Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Denise Alicea's "Consoling Angel"

Consoling Angel
YA Short Story
Time Travel/Romance
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 105 KB
Publisher: DCL Publications, LLC (November 21, 2011)
ASIN: B006BIE6NM

Synopsis:

Mira did not know what she had in store the day she fell asleep while wanting to escape her current situation. Overcoming the death of someone close and burying herself in school and an internship has kept her somewhat awake and alive.

An admiration for the actor James Dean was all that kept the memory of her father alive. If she couldn’t be with her father, she could at least remember what they shared. She always wanted to meet James Dean.

Be careful what you wish for. It may just come true.

Saph's Review:

"Consoling Angel" is a Young Adult/Time Travel romance.  Mira is a New York teenager still trying to deal with the death of her father from cancer.  The two of them shared a special bond that involved watching James Dean movies together.  One afternoon Mira comes home from school and falls asleep only to reawaken in 1952.  Many of the people she knows are in this dream in various roles, including her best friend, Audrey.  During an excursion into the city, Mira meets the boy of her dreams...James....James Dean.  The short romance Mira experiences with James in this sequence is enough to take your breath away...so real...so genuine.  When Mira reawakens, she's back in her own time period and when she goes to school the next day she's in for a surprise.  There is a new person in school who may just help change her life.

This novella is short and sweet.  It didn't feel rushed or incomplete.  You can read it and, while you long for another book about Mira's future, you don't feel shortchanged in anyway.  Very nice!

Rating:


Author Information:

Born in Manhattan, New York and raised in Connecticut, she found that she was more interested in what went on in the past, than in the future. Denise always enjoys reading a variety of book genres such as ancient history, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and romance. She has a great respect for the arts, her first love being drawing and painting. Writing is a medium that would inspire her to share the ongoing stories in her head.

Author website: www.denisealicea.com

Twitter: @denisealicea

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorDeniseAlicea

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Neil Hanson's "Peace At The Edge Of Uncertainty"


Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: High Prairie Press; First Paperback edition (May 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982639104
ISBN-13: 978-0982639108
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
Review Copy Courtesy Of:  A Giveaway.  Along with it came a special request to review this on my blog.
(No money changed hands.  Review is my 100% honest opinion.)

Synopsis From Back Cover:

In a poetically elegant and highly accessible story, Neil Hanson provides a moving account of a man who journeys to the edge of death with his father, discovering a mystical surprise there.  Explore the strength of "uncertainty" as a gift through which the magic of Wisdom and Truth might enter our life.

Those blessed with any doubt regarding spiritual dimensions of life will be richly rewarded with a story that will nurture the search for Truth that is often hidden behind the veil of certainty.  Those who have not yet pushed aside that veil may find in this story a window through which to grasp the blessings of uncertainty.

Saph's Review:

Peace At The Edge Of Uncertainty is a very in-depth, personal look into the last moments of the life of Neil Hanson's father.  The novel is written by Neil as a letter to his father, who passes some 15 years prior.  It explores feelings, thoughts, and forgiveness throughout.  We see pieces of Neil's life that could be considered mystical by believers of such things.  He also relays religious beliefs and practices but doesn't use any particular name for the Higher Being; he uses G-d and uses various pronouns-He, She, It-to emphasize his belief that, while we all may believe in someone Higher, there is much that isn't known about this entity.

There were parts of this novel that were very touching, emotional, and hard to comprehend.  I cannot imagine having to make the decision to remove all life support mechanisms on a loved one.  Many people do it every day, month, year, even minute but it's not something that is easily forgotten or a choice that's easily made. Forgiveness was an underlying theme throughout the book and it makes you stop and think about your own life, and relationship you have your family and friends.

Some quotes from the book I though you would enjoy:

"I had been trained well to believe in logic, not in magic." pg. 20

"I believe that many people-perhaps most people-are desperately seeking a path toward a spiritual context." pg. 23

"On the one hand we held onto hope that something miraculous might happen, and you would recover.  That hand also held in it a great deal of self-righteousness.  Wouldn't it be immoral of me to bring about your death by withholding food from you -- starving you to death?"  pg. 47

"On the other hand, I understood clearly that you would not want an existence of captivity within some sort of highly incapacitated or vegatative state.  This hand also held within it a portion of self-righteousness.  I would be fulfilling what I felt quite sure to be your desire given such a situation, and wouldn't it be immoral of me to prolong your physical life and deprive you of your ability to have your wishes followed in the final important matters?" pg. 47-48

In the Spring of 2011 I took an 8-week college class entitled "Death and Dying: A Religious Experience."  Many things coincided with thoughts and feelings the author had such as the quotes I listed above from pgs. 47-48.  There are so many "death" customs all based on tradition, religion, science, and situation.  Some cling to G-d, or the entity believed in, to help endure the pain and suffering and eventual healing the comes with the death of a loved one.  Others walk away outwardly unscathed but an emotional wreck inside.  Some cling to family members or rationalize death with science.  Everyone deals with loss in a different way. It is a courageous thing to bare your soul, talk about death, mourn, speak about things that may seem taboo (mystical happenings, miracles, etc.), and show your humanity on the pages of a novel.  

Rating:




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Guest Post & Giveaway: Elise Marion's "The Second Son" (Kings of Cardenas, Book 2)

Title: The Second Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 2)
Author: Elise Marion
Publisher: Self
Length: 105,000 words
Sub-Genres: Historical, Mystery/Thriller
Tour Schedule:  http://cblspromotions.blogspot.com/2012/01/vbt-kings-of-cardenas-books-one-and-two.html
 
Today I welcome Elise Marion to the blog and she will be talking about Marriage!!

Welcome Elise!!

Marriage Problems

Most people grow up thinking that marriage brings an instant happily ever after. We watch Cinderella slip on a shoe that fits. We see Snow White ride off into the sunset with her prince after a kiss. We see Princess Jasmine fall head over heels for a street rat and make him a prince.

It’s sort of programmed in, when you think about it, this belief that walking down the aisle will make the rest of our lives picture perfect.

Nothing hit me harder after my wedding than the reality that marriage is hard work. My husband and I barely made it through our first year. The fact that we went into our marriage with a newborn child and no money added fuel to the fire. His PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) fits after coming home from Iraq, and my inability to handle them only made things worse.

Sometime after that first year, we learned how to live with each other. I never thought we could be more in love than the day he asked me to marry him, but I was wrong. I think sharing our lives and learning to deal with each other’s faults has only made us stronger. I think I love him more now than I did then.

While writing ‘The Second Son’, I was happy to take on the challenge of writing about a couple finding love after marriage. So many romance novels have that boy meets girl, they fall in love and get married formula. It’s a good thing, a beautiful thing really, but not all love stories start this way. My hero and heroine, Serge and Isabelle, marry for convenience. Love is a possibility, but as always obstacles arise, and the two struggle to get out of their own way and learn to love each other.

It was quite a journey, for both me and my characters. I think that this story is a true test of what love can endure. It outlasts war, separation, anger, grief, sadness, and pain. It’s when love is put to its hardest and truest test that we see it really flourish and thrive. It’s when love is held to the fire that we notice its strength and staying power. It’s when two people pick each other up and soldier on that love becomes more than just
a flutter in the chest or a rushing of blood in the veins. It is in this moment that love reaches its full potential.

BLURB:

Princess Isabelle has spent her entire life bending to the will of those who have planned her life out for her. Sent into hiding when she was just an infant to protect her from the rebellion in her own homeland, Barony, she was betrothed to Prince Lionus from the neighboring province Cardenas when she was just an infant. Despite the forced engagement, Isabelle has loved Lionus all of her life. When a devious plot against the royal family results in her husband’s death, Isabelle is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. Only one year after his brutal murder, she has no choice but to choose a new husband and return to her homeland to take her place as queen and repair the war-torn land.

Prince Serge has secretly loved Princess Isabelle his entire life. The fact that she was promised to his brother has brought him no end of pain and suffering. The second born son of the king, he has resigned himself to a life of living in his brother’s shadow. After a deadly plot against the royal family leaves Serge hovering on the edge of death, he awakens from a coma one year later to find that his older brother has died and his youngest brother has taken the throne in his stead. His future is now uncertain, but Serge is determined to find his own way in the world now that he has been given the gift of new life. When it is suggested that Princess Isabelle take him as her husband, Serge begins to hope that all of his most secret dreams will now come true.

Despite unexpected spark of desire between them, Isabelle resists the new path her heart is taking as she clings desperately to Lionus’ memory. Can Isabelle let go of her past and learn to Serge return, or is she destined to a life tied to one man as she still mourns the other?

Once united as king and queen, Isabelle and Serge face the monumental task of rebuilding her broken homeland and rescuing it from the clutches of those seeking to destroy it. Can the pampered princess find the strength to stand beside her husband and fight for her people? Will the second son of a king finally get the chance to prove his worth? Can either of them learn to let go of the ghosts of the past and find love?


Set in a world of kings and queens, palaces and royal courts, warriors and battlefields, book two of Elise Marion’s ‘Kings of Cardenas’ family saga continues with a story of love, passion, and destiny.

EXCERPT:

Isabelle dipped her hands in the cool water of the stream, grateful to be out of the carriage after a long day of riding. They were only a few more days from Barony and she would be ecstatic when they finally reached their destination. For the first three days there had been nothing but dirt, rocks, and the occasional tree to look at through the carriage window. Today, the bordering mountains between Cardenas and Barony finally came into view, signaling the half-way point of their journey. Isabelle splashed some cold water on her face and turned back toward camp which was only a few feet away through a line of trees.

As she made her way up the embankment, she saw Primus coming toward her.

“I trust that the journey was not overly hard on you, my lady,” he said as he approached.

Isabelle smiled. “I found myself a bit restless being stuck inside the carriage all day. Do you think it would be all right for me ride a bit tomorrow?”

Primus frowned. “I do not think that would be a very good idea, Princess. We could encounter danger at any moment and I believe that His Grace will agree with me in saying that it will be much safer for you inside the carriage.”

Isabelle nodded reluctantly. “I suppose you’re right.”

Primus glanced pointedly at Francis, who stood guard a few feet away. “A few moments alone, my lady?”

Isabelle turned to Francis and waved him off. “I’ll be perfectly safe here with Lord Primus, Francis,” she assured him.

Once he was gone, Primus turned back toward her with a smile. “I was hoping we could discuss the subject of husband hunting while we have a few minutes alone. Have you given any more thought to your possible candidates?”

“I can assure you I’ve been considering the matter very carefully. I hope to have made a decision by the time we reach Barony.”

“If I may be so bold I’d like to offer a suggestion.”

“It certainly couldn’t hurt.”

He paused for a moment. “Me,” he said quickly, as if trying to get the words out before he changed his mind. Isabelle felt as if the ground had fallen out from under her. He held a hand up to silence her before she could respond. “Allow me to plead my case before you say no.”

Isabelle forced a smile despite the uneasy feeling at the pit of her stomach. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Primus proposing to her. “I wasn’t going to say no,” she assured him. “Please continue.”

“I hope you know how much I admire you,” he said, grabbing one of her hands in both of his. “I hope that you at least feel the same for me.” She nodded, which only encouraged him to continue. His thumb was drawing slow circles against her hand and he was moving closer with every word. Isabelle held her breath and waited. “I know I could make you happy, my lady, and I know that I could rule Barony well.”

“I have no doubt of that,” she said, finding her voice finally. “You have been doing so these last twenty years.”

“Please do not think that this is an attempt on my behalf to gain the crown. I really feel that we could be good together, Isabelle,” he said, using her given name for the first time. “I care for you very much, and in time I hope you could come to care for me too.”

Before she knew what was happening, he was tugging her hand until she was in his arms and kissing her gently. Rather than fight him, Isabelle allowed him to kiss her and attempted to participate in the kiss as well. If she was going to consider him for marriage, she might as well see whether or not she could even be attracted to him.

The kiss was nice enough. His lips were soft and gentle, and while she had been worried that his mustache and beard would tickle her, they did not. His hands rested respectfully on her shoulders and his mouth opened only slightly. When it was over Isabelle felt fine. Not good, not bad. Just fine. She couldn’t help but compare the experience to another kiss and hated herself for it.

“Primus,” she began, “I am very flattered but I-“

“What the devil is going on here?”

Isabelle turned in Primus’ arms to find Serge standing a few feet away, his hands balled into fists at his sides, his expression murderous. Isabelle stepped away guiltily.

“The princess and I were having a private conversation,” Primus said, grabbing her hand possessively.

“I did not hear very much talking,” Serge countered, stepping closer.

“I hardly see how it is any of your concern.”

Isabelle looked back and forth between the two of them, certain she had been all but forgotten in this little drama.

“As Isabelle’s brother-in-law, I would have to say that it is my concern. I hardly think your advances are appropriate considering that she is to be choosing a husband soon. Have you no care for her reputation?”

“How dare you insinuate that I would sully my lady’s character?”

Isabelle, who at this point was quite annoyed at having been accosted by both these men in the last few days and then having to watch them fight over her like two rutting stags, growled in irritation. “For God’s sake, both of you shut up!”

They both grew silent and Isabelle inwardly smiled in satisfaction.

“Primus, I will most certainly consider all that you have said. I hope you will excuse me for a moment so that I can have a word with my brother-in-law.”

Primus, still glaring at Serge venomously, left reluctantly. Isabelle turned on Serge the moment he was out of sight.

“What on earth is the matter with you?” she practically screamed, poking him in the chest with her index finger.

“Me?” he shouted back. “What about you letting that fool kiss you? How long has that been going on?”

“Why should it matter to you?”

“You know why!”

“I never agreed to marry you!”

“You damn well will, mark my words,” he said, taking a step closer and lowering his voice.

“Your arrogance is astounding. You certainly are sure of yourself.”

“Does he make you tremble the way I do, Isabelle?” he said softly, reaching up to stroke her cheek. “Did you kiss him like you kiss me?” His fingertips traveled down to her throat and he lowered his head until his lips hovered inches from hers. “Do you want him like you want me?”

Isabelle swayed and fought to keep her balance. Her lips were tingling, and she was but a breath away from leaning into him. His scent enveloped her and his towering presence weakened her. Her lips parted. “I don’t want you,” she said hoarsely against his mouth.

His lips brushed her lightly. She trembled. “Liar,” he whispered.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
To be entered to win a ecopy of “The Second Son” please leave your name and email address in the comment section below.

Contest ends Feb. 29, 2012 and winner will be notified via email on March 1, 2012.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a child I always had my nose in a book. From R.L. Stine to Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, I read it all. When I started Junior High and found out that the school library had over 400,000 books, my goal was to read every single one! Of course I didn't achieve that particular goal, but I sure had fun trying!

In high school I developed a talent for writing and discovered romance. Needless to say I combined my love for both and am now a published Indie author. After almost a year of peddling my book from agent to agent with no success I decided that my work was good enough despite the constant rejection. That's when I discovered the world of indie publishing through e-books. I couldn't have made a better decision than stepping out on faith and doing something for myself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.

A litle bit more about me: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 4 years and have two beautiful children, Haley (4) and Gavin (4 months). We are a military family, which means I spend a lot of my time alone with two children. People often ask me how I deal with the military life. I simply say, someone's got to do it, right? I am proud of my husband for serving his country.

When I'm not reading (which is almost always) or writing (I try to every day), I am watching movies (which I love), cooking (which I love even more) or watching someone else cook on TV (love me some Paula Deen). I have been singing my entire life and enjoy being my church's choir every Sunday. My large, extended family is close and means the world to me.



Website: www.elisemarion.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elisemarion86

Twitter: @elise_marion

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/elise_marion Email: elisemarionwrites@yahoo.com

Buy Links:

Amazon:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Promo & Giveaway: Chris Karlsen's "Journey In Time"


Journey in Time
By Chris Karlsen
Presented by Bewitching Book Tours

Blurb:

TRAPPED IN TIME

London attorney, Shakira Constantine, finally agrees to spend the day with her handsome client, Alex Lancaster. While riding in the countryside, the couple finds themselves caught in a time warp and transported back to the 14th Century, and an England preparing for war. Everyone believes Alex is the Baron Guy Guiscard...a baron who died in the upcoming battle.

If they can’t find a way to return to the 21st Century, Alex will have to sail with the army to certain death. Shakira will be left alone to survive in the alien and terrifying medieval world.

Excerpt:

“Alex, what is going on?” she asked in a frenzied whisper.

“Shh.” After they mounted, Alex sidled over, so close their boots touched. “We’re riding into a very perilous situation. I’ll explain everything when we’re alone. Your life, my life,” he stressed, “depends on you being quiet until then.”

Confused it took Shakira a few seconds before she nodded yes.

“Remember what I told you,” he warned and trotted ahead to chat with the knight he called Simon.


About the Author:

Chris Karlsen is a retired police detective who spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. Her father was a history professor and her mother an avid reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.

She has always loved traveling and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East (especially Turkey and the Greek Islands), the Caribbean, and North Africa.

Born and raised in Chicago, Chris has also lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four rescue dogs.

You can contact her via: Books to Go Now, P.O. Box 1283, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chriskarlsenwriter

Giveaway Details:

Click HERE to be taken to the entry form for a chance to win an ecopy set of "Journey In Time" and "Heroes Live Forever" by Chris Karlsen.  Good Luck!!

February 24-26, 2012 FREE Ebook Boxed Set by Scott Nicholson!!!

Photo Credit:  Amazon.com, 2012
From Friday, February 24, 2012 through Sunday, February 26, 2012 this 3 Book Collection titled "Mystery Dance: 3 Novels" will be free on Amazon.com.  This collection contains "The Skull Ring," "Crime Beat," and "Disintegration."

You can find Scott Nicholson at http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com/.

Please click the link below to be taken to the Amazon.com page. Please make sure the collection is marked free or $0.00 before purchasing.

Please Note: Sapphyria's Book Reviews is not responsible for errors in pricing or the event that the this collection is doesn't not go on sale or is taken off of the sale prior to the ending date of Sunday, February 26, 2012).







Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Juliet Blackwell's "A Cast-Off Coven" (A Witchcraft Mystery, Book #2)

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451230493
ISBN-13: 978-0451230492
Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
Review Copy Courtesy Of:  My Local Library

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Lily Ivory is not your average witch.  She runs a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora's Closet, and with her magical ability to sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry, Lily has made to the shop a bit hit--an her mystery-solving skills are also in high demand.

Students are spooked at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and Lily is called in to search for possible paranormal activity.  In exchange for her help, she's been promised a trunkful of Victorian-era clothes recently discovered in a school storage closet.

But Lily finds something else:  the body of a wealthy patron of the school.  In between running the store and seeing her new boyfriend, Max--a "myth buster" who is uncomfortable with her witchcraft--she uses her sleuthing skills to try to solve the murder.  Soon Lily senses something from the school's vintage clothes, but it's not the smell of mothballs--it's the unmistakable aura of evil intent.

Saph's Review:

This is the 2nd book in Blackwell's "Witchcraft Mysteries."  I reviewed Book 1, "Secondhand Spirits" HERE!

I'm going to start right off saying that I don't really like Max, Lily's new so-called boyfriend.  He is skeptical of everything (hence his "myth buster" profession).  He does, however, play his role wonderfully.  

We get to see a little more of Lily breaking out of her shell and it's refreshing.  Lily is a very likable character who, due to things from her past, which still isn't fully explained in this installment, has a really hard time make friends or fitting in.  We see her expand her circle of friends gradually.  I love Maya, although she didn't have a large role, and Bronwyn and, of course, super cute Oscar, and totally hot Aidan.  

This story revolves around the art school in town where Maya is a student.  Ghostly occurrences have become quite the phenomenon, scaring almost everyone that attends the school.  On Lily's first round of "ghost hunting" they stumble upon a horrifying scene; a dead man on the 3rd floor.  So now it's not only a case of solving the mystery of the ghostly activity but now she's helping to look for a murderer too.

I enjoyed this book and didn't have a hard time following along.  Lily has definite self-esteem issues but, hey, who doesn't at some point or another in their lives?  Add on being a witch banished from her home town and you've got Lily portrayed perfectly.  There wasn't really a lot of her romantic life in this book, which is okay with me.  I like the balance (or imbalance actually) of mystery vs. romance.  Too much romance would detract from the whole plot line.  

I really like newcomer, Sailor, a "made" psychic, who tries not to practice the skills he was given.  He's an enigma from the word go and is broody, moody, and badass.  And of all the men Lily's met so far...He's the only one I would actually approve of her dating and we don't know anything about him.  The selection of men that the author has provided for Lily is really sub-par; she deserves much better than the creatures, human and not-so-much, that have been paraded into her life in both Book 1 & Book 2.  Let's hope this gets ironed out quickly.

All-in-all this is a great book.  I've read reviews from others on various sites and I'll just say this:  There is no need to be overly critical of the theme.  This book is fiction and, while witchcraft, Wicca, occult phenomena, voodoo, etc. are truly practiced/believed in, in our world, whether Juliet gets facts straight concerning these practices shouldn't be harshly judged.  Her vision of witchcraft and the like may be different from what is truly practiced or may be based on what she has learned about the practice from her aunt and her investigations into the paranormal and supernatural....I mean look how many variations of vampire culture are out there.  Each person writes about what they want to, what's in their head.

Rating:


Amazon Paperback:

Amazon Kindle edition:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Promo: Priya Ardis' "My Boyfriend Merlin"


My Boyfriend Merlin 

Welcome to the blog Priya!!!

Summary of My Boyfriend Merlin:

In this modern Arthurian, 17-year-old nice girl Arriane, aka Ryan, DuLac finds out her badass biker boyfriend, Matt, is a little older than he was letting on. By a few eons.

In fact, he is really Merlin--the Merlin, King Arthur's Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived. But Ryan's not impressed. Tired of being a relationship loser, she'd rather kick his legendary behind.

Sure, the world has been crazy ever since the sword and the stone fell out of the sky like a meteor. But despite gruesome gargoyles, a new world of magic, and the guy driving her crazy, Ryan knows that family is everything. Will Merlin sacrifice hers to save the world? Will she be able to stop him?

But don’t let me just tell you—watch the “If you can’t trust your boyfriend, who can you trust?” book trailer on youtube at http://youtu.be/dTMiYHRFEt8

My Boyfriend Merlin is an eBook available through most major book retailers. The next book in the My Merlin series, My Merlin Awakening, will be coming out in April 2012! Add it on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/priyaardis

Format: eBook
Available on: Amazon (US, UK, etc), B&N, iBookstore
Released: December 2011
Publisher: Ink Lion Books
Book Trailer on You Tube: http://youtu.be/dTMiYHRFEt8

Tag Line:

Merlin goes to high school to recruit Candidates to pull the sword from the stone— one of them his ex-girlfriend.

Quotes:

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/18272097

Buy Links:

Amazon (US):

Monday, February 20, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Review: Serena Zane's "The Christmas Present"

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 2056 KB
Publisher: Books to Go Now (November 19, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B006ASJQKQ
Review Copy Courtesy Of:  Bewitching Book Tours
(In exchange for an honest review)
www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com

The Christmas Present 

By Serena Zane 

When you have dreams to escape your own life, you might wish for anything. It’s Christmas Eve, and Detective Stephanie Wills wants nothing more than someone who will love her, in spite of her family.

As she makes her New Year’s Resolution list, Stephanie sets out with good intentions that all seem to fall apart Christmas Day when she is called into work. Not wanting to, she must contact her family for help. The Christmas present hanging suspended from a beam at 5th Street Art Gallery was left by a vampire.

Saph's Review:

Stephanie Wills is a detective who is just coming off of a break-up.  Her fiance, Daniel, learns that Stephanie comes from a line of vampire hunters and makes a hasty escape from her life.  All Stephanie wants is a man that will stand by her side and love her for who she is and not base anything on the family she tries to distance herself from.  What she gets is a man that goes against everything her family believes in...A Vampire.

Amid the chaos with her heart is the murder and display of a woman in an art gallery.  She's hung up in front of a picture of the lead vampire, Nicholas - the same man from her dreams and the man she's falling head-over-heels for.  Stephanie now has a murder to solve that directly involves the man from her dreams.  And it would seem that an old friend has it in for Nicholas.  Can Stephanie figure out the murderer and keep her heart safe from what her family deems the enemy?

I enjoyed this short novella.  It isn't everyday you read a story about a member of a vampire hunting family falling in love with the very man that is hunted.  The chemistry between Stephanie and Nicholas is intense but seems to come to quickly. It's believable to a point but had me shaking my head, eyebrows furrowed when you realize that this all happens in the matter of like 2 days.  The amount of detail, however, and back story helps iron out that quickness.  Stephanie can't land a decent man because they all turn tail and run at the first mention of her family being vampire hunters.  She, in turn, falls for a vampire...Wonder how that's gonna work out at family functions!?  This novella would be an excellent prequel to a full-blown novel although as a stand alone it works too.  

Rating:


Excerpt 
The Christmas Present

Chapter 1

            Large white flakes of snow floated down. Stephanie Wills stood on her back porch.  Her finger trailed a path along the cold metal of the old wrought iron railing.  It was Christmas Eve, and she was alone.  The spot where her engagement ring had rested was bare.

Who needs men anyway?  Stephanie raised the champagne glass to her lips. Not me. Nope.  It had been the same all her life.  One guy after another had left.  Her damn family always chased them off, and Daniel was no different.  She had waited this time, until she had a ring on her finger, and a wedding date set.  It hadn’t done any good.

Stephanie’s brother had let the cat out of the bag, crashing in on their nice family dinner, looking like he’d been beaten and dragged through the dirt for a few hundred yards.  She guessed that wasn’t far from the truth.  Daniel had been fine with that part. It was when her brother yelled to secure the house, and her mother handed him a stake that things really started to turn.

The night ended with Daniel walking stunned from her parents home, after an all-out battle against a group of vampires.  He’d asked for his ring back, and Stephanie was too proud to deny him.  After all, who wanted to have a family of vampire hunters as their in-laws? A tear slipped down her cheek.  She sniffed and wiped angrily at the tear, taking a gulp of champagne.  Stephanie was giving up on men.

Christmas lights twinkled at her merrily.  Perhaps she shouldn’t give up on men entirely, after all.  They were so much fun to have around, most of the time.  Maybe she could make a list; a New Year’s Resolution list.  The New Year was just around the corner.  People came up with lists all the time.  Why not one for relationships?  Knowing just what she would put at the top of her list, she wanted to get started.

Stephanie stumbled back into the house, glared at the Christmas tree in the corner of her living room, and made her way to the desk.  Placing her glass on the desktop, she yanked open a drawer, pulled out a notepad, and rummaged around for a pen that would write.  After several unsuccessful tries, she growled and marched over to her police jacket hanging from her coat rack.  Stephanie pulled out the pen she knew worked, smiled at it, and sat down to write her list.

At the top, she scrawled Resolutions.
1)      No settling for less, go only for eternal bliss – no more losers
2)      Stay away from my family and all things supernatural
3)      Lose 10 pounds

There. Stephanie racked her brain.  She couldn’t come up with anything else right now, and her head was spinning.  Glaring at her champagne glass, she pushed it back on her desk and stood up.

Maybe a good movie would take her mind off things? Wondering what was on the television she wandered over and pushed the power button on the remote.  It’s A Wonderful Life flared on the screen and Stephanie grimaced.  It was going to be all Christmas movies tonight.  She flipped through the channels rapidly, and decided there wasn’t anything on that was going to make her feel any better.  Powering off the TV, she leaned her head back on the arm of the couch.  Perhaps she should just go to sleep.

Stephanie closed her eyes, and tried not to think of her fiancé, well, ex-fiancé.  It didn’t help. Her head started to spin more. Restless, she popped her eyes open, and got up.  Perhaps a good book would help.  Her bookshelf called to her, and Stephanie pulled out her favorite.  If she couldn’t find a man in real life then Nicholas would just have to do.  Opening the first page, she began to read about the exploits of her favorite character, Nicholas Garreth.

Virtual Book Tour: Shelley Munro's "Cat Burglar In Training"

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 572 KB
Publisher: Carina Press (February 20, 2012)
ASIN: B006IIX6C2
Book tour promoted by:  Bewitching Book Tours
www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com

CAT BURGLAR IN TRAINING

By Shelley Munro

Eve Fawkner had no intention of following in her father’s footsteps. But when the thugs harassing him to repay his gambling debts threaten her young daughter, Eve is forced to assume the role of London’s most notorious cat burglar, The Shadow. The plan is simple: pull off a couple of heists, pay back the goons and go into permanent retirement. But things get messy during her first job when Eve witnesses a murder, stumbles across a clue that sheds some light on her past and, worst of all, falls for a cop.

Inspector Kahu Williams would be the perfect man, if Eve were looking, and if there wasn’t the little matter of their career conflict. The man is seriously hot—and hot on the trail of a murderer. A trail that keeps leading him back to Eve…

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Shelley-Munro/e/B001JOWGNK/

Sundry - Cat Burglar in Training 

First line from Cat Burglar in Training by Shelley Munro: “The walls have eyes, Mama.”

~*~*~*~

One of Shelley’s favorite lines from Cat Burglar in Training: Some girls attend society balls to snag a rich husband. Not me. I was stuck in work mode with beginner’s nerves lurking under the surface. Lady Eve Fawkner—reluctant cat burglar in training.

One of Shelley’s favorite lines from Cat Burglar in Training: “She made a joke. See, I told you she’d be fine,” Grace hollered back. She stepped a little closer. “What happened to you? It looks as if a vampire drained your blood. You’re pale and interesting.” Her face creased in a frown. “You okay?”

One of Shelley’s favorite lines from Cat Burglar in Training: If I were looking for a man, he’d make the finalist list—obviously intelligent, easy on the eye with a slight kink in his nose hinting at an interesting history. The man was a natural on the dance floor, moving like a…well, a cat burglar. A real joy to partner. Pity I wasn’t shopping.

~*~*~*~

Fun Fact About Cat Burglar in Training by Shelley Munro: After watching the movie To Catch a Thief as a teenager, Shelley wanted to read cat burglar stories. There aren’t many around so she wrote her own.

Fun Fact About Cat Burglar in Training by Shelley Munro: One of the most interesting things Shelley researched during the writing of Cat Burglar in Training was how to break a window without making much noise. The solution is peanut butter!

~*~*~*~

Meet Eve Fawkner: Eve is twenty-four years old. She’s the daughter of Viscount Oakthorpe and possesses her own title but prefers not to use it. The mother of a five-year-old daughter, she’s spent the last six years living in France, but on her return to England she re-enters the social whirl, attending balls and acting the vapid socialite. While her busty, blonde image fits the  stereotype, she’s intelligent and witty, fiercely protective of her family and friends, and fills the role of The Shadow, a cat burglar.

Meet Kahu Williams: Kahu is a New Zealand cop, and he’s traveled to England to search for his younger brother. He’s signed a contract to work in England and is investigating the murder of Perdita Moning. His investigations take him to society balls, and this is where he meets the very sexy Lady Eve Fawkner. Eve is with a man and out of bounds, but there is something about her that intrigues him. Yes, he can’t stop thinking about Eve.

~*~*~*~

Jewel Quote: Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs ~ Malcolm Forbes.

Jewel Quote:  I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself ~ Mae West.

Jewel Quote: Jewelry takes people’s minds off your wrinkles ~ Sonja Henie.

Jewel Quote: I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond ~ Mae West.

Jewel Quote: Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all ~ Mark Twain.

Jewel Quote: Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without ~ Chinese Proverb.

Amazon Buy Link:



About the Author:
 Photo Credit Princess Cruises

Shelley Munro is tall and curvaceous with blue eyes and a smile that turns masculine heads everywhere she goes. She’s a university tutor and an explorer/treasure hunter during her vacations. Skilled with weapons and combat, she is currently in talks with a producer about a television series based on her world adventures.

Shelley is also a writer blessed with a very vivid imagination and lives with her very own hero in New Zealand. She writes mainly erotic romance in the contemporary, paranormal and historical genres for publishers Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at http://www.shelleymunro.com

Links:


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Guest Post: Julieanne Lynch's "Walking With Shadows" (Book @ in the Shadows Trilogy)

I would like to welcome Julieanne Lynch to Saph's Book Blog today 
who will be discussing Gothicism with us! 

"The very word Gothic brings to mind the dark, brooding world of magic and horror, words now mostly associated with its art and culture. The first person to coin this term was Raphael. Gothicism is full of symbols from the medieval times, eroticism imagery misunderstood as exoticism. Their symbols are mainly derived from the pagan and wiccan cultures.

When working on my second novel, Walking with Shadows I focused a lot of my work around gothic elements and used my own knowledge of wiccan beliefs when constructing some of the prayers and blessings. But one of the main key elements I focused on was the constraints and oppression that continued to surround my MC Giselle. I wanted to break away from the popular cliché that female leads should be kick-ass strong, gutsy, with attitudes that break bones and always on top of her game. No matter how much I love a heroine to be all the above, I wanted my Giselle to learn to fight, to earn her courage. I wanted her to strive to be the best she could be. And if you had read the first novel, In The Shadows, you will see Giselle evolve into a confident young woman. Yes, she still possesses a lot of self-doubt, but given the circumstances that just seem to know no bounds, she is beginning to find her own feet and give a little back to those who’ve hurt her along the way.

Gothic fiction is often considered to be the kind that involves a horror element, which is strangely combined with romance. A great mixture if you ask me, and being a writer of the genre, I find it fascinating to portray my main characters as innocent young women who face men with all the shades of negative. It is also great to focus on the psychology of the characters, seeing them grown and become something the reader never thought possible.

When creating something unique, I want to use themes so dark and defining that I scare myself. I don’t want there to be some scientific rational explanation as to why an entity exists in my story. So in a sense, the thought of being able to create this for my readers gives me a rush that I cannot explain. Being able to hold a readers attention is the best feeling in the world, and I hope that I do that to great effect.

And of course there is sex. When one thinks about how important a role sex plays in dark works of literature, you automatically think incest, matricide, murder, elopement and other barbaric forms of sexual abuse. But this could not be further from the truth. By unleashing human passion beyond social constraints, the Gothic novel’s operation as a literature of the unconscious, we see a collective of transgressive desires.

Although my novel is aimed at young adults, I feel that the use of sexual content in the right context highlights the oppression and entrapment felt by my MC. This is often a key element in gothic horror.

But not everything is doom and gloom. There are moments of pure euphoria, happiness and a growing lightness that only gives my readers hope for Giselle’s future. In this day and age there has to be a light at the end of the tunnel - right?"

Saph's Note:

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog today!!

Walking with Shadows
By Julieanne Lynch


“Walking with Shadows” is the second of The Shadows trilogy, an urban fantasy of vampires and the supernatural, and much, much more.

Giselle regains consciousness and is horrified to discover she has been asleep for nine weeks. She was already aware that she was carrying a very special baby who was to be the first of a new race of vampires, but she is shocked to find how her pregnancy is progressing. Around her, the underworld is in turmoil.

Vampires battle with creatures of darkness and with other vampires, and few are entirely what they seem. More confusing still, those who appeared to be totally evil may have a streak of goodness in them, and those who appeared to be Giselle’s friends may have a darker purpose of their own. Almost anyone, it seems, can be changed and turned, except possibly Ysoriel the Archangel and the goddess Lilith, and Giselle cannot be sure that even they are interested only in her welfare.

The only certainty is that it will all become very much worse before it begins to get better – if anything ever gets better for Giselle.

** Publisher’s note: Not recommended for readers under 15 years of age.


Excerpt:

COPYRIGHT Julieanne Lynch/2011

The smell was the first thing that triggered the memories of my time held in the cell. A damp, musty, hot scent that burned the back of my nose brought me back to reality and face to face with him. He watched me as I was led towards him. His eyes glared at me and inspected every inch of my body and swollen abdomen.

Smiling, he stood up and mocked me by bowing at my feet.

“The illustrious queen returns,” he shouted. “The shadow queen herself stands before us. We must rejoice.”

Inside, my heart thumped hard against my chest and my baby moved, brushing limbs against the inside of my womb. Silently, I prayed to Lilith, and to anyone who would save me. How I regretted leaving Ysoriel and walking into this trap.

“Giselle, I knew you would come to me. I could sense the darkness in you the very first time I saw you. You may be a picture of innocence on the outside, but inside you are dead and cold just like the rest of us. Welcome home.” He brushed his hand against the side of my face, smiling, as his eyes, yellow and feral, stared hard into mine. The same sinister eyes I had seen in my dream.

He took me by the hand and led me away from Mara and Bernael, taking me into a large oak lined room and closed the door behind us. I stood frozen, trying to control my breathing.

The urge to scream was almost uncontrollable, but something inside stopped me. Instead, I looked ahead, focusing my gaze on a bizarre portrait that hung over the wrought iron fireplace. It was unusually misplaced in a world that was anything but calm. A brown haired woman stood by a large chestnut tree, her limbs were pale and lithe, and her face was beautiful. Her dark blue eyes focused on the small child next to her, and the child looked up at her with total love.

I was so fixed on the image of the mother and child that I had not noticed the roar of the fire, until the screams caught my attention. I tried to shield my ears from the screams so piercing that I almost fell to my knees, but slowly they died, as did the flames.

Laughing, Xavier rubbed his hands together and sat down in a large, ornate chair. Running his nails along the arm, he let out a deep breath, and sighed.

“Another soul damned. I do enjoy these moments. It fills my,” he thumped his chest, “with so much joy.” Then his eyes turned cold and mean.

“Why have you brought me here?” I asked, controlling the tremble in my voice.

“Dearest Giselle, need I really point out the obvious factors to your return?”

“But I don’t belong here. I just want to return to my old life.”

“Your old life, my dear child, is a thing of the past. Look at it as being a decayed memory, something distorted, and, given time, you will soon forget the ways of the old and embrace the ways of the new.” He smiled at me.

From deep inside me, I could feel a surge of something creeping to the surface. A rush of adrenaline ran through me, and before I could think about what I was saying, it came out.

“I think you mistake me for the simpering little girl from before.” I walked over to him. “But you see, people change, and I have seen so much in the past few months that you no longer scare me.”

“Now this, this is the fighting talk of a queen,” he said exuberantly.

“What?”

“I knew it from the first moment I set my eyes on you, that you were worthy of the crown.”

I stepped back from him and shook my head. “No, I will not be a goddamned queen. I refuse to take a part of this bloody freak show any longer. I demand you return me back to Antoine, now.”

He approached me and placed his hands on either side of my abdomen.

Breathing heavily into my face, he looked down at my swollen baby bump and smiled. “You will not be going anywhere for a long time my dear.”

From behind me I could hear movement, and as I turned round, two dark silhouettes took a firm hold of my arms and held me still. Xavier stepped in closer to me, and grabbed me by my chin.

“You would be a foolish girl to try anything stupid. There will be no rescues, no saviours, nothing. You are here for good, and once you give birth to the child, you will be reborn. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be for both you and the child when the time comes to hand him over to the Nightwalkers,”

“What? No... No one is taking my child from me,” I spat at him.

“A deal is a deal, little dark one.”

“Oh my God, there is no way in hell you are taking my baby from me,” I screamed as I struggled to break free from the grip of the shadows.

“Ah, but you see, you are in hell, and it’s the way of hell,” he laughed. “Take her below,” he instructed the two shadows holding me.

I pulled against them and managed to free my arm. I went to hit him, but before my eyes he evaporated and then appeared again in front of me, smiling. “Silly little half-breed,” he snarled at me, and took hold of my neck and pushed me forward.

Remembering the time I had been kept here, I knew there was no point in resisting. I walked on through the dimly lit corridor, hearing the familiar sounds of faint screams and pleading. Gritting my teeth, I fought against the urge to shout an array of obscenities at my guards. Instead, I focused on the tunnel and the light at the end. Stepping down to avoid my head hitting the beam above me, I was led down a narrow spiral staircase.

I was surprised to be met by Mara. She smiled gleefully at me, unaware of how much I hated her at that precise moment, and if it had not been for my ‘delicate constitution’ I would have lunged at her and ripped her head off. So, dreaming of a time that I would carry out that thought had to be enough for me and enough to take me through the awful situation.

“Giselle, you seem flushed,” she commented. “Maybe you ought to rest. A woman in your condition must take all the rest she can get. Come, we have prepared refreshments in your chamber.”

Mara was tall, with the longest blonde curls I had ever seen, but she looked like a shadow of what she might have been in another life. Her pale skin and dark circles reminded me of how dreadful you become when you cross over to the darkness. She seemed to move as though she was floating on air. Her long flowing silk dress covered her feet, but it hung low on her back, revealing thick red scars around her shoulder blades, and continued down to the centre of her spine, only stopping where the dress covered her lower back.

We followed her until we came to a set of doors. She clapped her hands and one of the guards released his grip on me and moved to the door, opening it for us to enter.

“Come,” Mara instructed me.

Inside me, the familiar feelings of nerves and queasiness overcame me, and I felt my heart pound in my chest. I was astonished at what met me when I walked into the room.

The room was like something out of a period drama. The walls were covered in red flocked wallpaper, the hardwood floor covered by an oriental styled rug, and, to my surprise, two large windows were dressed with heavy swags and thick layers of suedette and lace. A large ornate fire surround had candelabra on both ends, and a clock sat on the mantle, chiming.

I stood in the centre of the room, trying to take it all in. This was nothing like the conditions I had been kept in before. This was opulent, and that confused me, but before I could say anything someone from behind me
cleared his throat, and, turning around, I was met by an unfamiliar man.


Book1:




Book 2:




About the Author:

Fiery Librian Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Northern Ireland, Julieanne now lives in Ireland, where she works on her Shadows Trilogy and other series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.

An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.

Find Julieanne online:

http://www.julieannelynch.co.uk/

http://www.julieannelynch.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julieanne-Lynch/147566121974789

Tour promoted by:  www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: Katie MacAlister's "In The Company Of Vampires" (Dark Ones Book #8)

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Signet; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451231600
ISBN-13: 978-0451231604
Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
Review Copy Courtesy Of:  My Bookshelf

Synopsis Courtesy Of Goodreads:

Fran was a young witch of 16 when she became Ben’s Beloved, bound to him by fate to save his immortal soul—as if puberty isn’t hard enough. Over the next five years, she fights hard for space, and time, to grow into her own person, pushing Ben away. But when her mother goes missing, she returns to GothFaire to find her, only to find Ben in another woman’s arms. Having not only to face Ben’s secrets, but also a vengeful Norse god, will Fran be able to find out what has really happened to her mother, and to her own heart, in time?

Synopsis From Back Cover:

IF ONLY A BROKEN HEART WERE ALL SHE HAD TO DEAL WITH...

But there are Viking ghosts, gods, werebeings, and one sexy-as-sin vampire on Francesca's case.  And her biggest trouble trouble is spelled with a capital L - for Loki, the trickter god who made good on his promised revenge by abducting her mother.

But when Fran arrives at GothFaire to save her mother, things to from bad to worse.  her immortal ex, Benedikt, is there, full of secrets...and with a new girlfriend.  Fran must battle not only a power-hungry group that wishes to dominate both the immortal and mortal worlds, but the woman who claimed Ben's heart.  Shapeshifters, Vikings, and a town filled with deranged opera fans.  It's a good thing Fran's no ordinary mortal...


Saph's Review:

Ghosts, and Gods, and Vampires, oh my!!

The story begins with Fran now back in the U.S. with a college degree under her belt, and employed as a website admin for a veterinarian.  When her roommate is kidnapped and held captive, Fran is sure that Loki has invoked his revenge on her.  But when her mother suddenly disappears from the GothFaire, Fran is certain.

Our ever entertaining Viking ghosts are back from Valhalla and seek Fran's help in banishing Loki from Asgard and seek her out in her apartment.  After arriving back in Germany and meeting up with her Vikings, Fran becomes painfully aware that Ben has replaced her with Natalie.  Natalie, it seems, comes with some secrets too.

Will Fran be able to save her mother, banish Loki, and pull Ben away from Natalie before it's too late?

"In The Company Of Vampires" comes after "Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend" (YA anthology that contains the books "Got Fangs?" and "Circus Of The Darned) but has successfully moved Fran and Ben out of the YA genre and into Adult.  

My favorites are still the Vikings!  They are the best!!  The entire storyline is great.  The kidnapper of Fran's mom may surprise you, the Ben-Natalie union will infuriate you, Fran's feelings for Ben will squeeze your heart, and you will laugh your butt off (guaranteed!).  

We see a bit of intertwining of other books in this installment of Katie MacAlister's Dark Ones series:
Ulphur the ghost is now a lich in this book and brings about a reference to Pia and Kristoff (my absolutely favorite couple so far; although, Ben and Fran are a very close 2nd) who star in "Zen And The Art Of Vampires" Book 6 and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Fang" Book 7.
The GothFaire is originally mentioned in "A Girl's Guide To Vampires" Book 1.
And of course, Ben and Fran and the cast of Vikings were in "Got Fangs" and "Circus Of The Darned."

I'm a huge fan of Katie MacAlister's Dark Ones series and her Dragon series' too!  If you love humor, snark, paranormal creatures, sex, romance, and plot twists then make sure you read both series' by Katie MacAlister.

Rating:



Amazon Paperback:



Amazon Kindle:


Friday, February 17, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Guest Post & Giveaway: Elise Marion's "The Third Son" (Kings of Cardenas, Book 1)


Title: The Third Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 1)
Author: Elise Marion
Publisher: Self
Length: 113,000 words
Sub-Genres: Historical, Mystery/Thriller, Suspense

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Elise Marion to 
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews.
  
She will be speaking about Love In The Digital Age. 

There is also a nice excerpt from “The Third Son” 
and a giveaway. 
(see information about that below the exerpt). 

Welcome Elise Marion!!


Love in the Digital Age: Why I Prefer the Historical World

One of my favorite shows these days is ‘My Fair Wedding’. Wedding planner phenom David Tutera takes people’s gaudy and tacky weddings and turns them into something spectacular. I cry my eyes out while people tell their stories, both good and bad. My heart aches for the girls who can’t afford wedding dresses and have to take second hand gowns from a friend or family member. A few minutes later I’m cheering like a fiend as David offers them the couture gown of their choice.

One week, I was appalled when the bride revealed that her fiancé had proposed to her via text message. My jaw hit the floor when I realized that not only had this man proposed in the worst possible way, but the woman actually accepted his lame proposal! I was relieved when David set up a special evening for the two, and gave the sweet but clueless groom an engagement ring. Standing amidst candles and roses, the groom got down on one knee and proposed to the crying bride just weeks before their wedding.

As I watched, I wondered about that text message. I wondered how many other women are proposed to this way, and how many actually accept this as romantic. I mean, sure it’s cute to send a flirty or sexy text to your significant other every now and then, but a proposal???

In the world we live in today, we are blessed with some of the best technologies. Cell phones, iPads, computers, palm pilots, and the list goes on. While technology has definitely opened up the lines of communication across the world, it seems to have handicapped us when it comes to certain social interactions. It seems to me that at times it can even get in the way of romance.

It’s for this reason that I so love the historical era when it comes to romance. For me, it’s all about escapism, and for that there’s nothing better than traveling back through time. In the 1600s there were no cell phones or iPods. People weren’t plugged into anything so they had no choice but to interact with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mp3 player and my laptop. But every now and then, I think it’s important to take it back to those simpler times. I believe relationships would last much longer this way. I think that when people take the time to turn off the cell phones and tune in to each other, romance is born and can thrive.


Blurb:

Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damien is perfectly content to spend his days drinking at the card tables, and his nights in the bed of his scheming mistress, especially since doing these things seems to vex his high-handed brother to no end. But when he steps into a glittering ballroom on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, the roguish young prince’s life will be forever changed.

Beautiful. Graceful. Sensual. When Esmeralda steps into the center of the King’s ballroom to perform for his youngest son’s birthday, every eye in the room is glued to the tall, lithe Gypsy dancer. One pair of eyes seems to burn straight through her, and though she has worked endlessly to shield her heart, she finds her defenses slowly slipping away in the presence of the handsome prince. She cannot resist his devastating charm, nor is she immune to the earth shattering desire in his kiss. As she falls rapidly under his spell, Esmeralda dares to hope for a future she would never have thought possible.

With a deadly plot against the royal family surrounding him in danger and intrigue, Damien will face a decision he never thought he would have to make. Would he step up to claim a responsibility that should never have fallen to the third son? Or will he abandon it to risk all for love?

 Excerpt:

“Tell me about that thing you were looking into earlier.”

Damien stood and grabbed the long black instrument from the balcony rail. “This? You’ve never seen a telescope before?” He smiled when she shook her head again.

“My father told me about them,” she said wistfully, thinking of the stories her father used to tell her of his travels. “I’ve never seen one in person though.”

“Well, allow me to demonstrate how it works,” he said handing her the portable telescope and pointed out various constellations. Esmeralda noticed the way his face softened and his eyes lit up as he showed her each cluster of stars and the history behind them.

“I would not have guessed that you were interested in something as intellectual as astronomy.” Esmeralda regretted the words the moment she said them. She had not wanted to offend him. But he merely shrugged and returned the telescope to its case.

“It is not common knowledge,” he said, rejoining her on the chaise. “My less reputable hobbies are more known than my intellectual ones. I have several telescopes, of varying sizes and for different purposes, kept in the observatory in the east wing of the palace. My personal library contains several volumes on astronomy, poetry, botany, and biology.”

“The rumors I’ve heard about you make you seem so superficial,” she said, unable to believe that this man before her who spoke so eloquently of science and poetry could be the same drinking, gambling rakehell she’d heard so many stories about. “How is it that no one seems to know of your many other interests?”

“That is mostly my fault,” he admitted, toying with his signet ring to keep from touching her skin. “I have kept these interests mostly to myself, though my family and servants know of them. Publicly though, I have only allowed people to see one side of me.”

Esmeralda nodded. “I know exactly what you mean,” she said sincerely. “Being a Gypsy who dances in a tavern gives people certain ideas about me all the time.”

Damien knew he was guilty having misguided thoughts of his own about her. “Yes but you are innocent, where I am not. People have the right idea about me.”

“Then why don’t you change it?”

Damien shrugged. “Because for all the gossip that exists about me, people are more concerned with the heir to the throne than with me. Lionus will be king, Serge will be general of Cardenas’ military, and I will be the third son. No one really expects much from me.”

“But surely you must want more than that? To be known as more than just the last son?”

It was like she had read his mind, Damien thought. How could she have known of his desire for a more fulfilling life?

“Of course I want more. It is just that no one has ever expected anything of me, and so I’ve never expected anything from myself.”

“But there must be something,” she prodded.

“I have often thought of founding a university, perhaps even naming it for my father.”

Esmeralda smiled, and her entire face nearly glowed. Damien felt that smile tugging at his insides, twisting at his heart. “That’s a wonderful idea!” she said, her excitement contagious, sparking something in him now that he had given voice to his dream. “I see no reason why you shouldn’t do just what you’ve said.”

Damien studied her face, illuminated by the pale moonlight. “You are a marvel,” he said softly, cupping her cheek with his hand. He had resisted long enough, the urge to touch her had finally overcome his will. “Such freshness and passion,” he murmured, reaching up to slide the white cap from her head. Her hair tumbled around her shoulders; the scent of jasmine grew even stronger. She stiffened slightly when he leaned toward her, but relaxed when he pressed his face to her thick locks and inhaled. “That fragrance is intoxicating.”

“My mother makes perfumes and soaps,” she said. Or at least she thought she said it aloud. Damien brushed his lips lightly up her neck, moving up over her chin, and finding her lush mouth. The moment his lips touched hers, she was lost.

He swept her swiftly into his arms and crushed her against him, molding her body against his from chest to hip. Though his hold on her was tight and fierce, his lips moved with surprising softness over hers. He took her mouth slowly, trying carefully not to overwhelm her with his growing ardor. He clenched a handful of her hair and tugged gently, slanting her head back to gain better access to her mouth.

He deepened the kiss, his tongue sliding achingly over hers, arousing feelings she never thought could exist low in her belly. Heat suffused through her, spreading from her middle until she was hot all over. Her hands rested on his chest, tingling at the feel of his corded muscles beneath her fingers. He brought his hands to her waist, so slender he could nearly span the width of it with his large hands. He slid his hands slowly upward over her ribcage, his fingertips lightly brushing her breasts. She sighed into his mouth and arched her back unknowingly, her body responding before her mind could rationalize what she was doing. He lowered his head, showering her neck and shoulders with kisses, working his way steadily downward. His hand cupping one breast jolted her senses, sending her blood rushing rapidly through her veins.

Giveaway Details:

To be entered to win a copy of “The Third Son” please leave your name and email address in the comment section below and answer this question:

Have you been asked something or invited to something via digital media (Facebook, text message, etc.) that clearly should have happened face-to-face or via a formal invitation?

I was invited to a High School graduation and open house this past summer through a Facebook event message, never receiving anything formal.  My hubby and I didn’t go.


Contest ends Feb. 29, 2012 and winner will be notified via email on March 1, 2012.

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Author Information:

As a child I always had my nose in a book. From R.L. Stine to Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, I read it all. When I started Junior High and found out that the school library had over 400,000 books, my goal was to read every single one! Of course I didn't achieve that particular goal, but I sure had fun trying!
In high school I developed a talent for writing and discovered romance. Needless to say I combined my love for both and am now a published Indie author. After almost a year of peddling my book from agent to agent with no success I decided that my work was good enough despite the constant rejection. That's when I discovered the world of indie publishing through e-books. I couldn't have made a better decision than stepping out on faith and doing something for myself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.
A litle bit more about me: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 4 years and have two beautiful children, Haley (4) and Gavin (4 months). We are a military family, which means I spend a lot of my time alone with two children. People often ask me how I deal with the military life. I simply say, someone's got to do it, right? I am proud of my husband for serving his country.
When I'm not reading (which is almost always) or writing (I try to every day), I am watching movies (which I love), cooking (which I love even more) or watching someone else cook on TV (love me some Paula Deen). I have been singing my entire life and enjoy being my church's choir every Sunday. My large, extended family is close and means the world to me.

Twitter: @elise_marion