Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome to Sapphyria's Book Review Blog!!










Happy New Year to all of my followers!

I hope 2017 is everything you want it to be and more!!

Book Review: The Billionaire's Christmas Proposal by Victoria James @EntangledPub @VicJames101 #ContemporaryRomance


The Billionaire's Christmas Proposal by Victoria James

Book Information:

Kindle File Size: 986 KB
Print Length: 190 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence
Publication Date: November 16, 2015
Sold by: Macmillan
ASIN: B0166PXFFO


Goodreads Description of the Book:

She's everything he wants for Christmas…

Social worker Allison Barrington's home went up in smoke, literally, a month before Christmas. Now the guardian of her teenage sister and a crazy pup, she shows up on the doorstep of the only man in the city she can trust. Resisting Ethan Dane had never been easy, but luckily, Allie isn't into cutthroat playboy businessmen. And Ethan is as driven as they come.

Ethan Dane has wanted Allie since the moment he laid eyes on her at their best friends' wedding. Having her in his home is the perfect chance to prove to her that their chemistry can't be denied, but when he finds out that the biggest business coup of his career means destroying the youth center where Allie works, Ethan is forced to decide what kind of man he wants to be…

Goodreads:

Amazon:

My Review:

Allison Barrington met Ethan Dane when her best friend married his best friend.  Their relationship has been strictly platonic because that's what she wants...doesn't she?  When the apartment building that she resides in with her sister Dani and dog Hook burns down, Ethan is the first, and only, person Allie wants to go to for help.  It's not because he's rich and can afford it, it's because she trusts him and knows he'll help her get back on her feet.  She has all intentions of paying him back for all of his help.  

Ethan Dane can't get Allie out of his head since meeting her at his best friend's wedding.  When she shows up at his place of employment there is absolutely no way he's turning her, Dani, and Hook away.  What better way to shift the nature of the relationship than underneath his roof.  The only problem?  He's been issued a challenge against his brother by his father for ownership of his father's company.  It involves acquiring the building that houses the youth center.  

Allie only wants temporary until she gets back on her feet but Ethan wants her to stay.  Will Ethan be able to convince Allie that platonic is not the type of relationship he wants with her.  Or will the buyout and destruction of the youth center that Allie is devoted to become a huge deal-breaker?

The sparks definitely fly when Allie and Ethan are in the same room.  Their chemistry is undeniable even though Allie keeps trying.  Living under his roof, even though it's temporary, is pulling her closer to him, however.   He's is a very generous man, despite the vibe of treachery that his family members emit.  I enjoyed Allie and Ethan as they navigate through the shake-up the apartment fire caused in their lives.  I also enjoy Dani's character.  She has no problem accepting the hospitality of Ethan in a typical teenager type of way.  Dani's character was written in a way, though, that is quirky and fun, despite the home that she and Allie came from.

Allie and Dani don't have bright, sunshiny childhoods.  They weren't born into money and Allie has worked very hard to get to where she is today.  The author wrote both Allie and Dani with strength but also vulnerability, and both characters are lifelike on the pages.  Ethan is also struck with a moral dilemma - pull off a deal that will destroy the youth center and possibly lose Allie in the process or figure out a way to win the deal and the girl.  

The Billionaire's Christmas Proposal is another fantastic book by Victoria James.  She is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her writing is realistic and her subject matter for each book is believable. Her heroines and her heroes are not perfect but they are perfect for one another.  She writes impassioned and realistic contemporary romances. To date, I've read most of her books (I have the ones I haven't yet and they will get read) and each one manages to evoke emotional responses from me. At the very least, I tear up during some part of the novel. Her characters are believable and realistically written. She touches on topics that are sensitive but she writes them with class and respect. 

Victoria's writing is phenomenal. Her characters, the plot, themes, drama, and passion pull the reader in and keeps them engaged. There is true emotion that can be felt by those readers that become one with the books they read. I am able to get lost in the novels and put myself right into the middle of them. I feel for the characters and drawing on my emotions is what makes a book worth 5 stars for me. If I hurt with them, cry with/for them, laugh, or get angry, then the author did a fantastic job and has written the perfect book (or in the case of Victoria...books) for me.

I voluntarily read a book provided to me via NetGalley,

My Rating:


New Release ~ Jillian's Touch by Jax Jillian


Jillian's Touch
Jax Jillian

Release Date: December 27th 2016





About the Book:

 Jillian's Touch takes readers on a journey with Nathan Long as he struggles to find Jillian, the mysterious woman who wrote him a love letter. After a near-fatal motorcycle accident, Nathan Long has received a second chance at turning his life around.  Battling depression since his parents were killed several years ago, Nathan feels lucky to be alive.  With the support of his friends, shrink, and a new girlfriend Stephanie, Nathan feels ready to move on from the suicidal thoughts and reckless behavior that was consuming his life.    But when he receives a letter from a woman named Jillian claiming to be the love of his life, Nathan's focus turns to finding out who she is, and if she is in fact real.     When Nathan finally finds Jillian, he learns that the circumstances surrounding their time together are beyond anything he could ever imagine. 

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Amazon UK

Also available on Kobo | B &N | iBooks

Book Teasers:




Meet the Author:

Jax Jillian

Jax Jillian was born in Albuquerque, NM but before she turned a year old, her parents moved east to Harrisburg, PA where she was raised. After graduating high school in 1995, Jax attended La Salle University (1999, B.A., Communication), Temple University (2001, M.Ed, Sport & Recreation Administration), and Central Pennsylvania College (2005, A.A.S, Physical Therapist Assistant). She settled in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and son before she became a writer. Jax found a passion for motion pictures at a young age when she remembers “getting lost” in films, and that passion ultimately led her down the path to writing. she loves “getting lost” in her writing and particularly loves writing heartfelt love stories with a touch of tragedy which she believes is the key to truly reaching readers. Jax is the author of Larkin’s Letters and Ryan’s Letters, two contemporary romance novels that have seen early success from reviewers, with both averaging 4.8/5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads. She is currently writing her third novel and aspires to write a screenplay one day. When not writing, she works full time as a physical therapist assistant and as a mom to her three-year-old son.

Social Media Links:


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Friday, December 30, 2016

Promo Blitz ~ Breaking Evil by Kristina Rienzi ~ #Suspense #Paranormal


Breaking Evil
Kristina Rienzi
Suspense/Paranormal
Date Published: December 15, 2016

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About the Book:

BECOMING EVIL

One year ago, Sera Murano chose evil. She left her human world behind to transform into an Ensoul, a rare and powerful demon, all to fight the evil she was about to become. Working for her father Lorenzo, the leader of all demons, she secretly vowed to overturn his plot to destroy humankind.

BATTLING EVIL

That is, until demon hunters attack Sera and her beloved, Damon, and the truth about the human-demon war is revealed. Torn between the human life of her past and the supernatural one she lives now, Sera must decide who is the worse enemy: evil or humanity.

BREAKING EVIL

To win the battle of her life, Sera is forced to do the unthinkable, taking drastic measures and risking the lives of those she loves most. She must fight to the death against the only supernatural leader she’s ever known, all for a chance to break the cycle of evil.

Read an Excerpt:

Time was of the essence. Sera burst out of her room and into the hallway and raced down the long corridor. As she reached the winding stairs, she opened her mouth to scream that she was coming for Damon. But before she could say anything, a booming crack silenced her. It bellowed loudly. 

The noise stopped her in her tracks. She had no idea where the sound had come from. Dazed, she froze in her steps and looked around, trying to identify its source. What was that? Her blood pumped fast through her system. When she took her next step, an excruciating and undeniable agony came over her. She had been attacked.

Stars swirled and danced in her vision. Everything dimmed.  The back of her head throbbed. The pain pounded in her skull, making a ba-boom sound over and over again. Without further warning, her body gave way, and she dropped fast to the hard floor. As she fell and desperately tried to right herself, she spun on the perfect angle to see the reason for her unfortunate circumstance. He loomed over her, poised for a further assault. 

Her attacker was a dark, blurry figure. He watched her collapse with his small beady eyes glaring at her from the holes in his black mask. While the hunter's face was obscured, his smile gleamed brightly in the dimly lit house. Sera could have sworn she heard laughter. It was a note higher than she anticipated. She noticed the hunter's right arm; he was positioned ready to strike. He wielded a giant baseball bat, which had just connected with her head.

"What the…?” Sera’s rage metamorphosed into energy, thrusting through her like a roaring and violent storm. It readied her body to respond to her attacker.  

The hunter pulled his arm back slowly until it was raised high above his head. He paused, a cocky move, meant to intimidate her.

Unwilling to fall victim to the masked assailant, Sera summoned her supernatural strength once again and pushed herself off the floor to face him. In a flash, he twisted his body and swung the bat toward her. Sera hesitated a beat too long, just enough for the demon hunter to get his wish.

She had been mere inches away from an upright stance, when the bat, in full swing, connected with her cheekbone. The impact sent Sera careening backward until she slammed up against a wall.

For seconds she teetered on the edge of the top stair.  Finally, she lost her battle with her balance and slid off the wall. To save herself, she took a leap, high into the air. But nonetheless, her body tumbled and crashed down the steps of the grand staircase.

The fall felt as if it lasted for minutes, but only seconds had passed. Conscious as she experienced her soar through the air, her body twisted and turned as it made its way to the bottom of the stairs. Without warning, her head smashed violently onto the marble foyer entrance. Everything faded to black.

Meet the Author:

Kristina Rienzi is an American author who has been writing in some fashion for several decades. In 2014, she achieved traditional publication for her debut novel, Choosing Evil (Ensouled Trilogy, Book One), and has since independently published, Luring Shadows, Twisted, and Winter Road. Her latest novel, Breaking Evil (Ensouled Trilogy, Book Two) will be releasing soon.

Professionally, Kristina has been active in the writing community as a member of several organizations such as Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. She has also served as the New Jersey Romance Writers Literary Book Fair Chair and, most recently, the President of Sisters in Crime-New Jersey. Kristina holds a Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling and a Senior Professional Human Resources Certificate, working in both fields throughout her business career. 

Personally, Kristina is married and doggie mommy to Pekingese and Shih-Tzu pups. Although a New Jersey resident, she dreams of one day moving to Hawaii and living the ‘Aloha’ way. When she is not writing, she spends her time reading, watching paranormal investigations, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers and relaxing with her loved ones, wine in hand.

Email: KristinaRienziAuthor@gmail.com

Contact Links:

  
Purchase Links


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Something Foul at Sweetwater (A Missy DuBois Mystery, Book 2) by Sandra Bretting #CozyMystery


Book Details:

Kindle File Size: 891 KB
Print Length: 186 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
ASIN: B01DHWAC2S



NetGalley Book Description:

Louisiana hat maker Miss DuBois is making a name for herself veiling Southern brides-to-be with her sophisticated designs. She's also gaining a reputation for unveiling murderers . . .

Missy is shocked when she sees the asking price for the Sweetwater mansion . . . in a good way. With business thriving at Crowning Glory, it would be nice to set up shop surrounded by alabaster columns and gleaming mahogany. The Southern connections only deepen when it turns out the real estate agent is Mellette Babineaux, a college classmate and sorority sister. But when Missy drags her best friend Bo along to the mansion for a second look, they barely make it past the live oaks before they discover Mellette's dead body in a shed. Now, for the sake of her college friend, Missy finds herself investigating everyone from a superstitious Cajun caretaker to a Rolls Royce-driving billionaire--and finding that lots of closet space can mean lots of skeletons, too . . .

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:

My Review:

When Sweetwater, a mansion in the area, goes up for sale, Missy can't help herself...she must tour the inside. It would be nice if she and Ambrose had a home of their own instead of living in a rent house. The mansion, its amenities, and the price are exactly what Missy and Bo need and can afford. However, when the lifeless body of the realtor, Mellette Babineaux, a former sorority sister of Missy, is found in a shed on the property, Sweetwater becomes a crime scene. Between speculations of voodoo, a grubby billionaire, a Cajun property attendant, and other possible suspects, Sweetwater is becoming more unattainable.

As the mystery unfolds, Missy discovers several hypotheses as to why the realtor may have been killed. As she continues to help find out why Mellette was killed, the history of Sweetwater continues to bubble to the surface. The murder could be related to any number of things, and with a little bit of help from her cop friend, Lance, she's determined to figure it out. Just as clumsy as she was in book 1, Missy isn't the only one that sidestepped the law in book 2. Lance secures a search warrant and allows Missy to tag along and touch things in the home being searched....

The plot is nicely executed and pretty solid. I enjoyed the multiple threads involving the murder, the history of voodoo, the ties Sweetwater has to the Civil War, the billionaire, and the other storylines. There are many twists, turns, viable suspects, and diversions along the way. The author did a great job concealing the real suspect(s) and the reason for the murder.

I really enjoyed the interactions between Missy and her best friend, Ambrose.  Their conversations, actions, and mannerisms are realistic.  There has been a spark between them since book 1 and it is eventually explored in book 2.  The interactions with other characters in the book, dialogue, actions, and discussions are done well.  

If you're looking for a fun cozy mystery then Something Foul at Sweetwater will suit you just fine.

I voluntarily reviewed a NetGalley copy of this book.

My Rating:


I am part of the Craving for Cozies Challenge 2016.

See my list of Cozies here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5499564-sapphyria?shelf=craving-for-cozies-challenge-2016





Title: Something Foul at Sweetwater
Series: A Missy DuBois Mystery, Book 2
Author: Sandra Bretting
Kindle File Size: 891 KB

Promo Blitz ~ Indomitus Est (Book 1 of the Fovean Chronicles) by Robert W. Brady, Jr.


Indomitus Est
Book 1 of the Fovean Chronicles
Robert W. Brady, Jr.
Fantasy, Historical Fantasy



Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2ibHhDo

Free Until the End of 2016

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About the Book:

Imagine yourself, born into the suburbs, your parents working class people, your school nothing special.

Imagine that, for some reason far beyond your understanding as a very young child, a god that you didn't even know existed ear-marked you as his bargaining chip in a trade across realities.
Imagine that, from the time of that first first meeting and for your next eighteen years, that god - Anubis - threw everything he could think of at you, to break you, to torment you, to forge you into this thing to be traded.

And imagine that, at the end of it all, you passed all of the tests, leaving your life in a shambles, never knowing that you were being tested at all and, when the time came, Anubis appeared and tricked you into giving up your soul to him, only to make the trade and give you over to another god, named War, who by comparison made Anubis seem like a pretty nice guy.

I'm Randy Morden - welcome to my world. A world named 'Fovea,' where magic is real, technology the stuff of fantasy, and warriors with swords ride horses into battle, trying to stay one step ahead of their gods' will. I didn't ask for this life, but I promise you: before anyone ever knocks me down again, I'm going to have their blood on my knuckles, because a man can only be pushed so far!

Other books in the The Fovean Chronicles Series:



King Glennen of Eldador gave me a job to do - avenge his wife's death - and hey, you know me, I am to please!

So maybe he didn't say, "Attack the invincible city, sack it and pretty much slap the faces of every important person on Fovea," but then again I never went to charm school. I kind of do what I do.

But you know what I wish he had said? I wish he'd said, "Lupus, if you do plan to go sack the invincible city, you better make darn sure you have a way out of there, because the Uman-Chi are the most powerful Wizards on the planet, and every other nation is a friend to them.

Yeah, that would have been pretty good advice.

These are the continuing adventures of Randy Morden, a man from our world thrust into another where magic is real and technology sounds pretty far-fetched. As the chosen of a god named 'War,' Randy has a mission to fulfill a destiny that he doesn't understand and, incidentally, to keep himself and his family alive while doing it.
In Indomitus Vivat, the stakes are raised
 as War drives Randy to greater stakes and greater consequences, and pathway that could lead to empire, or straight to hell!




To say that Randy Morden had an effect on Fovea is an understatement. More than ten years after his arrival, the Fovean High Council is in a shambles, the supremacy of the Uman-Chi is a memory, and Eldador is an Empire, not a kingdom.

An Uman-Chi girl finds herself with a song to sing, a song which is a gift from the goddess Eveave. When she sings it, another call will come to Earth, a new call for two new champions, a young girl and an old man, for the world where magic is used like technology, and technology is just starting to appear.

Now War is about to rage across Fovea, and the greedy Eldadorian government is at the center of it. These two champions from Earth have a decision to make - one not so easy as they might think:
Which side are they on?

Travel with Bill and Melissa in the footsteps of the Conqueror and the shadow of the Wolf, and ask yourself: how do you fight the invincible warrior, especially considering that your failure is already foretold?




The battle for Fovea is on, and a girl named Raven and a man named Jack aren’t even sure of which side they should be on. On one front is the Emperor, Rancor Mordetur, from their home planet of Earth. He seems to have a lot on this side – a massive army of highly trained warriors, the most feared witch on Fovea as his wife and superior technology born of another world. On the other is every Fovean Nation; savage Men and wild Uman, long-lived Uman-Chi and merciless Swamp Devils and Slee; all of them unwilling to be subjects of the Empire. But is the Empire evil, or do Raven and Jack not yet have the whole picture? And what of the song that so few people can hear, sung to them by an Uman-Chi girl barely 167 years old? If they can find the weapons mentioned in the song, can they win the day? Or, as the song says, are they doomed to fail?

Indomitus Sum is the conclusion to Indomitus Oriens. Now you can finally learn the fate of those who have no faith, but who instead know the will of their gods.

About the Author:

Robert W. Brady, Jr. is the author of 'The Fovean Chronicles.'
Born in Connecticut in 1964, he graduated from University of Connecticut in 1986.

He worked his way through college as a construction worker, an infant swimming instructor, a bartender, a waiter, a secretary, the manager of a dry cleaning store and a security guard.

While in college, he began the first version of the 'The Fovean Chronicles.'

After college, he lasted exactly three months in the insurance industry as an Assistant Annuities Analyst, and then enlisted in the Naval Nuclear Power Program.

He served in the Navy from 1987 - 1994, receiving the Navy Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southeast Asia Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal during the Gulf War. He was certified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, a Reactor Operator, a Radiological Controls Shift Supervisor and achieved a rank of Petty Officer First Class while serving onboard the USS Truxtun, CGN-35 and the USS Cape Cod, AD-43.

Contact Links:


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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review~ Grilled and Seasoned with Murder (A Josie Rizzo Cozy Mystery, Book #1) by JR Pearson #CozyMystery


Book Details:

Kindle File Size: 576 KB
Print Length: 133 pages
Publisher: Pearson Publishing
Publication Date: February 19, 2016
ASIN: B01C0TBZFC

Amazon Link:


Goodreads Description of the Book:

Josie Rizzo has a lot on her plate. 
(Double bacon cheeseburger not included) 

She and her furry companion, Petey, set out to start fresh in the food loving town of Greenville. Josie is excited to introduce the readers of her food blog to the town's delicious creations.

But when a young woman is murdered at a local burger joint, Josie must sacrifice all she has planned to accomplish to prevent a person from her past from being wrongly accused of the woman's death. 
And things start to heat up when the killer sets his sights on Josie.

Will she be able to enjoy Greenville's belly-rubbing cuisines and begin a new chapter in her life? Or will the killer cut Josie's dreams short and make sure that basket of onion rings are her last?

Goodreads Link:  

My Review:

Josie Rizzo is a mid-twenties woman craving independence.  She just moved from her home town of Jewel Cove to Greenville, about a half an hour away.  The writer behind the food blog Good Eatin' for the Curvy Soul, Josie is looking for a change in cuisine she can taste test and recommend to her followers.  What she wasn't planning on is murder behind a restaurant she's dining in or a long ago neighbor to come into that same restaurant.

Tony is neck-deep in the case as the woman that was murdered was picked up and driven to Greenville by none other than himself.  The only pair of friendly eyes he was able to capture in the restaurant is a girl from his past, Josie Rizzo.  In hopes that she could help him out, he seeks her out.  This, unfortunately, puts her in danger.

Josie, Tony, and the cops race to solve the case before anyone else ends up dead.

Grilled and Seasoned with Murder is a fun start to a new series by an author that is new to me.  Josie is a happy character that gets along with everyone she meets.  This is a great quality for someone that frequents restaurants and writes about the food on her successful food blog.  Josie is a really likable character.  Her bestie, Brad, is protective but more interested in his career at one point.  He's around but not really involved in anything pertaining to the plot.  The story is unique and I enjoyed it for the most part.

Only a couple things were distracting me with this book.  First, there were a lot of thought and scene shifts that were abrupt.  The usual transitions weren't there; i.e. end of a chapter, mention of a new topic in the previous paragraph that leads into the next, even asterisks across the page to indicate a new subject that didn't warrant a new chapter yet.  The second thing relates directly to a scene in the book involving Josie and a road rage incident.  Again, there wasn't any lead up to the event, making it seem completely out of place.  It wasn't out of place as you read on but there could have been something added prior to the event so that when it actually happened it was clearer.  Plus, Josie and her car were injured, there is a murderer in town, and she chose to call Tony - not an ambulance or you know, the cops.

I enjoyed the writing style of the author and she told a pretty good tale of murder.  I was engaged in the fast-paced story from the beginning and read it in one sitting.  Even with the distractions I noted above, Grilled and Seasoned with Murder is an entertaining who-done-it.  Josie doesn't knowingly put herself in harms way and I enjoyed that about her.  I also liked that Josie and Tony had a small reunion (not sexual) after not seeing each other for many years.  Like typical friends, they were able to pick up where they left off and there wasn't any discomfort between them.  A romance between seems natural and I hope that the author explores that in future books.  

My Rating:

 


I am part of the Craving for Cozies Challenge 2016.

See my list of Cozies here:


Goldtone Star Earrings


Need a gift for a teacher or two?

Please go to my jewelry blog for details on how to purchase a pair of hand assembled goldtone star earrings:

http://ambersjewelrycreations.blogspot.com/2016/12/goldtone-star-charm-earrings-with-fish.html

While you're there, peruse the other posts for additional jewelry available.

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