Monday, September 29, 2014

The Rocking Horse Garden by Maggie Silwood

   The kelpie was only a creature of legend, but one to be feared if ever seen.  Back in the days when herring fishing was a way of life for those living on the coast of Scotland, seeing or hearing a kelpie was a bad omen.  It brought death and destruction with it.
   Jessie was one of the "Herring Lassies" that would follow the men around the coast.  She helped gut and pack the fish with two other ladies.  There were three of them per team.  This provided revenue for the young women in a time when women didn't have the rights that men did.  This was a sort of freedom for them until they were married when they were expected to take care of the home and children.  It was Jessie that first thought she saw the kelpie but brushed it off as imagination.  Around that time a new family had moved into the area.  New people were a big thing in such small towns and villages.  The man had bought the boat yard and had a young son.  Jessie's cousin, Mary, was a young girl in need of work to help her family.  So she goes to live with this new family as the hired help.  All seems quiet for a bit but Mary starts hearing the kelpie too and confides this to Jessie, who never tells her that she had as well.  Mary wasn't of a very strong constitution and the phantom kelpie was wearing on her even more than Jessie.  Then disaster strikes.  One night while out on their boat, Jessie's father and two brothers die.  Pieces of their boat wash ashore and Robbie, Jessie's boyfriend, takes some of the pieces home and tries to make a replica of the ship out of it as a type of memorial to the men.  Instead, it takes on the shape of a horse.  Intrigued, the new owner to the boat yard where Robbie works, asks him to make it into a rocking horse for his son.  Once it's done though, things start happening at the man's home.  Mary wakes up on Christmas morning to a strange racket in the kitchen.  Someone had ransacked her employer's home.  It was a huge mess!  Once she saw the rocking horse, she knew it was the feared kelpie and that it was to blame for the ruckus.
   It seems that everything starts to go wrong in the small little town that Jessie and Mary lived in.  They both kept hearing the feared kelpie, causing them to lose sleep and health.  Poor Mary was affected the worst since the rocking horse was in the same house as she was.  And her employer's son, Jamie, had a bad fall off of it one day.  He had to be transported to another town where they could do surgery.  He had fractured his skull.  Mary was once again sure that the rocking horse was to blame.  All the while, Jessie was dealing with the knowledge that she was pregnant with Robbie's baby.  The two of them got married and were now living with Jessie's family until they had their own house.  Then there was a fire and Mary was killed in it.  She was trapped and they couldn't get to her in time.  With all of the bad that had happened to them, Jessie decided that Robbie's idea of leaving one day to another land should happen soon.  They made plans to board a ship to Australia, trying to run away from the kelpie that kept haunting their dreams and their lives.  But the voyage could prove to be more than they could bear.

   This book kind of creeped me out some.  The thought that a kelpie had caused so much destruction was bad enough, but when it became trapped in the rocking horse, that was the creepiest part of the story.  I am one of those people that are scared of things like porcelain dolls to begin with.  So this was way up there on the creep factor for me personally.  And if you have those types of fears, it probably will be for you too.  At the same time, it was interesting to read about such a superstition as this one.  A long time ago there were those that were very superstitious, especially those that worked aboard ships on the seas.  They are tempestuous and you never know when the weather will change so superstition came into play.  In this book though, it sure seemed that the kelpie was at work.  But bad things happen.  Everyone experiences them at some point.  This was just an insane amount all at one time.  It is a true test of willpower and character to weather such circumstances.  However, with Jessie, Robbie, and Mary the events kept wearing at their minds, causing them to create the illusion that the mythical kelpie was following Jessie and Robbie even while they were running away from it.
   The last little bit of the book is about a descendant of Jessie and Robbie's that comes to own a piece of land that had at one time been the couple's.  This young lady named Shona finds Jessie's old diary she wrote on her voyage to Australia.  Intrigued, Shona takes a trip back to Scotland to find her roots.  It is a nice little addition to the story, but not completely necessary.  I would have actually liked to see this be made into its own little book instead of an ending to this one.  I think it would have been better suited for it.
All in all a good read and 4 out of 5 stars!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dragon's Bride: The Dragon and the Scholar book 4 by H.L. Burke

   In the last installment of the series, Ewan, the Dragon Prince, leaves his new bride, Shannon, in Regone to go in search of answers to become a man for good.  Since being married to Shannon, he realizes she is far more important to him than anything else and he will find a way to be the man she needs him to be.  He and Martin set out to find a dragon, Queen Harviss, who might have answers for him.  They might know something about the wild magic that has bound Ewan.  But when they meet her, things just get more complicated.  Turns out that Ewan has Fey blood running in his veins and the magic worked by Adonna awakened it.  Now he and Martin must travel back in time and find his Fey ancestor to help with the curse.  But when they go back, they run into unexpected trouble with the powerful Queen Idriss.  Now they aren't sure if they will be able to make it back to their own time, and Idriss wants to send herself and many other Fey into the future where they are pretty much non-existent.  If she succeeds, who knows what would happen?

   Shannon and Ewan find themselves in a bit of an unconventional spot in this book.  A dragon is married to a scholar.  They are very much in love, but his dragon form is a problem for their current state.  They had one night together in the end of the third book, but all it did was make them both want more.  Shannon will do her best to be content with him as a dragon as long as he is around.  But not Ewan.  He wants very badly to return to a human state to be able to touch and hold Shannon.
   While Ewan is gone, Shannon finds herself with child and starts getting very lonely without Ewan.  She tries to keep herself busy, waiting on his return.  She did give him a year, but hadn't actually thought it would take that long.  She holds the secret of her pregnancy for as long as possible, but can't forever.  People notice when she hasn't eaten and isn't feeling well so often.  She is doing her best to go on without Ewan there.
   Martin finds himself particularly drawn to Idriss's daughter, Rega.  She is only half Fey and an accomplished hunter.  Her father had long since been turned into a stag and let loose to live out the rest of his days after Idriss was tired of him.  She did this often with her lovers.  They were all disposable to her.  But Rega wasn't like her or even the other Fey.  She had a soft spot for the humans.  But things could never work out between Martin and Rega for an astounding reason you find out later on in the book.
   The ending was absolutely fantastic!  It was just as it should be with some surprise to it as well.  Things never quite end like you expect them to.  And let's just say that Ewan must pay a price to regain his human form.  It is a price that affects everyone around him.  Should he choose to take the risk anyway?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Artemis Rising by Cheri Lasota

   Eva is a 15-year-old girl who has a Catholic father and a pagan mother who worships the goddess Artemis.  Eva's father doesn't know of this, but has heard the rumors among the people in town and is suspicious.  He is a brutal man and won't tolerate them to be anything other than Catholic.  When he does find out, he lashes out at his wife and they leave for a new place.  On the way a dreadful storm wrecks the ship and Eva, who has now taken the name Arethusa after taking her vow to Artemis, is found by a boy that is about her age named Tristao.  When he sees her, he vows to never let anyone hurt her again.  Arethusa had hand and finger marks on her neck suggesting someone had tried to kill her.  At first it was her assumption that it was her father, but the truth is soon revealed that it was another.
   While on board the ship with her parents, there was a young man who Arethusa's mother believed to be her Alpheus.  It was Arethusa's destiny to eventually be with him.  But she isn't so sure he is the one.  The vision she saw was a young man with blue eyes.  Diogo (supposedly Alpheus) has very dark eyes and wants Arethusa, but she is unwilling to give herself to him.  After the wreck, she is taken to an orphanage where she recovers, but cannot speak because of the damage done to her neck.  All the while, Tristao watches over her until Diogo tells everyone her religion.  All of the other children are afraid of her, and Tristao, who she had started having feelings for, suddenly starts avoiding her.  Diogo will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it hurts Arethusa in the process.  Because of his now savage nature, she has to wonder how he could possibly be her Alpheus.
   In time Arethusa and Tristao are adopted by the padre's brother.  He took a keen interest in the two after meeting them and felt that this was the path he should take.  The two go to live with him and his sour acting wife for the next few years.  Thankfully it is a reprieve for them both from Diogo.  The Conde Fernando Estrela becomes a second father to Arethusa and a father to Tristao, who takes the name Tristan.  Both of them have now taken names that are ill-fated according to the old legends.  Tristan's is the story of he and Isolde the Fair.  Arethusa's fate is supposed to be with Alpheus.  And unfortunately, Diogo shows back up, determined to make her his wife.  He has even more tricks up his sleeve this time.  It always ends up with Arethusa getting hurt or being in danger from this crazy guy.  She and Tristan can only wonder if this is just their fate, and if they can change it.

   A story based on two old tales, this was a well written piece about two young adults who are convinced that the names they take are the fates that will be for them.  Unfortunately, they fall for each other and start to wonder if there is a way to change fate.  The padre in the story doesn't believe any of the stories and all that about them being fated to such ill endings.  He is pretty much the only one who feels this way during the book.  Even the Conde has his own Tristan and Isolde story that ties very closely to Arethusa.  Much closer than she would ever think to be possible.  He is the man with many answers to her life.  At the same time, only she can make her mind up about her fate.  However, this is a concept that she has a hard time grasping and struggles with it throughout the book.  Tristan is much the same.  Diogo believes himself to be a god now.  That goes to his head and he gets crazy and dangerous.  Some men don't do well when power is given to them.  He is one of these men.  A man of wealth and connections, he has ways of getting what he wants.  All in all, it brings one question to mind:  What is in a name?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bastard's Brew (Family Portrait Book 3) by Gillian Felix

The next book in line of the Family Portrait Series by Gillian Felix has Adriana Banovic in as much trouble as ever.  She is secretly dating Haze, a guy who works for their family and is in college.  He is quite a bit older than her.  He has no idea she is still a minor.  She told him that she is going to college too.  Well her family still doesn't know about their relationship or just how far it has gone.  Kevin Banovic is having feelings for L'Wren, who happens to be Savi's step-daughter.  Savi is the woman black-mailing him into having relations with her.  Kevin is very ready to get rid of Savi so he may pursue L'Wren further.  Savi gets an idea that he might be trying to get with her and puts her foot down on the issue.  She always gets what she wants, one way or another.  Her daughter, Leighann DaCosta goes to school with Adriana and the girl knows about her secret relationship with Haze.  What Adriana doesn't understand is why Leighann would keep such a secret.  Oh well.  It benefits her so she doesn't protest.  But Adriana cannot keep herself out of trouble, and there is plenty of drama in the latest Family Portrait book!

You ever read a book where you just kept wishing that one or two people would get in trouble because they were such a pain?  This has been how I felt the entire time reading this book.  Adriana is more than a pill.  She is absolutely spoiled and needs a little bit of a reality check.  Some events that happen do give her a little bit of a check, but she is still as spoiled as ever.  Kudos to Kevin for handling her well though.  His dose of reality was the best out of everything.  Savi is still being herself, but Kevin has plans for her.  All in all, it's another day in the life of the DaCostas and the Banovics!

Interested in this series?  Here are links to my reviews on Book 1 and Book 2:

Book 1:

Book 2:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Stolen Heart by Brenda K. Davies

  Alexandra Harris is anything but a proper lady.  In a time where women always need an escort, are never alone with a man, always wear dresses, and do women's work, she does just the opposite.  She can work like a man, dresses like a man, and goes to see Henry by herself every week.  Henry was a friend of her father's before he died.  Although her reputation is non-existent, Alex stopped caring two years ago when her father passed.  After that, all she cared about was getting even with the man who had made everyone's life a living hell if they happened to own land in the area.
   Murdoch was more than just ambitious.  He was willing to do whatever it took to get what he wanted.  Some of the farmers had already sold out and left because they could no longer get by, or they no longer wanted to deal with disappearing or dead cattle and livestock, and burned barns.  The community knew who was to blame, but there was never enough evidence and the sheriff was in Murdoch's pocket.  Alex and her brother, Hugh, had started robbing some of Murdoch's shipments of money and distributing it among the farmers to help them get by.  What they didn't know this time was that there was a new hired gun to help get the money through and he was very good.  In the end, the new guy, Jarrett, and Alex were both shot.  She shot him in the upper thigh and he shot her in the arm.  Since neither were fatal shots, both recover just fine.  But Jarrett is after revenge.  He wants to bring in the boy (who he doesn't know was actually Alex) that shot him and caused all of this trouble.  Bad news is that red heads are not common in this area, so Alex and Hugh have to be very careful and keep their heads down for a while.
   All the while, Megan, Alex's best friend, is watching the events unfold and knows once again that Alex is in trouble.  She believes none of the rumors in town about her friend and knows all of the story behind her anger.  It is a deep and sad story that Jarrett will come to know as well.  And as he does, he will gradually fall for this beautiful woman who makes his blood run hot.  But Jarrett has competition from a few men in town, and one of them is dangerous.  And Alex loves to live dangerously without ever thinking of her own safety.  It will be a stroke of luck if he can tame her enough to make her see just how much danger she puts herself in.

   I don't read many western style books, and I was surprised to see this particular author write a book like this, but it was really good!  It has some adult themes so it is not for anyone under the age of 18, but there is also a great story line to it as well.  Back in the Old West, women were expected to be proper and act like delicate flowers.  Alexandra is a tough-as-nails woman and is not about to change just because people talk bad about her.  Her world is full of secrets and heartache.  The only people she has are Hugh, Megan, Daryl (Megan's husband), and Henry.  That is, until Jarrett comes along.  Unfortunately he is the most protective of them all after more of Alex's story is revealed to him.  He has to learn that the harder they tighten the reins on her, the more she resists.  Even her brother thinks he has her in hand to a degree, but Alex knows what Hugh is up to.  Jarrett must pick a side, since his employer was the one causing all of the trouble.  And he must find a way to protect Alex from those who would do her harm, physically or mentally.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blood and Bone by Tara Brown

   This book was a real mind bender.  You have to read it all of the way through to even begin to make sense of it and honestly if you could read it all the way through at one time it would be even better.  Picking up on small details within the book are worth remembering as well.  What I mean by that are things like these weird trigger words that Jane seems to have.  It makes certain memories come to her to help reveal certain aspects of the story later on.  I got about 2/3 the way through this one and decided I was good and confused.  I almost quit reading it, but am glad I didn't because much was revealed in the last 5% of the book.
   This novel is about a woman named Jane who seems completely normal until two different people call her Samantha Barnes on the same day.  It weirds her out and she starts looking online for answers to who this girl is.  Apparently she looks just like her, down to the scar on her chin.  This scares her even more and her boyfriend, Derek, who is a doctor, tries to calm her down.  Eventually he tells her she was Samantha until he made them disappear.  It appears that Jane has some unsavory little practices that she does while sleepwalking on occasion.  She feels like a monster once he tells her all of this.  But then a guy named Rory shows up and tells her how Derek is lying and has manipulated her so much.  He tells her that the doctor she has been with for so long is a killer.  He kills people and is dang good at it.  While she goes through all this she is also dealing with her childhood memories of her father, things she would as soon forget.  But nothing is as it seems in this game of "to catch a killer".  Beware!  This book will give you whiplash from this chick going back and forth on how evil she thinks her boyfriend might be!  And there are adult situations so it's not for children!  Happy reading!  And good luck through the labyrinth of this girl's sick and twisted mind...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Alice Acadamy (Book One) by Riley Y. J. Jensen

   Lunar Graves is a problem child.  She has been in fights, suspended, expelled, and more.  When she was a child, her father left, never to return.  And her mother wanted nothing to do with her.  So she has family issues that leaked into her school life.  The principal from her current school shows up one day on her front step to tell her she has been expelled from the school and that he would recommend she be sent to a special military school.  Her mom readily signs the papers and sends her off to the new school.  When Lunar arrives, she sees massive fences with barbed wire on top and gets a cryptic message from the bus driver that this new school of hers wasn't what it seemed.  Even walking through the gates she meets a guy named Ash who is trying to escape (again) and he tells her she needs to leave while she can.  It turns out that Ash has powers.  He is one of just a few Elements that are alive on Earth and he is the Fire Element.  Turns out that Lunar has powers too; she just doesn't know what they are yet.  These kids here at the special school are what they call Godchildren.  Their powers come from Alice, or known to most as Eve, mother of all.
   Alice Acadamy is unlike any school Lunar has ever seen or even heard of, and she had seen her fair share of schools.  It was basically a training ground for the Godchildren the government were trying to hide.  Most of the teachers and administrators were human and mostly scared of their pupils.  Some however, like the weapons teacher, weren't nice and didn't mind humiliating the new girl.  Ash occasionally steps in to help her, but it's Kestrel that is usually the one sticking up for her.  He's a shifter that saved her on her first day when Lunar ran into the woods and was almost eaten by a wild animal.  Kestrel turns into a huge wolf and has a particularly soft spot for Lunar.  Ash just seems to be self-destructive, but, if possible, even more so than Lunar ever was.  Staying alive in this new school is difficult.  Kids get hurt on a regular basis and even dying isn't all that unusual.  After all, with their healing powers, they can pull you back from death itself if it hasn't been too long.  Once Lunar finds out what she is, things get even more difficult for her.  She has to keep her head down and try not to cause too much trouble, or it will be bad for all of them.  What she doesn't know for quite a while is just how bad it already is for Ash.  He is enduring unimaginable horrors at the hands of a Godchild who is on staff.  His name?  Lucifer.  For once, Lunar is trying to take care of others, and for once, Ash actually cares about someone else (although it is hard to tell most of the time).  Now if Lunar can just keep everyone alive.

   There is just a hint of a love interest in this story, but mostly a lot of action and story line about a very complicated girl and guy, and a rather uncomplicated shifter who has feelings for this girl.  I am thinking a love triangle is kind of starting to form, but it's early to say for sure.  I can say that even though this is definitely for younger readers than me (yeah haha I'm not telling how old I am either), I found it a very fascinating read and would recommend it for any teens who are into paranormal/fantasy novels.  It is a rather clean book with very little cussing and no "intimacy scenes".  One little thing you probably won't notice so I will point it out is the A in the title word Alice.  It has a particular shape to it and you will find out why in the book.  I thought it was a particularly nice touch to the cover.  

And now an introduction to the author:  Riley Y. J. Jensen

Riley is a very talented young author who wrote this book when she was 12.  You heard it.  12!!  I couldn't believe it myself.  It is hard for me to imagine writing a full length novel at such a young age.  I have always loved to write, but novel-length works daunt me even now.  She wrote the entire Alice Acadamy Series between the ages of 12 and 14.  She is now a senior in high school and has two pets: a guinea pig named Kydd and a golden retriever named Tanner.  She's also a big movie lover.  All of the illustrations, photography, and design are done by Riley.  She developed her desire to write when she wasn't satisfied with how she couldn't control the stories she read.  Riley doesn't currently have a blog, but you can find her on Facebook or by email at  

(If you are interested in purchasing one of Riley's books, contact her on Facebook or by email!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cover Reveal!! Stargazer by Sunniva Dee!!

The new book Stargazer by Sunniva Dee will be out on October 31st, 2014!!  It is the next book in the Halos Series, coming after Shattering Halos!  Below is some information and the cover reveal!!!

Stargazer cover
I’m Luna, and I’ve been in the Twilight Zone since I moved in with my sister and her boyfriend.
I sense their secrets in every corner of the house.

Gabriel is eerily beautiful, and his personality disturbingly perfect, while Gaia’s inexplicable PTSD and mood swings bounce her between bliss and despair.

Until Gabriel’s brothers pay a visit.

He’s the night to his brother’s day. He’s sex personified and the devil in one hell of a stunning package. It’s been years since I last saw him, but this man makes me burn. He hooks me with his touch. Enthralls me with those oddly simmering eyes. He pierces my soul with his knowing smirks, and I am losing myself in him.

With pearlescent hair and spring green eyes, he crashes into my world. I thought this crazy, beautiful man could mend my bleeding heart. Make things recognizable again—normal. Instead he pulls me from the embers and feeds me to the open fire.

College life. Is this what everyone goes through?

About The Author
SunnivaOriginally from Norway, I moved to the United States twelve years ago. I hold a Master's degree in languages and taught Spanish at college level before settling in at the Savannah College of Art and Design as an adviser.
I write New Adult fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist—like in “Shattering Halos,” published by The Wild Rose Press in February 24th 2014 and in “Stargazer,” estimated release date, November 2014. The first book I’m self-publishing is the New Adult Contemporary novel “Pandora Wild Child,” which will make me a proud indie author in October 28th 2014!
I specialize in impulsive heroines, bad-boys, and good-boys running amok. Then, there’s the intense love, physical and emotional attraction beyond reason—sensory overload for the reader as well as for the characters. Like in real life, I hope you’re unable to predict what comes next in my stories.
Yes, so I write what I love to read, and depending on the reader, you'll find my books to be a fast-paced emotional rollercoaster—or disturbing because the struggles of love aren’t your thing. Here’s to hoping you have the same reading vice as me! ;-)


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