Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shelf Candy Saturday #121: King, by R.J. Larson

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful book covers!
It also provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

(Books of the Infinite, #3)
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Bethany House Publishers
July 1, 2013
Christian Fiction, Fantasy, 
Young Adult Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

This cover is just exquisitely beautiful!! The entire image is vividly realistic, yet also dreamlike. The attention to detail is nothing short of wonderful! It's most evident in the meticulous attention paid to the young man's clothing. I love the decorative band running down the front of his tunic, as well as the heraldic design on his shin guard. His gloves are lined with many metal studs  that catch the light, almost glistening like jewels.

The young man himself is very handsome. He also has a very determined, yet very innocent, expression on his face; it's obvious that he has no experience yet in ruling a country. I love the way his unruly hair catches the light, as well. I feel he looks more like an artist or poet than a warrior or potential  king. He's just very appealing, and not merely because of his physical beauty. He is obviously a very idealistic person, which is why the idea of his being an artist or poet came to me. He is a seeker of truth, of the highest ideals.

I also get the feeling, from the young man's pose, that he doesn't think he's worthy to be king. This is mentioned in the book's synopsis, and the artist has captured that very well here. The young man's head is slightly bowed; he's accepting the burden of leadership, albeit reluctantly. His grasp on the magical sword is firm, indicating his decision to carry out his duty, in spite of his misgivings.

The sword, of course, reminds me of Excalibur, and is magnificent! The young man therefore reminds me of King Arthur; it's as if he could be kneeling before Merlin, who has just informed him of the impending coronation.

The detail in the background is also astoundingly meticulous and gorgeous! That craggy mountain, the dawn sky, with colors melting into each other, the restless sea, with mist softly rising over the whole scene.....everything here is a feast for the eyes!

As if all of these visual delights weren't enough, the letters of the word "King" are golden, gleaming at the level of the young man's chest, and next to the sword's equally gleaming blade. Also, and even more striking, the blade of the sword is actually the letter "i" in the word "King"!  Not only is this a visually stunning detail, but also a symbolic one; the sword is the vertical line of a cross formed by the intersection of the sword with the word "King". Of course, the sword itself also resembles a cross. I think these details are subtle references to Jesus, since He is The King of Kings. I'm totally in awe.... These details are brilliant!

Thanks to the Amazon reader, I have discovered that the above image is actually a photograph! Amazing. It looks more like a painting. I'm sure that there was some digital manipulation involved; if so, it was masterfully done! The highly talented photographer/illustrator is Steve Gardner, who founded his own company, PixelWorks Studios, Inc., where he wears three hats -- Photographer, Photo-Illustrator, and Senior Art Director.  Located in Sisters, Oregon, the company specializes in beautiful covers for the book publishing industry. 

The cover design was done by Wes Youssi, founder and Creative Director of M.80 Design, in Portland, Oregon. He has collaborated magnificently with Gardner!

Online Links for Steve Gardner

Online Links for Wes Youssi

What do you think of my choice 
this week?
Please leave me a comment 
and let me know!

Stacking The Shelves #38: Cephrael's Hand, Alienated, Ruin and Rising, The Cowboy and the Vampire, Black Trillium, Merlin's Mirror, The Escape

Welcome to
Stacking The Shelves!!

This is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer, Lili,
Stephanie, Jon, and Tynga @  

As the title implies, this is all about
sharing the books you're adding
to your shelves, be they physical or virtual.
For the complete rules, and to link up,
just click on the link above.

Here's this week's haul!!   

Books for Review

This looks like a totally fascinating
fantasy read!  I was lucky enough
to interview McPhail for a
blog tour nearly two years ago,
and really enjoyed it!
You can find the interview HERE.

Books Purchased

I've been wanting to get this one into 
my collection for the longest
time now, because the reviews are
overwhelmingly positive!
Plus, I LOVE that cover!!

Having read and greatly enjoyed
the first book in this series,
Shadow and Bone, I am eager to 
continue with the second,
and then this one, which is the third!!

This is supposed to be a very funny 
vamp romance, so I'm really looking forward
to reading it!  I recently interviewed
the authors too, when they released the
third book in the series.
You can access the interview HERE.
(My copy has the old cover, so
I got it pretty cheap.  I prefer this one, though.)

Here's a unique book indeed!  Three
great fantasy writers have collaborated on
one novel!  This should be 
absolutely fascinating reading, and
I can't wait to dig in!!

I've always been fascinated by the tales of
King Arthur and Merlin!  This 
is a modern take on those timeless legends,
from F & SF great Andre Norton!

Mary Balogh is, for me, the Queen of
Regency Romance!!   I read and
reviewed the second book in  this series,
which I greatly enjoyed!
I love everything she writes!
To access my review of 
The Arrangement, just click HERE.

What do you think of my haul?
Please leave a link to your 
STS post so I can come over 
and check out yours!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spotlight/Giveaway!!  Mangled Hearts, by Felicia Tatum (Innovative Online Book Tours)

Welcome to this stop in the
Mangled Hearts Tour,
brought to you by

Mangled Hearts
(Scarred Hearts, #1)
Felicia Tatum
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
July 12, 2013
Contemporary Romance, 
New Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis
Francesca and Cade.  Can two loves find their way back to each other despite an addiction and a hardened heart? Will their love overcome it all? Francesca Taymon is young, successful, and broken. A tragic accident years ago haunts her to this day, and she blames only one person--the one that holds her heart. When she finally gets her first case, will she be able to handle seeing him again? Can she do her job and keep her heart intact? Cade Kelling doesn’t take life seriously. He’s reckless and irresponsible, drinking all his problems away. When his parents bail him out for the last time, will he be able to handle seeing Francesca after all of these years? Will he be able to tell her what really happened that night 5 years ago or will he lose her forever? And the most important question…. Can these mangled hearts be mended?

Amazon US/Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository

Book Excerpt

Chapter One: Francesca

The steaming hot water rolled down my skin, leaving a trail of red lines. I lathered the shampoo through my long, dark blonde hair. Closing my eyes, I let the lavender scent tickle my nose. Inhaling deeply, my lungs filled and my body relaxed. Continuing the gentle massage of my head, I thought about the past few years. The stress was consuming me to the point I missed much needed rest.

I went through the same routine every morning. Nightmares tortured me throughout the night, reminding me of all that could have been. I woke with the memory fresh on my mind. The day that was forever etched in my brain; my best friend coming to break the heart-wrenching news to me, the world shattering before my eyes, and the blur that followed. My day always started with me in a tangle of blankets and covered in sweat. I would lie in my bed attempting to calm my fast-beating heart until my breath would finally slow enough for me to get up and shower. At least I had a routine.

I finished rinsing my hair and body, the suds covering me like a white, fluffy blanket. The water mixed in with my lingering tears, clearing my face of the night before.


I hurried up the stairs of my building, tripping over my own feet and almost falling flat on my face. "Perfect," I muttered as I gripped the handrail for the support. I bent and slipped the too-high heels off. I usually took my shoes off in the office anyway, but they would have to come off a little sooner than usual today. I rushed in the door, raising my hand to wave at the office assistant, Zander. He usually wanted me to stop and chat, but I was running late. I slept too late, pushed "snooze" too many times, and spent too long in the shower trying to forget, and tripped over my own feet as I got dressed, so I was in a rush to get to he meeting with my boss.

I flung my briefcase on my desk, sending papers flying. Groaning, I crawled around the floor picking them up. Pain shot through my head as I rammed it into the desk while attempting to stand. I rubbed the spot in a circle, trying to ease the intensity of the throbbing. I searched for the folder with my notes on the Archuleta case. Being unable to find it, I slumped in the chair, closed my eyes, and rubbed my temples. This was the worst Wednesday I'd ever had. Nothing seemed to be going right, and it was only 9 a.m.

Being employed as a Worker's Compensation lawyer for the last three years had been rough. Directly after graduating with my B.S. in Business, I ran off to law school. I hoped being around new faces in a different town would help me forget. And I did for a brief period, but it didn't last. After the graduation ceremony, I got a job with a firm back in my hometown, putting me right back where I started. Now I had a job I didn't particularly like, mainly because they treated me like an intern. Most entry-level lawyers were able to move up to the higher-end cases after their second year, but not me. I was still stuck on the simple cases, and that frustrated me to no end. I was ready for the challenges that came with being a lawyer.

Sighing, I opened the top drawer of my rusted desk to see if, by some miracle, the folder was in there. I shuffled the contents, gasping when I realized it was in my briefcase. Muttering obscenities to myself, I pulled the heavy leather case closer to my seat. The lock clicked as I popped it open to reveal the treasure. I laughed at myself as I opened the folder to ensure all needed papers were present. I moved my feet around under my desk, attempting to find my shoes. I got them on just in time to see my boss walk by on his way to our meeting. Jumping up, I slid the chair away from my desk and rounded the edge to get to the door.

"Mr. Phlllips," I called, taking long strides to catch up. It wasn't difficult because I was fairly tall for a woman. At five feet, eight inches, I generally stood well above other women. And some men. When I was younger I hated my height. It seemed that every boy I had a crush on was at least three inches shorter than me, making me feel extremely awkward for most of my teen years. Once I hit my twenties and grew in confidence, I didn't it as much. If I was attracted to the man, height shouldn't matter.

"Ms. Taymon," he said, nodding in acknowledgement.

I smiled politely, and slid in step with him. "Good morning, sir. I was just on my way to our meeting for the Archuleta case."

"Yes, indeed. I am, too. Do you have everything ready?"

I held the folder up for him to see, shaking it a bit. "Yes, sir."

"Good. We have a conference call with the company at 11 a.m. This meeting needs to happen fast so we're prepared."

Great. A conference call meant he would want to make our final offers today. We had a long meeting ahead of us, and I dreaded what would happen. The Archulet case was about a woman that was injured while driving her company's car to the post office. A semi-truck rammed into the driver's side, completely crushing her. She had barely survived, and her spine had to be completely restructured. She was in a wheelchair and her doctors seemed uncertain if she would ever walk again. Her company didn't want to accommodate her new needs, nor did they want to pay the big settlement she deserved. The lawyers at J & B Law Firm were determined to get her the money she would need to survive.

I wished I was the lawyer fighting in court, but I was only here to gather facts, numbers, and information, The case would definitely go to court, because the company felt they were getting the low end of the deal. How they figured they were getting the bad end, when Ms. Archuleta may never walk again, I didn't know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to this stop in the 
Christmas In July Giveaway Hop,
which is hosted by the blogs
I Am A Reader and Laurie Here!!
The giveaway starts today,
July 22nd, and ends on July 31st!

This giveaway is specifically for 
Christmas-related books,
or for a gift card to buy such books.
For my own contest, the winner can 
select any Christmas book worth up to 
$12.00!  I have a list of great
romance novel suggestions right here, 
so be sure to enter!  After all, 
Christmas will be here before you 
know it, right?
(If you don't like any of these books,
you can select any other.
And it doesn't have to be a romance
novel, but it does have to be

This time, the contest is for 
U.S. residents only.  
The winner's book will be 
delivered by Amazon.

Here's a list of Christmas romance novel suggestions!

Good luck to everyone, and 
Merry Christmas
in July!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blogs and Copyright Infringement

I have decided that, instead of my usual "Shelf Candy Saturday" post (which would  be very late, anyway), I would publish a post on this very important issue.

About a year ago, I heard about how a blogger got in BIG trouble by posting images without permission from the copyright owner of those images. So I immediately began going  through my previous posts, in order to ensure that I was not publishing any images that might infringe on any copyrights. I read something about the Fair Use Act somewhere along the way,  but not in  depth. Unfortunately, I don't remember much about what I read, so I've researched this issue, and have also posted several links dealing with it, at the bottom of this article.

The bottom line is this: we bloggers (of any type, not just book bloggers) can't simply copy and paste images from Google just to enhance our posts. According to what I read, we can, however, use images under the Fair Use Act for the purpose of commentary on those images. Images can also be used in book review posts.

As for text, book bloggers may quote from books if those quotes are included in book reviews. That, too, is considered fair use.

As soon as I had found out the above, and made sure I was not infringing, I began to relax. After some time had passed, I simply put the whole matter out of my mind and went on with my blogging.

Just a few days ago, this whole issue came crashing down upon me again. How? Well, another blogger copied from me, without my permission, or even attribution and linking back to my blog. It was a complete shock. Somehow, we tend to think that we're immune from whatever bad things happen to other people.....

This other blogger, I later discovered, has since taken down their blog. Since this is the case, I will not mention them or their deleted blog here. I reacted pretty strongly to their use of my content, though, especially because of the fact that their use of said content made it look as if they had created it. 

Because of this unfortunate incident, I now have a Copyright Policy in place. It not only covers what I consider to be my exclusive intellectual property, but also how it may be used, if at all. My policy, which, by the way, may not be copied without my explicit permission, as I wrote it myself, also describes the specific steps I will take in the case of violations. 

I will be consulting with a lawyer next week, in order to make sure that everything in my policy is clearly and legally explained. However, I did feel it necessary to put something up as soon as possible, so I wrote it, and revised it several times as quickly as I could before finally putting it up. It may be easily accessed underneath the blog header, or by clicking on the link in the paragraph above.

All of this made me wonder again about my own use of copyrighted material. After all, we should always consider the Golden Rule. I certainly feel that I should treat others the way I myself want to be treated.  So I will be amending my policy to include statements about my use of copyrighted content.

In the case of text, I only use quotes from books in the context of reviews. If I see an interesting post on another blog, I always email the blogger first to ask if I may use the post as a guest post. In the past, I have contacted two bloggers who replied that I was welcome to use quotes from their posts, but not the entire posts. I therefore didn't use any of their material, as I felt that, in each case, the entire post would have been more effective. Still, I honored their right to decline.

I used to be very ignorant in the case of images. I have since then taken care of that. In the case of one weekly meme I participate in -- "Waiting On Wednesday" -- I purchased the image of the window with the sun rising over the Earth from a stock photo company, and then created my own logo with Picasa. I did the same thing with the image of the book stack for  "Shelf Candy Saturday", which is a meme that originally belonged to Stephanie @ Five Alarm Book Reviews. She subsequently passed it on to me when  she decided to stop blogging, taking her blog down as well. (For further details, click HERE.) I also purchased the image I use for my post signature, and added my name with Picasa. (See below.)

I will always conscientiously strive to avoid using copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission. It would be nice if the same courtesy were extended to me, but, since that would only happen in an ideal world, I felt that I needed to create my own copyright policy to cover any and all future contingencies. I would like to encourage other bloggers, whatever the subject matter of your blogs, to do the same thing. A copyright policy is indeed a necessary and important thing for a blogger to have in place. A blog, after all, is an original creation.

At this point, I'm looking into the possibility of getting a Creative Commons license.

I'm including some important links on what constitutes fair use for bloggers, in regards to text and images. I sincerely hope that they will be helpful, as well as educational, for those bloggers who are starting out, and even for those who have been blogging for a while, yet may not be aware of how they are allowed to use copyrighted material.

Please leave any thoughts you may have regarding this very important matter in the comments section. If you would like to email me regarding this post, or to request permission to re-post my content, this is my email address:

Here are the links:

(This excellent article also discusses Creative Commons licenses and DMCA complaints.)