Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Thorn_CoverFnlRevFNLF_low_res

 

Title: Thorn

Series: N/A (Standalone)

Author: Intisar Khanani (http://booksbyintisar.com)

Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek (http://www.seedlingsonline.com)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: May 30, 2012

Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

Price: US $3.99 (eBook), US $9.99 (paperback)

 

Teaser-Quote-1

 

Synopsis:

 

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

 

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

 

But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

 

Teaser-Quote-2

 

Excerpt:

 

“Princess Alyrra,” the king says. My eyes flick up to his, my legs frozen in their curtsy. He studies me as if I were a prize goat, his gaze sliding over me before returning to my face, as cold and calculating as a butcher. “We have heard tell of you before.”

“My lord?” My voice sounds unnaturally high even to me.

“It is said you are honest. An unusual trait, it would seem.”

I open my mouth, close it, force some semblance of a smile to my lips. My brother has gone rigid, his hands pressed flat against his thighs.

“You are most kind,” my mother says, stepping forward. The king watches me a moment longer, leaving my mother waiting. I cannot say what he thinks, why he would mention something sure to raise old grievances, why he would care. Or is he only toying with us? Laughing at us?

He turns to my mother, offering her a courtly smile, and at her words he accompanies her up the three stairs and through the great wooden doors of our Hall. My brother and I trail behind him, a mix of our nobles and the king’s entourage on our heels.

“Honest Alyrra,” my brother mocks, his voice loud enough for those nearest us to hear. “What a very clever, sophisticated princess you must be.”

I bite my lip. It is going to be a long week, watching my back and hiding down corridors. And with so many guests, the wine and ale will flow freely, which will make things even worse. Just leave, I think at the king’s back. Just go home and leave us alone.

 

My Review:

 

Thorn by Intisar Khanani is a wonderful fantasy story. I stayed up reading it until I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer because I had to know what would happen. The story has all the elements of a hero’s quest, packed full of mythology, magic, and trials for the characters. Despite Alyrra’s birth as a princess, she is easy to identify with because she hasn’t had an easy life and is a kind but naïve young woman. The author does a fantastic job of creating realistic characters with both good aspects and flaws, which made me able to relate to all of the characters, even the ones who appeared at first glance to be “bad.” The story and the writing were reminiscent of Juliet Marillier’s books, and I think anyone who enjoys her work will fall in love with Thorn. This is a book I highly recommend reading because it is an engrossing and exciting fantasy novel.

 

Add to GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14059999-thorn

Purchase Your Copy of Thorn Here:

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Diesel | Sony

 

About the Author:

Intisar Khanani

 

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five.

Intisar currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, she wrote grants and developed projects to address community health and infant mortality with the Cincinnati Health Department—which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.

Intisar’s latest projects include a serial novella project titled The Sunbolt Chronicles, about a young thief with a propensity to play hero, and her arch-nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms. She’s also developing a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, which will feature a new heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife.

 

Website

GoodReads

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter: @IntisarKhanani

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Review of Shizzle, Inc. (Isa Maxwell Escapades Book 1) by Ana Spoke

FINAL COVER September 5 copy

 

Genre: Comedy, Women’s fiction

 

Synopsis:

 

Isa Maxwell wants to be discovered. It’s a surefire way to win back her ex. She also needs a job. Lucky for her, the billionaire, Mr. Hue, is holding auditions for an assistant at Shizzle, Inc. The only problem is Isa has no idea what she’s doing in the world of business despite having somehow managed to graduate from community college. Through a combination of Mr. Hue’s stupidity and dumb luck, Isa manages to survive at her new job and even gains some new love interests. But Isa’s luck is about to run out.

 

Excerpt:

 

So it was sometime in late May when, unemployed, half-starved and depressed, I glimpsed a sign of hope. I just found out that despite my best self-destruction efforts, I managed to graduate from Capitol Community College, so I was celebrating the news with a sixteen-hour TV marathon and a family-sized bag of Cheetos. It was then, somewhere between the reruns of Buffy and MASH, that I saw the commercial that would change my life forever.

It started with a stock-standard montage of an office skyscraper and a boardroom business meeting. I was about to flip the channel, when the boardroom window exploded, as three men clad in unidentifiable black uniforms and armor swung inside, sending the unsuspecting business folk into screaming fits.

The camera cut to the leader of the SWAT team, who took off his uniform and helmet, revealing a business suit and a perfectly coifed head of graying hair. I immediately recognized him as Mr. Hue, the famous playboy billionaire. The businessmen and women stopped screaming and started laughing, shaking his hand and exclaiming, “Mr. Hue!” and “You rascal!” The other two militants continued to stand guard.

Mr. Hue turned to the camera, which moved in for a close-up.

“I’m Mr. Hue,” he said. “You know me as the eccentric billionaire famous for crazy stunts, like going over the Victoria Falls in a barrel or hand feeding barracudas around my private island in the Caribbean.” There was a rapid and spectacular montage of the hooting Mr. Hue jumping out of planes, off bridges, and into oceans of every shade of blue and turquoise.

“But did you know,” said Mr. Hue, back in the shattered boardroom, “that I technically have a job as the CEO of Shizzle, Inc?” The montage resumed, now showing Mr. Hue surrounded by enthusiastic employees, talking and pointing awkwardly at business-looking documents.

“This job is very demanding,” Mr. Hue’s voice continued over footage of him in a hard hat, shaking hands with factory workers and pointing awkwardly at large blueprints. “It is only possible thanks to a dedicated team of personal assistants.”

A team of nearly identical beautiful blond women smiled together for the camera. The montage continued with them running to and fro with business-looking documents and large blueprints.

“As Shizzle, Inc continues to grow, so does my team,” said Mr. Hue, back in the boardroom, “and I am excited to announce the search for the ultimate Shizzle assistant!”

My pulse quickened, and my hand froze in the bottom of the Cheetos bag, where it was searching for crumbs.

“This nation-wide search will uncover the individual most deserving of making my coffee and answering my phone calls. Are you that special and talented person?”

“Yes!” I yelled at the screen and tossed the Cheetos bag.

“Are you ready to take on the world alongside the coolest and richest man in the southeastern states?”

“Yes!” I yelled with even more fervor.

He went on talking, something about terms and conditions, but I was no longer listening. I knew what I had to do.

 

My Review:

 

Shizzle, Inc. by Ana Spoke is a hilarious book. Right away, I was laughing out loud. Isa Maxwell is quite possibly one of the most unaware main characters I have ever read, but it is just that ignorance of herself and life in general that makes her such a funny character. I found myself drawn to Isa because she was so comedic. I cringed when she did something ridiculous or outrageous, and I cheered for her when things went her way. Mr. Hue is hardly more intelligent and aware than Isa, and the combination of the two of them was hilarious. Shizzle, Inc. is a light-hearted, entertaining read that I did not want to put down. The book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger—one that will have you cringing but looking forward to the laughs it will bring. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series, and I highly recommend reading Shizzle, Inc.

 

Where to find the author:

 

Ana Spoke official photo copy

 

blog: AnaSpoke.com

Amazon US: Ana Spoke

Goodreads: Ana Spoke

 

 

Posted in Cover Reveals

Cover Reveal for The Weight of Rain by Mariah Dietz

twor cover

 

Title: The Weight Of Rain

Author: Mariah Dietz

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 27, 2015

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR!

 

drop on bud on a branch. macro

 

 

Synopsis

 

I’ve dreamed of him since before I was old enough to form memories. I’m as sure of this as I am of breathing.

When I close my eyes, my mind paints a picture of his smile and shades the contours of his hands, the deep scar around his bicep.

People say that I’m an artist, yet my mind is vacant, my hands unsteady. With his presence, he has unknowingly broken that something inside of me that makes me who I am, because being around him is like standing in a rainstorm.

First the drops tickle my skin, and then they coat me, refusing to be ignored. Finally, it seems they soak into me, reaching parts of me I don’t think anyone has ever touched. I’m not certain how he’s capable of doing so—I’m not sure that he even realizes it. Sometimes I’m terrified that it’s apparent in my reactions: other times—I really hope that it is.

I’ve been waiting for this. For him.

But I never knew it would come with such a price.

 

twor 2

 

Excerpt

 

“Ben, Brian, Benny, Brent, Bailey?”

“Isn’t Bailey a girl’s name?” I ask, my eyebrows drawing down in question though I’m tired of playing this game.

“No, I’ve known guys named Bailey. It’s one of those names.”

Charleigh twists in the driver’s seat, arching her eyebrows at me knowingly. I catch her glasses sliding down the bridge of her nose and her hand brushing blonde hair from her face before I turn to watch the road.

“One of those names?” My voice is surprisingly even as we dangerously near the median.

“Yes. One of those names. You know, where a boy or a girl could have it. Like Charleigh.”

“It wasn’t Bailey. I would have remembered that name for sure.”

“You were pissed! You can’t even recall how you got home!”

“Drunk,” I reply automatically. “I was drunk.”

“Drunk, pissed, same difference.”

“Only you Brits think pissed means drunk. Here in America, we all think it means angry. We’ve gone over this.”

“Yeah, yeah, stop changing the subject. Brandon, Brad, Bobby, Benedict?”

“Benedict?” I ask, my neck snaps to face her.

“Yes, Benedict.”

“Who names their kid Benedict?”

“Plenty of people!”

My eyebrows rise as I look to her with disbelief that she returns with a glare.

“Did he tell you where he lives?” Charleigh asks, undeterred by my attempt to change subjects.

My index finger slams against my chest. “Drunk. Remember?”

“At least you remember what counts I suppose.”

“I don’t remember his name, Charleigh!”

“But you remember that he made you see stars!”

“Stop! You make me sound like a floozy.”

“You were a floozy. You got pissed and slept with a complete stranger with good teeth.”

“He did have great teeth,” I agree.

“At least we know he has good hygiene, that’s a plus.” I groan, slapping a hand across my eyes to hide from my own embarrassment. “I’m just teasing. I’m proud of you, Crosby, you finally got a piece! It’s been over a year since the last time someone dusted your hallway.”

“Stop!” my objection is met by laughter which has my eyes rolling.

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’m just teasing you. I’m glad you found someone you’re interested in.” Her focus moves back to the windshield for a moment and then turns to me, her lips pressed tightly into a hopeful smile. “We could try changing the last two digits and try dialing the number, see if we get anything.”

I look down at the palm of my left hand that’s been scrubbed clean. Two weeks ago I woke up with a pounding headache, a hazy recollection of events that involved meeting a guy with auburn hair, warm amber eyes, and some of the straightest, whitest, most even teeth I’ve ever seen, along with a phone number that was half smeared/half worn off of my palm. I vaguely recall mentioning to him that it was hard to read at the time and him smiling at me, offering me more water. My memories contained blurbs including people dancing and me laughing, but the bright smile, and eyes that held so many unspoken words that I could vaguely recall trying to pull out of him, were the most potent. The memories grew clearer and clearer as the night went on, including one where I definitely remember convincing him I was sober enough to have sex.

I, Lauren Crosby, convinced a complete stranger to

sleep with me at a house party.

 

Couple holding hands and walking in park

 

About The Author:

Author pic Main

 

Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.

 

Author Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

love-p

Posted in Cover Reveals

Cover Reveal for the Royal Pains Series by Nina Mason

Disclaimer: Royal Pains, intended for readers 18 years and older, features flagellation, bondage, group sex, and other highly erotic situations.

Today we are revealing the new covers for Nina Mason’s Royal Pains, an erotic series set in Scotland and England during the Restoration period (the latter half of the 17th century, for those who don’t know). Ms. Mason decided to put new, sexier covers on the series for the launch of book three, THE DEVIL’S MASQUERADE. All three new covers, the blurbs for the books, and the buy links follow:

 

Royal Pains, Book One
DEVIL IN DUKE’S CLOTHING

Green_eyed_Devil

Innocence lost. Paradise found.

Maggie York, a convent-raised foundling, knows the Duke of Dunwoody’s sexual tastes are a shade or two darker than most, but marries him anyway—partly because she has no other prospects and partly because, try as she might, she can’t seem to stop fantasizing about her dashing rake of a guardian.

Robert Armstrong, the duke, is a Roman Catholic whose extreme devotions as a child warped his desires as a man. He’s also a slave to the times in which he lives–and to his king. Everything he is, everything he holds dear, depends on staying in Charles II’s good graces. Unfortunately, Maggie isn’t the bride the king selected for him. Now, to make amends, the duke must either whore his wife or be reduced to a penniless and unprotected commoner at a time when Catholics are persona non grata in Great Britain.

Buy it now!

****

Royal Pains, Book Two
THE DUKE’S BEDEVILED BRIDE

unnamed

The tawdry tale of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody continues…

Maggie Armstrong, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne, is bedeviled by her husband’s limited definition of fidelity. After observing him in a ménage à trois at the court of King Charles II, she is determined to bring him around to her way of thinking— by any means necessary.

Robert doesn’t mind being punished for his transgressions. Rather, he enjoys being whipped, especially by his beloved bride. Unfortunately, her heart might not belong to him alone. His younger brother, who he’d sent abroad to clear the way for himself, is coming home sooner than expected, and Maggie’s feelings for Hugh may not be as dead as her husband had hoped.

Both duke and duchess soon learn, to their peril, Hugh Armstrong is not the honorable man they’d been led to believe. Insanely jealous of his brother’s situation, Hugh will stop at nothing to strip Robert of all he holds dear—including his life.

But the real danger for Robert and Maggie is not the villainous Marquess, but the growing friction betwixt Catholics and Protestants in Restoration Era Great Britain.

Can their love survive the trials that await them?

Buy it now!

****

Royal Pains, Book Three
THE DEVIL’S MASQUERADE

couch

Beware the devil in disguise…

The year is now 1685 and Maggie’s father has just been crowned King of Great Britain, but that doesn’t mean trouble is over for the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody. Rather than cool the flames of hatred between Papists and Protestants, the coronation of a Catholic monarch has only added accelerant to the already raging blaze. Two-faced devils lurk in every corner of the royal court, as do diseases with the power to kill and maim. When Robert falls prey to the smallpox virus, it looks as though Maggie will lose the two people most precious to her–her beloved husband and their only child–the son she bore three months before after five years of heartbreaking miscarriages and stillbirths. The one person in London who can help save her son demands a steep price in exchange her services. Will Maggie trade Robert’s hard-won fidelity to save her only child…or offer the apothecary an even more scandalous alternative?

Preorder now!