[Blitz] Once a Gypsy by Danica Winters

Spotlights & Tours 0 Comments 1st November, 2016


ONCE A GYPSYonceagypsy_coverlarge
Book One of The Irish Traveller Series
Danica Winters
Diversion Trade Paperback Original
$14.99 | 275 pages
ISBN: 978-1682303078
November 1, 2016

Praise for ONCE A GYPSY:
“A haunting and fresh voice in paranormal romance. Be prepared for Danica Winters to ensnare you in her dark and seductive world.” 
—Cecy Robson, 2016 Double-Nominated RITA Finalist and Author of The Weird Girl

Helena has never fit in with her Irish traveller family. Aside from her opposition to marriage and determination to attend university, Helena has the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.

Graham is the groundskeeper at a manor in Adare, Ireland. Though the estate appears idyllic, it holds dark secrets, and despite his own supernatural gifts, Graham can’t solve Adare Manor’s problems by himself. Desperate for help, Graham seeks out a last resort: Helena, whose skills are far greater than she knows.

When he promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists, afraid both of the damage her abilities might do and her increasing attraction to the handsome groundskeeper. Her entire way of life is at risk: any involvement, especially romantic, with non-gypsies like Graham is forbidden. But fate has other plans for Helena’s clairvoyance — and her relationship with Graham.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:authorphoto
Danica Winters is a bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine. Visit her online at www.danicawinters.net.


[Audiobook Review]The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 17th October, 2016

[Audiobook Review]The Architect of Song by A.G. HowardThe Architect of Song by A. G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1
Published by Independent by Author on August 15, 2016
Genres: Historical, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 425
Source: Audible, Purchase
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

I am big fan of A.G. Howard’s Splintered Series. When I saw The Architect of Song was now available on audiobook I bought it and started listening to it right then. I was not disappointed by this audiobook. I really enjoy a good audiobook that can distract me from the frustrations of say traffic while I am driving in my car. It is definitely the type of audiobook that is a great escape from the monotony of my day. The Architect of Song is a gothic romance that swept me right up into the story and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Vintage 3D love funny vintage lol




The Architect of Song is about Juliette a deaf young woman living with the grief of her mother’s death. Then one day Juliette steals a flower from a grave and takes it home. Upon touching the petals of the flower a ghost appears. Juliette is not scared of her ghost she is intrigued by him and actually feels for compassion for the lost spirit who has appeared to her. Unfortunately, Hawk, the ghost, doesn’t remember anything about himself or how he died. He just knows that there is something he must do. Juliette sets out with the help her ghost to solve the mystery of his death and right the wrongs done to him. Along, the way Juliette discovers that her ghost is the twin brother of the Viscount determined to woo her. Juliette finds herself torn between the brothers one very much alive and the other a ghost she can never be with.

I liked this book because I am actually a sucker for Victorian romances. I enjoy reading about the ladies of the past who came before me. These women who pushed the boundaries of their societal restrictions. Juliette is a deaf woman living in a time that is already tough to be a woman but she has fight the prejudices of her disability. I admired Juliette because being deaf is just an aspect of her but not who she is. She is a beautiful, head strong, compassionate woman who loves with her whole heart. For, those reasons I felt like I could connect with Juliette and understand why she loves two men but for different reasons.

I liked the mystery aspect of this book because I felt I never trust anybody. There were times this book was super creepy. There were times when my heart was breaking because I was like no don’t let it be true. The romance was of course my favorite part because Juliette chemistry with Chaine the living brother was off the charts. There were a few times I had to fan my face it just that sexy.

I thought the narrator, Gemma Dawson, only added to the drama and romance of the story. I enjoyed how she helped make the story come to life for me. The Architect of Song is a story that grabbed me up because it was a story about choosing life over death. Dying that is the easy part it is the living that is hard. That is what makes this story so beautiful because there is a strength in continuing to live day to day.



[Review]Bedmates by Nicole Chase

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 16th October, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review]Bedmates by Nicole ChaseBedmates by Nicole Chase
Series: American Royalty #1
Published by Willam Marrow on October 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
From the bestselling author of Suddenly Royal comes the first in a sparkling new series about America’s favorite royal—the First Daughter.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you’re the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire’s latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president’s son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn’t have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They’re like oil and water and every time they’re together, it’s combustible. But there’s a thin line between love and hate, and it’s not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he’s resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn’t about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie’s fallen for him, and she’ll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can’t lose.

Bedmates is the first Nichole Chase book I have read and it definitely won’t be my last. Bedmates was a sweet and sexy read set in the back drop of American politics. I liked that Bedmates was really a story about two people growing up while finding a way to make their dreams come true. Sometimes it is not always about politics but finding the path to happiness that truly matters.

The story is about Maddie the First Daughter of the United States. Maddie is a young college student intent on making the lives all animals better. She just doesn’t have the patience to go through proper legal channels. That is how Maddie finds herself arrested for breaking into a lab to set the animals. Then she is ordered to volunteer with the Vice President’s Son Jake helping build housing for Veterans.

I thought Maddie and Jake were so right for each but sometimes people have to save themselves first in order for a relationship to work. The book is more about these characters growing into the people they want to be. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book because it made the story that much more believable. Sometimes standing up for what you believe is the easy part. I believe the hard part is having the patience and perseverance to make those dreams come true. Like I said I liked this romance because it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. It was about two people fighting for their happily ever after. I know people make mistakes every day. I know make mistakes in my relationship and there are times I annoy my husband. Just like Maddie and Jake have to learn, at the end of the day what matters is being with someone that will fight to be with you even if what they are fighting are their own demons. I look forward to reading more books by Nicole Chase because Bedmates was just that good.

jennifer lawrence okay thumbs up k no problem


[Giveaway US & International] Books to Movies Giveaway Hop

Giveaways 43 Comments 8th October, 2016

books-to-movies-hop-16Welcome to another great giveaway here at Romancing the Laser Pistol. As part of the “Books to Movies Giveaway Hop” hosted by BookHounds. Some books make great movies, as part of this giveaway hop we are giving away a prize pack including a softcover copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and a $25 AMC Giftcard so you too can go see the movie inspired by this book.


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[ARC Review] The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Amy's Reviews, ARC Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 6th October, 2016

I received this book for free from BEA, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[ARC Review] The Lovely Reckless by Kami GarciaThe Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Published by Macmillian Children's on October 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: BEA, Publisher
I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

OMG this book is amazing!!! Like if my life didn’t get in the way I would not have put this book down amazing!!!!  I can not express how much I loved this book but I will try.

happy disney cartoon sleeping beauty wonderful



I loved Marco and he might have made a book boyfriend list I may or may not have.

sexy supernatural sam winchester jared padalecki





The Lovely Reckless is sexy, a tear jerker, and most of all a fantastic story!!! What I loved most about this book was the message: save yourself because you are the only who can. It has been a year since Frankie watched her boyfriend get beaten to death in the parking lot of a night club. She has been on a reckless path ever since. But, it’s when she gets arrested for driving drunk that her parents decide she needs a change. She goes to live her cop dad who lives on the poor side of town in the Downs.


Frankie discovers she isn’t a little goody two shoes rich girl anymore. Frankie isn’t a bad girl either. She is somewhere in between. Along the way she helps her old friends save themselves, helps her new friends, and falls in love with a car thief. In the end, including Frankie, has to learn to trust others and ask for help in order to save themselves from the trouble they have gotten into. Every problem seems so much bigger when you are the one going through it. There is always a way out if you have people you trust to help you.

[ARC Review] The Diabolic

ARC Reviews, Fry's Reviews 0 Comments 4th October, 2016

I received this book for free from Edelweiss, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
[ARC Review] The DiabolicThe Diabolic on November 1, 2016
Pages: 416
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

I have to say, for a book with such a simple premise, it sure went pear shaped quickly and continued to do so without fully righting itself. We open on a small, biologically engineered girl named Nemesis. Though, what form of monster picked that name for a small girl, I will never know. Were this a Robin Hobb book, I would consider that quite an ill omen, especially considering what form the end of the book takes. Did they just throw a bunch of adjectives in a pool and pull one out? All Diabolics seem to be named according to this awful set of rules.

I had no way to warn them away from me. Even if I had, they would not have listened. Their ringleader had declared me only a girl- and so that was what they saw now. That was their fatal mistake.

Honestly, okay, that’s a pretty good line. Nemesis was raised to basically straight murder people and be a ice cold lackey for whoever purchased her. The ultimate in hired muscle for any aspiring mob boss, or, in this case, space nobility. The thing about the space nobility though, is they’re straight classist, and have a whole hierarchical system that involves the cosmos blessing people. They believe that engineered people, such as Nemesis herself, do not have a soul or posses the capacity for soul like machinations such as feelings. That’s only part of their space thoughts. The other part is, that despite using outdated space ships that like to rip the fabric of space time asunder when they ultimately break down and malfunction, their society is a religious one, and scientific and historical pursuits are frowned upon.

At this point, you wonder how they haven’t imploded upon themselves into one massive black hole, how they had gotten that far in the first place. At one point you learn that they’re still building ships and rebuilding ships so someone must have a rudimentary knowledge of mechanical systems. Especially considering that they have a special space ship race every so often in honor of the placement of their suns. Clearly, mechanical and GENETIC science is okay, but for some reason no one is allowed to fix their warp cores or repair their larger, long distance travel crafts. Like, what is that even? Why is some science okay and other science absolutely the opposite of okay. God forbid you look at a book, so how do people in this age even learn about this stuff? Clearly they don’t have universities anymore. I don’t know if this was just something overlooked by the author, but it’s a pretty glaring plot hole.

Speaking of not having universities! That happens to be what Nemesis’s owner’s family wants to do. They want to get all that good book learning into people so that everything doesn’t implode upon itself and the galactic empire doesn’t turn into a bunch of backwater space people.

Ugh, I got ahead of myself. Nemesis is bought to be the fiercely loyal protector of a flights of fancy girl named Sidonia, which, overall is not much better of a name. Anyway, they spend lots of time together and it’s great and Sidonia develops feelings for Nemesis that go much farther beyond friends. Sidonia, at one point in the book, clearly wants to be in a “Harold, they’re lesbians,” relationship with Nemesis, though Nemesis is mostly straight and always oblivious. I felt that plot point added nothing. Mostly it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Honestly, was it because Sidonia couldn’t have possibly have had friendly feelings and done the same things for Nemesis? I don’t know. It seems like she could have. I love my friends enough for that. I don’t have to be -in- love with them to try and want better for them, to worry about their safety, to inconvenience myself on their behalf. At some point, Diabolics are outlawed, but Sidonia convinces her family to keep Nemesis. And so they do, because that would have been a super short book if they hadn’t.

Okay, so Sidonia’s father is found trying to get the good book learning into the masses and the Emperor, he doesn’t like that one bit. He demands that they send Sidonia as a hostage. Nope, the family isn’t into that. Sidonia could be killed just by showing up there. They hatch a plot to instead send Nemesis in Sidonia’s stead. There’s complicated things that go into this. Nemesis has to learn etiquette and get cosmetically altered to be more like a real person and less like what you turn into at the end of Fable II. Then then dispatch this creature who’s been consistently told she can’t have feelings and isn’t real to try and fake nobility.

That’s where things get really weird. Not only do we have to deal with the deception plot with Nemesis pretending to be Sidonia, we then have to deal with the Emperor moving against those who want the book learning. We then also have to deal with a thousand other little plots, because the author decided to make it needlessly complicated and watched too many Game of Thrones episodes and tried to emulate them. People’s motives stopped making sense. Things started happening just for shock value. There was no lovingly crafted plot or treachery.  Nothing made sense anymore. Everyone was lying. Everyone was awful. Nemesis did not go full Carrie on them like she should have.

No, no. She fell in love and had feelings. The source of her love is the so-called mad prince, Tyrus, whom we originally meet as he nonchalantly shoots someone in the chest. He also pretends to rape people and all manner of gross things. He’s honestly the grossest. Finding out that most of what he is was carefully crafted lies so that he wouldn’t be murdered didn’t actually help his image in my eyes. He asks Nemesis to marry him, and also asks her to be his ally and everything seems like it should go smoothly until that point, but that’s where, as said above, things get needlessly complicated.

Overall, I wanted more from the book. Nemesis’s feelings didn’t have to be so catastrophically screwed with more than once. They didn’t have to have blasé mentions of transgender disapproval and rape. The intrigue could have been more intriguing. I shouldn’t be questioning the characters or their motives when the book wraps up. Therefore, my rating is just lukewarm, much like Nemesis’s, “Eh, okay, I guess I’ll marry you,” ending.

[Blitz Tour and Short Review] In Ruins by Danielle Pearl

Amy's Reviews, Reviews, Spotlights & Tours 0 Comments 3rd October, 2016



ABOUT THE BOOKpearl_inruins_tr


Author: Danielle Pearl

Series: Something More, #1

On Sale: October 4, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $4.99 USD

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The first New Adult spin-off novel in the bestselling YA Something More series by Danielle Pearl!

She wanted to start again. To be someone—anyone—different. . .

Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh’s first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.

It wasn’t long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who’d do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker’s brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure . . .

My Review

In Ruins was a sweet, funny, sexy, and at times thrilling read. I am big fan of second chance romances and redemption through love. I should say correction, I am big fan of romance stories in general. I really enjoy the stories about forgiveness and redemption like In Ruins. The story starts off with a college girl finding out that the ex who shattered her heart is going to the same school as her. Once I got used to the story jumping between the past and present, I have to admit I was intrigued by what circumstance could be so bad to break up a couple who has been in love for most of their lives. I don’t want to give any more away because it makes the story more interesting going in almost blind like I did. It is a romance story so I knew how it was most likely going to end but I didn’t expect the journey to be so thrilling. I read this book in two day because I could not put it down. I will most definitely be reading the next book which is about two friends of Carl and Tuck finding love.



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something-more-seriesIN RUINS, #1


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danielle-pearl-credit-lidia-anichDanielle Pearl is the bestselling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who—luckily—doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult contemporary romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.






What are your top 5 books you would bring to college?

1-Wurthering Heights by Emily Bronte, to make any relationship feel healthier by comparison.

2-You by Caroline Kepnes, as a cautionary tale (thank God there was no Instagram when I was in college).

3-The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because learning curves can be just as merciless.

4-It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, because every woman should read it, and college is as good a time as any.

5-The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, to make me feel sane by comparison.






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[Review] Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Amy's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 2nd October, 2016

I received this book for free from Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

[Review] Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 20, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Audible, Edelweiss, Purchase
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

There are two things that I will always watch or read about: Victorian London and Jack the Ripper. When I saw the synopsis for Stalking the Jack Ripper I was like sign me up because I am definitely reading that book! I was sold on this book by the synopsis alone, I mean who doesn’t want to read about a young woman of society bucking tradition to become a female forensic scientist. Her first case study just happens to be the Jack the Ripper. I thought I couldn’t want to read this anymore than I already did then they released the cover. I know they say you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover but can I take a moment to say, wow it’s gorgeous.

happy disney romantic sigh marie



I am sad to say I started this book when at the beginning for September because the publisher generously let me view the ARC. Then, I hit this two week reading slump; ugh. I was able to pick up the audiobook and listen to the rest of the story while I was at work. It may have taken me longer to finish Stalking Jack the Ripper than I intended. But, it was worth because Stalking Jack the Ripper is a creepy romantic thrill ride. I have to say I really enjoyed the experience.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a murder mystery first. I have to say on that aspect I was kept guessing the entire time. I had no idea who the real identity of Jack might be. I really enjoy a good murder mystery that keeps me guessing until the end.   I found the forensic pictures really added to that creep factor. The reason I am so fascinated by anything to do with Jack the Ripper is that he could have been anyone. From a governess, to a fish monger, to a high born person of society. The actual Jack the Ripper was never caught. There is something truly terrifying about the mind of serial killer, especially one for all intents and purpose got away with it. I have always thought people are the real monsters not some boogey man who lives under your bed. I have to admire the strength and the will of a young woman that is willing to try to step inside the mind of a killer in order to stop him even that means turning in someone she loves.

But Stalking the Jack the Ripper is also a coming of age story during the Victorian era. A time that always fascinated me because it is time when society was on the brink of change. A woman’s place in life was still to marry and bear children. Some women were willing to buck tradition and go after what they wanted. Even, gasp, pursue careers as doctors or forensic scientists. Audrey Rose is one of those determined young women bent on following her heart. I like historical fiction in which the heroine is actually a modern heroine who buck tradition in order to follow her dreams.

After the way this book ends I hope this isn’t the last we will of Audrey Rose and her beau. I would definitely read more of the crime solving adventures.


[Blitz] Christmas Comes to Main Street by Olivia Miles

Uncategorized 0 Comments 26th September, 2016




miles_christmascomestomainstreet_mm Title: CHRISTMAS COMES TO MAIN STREET

Author: Olivia Miles

Series: Briar Creek, #5

On Sale: September 27, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $5.99 USD

eBook: $4.99 USD

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The fifth and final novel in Olivia Miles contemporary romance Briar Creek series!

The mistletoe is out, and the gloves are off . . .

‘Tis the worst season to be single, but Kara Hastings won’t let a little Christmas funk spoil the festive season. Sure, running her own bakery is a little harder than she expected, but she can handle it. And she’ll prove it to a certain infuriatingly handsome, bossy Big City guy. She may be sugar and spice, but she can kick his butt twice.

Nate Griffin is in Briar Creek only for the holidays, and he refuses to fall for the whole “small town, candy cane-scented Christmas Wonderland” thing. He’s more interested in the fresh-faced cookie chef who always knows exactly how to get under his skin. So when Nate challenges Kara in the town’s big holiday contest, it’s not just the competition that starts to heat up. If he’s not careful, Kara won’t just melt his icy resolve against a small-town Christmas . . . she’ll melt his heart too.



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olivia-milesHaving grown up in New England, Olivia Miles attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.






Top 5 favorite holiday memories

  • First Christmas with my Dogs – They were both still puppies, and I was living in an apartment in the city that actually had a fireplace. I went out and bought them each a stocking and filled it with treats and toys specific to their very individual personalities and traits. My one dog had more fun shredding all the wrapping paper. My other dog refused to miss out on any of the excitement of the day, and by about six in the evening, we noticed that he was falling asleep standing up and almost falling over…
  • Baby’s First Christmas – It was so special to pick out a Christmas dress for my daughter and help her unwrap toys. Christmas became fun again, and from that day forward, I feel like I am reliving it with a child’s enthusiasm.
  • The first time we brought my daughter to see Santa – Now this was not the happy experience one might think. The very first time was at the mall, and she just stared at me with tears welling in her eyes and her lower lip jutted out and I felt so horrible, I pulled her off and didn’t buy the photo, which I’ve been kicking myself about ever since. A few weeks later, Santa made a visit to a playgroup we attended and let’s just say the tantrum she threw was photographed, and the look on Santa’s face almost trumps my daughter’s horror.
  • The Christmas I burned all the food – We ended up having to order pizza. There was still wine, and the dessert was saved, and better yet….less dishes! Merry Christmas to me!
  • The Christmas I had to call Santa – As an incentive to motivate my then toddler’s behavior, I fell back on that age old “Santa is watching.” I can’t remember what she did, but there was the time she acted up so badly (which shocks me, as she really was always such a good girl!) that I had to make a “phone call” to Santa. Well, my daughter went ballistic and I was barely able to keep it together as I said into the disconnected phone, “Hello Santa? This is Avery’s mommy…” Someday she will laugh about this. Or try it on her own kids!







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[Manga Monday] Claymore Volume 1

Uncategorized 0 Comments 11th September, 2016

[Manga Monday] Claymore Volume 1Silver-eyed Slayer Series: Claymore Volume #1
Published by VIZ Media on January 5, 2002
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Manga
Pages: 187
Source: Library
A Claymore - a female warrior named for the sword she carries - travels from medieval village to village to destroy Yoma, monsters who disguise themselves as humans and who are almost impossible to kill. Claymores are half-humans, half-demons who willingly transformed themselves by mixing their blood with monster's blood. Claire, nicknamed silver-eyed killer, is such a powerful Claymore, she can slay a Yoma using only one hand. But she must constantly struggle to keep from becoming a monster herself.

Hey, look, it’s Fry. I’m technically back into the reviewing groove after taking some time off. I hope you’ve missed me, or, you know, at least noticed I was gone. I’m going to take over our Manga Monday feature for the time being from our lovely friend Carol, who had to leave blogging for the time being due to some personal reasons. I hope at some point she can come back!

With that, I am going to do things a little different than Carol did. She reviewed a whole series. I’m going to review a volume at a time, relishing in the journey. It might not always be manga, but it’s sure going to be a graphic novel of some sort. With that said, I’d like to start with a manga that’s been suggested to me several times over the course of being peripherally into Anime and Manga, Claymore.

I somehow knew next to nothing about this series going into it. Despite being one of the “classics”, it’s not one readily discussed or spoiled. I basically knew that there were some chicks in armor and they had big swords and sometimes those big swords went into enemies and those enemies were vanquished.

Honestly, the first volume of this doesn’t really add much to that assumption. I know that Claymores are paid by towns to come in and eradicate monsters that are killing the local peasants. The monster generally takes on the visage of someone in the town before going about it’s murder spree. Usually there’s a string of murders before the Claymore is even called in, and then there’s the whole issue of slow postal service and then travel time. So, usually the Claymore gets there before the entire town is wiped out, but not before plenty of people have lost their lives.

Claymores are half monster themselves. The first volume doesn’t super get into how they were made half monster. Were they born that way? Were they infused in some sort of horrific trial by fire and magical genetic modification? I don’t know yet. It points to the latter. The Claymore we are currently following, whom I’m going to assume is the main character, Claire, was recruited after a monster tore through her family. She finds a kid with a similar situation who follows along after her like a lost puppy and cooks dinner to be useful. He cries a lot and is mostly there to move the plot forward and be a hostage, at least so far. Maybe he’ll come into his own. Who knows.

Overall, not much actually happened. There were a lot of fights, plenty of gore. At one point Claire get’s punched through the gut and heals(?) the hole in her body. I don’t know if she healed it, it seemed like it was still pretty raw and her, I guess he’s a handler, warned her against getting hit there.

Before the close of the manga, we learn that in being half monster, that eventually the monster fully takes over the Claymore and the Claymore themselves will have to be eradicated. Generally, they choose someone with whom they trust and Claire is forced to kill what she coldly refers to as her best friend in all the world. This prompts far more tears from the kid than from Claire, who kind of nonchalantly murders the chick and then buries her.

I’ll have to totally read more, but in true manga fashion, it’s kind of a slow plod to the source and an actual overarching plot. I’ll have to deal with this monster of the week nonsense for a bit. That in and of itself is interesting enough for me to keep going.