Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Promo - A Solitary Romance, By VIolet Sparks

A Solitary Romance
Author: Violet Sparks
Genre: Sweet Romance/Inspirational Romance

Synopsis of Book

Katrina Crimshaw leads a double life as an auditor by day and jewelry blogger at night. When she meets the man of her dreams, again, her life becomes even more complicated. Juggling success under a pen name with her day job and continued encounters with Robert, a man from her past that she adored from afar, proves complicated for the shy bean counter. When an attractive museum director enters her life, all bets are off as the day dreaming Katrina tries to make sense of her predicament.

When passion flares in this second chance romance, will she let love slip through her fingers again? A Solitary Romance is a clean romance that will set readers’ pulses racing and book one of the Only Love Series.

Interview with Violet: 
Do you have a specific writing style?
I generally write in the third person limited or omniscient style.  I have to say, I begin by the seat of my pants and allow my characters full reign.  About one-third to half-way through the book, I'll sit down and outline the rest of the novel to keep things on track.  At this point, I've got a good idea where all the personalities will end up.

How did you come up with the title?

The main character, Katrina Crimshaw, is a jewelry aficionado.  She runs into a man from her past, someone she found incredibly attractive but was too shy to pursue.  I combined the idea of a solitaire ring, representing her love of jewels, with the loneliness that sometimes accompanies someone who is fearful or shy, and came up with A Solitary Romance.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible has had the biggest impact on my life.  The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in the 1600s, is an amazing book that I can read over and over.  Coming Out of the Ice by Victor Herman also affected me—it's a wonderful tribute to the human spirit.  I can't leave out the books by Dickens, Austen, and the Brontë sisters, which I read in my youth.  Their works definitely lent an idealism to my mindset (which does not seem to belong to this century!), and shaped my ideas of what romance and love should be. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is to keep on writing!  Find a good editor you enjoy working with and don't rush your writing process.  Read and write as much as possible and do not allow others to discourage you. 

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I've always loved how Charles Dickens could weave a story together with unforgettable characters and intersecting plots.  I appreciate how he inserted humor in his books as well.  I admire the way William Faulkner packed a punch and how the Brontës created amazing atmospheres, including unexpected twists in their stories.  The contemporary author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is a master of characters, atmosphere, and storylines.   

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

A Solitary Romance is a sweet, or clean and wholesome, romance.  It is book one of the Only Love Series, which currently consists of three books.  I have also written mysteries under a pen name.

Do you ever experience writer's block?
I haven't yet had a serious writer's block.  With every book, I do come to a place where I just have to grind out the story.  I don't particularly enjoy this part of my writing process, but I've yet to escape this phase.  Luckily, it only lasts for a chapter or two, and then I'm over the hump.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?
I would not say that I've hated any of my work.  Anything can be polished, rewritten, examined with a fresh eye, or edited for improvement.  I do go through some fear each time I start a new book.  Will I be able to come up with anything funny?  Can I do the characters justice?  Will unnecessary details hinder the story?  In other words, how can I possibly pull this off?

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
I cannot pick a favorite a genre.  All of my books have at least a hint of romance, so maybe that's my top choice.  The Only Love Series is straight-up romance, although the third book, A Calculated Romance, has a touch of suspense and mystery.  I like to incorporate a twist or even several unexpected events in my novels, so that's a theme to look for.

Where did your love of writing come from?
I have always loved storytelling.  My mother used to catch me as a toddler making up stories for my own entertainment.  She fostered my love of writing by introducing me to classic literature in grade school, and I won writing awards as a teen.  Then, life and career got in the way.  I always hoped to return to writing, and the encouragement of a friend got the ball rolling for me. 

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of penning A Solitary Romance was just taking the plunge.  I experienced a personal loss around the time that the idea started to sprout.  I think this book provided a much needed distraction during those first, early stages of grief.  With its overall light tone, the writing allowed me a welcome reprieve from reality.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A Solitary Romance is ever so slightly autobiographical.  I enjoyed reliving my early career days and the fun I had with one of my girl pals.  Also, because everything in the book felt familiar, it required little research.  I appreciated how my writing could flow without stopping to investigate other subjects.  Because I love the arts, I savored drawing on my experiences at a major auction house.  There's a scene in the book where a character helps her friend squeeze into a gown in a dressing room by very creative means.  This actually happened, and my friend managed to fit me in that tight, red dress by the same method!  Just thinking about that little episode brings a smile to my face!

Do you write every single day?
I find I produce my best work when I am writing every day.  I aim to write six days a week, although I've slipped off a little this summer since my children are out of school.

Which writers inspire you?
So many authors inspire me.  At the top of the list are Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Irène Némirovsky for her spectacular, unfinished, Suite Française.  I went through a stage where I only read history or biographies, and I greatly admire the work of David McCullough.  His books read like novels and bring the people of the past alive.  I always appreciate any writer who can surprise me with a plot twist or unexpected outcome.

What are you working on at the minute?I am beginning the research for a novel set in the medieval period.

What is your latest book about?
My latest book is third in the Only Love Series, A Calculated Romance.  This is the story of Katrina's assistant, a young rock hound named Landi, and what happens when her path crosses with that of James Crimshaw.  James is featured in the first three books of the series.  He is Kate's brother and a naval intelligence officer.  Both he and Landi have murky pasts and a strong attraction to each other.

Buy It here: Amazon
Goodreads: Check it out here
Author's Website: Click Here

About the Author: 
Violet Sparks pulls from her career in corporate America, her time at a major auction house, and her love of all things girly when penning her romance novels. She won writing contests as a teen and always dreamed of becoming an author. A fan of the arts, Violet created one-of-a-kind gift items, sold in shops throughout Southern California, before raising a family. She met and married the man of her dreams and they now have two young children. Violet has a zeal for vintage costume jewelry, literature, museums, and travel. She writes a blog about her other passions under a pen name. 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Song of Sovereign (Songs of Everealm #1)
by J.D. Wright
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Princess Sarita has everything. Loving parents, a castle fit for royalty, fine clothes, loyal friends, and an exciting job as a scholar of magic. At eighteen years of age, one might think that she would be content with her position. But one thing has always been missing from her life... full magic, itself.

When a strange old woman gave Sarita a secret spellbook as a child, her entire life was changed. The book contains spells, songs, and stories. But most of all, it provides a path to gaining full magic, the only thing that Sarita still needs to feel complete. And now, she has finally prepared to leave her home in search of the Stones of the Divine, the final ingredient she needs to gain magic.

Gabrielle has been known as the sister of a knight and best friend of the princess for as long as she can remember. Now an experienced healer's assistant, she is desperate to find her place and purpose in Junacave. An adventurous mission to help Sarita locate a mystical stone may be just the change in her life that she is looking for.

King Cassidy is still alone, but not for a lack of trying. His attempts to convince the Princess of Junacave to marry him over the past ten years have been for naught. And being twenty years old, with no heir, he is running out of time. If he can't win the heart of the princess, he may have to face a future without the love of his life.

Adventure, romance, and magic await as we travel through Everealm with royalty, wizards, fairies, and more, in the fantasy-romance Songs of Everealm, a five book series by J.D. Wright, author of the Everealm Series.

Note: Adult Content

Songs of Everealm Series is the second series set in the fantasy-filled Everealm. It begins 8 years after the conclusion of the first series, the Everealm Series. 


I love fantasy novels that have a strong, independent female as your lead character.  I know that in some minds they want the female characters to be princesses who need to be save, but in this book Sarita has a stubborn streak that keeps her from being that kind of princess.  She is strong, and I loved how she interacted with others.  She knows what she wants.

Cassidy is a strong king, but I like that he follows his heart and that leads him on an adventure with Sarita.  He calls her his princess but she likes to remind him that she is not his.  He just can't let it go and I love that he is so dead set on her.  He could have let go a long time ago and yet we see him following her, following his heart.

The two of them together, with the other characters that seem to all stick together, create this magical world I would love to be a part of.  Fairies, mages, humans, and I am sure so much more.  They come into contact with magic, with beautiful places and get to do this all together.  I think this book is a great start to a series that is sure to keep us all wanting more.  I could not put this book down once I started reading it.

If you are a fantasy lover, I would recommend this book for you!

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Song of Sparrows (Songs of Everealm #2)
by J.D. Wright
Genre; Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

The journey across Everealm to find the magical stones has not come without its challenges. After being plagued by unwanted guests, disagreements, and accidents, Princess Sarita is beginning to wonder if her dream of gaining magic is a fantasy that can't come true.

Along the way, new friends and rekindled sparks between old flames have caused quite a stir within the group. As a new wizard joins the effort and gives the princess a reason to continue, the quest for the next stone ensues...

As the sun rises over the ridge, our story continues into the Song of Sparrows!

Adult content. Intended for mature audiences. 

So we get to start where the last book left off.  Sarita is about to be inside Cassidy's castle.  She doesn't want to run into him and yet she ends up having to deal with him.  I love how she is struggling with her feelings while still trying to complete the quest she is on.  She knows that she has feelings for him but she has a plan, like Calista.

We get to see into the characters more in this book.  We have the emotional struggles that Gabby and Oliver are going through.  We have Asher and Emery's fusion that Asher is fighting.  We have Calista and her feelings toward magic and everything her mother taught her.  She struggles with what she was told and what she is seeing while out on the quest.

This book does not fail to draw you in like the last one did.  I can't wait to see what the next book brings us and what Sarita, Cassidy and the rest have to face.  We have new faces joining them on the quest for the stones.  We have some that are struggling but refuse to just turn and walk away.  This book brings us more of what the first book did.

Good look in putting it down!  I couldn't!

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About the Author

Writing has always been a hobby of mine, beginning as a young child. It was a way to cope with losing my father at seven years of age. I started with poetry and was featured several times on the amazing poetry blog, Autumn Leaves, by Sondra Ball. My love for poetry soon led to writing songs in middle school and beyond, which I still do occasionally. Music has always been an important part of my existence, so writing songs came naturally to me. In high school, I started my own novel, however, life got in the way and I never finished it.

Fast forward many years later and I find myself married with three children, absorbed in my busy life with commitments to my family, work, school, church, and charities, among other things. One day I came across my old binder, with notes from my first novel, and it was with those notes that I conjured up the elusive Everealm.

I write to please readers such as myself, who have a love for fantasy and romance, but like a little danger and sex in their reading. I wrote the book with a mature audience in mind, who can appreciate a hearty imaginary world with magic and the unknown, but want more than fluffy love stories with wizards in them. They want the romance, magic, and danger, all wrapped into one.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review - Caught in the Ripples, By S. McPherson

Caught in the Ripples (The Water Rushes #2)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 31st 2016


When the Exlathars escaped the battle that night, their silhouetted figures merged with the sky, their wings swatted at stars and the Coltis people were too busy celebrating their victory to realise that there wasn’t one.

Now the Exlathars are back. And they bring with them remnants of everybody’s past.

Back in England, Dezaray discovers just how deep Coldivor’s connection to Earth really goes. But she cannot change their past and she cannot see how to alter their future. So it seems the ripples that shake the surface are only a glimpse of what’s brewing beneath.

'Caught in the Ripples' delves deeper into the Water Rushes saga, answers questions the first book raised and plunges you into an ocean of intrigue and magic.

They thought the Elenfar was the end…turns out it was only the beginning.


This was a great second book for the series.  I did read the first book as well, that review will follow at a later date.  The series has a great underlying story.  The two realms, with the idea of more, is a great story line and so many things can be done with either realm.  The characters interact well with each other in either realm.

I can say that there are times when I felt the story moved too quickly and I had to go back and reread things to fully get what was happening. I think that with some changes this could flow better.  The ideas are great and the plot flows pretty well, but the author rushed some things too much.

Dezaray is a great main character.  She is flawed and really, because of what I do for a living, I could see her better in my head.  She is an abused child, and yes she is a child.  She has had to face so much, but I think that with the proper work she can become one of those characters that everyone can relate to in books.

Over all, I think this book, and really this series, has a great start to it but there is more that needs to be done.  I think that with some time and the right edits and rewrites the books could be even better!!


 At Water’s Edge Buy Links:

About the Author:

S. McPherson is a young British expat living in Dubai and working as a kindergarten teacher. When she is not at work immersed in a world of imagination and fantasy created by the children, she is immersed in her own worlds of imagination and fantasy at home, dreaming up tales and writing them down. 'At Water’s Edge' is S. McPherson’s debut novel and the first in the romantic, fantasy series, 'The Water Rushes'.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review - Rising Tides, by Katy Haye

Rising Tides
by Katy Haye
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: June 20th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

The truth won’t stay submerged forever.

City is the last civilised place left on a drowned Earth, a floating town built from metal and plastic from the Time Before. It’s the only home doctor's daughter Libby Marchmont has ever known or wanted – until her father helps the wrong patient and she's forced to flee.

Cosimo came to City for one reason. Then he should have vanished back to his people on the Wastes. But what about his promise to Libby’s father?

Stranded in the middle of the sea, can the two enemies learn to trust each other? And can they survive long enough to uncover the truth: City isn’t the safe haven Libby always believed it to be …


Alright so let me start by saying I loved the idea of this book. I like that it's set in the future and how they are sending people down into the deep waters to get things that we are taking for granted today. Canned food is a hot item in this world. How much do we think about what is in our cabinets right now? Would you miss some of the things you eat daily?

Libby is a great character and I loved seeing her develop in the book. She starts with the mindset that her society taught her, how she looked down on others who weren't apart of her world she knew and loved. She changes as the book goes and by the end she is a grown, different woman. I love that we get to see those changes in her and really not in a massive time line. It was not rushed though.

I think the author could have rushed this one but she didn't. The time line of this book is good and I think the way she laid it out for us was perfect. We get some time, but not a lot. We get to see how sometimes things take on a life of their own. The changes in the world around us sometimes happens before we can even really catch up. That is what is happening in this book. Some just refuse to see the changes.

I highly recommend this book to you all!



When we’d removed the man’s foot, back at home, Pa had told me stories of battlefield surgeons who could remove a limb in three minutes. He had been slower than that; I was slower still. The human hand is an intricate organ, beautiful in its composition and complexity. A great many blood vessels are needed for its healthy function, and each damaged one had to be tied off.

Paul, thankfully, remained unconscious. His aunt spoke occasionally. Cosimo answered without involving me. I was too busy to talk.

Finally, the damaged material was all removed and I began the reverse process of sewing skin back over the remaining flesh to seal the wound. I had been able to save his thumb and the hand to the knuckle. My father, I hoped, would have been proud.

At last, I tied off the final bandage and straightened, assailed by stiffness and fatigue that had crept up on me as I worked. I glanced at the window and judged that several hours had passed. I stepped back and wiped my brow, looking at Paul rather than just his hand for the first time since I’d begun. His face was shiny with sweat, but his breathing was deep. When I touched my fingers to his pulse, it was regular.

Cosimo cleared his throat. He stared at Paul’s bandaged hand. “That was the most amazing thing Ah think Ah’ve ever seen.”

My head jerked up. I expected a mocking twist to his words, perhaps a repetition of that irritating nickname, but he seemed sincere.

“Did you think I couldn’t do it?” I chided, forgetting I’d doubted myself before I’d started.

“Of course not.” His colour rose, giving a lie to his words. His voice grew snappy, the tone more familiar, when he added, “Ah knew there had to be a point to you.”

“And you weren’t even sick,” I pointed out. His blush deepened. “You’ll make a decent assistant yet.” 

About the Author
Katy Haye spends most of her time in imaginary worlds - her own or someone else's. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

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Your survival kit is as follows:
1. An Amazon voucher for £10/$15US/$20CAN, AUS, NZ. Load up your Kindle with books to read, while shops remain.
2. A solar charger so when the national grid fails you can still read your books.
3. A mirror. When you are stranded in the open sea you can signal for help by reflecting the sun's light. Alternatively, if you have no wish to be rescued because you still have reading to do, flip the mirror over to depict the slogan, "Go away I'm reading."
4. Ribbon bookmark. If all your books have been washed away by the rising seas, this can be rolled up and packed into the neck of a cut-open bottle and will double-up as a water filter. Note: this will not desalinate salt water, sorry.
5. A bag to put the last of your belongings into. DO NOT LEAVE THIS BEHIND.

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