Thursday, May 31, 2012

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon {Sign Up}

The Once Upon a Read-a-Thon is hosted by Angela @ Reading Angel, Candace @ Candace’s Book Blog, and Lori @ Pure Imagination!!

To participate in the Once Upon a Readathon enter your name into the linky. Then, from 12:01 am on July 9th to 11:59 pm on July 11th you read, read, and read some more! Make sure you do at least one update post (if you don’t have a blog you may do this on facebook and/or twitter) and participate in at least one challenge. Be sure to grab the button for your sidebar too! (Grab it on the sidebar!)

Angela, Candace, and Lori will be giving away a $60 Amazon giftcard (or TBD if you’re international). The winner will be picked at random from the participants list. They will also be having a couple of mini challenges each day and there will be some sort of giveaway with those. To win anything you must participate in the read-a-thon. You must post at least one update on your blog (or Facebook or Goodreads if you don’t have a blog) and you must complete at least one mini challenge.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm Happy Because...It's My Birthday!!

I don't usually post things about my life on the blog, but I'm just really happy and excited today because it's my birthday! I turn 24-years-old today, and it just doesn't feel like I'm that old. Time just flies by and sometimes passes you by without you ever noticing.

With regards to ZBR, I'm really happy with how it's been going and the number of reviews I've been able to complete. It's also been great being able to participate in all the blog tours I've posted reviews for.

I'm glad I get to share the world of books with all of you! I look forward to more great times! :)

Christina ♥♥♥

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Challenge Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning
Series: Darkest Powers Trilogy #1
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Supernatural Fictions, Young Adult Fiction
Elements: Necromancers, Werewolves, Sorcerers, Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Zombies
Publisher: Harper Teen, Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover, 390 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-166269-0
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost--and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.


Chloe Saunders just wanted to be normal. But when she sees her first ghost, she knows nothing will be normal again--least of all herself. Now she's been sent to Lyle House, a home for troubled teens. There, the doctors tell her she's schizophrenic, while the other residents tell her she's a necromancer with the power to communicate with and raise the dead. Which is true, she doesn't know, but she does know that there is something not right about Lyle House and its residents are more than they seem...

Meet the younger generation of supernaturals residing in the world of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld in her Young Adult trilogy, The Darkest Powers.

In The Summoning, Chloe is a 15-year-old high school sophomore with great ambitions of being a movie screenwriter and director. But that dream comes to a screeching halt when she starts see ghosts and has a total freakout in the hallway of her school. Now she's being sent to a home for troubled teens! Lyle House seems on the up-and-up, but Chloe has been hearing whispers that suggest otherwise.

With the help of housemates Simon and Derek, Chloe uses her abilities as a necromancer to learn from those who lived in Lyle House before them--and died, of course--that Lyle House was owned by Samuel Lyle. He did unspeakably evil and horrible experiments on other supernaturals. Samuel Lyle was a sorcerer using dark magic on those supernaturals he lured to him, offering them a better life. Most stayed far away from the sorcerer and his house, but there were those who were beguiled by his words of hope.

Once they realize that it's not a coincidence that Lyle House is full of supernatural teens, Derek, Simon, and Chloe plan to escape and search for Simon's father. But housemates Rae and Tori learn of the escape plan too. One wants to tag along and the other betrays them into the hands of those running Lyle House. Now the race to escape is on. Who can be trusted when your own family betrays you?

I loved Chloe as the heroine of this series. She starts off like a scared little girl, but quickly becomes a young woman who takes crap from no one. We get a glimpse of the kind of woman she'll become. I liked that she has dreams and ambitions--she's not a heroine who is just drifting along not knowing what she wants in life. Chloe is a smart girl and she shows it. I was most surprised by her great sense of humor and sarcastic wit. And finally, liked that though she was scared of Derek when she first met him, she quickly grows a backbone when it comes to him and doesn't back down when he gets in her face.

Chloe's power as a necromancer is more advanced than is normal for someone her age. When she communicated with one of the ghosts in Lyle House, he said that her power is too strong, too much, too soon, and unnatural. And when Chloe asked another of the Lyle House ghosts if she was in danger, she said, "You're a supernatural. You're always in danger." I'd say that Chloe has a lot to worry about, but at least she's not alone.

Simon and Derek are two of my other favorite characters besides Chloe. Simon is a sorcerer and Derek is a werewolf. Being foster brothers, and knowing the danger they are in, they are pretty tight and don't really trust anyone else. But for some reason Chloe is different--I would love to read their first meeting for the guys POV to see what they thought of her--and when they realize that she's in just as much danger, they let her in and protect her. There are definite signs of a love triangle forming.

The prologue to The Summoning sets the tone for the whole book. We have a young Chloe who is left with a babysitter who doesn't know that she's not allowed in the basement. Chloe knows that she's not to go down into the basement, but the babysitter is asking her to come down and help her look for the Coke. Chloe hopes that if she can get the Coke and run back upstairs before Mrs. Hobb sees her. No such luck. When Chloe turns around to go back upstairs, Mrs. Hobb is there, her death replaying over and over while she's standing there smiling at Chloe, all the while the babysitter is upstairs screaming Chloe's name, trying to find her. The first thing Mrs. Hobb says to her is, "Welcome back, Chloe."

How creepy is that? This prologue sets a dark undertone to the story. The foreboding just screams something bad is going to happen. The Summoning and the Darkest Powers is definitely one of the darker YA series out there.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author: 

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Title: The Darkest Whisper
Series: Lords of the Underworld #4
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Supernatural Fictions, Paranormal Romance
Elements: Immortals, Sirens, Vampires, Deities, Harpies, Demons
Publisher: HQN Books, Harlequin Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 406 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-77392-3
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): He is the keeper of Doubt and his entire world's about to be rocked.

Summary: Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern...until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she'd fall for a kind human who wouldn't rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora's box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love....


The Darkest Whisper shows us that even the strongest and most confident individual has doubts. Sabin, leader of the Greece Lords and Gwen, the timid and youngest daughter of the Skyhawk harpy clan, have to overcome their doubts and insecurities to find the truth.

Sabin's demon is Doubt. His demon targets an enemy's insecurities and makes them doubt themselves. This is a great weapon against the Hunters. Sabin is the most driven Lord in the war with the Hunters, a drive that is fueled by the murder of his best friend, Baden, keeper of Distrust. Though Doubt is beneficial to battle it's not beneficial to an intimate relationship. All the women Sabin has been involved with have doubted themselves so much that they eventually met an unfortunate end. This has lead Sabin to forsake romance and commit himself further to the war with the Hunters. That is until he met Gwen.

Gwen has her own share of doubts--in fact, she steeped in doubts, and was named Gwendolyn the Timid because of them. She doubts her own strength and ability to control her darker side. But Sabin knows her true strength and knows that she would be a lethal addition to his battle with the Hunters, if he can only get her to stop doubting herself (which is a feat in itself for someone possessed by Doubt himself). What he doesn't expect is for Doubt to fear Gwen's harpy...

The Darkest Whisper is the most action-packed book in the Lords of the Underworld series so far. It starts off right away with the Lords searching the pyramids of Egypt for the Cloak of Invisibility and coming upon a facility breeding immortal Hunter children. The Hunters kidnap immortal women, rape them, and then take the children away from the mothers after they are born to train them as Hunters to fight against the Lords. Sabin and the other Lords take out the Hunters in the facility and free the women--some of whom are already pregnant. Gwen is one of the women the Hunters kidnapped, but she was left physically untouched thanks to the power of her harpy. The Hunters were too terrified of her and kept her locked up, forced to watch the other women being abused and not being able to do anything to help them. The attack on the breeding facility was a huge blow to the Hunters and they keep trying to get Gwen and the other women back by launching attack after attack. The chemistry between Gwen and Sabin at that first meeting was instantaneous, but each has doubts and worries that keep them from moving toward anything romantic.

I thought that the harpy consort concept was interesting. I was wondering about Sabin's ability to calm Gwen when she's going harpy. Consorts are forever, and it's very rare that a harpy finds her consort. A harpy is an independent free spirit, but every so often she will find a male that pleases her. His touch and smell become like a drug to her, and his voice soothes her fury. So it's like no matter how much Gwen and Sabin fight against it, they will keep coming back to each other because they will want no one else.

We get to see more of Paris, Aeron, and Torin's POVs. Paris is still lamenting Sienna's death and is now drowning himself in ambrosia-laced alcohol to relieve the pain. Aeron leans of Paris' sacrifice and tries everything in his power to help Paris, all the while feeling invisible eyes watching his every move. And Torin contemplates his relationship with Cameo while he watches a pointy-eared brunette walk the streets of Buda on his computer screens.

A new POV we get to see is from Gideon. He is the most misunderstood Lord because he can't say what he really means to say, being possessed by Lies. But in his POV we get to see his true thoughts since he "never lies to himself." I thought it was interesting that while Gideon was thinking about the other demons and what they could do compare to him, that he felt a longing when thinking of Nightmares that he couldn't explain. It'll be interesting to see what happens with that.

I enjoyed the guest appearance from Nix of the Immortal After Dark series by Kresley Cole. Her appearance is small and she doesn't say anything, but there are hints that Nix might be Torin's special lady. I don't know how that would work out, but Torin is the next Lord on my "Most Intriguing" list--I mean, he can't touch anyone at all--so I'd love to read his story.

There is a surprise revelation about Galen, keeper of Hope, toward the end that really threw the Lord for a loop. This series just keeps getting better and better with each new installment. I can't wait to read Aeron's story in The Darkest Passion.

About this Author:

Gena Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27 and now, four years later, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirteen books, with eleven more on the way in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, cutting edge young adult novels, and stunning urban fantasy.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated in French, Italian and Korean. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”. 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Challenge Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Title: Moon Called
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Supernatural Fictions, Urban Fantasy Fiction
Elements: Werewolves, Vampires, Fae, Shapeshifters, Witches, Ghosts
Publisher: Ace Books, Penguin Group
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 288 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-441-01381-4
Release Date: January 31, 2006
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they'll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I'm not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.

Mercy Thompson's sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She's tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.


Patricia Briggs brings us a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride of an urban fantasy in the first book in her Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called. Mercy Thompson is a mechanic in the Tri-Cities area, but she's so much more than that. Hidden within the mundane world of humans is a world of werewolves, vampires, witches, and the fae. Then there is Mercy. She's a Walker, a Native American shapeshifter who changes into a coyote.

Mercy is very independent, fiercely loyal, and she knows her strengths and limitations. She was raised by the Marrok, the alpha of the alphas--so she knows her place among the werewolves; she has friends among the fae and vampires, and acquaintances among the witches. With hostility rising after the Gray Lords revealed the existence of the fae to the humans, Mercy needs all the friends and connections she can get.

A young man named Mac, who is running from some pretty bad men, shows up at Mercy's shop looking for a job. She knows right away that Mac is a werewolf, a newly made one at that. When he tells Mercy of a group doing experiments and drug testing on newly created werewolves, Mercy calls in help from the local alpha, Adam Hauptman. But things quickly go wrong when Adam brings Mac into his pack and his house is attacked by the very group Mac was running from--Adam's daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped, and Adam is almost killed. This leads Mercy back to her childhood home for help from the Marrok--and her first love, Samuel.

I've been wanting to read the Mercy Thompson series for a while, but hadn't had the chance until now. But I'm really glad that I finally picked up Moon Called. I'm already addicted to this series, and I've recently gotten Blood Bound and Iron Kissed so I can continue reading right away.

We have a straightforward, sassy, and fearless heroine in Mercy. Two alpha werewolves vying for her attention. And a conspiracy that erupts into and all-out battle for survival. All these create an engaging story I wasn't able to put down. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more romance. I know that urban fantasy doesn't usually have a lot in the romance department, but in Moon Called we only see hints of the love triangle forming.

We know that Mercy cares about Adam--she wouldn't have done so much  to save his life otherwise--but we don't really know what she's feeling for him. With Samuel in the picture, Mercy is conflicted by her past feelings for him resurfacing. There's a nice kiss toward the end, but it's more sweet than steamy. There's isn't any depth to the romance, so it's left kind of vague and flat.

But since it is a love triangle, we know that Mercy will eventually have to choose between Adam and Samuel. Other than that I loved Moon Called and I can't wait to continue the series with Blood Bound. 

About this Author:

Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.

Moon Called was read during the Bout of Books 4.0 Read-A-Thon

Giveaway Winner: Awaited

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Congratulations to Katie S. for winning a copy of Awaited!

Be sure to contact me at with your email and I'll pass it along to the tour host!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tour Review: Night Walker by Lisa Kessler (Guest Post+Giveaway)

Title: Night Walker
Series: The Night #1
Author: Lisa Kessler
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Vampires, Reincarnation
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Format: PDF, 265 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-937044-12-1
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Source: Tour Host {Bewitching Book Tours}
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…

After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.


Night Walker is about loss, sacrifice, life, and eternal love. When Calisto's love Tala was murdered, being unable to endure another sunrise, Calisto gave up his humanity in the hope of one day finding her again in another life. It is now 200 years later and he's found Tala again in the form of Kate Bradley. Kate doesn't remember any of her past life as Tala, but she has nightmares every night about a woman being brutally raped and murdered. When she meets Calisto for the first time she feels an instant, intense connection. But centuries-old enemies are resurfacing and a deranged monk threaten their fragile reunion. The question is: will history repeat itself, or will fate intervene to give them the life together that was taken from them centuries ago?

Calisto is a hero who accepts things as they are. He accepts who and what he is. He's not afraid to use his abilities as a Night Walker to protect those he loves and cares about. He respects life even as he takes it. He's more aware of humanity than anyone else. And he has a selflessness that is rarely ever seen in anyone else. Calisto loves totally and without reservation, and his loyalty and devotion to Kate are unmatched. I just really love reading from the POV of a hero such as Calisto.

Kate has a fragility to herself that makes her seem like a damsel-in-distress, but she has a hidden strength that shows itself when it's needed. Kate has been thrown into this unbelievable and extraordinary situation and she stays pretty level-headed, though there are times when it got to be too much. She has a habit of running from her feelings, but when she met Calisto she decided to take a chance and follow them instead of hide from them. I thought that Kate and Calisto meshed very well as a couple.

Kate and Calisto's relationship focuses more on their spiritual connection than anything physical. There's none of the vulgarity or focus on sex as is common in most paranormal romances. Their connection is so strong and intense, but there's a fragility and sweetness that leaves you feeling like you just witnessed something really special. The Romneya bloom is like a symbol of their love and there's even a Spanish legend connected to the flower. As I was looking up information about the flower, I also came across a story involving a native woman who loved to sing and laugh. I don't know if this is where the inspiration for their relationship cam from, but the legend and stories definitely reminded me of Calisto and Kate.

This whole book has a foundation on spirituality, even when it comes to the Night Walker. It's made clear that Night Walkers are NOT vampires. Vampires are seen as evil creatures ruled by their blood lust. Night Walkers are peaceful healers. Because the Old One who changed Calisto was a leader of the Kumeyaay tribe, there is a Native feeling to the origins of the Night Walker. They even have spirit animals that they can change into. Calisto's is the raven.

The open ending left me really curious about what's really happening. The appearance of the white-headed eagle sent questions spinning through my head. Will this be the happily ever after that Kate and Calisto want and deserve? Or is there more going on than either of them could have ever thought possible? I'm really excited to see if these questions will be answered in future books.

Book Trailer:

About this Author:

Lisa Kessler is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

Lisa recently signed a 4 book deal with Entangled Publishing to release her Night Series. The first book, Night Walker, is scheduled to be released August 5th.

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego. You can learn more at

Lisa lives in southern California with her incredibly fun husband and two amazing kids.


Guest Post by Lisa Kessler:

Meeting Calisto for Coffee

Hi everyone --

It's great to be on the Blog today!

I have a new dark paranormal romance out, Night Walker, and I thought maybe we could chat about "coffee dates".

I didn't discover the "let's meet for coffee" phenomenon until I found myself single again after fifteen years of marriage. I didn't know dates had changed! LOL Eventually I figured out the magic of "meeting for coffee". You could get to know someone new without the commitment of an entire evening and the cost of a meal.

Coffee is warm and non-threatening. You also have the added comfort of a busy public place so you don't have to be alone with this stranger that you just met.

In my novel, Night Walker, Calisto is immortal and has waited over two hundred years for his lost love to be reincarnated. He's also able to shape shift into a Raven, his spirit animal, so he didn't drive when he met Kate downtown. On the walk to the coffee shop, Kate has confided in him that she left San Diego because being near the ocean left her feeling haunted.

She's never admitted that out load to anyone before...



"I know it sounds crazy. Sure you still want to have coffee with me?"

He opened the glass door of a dimly lit café. “I have never been more certain of anything in this life.”

Calisto grinned. His hand brushed the small of her back, an encouraging touch. She let him guide her to a corner table, reveling in the feel of his hand against her and the acceptance in his smile.

Every time he touched her, her entire body tingled in response. And even though she shouldn’t, even though she needed time and room to settle into her new approach to life, she wanted more of Calisto. She yearned for it.

He took the seat across from her. Kate dreaded the awkward silence sure to come, but it didn’t.

“You are a musician in Reno?”

She relaxed into her seat, enjoying the way his accent colored the name of her city. “Yes, I direct a couple of middle school choirs. How did you know that?”

“I wish I could say that I knew your mother and she told me this, but I cannot. Sadly, I am not involved with the donors at the foundation as much as I would like.”

“Betty told you, huh?” Kate laughed.

“I wondered why a musician would give up a beautiful instrument like your mother’s piano.”

“My mother didn’t give me a choice in the matter. She wanted you to have it,” Kate said, surprised at how bitter she sounded.

“Do you play?”

She shrugged. “Not very well. But I get by.”

“Get by?” He moved his chair back and crossed an ankle over his leg.

In this new position, Kate could enjoy the cut of his shirt over his chest. She cleared her throat. “I can plunk out melodies just fine, but I’m a little rusty at playing the bass line with my left hand.”

“Sometime, I would love to hear you play.”

God, she couldn’t get enough of his accent. Focus, Kate. “Oh I’d be too embarrassed. Betty told me you’re a concert pianist.”

He cocked his head and raised his eyebrows. “How well I play has nothing to do with it.”

Kate laughed, leaning back slightly as the waitress placed their drinks in front of them. “What will happen to my Mom’s piano, anyway?”

Calisto grasped the warm coffee mug and answered, but Kate didn’t register the words. The café, its customers, the smell of coffee, even time faded when she noticed his hand.


His ring. She couldn’t take her eyes off of it. Something about it seemed… familiar. Maybe she was insane. She couldn’t have seen it before, and yet she was sure she had. Either that or she had some vivid déjà vu.

“Kate? Are you all right?” Calisto asked.

Kate blinked and shook her head slowly, breaking the trance she felt when she noticed the ring. “I’m sorry. I saw your ring and I can’t help thinking I’ve seen it before.” She searched his face for something that might tell her why the ring seemed so familiar. “I swear I’m not usually this crazy, but it looks familiar to me.”

His gaze held hers, his voice soft but commanding. “You are many things, but crazy is not one of them. Perhaps intuition told you of our meeting in a dream. Stranger things have happened in this world, no?”

Dream. The word sent a chill down her spine. “You believe in déjà vu then?”

“You do not?”

“I asked you first.” She sipped her coffee, desperate to shake off the nagging anxiety that haunted her since she saw his ring. Something inside of her kept grasping for a memory that she knew didn’t exist.

“Yes, you did.”

His voice guided her back to the present. “Do you always answer a question with another question?”

“You are not the first to accuse me of such a thing.” Calisto smiled, lifting his coffee to his full lips.

“Now that I can believe. So maybe I’ve seen your ring before, huh?” She glanced at his hand but, concerned the design would entrance her again, she returned her attention to his face.

“Maybe so.” He placed his mug on the table. “As I said, stranger things have happened.”

Kate nodded. Strange things were happening all right. She sipped her coffee, unable to take her eyes off of his. Did he feel the same attraction?

She was a choir teacher who lived out of state in a two-bedroom apartment, and he was a reclusive philanthropist. This was real life, not a fairy tale. She had to wake up. She was on the rebound here.

“We should probably get going.” She set her mug down. “It’s getting late.”

“I suppose it is.” He looked almost disappointed, but he rose from the booth and moved around to help her to her feet.

“Thank you.” The second her fingers touched his, a shock of desire zipped through her. She had to force herself to let go of his hand. Keeping a clear head was difficult when her body reacted to him this way. He made her feel more alive, her senses heightened. Her heart raced just holding his hand.

Imagine if we kissed. Her skin flushed with heat and she rolled her eyes at herself.

“Where are you parked?” Kate asked.

“I am not.”

“You’re not? Did you take a cab or something?”

“Something… ”

Kate grinned, shaking her head. “You play the man of mystery well, don’t you? I’d be happy to give you a ride. It’s the least I can do since you saved me from a night all alone.”

“You should never be alone.” Calisto offered his arm, tipping his head slightly toward her.

She placed her hand into the crook of his arm, barely resisting the urge to run her fingers along his bicep. “Are you always so charming?”

His eyes lost focus, and something shifted in his expression. For a moment, he looked as haunted as Kate felt. “Not always.”

She glanced at his ring again and wondered whether she had as much control over her life as she believed.


Hope you enjoyed Calisto and Kate's coffee date! So have you ever "met for coffee"? I'd love to hear your coffee time stories!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

I enjoy meeting up online too, so feel free to connect with me...


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Night Walker review quotes... 

"Hot romance and cool characters make Night Walker an all-night read." - Kelley Armstrong, #1 NYT Best-Selling Author 

A stellar first novel with heart-stopping suspense and a hero to die for. -- Angie Fox, New York Times bestselling author THE LAST OF THE DEMON SLAYERS 

“Lisa Kessler pens the kind of lyrical romance we all want to experience!” ~ Linda Wisdom, national bestselling author of A DEMON DOES IT BETTER 

“Night Walker is a wonderful tale about the power and magic of a love that transcends time.”~ Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, author of the Vampire Moons series 

“A soulful, timeless love story and an engrossing new take on immortal mythology—if you’re looking for a touching paranormal romance, Kessler’s got one for you!”~ Christine Cody, author of the Bloodlands series

The characters were very relateable and I found myself investing in them as the story went. The plot and pace kept me glued to the book. With twist and turns, Ups and downs, I couldn't stop. My Rating 5 stars!! - - Were Vamp Romance Reviews 

"Haunting and beautiful." - Fresh Fiction Reviews 

Top Pick - Lisa Kessler has now officially been added to my authors-to-watch list. After reading this captivating tale of love, lies, betrayal, and redemption, I am hard pressed to find things I didn't like. - Night Owl Book Reviews 

Night Walkers, rogue monks in a secret Brotherhood, a megalomaniac monk and a love that spans centuries make for a great sensual paranormal romance in this first of Kessler's new The Night series. - Bitten By Paranormal Romance 

3 star RT Rating 
In the first of her Night series, Kessler tackles a love that has waited 200 years. While the tale is tender and poignant, readers will sigh both in dreamy acceptance of a love that never dies as well as exasperation for the secrets the characters keep from each other. ~ Reviewed By: Sabrina Cooper


Deep within the Yucatan jungle a demon has awakened...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Challenge Review: Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Dime Store Magic
Series: Women of the Otherworld #3
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Supernatural Fictions, Urban Fantasy Fiction
Elements: Werewolves, Witches, Demons, Sorcerers, Necromancers, Ghosts
Publisher: Bantam Books, Random House Inc.
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 414 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-553-58706-7
Release Date: April 27, 2004
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world's most powerful elite organizations--the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige's wildest antics can't hold a candle to those of her new charge--an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil...and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underground. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder--and frame Paige for the crime. It's an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.


Kelley Armstrong introduces a new heroine in Dime Store Magic. Paige Winterbourne is the 23-year-old leader of the American Coven of Witches. We first met her in the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series, Stolen. Due to events in Stolen, Paige also gained custody of 13-year-old neophyte witch, Savannah Levine. Paige has a lot on her plate with an extremely talented ward, an unsupportive coven, old and new enemies surfacing, protestors in her front yard (and naked Wiccans in her back yard), and a sorcerer with good intentions; how can such a young leader come out on top?

Leah is back--and she's brought the Nast Cabal with her. Determined to gain custody of Savannah, Leah has gone to Savannah's biological father, Kristof Nast. What the cabals value most is money and power, and with Savannah's raw talent they can gain A LOT of power over the other cabals. And they will do anything to get what they want--ANYTHING.

But Paige and Savannah don't have to combat these forces alone. Help has shown up in the form of 25-year-old Lucas Cortez. He's young for a lawyer, just out of school, and he just happens to be a sorcerer. But not just any sorcerer--the illegitimate son and heir of the Cortez Cabal. The cabal world sees Lucas's idealism as rebellion--a rebellion that he'll eventually grow out of and take his place as heir. But no one, no matter what they say, can deny his noble intentions. The fact that Lucas wants to fight the evils of the cabal world and his inside knowledge on how they operate makes him a valuable ally.

I wasn't sure how I would like Dime Store Magic because I really liked Elena as the heroine of the first two books, Bitten and Stolen. I'm always wary when the main character changes, and to be honest, I didn't like Paige in the beginning of Dime Store Magic. But as the story went along Paige really grew on me and I came to like her in the end. Savannah is just really fun. She's spunky and confident. I liked her moments of maturity. Her level of maturity is certain situations is uncommon in someone her age. I think it would be really interesting to read from her POV. I absolutely loved Lucas. He's kind of nerdy and speaks way too formally, but I liked how genuine he was--in both his intentions and his sorcery. I also liked that he's trying to improve the world he was born into.

In Dime Store Magic we are introduced to the cabal world and it's operation. The cabals are like the mob or yakuza of the supernatural world, but more like a corporation with the main family of sorcerers leading the cabal. And below the sorcerer family are half-demons, necromancers, shamans, and any other paranormal; except werewolves and vampire--they won't hire anyone who could possibly eat them. There is a lot more to the cabals and how they work, but it gets kind of complicated, so it would be better for you to read the book for yourself to get the gist.

Not only do we learn about the intricacies of the cabals, but we also learn more about half-demons and a little of the history of the Salem Witch Trials.

One of my favorite moments was when Lucas came to tell Paige of the Wiccans in her back yard--the naked ("skyclad") Wiccans. Just Lucas and Paige's reactions to the situation were hilarious. It was a great tension-breaker that was really needed, and really entertaining to boot.

I also liked that Paige and Lucas's relationship happened in a natural way (as natural as you can get with a witch and sorcerer who are supposed to be mortal enemies, anyway). It wasn't rushed and at times it seemed like nothing was ever going to happen. The fact the Paige is a witch and Lucas is a sorcerer put a wedge between them in the beginning. But once Paige decided to trust Lucas, him being a sorcerer ceased to matter. It was fragile and genuine, and that made it beautiful.

I can't wait to read more of the Women of the Otherworld series. Industrial Magic brings us Paige and Lucas trying to stop a serial killer from killing cabal teenagers.

About this Author: 

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.


#SWUR: Summer Wrap-Up Read-A-Thon {Sign Up}

The Summer Wrap-Up Read-A-Thon is hosted by Jennifer @ Some Like It Paranormal and Jude @ In Between!

Here are the details:

It will take place August 4th-August 12th. It will provide some motivation to finish up all the reading you were hoping to get done over the summer. You can read whatever you want and as much or little as you want. If you can only participate during a few days of the read-a-thon that is okay too. There is no requirement to follow but it's always appreciated. You don't have to have a blog, feel free to follow along on twitter, goodreads, or facebook. We will be tweeting with hashtag #SWUR. You can follow us on twitter for challenge updates but it's not required.

We have a ton of fabulous challenges and giveaways planned. The full schedule will be released closer to the read-a-thon start date. Also at the end we look forward to seeing what you accomplished so we will have a review linky set up after the read-a-thon. You can link up your goodreads reviews if you don't have a blog. It will give us a chance to check out the reviews of what everyone else was reading.

If you would like to sign up to participate in the Summer Wrap-Up Read-A-Thon, CLICK HERE!

Giveaway Winner: Stealing Breath

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Congratulations to Miriam W. for winning a copy of Stealing Breath!
Be sure to contact me at with your email and I'll pass it along to the tour host!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner: Staring into the Eyes of Chance

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Congratulations to Joanne B. for winning a copy of Staring Into the Eyes of Chance!

Be sure to contact me at with your email and I'll pass it along to the tour host!

Friday, May 18, 2012

#WWReadathon: Wicked Wildfire Read-A-Thon {Sign Up}

Wicked Wildfire Read-A-Thon

The Wicked Wildfire Read-A-Thon is hosted by Rebecca @ Kindle Fever and April @ My Shelf Confessions!

What is the Wicked Wildfire Read-A-Thon?

The Wicked Wildfire Read-A-Thon is a time when we all get together to dedicate the days of June 20-24 to as much reading as possible. You read as much as you can in order to get yourself a little further through that huge to-read pile! We know real life gets in the way and even if you can’t participate more than one day, you’re welcome to join in on the fun!

In the meanwhile, we will be hosting book-related challenges where you can win some awesome prizes and have a Twitter party at the hashtag #WWReadathon! You can posts updates on your blog, Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook — as long as the profile is public and we all can enjoy your reading progress!

Tour Review: Awaited by Lynn Rush (Giveaway)

Title: Awaited
Series: Wasteland #2
Author: Lynn Rush
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Angels, Demons
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Format: ARC PDF, 271 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-937254-21-6
Release Date: February 2012
Source: Tour Host {Bewitching Book Tours}
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his. But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark.

He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon—her voice.


Russell takes center stage in Awaited. We met Russell in Wasteland as Beka's "brother" and protector. In Awaited, Russell and Durk are on a plane on their way to search for the first female Guardian in over 200 years. When their plane crashes, they are the only survivors besides a mysterious young woman. This woman turns out to be the one Russell has been dreaming about for the past three months.

Annabelle Slater is a 19-year-old mute heiress who was kidnapped and tortured by demons when she was a young girl. When she was freed, she came back different. Dark mood swings, violent outbursts, and disturbing artwork were among the changes Annabelle came back with. Most disturbing is that when these things happen, Annabelle's eyes go completely black, like a demon's. One of Annabelle's vision-paintings was of Russell that she had done six years earlier.

In Awaited, we see the soul-weariness of a centuries-old warrior who has lost his faith in his mission. But when Russell meets the woman of his dreams in person, he feels reawakened. There is a lot of talk in this book about how love is the most powerful thing in the world and we really see how love does give someone a strength they never had before.

Awaited is a much darker sequel to Wasteland, where faith is lost and sometimes love isn't enough. The demons are doing experiments to gain back the power the lost when the Guardians got David. But even with everything seemingly falling apart and being destroyed, there is an air of hopefulness as the story progresses.

With surprise revelations, steamy but sweet romance, and heart-stopping action, Lynn Rush brings us a world where darkness may abound, but  love and Light are an unbeatable power. I have a feeling that the next and final book in the Wasteland Trilogy will be Jessica and Durk's story...something to look forward to!

Book Trailer:

About this Author:  

Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake.

Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of 15 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Connected with Lynn online

Catch the Rush:

~~~See you in the paranormal~~~


MAIN EXCERPT on website: 
My feet finally found the water’s floor. I tugged the female from Durk’s grasp and hoisted her up into my arms.
The water had washed away the crimson stains, but left her lips thin and blue. Durk pressed his fingers to her neck. “No pulse.”
“Go. Find wood dry enough to burn. We need fire. I’ll start CPR.”
He bolted to his feet and darted away. I settled her on the damp foliage covered floor and ripped her buttoned blouse apart. I rested my ear to her chest. Nothing. Cheek to her mouth. Nothing.
I clamped my hands together and started counting out compressions. “Please. You can’t die. I just found you.”
Her chest caved beneath my weight with each push I offered to start her heart. Pumping it for her. She looked so cold. So small. So fragile. Darkness tainted her lips. I imagined they’d be full and bright red like in my dreams. Her glowing skin was now dull and lifeless.
Please. Michael.
There must have been a reason for me to be on this plane. This time. This date. This instance. Not to let me find someone I’d dreamt about, then to lose her.
I pinched her nose. With my other hand I cradled her neck and opened her mouth to mine. My lips formed a seal around hers, and I blew. Her chest raised. One more breath.
I turned my head, listening. Nothing.
I repeated it for another cycle. Durk returned holding an armful of branches. He ripped open his pack and pulled out a bag.
“Zip lock?”
“Jessica made an appearance at my room while packing.” He held it up. “I thought she’d lost her mind. Matches, magazine, and tiny foil blanket.”
“You didn’t say anything.”
“Told me not to.”
Durk went to work on the fire as I finished the second round of compressions. I leaned down to breathe for her again and paused an inch before contact with her lips. “Please,” I whispered and sealed her mouth with mine.
I breathed into her, then turned and drew in a gulp of air and let it flow into her. A gentle scent of sandalwood and sugar wrapped around me. Coiled me in warmth. The woman flinched beneath me.
Then coughed.
I tilted her to the side and water spewed from her mouth. A tremor rocked her little body. The crackle of a flame, and the scent of burning leaves filled the air. “There you go. Get it out.” I patted her back.
She flopped back and her eyes opened wide.
The same honey irises I’d seen a hundred times in my dreams stared at me. “Can you hear me?”
The lids hung heavy over her dilated eyes, then slid shut.
“No. No. Stay with me.” I patted her shoulder.
Durk joined me, kneeling beside her on the other side. I pressed my finger to her neck.
“She’s got to be in shock. Freezing. Get that fire going.” I peeled my shirt over my head as I stood. “Find all you can to get a small shelter formed around the fire.” I ripped at the belt securing my soggy pants to me. “I’ll warm her up.”
Wasn’t exactly how I’d dreamed I would first lay with a woman, but I’d be damned if I was going to let her die.
She was mine. 
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**Short Story**
Prelude to Darkness
Wasteland, # .5
Release Date May 2012

For a slave, hope is a dangerous thing… 

Margaret Rousseau dreams of freedom from a life of servitude. When a mysterious woman saunters into the servants’ tavern promising the impossible, Margaret dares to hope she could win the heart of the one man she has secretly coveted since she first wore a corset...

The Prince.

Margaret desperately grasps for the opportunity to change her bleak destiny by placing faith in a woman who is not as forthcoming as she seems. Blinded to the stranger’s dark motives, Margaret surrenders herself to gain her heart’s desires.

But her choice may bring forth a darkness that could destroy all she holds dear.

Tour Hosted by Bewitching Book Tours

Tour Review: Wasteland by Lynn Rush

Title: Wasteland
Series: Wasteland #1
Author: Lynn Rush
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Demons, Angels
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Format: PDF, 263 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-937254-01-8
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Source: Tour Host {Bewitching Book Tours}
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master's order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his dark enslavement.

The only obstacle--Jessica's distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what's left of his human soul.


Wasteland isn't your average YA or Adult novel. It has everything you love about YA, but the maturity of an Adult novel. This puts Wasteland in the virtually unknown New Adult genre. The first half of the book has the grittiness of urban fantasy and gradually gets more of the fantastical elements of paranormal romance in the second half. Lynn Rush has created a world and characters that are so fascinating to read about. Each character has a depth that you don't find very often and it's exciting each time we learn something more about them.

Wasteland opens with David Sadler, a 400-year-old half-demon just released from his 245 year punishment of sensory deprivation for failing his last assignment, being thrown into sensory overload in an Arizona dance club searching for his next Mark. David's new Mark is 15-year-old orphan Jessica Hanks. Jessica bears the Mark of Elpida, and it's not only David's Master who wants her. Standing in his way are Guardians, Beka and Russell. They are there to protect Jessica from the demons.

Jessica is a being of pure Light, called the Merus, who can cleanse those who have not become fully demon. But if she falls into the wrong hands while going through her transformation, the opposite can happen. Jessica is David's only chance of being freed from his contract, signed by his mother before he was even born, so he has a choice to make. Take her to his Master and lose his freedom forever, or help the Guardians protect her and gain more than just his freedom.

(SPOILERS) There is a moment in Wasteland that was so terrifying, heartbreaking, hopeful, and powerful. This moment is my favorite part of the whole book. It's a turning point for both David and Beka. This is the moment when David is holding Beka's head to her neck, willing her to heal and live. It was so terrifying because Beka is on the ground with a sword thrust through her body and a blade at her neck, literally giving her life to protect Jessica, and you just know that the demon is going to behead her. It was heartbreaking because David is begging Beka to fight, but all he can do is watch as the demon swings his blade though her neck, watching as the woman he loves is being murdered right before his eyes. It's hopeful because, while David is helplessly willing Beka to live, she is healing and her heart begins to beat again. You can feel David's relief in knowing that she's going to live. And finally, this moment is so powerful because it shows the strength of David's love for Beka, but it's also David's breaking point. If Beka had died David would have had no reason to keep fighting his demon. It's also the moment when David and Beka became connected. When David was holding Beka together, their blood mixed together, effectively making their "hearts beat as one." That one line really sums everything up.

The feel of the book changes once David is changed into a Guardian Angel. Before his change you can feel the darkness surrounding him. You can feel his torment, his inner struggle, and his hopelessness. After his change you can feel the Light. You can feel his happiness, his love for Beka, and his dedication to his new cause. Atmosphere is important to a great story and Wasteland has an atmosphere you can literally feel.

Now that the Guardians have their King and Queen, the Dark Angel and White Angel, the demons have lost a lot of power. I can't wait to read Awaited and see what happens in the next adventure.

About this Author:

Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake.

Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of 15 years and jogging with her two loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Connected with Lynn online

Catch the Rush:

~~~See you in the paranormal~~~

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:

Annabelle looked down at me with smiling eyes. Like from my dreams. Actually, this very moment reminded me of a dream from only two nights before I boarded that fatal flight. Darkness surrounded her, yet her face, no her smile, beamed as if highlighted by the moon above. Strands of hair shifted in the breeze making for a bronzed halo around her illuminated face. 


I paused, raining kisses at her throat, wishing they’d coax her voice box into working. I pressed my forehead to hers, working to catch my breath. “Let me hear you, Belle. Talk with me.”
A tear glistened and carved a path over her cheek. What had they done to her that she would choose to be forever silent?


**Short Story**
Prelude to Darkness
Wasteland, # .5
Release Date May 2012

For a slave, hope is a dangerous thing… 

Margaret Rousseau dreams of freedom from a life of servitude. When a mysterious woman saunters into the servants’ tavern promising the impossible, Margaret dares to hope she could win the heart of the one man she has secretly coveted since she first wore a corset...

The Prince.

Margaret desperately grasps for the opportunity to change her bleak destiny by placing faith in a woman who is not as forthcoming as she seems. Blinded to the stranger’s dark motives, Margaret surrenders herself to gain her heart’s desires.

But her choice may bring forth a darkness that could destroy all she holds dear.

Tour Hosted by Bewitching Book Tours