Friday, January 31, 2014

**Jumble Your Genres Review ~ Shatter Me ~ Tahereh Mafi**

Yay! I completed my first book as part of this challenge! And I finally...yes, finally read the awesomeness that is Shatter Me.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me #1
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: 5 Bookworms!

"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.
After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

I can't believe I've held onto this book for 3 years!! I had such greatness just sitting there unread. I now understand what everyone has been saying about this book. Whoa!

What if the very thing you crave is the one thing you can never have?

Juliette Ferrars is cursed to never touch another human, or to be touched. For the past 3 years, she's been in an asylum for accidentally breaking that rule. She's spent her whole life a prisoner of her curse. No one has ever cared for Juliette - least of all her parents. And her deepest desire is for a friend. Then she gets a roommate. A boy with familiar blue eyes. And Juliette's life changes. After counting endless seconds, wishing for something, it all changes at break-neck speed.

Adam Kent...*sigh* Adam seems to want to befriend Juliette from the start. He's kind and attempts to draw her out. Once things start to change, Juliette isn't sure she can trust him. But Adam makes a gesture of compassion which assures her he is trustworthy, not to mention swoon-worthy. The more time Adam and Juliette and the more revelations that are made, the stronger the bond between them. Adam is integral in Juliette finding the strength within herself.

Warner is the guy in charge of Sector 45. He's been researching and seeking out Juliette because of what he considers her gift. Of course, he wants to use it to his advantage. He's admittedly a bad guy - he lies, he kills - but there's something underneath that powerful persona - some redeeming quality. I feel for him. 

Shatter Me was exactly what it was billed as - riveting, tense, mysterious, exciting - I couldn't put it down! (Luckily, my hubby was home and able to shuttle the kids around.) The setting is a dystopian society and although we don't spend much time outside the asylum or Sector 45's compound, Ms. Mafi did a tremendous job creating the bleak world the characters inhabit. This stark landscape where the sky is always gray, birds no longer fly, where the landscape is always a dead brown, is a result of humans having destroyed it. The Reestablishment says it's attempting to restore order but it must first eradicate everything that it believes caused the problems in the first place. Ms. Mafi built a world that brilliantly conveyed the dark devastation and fear that prevailed.

The writing is poetic perfection. It's fresh, it's lyrical, and it's gorgeous. Ms. Mafi uniquely expressed a commonality among all humans...the need to belong. I could wax poetic for days about all the reasons you should read Shatter Me. Instead, I'll say if you have not yet read it, rectify the situation immediately! But make sure you have some time to dedicate to it because you won't want to put it down until your finished.

**Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ Eire's Viking ~ Sandi Layne**

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sandi Layne's Éire’s  Viking. This is the second book in Ms. Layne's Éire’s Viking Trilogy. I read and reviewed Éire’s Captive Moon last year. I LOVED it! You can read my review by clicking here. My stop today includes all the details for the book, my review, my interview with Ms. Layne, and a giveaway.

This tour is presented by The Writer's Coffee Shop.

Éire’s Viking by Sandi Layne 
Published by The Writers Coffee Shop
Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ten years after Charis marries Cowan at the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, Agnarr Halvardson returns to the Green Island—this time, to stay.  He wants what any man wants: To make a life for himself, wed, and have sons.

Before he can express these goals, he is injured and taken to Bangor Monastery.  There, Aislinn—adopted daughter of Cowan and Charis—treats him as a patient while she ignores the immediate attraction he holds for her.

Agnarr decides Aislinn would be a good wife for him as she teaches him her language and customs. She commands his respect and wins his affection. The past is just one barrier of many between them, however.

There are new invaders to Éire. Pledging his loyalty to the new king of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home while persuading Aislinn to be his wife.

Success or failure will affect the lives of many.

I'd like to begin by saying that Ms. Layne's storytelling abilities made such an impression, creating such a vivid, rich, and detailed story with Éire’s Captive Moon, that although it's been a year since I read it, I was immediately immersed in the story and this world.
In Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of the trilogy, we are introduced to three different cultures that would eventually combine in Ireland as the Vikings (and others) began settling there. Éire’s Viking gives us the story of Agnarr as he leaves his home to begin a new life in Éire

Éire’s Viking sees Agnarr give up his warring ways in favor of fulfilling his dream of finding a wife and having sons. We see him struggle as he learns a new language, works at winning a wife from this land he now calls home, and desires to hold onto the religion of his homeland even as he questions the power of his gods in this new land. His beliefs are shaken as he witnesses Aislinn, who he'd like to call wife, live her life as her One True God would wish - even forgiving the Northmen of their trespasses.

Although Éire’s Viking is not as action-packed as Éire’s Captive Moon - no sea voyages or the battle scenes of the Vikings' plunders - it is every bit as exciting and enjoyable. There is still the ever-present threat of invasion, not only from the Northman, but also the Danes. There is illness. And there is the concern over damage from the sharp tongues of Charis and Aislinn. :) The feel is different in this story. It's almost as though the first book was Agnarr as a brash youth, and this second part of his story shows his softer side.

I'll admit I was 'Team Agnarr' in Éire’s Captive Moon. It's not that I don't love Cowan - I do - but I really admire the Viking. I believed Agnarr's fate was Charis. However, after meeting Aislinn, I championed her. I do believe in things working out as they're meant to (even in fiction ;) and although Agnarr's fate did lie in Éire, it wasn't as he had imagined. Ms. Layne did a phenomenal job describing the inner turmoil Agnarr felt at feeling vulnerable, and giving up some of his culture - some of himself - in order to cultivate his new life.

Aislinn was a young daughter of Ragor, the village Agnarr and his men destroyed when they captured Charis. Upon Charis and Cowan's return, they adopted Aislinn as their daughter. Aislinn has been trained as a healer, which is how she and Agnarr come to meet. It seems as though Aislinn's One True God has a few lessons for both she and Agnarr.

Aislinn is spirited and strong, as any daughter of Charis' would be. She's talented, beautiful and spiritual. It was a joy to witness her fight against the feelings she'd always harbored against Agnarr for what he'd done to Charis and Ragor, and the feelings that grew as she spent time healing him. It was also a pleasure seeing Aislinn fall in love but also stay true to her beliefs in the face of such intense emotion where Agnarr was concerned.

Charis and Cowan are huge presences, of course. I delighted in seeing them again and was greatly satisfied with the life they've built together over the last ten years. The love they share together and with Aislinn is beautiful. And although I was holding out for a union between Charis and Agnarr, I found myself thrilled that Agnarr found his true wyrd. The mystery of Charis' otherworldliness - her agelessness, her ability to touch fire without being burned, among other things - still exists. I'm anxious to see how Ms. Layne resolves this.

Again, I feel Ms. Layne did an incredible job of conveying life in the early 800's. She is a gifted storyteller and I appreciate her research and the historical accuracy of her story. Éire’s Viking was every bit as captivating as the first installment and I'm eager to see how this story will end.

**I received an eARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. **

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

An, very open-ended. I like it. *grin* A little bit about myself? I love storms. Sandstorms, hurricanes, lightning. When I was a little girl, I'd sometimes awaken in the middle of the night, bundle up in a blanket, and sit by a large window to watch a good storm. Sometimes, I still do.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Well, for me, writing is a constant. If I'm not actually typing, my head is working through story issues, creating character seminars, or making up backstories for other characters. This is done while I am doing laundry, running errands (I talk to myself while driving), and cooking dinner. 

But I also enjoy other forms of entertainment. I like watching classic movies, like The Lion in Winter, The Philadelphia Story, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I love to read, of course. I also lift free weights and am working on increasing endurance with them.

In addition to all of this, of course, I have a husband and two sons (aged 19 and 12) with whom I weave a life. :)

How did you choose the genre(s) you write in?

I began writing historical romances and I still really enjoy that genre, of course. But I also like contemporary inspirational romances as well as historical fiction. Why romance? I honestly don't know if I have a "good reason" for that. I am possibly the least romantic romance writer I know. I think it's because there's a challenge in writing a romance. I find I am challenged by a character pairing ("How to make a deaf pianist and arrogant composer fall in love?") or a situation ("How does a man fall in love with a woman he has wronged, and how does he get her to love him in return?"). But sometimes, I just have an idea and have to run with it, even if it doesn't turn out to be all deep and meaningful. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Oh, wow. There are so many authors I could name. Stephen R. Lawhead and his Pendragon Cycle, Harper Lee, Anne McCaffrey and he world of Pern, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Julie Garwood, Francine Rivers...And of course, I got into reading (and later writing) romances when my mother introduced me to a pastel-covered paperback titled Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I learned from all of these authors as well as a library of others, and I hope I always will. 

Why are readers going to love Éire’s Viking?

I think readers will enjoy this historical romance because I present them with rich, complex protagonists who overcome some serious obstacles on their way to loving one another. Angarr, my Northman, is a strong male character with a definite plan for his future and the means to achieve it. He's handsome, charismatic, and a protective warrior. But he's working from a position of unaccustomed disadvantage as the story opens, and I think this will appeal to readers who want to relate to an alpha male character.

Readers will also like Aislinn, my heroine. She's smart, is waiting to marry until she loves someone, and is completely taken aback when she is attracted to Agnarr at first sight. It's chemistry at first, but even though there are many strikes against Agnarr, Aislinn is able to forgive from a position of strength and with options. She's a good heroine for her age, I believe, but one whom todays' reader will relate to as well.

And, too, anyone who wants to read more about Irish culture or Viking beliefs should enjoy this middle book of my trilogy. There is more than a romance involved in this story; there are concepts of culture-breeding, understanding, forgiveness, self-determination, and self-discover that should resonate with the modern reader.

What was your favorite part or character to write and why?

One part I particularly had fun with was when Agnarr and Aislinn draw pictures to communicate early on in the story. In order to allow there to be chemistry between these two characters, I had to make it so that Agnarr couldn't tell Aislinn who he was, at first, and I had to give her reason to maintain a relationship of sorts (physician/patient) with him. This led me to researching what kind of injury would rob him of his speech and possibly his short term memory-even for a very short period of time.

But, I will say that though I very much enjoy a challenge, I do not plan on ever giving such a major communication problem between my hero and heroine again!

What project are you working on now?

Right now, I'm working on the third book of the trilogy, Éire’s Devil King. I'm also working on a Regency Romance.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for letting me take you with me into my interpretation of the world. I hope you find the time we share to be memorable and that you'll come back soon.

Thanks, Sandi!

There are many profiles that detail the author’s lifelong dream of authorship being realized with the publication of their first novel or short story.  This is not one of those profiles.To make an exceedingly odd story more so, Sandi Layne had no wish to be a writer, but went through a storyline bootcamp in the form of strange dreams for a month and took careful notes.  Fifteen years later, she’s still writing stories that veer slightly off the beaten path, both in Christian and historical fiction.
Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends.  Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions. 
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.  She invites you to visit her online space at Bring coffee.

Connect with Sandi Layne on Facebook and Goodreads

Other books by Sandi Layne
(on Goodreads)

reviews: 19
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.44)

reviews: 18
ratings: 30 (avg rating 4.40)

reviews: 2
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.40)

reviews: 4
ratings: 3 (avg rating 5.00)

Summer's Music
reviews: 1
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)

**Cover Re-Reveal & Giveaway ~ Beautiful Failure ~ Mariah Cole**

I'm thrilled to be a part of the cover re-reveal of Mariah Cole's Beautiful Failure.


Beautiful Failure by Mariah Cole
Release: December 16, 2013

If you're looking for a heartwarming story about a girl who falls deeply in love with a troubled boy who changes her life--a sob story with pretty metaphors and a million ways that'll tell you how "broken" she is, STOP. Don't read another word of this. 

I'm not that type of girl. 

My name is Emerald Anderson and I'm not going to bullshit you: I flunked out of college after my sophomore year, I've been fired from every job I've ever taken, and I've never had a fully functioning relationship in my life. 

I wish I could say that I had a cheerleader in my corner, someone who says, "No, Emerald--You're great and you are good at something!" but I don't. My grandparents are completely oblivious to my life, and my mother's dying words to me were "You're going to end up just like me one day. A beautiful nothing." 

She was right.

As I decide to start my life over and take two jobs that will forever change me--one from the inside, and one from the outside, I keep my mother's words close to my heart so I can keep the sexy and mysterious Carter Black away. 

He's the first man who's ever pursued me, the first man who seems bent on finding out why I am the way I am, but he's wasting his time. 

I'm not broken. I don't need to be fixed. I'm perfectly fine being a beautiful failure...


My mother was a whore. 

Her name was Leah Isabelle Anderson—“Leah Belle” for short, and she was one of New Jersey’s most sought after escorts.

With deep green eyes that could take any man’s breath away, and skin so porcelain and smooth that it looked too perfect to touch, she was breathtakingly beautiful. Often compared to a supermodel, her raven black hair fell past her shoulders, and her naturally long eyelashes were always coifed to perfection. 

Growing up, I had no idea what she did with the men who picked her up in their shiny and expensive cars—the men who wore thousand dollar suits and patted me on the head while saying, “Your mom is really something special.” 

In a way, these strangers became the closest thing I had to a family since I never knew my father: Her regulars, Christian and William, sent me gifts every Christmas. Arnie bought me my first bike, Steve taught me how to change a tire, and her most ruthless suitor—Vincent, took me shopping for designer clothes once a month. 

Leah Belle—she never ever let me call her “mom,” wasn’t exactly a mother to me; she was more like an older friend. An older ‘I’ll-be-there-when-it’s-convenient’ friend. 

She missed every elementary school play, every middle school writing competition, and never gave a damn about my grades. At first, the involuntary loneliness bothered me, but after I created an army of invisible friends and easily accessible fantasies, I came to terms with her neglect and happily accepted any attention she was willing to give me. 

When I became a teenager, she started to hang around me more often—promising that she would do better, promising that she would make sure that “from here on out, [we’d] be best friends.” Since she’d run away from her parents after having me at sixteen, she made a point to never lecture or discipline me. She did however, teach me three very important lessons:

1.) “Always put tons of effort into the way you look. You need to be beautiful on the outside, no matter how fucked up you are on the inside. If you ever feel sad or depressed, suck that shit up and add more mascara.”

2.) “Don’t make friends. Make sponsors. If you can’t get anything out of someone or use them for a specific purpose, kick that person out of your life ASAP.”

3.) “Beauty wins over brains every time. Your body will always be your most important asset. Remember that.”

For my fourteenth birthday, she poured me my first shot and offered me a short line of coke, saying, “Welcome to life, Em!”

I shook my head at the coke—I’d read about the effects, but I happily took the red shot glass from her hand. 

“To the best fuckin’ daughter in the world!” She lifted her glass in the air, waiting for me to do the same, and then she ordered me to toss it back.

The initial burning sensation was painful—disgusting, but in the years to come, that bitterness tasted better and better, and I looked forward to the two of us drinking together. It was the only time that she gave me her undivided attention. 

In those moments, I would tell her about another writing competition I’d won or how I’d received more early college scholarships. When it was her turn, she would tell me about “turning tricks” like other parents told their kids about a day at the office.

“I can’t tell you how weak Ben’s dick was today,” she’d say. “I mean, I feel like I should be charging him double for the weak ass fucks he puts me through.”

“You don’t enjoy it with him? Ever?” I’d ask. 

“No. Never with him. But he’s a sponsor, I’m getting his money, and that’s all that matters. I just lie there, scratch his back, and say ‘Harder… Harder’ to make him think I’m into it until—”

“Until he cums?”

“Yep.” She’d pass me a cigarette before sighing. “With him and a few others, I usually have to take a few shots beforehand to numb my mind. With the really good ones, all I have to do is relax. Sex can be fucking incredible when it’s done right…”

One particular Friday, after she let one of her regulars take me shopping for a Chanel bag, I unlocked the door to our home and saw droplets of blood all over the floor. 

“Leah?” I set my shopping bag down. “Did you get another nose bleed?”

No answer. 

I headed into the kitchen, looking for her usual remedies—hot tea and Q tips, but she wasn’t there. 

“You here?” I walked around our living room and checked all the rooms upstairs. Confused, I pulled out my cell phone and called her. 

No answer again.

I shrugged and opened a bottle of vodka, tossing back a few shots. I figured she’d left with one of her sponsors for a quickie and would be back by the time our favorite show started.

I decided to take a shower before it came on and headed into the downstairs bathroom. 

The second I hit the lights, my heart fell out of my chest. 

I wanted to believe that what I was seeing was simply a sick joke by my imagination—a twisted fantasy I’d snap out of in seconds.

Pale and blue, Leah’s body lay lifeless in our tub. Her left arm was dangling over the edge, and the small velvet bag where she kept her cocaine was dangling from her fingertips. 

Scattered across the floor were hundreds of prescription pills and empty orange bottles that bore the names of strangers. On the vanity, there was an empty syringe and a folded note that read “For my Em…”

Trembling, I rushed to her side and pressed my finger against her neck, hoping for a pulse.


I tilted her head back and tried to breathe life into her—pressing her chest with my hands every few seconds, but it was no use. 

She was gone.

I sank down to the floor in tears—cursing her, hating her, for doing this to me. To us. 

I had no friends to call, no family either, so in my numb and dazed state I somehow managed to call 9-1-1. While the operator attempted to calm me down by asking me to take deep breaths, I walked over to the vanity and unfolded Leah’s last note:


I know you’re confused right now, but I want you to know that I love you. I love you so fucking much… 

You were the only thing that made my life worth living, and I wish I was strong enough to keep that in mind…

I’m not.

I’m tired of living a lie and I haven’t been happy in a very long time… I just can’t take it anymore…

I’ve fucked up a lot of things in my life, but the biggest regret I have is the way I raised you…I’m so sorry… This is going to be hard for you to believe—especially since I’m gone, but I need you to forget all that shit I taught you. Right now.

Fuck using your looks to get what you want. Go to college and do some good shit with your life, like write or something. You’re a good writer, you’re very smart, and you need to use your brain to get ahead. Can you promise to do that for me, Em?

Then again…It’s probably too late and I’m willing to bet that you’ll end up just like me: A beautiful nothing…

It won’t be your fault though. It’ll be—

I stopped reading and flushed that note down the toilet. Her last words were clearly written out of sadness and they were only compounding my pain. 

As far as I was concerned, Leah had raised me the best she could and she was far from a “beautiful nothing” in my eyes. In fact, I cherished every single thing she’d taught me.

Even though I was beyond hurt that she’d selfishly left me all alone, I was determined to remember her at her best and for everything she was to me: 

My mother. 

My best friend. 

My role model.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mariah Cole is a Starbucks addict (hazelnut shots please!), New Adult author, and an incessant daydreamer. Known for pushing the envelope, she’s an avid reader of indie books and is always looking to chat with readers and authors alike.

Connect with Mariah:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

**Feature & Follow #40 ~ Spine Poetry**

Happy Friday and welcome to the Blog Hop! 

Feature & Follow is a weekly blog hop hosted by the talented ladies behind AlisonCanRead and Parajunkee's View. The intent of this blog hop is to get out there and meet other bloggers and gain new followers yourself. What sets this blog hop apart is the Feature. Each week, two blogs are featured, one at AlisonCanRead and one at Parajunkee's View. So make sure to hop over to those blogs to check out this week's Features.

This week's Features are:
Angelic Reviews
Book Comet

This week, we got an activity...Spine Poetry. 
This is my first attempt at spine poetry. I hope y'all like it. :)

Standing in the Rainbow
Oh My Stars
Taking Chances
Before I Fall
The Love Letter
An Object of Beauty
Flat-Out Love
Shatter Me

So, how'd I do? Did y'all have fun with this one? Leave me a link so I can check out your poems!

**Release Day Spotlight ~ Shadow Town ~ Robyn Jones**

Happy Release Day, Robyn Jones!!
Shadow Town is now available!

One of my favorite authors, and a good friend, Robyn Jones went and released a book yesterday. :) I've been anxiously waiting on Shadow Town, and now it's finally here! Yay! I can't wait to read it. Check it out!

Shadow Town (Maggie Lane Chronicles, #1)

Shadow Town by Robyn Jones
Maggie Lane Chronicles #1
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

By day, nineteen-year-old Maggie Lane is property manager of Pearl Estates, a posh housing community owned by her father and occupied byShadows. By night, she's a waitress at a local dive. When a girl at her night job disappears, she dives into Scooby mode. She might be able to handle a missing waitress on her own, but when a new Shadow moves in next door and turns her into a blushing, flirting, love-crazed girl, her need for answers unearths nightmares from her past and monsters of the here and now. It's possible her bad attitude might not be enough to carry her through.

New Adult paranormal romance Shadow Town is the first novel in the Maggie Lane Chronicles. It's approximately 105,000 words.

I laugh when people fall down. It's a glitch in my programming, but even my mom has suffered this quirk. I have a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound. 

My boys make me laugh every day. I steal pens; I try real hard not to. I collect those free bookmarks at the checkout counter at libraries. I've had more stitches than anyone I know. I love stories; writing them, reading them, watching them. You can email me at