Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review Tour: Of Sea and Stone


Of Sea and Stone
by Kate Avery Ellison
Release Date: February 2nd 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.

When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.

Desperate to be free, Aemi plots her escape, even going so far as to work with Nol. But the sea holds more secrets than she realizes, and escape might not be as simple as leaving...

About the Author

I've been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I'm thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I'm not writing, I'm creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.


Aemi’s life as a slave sucks.  Her only comforts are her friend Kit and her dreams of freeing herself and traveling to the mysterious and wonderful place her mother once called home.  But before Aemi has a chance to change her life, her village is raided by the sea people and she and many young men from the village are kidnapped and enslaved in the undersea world of Itlantis.  There, she finds that enemies might just be friends and there is an injustice that goes deeper than the one committed against her. 

Of Sea and Stone was fantastic.  It grabbed and held on to my attention through the entire story, as Aemi experiences all the ups and downs of a slave in a technological, undersea world.  Her relationship with one of the other slaves from her hometown and the mystery underlying her capture and history kept me intrigued until the very end. 

Aemi was a nice woman.  She always wanted to know more and used every opportunity to do so.  She usually had a decent attitude, despite everything that happened to her.  One thing I did not understand is why Aemi was determined to escape Itlantis, even when good things were happening to her.  Her life became much better than it ever had been in her village.  I suppose it is because of the injustice done to her—that she had no choice but was forced to go there.

I loved the world it was set in.  I had expected Itlantis to be a mermaid type of civilization, or maybe a version of the original Atlantians.  Instead, it was more like the modern-day civilization and technology, forced to go underwater because of some disaster a thousand years before.  The technology was slightly more advanced than it is today, instead of a primitive kind of society, like Aemi’s Village of the Rocks. 

I found it interesting that Itlantis had slavery.  If it was an advanced society from earth, what happened to reverse the no-slave policy?  I suppose they were not exactly slaves: Criminals were forced into indentured servitude until they can pay off the debt they gained from their crimes.  But still, not everyone was actually guilty…

Overall, Of Sea and Stone was very interesting.  There were different facets to the story that made it interesting as the mysteries were solved.  I am excited to read the next book and bought it after I finished this one.  I would definitely recommend it anyone who likes dystopian.  

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for and honest review.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Tour: Return Once More


Return Once More (The Historians #1)
Release Date: 09/29/15
Bloomsbury Spark

Summary from Goodreads:
If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?

Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.

If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?

Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.

Or would you have the strength to watch him die?

But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.

Buy Links:
Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play 

About the Author

Trisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for five years now, and has published 4 young adult novels and 4 new adult novels (under her pen name Lyla Payne). Her favorite things, in no particular order, include: reading, Game of Thrones, Hershey’s kisses, reading, her dogs (Yoda and Jilly), summer, movies,  reading, Jude Law, coffee, and rewatching WB series from the 90’s-00’s.

Her family is made up of farmers and/or almost rock stars from Iowa, people who numerous, loud, full of love, and the kind of people that make the world better. Trisha tries her best to honor them, and the lessons they’ve taught, through characters and stories—made up, of course, but true enough in their way.

Author Links:


Kaia Vespasian is a student in a futuristic time travel organization.  On her seventeenth birthday, she will find out who her one true love is, out of all the people who have ever lived or ever will.  Most people never meet their true love, but through time travel, Kaia can.  But the rules of the organization forbid such interactions.  As Kaia delves deeper into history, she finds rules in her society that do not add up and wonders if there is more going on with them than meets the eye.

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh was captivating.  It held my attention throughout, distracting me from more important things.  Because it was a time travel story, it took place in two very opposite main settings, one hundreds of years into the future on a different planet, since Earth had been destroyed, the other in ancient Egypt in the first century BC.  There was also an air of mystery as Kaia began investigating the actions of her mysterious classmate. 

The historical details of Return Once More were fascinating.  I had never heard of Kaia’s true love, although he was the son of a two famous historical figures.  That was perhaps because he died young, before he had a chance to make a name for himself.  It was fascinating learning about him.  His sense of duty and honor seemed very accurate to the worldview he would have lived in.

When Kaia and her classmates time traveled, they experienced events that had pivotal effects on human history.  Their goal was to study and discover the events that led their society to leaving earth in an attempt to keep from repeating them.  Time travel sounds fun, but it was gratifying to see that the time travel described in this book had a purpose greater than exploring history for the fun of it.

The romance was intriguing.  Once I accepted the idea of two people perfect for each other in every possible way, it was easier to see their immediate attraction, trust, and understanding of each other as possible and beautiful.  I held on to the hope that Kaia would find some way to keep her true love from dying tragically, changing the true history.

The book did not end the way I expected. I cannot say much more without giving it away, but it was both happy and sad.  I long to read the second book in the series.

Overall, Return Once More was captivating, beautiful, and fascinating.  I intend to read the rest of the series and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sci-fi or dystopian romance.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Book Tour Organized by:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog Tour: The Libby Garrett Intervention


The Libby Garrett Intervention (Science Squad)
by Kelly Oram 
Release Date: 10/24/15
Bluefields Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it.

When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor...

Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.

Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?

This follow-up companion novel to The Avery Shaw Experiment can be read as a stand alone. (But where's the fun in that?) ;)

Buy Links:

About the Author

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.

Author Links:

Meet the Stars of The Libby Garrett Intervention!

I don’t do very extensive character profiles before I begin writing a book because my characters often tend to evolve with the story. But I do start out with a basic idea of who they are to me and what they look like. Here are the character reference photos and basic profiles I used for my leads in The Libby Garrett Intervention.

Name: Elizabeth Ruby Garrett
Nickname: Libby
Birthday: November 11th
Age: 18
Science Squad Position: Secretary
Scientific Focus: Astronomy
Wants to be when she grows up: Yet to be determined, but it will be awesome
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite TV show: Bizarre ER
Favorite music: Elvis Presley, ABBA,
Hobbies: Snowboarding, freeboarding, skateboarding, reading, stargazing, tutoring, cats, learning about rare freaky diseases, romantic comedies 

Name: Adam Koepp
Nickname: Coffee Man (Only Libby calls him that.)
Birthday: June 26th
Age: 19
Science Squad Position: Unofficial member recruited to sponsor Libby through an Owens Anonymous program.
Scientific Focus: None. (Other than the occasional anatomy & physiology lesson from Libby)
Current Job: Manager at Joe’s Cup o’ Jo
Dream Job: Pro Skater
Favorite color: Gray
Favorite TV show: NCIS
Favorite music: Nothing in particular.
Hobbies: Skateboarding, taking care of his little sister, crime novels, action, suspense, and horror movies

These two were an unlikely paring that came together perfectly. I loved how they ended up being so different and yet so similar in a lot of ways. And I loved their chemistry together! I never had a problem with the flow of a scene between these two. They both have very dominating personalities and practically wrote their own scenes for me. It was so much fun. Here’s a little clip of their chemistry:

“Cute,” I teased, pointing at the picture of a toothless Libby with pigtails on the fireplace mantle. 

Libby looked at the portrait and snorted. “Whatever. I rocked the pigtails.”

“You did,” I agreed. “Very hot.”

She mock glared at me. “Don’t tease. I’m sure even a hottie like you went through an awkward adolescent phase at some point.”

Yeah, I was still going through it. But I wasn’t going to try and talk her out of thinking I was sexy, so I grinned. “Nope. Totally skipped that part and went straight from adorable little boy to dangerously hot man.”

Libby raked her eyes over me from head to toe, and I stood there letting her look her fill. In truth, I’m not anything special to look at, but I learned a long time ago that confidence goes a long way with girls. It works that way with them, too. That’s why I’d always been so drawn to Libby. If she only knew how irresistible she’d been when she didn’t give a damn what the world thought about her, she never would have let Owen ruin her. If she hadn’t given in to his put-downs, he’d have eventually accepted her, despite his reservations. She’s just that kind of girl.

“Dangerously hot is an accurate assessment,” she finally declared. “That eyebrow ring…mmm.” Even though she was teasing, the noise that came from her throat stirred something in me. I cracked my neck and gripped the back of the loveseat next to me as I wrestled with my need for her.


Book Tour Organized by:

Friday, October 16, 2015

The World's Best Story

Writers submit your Story
Enter for a chance to join the House of transmedia stories company

What is World's Best Story?

"This is not just a literary contest, we're looking for stories that will be consumed in multiple media formats – from books to the big screen and beyond," says Vincent Salera, founder of World's Best Story. "Our goal is to revolutionize the traditional literary contest and identify a story with blockbuster appeal. We're looking for a story that audiences will love and help authors turn that story into trans-media franchises, which is why we're empowering readers to judge the contest."

How does it work?

Readers will vote for stories and awarded judges will declare the final Top 10 winners.

2015 Judges: Warren Adler, Victor Malarek, Tamarra Kennelly, Brooke Burgess, Samreen Ashan, Alistair Cross, Rhonda Hayter


Entry Period Closes/Public Voting ends. (November 8)

Top 10 Winners Announced! (November 8)

Professional Review/Voting (November 8 - December 8)

Winner and Top 10 Ranking Announced (December 8)

What are the prizes?

The top 3 winners will receive a full publishing package by FriesenPress, trademark protection in the U.S. and Canada by IP agency Benoit & Cote, a virtual book tour by Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours as well as consulting/marketing services with book expert Anne Chaconas of BadAss Marketing. Busbud and YoDough will be providing lots of goodies for both writers and readers.

How do I submit my story?

To learn more about World's Best Story, including how to enter, please visit World's Best Story.

World’s Best Story : info@worldsbeststory.com

See what's buzzing at World's Best Story:

How to Get Readers Buzzing About Your Book: Secrets from the World of Book Blogging

Viral campaign with famous characters:

What if Oscar Wilde wrote Sex and the City? (series of posts)

What if Lady Gaga wrote Gone With the Wind? (series of posts)

The Current Top 10 Most Voted Stories

Connect with World's Best Story:

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Enter your story today!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

UPDATE: Lilly of the Valley Cover Reveal

Due to an error in the original blog posts about Faith's cover reveal, the entry for the giveaway has been extended more than one full day! You have until noon Central time on Friday, October 16th to enter the giveaway. If you tried to email the cover before, please do so again, this time with the following, CORRECT email address: faith.blum.author[at]gmail.com. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Sound of Emeralds

Rachelle Rea, author of the Steadfast Love Series, is revealing the cover for her next novel, the third in the series: The Sound of Emeralds. Are you excited? I know I am! I enjoyed the series and think this is quite the loveliest cover yet. Ready? For your viewing pleasure, I present The Sound of Emeralds:


What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…

As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders—or separated from her forever? How much pain
does it take to erode a love steadfast?

Barnes & Noble: coming Feb. 15
Amazon Paperback: http://goo.gl/24vmFx
Books a Million: coming Feb. 15
Goodreads: http://is.gd/zRI9dg

About the Author

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring fellow authors in the craft. A homeschool graduate and retired gymnast, she wrote the Sound of Silver the summer after her junior year of college.

Instagram: @RachelleDianeRea

Other Books in the Series

The Sound of Diamonds
Steadfast Love Series #1
Release Date: June 15, 2015

The Sound of Silver
Steadfast Love Series #2
Release Date: October 15, 2015

Cover Reveal: Lily of the Valley

Happy Wednesday! Today we have a blog post with a cover reveal. But, there’s a catch. The author, Faith Blum, has split her cover into 15 different pieces! In order to enter her giveaway, you need to put it together and email her your cover. Or, if you don’t want to enter the giveaway, but you’d still like to see the cover, stop by her blog on Thursday.

The Prize

The winner will have to be patient, but the prize for this cover reveal is a signed paperback copy of Lily of the Valley. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of shipping internationally, Faith won’t be sending a paperback outside of the U.S. If you are international and would like to participate and win, you will receive an ebook copy of any TWO of my published books including Lily of the Valley. To help you a little with putting together the cover, here is the description:
Howdy, Teacher! You don’t know me, but my kids talk bout you a lot. I been lookin fer a wife and mother fer a few years and was wonderin iffen we cood meet and get to no each other a bit. I’ll come after school to git yer answer. Grover Miller Unruly schoolchildren, three suitors, and too many things to do. When Ruth Brookings rejects one of the suitors, he refuses to accept no for an answer. To make matters worse, when she prays for guidance, she’s answered with a challenge instead: To encourage her friend to find a wife—whether he wants one or not. Will she lose her friend just when she needs a friend the most? Will she be able to weather the storms she’s about to face?


  • Stop by each blog listed below to get their piece of the cover.
  • Use a program like this website to put the cover together: https://www.befunky.com/features/collage-maker/. If you get a little extra space between each piece, your cover will still count toward the prize. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long is each piece is in the correct place.
  • Email your completed cover to Faith at faith[dot]blum[dot]@gmail[dot]com NO LATER THAN October 14th at 9:00 PM Central time. (If you have problems with time zones, shoot Faith an email and she’ll help you out).
  • Stop by Faith’s blog to see the cover and who won.

Piece of the Cover #11


About the Author

Faith with Rikki-croppedFaith Blum is a 24 year old home school graduate who enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, writing, and playing piano. Her favorite genre to read and write is Historical Fiction, more specifically, Westerns. In the Hymns of the West series, she has endeavored to create clean, fun, and challenging Western stories for the whole family. She currently has three novels and three novellas published.

You can find her in various places online:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | New Releases Newsletter | Amazon  


Find the other pieces of the cover on these blogs. If you are coming in late and would like direct links to each of the blog posts about the cover reveal, please go to Faith’s website link here. She will update each link to go directly to the blog post about the cover reveal. October 12 The Overactive Imagination Rebekah Lyn Books—with Author Interview Morgan Elizabeth Huneke All Things Literary and Political Hello Precious Bliss October 13 With a Joyful Noise Ruth’s Real Life Flights from Aerie Jaye L. Knight Rachel Rossano’s Words—with Author Interview October 14 Zerina Blossom’s Books God's Peculiar Treasure Rae Wildflower Acres A Brighter Destiny Writing Dreams October 15 Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections—with full cover and winner announcement  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Tour: Cinderella's Shoes

Even before meeting Shonna Slayton last year at a book signing, I knew I must read Cinderella's Dress.  I did, and enjoyed it immensely.  I learned a new skill--tatting--because of the book and the book signing.  So, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the blog tour.  I hope you will read the book an enjoy it as much as I have.


Cinderella's Shoes
Release Date: 10/06/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
The war may be over, but Kate Allen’s life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she's been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella’s magical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters’ modern descendants. 

But Cinderella’s dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist, too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father—missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend, Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.

Because when you harness Cinderella's magic, danger and evil are sure to follow...

First book in the series:

About the Author

Shonna Slayton is the author of the YA novels Cinderella's Dress, (Summer 2014) and Cinderella's Shoes (Fall 2015) published by Entangled Teen. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

Author Links:


World War II has been over for a couple years and Kate’s father has been declared missing in action and then deceased.  Why, then, isn’t Kate able to accept his death?  Although the descendants of Cinderella’s stepsisters are horrible, but perhaps there is some truth to their insinuation that the missing glass slippers might be able to be used in finding people.  Perhaps there is some hope for Kate’s dad after all. Now, if only she could make it to Italy and Poland…

Shonna Slayton’s Cinderella’s Shoes is the continuing story of Kate as she grows up, falls in love, and searches out the mysteries behind her family history and the treasures of the Polish Cinderella.  Kate, her boyfriend Jonny, and the owners of the dresses travel to post-WWII Europe to spend the summer.  As they battle the evil stepsisters’ descendants, they grow as individuals and as friends.  It was beautiful to see.  

One thing that surprised me when I read the first book, Cinderella’s Dress, and that continued into this book, was that the story does not solely focus on the dresses or the shoes.  Instead, a major part of the book was spent in daily experiences with only hints as to the importance of the treasures.  You watch Kate and her friends grow up and live their lives in and around WWII—letters to soldiers, fashion trends, refugees, and the like.

After reading the book, I could tell the author did her research into the time period.  The aftermath of WWII in Europe was clearly evident when Kate visited.  Although the war was over, the people had much struggle to do in order to make peace against prejudice and to rebuild their lives after the war decimated their homes and families.  Reading in such a manner about people who hid illegal refugees in their barns or who had survived the labor camps was not something I will soon forget.

Lidka is a character that will stick in my mind for a while to come.  The young woman worked in the black market during the war and was later forced into the horrible labor camps.  Although her experiences and motivations made her hard to like, I feel she exemplified some of the people surviving WWII.  Not only that, but Lidka, as hard as she was inside, was still a young woman in need of love and compassion, and the author did a good job of showing the facets of her character through the story.  

As for the shoes, they were an important part of the story.  The novel is focused on them because they provide the key to finding Kate’s lost father, or at least, that’s what she believes.  But the characters learn that shoes are not the most important thing.  Rather, it is people and the peace between them.  

Overall, the novel quite enchanted me.  The rich historical details brought the story to life and taught the characters lessons and the dresses and shoes added the bit of magic necessary to make it truly a tale of Cinderella.  But let us not forget the fairy god-mother.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


U.S. Only. A paperback of Cinderella’s Dress and a CD of the Disney Cinderella (2015) Soundtrack

Book Tour Organized by:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Tour: If Not For A Bee

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

If Not for a Bee


If Not for a Bee
10/11: Launch
(Seasons of Alaska #3)
by Carol Ross
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 206 Pages
October 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

You can't always play it safe

With four sons dependent on her, Janie Everett needs to keep her life uncomplicated. Now famous scientist Aidan Hollings is disrupting her orderly world, starting with the rescue of a...bumblebee.

Aidan is only passing through her Alaska wilderness town, and wasn't planning to bond with her two older boys. Or become so attracted to the widowed journalist. His globe-trotting days may be be over if he's able to show Janie that they can share the adventure of a lifetime--together.

Also in the Series

Mountains Apart
(Seasons of Alaska #1)
A Case for Forgiveness
(Seasons of Alaska #2)

About the Author

Carol Ross lives with her husband and one loveable miscreant of a dachshund in a small town in Washington close to both the ocean and the mountains. She adores the Pacific Northwest because it provides her with endless opportunities for the activities she loves—hiking, running, skiing, and spending time outdoors. Although she enjoys reading in many genres, she writes what she loves the most—romance, especially light-hearted stories about the fun, flirty, and often-tumultuous path toward a happily ever after. For a complete list of her books, social media links, giveaways, and other fun stuff stop by and visit her new website: carolrossauthor.com.

Guest Post: By Carol Ross

Ten Books that Hooked Me by the First Page and Never (Ever) Let Go

I’ve heard time again over the years that in order to be an effective writer you must also be a reader. I always thought, well, good at least I’ve got part of it down. Now that I am an author, I truly see the importance. And, like most authors I know, I never seem to have enough time to read. So I make time—I ruthlessly carve out time. I will sacrifice sleep, outings with friends, housework (is that a sacrifice?) meals (okay, maybe not meals). But you get my meaning. I love to read. And I love to talk about books.

I also think that you can learn a lot about a person from what they read. When I started compiling this list I agonized over what to include. I mean, I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of books in my life. How can I choose ten favorites? Then I realized that it didn’t mean that others weren’t my favorites. (I still feel compelled to apologize to those others right now for not including them.) Here, I’ve tried to include a variety of books that have made an impact on me for different reasons or that perhaps say something about me as a person.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - This is the book that started it all for me. My love of romance was born the day I borrowed this book from my best friend’s mom. I was eleven. I devoured this treasure, this heart-wrenching story of true, pure love and loss and love again... I went on to borrow the book about five more times until finally she gifted it to me. It’s an old copy that belonged to her mother. To this day, it’s one of my most cherished possessions. (Thank you, Janice.)

Here’s a snapshot of the actual book that started it all for me.
(Complete with first-page crumple.)

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough - Oh. My... I think about this book and my eyes glaze over. In my mind, this book sets the standard for passion. Father de Bricassart is so…so… Wait, what? Where am I? You get it if you’ve read it. And do not crush my soul by telling me Drogheda is not a real place. I will visit there someday…

I love this pretty new 30th anniversary addition cover.

The Montgomery Annuals by Jude Deveraux (Highland Velvet, Velvet Angel, The Velvet Promise, Velvet Song) - My best friend and I read these books in high school and have always referred to them as the Velvet series. These four books sprouted my secret dream of writing romance novels. I’ve read each of these books numerous times. Highland Velvet is my favorite in the series, but each one is perfect.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emma Orczy - This masterpiece of adventure and intrigue and romance showed me that a book could truly have it all. Percy Blakeney is a model for me of the perfect hero - brave, strong, self-sacrificing in the most dramatic of ways, yet capable of love at the same time. Just thinking about that scene in the garden where he kisses the steps and the hand railing where Marguerite has touched it..? Okay, this one is going back on my TBR pile.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas - At the risk of revealing something a little unsettling about myself, I love revenge stories. There’s nothing more satisfying than karma or payback or whatever you want to call it coming back around. In my humble opinion, this is also one of the best books ever written. Someday I’m going to write a revenge-plot romance.

If I was trapped on a deserted island and could only have one book…

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I know, I know, this one is probably on everyone’s list. But I love how it makes me feel like a kid again when I read it. As grown-ups, it’s not always easy to capture that sentiment. I open a Harry Potter book and it all comes rushing back. I love that.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey - I don’t generally read books that break my heart. I subscribe to the Susan Elizabeth Phillips school of thought, “life is too short to read depressing books.” But once in a while I’ll pick one up knowing full well what I’m getting myself into. The tears roll while I try to remember that it’s important to subject myself to these emotions once in a while. After all, the characters I write need to suffer a bit, too, before they get their HEAs. I will admit it’s difficult for me to do. Of all the heartbreakers I’ve read, this one is the most beautiful, poignant, distressing, uplifting and just all around…heartbreakiest of them all.

The Prey series by John Sandford - I have to mention these books because John Sandford is my favorite contemporary author. He’s a genius with plot. He nails description masterfully using just a few skillful words. He never fails to leave me wanting more. There are now twenty-some Prey books. I’ve read them all, usually the week they are released. These mysteries all feature a detective named Lucas Davenport. He’s brilliant, ruthless, dogged and sometimes a bit of a rule-breaker when it comes to solving a case. He’s also broody, dark and intense with piercing blue eyes. All of the above combine to make this hero very hot, as well.

Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long - Even though I don’t write historical romance, they are one of my favorite things to read. I stumbled on Ms. Long’s first book, The Runaway Duke, in 2005 while scrolling around Amazon. Bought it. Read it in one day. (Sleep is overrated when a can’t-put-down book is involved.) I was immediately hooked on her writing and I’ve been with her ever since. The Runaway Duke is a stand alone, but she’s gone on to write The Pennyroyal Green series. There are nine now, each one as fabulous as the last.  Every time I read one I swear that it’s my favorite. What’s wrong with having nine favorites, I say?

My current “favorite” Pennyroyal Green novel.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - Again, with the revenge thing. These books are so compelling. I think about Lisbeth Salander and the word “empowerment” runs through my head. This book gives me hope for the abused, overlooked and underprivileged.

I am looking at my list now and thinking that I may have rambled on too much about these books. As I mentioned above, I could talk (write, too, apparently) about books for hours. I’m always looking for new ones to put on my TBR pile. So, please, share your favorites and maybe a bit about why you like it?

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10/18: Grand Finale

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