"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Monday, July 30, 2012

Interview with Michaela Debelius and a Review of Decoy

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Michaela Debelius to my blog today. She is here to answer some questions for us and to give us some insight to her new book Decoy, A Noel Casey Novel. So, lets get started.

Michaela Debelius

1- Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Michaela Debelius. I write paranormal and science fiction romance. I grew up in New England but now reside in Arizona with my husband and two furry children. In my opinion, the perfect vacation is a week spent doing nothing but reading. Add in some rain and I’m in paradise.

2- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I was always enamored with authors. As a child I felt they were untouchable, something akin to being a movie star or famous singer. In a sense that’s very true. It’s a rare person that can rival Stephen King or Nicholas Sparks. But overall, the situation has changed with the invention of e-readers. The opportunity to offer books to readers has become much easier. I’ve always written, whether it be short stories or the obligatory teenage angst poetry, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I decided to attempt a novel length piece. Initially I wanted to publish through traditional methods. But as I watched the progression of other self-published authors, I decided to pursue that route. I’m very satisfied thus far.

3- What was your inspiration for Decoy?
There isn’t one defining moment that inspired Decoy. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of military conspiracies. I knew I wanted a strong female character who wasn’t what she appeared to be, which is why I made her very particular about her clothes and make-up even though she’s a brilliant scientist. The story really formed around her. 

4- Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Although there is a sequel to Decoy, my next release is a different storyline about an immortal woman. Unlike most immortal characters, she doesn’t have any special power. She’s jaded and detached, even from her own kind. Her character developed after spending too much time watching the news and thinking about what it would be like to live forever in a world that can often be far too cruel. It’d be easy to become completely overwhelmed with negativity if you felt like life was endless and lacking an 
outcome. Of course, there’s a romantic sub-plot as well.

Decoy’s sequel will be out Summer of 2013.

5- Who is your favorite author and why?
Dean Koontz. He has a way of weaving the abnormal into everyday life that makes the reader feel it’s absolutely plausible to be chased by a maniacal clown hell-bent on revenge. His characters are regular people forced into unusual situations bringing about a “This could happen to anyone” terror. Also, his good guys are always good and his bad guys are always downright deplorable. I like that. I enjoy the cut and dry, black and white. Life is complicated, novels shouldn’t be. When I open a book I want to know, “Okay, we need to hate him.”

6- What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I live in Arizona, which means most of the year is brutally hot. This year happens to be a particularly humid one so it’s getting rather swampy out here! If I’m not swimming, I’m either reading or working on a puzzle. I realize puzzles seem a bit dated for someone in their twenties, but I find it’s the only activity that can quiet my mind. It’s methodical and it doesn’t require much thought. Throw in a cup of tea and I’m ready to channel my inner eighty year old.

7- What has been the most difficult part of writing that you have encountered so far?
Time! I’m not the type of person who can live off caffeine, sleep four hours a night, and complete a novel in two months. At my current rate, it looks like I’ll be a two-novels-a-year author. I have so many stories I’m eager to get on paper, but I just don’t have a lifestyle that lets me write sixteen hours a day. I envy those writers.

8- Do you have a particular routine for your writing or do you write when the mood strikes?
I write Monday-Friday. If I’ve got a deadline to meet I’ll work on Saturdays as well. Sundays are spent with my family. There needs to be at least one day a week where you can reboot. 

Review of Decoy

A Noel Casey Novel
Michaela Debelius
April 2012
Kindle Edition

   Lieutenant Noel Casey is a bit baffled by her new assignment. She is sent in to evaluate and analyze Killian, a genetically altered soldier. Not only does Killian possess exceptional strength, but he is highly intelligent. Casey is not used to working with human subjects, but Killian's indifferent attitude makes it hard to see past his robotic demeanor.
   Killian intervenes on Casey's behalf when she is attacked outside the compound. This intervention leads them onto a new path with their relationship and Killian becomes her protector.
   As times goes by, Casey has terrifying nightmares that causes her to question what she is actually doing on this new assignment. She eventually comes to realize that all of her understanding from her training and education is about to be shattered. Life as she knew it will never be the same again.
   This is a wonderful paranormal romance that keeps you guessing for a while about what is going on in the story. The story line flows well except in the beginning. From my viewpoint, the story dragged in the beginning and spent too much time on all the men hitting on Lt. Casey. Once we pass that point, the story line picked up and kept moving right along. It really had my interest from there and I couldn't put it down. Lt. Casey is a bit of an introvert who just wants to work in a lab where she doesn't have much contact with other people. Killian is this tall, dark and handsome character who just happens to be quite sexy and very mysterious. Throw his twin brother in the mix and we have a very interesting triangle going on. This is not a threesome that you may be thinking. I don't want to say anymore because it would ruin the story for you. If you like paranormal romance with a bit of mystery, I highly recommend this book. I will be looking forward to the next book in the series.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reviewing purposes.

I give Decoy 4 out of 5 stars


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review of Love in Disguise

Love in Disguise
Carol Cox
Bethany House 2012
ISBN 9780764209550

   Ellie Moore is jobless and down to her last pennies. See hears about a job at the Pinkerton Detective Agency and applies for the job. She figures her acting skills and her costumes will be a big asset. The agency reluctantly gives her a chance to play Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow. She ends up also playing the dazzling Jessie Monroe when the need arises. Has she bit off more then she can chew? Will the agency show her the door when they find out?
   Mine owner, Steven Pierce, is close to losing his business if the thieves stealing his silver are not apprehended soon. He never expects to receive help from the elderly Mrs. Stewart and her niece. Most of all, he never expects to fall in love with the niece.
   The thieves have it in for Lavinia and Jessie and they have no where to hide. Steven is determined to keep them both safe, no matter what. Should Ellie just take things into her own hands and let everyone know who she is? The question is whether Steven will still love her when he finds out he was deceived.
   This novel takes place in 188o's Arizona and combines romance and lots of mystery. It is a story of love, trust, deceit, faith, and starting over. Ellie is not my favorite character in this story. She thinks a little too highly of herself and you want to say "just get over yourself, will you!" Steven is an honest, kind and sweet man. The kind of man you want to love. The story line is brought together nicely and flows well until the conclusion. I had no idea who the leader of the thieves was until it is brought out in the story. This is a great mystery and if you like a good clean romance, this is the one for you. If you enjoy a good faith filled story, you can't go wrong with this one.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reviewing purposes.

I give Love in Disguise 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review of Lady Languish

Lady Languish
SCD Goff
March 2012
Kindle Edition

   Evangeline's Uncle Malachy terrifies her on her sixteenth birthday and tells her some horrifying things. To protect her, her parents send her to a boarding school where her nightmares just begin. When she receives word that her parents are both killed in an accident, her life will never be the same. After the funeral, she rescues a young man and discovers that the things her uncle told her are probably true.
   This story has some great potential, but needs some serious work. The story line drags and does not flow smoothly. Sometimes it is hard to tell where you are in the story. I don't think this story was edited because there are many mistakes in the story. Not only missing words here and there but also misspelling and poor phrasing. As I said, this story has great potential but needs some serious editing before I would recommend it to anyone else.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reviewing purposes.

I give Lady Languish 2.5 out of 5 stars

Review of Change of Pace

Change of Pace
Sofia Essen
April 2012
Kindle Edition

   Have you ever thought you were having a rough week? I bet Anna would trade places with you. She gets dumped, loses her job, and turns thirty all in the span of a week. The best part, she goes completely out of character and hops a plane to Greece with absolutely no plans. She starts getting cold feet while on the plane because she did not even book a room. Alex,  the man sitting beside her just happens to be headed to Greece and offers to show her a place to stay. Anna soon learns her life will be changed forever. Love and happiness come in the most unlikely places.
   This is a wonderful story of love, change, letting go, and taking a leap of faith. The story line flows smoothly throughout. It was a bit slow in the beginning, but picks up nicely and I was unable to put it down. Anna is a woman who lives a tediously boring life until her world is turned upside down in the span of a week. She has some difficulty adjusting when she first goes to Greece because life is not as structured and same as it had been. Alex comes along and life is never the same. He has always jumped from one woman to the next until Anna comes into his life. There is one problem, he has a habit of disappearing for days on end. Anna is not sure if she can deal with this or not; but she doesn't want to lose him. Along comes Anna's mom from the U.S., Mrs. Perfect and critical. She has changed, however, and maybe they can have the relationship they never had. If you like a good romance with just a bit of mystery, this is a good choice for you. I highly recommend it.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reviewing purposes.

I give Change of Pace 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review of The Other Slipper

The Other Slipper

The Other Slipper
Kenechi Udogu
Sept 2011
Kindle Edition

   Jo discovers a lone glass slipper on her way home from the ball. She takes the slipper home and hears noises and humming coming from the slipper that no one else can hear. She finally takes the slipper back to the palace and the Princess sends her on a journey to return the slipper where it belongs. She finds herself on a journey where she confronts magic and illusions and gets confronted with her past and what is to be her destiny.
   When initially starting the story, one thinks they are going to get a retelling of the age old story of Cinderella. This is far from the truth. The story is not bad but it gets a bit wordy at times. Because of this, it does not flow very well. I found myself lost at times because of all the unusual names and the different characters that were introduced. Our major players are quite varied. Ron, Jo's brother is sweet and kind. Locke is around to help get Jo and her brother Ron safely to their destination. He discovers early on that Jo is stubborn and is unwilling to listen to reason. Jo is a very unlikable young girl. She is willful, haughty, and strong-willed. No one can reason with her and she does not grow or mature even by the end of the story. I found myself losing concentration more then once because the story just drags on and on. Another thing that stuck out for me was when Jo made the comment she should have lifted with her knees while picking up a pumpkin. I doubt seriously if that was even thought about when this story is taking place. If you are into magic and fantasy, you may enjoy this story. I was just not able to get into this particular story.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reviewing purposes.

I give The Other Slipper 3 out of 5 stars

Review of Crooked Fang

Crooked Fang
Carrie Clevenger
Lyrical Press, Inc
Kindle Edition

   Xan Marcelles has been content with his existence in the out of the way town of Pinecliffe, Colorado. He has settled in with his life as a bassist for his band Crooked Fang and just wants to be left alone. Being an asshole and a vampire just seems to suit him. There are couple of problems with this. He is a bad boy biker dude and looks really good in a pair of jeans. Did I mention he is sexy as hell? Not such a low key image. Trouble just seems to find him. 
   One night at the Pale Rider, Xan is minding his own business when a blue eyed damsel catches his eye and an abusive boyfriend is giving her grief. Since Xan has a thing for the ladies, his natural instinct is to come to the rescue. This is just the beginning of his troubles. His past manages to comes back and haunt him and bite him in the ass.
   This is a fantastic story that had me in its clutches until the end. I could not put it down. The story line flows beautifully and gives you everything I like, suspense, vampires, sex and mystery. Xan, who wouldn't love him? Anyone who has seen anything posted from me knows I have this love affair for him. He is just the kind of guy I wanted as a teen, but never had the nerve to go after. His best friend, Scot, is a pretty awesome dude also. Frankly, I hope he ditches that wife of his and finds himself in more of Xan's trouble. The entire story just flows and keeps you reading to see what is going to happen next. The one thing Xan was trying to avoid the most, is his past. This is not to be and he has to face it head on. He ends up on quite the exciting adventure. I don't want to say too much because I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. Just make sure you get your copy to read for yourself. You don't have to be a fan of vampires to like this story. If you just want a great read, pick up your copy. It will be available soon.
   Disclosure: I was provided an ARC for reviewing purposes.

I give Crooked Fang 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review of Submerged

Dani Pettrey
Bethany House
ISBN 9780764209826

   Bailey Craig promised herself she would never return to her hometown of Yancey, Alaska. She has a reputation and a past that the townsfolk will not forget. She has to return to bury a loved one who was killed in a plane crash. During the investigation, evidence comes to life that will require Bailey's expertise to unravel.
   Cole McKenna faces dangerous rescues all the time; but facing Bailey again is another story. She broke his heart; but neither one of them is the person they were ten years ago. Both must get beyond the past, because the body count is rising.
   This is the first book in the Alaskan Courage series. It is a wonderful story of faith, forgiveness, love, and moving on. The story line flows smoothly and my interest was maintained throughout. Bailey is the polar opposite of what she was as a teenager; but she has difficulty letting go of her past. Her conscience constantly tells her she is not good enough. Cole stills has the same feelings for Bailey, but she broke his heart once, will she do it again? The only problem I had with the story was how Bailey all of a sudden is in love with Cole. It's almost as if she isn't and then she is. If you like a good clean romance full of faith and good Christian values, this is the book for you. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy from the publisher for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give Submerged 4 out of 5 stars

Retiring My Blog

After a great deal of deliberation back and forth on the issue, I have decided to retire my blog at the end of 2012. It may be sooner depending on the commitments I still have in the works. I have every intention of reviewing all that I still have promised to various individuals, as well as, the interviews and such. I will continue to give everything the attention that I have over the last couple of years. Even though I will be closing up the blog, I will continue to promote any and all publishers and authors on facebook and twitter. If any of my trusted authors and publishers want me to review, I will continue to post on amazon and goodreads. I just won't be doing it on a full time basis as I am now. I am regrouping and setting my sights on other things gearing up for retirement in the next couple of years. This does not mean I will be reading less; but the emphasis will not be on getting out all the reviews I do now. I am also planning on getting rid of some of the social site stuff except for facebook, twitter, goodreads and shelfari. I cannot give up my friends on these sites; but some of the others are a waste of precious time. I find myself spending way too much time on the computer. Enough for now. Will keep everyone posted as time draws closer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of You Have to Live Hard to be Hard

You Have to Live Hard to be Hard
One Man's Life in Special Operations
Dan Laguna
Author House 20101
ISBN  9781449081232

   This book is mainly about Dan Laguna's life while in the Special Ops. It also includes the story about the accident that caused his brother's death.
   In many ways, I am probably not the best person to give an opinion of this book. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for our men and women in uniform. I was a bit disappointed in this book because I actually thought it would encompass the lives of all involved including the author's brother who died. The cover does say one man's life in special ops; but I misconstrued the meaning of this. I actually had a difficult time finishing the book. No disrespect is intended toward Dan Laguna, but I felt like it was the story of one man tooting his own horn. The story goes on and on about all of the awards and medals that he has won. In addition, he goes into extensive details about all of his various injuries and how he continued to remain in the special ops and accomplished one amazing thing after another. I am sure there is an audience out there for this book, but unfortunately, I am not one of them. If you are into stories of the special ops, this is the book for you.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for review purposes.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review of The Scottish Prisoner

The Scottish Prisoner
Diana Gabaldon
Delacorte Press 2011
ISBN 9780385337519

   The year is 1760 and Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war is living in the Lake District thanks to Lord John Grey. He is satisfied with his life. He works with the horses and he is close enough to his son that he can't claim. Sadly, his life is starting to unravel. He is having increasing dreams of his lost wife and Tobias Quinn, a friend of Jamie's from the Rising has made an appearance.
   Lord John has come into possession of some documents that exposes corruption in the ranks. Part of the document is in "Erse," the tongue favored by the Scottish Highlanders. Lord John thinks that Jamie may be able to translate; but will he? Lord John and Jamie separated on not so friendly terms on their last meeting. Lord John and Jamie find themselves unwilling partners on the road to Ireland in hopes of discovering the truth.
   I have had my copy of The Scottish Prisoner for some months. I finally decided my pressing review pile would have to wait a couple of days until I read this one. Anyone who is a Diana Gabaldon follower can understand where I am coming from. This book is from the Lord John Grey series, and even though they are actually part of the Outlander series, they focus on the times when Lord John is not seen in the main series. This particular novel also focuses on a part of Jamie's life not covered in the main novels. These novels take place between 1756 and 1766. This one is set in 1760. This is my absolute favorite Lord John novel. That is probably because Jamie Fraser is so centered in this book. 
    I don't think there is anything I can possibly say about this book that has not been said about any of Diana Gabaldon's books before. The stories are just absolutely fantastic and the characters are wonderful. I think I can speak for any of Diana's fans when I say that her books are gripping and few put them down until they are finished. The accuracy of the history and the characters is beyond belief. If you have never read one of Diana's books, you are missing out on some wonderful reading. The worst part is I have to wait for another year until the next book in the overall series comes out. If you are into historical fiction, you absolutely cannot go wrong with any of Diana's books. Just be sure you are up for a good long read. 

I give The Scottish Prisoner 5 out of 5 stars 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Death of a Cantankerous Old Coot

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Jenna Scribbles to my blog. Jenna and I have decided to swap book reviews for the day. I will turn it over to her now.

Thank you, Eva, for having my on your blog today. I’m so happy to be here.
Today I am reviewing - Death of a Cantankerous Old Coot.

Death of A Cantankerous Old Coot
Teresa Watson
Kindle Edition

   What a fun little book. I am a lover of cozy mysteries that have an interesting premise or female lead. Joanne Fluke and Cleo Coyle rank among my top picks. Of course I’ve also read most of Sue Grafton’s novels – although those are a touch above a cozy.

   For anyone looking for a cute quick read with a splash of color and mystery, I suggest you pick up Death of a Cantankerous Old Coot.

   Here is the description from Goodreads – Amos Gardner, one of Brookdale's leading citizens, has been found dead in the town park. The sheriff wants to know if his murder has anything to do with the lawsuit he filed against his granddaughter, Lizzie Crenshaw. When someone tries to kill Amos' wife, she points the finger at Lizzie. Teaming up with a gorgeous new deputy, Lizzie must figure out who is behind it all...before she becomes the next victim.

   I'm giving this ebook a 3.5 but rounding up to 4 for rating purposes. I found the author's writing style to be fun - I laughed out loud in a few places. The situations and setting were quite unique. The townsfolk are interesting, the storyline was entertaining, and we are also offered a touch of romance.

   It was almost great… Unfortunately, I found the information and build up on the characters and small town a bit lacking. I wanted more. I read a lot of novellas, so that’s not the problem. It's hard to care about the situation when you don't know much about the people first. It seemed we were given an event, then introduced to the people. Hmmm... a bit backwards in my mind.

   I know I would have loved it had there been more introduction to each person and the town in the opening chapters. Let the reader get to know everyone then hit us with events. So close to being a five star read.

   Don’t let my views taint your opinion. I did like this ebook. It’s going to be a series and I'm very glad for that. I will be buying the next title. 

I give this book 4 stars

    Thanks again for having me as a guest reviewer on your blog, Eva. I hope we can do it again sometime. 


Everyone make sure you swing by my blog today. Eva is my guest and is reviewing Backstage Pass Sinners on Tour by Olivia Cunning

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with Jack Whitsel and a Review of Shadows of Kings

It is my pleasure to be included in the Shadow of Kings Blog Tour with author, Jack Whitsel. Jack Whitsel is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance from Portland State University, but studies medieval history in his spare time.  His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction with a medieval emphasis. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. Lets get to know Jack a bit better.

1-  Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I am an avid lover of all things fantasy. When I write, I attempt to be more of a storyteller than writer – giving you a bard-like feel to the story. And my plots are primarily character driven, allowing my cast to take the story exactly where it needs to go.

Aside from writing, I spend my time with my two sons – who are the catalyst of my writing endeavors.

 2- I know you have a Degree in Finance from Portland State University. What made you decide to study medieval history?

I have always been romantically drawn to this period in history. Wars were won by sword and wits. Europe discovered its identity during this time – a history and legacy that seems so foreign to the fledgling United States. There was a brutality in the medieval era that was almost…poetic. That period was only a sea of grey – the world of black and white was rarely seen.

3-  What was the inspiration for Shadows of Kings?

 Of all the questions that are thrown at me, that one is always the most difficult. There has never been a solitary idea or moment that brought Shadows of Kings to life. However, I have three passions in my life – medieval history, all things fantasy, and my sons. Between the three, Shadows of Kings morphed into existence.

4-  Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us about it and when can we expect to see it?

I do. The tentative release date for Shades of Virtue is Spring 2013. Shards of Malice, Queens and Daggers, and Dragon Rising: The Guide to the Hugue and Vol Thaldane are still to be announced. All are part of the Dragon Rising Series.

5- What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy is my favorite. There is something about magic and monsters nixed with a medieval backdrop that makes my muse sing.

6- Do you have a favorite author? If so, why or why not?

The father of contemporary fantasy- J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings changed many things in my life on many levels. Tolkien inspired my imagination to create worlds and fill them with wonderful characters. And most importantly...his books encouraged me to keep reading the fantasy genre.

7- What do you do for fun and relaxation?

I love movies...I mean really love them. Outside the cinema, I enjoy my time with my sons- telling them stories about knights and wizards and playing x-box.

8- How can readers contact you?

You can visit my official website at http://www.jackwhitsel.com

Review of Shadow of Kings

Shadow of Kings
Jack Whitsel
Twilight Times Books June 2012
Kindle Edition

Instead of a brief synopsis of the book, I am including the book trailer.

   This is the first book in the Dragon Rising Series and a great read it is. At the beginning the story dragged just a bit and I was having trouble getting into it; but it eventually took off and it was full of action. This is a wonderful fantasy read and lovers of fantasy are sure to be pleased. The story is packed full of adventure, sorcery, witchcraft, fey, dragons, and other creatures. I have to admit I was having some difficulty keeping up with all the characters and all the different names of places in the story. I really think it would have benefited from having a map and a glossary of terms, places, and such in order to keep track of everything. Even with this issue for me, I was able to get through the story without much difficulty. Our protagonist Lucia, was a spoiled rich girl who was difficult to love in the beginning. As the story continues, she grows and develops into a most extraordinary young woman. Lord Boudouin faces many challenges and realizes one of his major mistakes by the end of the book. I, like other women, would have liked to have seen more of a romance between him and his mistress. This is the romantic talking in me. To much blood and guts in the story for this. The story is quite descriptive and you have no doubt what is happening during battle. It is not for the faint of heart. I will definitely be watching for the next book in the series, Shades of Virtues due out in the spring of 2013. If you enjoy a good fantasy read, check this one out.
   Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reading and reviewing purposes.

I give Shadows of Kings 4 out of 5 stars