Monday, 31 March 2014

{Review} Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnall

Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnall

Published on 25 March 2014
Genre: Adult Romance/Mystery
Page Count: 400

Synopsis

Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it urns out Azalea’s friend, Vivian, not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh… assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?

Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.


Purchase the Book


RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

What I Felt
A hairstylist turned 'detective' in order to help to prove her friend's innocence despite her friend's confession to crime. The book summary promises a good story, and Dyed and Gone does not disappoint me with its characters and plots. I was kept busy throughout the entire journey with Azalea, trying to put bits and pieces alongside her. There was just so much discoveries and suspects to play with that I can't help but to make guesses on who the real murderer was.

Azalea seemed real, with her strange obsession with buying gowns when she wasn't feeling very good (because of guys). She was lucky that her two friends,  Vivian and Juan,  managed to stop her! I like reading scenes with Juan in it because he just made the story so interesting and funny! They set off to Vegas for a hair styling convention in which a chilling murder took place, just when I thought the murdered guy had a thing for Azalea due to a secret note to her. We know from the summary that Vivian confessed to the crime and it was up to Azalea to prove everything wrong by finding the real murderer. She couldn't do it alone and very reluctantly called in Alex, the guy who started it all (also known as the guy who promised to call after their date but didn't). 

I never have a dull moment reading Dyed and Gone. Besides, there are several interesting characters who made really good suspects. I just like how a book such as this will keep a reader busy guessing throughout the whole book but never make anything too obvious or simple to guess. This book will be even better if we get to read more about Azalea and Alex's story before they went to Vegas. I find that there wasn't much explained about how they got together.

A good mystery and fun book for readers who enjoy some detective action and for those who are wondering how a hairstylist can actual get involved in such extreme situations.


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Saturday, 29 March 2014

{Spotlight - Interview & Giveaway} Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw

Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw

Published on 30 January 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 294

Synopsis

Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls. Kiara's suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do. After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn't trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.


Purchase the Book


In this post:






This was no use. She would just have to find Teague and talk to him, whether she liked it or not. No sooner had the thought formed than a familiar voice suddenly filled her head.

It's time we talked, Thia. Teague's voice was so real that she stopped what she was doing and looked around the small yard behind her only confirming what she already knew. She was alone.

What was going on? Teague was not present and yet she could have sworn she heard him clear as a bell. Thia shook her head and wondered if she really was going crazy. She recognized Teague's voice perfectly. It was the voice she'd been hearing since she was six years old. A voice she thought only existed in her dreams.  

Putting the bird aside, Thia moved towards the kitchen door. She was just reaching for it when it opened, and she found herself face to face with Teague.

For a moment they just stood and stared at each other. Thia took in his familiar features: the unruly brown curls on top of his head and the high cheekbones that seemed to be at odds with his boyish face. The faint beginnings of laugh lines that were forming at the corners of his eyes. And those eyes. She felt a shiver run down her spine as she held his gaze with her own. His eyes were closer to silver in color than grey and they currently had so many emotions shifting through them that she couldn't identify any of them, despite the fact that they clearly reflected what she was feeling inside.

"I thought it was probably best we talk in private, don't you agree?" he said aloud.

Thia nodded. He was right. Sukey would be arriving to start helping with dinner preparation soon and there was no telling whether Kiara might come to see if she needed more birds. Her sister had been in a killing mood earlier. It was probably best that she talk to Teague away from curious eyes until she figured out what was going on. She moved out of his path and Teague stepped out into the small, enclosed yard shutting the kitchen door firmly behind him.

"What are you doing?" Thia asked, trying to ignore the veiled panic in her voice as she watched him move to the table where the dead birds lay. Grimacing slightly he removed his gloves and reached for one of the birds.

"It's more probable that I saw you doing work and offered to help than that I sought out a supposed stranger for a private talk, don't you think?" he asked reasonably.

Thia nodded and moved wordlessly behind the opposite end of the table to resume work on her abandoned bird. She watched Teague's hands as he skillfully removed feathers from the bird he was holding. Clearly he'd plucked chickens before despite the look of distaste on his face.

"Who are you?" she demanded. "And how do you do that?"

Do what? He asked without speaking aloud, the boyish grin on his face.

Thia felt a pang in her gut. That grin was so familiar. She'd seen it so many times in her dreams. Even as his features had shifted, the round youthful face lengthening into that of a young man, two things had stayed the same in her dreams: Teague's eyes and his smile.

She swallowed, sudden fear curling in the pit of her stomach. Teague paused in his work and looked across at her.

"Please stop doing that!" Thia said, flinching when she heard the desperation in own voice. "It's bad enough that you’re here, in person. I don't need to be hearing you in my head, too!"

"Okay," he said guiltily. Thia fought to suppress dream memories. His eyes, an even more amazing silver grey in person, glimmered in the late afternoon light.

She looked down, taking solace in the sudden silence between them.

"It's not a dream this time, Thia."

"I know," she admitted in a whisper. "But how is this happening?"

Teague shook his head at her, his hair falling forward over his forehead. "I know you're shocked. I was, too, when I first saw you. Then I realized that what we thought were only dreams, were just forays into a different reality." Excitement lit up his features. "A reality that, at times, feels more real than this one, don't you agree?"

Thia opened her mouth to deny what he was saying, even as a dozen memories burst to life in her head. Her mind focused on her first dream memory of him.

Teague had been a boy, only a few years her senior. He’d found her scared and alone along a small river, just as his song had depicted. It must have been some time after Brijit had told her the truth about her birth parents - that they had both been killed in a horrible accident. In the dream, she'd been looking for her parents and found herself suddenly alone.

She remembered the feeling of utter loneliness and despair that had flooded her. She’d wandered lost and afraid, sobbing her heart out. And then suddenly the boy – Teague - had been there. He had led her along a path and back to where Brijit and her sisters had been waiting for her. When she woke she'd felt safe and overwhelmed by the sense that everything was going to be all right.

Thia stared at the boy in front of her, studying his face for any sign that he was joking. But Teague was serious, his eyes willing her to understand but Thia refused to admit that what he was saying could be true.

"It’s not possible, is it? After all, there are no such things as different realities," she insisted vehemently. "There has to be some other explanation. If I dreamwalk, why don't I do it with my sisters? My mother? My friends?" She gestured helplessly. "The only person I've ever shared a dreamwalk with is you. Why is that?"

Teague was silent.

The silence seemed to stretch between them, heavy with shared knowledge. Thia blinked. She finished her last bird and saw that he had also finished and put his gloves back on. The early winter afternoon sun was low on the horizon.

She reached for the tray of birds to carry them into the kitchen. Teague hurried around the table and took the heavy tray from her before she could protest. For the first time Thia noticed he was taller than in her dreams. Not as tall as her sisters but certainly taller than she.

He looked down at her, his eyes unreadable in the fading afternoon light.

And yet the essence of him was so familiar. Before she could stop herself Thia instinctively reached out to touch his forearm, wanted to feel the warm muscles above his gloves, to reassure herself that he was real.

Teague jerked away before she could reach him and Thia felt an inexplicable sense of hurt flood through her.

"I'm real, Thia," he whispered aloud, his breath stirring the hair on her forehead. "But you can't touch me. I can't explain right now but please don't try."




And we have Cathi with us for a short interview!


Hi Cathi, Welcome to Michelle Chew Writes. It's good having you with us today! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing for more than 30 years. I can’t imagine surviving this world without writing. Writing has always been the way I process what goes on around me. In addition to writing, I’m married and the mother of 3 teenagers, I have two Labrador retrievers and I love enjoying the outdoors in my hometown of Summerland, BC.

Can you describe your book in one sentence?
No. I don’t think I can! That’s a tall order and for a book to be simplistic enough to describe in one sentence makes it not worth reading IMHO!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration for your book?
I think I’m inspired by the world around me. The original idea for The Marked Ones series came to me when I was running about 8 years ago. But I didn’t start writing it until 2 years ago so I think all the things I was exposed to in the intervening time period just helped to flesh out the ideas and storyline of the novel.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I like the idea of the Prophecy guiding the course of things. I think most of us are very intrigued by the thought that things could be predestined. The first draft of Book 2 is almost complete and the Prophecy continues to play an important role but even I don’t know what will happen in the end!

Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Book 2 of the Marked Ones (Finding Refuge) is now in the editing stage. I’m hoping to have it ready for release late this year or early 2015. I’m also working on a Dystopian series.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I teach writing! I’m a professor at Okanagan College in British Columbia. I’ve been teaching writing for about 12 years.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I tend to write very quickly. So the hard part was just sitting down and starting rather than completing the novel. I had been carrying around the story of Five Corners for a very long time – finally I signed up for Nanowrimo at the advice of my writing partner, Rochelle Dionne. When I had a strict schedule I had my 70,000 word first draft completed in 3 weeks time! The editing took about 3 months. So it was very fast in the end!

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it’s really important for a writer to choose a genre he or she loves. I love YA fiction. I used to teach Children’s Literature at Simon Fraser University and I mostly read young adult fiction. It just made sense to write in the genre I most enjoy reading! For Five Corners, I have always loved Fantasy novels, so it was pretty easy to come up with a high fantasy story. My new favorite genre is Dystopian. That’s what my next series will be.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I find that my first few drafts are often very short – almost like an outline – but I do better if I sit down and just let the story spill out. The bonus to that is that I am ALWAYS surprised with out the story comes out. I really don’t know where the story comes from but it takes on a life of its own very quickly and it’s almost as though I’m just the scribe for the story.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I love hearing from my readers. I think once a writer puts her words in print, she doesn’t truly own them anymore. As soon as someone else starts reading the story, they take ownership of the characters and storyline. I love chatting about my characters with my readers.










Wednesday, 26 March 2014

{Book Spotlight} Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnell


Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangledwebsite, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.


Today I'm happy to be featuring Select's March release:



Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnell

Special $0.99 Introductory Price on the ebook version!


Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it urns out Azalea’s friend, Vivian, not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh… assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?

Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.





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Sunday, 23 March 2014

{Weekly Wrap Up} 2 Mar to 23 Mar 2014




Sunday Post is Hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and 
Stacking the Shelves is Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.


I missed out 2 weeks' worth of wrap up because I was too excited about my upcoming overseas trip to Japan. Spent most of my waking time researching on air tickets, sightseeing locations and accommodation and of course to brush up a little of their language. This would be my first overseas trip and I'm going to be gone from 1 to 10 April. Can't wait!

Didn't get much books over the last few weeks except borrowing 2 books from the library while I went there to get some travel books. 

Book Haul


Borrowed:

What have you got this week?


Weekly Recap



Next Week on the Blog:

Review & Release Day Blast - Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnall
Book Spotlight - Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw
Review: Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout


Current Giveaways:



Send me your links and I'll pop by to check them out! :)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

{Blog Tour Review} The Harder I Fall by Jessica Gibson

The Harder I Fall by Jessica Gibson

Published on 20 February 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance
Page Count: 215

Synopsis

Becca Langer was not a normal girl, she didn't have normal girl problems. For most of her life, she’s had to take care of herself, her younger brother Chad, and her drunk mother. She’s lived under the shadow of what her father did when she was ten years old. Forever branded by his actions.

College was her escape, she could get away and finally live. Her dream was to make it in the New York Ballet Company one day. That for her meant a long road full of hard work and dedication. She didn't have time for distractions, and Levi Klein was definitely a distraction.

Will Levi be able to crack through her tough exterior and really see the wounded soul underneath? Becca needs to be loved, but the question is, will she let Levi love her?


Purchase the Book


RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy via Mark My Words Book Publicity blog tour in exchange for an unbiased review.

What I Felt
What Becca had been through when she was young was horrifying to the extent that she still has nightmares from time to time. Her life wasn't easy and it was really remarkable that she remained strong throughout the whole ordeal. Life started changing when she set off for college when she left her younger brother behind with their alcoholic mother. She made new friends and couldn't help but notice that one guy who always seem to be appearing everywhere she went.

The Harder I Fall is a touching story on hardships, loss, friendship and family. Becca has difficulties opening up to anyone but she managed to do that it the end and made some great friends who stood by her side in times of need. Plus, I like how protective she was over her brother. She seemed to be more of a mother than a sister to him. Levi, the stalker guy, is a character I like and dislike at the same time. He's a funny guy and I like reading his somewhat witty conversations and how focused he was on spoiling Becca. His parents were absolutely wonderful and sweet on Becca! They even came to help when Becca's brother, Chad, got into some serious problems. It was probably in the middle part which I came to take a certain dislike to Levi because of his sudden decision and it was painful to read Becca's emotions from there on. I was really glad it came to a happy ending, so I forgive Levi. The only thing I find lacking was about Becca's father. We didn't get to know much about him, except the bad part, and there's no resolution between father and daughter. It would be really good if we could have some in-depth insights on his past actions, like why were Becca's parents such drunkards?

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Harder I Fall and how sweet and how painful the story reading process was. It was like I was taken on a roller-coaster ride as I read through Becca's experience. I'd love to read Chad's side of the story, since he got a girlfriend and all. That'd be an interesting read!







About Jessica Gibson

Jessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she's down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. Thatdream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the "someday" section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write.


Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality tv shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one son and hope to add to the family in the near future. Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.
Website       Blog       Facebook     Twitter      Goodreads




Thursday, 20 March 2014

{Blog Tour Review} Crash into Love by Sofia Grey

Crash into Love by Sofia Grey

Published on 10 March 2014
Genre: Adult Romance
Page Count: 80

Synopsis

Cass thought spending a month at a beachside hideaway relaxing and collecting shells would be the perfect escape to finish her novel. When she meets the dark and brooding and much younger Jonah, who's staying next door, her book becomes the last thing on her mind.

Jonah would rather stay home alone than go on vacation with his brother and their friends, but does his best to tolerate the situation after being convinced to go. But when he sees the beauty next door, he can’t avoid his attraction. 

Together, they break all the rules, but will Cass be able to bring Jonah out of his shell forever, or will he leave her with only the crash of the surf to keep her company?


Purchase the book


RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy via blog tour in exchange for an unbiased review.

What I Felt
I finished this book in one sitting. Well, it's a short novella after all but that was not the main reason! The story and the characters in Crash into Love had me so captivated that I totally lost track of my time! When I reached the end, I had this silly smile on my face even though I can't bear to part with the two main characters.

Crash into Love is a story within a story. Does it make any sense? I like how Sofia created another story within Crash into Love itself. It was as if I'm reading two similar stories within the same book! This is a refreshing style which I enjoyed because it showed the inner thoughts of Cass and her sticky situation with Jonah, who was ten years younger. I really like the author's writing style because she made the characters so real that it's difficult not to like them. I was a little disappointed with the epilogue as I fully expected to read a little more on how sweet Cass and Jonah were together... Nevertheless, Crash into Love is undoubtedly one of the best novella that I've read. I'll definitely be reading more of this author's work.



About the author
I’m a 40-on-the-outside / 20-on-the-inside writer with a passion for love, romance, music, chocolate and good red wine. I live down under in New Zealand in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and not far from either great locally-made chocolate or fantastic locally-made wine. They have some awesome rock bands down here too.



Wednesday, 19 March 2014

{Spotlight} Secret Announcement from K.A. Tucker


Fans of K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths, we have a SUPER exciting announcement: 

On September 1, 2014, Atria is releasing a PREQUEL NOVELLA to Ten Tiny Breaths that tells the story from Trent's point of view! It's called IN HER WAKE, and we cannot wait one more breath to read it!

 

About IN HER WAKE:
Cole Reynolds had it all. And then one night he makes a bad choice... and loses everything. When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he'd be able to lean on his best friends. The best friends that have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they're gone. Worse, there's the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys. Everyone assures him that they know it wasn't intentional and yet he can't ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. The all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won't so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip of what once was important-college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It's not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness. And there's only one person who can give that to him... Are you as excited about this as we are?? And...this is going to be available at the great price of $.99!!

Available at Amazon * iTunes * Simon and Schuster
Four Secondsto Lose

And while you're at it, pre-order the gorgeous paperback of FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE, hitting bookstores on 4/1!

About FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE:
Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine year old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown- eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that. Twenty-two-year old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting anddancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her doesn’t need to complicate her life with romance. Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.





ABOUT K.A. TUCKER: 
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.    
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