Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #111: Atlantia, by Ally Condie

This is a weekly event hosted by
It showcases future releases which
we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!!

Here's my choice for this week!

Ally Condie
Hardcover, 320 pages
Dutton Juvenile
October 28, 2014
Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology,
Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Book Synopsis
 “Utterly captivating. A heroine unlike any I’d met before, a setting I’d never glimpsed, a story I’d never imagined. Atlantia is fresh, wild, and engrossing. I love Ally Condie.” —Shannon Hale, award-winning, bestselling author of Austenland and Dangerous

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Why I'm waiting on this one!

Just reading the synopsis has left
me breathless! This is most
definitely a book not to be missed!
I'm adding it to my list of
mermaid stories, which are among
my favorite types of fantasy!
I can't wait to get my hands on this
fascinating tale, so I'm
pouncing on it as soon as it's released!!

What  do you think of my choice?
Please leave a link in the
comments so I can come over 
to your blog and
see what you're waiting on!

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

Blog Tour: Spotlight/Giveaway!! Mangled Hearts, by Felicia Tatum

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!!