair. This passion is tinged with frustration, however, knowing that Matty’s time is fixed. Still, Matty bonds with Rob’s son, Ben–a pre-teen boy interested in figure skating. Matty relates well with Ben, recognizing the boy has size and power that Matty lacks. Masculinity is now being highly regarded in the figure skating world, and though Matty has talent, he can’t change his stature.

Rob gets Matty. He sees how he struggles–to maintain his weight, his focus, with his fear of failure and his self-loathing for previous failures–and through some Dom/sub interactions Matty experiences an emotional purging. They are deeply connected with one another, more so than either had been with another man before.

Still their time comes to an end and Matty asks for a clean break–knowing he will devote himself 24/7 for the next two years to his dream of Olympic gold. Because of this, Matty is, in part, better able to focus on skating as a means to bury his grief over letting Rob go.

Matty trains relentlessly and achieves his Olympic dream…sort of. Even years later, he struggles with the loss of Rob, and contemplates giving up his competitive career. While recuperating from yet another sidelining injury, Matty discovers Ben in training for junior figure skating competitions. Matty connects with Rob again, but Rob is unwilling to pick up Matty’s pieces. Again. Rob can’t bear any more diet management and ten hour training days, seeing the love of his life sacrifice everything for figure skating, when the rewards are so slim.

About 3/4 of the way through this book I just started crying.

See, I’ve been around elite athletes–people training for the Olympics/World Championships. Not figure skaters, but intense, driven individuals who will sacrifice everything to attain their goals of competing/winning at that level. Moving across country to train with an esteemed coach. Families investing their entire financial resources behind the training of a promising athlete. The sacrifices Matty makes seem very much in line with those people. The constant training, the constant diet management, forgoing relationships in order to “stay focused”; this is the hallmark of many an elite athlete. It was so hard to read Matty’s struggle for that reason–because I know this is happening right now with talented athletes who are great, and perhaps–like Matty–amazing, and yet, who will not see the top of the podium, nonetheless.

This book, by the way, is not an indictment of elite sports. It is a realistic portrayal of the sacrifices some athletes will make to achieve. I was satisfied that Matty really learns what is most important in his world; what he is willing to settle for, and that which will bring him the most happiness.

It is a solid contemporary story, a come-back story, a romance with scorching love scenes and some BDSM. Rob and Matty are blistering together, and their short Montana love affair changes each of them in unexpected ways.

Interested? You can find TRAINING SEASON at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I received a free copy of this book with the Don’t Buy My Love program at Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. Reading this story I had the image of Johnny Weir in my head the whole time. So will you…

Thanks for stopping by! And, keep reading my friends!

Get To Know Bella Andre! Free Paperback Giveaway!

Hi there! For many readers it’s tough to find new authors. Anytime I talk about my blog I’m asked for recommendations. I have some stand-by’s for people who only read print–and I couldn’t recommend Best Selling Author of contemporary romance, Bella Andre, to them–because her work was all eBook–until this year.

Yes, now you can find Bella Andre’s Sullivan Series in paperback, and to start any new reader off right, I have print ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU. Read on to find out how it can be yours…(US/Canada only–I’m shipping mine to you!)

I Only Have Eyes for You (The Sullivans, #4)Sophie Sullivan is a librarian. She’s college-educated and lovely, and head-over-heels crushing on Jake McCann, BFF to one of her six older brothers. She’s loved Jake since she was a child, but he’s just as interested in the full-grown “Nice” Sullivan twin sister as he was for her childhood self. Not at all, in fact. Or, so Sophie believes…

Jake McCann has always been captivated by the quiet, studious, nice Sophie Sullivan. Not that he can do anything about it–her brothers are nothing less than formidable, and Jake knows he won’t measure up to their ideal brother-in-law. He’s just a barman–sure he owns a chain of successful pubs, but he’s still the barely literate son of a bartender he was when he met the Sullivan’s–at least in his own eyes.

Jake and Sophie work together to plan the wedding of Sophie’s brother Chase–and that’s where she springs her trap. All dressed up with love on her mind, Sophie makes no excuses for her seductive pursuit of the man she’s always desired. Sophie gets what she wants–briefly, but waking alone was never part of the plan. Nor was the morning sickness…

Determined to never be hurt by Jake again, Sophie begins a new phase of life, not expecting that Jake would do anything in his power to win Sophie’s heart–for her own sake. Of course, Jake must get over his own inferiority issues, and that’s not helped when Sophie’s angry brothers come aknockin’.

It’s a solid romance with a strong ensemble cast that forms the backbone for the now twelve books in the Sullivans series. This is book four, but it’s as good a place to start as any. You catch up quickly on the family antics, and the story is very much centered on Sophie and Jake, with their alternating points of view.

For those who prefer digital, or live outside the US/Canada, or want this book–regardless of the contest–they can find it on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To enter the contest, be sure to “Like” my V’s Reads page–this will give you access to outside-the-blog reviews and my semi-daily FREEBIE postings you can download. Be sure to come back here to comment that you entered, and what your FB name is, to complete your entry.

I’ll choose a winner On Friday March 21st. Best of luck, and keep reading my friends!

Is He READY TO FALL? Review and Giveaway!

Ready to Fall Banner

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the READY TO FALL blog tour, sponsored by The Novel Tease! Today’s book is a Contemporary Romance by Daisy Prescott and it’s filled with a sexy lumberjack…er, I mean, sexy silvaculturalist.

Ready to Fall CoverAbout the book:
When you fall, you fall hard…

Readers first fell in love with John Day as the hot next-door neighbor in Romantic Comedy Best Seller Geoducks Are for Lovers. Tall, dark, and handsome is an understatement. With the beard, a dog named Babe, and his ever present plaid shirt, John is a modern lumberjack in more ways than one.

Lurking beneath the flannel and beard could be the heart of a romantic. Or is John a wolf in flannel clothing?

After his favorite neighbor rents out her cabin for the winter, John finds himself playing fireman and tour guide to Diane Watson, a beautiful brunette with her own messy past and recent battle scars. When an ex shows up unexpectedly, their lives will be changed forever.

Will he be ready to fall in love? Or will he fall back into his old, flirty ways?

Hold onto your heart… and get ready to fall with John Day as he tells his story in this contemporary romance/romantic comedy told in male POV.

How about a little taste?

I pulled the bike off the road and we ran for the overhang of the store. Standing in the shadows next to the bagged ice freezer on the side of the building, I took off my helmet and brushed the rain from the back of my neck. Diane was dry on her front, but the back of her jacket appeared nearly soaked.

After she took off her helmet and set it on the ground, I gave her a stern look. “See what I mean about not talking about the weather? Around here it can rain when the sun’s out.”

Brushing the water off her jacket, she peered up at me with a sheepish smile. “Sorry. How long do you think we’ll have to wait it out?”

I left the dry safety of the overhang to stare up at the fast moving clouds swirling above us. “Hard to say. Might turn back to being a mist. Might not.”

“Can we ride home in the rain?” she asked, leaning against the wall. Her wet jeans clung to her legs and I found myself staring while she lifted one leg to brace it on the wall.

“Sure. Do we want to? Not really.”

“What should we do?”

I lifted my eyes to her face. Her eyes sparkled same as they did back in the bar. I swept my thumb across my lower lip and then ran it across my chin.

Since our hike at Deception Pass, I couldn’t stop thinking about kissing her. The day she received a letter from the asshole wasn’t the right time. Normally, I didn’t give this much thought to making a move. If I wanted to kiss a woman, I did. As long as she gave me the right signals. Maybe that was part of the problem with Diane. I didn’t know her signals. We flirted, we teased. I caught her staring, but it never moved from thoughts to action. My hand was getting tired of all the time I spent thinking.

There was a time and place for action.

That time and place was now.

“Store’s closed. Nothing to do but stand here and watch the rain fall.” I moved closer to her along the wall, my shoulder brushing hers when I mirrored her posture. My hand dropped between us and brushed against her leg, but I faced the line of water dripping from the roof gutter.

“Nothing?” she asked, her voice more of a whisper.

“Can’t think of anything,” I whispered back while I turned to gaze down at her. “You?”

I could see everything in her eyes. I wasn’t the only one thinking about kissing. When I entwined our fingers, her breath hitched. I broke eye contact and stared down at her mouth. Her lips parted and her tongue peeked out to wet the bottom one.

“John …” Her words faded away when I leaned down.

My review:

First, let me say, I love reading a male POV in romance. It’s so fun to pretend I’m inside a guy’s head.

John Day is a man’s man. He’s big, burly and built. He fishes, and hunts, but prefers fishing. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest. He’s rugged. But, he’s kind, and broken-hearted that his mom died years before when she got caught in a snowstorm after visiting him at school. And, he hates that his dad was a cheating husband. Currently, John’s dating Kelly–sister to his high school BFF–but it’s casual because she’s getting a divorce…sort of.

Diane is subletting John’s neighbor’s home on Whidbey Island. This city gal is out of her element, completely, and John steps in to help her out. They decide to build a friendship–neither is emotionally available anyhow–John’s dealing with Kelly’s messy life and Diane’s pretty shattered after discovering her soon-to-be ex’s infidelity. Hence, her cross country escape from NYC.

Diane and John build a cozy friendship–he helps her find a good vehicle and they share some small adventures–then John decides Kelly’s simply using him and cuts her loose. This opens a path to romance between him and Diane, but neither of them will take it–at first. See, John’s convinced that everyone he loves leaves him–and Diane’s lease is up in May.

What would happen if he gave in an actually loved her, then she left? City girls don’t change, and couldn’t be happy with 24/7 island life, right?

Man, does John do a mental number on himself. I was so happy to see him break out of this funk, and give his heart a chance…especially since Diane is a great gal.

These two broken souls do find happiness in each other eventually–and life plans are much less fixed than John had first thought. It’s a solid romance with a compelling lead man and a strong female lead. We don’t get any of her voice, but her spirit is indomitable, nonetheless. It’s a fun read, and I loved the setting. Might need to consider another trip out west, soon… 🙂

Interested? You can fine READY TO FALL on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Daisy PrescottAbout Daisy Prescott:
Before writing funny contemporary romances about adults, I dreamed of being an author while doing a lot of other things. Antiques dealer, baker, blue ribbon pie-maker, fangirl, freelance writer, gardener, pet mom and wife are a few of the titles I’ve acquired along the way.
Born and raised in San Diego, my husband and I currently live in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with our dog, Hubbell, and an imaginary house goat who remains nameless.
Ready to Fall, my second novel, features John Day, the hot, sexy neighbor in my debut novel Geoducks Are for Lovers. Both can be read as stand-alones. I’m busy writing my next novel, which will not feature any bivalves.

Connect with Daisy Prescott on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.

Click the Rafflecopter link below to be one of THREE lucky winners in the Ready to Fall Blog Tour Giveaway!

Grand Prize – Signed Ready to Fall Paperback, button, & magnet
Runner Up – Ready to Fall & Geoducks Are for Lovers E-books
Second Runner Up – Ready to Fall E-book
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Ever Have One of Those Days? FAERY SWAP–A Review and Giveaway!

For those who’ve never experienced the disorientation of Spring Forward…I dislike you, greatly.

See, in the US we decide to “jump” the clocks forward by an hour every Spring and the body clock takes about a week to fully adjust to the dark mornings and odd eating times. [Just one more reason to despise Ben Franklin, LOL.] Truly, today I’ll eat lunch at probably 10 am and dinner at 8pm because my stomach can’t figure out what the heck the solar visual cues mean. Don’t think I’m the only kook out there; today is notoriously bad for traffic accidents with sleepy drivers causing more morning crashes…

With my body being so out-of-kilter I thought I’d feature a book I recently read by a dear writing friend, Susan Kaye Quinn. Not that it’s odd for me to recommend her work–but I don’t usually review Middle Grade books. I read them, of course–I have an 11 year old child–yet, the story’s sense of being out of both place and time fit beautifully with my Spring Forward disorientation.

Faery SwapTHE FAERY SWAP features two young(ish) boys–Finn, a human, and Zaneyr, a faery–who trade souls on the summer solstice in Amesbury, England–a stone’s throw from, you guessed it, Stone Henge.

Finn’s whole life is devoted to keeping his sister, Erin, safe and out of foster care. See, they aren’t orphans but their mom died a few years ago and their dad, a mathematics professor, is parentally MIA. On the way to school one morning, Finn is tricked into helping a strange boy with the smallest of tasks–picking up a dropped coin–and plummets into a realm of magic and fantasy the likes he never could have imagined.

Zaneyr is determined to thwart his father, King Dageyr, from sealing the Rift–the magical space erected between the human and faery world 4000 years ago. In this breach of space-time, Zaneyr’s mother was lost, locked into the mortal human world, while those in the faery Otherworld lived on, never aging. Each summer solstice, emissaries of the faery world are sent to Earth to learn of any advancements in math or science that might lead humans to Otherworld. Due to the time distortions of the Rift, a year in Otherworld equals a century of Earth years, so the advancements move quickly, compared to Otherworld time.

Knowing that sealing the Rift will lead to many mortal lives lost, Zaneyr risks shifting with Finn–even if it means sending Finn’s soul to Otherworld forever. One life must be worth more than the thousands that will be lost if King Dageyr’s plan is complete, right?

Of course, Finn is unwilling to go without a fight. He is assisted in his effort to return to the human realm by a rock sprite named Pyx and Zaneyr’s BFF Liranna, a tough faery who harbors a crush on the impetuous prince. They have less than a day to reverse the swap–by sunset on the solstice the realms will be too far apart for souls to return to their previous realms–so it’s handy that Finn develops some magical skills while trudging through the Otherworld.

Just when Zaneyr is getting settled in Finn’s life, the unimaginable happens–he meets a fellow faery, one who is desperate to return to Otherworld. And, of course, Finn manages to weave a bit of magic that interfere with Zaneyr’s changeling plan.

In the end, it is guidance from Finn’s genius father that stops the realms from merging.

This book is a real treat. Complete, interesting plot arcs call into question some very serious moral issues in a subtle way. For example, is it okay to sacrifice some to save many? And, what is the value of life? Most compelling for me was: is it fair to risk the happiness of everyone to fix an act long regretted?

Most importantly, it is the teen characters who save the day–thwarting the mis-guided plots of King Dageyr to correct past mistakes. The HEA occurs two-fold, with both Zaneyr and Finn having a better place in their realms when the sun finally sets. It’s written with boys in mind–but I believe girls and fantasy lovers of both sexes will enjoy this wholesome tale.

Interested? You can find THE FAERY SWAP on Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

About Susan Kaye Quinn:

She’s the author of the bestselling young adult SF Mindjack Trilogy. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial for ages 17+ called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap.

It’s possible she’s easily distracted.

Susan grew up in California, got a bunch of engineering degrees (B.S. Aerospace Engineering, M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering) and worked everywhere from NASA to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). She designed aircraft engines, studied global warming, and held elected office (as a school board member). Now that she writes novels, her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist,” but she mostly sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets paid to make stuff up.

All her engineering skills come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mindpowers, future dystopic worlds, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. For her stories, of course. Just ignore that stuff in the basement.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle. You can find her on Facebook way too often. Or you can reach her the old-fashioned way: susankayequinn (at) comcast (dot) net

She also does Virtual Author Visits for schools and you can learn about those in this Handy-Dandy YouTube movie…

She’s a dynamic speaker and really inspires people, as you may agree! If you are, or know, a teacher or a librarian, get in touch with Susan about getting in class projects and swag to foster the growth of young minds in both science and writing!

***Blog Tour Giveaway***

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
a $25 Amazon Gift Card
a Signed Paperback of Faery Swap
and Two Faery Wands
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck, and keep reading my friends!