Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Color Blind

Teresa and Red discovered their mind-speak connection in the first Team Red book, and joined forces with the local police department to stop a rapist. Surely they're ready for a break, right? Not exactly. 

The pair still have a few tricks up their sleeves to discover, and no reader can forget David and Bas. David's relentless passion sweeps Teresa off her feet, and Bas is struggling to come to terms with that, but every member of Team Red is put on high alert when a group of military men show up unannounced and threaten to reveal Team Red unless they pledge to assist them. Team Red is only getting started. 

After speeding through book one, I was eager to get my hands on this book. I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. Book one left readers wondering who the secret footage of Red was sent to, and in book two we get to find out. The romance angle definitely has the potential to overpower everything, but I enjoyed the storyline in this book quite a bit. The interruption of the military group that tries to force their way into Teresa's life sets off a series of events that adds plenty of excitement and danger to the story. 

What I really enjoyed about this storyline was how it allowed Teresa to grow as a character. She discovers new abilities with Red and she also is pushed to grow personally and to face difficult situations that will impact her emotionally. Teresa was a good character to start with, and I came to enjoy following her story even more. 

The romance aspect of this book is a powerful draw as well. The love triangle that began in book one between Teresa, Bas, and David is only partially resolved. Yes, Teresa chose David and loves him very much, but that certainly doesn't mean Bas has let go of his feelings for Teresa. I was a fan of Bas from book one despite his talent for making stupid choices and saying the absolute worst thing when it came to Teresa. Watching him struggle to be around Teresa was heartbreaking. Hammond did a great job of keeping the romance intense and keeping readers guessing. I won't give any spoilers, but the Readers will be dying for book three. 

Readers do need to remember, though, that this book is geared for more mature readers. There are sex scenes, sexual conversations, and profanity. If you want the same fabulous story without these aspects, remember that Hammond is writing a dual series for New Adult readers. 

Color Blind is available now on Amazon and you can add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Connect with T. Hammond online at AmazonGoodreadsFacebook, and Team Red FB

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kindle Summer This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. New Adult Addiction
  4. Jessabella Reads
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Somthing Year Old Girl
  6. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  7. S.A. Larsen - Writer's Ally
  8. Author Inger Iverson
  9. The Geeky Gamers
  10. annakyss
  11. Everyday Word Magic
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  14. SMI Book Club
  15. Laurie Here
  16. Feed Your Fiction Addiction
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  19. Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses
  20. Author Jennifer Laurens
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  24. Author Heather Bixler
  25. Literary Meanderings
  26. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  27. Mother Daughter & Son Book Review
  28. Meredith's Musings
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  30. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
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  33. Author Dianne Venetta
  34. Curling Up with A Good Book
  35. MyLadyWeb
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  40. Turning Pages
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  42. Karey White
  43. My Devotional Thoughts
  44. Author Talia Jager
  45. Author Helen Smith
  46. Sher A Hart: Written Art
  47. Author MK McClintock
  48. Word to Dreams
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  50. Tasty Book Tours
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  52. Romance Bookworm's Reviews
  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE. Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: In His Stead

Thomas Lane has already lost one son to the war in the Middle East. When his second son's National Guard unit is called up, he struggles with the reality of the situation. He doesn't want to lose another son, and he doesn't want to see his youngest son tainted by the effects of war as he has been. The take his son's place and serve in his unit so his son will stay safe. 

The premise for this book was very interesting. The idea of Civil War Era law being put into action today intrigued me. I didn't find the overall acceptance of the law in this book to be very realistic, but I could understand the desire a father would have to spare his son from the brutalities of war, and possibly from death. 

Despite the intriguing idea of this book, it is one that I truly struggled with. I think readers will either identify with this book easily because they share similar views as the characters/author, or they will struggle with it as I did because I did not share some of those views. 

What I struggled with most in reading this book were the attitudes and motivations of the characters. In the first few chapters, the main focus seems to be on Thomas Lane fearing that he will lose his youngest son in the war, just as his oldest son was. That, I found to be completely understandable. I connected with Tom's desire to spare his son from seeing the harsh side of war, especially since the book had already described the PTSD Tom suffered from after his own experiences in the military. The problems relating to the characters came, for me, when the focus changed from protecting his son to a more political message. 

Tom's son, Donnie, ends up in the National Guard after getting in trouble with the law. As an alternative to legal punishment, Tom's convinces the judge to agree to Donnie joining the Reserves instead, hoping it will "straighten Donnie out." Another motivating factor for both of his son's joining the military was the college tuition assistance it provided. Both of these were valid reasons for Donnie to end up in the military, however, my problem with this came when Tom begins regretting these decisions and blaming the military. Tom seemed to know from the beginning that Donnie was not cut out for the military, yet he pushed him to join thinking the war would be end and Donnie would never actually see active duty. When that does not happen, he acted as if it was unfair that Donnie should be called up, that he was too young to face war. If those were his feelings, he never should have pushed Donnie to join the military in the first place. 

Also, when it came to college tuition being a reason for joining, Tom goes from believing it is a good program to acting as if the military is tricking young people into joining, or preying on young people who can't find jobs elsewhere. The attitude from Tom and many other characters in the book seemed to be that of "I didn't sign up for this. I only joined for the college tuition." Be that as it may, they still signed up for the military. Being called up for active duty was a risk they took, and I had a very hard time sympathizing with that kind of sentiment. The military offers incentives to join, just like many companies do, but they are not tricking young kids into joining. 

I also had a hard time with the fact that Donnie eventually agrees to letting his father take his place. Initially, he is upset because he knows others will think he is being a coward, but he admits that he never wanted to be a soldier and agrees to let his dad go instead. I didn't see the guilt I expected from Donnie over this decision. I would have thought that he would have been concerned with the fact that he was putting his own father in harms way, and would be responsible in large part for anything that happened to him. Yet, that wasn't the sentiment. He was proud of the situation even at the end of the book, and I had a difficult time with that. 

Overall, the concept of this book was interesting, but I didn't find it to be very plausible. The author attempts to validate the story and Tom's decision with the idea that one man can change the world with his sacrifice, but I didn't find this to be realistic in this instance. This is a book that was written to specifically relay a political message that the author wanted to share, rather than to tell a story. Some readers will agree with the message and enjoy this book, and others will not. 

In His Stead is available from: 

You can connect with Judith Sanders online at: 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Guest Post: Judith Sanders

Today I am welcoming Judith Sanders,  author of In His Stead, to the blog today to talk about her new book. 

Book Summary

Retired Army Ranger Thomas Lane once burned for the taste of gunpowder and the thrill of the battle. But as he struggles to cope with his own PTSD and the death of his eldest son, killed by an IED in Afghanistan, Lane learns that the price of war is far too dear.

When the National Guard calls up Lane's youngest son to serve, Lane knows he will do anything to save his child--even if it means going in his place, a pursuit unheard of since the Civil War when slaves were sent to war in place of their masters.

In His Stead, Judith Sander's second novel, follows Thomas Lane's crusade against the United States Army, its JAG corps, a vengeful officer, the very son he is desperate to save, and his own wife, who has the Solomon-like choice of losing either a husband or a son.

Guest Post by Judith Sanders

"Sander's rich rendering of Civil War law, validated in the 21st century to save Thomas Lane's son is rare and spellbinding. The humanity linking the pages… will pierce you like a sword." 
—Retired Judge Advocate General of the U. S. Army Hugh R. Overholt

"An ancient law, a modern war, and a father's love that knows no bounds".  

First I would like to say IN HIS STEAD felt ‘right’ in the writing. The words literally ran out of me nonstop. All the stories from generations of my family members, my husband included, and friends who served in the military are the source from which the intense passion, endearing affections, and zesty humor between the pages has flowed.

This story pulled on my heart and strikes a cord with all parents. IN HIS STEAD prompts a question no parent ever wants to address.

It is the very question Thomas Lane faces: What would you be willing to do to rescue your child from eminent danger? 

Well, Thomas Lane has a great answer. 

The main character of IN HIS STEAD, Thomas Lane is a retired Army Ranger coping with PTSD. He is a man we might know. He is a loving father, a friend to his neighbors, and a beloved husband. He is not perfect and like many workaholic fathers leaves his children’s day-to-day lives in the hands of his wife. But when it comes to the military he is perfectly matched for the task he tackles.

After two years his family is still morning the loss of his eldest son to an IED in Afghanistan. So when Tom’s second and last son, a musician, with more earrings in his ears than the local jewelry store and who only joined the National Guard to stay out of jail is called to duty, Tom is determined not to leave this son’s future to fate. Tom goes on the offensive and is determined to not only prevent the boy from serving but if necessary to serve in his son’s place. After all, rationalizes Tom, ‘That’s what dad’s do, protect their kids”.

Tom searches for legal ammunition and finds it with the help of a Confederate slave owner who had been dead for the last one hundred and thirty years. 

He discovers an obscure Civil War common law that allowed one man to serve in another’s stead. Tom sets out on the rocky and dangerous road to take his son’s place, just as slaves were once sent to replace their masters and rich Northerner’s like J. P. Morgan and Grover Cleveland paid Irish immigrants to fight and die in their place. 

Tom ignites a chain reaction of conflicts between himself and the United States Army, it’s legal corps (JAG), a vengeful commanding officer, the much young soldiers in his platoon, and his own son. Tom’s obstacles include his own wife who is given the Solomon like choice to either say goodbye as another son goes off to war or let her war ravished husband take their boy’s place.

Thomas Lane is a father with heart: loving, idealistic, and dangerous when his family is threatened. 

But can one blue-collar American win his battle against the United States Army?
This troubled veteran’s rollercoaster journey reshapes many lives most of all Tom’s as he learns what it really means to be a dad, and by example equips his son with a code of conduct for being a man.

IN HIS STEAD is grounded in solid historical fact, common law, and traces Tom’s transformation from a troubled veteran and reluctant parent to a hero who earns the respect of family, fellow soldiers, and the very enemy he is fighting. Ultimately, Tom’s expression of fatherly love becomes a bright beacon in a world exhausted by the shadow of terrorism and the tears of war.

Meet Judith Sanders

Judith was born and raised in a small rural town in New Jersey. She had a family, became a
single mom and then pursued a career as a nurse working in hospitals and with the US military as a civilian nurse. Judith is remarried and has 3 children and 4 grandchildren and she and her
husband divide their time between homes in North Carolina and New Hampshire. 

Judith is an avid reader of fiction. Inspired by her natural story telling, a passion for characters,
and events around the first Gulf War and her husband’s military service in Iraq, she turned to the
right side of her brain to begin her writing career with her first novel, Crescent Veil, a reality fiction novel about a terrorist band who finds the missing WMDs from Iraq and a team of former
weapons inspectors who hunt down the terrorists. With her second novel, In His Stead (A

Father’s War) she honors the memories of those fallen and looks to a path to peace.

In His Stead is available from: 

You can connect with Judith Sanders online at: 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: The Healing Heart

The last few years for Jamie have not been easy. The passing of her husband was followed closely by losing her dad, and her confidence to face her new life without them is shaken. She wants to focus on her and her daughter, but a brief encounter with Conley offers up a new path Jamie's not sure she's ready to take just yet. 

This is a very sweet romance. From the first few pages, it was easy to connect with Jamie and understand her struggles. She was a well crafted character that readers will care about and want to follow. Howard did a great job of weaving Jamie's emotions into every scene. It was a bit of a roller coaster at times, but it helped me to connect with Jamie even more. 

Conley was a good character as well. The whole story is told from Jamie's point of view, but I still felt like I got to know Conley well. His words and the way he treated Jamie told as much about him as getting directly into his thoughts would have. It was interesting to see Jamie's reactions to him as well. Jamie tells readers right off the bat that she and her first husband had the kind of love that others wish they had, a real and true connection. She seems so unsure of herself at first, doubting that she would ever be lucky enough to find love like that again. I enjoyed watching her explore the possibility that she could find love a second time. 

The overall plot of the story mainly focused around the romance. There was no great, overriding conflict between the two of them. It focused on Jamie learning to accept the idea of finding love again. It was a very clean, heartfelt story that I enjoyed reading. My only complaints about the book overall was that it was a little slow in the beginning and the tone of the writing felt more like a YA novel than one written for adults. Even with these issues, I still enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to those looking for a light, sweet romance. 

The Healing Heart is available now from:  

You can connect with Jennifer Howard online at:
Website Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pintrest Google+ * Goodreads

You can also enter to win an ebook copy of The Healing Heart below!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Interview: Jennifer Howard

Today I am pleased to welcome Jennifer Howard, author of The Healing Heart, to the blog today to tell us a little more about her new book. 

Book Summary

The Healing Heart is a quirky, fun, funny work of contemporary romantic fiction that follows Jamie Hansen as she tries to move on in life after losing her husband, Paul, to a heart attack. Jamie is prepared to simply live her life and be grateful for what she had while she had it. She doesn't have any expectations for another chance at love, so she is blindsided when she literally runs into handsome real estate broker, Conley Michaels. Join Jamie on her crazy, introspective, exhilarating, maddening, flirty, self-doubting, madcap roller coaster ride toward love! Because, Jamie will find out, when it comes to love, lightning truly can strike twice!

1. What was your inspiration for this book? My dear father inspired The Healing Heart. In March of 2102, Dad passed away; multiple myeloma, a very painful form of cancer, was the cause. I hadn't written anything substantial in years, allowing the fervence of life to take precedence over something that truly completed me. After dad's passing, I snapped out of it. At the risk of sounding cliché, life is just too short to not utilize your gifts and talents to their fullest. June of 2012, I began writing, and I didn't stop. Thus, The Healing Heart was born.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? I feel that my writing is character driven. Plot is extremely important, obviously. But, in my eyes, you reach your readers through your characters. A book can have plot oozing from it, but if your reader cannot relate to, pull for, and simply enjoy its characters, then as an author, you've lost that reader.

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character? My main character is Jamie Hansen. She is a woman everyone should pull for! She is both strong and vulnerable, dealing with the challenges life throws at her with humor and grace, yet showing insecurities that anyone would relate to.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.
The conflict of The Healing Heart centers on Jamie's insecurities.  Life had handed her some pretty big lemons, yet she was content to make lemonade and simply move on. When new opportunities arise for her with regards to love, she wonders if she should reach for new goals, or stay as is.  

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? I hope readers take away the fact that we all deserve love, we should all embrace every opportunity life provides us, and it's perfectly okay to give ourselves up to the notion of happy endings. Life is not always rose-tinted, but our entertainment can be!

6. What song best describes your writing style? Fantastic question! King Creosote's, "I'll Fly By The Seat Of My Pants" could sum up my writing style. Now the title of this song is hilarious, but the lyrics are beautifully poetic, just to let you know. I am very organized and a perfectionist in all other aspects of my life. But with my writing, I surrender and let the writing take over and go where it wishes. In essence, I fly by the seat of my pants.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird? I am definitely a night owl! I am so much more productive later in the evening. I read a quote once, "If the good Lord wanted us to see the sunrise, he should've scheduled it later in the day." I totally agree with that! hahaha

8. Skittle or M&Ms? M&Ms for sure! I am a chocoholic! Although, there is something to be said for sour Skittles...

9. Who are your favorite authors? Oh wow, this is a difficult question! As much as I am a writer, I am absolutely a reader! I appreciate so many authors out there; it is amazing to witness individual talent and creativity. As far as the big guns go, I adore Jules Verne, Aldous Huxley, Edward Bellamy, Michael Crichton, H.G. Wells, C.S. Lewis, Gregory Maguire, J.R.R. Tolkien--this list could go on and on. Now on to an equally important group of authors, my indie community! These indies aren't as well known as the above, but amazingly and equally gifted! These favorites include A.M. Khalifa, R.W. Webb (and his many personas), C.S. Janey, Samuel Morningstar, Gary Henry, Destiny Allison, John Davis, Jon Herrera, Darlene Kuncytes, Thomas Gray, J.L. Forrest--I know I'm forgetting way too many! I have been introduced to a wealth of talent in these people, as well as an awesome support network! I love them all! 

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? Yes! I have so many ideas rumbling around in this head of mine, but the big one now is my current work in progress, The Steps to Karma. I am so excited about this book! It's another contemporary romantic fiction work about a gal, Karma Clark, who walks away from her burnt-out life and into a completely new one, in St. John, USVI. I also plan on writing an alternate ending for The Healing Heart as a short story--sort of a companion piece. My readers can choose their favorite ending! Finally, after these, I'm getting involved in a secret collaboration, which I CANNOT WAIT to dig into! :)

Meet Jennifer Howard

Jennifer Howard is from Peterstown, West Virginia and she LOVES books! She reads them, falls asleep with them on her chest--she would probably eat them if they provided any type of nutritional value! She has always had a passion for writing, but only recently took the plunge of jumping into the self-publishing world, cannonball style! As much as she enjoys all things literary, she especially loves connecting with others and making new friends. She can't wait to hear YOUR story!

The Healing Heart is available now from:  

You can connect with Jennifer Howard online at:
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Monday, July 8, 2013

In the Winds of Danger Tour: Interview and Review

As a part of the In the Winds of Danger Blog Tour, I am excited to welcome Linda Ulleseit to the blog for an interview and review of her new book. 

But first...About the book!

Nineteen year old Nia is shocked when she is secretly offered the leadership of Third Barn. This new barn full of flying horses will need someone confident, experienced, and innovative, so why are both warring factions pursuing an untried girl? Suspicious that both sides want a puppet instead of a leader, Nia races to discover their secrets before making the biggest decision of her life.

Some of those secrets are unknowingly buried in the disconnected memories of a young groom named Owain. Terror and guilt haunt Owain’s dreams – and then a face from his nightmare arrives in High Meadow. Owain looks for answers in his past and uncovers a dangerous plot that could doom High Meadow's future. How can he foil the plot and save his people as well as the winged horses?

Now, let's here more about Linda's new book. 

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
In the Winds of Danger is a sequel to my first flying horse book, On a Wing and a Dare. I wanted to continue telling the story of High Meadow's flying horses, but do it with different characters. Owain, a minor character in the first book, becomes the main character in the second. I know readers don't want to lose track of Emma and Davyd from the first book, so they are prominent supporting characters in the new book.

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
Definitely character driven. I am moved to tell the story of how the characters change when life throws them curves. I enjoy the challenge of creating characters that react differently than I would. If I couldn't do that, it would be boring since all my characters would be the same. 

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
In the Winds of Danger feature two main characters. Nia is a skilled young rider of a winged mare. She has very definite ideas about how things should be run, and doesn't hesitate to tell her barn leader what she thinks. Owain is the other main character. He is a groom to Emma's winged horse, and he's good at what he does. His past haunts him, though, with nightmares of an event that frightens him but he doesn't remember.

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 
Nia is shocked when two different factions secretly approach her to lead a new barn. She's interested, but must discover their ulterior motives--she's sure there are some--before she makes a decision that affects her future so dramatically. When a new groom comes to High Meadow, Owain's nightmares become more vivid. His mind has repressed memories of his childhood that involves the death of his sister. If he is going to work with the new groom, who clearly remembers the event, Owain is going to have to discover what happened and deal with the consequences.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 
First, I want them to fall in love with the notion of a town that exists to support flying horses, and the Aerial Games. I also want them to be interested in my characters and want to come back and visit them in additional books.

6. What song best describes your writing style?
I'll skipped this one because I am SO not musical. I don't write with music at all. I only listen to music when I drive. It makes my husband and son nuts.
7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early bird! I get up an hour and a half before I need to every morning so I can have that fresh morning time to write.

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
Oh, I love both. Do I have to choose? No peanut M&Ms…

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Anne McCaffrey's dragonrider series heavily inspired me, and I love Diana Gabaldon.

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 

I'm currently working on a novella that is a prequel to On a Wing and a Dare. I intend to offer it as a free ebook designed to entice readers into my world. It will follow Emma's parents, Hoel and Neste, during their courtship.

In the Winds of Danger is available now from:

And now...the review!

In the Winds of Danger is the beautiful follow up novel to Linda Ulleseit's "On a Wing and a Dare." The same characters that captured readers' hearts in the first book are now dealing with the turmoil that accompanies trying to rebuild a town and community, but readers will also meet a new group of characters in this book. The characters are deep and rich, and readers won't be able to help caring about them. 

Owain especially has a compelling backstory and a mystery that will keep readers turning pages. I found myself quite drawn in by Owain's story. The mytsery surrounding Owain's past is somethings that will immediately intrigue readers. I connected with Owain as he searched to discover what his nightmares really mean. Even once he learns the truth, his story was still compelling and I enjoyed following him. 

Nia is another new character that readers will find it hard not to root for, even if they want Emma and Davyd to win. I was, of course, still interested in David and Emma as characters, but I felt like Nia deserved recognition for her abilities and skills, so it was at times difficult to determine which group I wanted to succeed. Ulleseit did a good job of combining these characters to create tension.

This book doesn't have the same level of danger as the first book did with the horses being threatened by a strange illness, but the struggles of the characters and the plotting to gain power at the expense of the horses is an entertaining new aspect. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

More about Linda

Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California. She currently lives in the Evergreen area of San Jose with her husband. They have two adult sons and two yellow Labrador puppies. She enjoys cooking, cross-stitching, reading, and spending time with her family.

Linda is a sixth grade teacher at James Franklin Smith Elementary School, where her students were some of the early reviewers of her books. She loves teaching writing and has published several anthologies of student work. Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays. Someday Linda hopes to see books written by former students alongside hers in bookstores.

As a child, Linda always loved to write. She took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007. At that time, she gave the first draft of a flying horse book to a teacher colleague to read.

ON A WING AND A DARE began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2009. It was revised with the help of reviewers on over the next two years. For NaNo 2011, Linda drafted the sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER.

You can connect with Linda online at:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: Waltzing with the Wallflower

Twin brothers, Ambrose and Anthony, seem to be dedicated bachelor's, turning every Season into a game for their amusement. Bored to tears with the current batch of polite society, a bet is struck. Turn this year's wallflower, a young woman who's family name has been drug through the mud, into the most sought after woman in town. 

I have never been much for short stories, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. At only 75 pages, I wondered whether it could really draw me in. I have to say that this was a lovely book. I did not expect to connect with the characters so quickly and truly care about what happened to them in so few pages. 

The brothers, Ambrose and Anthony, are quite entertaining. The authors captured the air of two privileged and bored young men very well. I enjoyed both of the brothers, but each one was unique from the other. Ambrose slowly beginning to fall for the wallflower they made the bet around, Cordelia, yet finding himself unable to admit her feelings was very well done. The authors planned the emotional ups and down nicely. 

Cordelia herself was delightful as well. She is trying so very hard at the beginning of the book to avoid notice and just survive the Season unscathed. Her surprise at being sought out by the twins and then her trying to figure out how to deal with all the attention that produces was quite charming. 

The romance between Ambrose and Cordelia was very sweet. There is plenty of tension and drama, especially when Cordelia's honor is called into question. I enjoyed watching each of the characters change and grow over such a short time. This is a very clean book, one I would be happy to pass on to my nieces. 

Waltzing with the Wallflower is available now from Amazon

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Arcadia's Gift

Always relegated to the shadow of her twin sister Loni, Arcadia (Cady) seems to have lost her way when she is suddenly faced with living the rest of her life without her sister. Her family was already on the verge of falling apart before the accident, and it is falling to pieces around her now. Cady's struggle to muddle through the pain and loneliness becomes even more difficult when strange new abilities begin manifesting themselves. 

Even though Cady and Loni at first may appear as stereotypical twins - one outgoing and popular and the other more quite in reserved - readers will quickly discover that neither sister was that easy to read, and Cady most of all has more depth than many of her family or friends realize. Many of the characters, at first glance, appear somewhat casual, but Ryan does a good job of introducing them slowly, giving readers a deeper look into the characters bit by bit. Cady's brother is one that even Cady doesn't see clearly at first. It takes a very intuitive friend to clue her in before she begins to realize that she isn't the only one struggling and carrying the pain of losing her sister. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and I am confident they will continue to deepen and expand throughout this series. 

There is two distinct aspects of this story, both of which will draw readers in. On one side is a young woman struggling with grief and a broken family. The dramatic elements surrounding the troubled home life was very well developed. The grief the family felt and the individual ways they dealt with it felt very real and will connect with readers. Another layer is added when Cady begins developing feelings for a new friend. The guilt she feels over beginning to move on with her life and being happy will tug at readers' hearts. But moving on isn't easy, especially not when her sister's boyfriend steps into her life with a whole mess of conflicting emotions, some of which directly affect Cady. 

The other aspect was the supernatural experiences Cady has, first on the night of the accident when she physically and emotionally shares the experience with her sister, and later as unexplained occurrences throw her world into even more chaos. 

Cady's effort to understand and control these strange abilities leads her to a new neighbor who is eager to help even though Cady is leery of getting involved. One thing I really appreciated in this book was that Cady reacted to her new abilities like a regular person would. There was more fear than excitement, a wary approach to even attempting to use it. She is scared and doesn't believe it at first. I always have a hard time with characters who instantly accept a strange new experience or ability as if it suddenly makes sense. Throughout the whole book Ryan worked hard to maintain a level of realism that will draw readers in and keep them connected to the characters through every page. I think this was a great start to the series and I look forward to continuing to read Ryan's work. 

Arcadia's Gift is available now from Amazon

Meet the Author

Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and sassy kitty.

You can connect with Jesi online at AmazonGoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter

You can also enter to win a copy of Arcadia's Gift below!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interview: Jesi Lea Ryan

Today I am welcoming YA author, Jesi Lea Ryan to the blog to tell us a little more about her new book, Arcadia's Gift. 

1. What was your inspiration for this book? 
I’ve always been fascinated by psychics and psychic phenomenon. So many paranormal novels focus on mythical creatures like vampires, werewolves and faeries that aren’t real. But psychics...well, just maybe.  The human mind is an incredible thing. So, I was sitting in an insurance class one day, doodling in my notebook, and before I knew it, I’d outlined a three book plot revolving around a psychic empath. And so Arcadia was born. 

2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven? 
That’s a hard question. Plot and character are so intertwined. I’d have to say that I focus more on character. That’s where I always start.  Characters pop into my mind fully formed, while my plots are subject to change. I never stick to outlines no matter how good my intentions might be. 
Arcadia’s Gift is more character focused because it is introducing the reader to the characters and their world. The second book, Arcadia’s Curse, which is in the editing stage right now, is much more plot heavy. 

3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
One day, Arcadia (Cady) Day is a sixteen year old high school student who runs track, is slightly introverted and very compassionate. Then, a horrific accident occurs and completely turns her world on end. Her family is ripped apart and her emotions are all over the map. She wants to remain a normal teenager, but her circumstances make it impossible. 

4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book. 

Arcadia’s Gift is part paranormal romance and part family drama. This is a family that was breaking down before the accident, and then after it just unravels. Cady has always been a compassionate person, but the accident amplifies those feelings a thousand fold. At its heart this is a coming of age story.

5. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

Hey, I would just be happy if people read my book and are entertained for a while. If I’m really lucky, they might learn a little tidbit of trivia to take away with them. Maybe they will see there is more to Iowa than corn and pig farms. 

6. What song best describes your writing style?
There isn’t one song really. Music plays a huge part in my writing process. I use it to set moods when I write, very important when writing about a psychic empath. At the end of the book, I included a song list of music that inspired me while writing. This is also music I would expect to be on Cady’s iPod. It’s mostly indie and alternative stuff. I’m writing Arcadia’s Curse right now, which is a much darker story, so that book playlist reflects that.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Oh, I am such a Night Owl. I’ve suffered from insomnia my whole life. If I didn’t have a day job to get up to in the morning, I could quickly convert to nocturnal. 

8. Skittle or M&Ms?
Rainbows of fruit flavors are cool and all, and M&Ms are like tiny drops of heaven, but Reece’s Pieces are the food of the gods. 

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Well, I read over 250 novels a year, so I have many favorite authors. Richelle Mead is someone who I pre-order all of her books so I can read them as fast as possible when they release. She has this way of making me fall in love with her characters. So much so that she is constantly breaking my heart and stitching it back together. Dang, that sounds like some sort of bad relationship that I keep running back to.  :)
Some of my other favorite authors are John Green, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, Tennessee Williams, Julie Kagawa, Tammara Webber, T.C. Boyle, Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Armentrout, Tiffany Reisz, Oscar Wilde, etc. I read a wide variety of things. 

10. Can you tell us about any future projects? 
Well, as I mentioned, I’m just finishing up Arcadia’s Curse. I’m also working on producing the audio book for Arcadia’s Gift, which is a fascinating process that I’m really excited about.  I also have a contemporary new adult romance that I’ve been working on for awhile that I’d like to finish. It will be a nice break from empaths for a while. But don’t worry, the third Arcadia book will be along eventually.

Arcadia's Gift is available now from Amazon

Meet the Author

Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and sassy kitty.

You can connect with Jesi online at Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter

You can also enter to win a copy of Arcadia's Gift below!