Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop Is Here!!!!

 Welcome to Sapphyria's Book Reviews!
I'm going to cut to the chase and get right down to the giveaway!!

What do I have up for grabs?  One (1) Kindle version of Jana Oliver's "The Demon Trapper's Daughter: A Demon Trapper's Novel"  Book #1.
My review can be found HERE!
Fill out the following Rafflecopter form in all it's participation requirement glory and Good Luck!!!
Please make sure you leave your email address somewhere so that I can contact you if you are the winner.  I will email the winner a gifted copy of "The Demon Trapper's Daughter."
U.S. only please.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Make sure to visit all of the participating bloggers:

Virtual Tour for Olivia Starke's "Zombie Lovin"


Please click the link below to be taken to the 18+ blog 
"Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews" for this tour!!
I'm still in transition so please bear with me as I continue to separate the tours I've already signed up for between Sapphyria's Book Reviews (YA & Adult friendlier reviews) and Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews (18+ due to content).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Review & Excerpt: Ada Adams' "ReVamped" (Angel Creek, Book #1)



Kindle File Size: 526 KB
Print Length: 299 pages
ASIN: B007BDZ6X0

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1470068982
ISBN-13: 978-1470068981
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches

Review Copy Courtesy Of: Bewitching Book Tours
www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com
(In exchange for an honest review)


ReVamped
By Ada Adams
Blurb:

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.


When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.


Excerpt From Chapter Two:

I ordered Seth to wait in the car and slowly made my way up the dirt path in the direction of what I had hoped was Sebastian’s residence. The longer I walked, the darker and more daunting the clouds above became. Finally, with a booming crash of thunder, the sky tore open, releasing a fresh downpour of cool rain. This time it was faster and heavier, pummeling against Hannah’s note and drenching her small, neat writing. I considered turning back and meeting with Sebastian another time, but my curiosity got the best of me.

I examined Hannah’s note, squinting to make out some of the smudged words.

Sebastian York is a twenty-one year-old Scorpio. He has gorgeous light gray eyes, the color of sparkling glaciers. His midnight-black hair is slightly curly and just long enough to make you daydream about running your fingers through his locks. He’s super tall and really, really hot. Just try to peel your eyes away from all those lean muscles! Yum! He’s brooding, mysterious, strong, and self-deprecating (or at least he seems like the type)—the perfect vampire!

I had to stop myself from reading the rest. Hannah’s report on Sebastian was a little over-the-top for my taste. Not to mention, much too unbelievable. I scrunched up the soaked paper and tucked it into the pocket of my jeans. I smiled to myself, thinking that the bubbly redhead had a promising career ahead of her as a writer of cheesy romance novels.

The hike through the forest led to a secluded clearing. The trees parted, revealing a striking building more akin to a grand mansion, than a house in the woods. While made in the same style as the buildings in town, the three-storey structure had a stately, regal air about it. Clad in white stone with Grecian temple-inspired columns towering across its entire façade, it very much resembled the majestic inn on the grounds of the Angel Creek Park.

The driveway finally came to an end and I found myself next to a luxury antique car. Its cherry-red hood was propped wide open, so it took a moment before I noticed that there was a figure tinkering with the machinery underneath. He wore a pair of loose, black pants, the muscles on his bare back flexing as he strained to tighten something with a metal wrench.

Hannah’s words flashed through my mind as I stood frozen in place, observing Sebastian’s profile. My gaze traveled along his tall, lean body, to his face, gliding over his sharp angular jaw and high cheekbones, and, finally, finding a resting place on his dark locks. Embarrassed by my unexpected attraction to the vampire in front of me, I sharply looked away, thankful for the cooling sensation of the wet raindrops against my skin.

Suddenly, Sebastian sensed my presence. His entire body tensed as he spun around, the wrench firmly grasped in his hand, ready and poised for an attack. The moment his eyes fixed on me, he froze, a look of sheer terror seizing his face. The metal tool fell out of his hand, hitting the cobblestone with a loud clank. The noise seemed to break the spell he was under. As his gaze connected with mine, the look of horror that came over him just moments before, immediately vanished.

“Sebastian?” I asked breathlessly, unnerved by his startling reaction.

He didn’t reply. Instead, he continued to examine every inch of me with his cool, gray eyes. My entire body blazed under his scrutinizing stare, but despite the uneasiness, I couldn’t bring myself to look away from him. The strong wind frantically tugged at my hair, as if trying to snap me out of my trance. In spite of nature’s best efforts, I simply stood there, locked in an unnerving staring contest with the mysterious vampire. A deafening clap of thunder shook the earth, causing me to jump, and startling Sebastian back to his senses.

“Who wants to know?” he finally responded. There was a sharp edge to his smooth voice.

“My name is Dawn,” I said, attempting a smile. “I’m here on an assignment from the Vampire President to train the new guardians of Angel Creek. Since you’re one of the five vampire residents, I thought you’d want to know about the mission and take part—” I paused abruptly, distracted by the angry scowl forming across his face.

Another earsplitting roar of thunder sounded before he spoke. “Not interested.” he said curtly, his eyes still intent on me. He was boldly exploring my face, his gaze slowly traveling down my body.

“Dawn, did you say?” he asked curiously, his voice a little less brisk.

I nodded, crossing my arms in a self-conscious effort to shield myself from his gaze. “So can we count you in?” I asked hopefully.

“No.”

“What do you mean no?” I asked in disbelief. I was quickly becoming annoyed with the shirtless, ill-mannered vampire.

“No. Nope. Not interested. Is that clear enough for you?”

“Really?”

“Yes, really—no.” He turned away, waving his hand in my direction as if to let me know I was dismissed.

“Why?” I asked, stretching out to grab his arm. Thankfully, he had moved just before I could reach him, as mid-grab, I realized that touching Sebastian was a bold move that I had not fully thought out.

He turned around to face me, the feverish look in his eyes causing me to take a slight step back. “I don’t really embrace this whole vampire fad. I’m not interested in anything related to vampires, being a vampire or serving the Vampire President. Got it?”

“What about your obligation to protect humans?” I questioned.

“I’m not interested in humans either, not even the sad, vulnerable ones so many vampire idiots fall for. You could say, I'm only interested in myself.” He smirked, his tone once again reaching sub-zero temperatures. “So, if you wouldn’t mind leaving, I’d love to get back to work.”

“But, but…you can’t do that. When I tell the President that you’re here, he’ll order you to join the group.” I was grasping at straws.

All of a sudden, Sebastian charged toward me, thrusting his face into mine. He was so close our noses almost touched. As I raised my eyes to meet his, the raindrops from his glistening locks dripped onto my forehead. I resisted the temptation to blink as droplets of water fell onto my eyelashes, not wanting to show him any weakness.

“For the past century I’ve been doing exactly what I want, when I want. I don’t owe anything to any human or vampire—especially not the President. Now, leave before I make you leave!” he said through clenched teeth.

“Fine!” I yelled, pressing my fists tightly against my legs in an effort to prevent myself from striking him. “But, just so you know, you’re a really sucky vampire.” I mentally kicked myself for the lame retort, also chastising myself for having wanted this aggravating snob to join the group.

“Please don’t come around here anymore.” With those final words, Sebastian stormed off into the house, slamming the heavy door behind him. I was left alone on the wet driveway; feeling confused, angry, and somewhat excited by our meeting.

That evening, nestled in the small, cozy cottage in the depths of the Angel Creek forest, I glumly surveyed the vampires gathered around the dining room table. Hunter was resting his head on the linen tablecloth, struggling to stay awake. Every so often, he would succeed in lifting his heavy lids and focusing his eyes on me, only to instantly retreat into his intoxicated coma. Sophie sat to Hunter’s right, her forehead scrunched tightly as she squinted at the tiny print of her historical fiction novel. Her pupils moved at lightning speed as her eyes traversed the pages of the book, hungrily devouring the story. Across from them, Brooke was polishing her nails with a sharp, pink file. She paused after each stroke to carefully inspect her nails and ensure that she was creating the perfect shape. Seth sat at the foot of the table, a large head of garlic in his hand. He peeled off a clove and popped it into his mouth, wincing as the bitter flavor reached his taste buds. All the while, he shot dirty looks in Brooke’s direction.

Drawing in a deep, calming breath, I launched into a short speech I had prepared earlier in the day. “Congratulations new vampire recruits! The four of you are now the official guardians of Angel Creek. This is both a great honor and an important task. Are you ready to band together and work with me?” I asked with as much excitement as I could muster.

“Hmm?” Hunter murmured, raising his head.

“Y-Yes.” Sophie whispered.

“Okay,” Brooke said. “But it better make me super popular.”

Seth narrowed his eyes at Brooke. “As long as I don’t have to work too closely with her.”

It was the best I was going to get, I realized.

“Tomorrow morning we begin our train—” Before I had a chance to finish my sentence, a sudden blur of movement in the woods caught my attention. I only saw it for a split second, but it was enough to convince me that someone was lurking outside. Someone had found our secret location.

Not wanting to panic the recruits, I casually made my way to one of the dining room windows. Wiping away layers of dust that clouded the glass pane, I pressed my forehead against its cool surface, scanning the horizon for the origin of the activity. It was difficult to make out through the thick sheets of rain, but right at the edge of the forest, concealed by the shadowy trees, stood a tall, dark silhouette. From its frame alone, I could not tell if it belonged to a human, a vampire, or some other being altogether. I was only sure of one thing—it was watching us. I rushed outside to investigate, but by the time I had reached its hiding spot, the stranger had vanished into the darkness. novel exist peacefully out in the open with the human population. The vampires are so popular that they have reached celebrity status all over the world. Typical vampire myths are tossed out the window as we find that they can and do parade around in the sunlight, eat garlic, and see their reflections in mirrors. They can also be born as well as created the old-fashioned way.

Saph's Review:

ReVamped is a nice change of pace from the traditionalist approach to vampires. The vamps in Ms. Adams' novel come in 2 varieties: The Made and The Born.

The "Made" vampires ones that were once human then turned into a vampire. These vampires stop aging.

The "Born" vampires are actually conceived by another "Born" vampire. The children produced are always female and they grow up and age just as humans do. One difference, in that aspect, is that if a "Born" vampire conceives a child of her own, she stops growing old at that point. If the "Born" never has a child of her own she will continue to age and will eventually die, just as a human does.

Dawn, our heroine, is a "Born" vampire, the daughter of the Vampire President. And they live in the Scarlett House. She was raised and trained to be a warrior, to stand by her father's side as second in command. Just shortly after her 19th birthday she finally gets to leave the protected grounds of the Scarlett House to head up her very own mission.

The fab five vampires that protected the small town of Angel Creek got caught up in the celebrity lifestyle, abandoning the town, and ultimately leaving it open and vulnerable to rogue vampire attacks. It is Dawn mission to corral the only other 4 vampires that reside there, train them, and turn them into the town's ultimate protectors.

She wasn't planning on a group of weak vampires that had no training, nor was she expecting Ethan, the human, or Sebastian, the dark and brooding vampire. And when a town resident is kidnapped during a scuffle between Dawn, the new recruits, and the rogues, it is now up to Dawn to find her. Little does she know that she's the target of a vampire obsessed with her.

Excellent..this novel is excellent! This is a fresh, nice change of the vampire story. I enjoyed reading every bit of it. The story flowed and was pretty solid. There were some spontaneous passages that were abruptly shoved into the plot but they ended up smoothing out and ultimately making sense. The novel is gritty, full of action, and has romantic elements. The interactions between each character were well thought out. The tension between both Dawn and Ethan, and Dawn and Sebastian was written well. Overall this book is fast-paced, attention drawing, and different than other young adult vampire novels.

Rating:




About the Author:

"Many people sing in the shower. I, on the other hand, write scenes in my head and act them out."

At age five, Ada read her first chapter book - Pippi Longstocking. Ever since that moment, she developed an intense passion for the stories and characters found within the pages of literature.

In her career as an actress and a writer, Ada currently spends most of her days immersed in imaginary worlds. Much like the characters she enjoys playing and writing about, Ada is a martial artist with a Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. She is also a big proponent of lifelong learning, and has attained Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (it aids in creating characters with unique quirks!) as well as a Master's of Science in Education.

Ada strives to bring a fresh voice and perspective to fiction. She has been writing creatively for many years. "ReVamped" is her debut novel.

She lives in Toronto, Canada, and enjoys adventurous nature hikes with her adorable puppies Cara and Oreo.


Buy Links:

Kindle:


Paperback:



Friday, April 27, 2012

CBLS Virtual Book Tour - Review and Excerpt: Amber Riley's "The Land of Tears" (Kindred Blood, Book 3)


Title: The Land of Tears (Kindred Blood, Book 3)
Author: Amber Riley
Publisher: Self
Length: Approx 50,000 words
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy YA
Review Copy Courtesy Of: CBLS Promotions
(in exchange for an honest review)
Link to tour schedule: http://cblspromotions.blogspot.com/2012/03/vbt-kindred-blood-trilogy-by-amber.html.

BLURB:

Spain is the one place Kaden never planned to see again. Years after he escaped the master vampire, he has never looked back—until now. As he stands before enemy vampires and werewolves, he knows that determination is the only thing that can save Lyn from her captives. Everything Kaden has worked so hard for has to be forgotten. He must become a ruthless killer once again.

After everything Kaden has done to remain free, he has purposely walked back into his old life, leaving his friends behind in order to protect them. Now, in the midst of a bad game of hide and seek with Phoenix, Kaden must fool everyone into thinking he has returned for all the right reasons. But Phoenix is not easily swayed. He still resents Kaden for leaving and letting Tobias out of his tomb. Kaden is running out of time. If his plan fails, there will never be another opportunity.

In the third tale of the Kindred Blood series, a young life depends on whether Kaden can convince Phoenix and his fellow vampires to trust him. One way or another, things are about to end where they all began."

EXCERPT:

The headlights of a Volkswagen blinked at me once. I approached the car and bent to the driver’s side window. “Hey, Max.”

“Hello,” he replied slowly. He turned in his seat to look behind him. “Gabriel, are you sure about this?”
“We talked it through last night,” he said softly. “It will be fine.”

Max sighed. “Just remember what they said.” When Gabriel didn’t answer, he continued on. “Your brother has been filled in, like you asked. But please stick to the plan. I don’t want to make that phone call.”

Gabriel’s pale hand reached for the handle. I quickly opened the car door and helped him onto the street. “I am perfectly clear on what is going to happen.”

Max said a few lines in Italian. Gabriel smiled and replied. I didn’t know what they said, but it seemed important. The look Max gave me before driving away was unreadable, but it was clear that our relationship hinged on how the night ended.

Saph's Review:

Here are the links to my reviews of the first 2 books in the series:


I absolutely love the very first sentence of Chapter 1 in Book #3, The Land of Tears:
"There is one moment, one defining moment, in everyone's life that will alter the entire course of their future."

For Kaden, it's the kidnapping of Lyn, by the Marquis, while the group was in Rome.  The only logical step for Kaden now was to get her back.  After slipping away from Stu, Flo, Alex, and Reece, Kaden finds himself back in the viper's nest.  The locating of, and submission to Phoenix may be the only way to save Lyn and desperate times call for desperate measures.  Oh the things you do for the ones you love!

We get to see the innate nature of Phoenix and Kaden in this installment of the Kindred Blood series.  In order to convince Phoenix to trust him again, Kaden is forced to resort to a vampire's basic nature, the very nature that he's tried so hard to overcome; bloodlust, murder, drinking of blood from the "tap."  This behavior also helps Kaden keep Lyn comfortable while being held within Phoenix's grasp.  

After striking an alliance with Tobia, the rightful Master vampire, who has also managed to locate Phoenix, Kaden starts to set his plans in motion.  Then Stu, Flo, Alex, Reece, Max, and Gabriel turn up in the village near Phoenix's lair, throwing a monkey wrench in some of the plans.  Treachery abounds when someone in Kaden's circle is discovered to be in alliance with Phoenix.  

When it's all said and done, who will be the ones left standing?

Excellent final story to the Kindred Blood saga.  The emotional levels within this installment ebb and flow nicely.   The author, Amber Riley, leaves no stone unturned in her quest to pen this exciting adventure of Kaden, Lyn, and the rest of the group. 

I enjoyed reading every part of this trilogy. I found that the things I said about Book 1 & 2 also apply to Book 3:

~~ The author's writing style is great. There aren't any awkward moments, incomplete thoughts, or incoherent sentences that leave you scratching your head or rereading passages 20 times in hopes that maybe you understand the ideas that the author was attempting to convey. I loved the plot. It was nice and solid and kept on the edge of your seat. Just when you thought the story would go one direction, it did a 180 and you were off in another direction. ~~

The vampires continue to kick butts first and take names later!

Rating:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amber Riley has enjoyed writing short stories since childhood and is happiest with a cat in her lap. Born and raised in Central New York, she is currently living in Germany with her new son and husband, a Seabee with the US Navy.

Email - Amber_Riley@live.com
Website/Blog - http://kindredbloodtrilogy.blogspot.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/KindredBloodTrilogy
Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/AmberR_Riley

Buy Links:

Kindle:

B&N    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-land-of-tears-amber-riley/1109552206?ean=9781475900620&itm=1&usri=the+land+of+tears+amber+riley

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Katie MacAlister Reviews

All new Katie MacAlister reviews will be published at Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews from now on.

http://saphssteamybooks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Winners Galore

I have been terribly lax about posting contest winners....I'm sorry :(

Here are winners from the latest contests:

A World Apart                                           Vinci
Accidentally In Love With...A God?            Jessie
Dark Angel's Ward                                     Tina B.
Valkyrie's Vengeance                                  Mary A.
No Strings Attached Blog Hop                    Helen B.

Congratulations to ALL of our winners!

Thank you to ALL of you that entered!

Keep coming back....I have more to giveaway!!


Review: "Say Not What If" by Andrew Friedman

Kindle File Size: 120 KB
Print Length: 52 pages
ASIN: B005IY6AH0

Paperback: 52 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1463627319
ISBN-13: 978-1463627317
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.1 inches
Paperback Review Copy Courtesy Of:  Andrew Friedman, Author 
(in exchange for an honest review)

Synopsis Via Goodreads:

“Say Not What If” is about a man on death row, and has as its theme the concept that time is our most valuable commodity. As someone once said, “waste anything but time, because we really are promised no tomorrows.” This theme is explored through the life of a man who sacrifices his marriage and everything else for his career. He realizes much too late the terrible consequences of this decision, and then desperately tries to regain those lost years by making a much worse choice. The resolution of this latter choice involves an additional examination of the concepts of accountability and responsibility, redemption, and the morality of the death penalty.

Note from Author from Goodreads:

"Say Not What If" is a nearly 10,000 word story written as a long rhyming poem. I have never seen a story written in this format. It has characters and dialogue just like a regular story, and is extremely easy to read and understand, regardless of whether you have a GED or a PHD. You can read it in about an hour, so it doesn't require a lot of time.

Saph's Review:

"Say Not What If" is a unique blend of poetry written as a short story.  It focuses on a man who, throughout his life, has always pushed his career ahead of anything else in life.  In a desperate attempt to change things and right the wrongs, he finds that he's made his life much worse and ends up on death row.  We get to see into the life of a prison inmate as he endures his days behind bars.  

It's very important to live in the now and be there for those in your life that you love and cherish.  Spending too much time in pursuit of a career, material goods, prestige, etc. while sacrificing time spent with loved ones are things you can never change.  You can never get back the 20 hour days you spend at the office, the baseball games you miss, the family togetherness (in whichever way it's spent) that gets pushed aside, or other things.  While an extreme example, "Say Not What If" really drives those points home.  Plus, you can't outsmart death; whether it be naturally, due to accident, illness, or, as in the book, a death sentence due to unwise choices.  

The flow of "Say Not What If" is smooth and flows well.  The rhyming pattern makes the book read smoothly and quickly without become dull or monotonous but sometimes I felt that it distracted from the ultimate message.  If nothing else, though and you can adapt to the poetic tones, this book makes you step back and ponder your own life.  Of course, whether you self-assess and make changes or not is up to you, not me or the book, or the messages conveyed.

This is definitely an interesting approach to writing.  

Rating:


Buy Links:

As of today's day, April 25, 2012, the Kindle version on Amazon is free (this can change at anytime and I'm not responsible if costs change.  Make sure you look at the pricing before you buy it.)  Simply click the link below to be taken to the page to buy the Kindle version:



Paperback:  (Note:  This is NOT free)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaways - Bryan Cohen, author of "The Post-College Guide to Happiness"


I have the pleasure of welcoming Bryan Cohen to Sapphyria's Book Reviews today. 

He is the author of "The Post-College Guide to Happiness." 

Welcome Bryan!!!

Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post. "Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is." - Maxim Gorky 

Back to Basics....It’s tough to go throughout life without regretting some of the choices you’ve made. We like to romanticize the other side of decisions, the hypothetical “how it could have been” if you’d ended up with that person or if you took a flight to that special place. For the most part, who you’re with and where you are will not impact your happiness as much as what you do and who you are.

If you’re unhappy, it may be because you used to do something that made you happy and you gave it up. Perhaps it was a hobby such as a sport you enjoyed during your youth. Maybe it was a job that gave you little pay that you left to support your family with a higher paying but less fulfilling job. At the time, you may have had some troubles here and there, but they became magnified when you stopped doing something that you loved. When you let happiness go, as Gorky says, you hardly realize how important it was to you. Find a way to incorporate some of these things you loved to do back into your life.

Your unhappiness may also be a result of who you have become vs. who you used to be. I experienced this after I left college. The shy, naïve freshman had changed over four years into a somewhat pompous and arrogant senior. I needed to find a balance between the confidence I’d gained during my four years and the honesty and kindness I’d been brought up with. Maybe you’ve lost a part of yourself that you didn’t realize was improving your happiness. It’s not easy to bring back that part of yourself, but it isn’t impossible either. You have the choice to be who you want to be. If you want to be happier, part of the solution may be an identity adjustment, and it all starts with you.

The world can be a difficult place as we get older. Sometimes, it’s worth looking back to (and adopting) the simple pleasures of activity and personality that made us smile.


Thank you so much for spending time with my readers and myself!!!

Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) gmail.com. Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated. Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Virtual Book Tour - Review: Thomas Winship's "Vaempires: Revolution" (Book One of The Evolutionary War) (Bewitching Book Tours)

Vaempires
Book One The Evolutionary War
By Thomas Winship
Publisher: Thomas Winship (October 28, 2011)
File Size: 202 KB   ASIN: B0060ZO5JG
Print Length: 216 pages  ISBN-10: 1466398647  ISBN-13: 978-1466398641
Review Copy Courtesy Of: Bewitching Book Tours
www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com

Synopsis:

It is the morning of Princess Cassandra’s sixteenth birthday. Everyone’s attention is focused on the heir to the vampire throne. World leaders, the rich and famous, and VIPs from every corner of the globe have gathered in the nation’s capital to celebrate the momentous event.

Cassandra’s boyfriend, Daniel, is late for the party. He’s still outside the city when all hell breaks loose. What he believes is an act of terrorism proves to be a full-fledged revolution.

Væmpires—former vampires who mutated into warm-blooded creatures with an insatiable hunger for cold blood—have launched coordinated attacks across the globe, with three goals: the eradication of humanity, the enslavement of vampires, and the ascension of væmpires as the dominant species on the planet.

The vampire and human leaders are killed. Cassandra is missing. Daniel is the acting king. Desperate to find the princess, Daniel and his friends fight their way across the besieged city. With the hopes of the free world resting on the shoulders of four vampire teenagers, væmpires unleash their secret weapons: a new breed of væmpire that is far deadlier than any ever seen before.

What can four teens do against an enemy that can shape-shift, fly, and walk through walls?

Saph's Review:

What a wild ride into a completely new twist on vampires. In Thomas Winship's world of vampires there are 3 races of beings inhabiting the world: Humans, Vampires, and Vaempires.  As noted above Vaempires are a former vampires that inexplicably transformed into dangerous, dark creatures with abilities that defy reason.  These extremely harmful beings have waged war against the entire world; human and vampire combined.  A war that cropped up out of the blue after hundreds of years of peace.

"Vaempires" is action-packed from cover to cover.  Mr. Winship's writing style is captivating and descriptive.  My imagination ran wild with each scene and I was able to easily create each moment in my mind.  The book flowed well and there was never a dull moment.  The story jumped from Daniel - now the king since his father was killed - and what he was facing, to Cassie, from the very scene when she discovers the bodies of her parents, when she's confronted by the orchestrator of the war, and throughout her time with the kidnapper.  The atmosphere of the book is gritty, gruesome, and full of despair but there is also the non-obtrusive romance between Daniel and Cassie.  

This is one of those tales that draws you in, sinks its fangs into you and refuses to give you up without a fight.  Once you start reading "Vaempires" you won't want to stop until the very last page....and even then you'll be itching for Book 2 in the series.  Oh, by the way.....Total Cliffhanger Ending..... 

Rating:

  (Yes, I liked it this much!!!)

Excerpt: 

Cassie was there, bloody and weary, with a look in her blue eyes that said she’d been to the depths of hell and fought her way back, but she was there and nothing else mattered.

The young lovers fell into each other’s arms and, for a brief time, were the only two people in the world. Words failed and thoughts escaped as they surrendered to the most basic of needs—the need to be held.

They broke apart, neither knowing how long they’d been that way, but both experiencing the same conflicting emotions.

Given the circumstances, it hadn’t been long enough.

Given the circumstances, it had been too long.

“Cassie,” Daniel sighed, “I thought I’d lost you.”

“You almost did,” she said, and what he saw in her eyes—fear, pain, and something else he couldn’t identify—was so intense, his heart broke, releasing the flood of tears that had been threatening to come.

“I don’t …,” he started, suddenly a teenager again, “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had.”

And Cassie cried too, great big tears that pooled at the bottom of her blue eyes before flowing over her long lashes to run down her cheeks, the salty stream cutting a path through the blood and dirt coating her face. The sight of it was at once the most heart-stopping—and heart-wrenching—thing he’d ever seen.

He took her face in his hands, the tenderness in his touch feeling odd after all the death he’d dealt out that day, and kissed her, a long, lingering kiss that was unaffected by their crying or the taste of tears on their lips or the death littering the courtyard around them.

Eyes closed, Daniel breathed her in, this girl—no, this woman—who owned his heart. Her scent, as familiar as his own, was buried beneath a plethora of aromas. Many, including the stench of bloodsuckers, were unpleasant, but it still made his heart skip a beat.

When the kiss ended, he peered into her eyes and whispered, “Did I ever tell you that I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you?”

She smiled. “We’ve known each other since birth.”

“Okay,” he amended. “Since the first time I remember seeing you.”

“Then, yes,” she giggled, “you have told me on several occasions.”

Daniel realized that her giggle wasn’t incongruous with their current situation as much as it was in defiance of it. They were on borrowed time and they knew it.

“And have I told you that I’m going to love you forever?”

“You’ve done more than that,” she said.

About the Author :

Thomas Winship was born in Middletown, NY and still resides in Orange County. He holds an MBA in Management from St. Thomas Aquinas College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of courses in English Composition, Communications, and Business. He also spent fifteen years working for a global pharmaceutical company, specializing in organizational development, talent management, and training.

Tom writes in his spare time. His first novel, a mystery/legal thriller entitled Temporary Insanity (a.k.a. Case Closed), was a 2008 finalist in a national contest but failed to garner industry attention. His second novel, Væmpires: Revolution, was published in October and a follow-up novella, Væmpires: White Christmas, was published in December.

He is an avid collector of books, comic books, music, and movies. His interests are diverse: on any given day, Tom is likely to be found watching a horror movie, attending a hard rock concert, or enjoying a Broadway show.

He is currently working on the next installment of the “Væmpires” series, which is scheduled for an early 2012 release.
Website              Facebook            Twitter             YouTube          Goodreads        

Buy Links:

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118665?ref=Sapphyria

Amazon Kindle:

Amazon Paperback:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tribute Book Tour - Review: Gahan Hanmer's "The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality"


Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781937293642
Pages: 360
Release: April 2, 2012
ARC Copy Courtesy Of:  Tribute Books (At no cost in exchange for an honest review).
Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186
The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality blog tour site:
http://thekingdomontheedgeofreality.blogspot.com/

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality Book Summary

Sometimes it's funny how fast things can change, and sometimes it's not...

Welcome to Albert Keane's beautifully designed medieval kingdom nestled in a completely isolated river valley in the Canadian wilderness. Peaceful, happy, and prosperous, it takes nothing from the modern world, not so much as a single clock.

There is a castle, of course, and a monastery. There is even a pitch dark, rat-infested dungeon - because you simply have to have one if you are trying to rule a feudal kingdom!

Farmers work the land, artisans ply their trades, monks keep school and visit the sick, and nobody (well, almost nobody) misses the modern world at all.

So why has Jack Darcey - actor, wanderer, ex-competitive fencer - been tricked and seduced into paying a visit? And why hasn't anyone told him that the only way to leave is a perilous trek across hundreds of miles of trackless wilderness without a compass or a map?

Saph's Review:

Jack Darcey is a down-on-his-luck man taking possession of property he inherited. While attempting to get settled he's kidnapped (sort-of) and taken to the home of a former schoolmate, Albert, and his partner, Jenna.  Here is when Jack is tricked into leaving with them to Albert's isolated kingdom out in the middle of nowhere.  This kingdom has been several years in developing so when the trio arrive, leaving modern day convenience behind them forever, Jack sees a brand new world.  This world was expertly written by Mr. Hanmer and portrayed quite well.  I had no problem picturing King Albert's realm and everyone in it.
"The Kingdom On The Edge Of Reality" is light and easy fantasy suitable for adults.  The concept is fresh and new:  Leaving the modern world behind to live in an isolated area of Canada, reverting back to the medieval way of life. There are absolutely no modern amenities; clocks, mass manufactured clothing, etc.  Everything is 100% old school.  This novel was action-packed but not over the top.  There was humor, sometimes at the expense of Jack, he is after all the newest member of the kingdom and not entirely privy to the way of life. 

I kept envisioning the Renaissance Festival that is held here in Michigan every summer.  I worked there when I was 17, 18, & 19 (basically...many, many moons ago).  Everything appears primitive (as primitive as it can be with the health department breathing down your backs each and every day) and you truly get the feeling of hard work, simplicity, and, as in the book, a complete sense of being in a time warp.

If you enjoy the medieval time period and fantasy fiction then this book will be right up your alley.

Rating:


The blog tour's official site is:
http://thekingdomontheedgeofreality.blogspot.com/

Author Gahan Hanmer Bio:

Gahan Hanmer enjoyed a colorful career in the theater as actor, director, designer and technician, and also wandered extensively searching for love, happiness and truth. He unintentionally became a grown-up raising two beloved daughters and now lives in the high chaparral desert of California.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Audiobook Review: Julie Cross' "Tempest" (Tempest Trilogy Book #1)

Macmillan Audio
January 2012
Unabridged Compact Disc
ISBN: 9781427215024
ISBN10: 1427215022
Young Adult Fiction
Audio Run Time: 11:00
Review Copy Courtesy Of: Macmillan Audio
(In exchange for an honest review)
http://us.macmillan.com/tempest/JulieCross

Synopsis Via Audiobook Box:

Today, Jackson and Holly are in love. Tomorrow, she will lie dying in his arms. Yesterday, he must undo it all....

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy-he's in college, has a girlfriend...and he can travel back through time. But it's not like the movies-nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there's no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors-it's just harmless fun.

That is, until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson accidentally jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous jumps. Now he's stuck in 2007 and can't get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007, learns what he can about his abilities, and meets Holly for the first time...again. But it's not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these "Enemies Of Time" wills top at nothing to recruit this powerful young time traveler. Recruit...or kill him. Piecing together clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself. Jackson must decide how far he's willing to go to save Holly...and possibly the entire world.

Saph's Review:


Jackson is a nineteen-year-old rich kid living it up in Manhattan, attending college, and spending time with his girlfriend, Holly. Well, spending time with Holly when he and his best friend, Adam, aren't testing Jackson's abilities at time travel. After Holly and Jackson are gunned down in her apartment, Jackson panics and jumps back to 2007, changing with him not only the year but his home base, as well. As he struggles to figure out a way to jump back to 2009 to save Holly he discovers things about his father that shock him. He learns about his father's secret life; a life he never wanted for Jackson. What if everything you knew to be real turns out to be untrue? Jackson's past is uncovered one jump at a time until there's nothing left but the truth. But....will he get back to 2009 in time, or at all, to save the one girl he's falling in love with?

Jackson is a decent Leading Man....he is a spoiled rich kid and I wasn't really impressed with the implied number of females he's been with sexually.  You definitely do see him grow and mature a bit through the book though.  He's able to transitions from being self-centered to actually caring about other events, like the potential destruction of the world.  He has depth, although I noticed several other reviews don't agree with that.  He's a typical teenager but as the book goes along he realizes that there's more out there than getting any girl he wants, butlers to do his bidding, and an endless credit card.  We get to see a more emotional side to Jackson when he jumps back to 2004 and spends a heart wrenching night with his twin sister.  And he may be unable to utter those 3 special words to Holly at the beginning but after jumping around and traveling within timelines he understands just how important Holly is and near the end he commits the ultimate sacrifice; one that left me emotional and pretty upset.

Holly, Adam, Jackson's father, the Enemies Of Time (OETs), and the rest of the secondary players were written well for the roles that they play.  Many people have written that they were weak, uninteresting, and boring but, while they didn't jump up and exude tons of excitement, each and every one of the characters in this book had a specific role to play and Ms. Cross pulled them off well.  Her writing style (as listened to since, you know, this is a review of an audio book), transitioned each sub-plot well.

This book is packed full of revelations, surprises, and twists around every corner, regardless of what year Jackson happens to be in.  I will admit that I'm not really that big into time travel.  It's not my favorite theme by any means but I didn't mind "Tempest."  I wasn't confused by the timeline jumps as Jackson always stated what month, day, and year, he jumped to, whether he knew right away or had to ask someone. It helped that the narrator, Matthew Brown, did an excellent job reading the material.  He adjusted his voice quite effectively and I always knew who was talking before he would say the name of the person.  He brought out the emotions of each character successfully.

Rating:


A special Thank You to Esther at Macmillan Audio!!!

Buy Links:

Macmillan Audio:

Amazon:

Friday, April 20, 2012

CBLS Virtual Book Tour - Review and Excerpt: Amber Riley's "The Well of Truth" (Kindred Blood, Book 2)



Title:  The Well of Truth (Kindred Blood, Book 2)
Author:  Amber Riley
Publisher:  Self
Length:  Approx. 50,000 words
Genre:  YA Paranormal/Fantasy 

BLURB:

Kaden has made a promise to the Iustitia. In exchange for helping the vampire hunters rid Rome of their supernatural infestation, he will never be hunted by the church-assuming he makes it out of the country alive. With a master vampire who is letting the city be terrorized, Kaden must uncover his true motives before it is too late.

Something dangerous is closing in on Kaden, and he cannot afford to be weak. Inside Vatican City, the vampires are more vulnerable than they have ever been. But with his independence on the line, Kaden is breaking every rule in the book, putting everyone's lives at risk. Worse yet, he is feeling things again-things he has not felt in centuries. He must find a way to completely sever his ties with the past. Unfortunately, in a city that is supposed to be off limits to all vampires, Kaden finds more than he bargained for-and loses even more.

"The Well of Truth" tells a haunting tale in which a hardened vampire will realize that some secrets are better left in the dark.

EXCERPT:

Sullivan was pulled backward. I didn’t dare take my eyes from Tobias. He appeared to be sleeping, but vampires could be excellent actors. That was one reason I hesitated to go into the room. The other reason was fear. The room was a vampire’s hell, and I didn’t want to be anywhere near it. I would never survive being locked inside.

“Kaden, stop,” Vin demanded. “Get away from the door.” There was the sound of impact and he began coughing.

“What are you waiting for?” Flo hissed.

I chanced it. I looked back. Flo’s back was blistered and red, Stu’s face was covered in blood, and Sullivan’s neck was slowly healing from a large gash. There wasn’t any time left to waste. I had to kill him and get us out of the tunnels safely.

I turned to the tomb again and jumped, banging my head on the stone. Tobias was sitting with his legs crossed and his hands curled over his knees. He looked up at me calmly with angry hazel eyes.

“Hello,” he said hoarsely. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

Saph's Review:

"The Well Of Truth" is Book 2 in Amber Riley's Kindred Blood series.  I have previously reviewed Book 1, "The Flash of A Firefly."

Times must be desperate in Rome if the Iustitia - the Pope's army of vampire hunters - recruit the very undead creature usually on the receiving of their weapons.  Kaden, Sullivan, Flo, Stu, and Lyn find themselves on their way to Italy to team up with the Iustitia to cleanse the city of an epidemic of newly created vampires.  Reece and Alex, werewolves, join them as their daytime protectors.  Upon inspection of the city, Kaden and Sullivan discover that one of Phoenix's heavily guarded prisoners, Abel ~ a psycho vampire ~ has escaped and could be the vampire behind the recent newbie vamp population explosion.  As Kaden and his crew continue to investigate the goings-on within the city they discover treachery beyond anything they had imagined. 

The relationship between Lyn and Kaden gets a bit more complicated while in Rome.  He manages to keep her at arm's length even when they are laying next to each other.  It will be interesting to see where they ultimately end up especially after the ending leaves in a cliffhanger (Don't worry--I have Book 3, too!).

The discovery of secrets harbored by the Vatican and the last few Popes, along with the revelations surrounding Phoenix and the escape/release of Abel are a lot of intense situations for our Fave 4 Vamps to wrap their heads around.  When they finally find what they are looking for will they be able to stop events in time or be killed in the attempt? 

The Well of Truth is a very exciting sequel to The Flash of A Firefly.  I enjoyed reading every part of it.  I found that the things I said about Book 1 also apply to Book 2:

~~ The author's writing style is great. There aren't any awkward moments, incomplete thoughts, or incoherent sentences that leave you scratching your head or rereading passages 20 times in hopes that maybe you understand the ideas that the author was attempting to convey. I loved the plot. It was nice and solid and kept on the edge of your seat. Just when you thought the story would go one direction, it did a 180 and you were off in another direction. ~~

The vampires continue to kick butts first and take names later!

Rating:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amber Riley has enjoyed writing short stories since childhood and is happiest with a cat in her lap. Born and raised in Central New York, she is currently living in Germany with her new son and husband, a Seabee with the US Navy.



Buy Links:

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Amazon Paperback:





Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Blog Alert!!!!!

Sapphyria's Book Reviews is expanding.....

Well, maybe not expanding so much as separating....

Sapphyria's Book Reviews v.2.0 is entitled Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews.

I have decided to keep YA and family friendlier books from books containing sex, an over abundance of violence or naughty language.

You may find the new blog at Sapphyria's Steamy Book Reviews.

All contact information will be the same and I'm not creating another FB page or twitter account (right now anyway).

Saph's Steamy Book Reviews is still under construction but feel free to go and look around.

Thanks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Pulled" by A.L. Jackson - Excerpt and Giveaway Presented By CBLS Virtual Book Tours



Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing; 2nd edition (April 4, 2012)
Paperback: Print Length: 350 pages   Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches  
ISBN-10: 1938404009   ISBN-13: 978-1938404009
Kindle: File Size: 537 KB   ASIN: B007RICGFK

“Pulled”
by A.L. Jackson
Published by Sapphire Star Publishing
Contemporary Romance

BLURB:

Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love they believed bonded them together for life. After the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in unanswered questions.

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds their heart.

Now, when their lives again intersect, will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past?

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

EXCERPT:

I glanced at the clock.

Sh#t—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.

The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.

Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.

My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.

As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.

“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.

“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.

“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.

“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.

I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.

He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.

I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.

He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.

“Six-thirty.”

“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”

I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.

“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”

I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.

I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together. Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.

I wasn’t stupid. I had known exactly what he wanted, but I could never go back to Colorado Springs to face what I could no longer have, and I refused to stay with my mother in Dallas.

So I left all of it behind, moving with Nicholas to Chicago just days after I returned from Colorado.

I knew then Nicholas would never bring me happiness. That had never been the point. My heart belonged to another and would never be his. All I wanted was a way out, while Nicholas got the trophy wife he thought he deserved. The only thing I hadn’t anticipated was how the numbness I felt for him would evolve over nine years into bitterness and loathing.

Buy Links:

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About The Author:

A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel, Pulled

A.L. resides in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.



Giveaway Details:
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