The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–October 27th Edition

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

Wow, it’s almost Halloween!  Which means it’s almost Thanksgiving, and then it’s time for the holidays!  I am totally geeked for December – in addition to being my birth month, we are packing our bags and going to my favorite vacation spot – Disney World!  Despite being the most expensive place on Earth, both Dean and I enjoy aimlessly strolling around EPCOT, snacking on Mickey Bars, and trying out the many delicious restaurants.  I can hardly wait to get there!  This is the first time we will be visiting in December; we usually go over Thanksgiving weekend.  I’m curious to see what the crowds are like.

Do you have travel plans this winter? Where are you going?  And are you planning any Halloween festivities?  I’ll be hanging out at home, trying to keep the puppers from barking their fool little heads off at all of the little trick or treaters.

On an administrative note: Feedburner hasn’t been sending my daily emails to subscribers for almost a month, so I am researching alternatives.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!  I tried Feedcat, but had several problems with it, so that has been crossed off my list.

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

This is two week’s worth of books.  I came back from OKC to a sizeable stack of packages, so thank you to the publishers for sending them!

The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

The Golden City by J Kathleen Cheney (YAY!)

The Osiris Curse by Paul Crilley

The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton (This has been getting a lot of love, so I’m interested to check it out)

White Trash Damaged by Teresa Mummert

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Darkness Splintered by Keri Arthurs

Stonecast by Anton Strout

Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

The God Tattoo by Tom Lloyd

Battling Boy by Paul Pope

 

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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Spotlight and Giveaway! Dead Plains by Angela Scott

Today I have a spotlight for Angela Scott’s newly released Dead Plains.  She is celebrating the release by giving away a copy of  WANTED: Dead or Undead or SURVIVOR ROUNDUP – your choice!

 

About the book:

"…Sometimes, the ones you least suspect are the ones that should worry you the most…."

People aren’t always what they seem, as Red has experienced all too well. Strangers are feared, towns are avoided, and everyone’s intentions are scrutinized… even those closest to her. Her coveted ability has been revealed to far too many people, and now that a tiny heartbeat thumps and grows beneath her own, the risk has never been greater.

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Review: Sidelined by Kendra C Highley

Sidelined (Entangled Teen)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she’s daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can’t get better.

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Meet Blade from Paula Altenburg’s Black Widow Demon

Passionate and headstrong, half-demon Raven is nearly executed on the orders of her fundamentalist stepfather. She escapes from the burning stake using the gifts of her otherworldly heritage and the help of a mortal stranger named Blade. Now she’s set on revenge, and only quiet, intense Blade stands in her way.

A retired assassin weary of the weight of his past, Blade has crossed the desert to seek out a new life. His journey is interrupted when his conscience demands he help Raven find an old friend who can help her. Saving her from her need for revenge and delivering her into the hands of loved ones means he’s one step closer to redemption.

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Interview with Jan DeLima and Giveaway!


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Jan!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jan DeLima] Wife, mom, author, gardener, artist, and somewhat acceptable cook. I love books, coffee, wine, carbohydrates baked with butter, and lazy afternoons with my family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Celtic Moon?

[Jan DeLima] Celtic Moon is a shape-shifter urban fantasy romance. The fantasy world is derived from Celtic mythology, which is one of the original sources of shifter lore in history. It is set in current day Maine, in an isolated village surrounded by mountains and wilderness where an ancient clan of Celtic shifters has lived among us in secret for over a thousand years. Sophie, my heroine, is a mother of a teenager who has been on the run from the father of her son due to some brutal circumstances. Sophie is forced to return when her son begins to show signs of becoming a shifter like his father. Dylan, the father of her son, is overly protective and unaware of some events that have kept Sophie away while dealing with an impending war amongst his kind. I enjoyed pairing a typical alpha hero with a woman who refused to accept his behavior. The chemistry between these two characters was a writer’s dream come true.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jan DeLima] At the time, I worked in the cataloging department of my library when a book on Celtic artifacts came across my desk. It reviewed findings and theories of Celtic beliefs from Celtic art, with depictions of men shifting into animals. Intrigued, I dove into researching Celtic mythology and found more material than I could possibly imagine on wolves and shape-shifting. Let’s just say my paranormal writer’s radar was dinging loudly.

My characters emerged soon after, demanding a place in this magical world. Celtic beliefs are nature orientated, so I scattered Celtic tribes across the globe in areas conducive to the habitats of wolves. Just to make things interesting, I also added a civil war, demented Guardians who want to restore their race back to the powerful creatures of Celtic lore, a mother who’s willing to protect her child at all costs, and a husband torn between the people he’s sworn to defend and the safety of his family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sophie?

[Jan DeLima] Survivor. Protector. Mother.

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Review: Love and Other Games Anthology

 

Love and Other Games

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

All of these short stories take place during the Olympic Games in Switzerland, and they all feature a legend about a replica of the torch that brings good luck to anyone fortunate enough to find it.  I enjoy stories with sports settings, so I dove right into Love and Other Games.

Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier

I had a hard time connecting with these characters.  Ty is a US snowboarder, and Nadia dreams of landing a job at the Olympic Committee Headquarters.  Ty is a brash thrill seeker, while Nadia is conservative and serious.  I usually enjoy stories with total opposites, but this one didn’t work for me, and I don’t know why.  Ty came off as very immature, and the conflict with Nadia and her father was never resolved.  Granted, this is a novella, so there weren’t enough pages to flesh out all of the plot conflicts as much as I would have liked, so I wish that  her demanding father had never been introduced in the first place.  Nadia and Ty had enough problems to work through without her father chastising her for being seen with a wild snowboarder, which was putting her promotion in jeopardy.  The funny about that was Nadia’s supervisor assigned her to follow Ty and his teammates around to ensure they behaved.  Their antics and practical jokes were garnering complaints from other athletes, and it was her job to make sure they stopped pulling pranks on their competitors.

Overall, this is a fast read that entertained during my wait at the airport, but didn’t stick with me.

Grade: C

Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller

I was more interested in Cole and Brenna than Ty and Nadia.  Brenna is a photographer, and much to her dismay, she has been assigned to cover the USA hockey team.  She meets Cole on the plane over to Switzerland, and immediately thinks he’s an ass.  Granted, he behaves like one, so her impression isn’t out of left field.  He pranks her, she accidentally pranks him, and then, to top everything off, he is hurt on the ice because of her mistake.  Through it all, Brenna has to work through her dislike of both athletes and the Games.

Ice Gold is fast paced and a fun story overall.  I liked both characters, and found this a breezy read.  It doesn’t require much brain-power, so it was perfect for a light read after having to get up after only four hours of sleep to catch a plane.

Grade: B

The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane

This one just clicked for me.  Lia is an aerial skier, and she desperately needs to score gold so she can get some lucrative endorsements.   Her family back in Greece is in danger of losing their family farm, and she will do anything to help them keep it.  Her only problem? She’s not very likable.  She’s been told she needs to lighten up because public opinion of her is not favorable.  It’s doubtful that even if she brings home the gold that she’ll win any sponsor money.  Then in walks Brandon, a journalist on a mission.  He has to find a story that will win the hearts of his readers, or he isn’t welcome back at the publication offices.  Just what Lia needs, right?

I found this one compelling and hard to put down.  Lia is driven to save her family’s home, so she is all work and no goofing around.  She’s puzzled why that would have any bearing on her pitching products.  I liked how determined she was.  She worked hard to get to the Games, and she’s not going to risk losing by playing around.  Then she meets Brandon, who fails to tell her that he’s a journalist.  Lia is a very private person, and she doesn’t want anyone to know about her circumstances at home.  The attraction she feels for Brandon is so strong that she puts aside her usual rule of keeping to herself while she waits for her turn at competing. 

Even though Brandon was not entirely honest with Lia, I liked him, too.  I started worrying about how Lia would deal with the news that he was a journalist.  I knew she was going to blow a gasket, and that it was just a matter of time before her happiness was abruptly brought to a halt.  Would it ruin her concentration enough to make her lose her competitive edge? 

This is one of the stronger stories in the anthology.

Grade: B+

Worth More than Gold by Ana Blaze

This was my favorite story.  The pacing is spot on, and relationship between Erik and Amy is engaging.  After an evening of letting her hair down, Amy wakes up in a stranger’s bed with little recollection of the night before.  All she can remember is meeting a hot Viking at party and having a little too much to drink.  She’s hurt that her hook up didn’t even bother to stick around long enough to say good morning or good bye.  Ugh! How mortifying!  Amy is embarrassed and ashamed, and firmly decides that she is going to stick to business for the rest of the Games.  She’s there to keep an eye on her sister, the current figuring skating sweetheart, and stay away from both guys and alcohol.

What she doesn’t count on is that Erik, her ski jumper hook up, considers her his lucky charm.  He pursues her relentlessly, unleashing his devastating charm.  Amy has some self-esteem issues from living in the shadow of her talented and beautiful sister, so Erik is careful not to scare her away again.  He is sweet and charming and impossible to resist.  How could Amy avoid her HEA with a wonderful guy like Erik?

I loved Worth More Than Gold.  The author manages to squeeze a lot of character growth into a small amount of space, and I didn’t put my Kindle down until I reached the last page.  What a great story to close out this anthology. 

Grade: A

Overall, I’d give Love and Other Games a B.  There is a nice mix of stories here, with enough variety that readers should find something to enjoy.  This is a perfect book to load up on your mobile device and read in small chunks when you are stuck standing in line or waiting to pick the kiddos up. 

Review copy provided by publisher