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Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review: The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles

Title: The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles

Author: L L Livesey

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy Drama

Reviewer: Jenny

Book Blurb:
Set in a fascinating world that’s reemerging from a devastating famine caused by genetically modified seeds, The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles, Book 1: The Crown begins in 1992, when a Dutch accountant flees to the United States after stealing millions from a notorious drug cartel. Adopting a new identity, Espen Koning settles down on a remote Virginia farm.

Two hundred years later, nineteen-year-old Lady Elise Koning’s induction as heir to the prime governorship of Virginia is underway. However, her indolence causes her grandmother, the current ruler, to warn Elise that her succession is not set in stone. She could still name her youngest son, Carl, as the heir instead. But unwilling to give up on Elise just yet, she recruits the former adviser to Elise’s deceased father to groom the young woman for her leadership role.

The rules of the game are changing, as Virginia follows the lead of neighboring Carolina in transforming into a sovereign kingdom. Elise is changing as well—to the chagrin of her longtime companion, Decker Regan.

As Elise prepares herself for the rigors of being a strong ruler, will treachery undo her efforts to rise to the occasion?

The premise of The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles intrigued me,​ with its parallel storyline and court intrigue. I'm biased toward complicated plotting and mechanisms, and enjoy various takes on the futuristic genre, so I had high expectations for this book. The writing also seemed to suit my taste quite well, though there were some inconsistencies. That's probably part of the reason the rating skews a bit low on the scale.

I admit that the timelines confused me, since we start off in 1992 and then switch to 2190 without a clear lead-in. The transitions are in generally marked with the year at the top of each section, with a few exceptions, but the twentieth century section eventually seems like a redundant backstory. Espen Koning's story and Elise Koning's story are interlinked by virtue of a shared last name, but otherwise the tones (nervous escape from a temperamental drug dealer, bildungsroman of a spoiled girl destined to become a great queen) don't match. Setting-wise, the twenty-second century portion is pretty interesting because it demonstrates the retrograde of society, but the references to mutant strains threw me off.

Onto the characters, which form the backbone of the story: As the heir, Elise knows a lot of people, and I started off needing to reread every few pages to get a better sense of the who's who of the colonies. It gets easier after Elise figures out what she really wants (the ability to rule well, not the ability to embarrass the other ladies). The character development is a bit truncated, as both Elise's and Joshua's personality changes are somewhat abrupt. I would've liked to see their romance expand in a more natural and less physical way, especially since their previous relationships were pretty physical. I was somewhat surprised that a monarchial society would accept such conduct, but then again, there was Justin and his consort, and Queen Helena (some of my favorite characters from this story).

The plot picks up in the latter half of the novel, and I found myself rooting for Lady Elise and her warder friend. I liked how Lucy has so much power during the court case, and I liked how the underdog lawyer is able to construct a strong defense for Elise. Usually in court intrigue-type stories, crimes are covered up without any witnesses, and people don't bat an eye, but he makes sure to question everyone's intention. 

There are a lot of things to like about this book. After Elise realizes that she needs to learn from Professor Rhroder, she commits herself wholeheartedly. A bit of her former personality reappears when she tricks Joshua, but she admits her mistake and doesn't hold a grudge. And the ending––I did not expect that at all. There's this whole series of twists, and just when I thought I knew what was happening, I realized I didn't. The real mastermind is shrewd and hides crime easily, though I need Elise to come back and take back the throne. The people are waiting for her, and I'm kind of excited for the showdown.

L.L. Livesey is a promising author, and I'm expecting a lot more from her future books!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Release + Giveaway" A Rebel in Jericho


Join the Resistance!

The first book in a new historical romance series, A REBEL IN JERICHO, is a suspenseful Wild West adventure with an abduction, border battles and Mexican saloons! Check out this novel from debut author Mimi Milan where two people learn that love, courage and faith are all they need to face the trials of the West.
To learn more about Mimi Milan check out her website!
Grand Prize: 1 Winner will win a $25 gift card to Amazon
After years of preparing for marriage, Catalina Santé is interested in little more than making a good match. And why not? She’s young, beautiful, educated… everything a wealthy man should want. However, a tragic accident will leave her with less than a marriage proposal—she’s fighting for her very life!
Matthew Martin spends most of his time just trying to fit into American society. It’s one of the reasons he became a deputy. Willing to risk it all in order to protect Catalina, he can’t imagine what that entails… until she’s abducted and sold to a Mexican saloon, where a border battle rages between two towns.
Can love and faith survive in such a harsh place? Will Matthew even be able to save Catalina?
On Sale in Digital Now:
See what other readers are saying about A REBEL IN JERICHO:
“Romance, intrigue and danger! It’s an exciting adventure as the reader joins Catalina on her perilous journey through the underbelly of Mexico’s dark side.” – Patricia Highton
“A delightful blend of drama, romance, and self-discovery.” – Tiffany Matus


“A penny for your thoughts?” Catalina regretted asking almost as soon as the words were out. The less she knew about him, the better. Right?   Continuing to lean against the side, Matthew gave her a once-over.   He decided to have a little fun with her.   “Only a penny? Is that what people are charging nowadays? Not me. My thoughts are worth a whole nickel.” The laughter in his tone danced in his playful eyes, their brilliance shining like blue gems. A slow, infectious grin spread across Matthew’s face. He looked like a mischievous little boy who was trying to buy his way out of trouble after being caught with his hand in the cookie jar.   Catalina bit her lip in a desperate attempt to remain serious, but it was of little use. Charmed by her softened features, Matthew took a slow step towards her. He raised a tentative hand and pushed back a curl that had worked its way loose. Catalina’s breath stilled as the light touch of his fingers slowly trailed along her cheek. Her beautiful eyes and full mouth were almost irresistible, and he wondered if she tasted as sweet as she looked. Unasked questions blazed from his eyes, making the cage that she was trying to construct around her heart unhinge. The sudden attraction hit her hard. She forced herself to look away and break the spell. Falling for her escort was not part of the plan. “Look!” Catalina pointed towards the bank. “We’re just about there.” “Then I guess we best get back to the car.” Disappointment laced his words. She didn’t have any romantic notions about him, so he best leave it at just friends. No more goo-goo eyes. “It shouldn’t take too long to get it started.” He picked up the conversation again as he paced back to the car with a determined step. “It’s warm out. So she doesn’t need to be cranked or anything.” Catalina questioned his sudden change in mood. She was grateful at the flow of normal conversation between them. Still, it felt like something was suddenly missing. “Well, I suppose that’s a good thing.” She plodded along behind him, dissatisfied when they reached the Model T. He took her hand and helped her up and into the front seat. “Shouldn’t I ride in the—” “You’ll get a better view of things while we’re driving from up here.” He cut her off, patting the hood of the car for emphasis – a friendly grin that promised an exciting ride. After all, it was a long trip to Nogales. “Besides, it’ll be more fun.” More fun? Hmmm...more trouble maybe. Definitely more dangerous.
Add A REBEL IN JERICHO to your TBR pile on Goodreads!
Mimi Milan Author Photo
Author Bio:
Mimi Milan spent two decades scribbling away in notebooks before realizing that her life’s calling was to write. So she returned from Mexico and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film. She currently resides in the suburbs of Charlotte, making time for God, family and imaginary friends.
Connect with Mimi: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Release Day Party: Devil and the Deep

Wahoo! Release day party for Devil and the Deep, the fourth installment of "The Ceruleans" series! Did I mention that books 1-3 of the series will be FREE today (Sep 30) as part of the celebration?  So be sure to check out their Amazon pages!

Be sure to check out the sneak peek of Devil and the Deep and to stick around for the giveaway at the end of this post! Happy readings!

Title: Devil and the Deep

Author: Megan Tayte

Genre: YA Romance/Paranormal

Book Blurb:

Scarlett is living her happy-ever-after, back in the real world. Only the ‘happy’ part is proving problematic.
For starters, there’s the isolation. Being a Cerulean among humans is fraught with risk, so her time with people can only be fleeting. Which means being with Luke but not being with Luke.
Then there’s her Cerulean light, her power over life and death. Less awesome talent, as it turns out, and more overwhelming responsibility. And it comes with rules – rules that are increasingly difficult to obey.
But what’s really pushing Scarlett to the precipice is something much bigger than herself, than her life in the cove. A force to be reckoned with:
When long-buried truths are exposed, will Scarlett keep her head above water – or will she drown in the blood-dimmed tide that is unleashed?

About the Author:
Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottinghamshire. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

You can find Megan online at:

Book Except:

It began with screaming. Shrill, ear-piercing, horrified screaming.

A girl shrieked, ‘Blood! Look, look – it’s everywhere!’ and pressed her hand to her mouth.

A man shouted, ‘Good grief!’ and another, ‘Great Scott!’

An old lady swooned gracefully and would have tipped over the balustrade of the riverboat had a lanky lad not caught her.

The cause of the excitement – a woman lying slumped on the long table on deck, cheek on her bread plate, headdress in the butter dish – twitched a little.

‘She’s alive!’ cried a lad beside her delightedly. ‘She moved!’

‘Did not,’ argued another.

‘Did too!’
‘Gentlemen,’ interjected a short, portly man with a twirly black moustache, ‘if you will forgive my intrusion, it must be noted that this woman has a bullet hole in her head and is logically, therefore, quite definitely deceased.’

Another old dear folded to the deck with a prolonged ‘Ohhhhhh’ and her husband grabbed a feathered fan and began wafting cool evening air in her face while calling, ‘Smelling salts – does anyone have any?’

I tried to keep a straight face. Really I did. I bit my bottom lip until I tasted my cherry-red lipstick. I pinched my leg through the cream satin of my gown. I dug my long cigarette holder into the sensitive flesh of my arm.

But it was no good.

The ‘What ho, chaps’ posh accents.

The buxom woman sagging in the arms of an elephant hunter wearing Converse All Stars.

The production of smelling salts in a bottle whose label read Pepto-Bismol.

The corners of the little round man’s moustache coming looser with his every word.

The fast-pooling puddle of pinkish blood on the bread plate, buffeted by the steady in-and-out breaths of the corpse.

Take it from a girl who’s really died – death on the River Dart, Devon, is hilarious.

‘Dear me, Ms Robson here appears to be quite overcome with shock,’ said the guy at my side suddenly, and he slipped an arm around me and turned me away. ‘Come, madam. Let us get some air.’

I smiled at him. Then grinned. Then choked back a guffaw. Thankfully, by the time full-scale hilarity hit me I’d been led to the rear of the boat, away from the rest of our party, and could bury my face in the bloke’s chest and shake mutely with laughter.

The gallant gentleman rubbed my back soothingly as I let it all out and said loudly, for the benefit of any onlookers, ‘There there, pignsey, there there.’

‘Pigsney?’ It was the final straw. My high-heeled sandals gave way and I melted into a puddle of mirth on the deck.

‘I’ll have you know, Scarlett Blake,’ hissed Luke, my boyfriend a.k.a. gallant gent, hoiking up his too-tight corduroy trousers so he could squat down beside me, ‘I Googled “old-fashioned terms of endearment” and pigsney’s a classic.’

I wiped tears from my eyes, dislodging a false eyelash in the process, and tried to catch my hiccupping breath as Luke went on.

‘Means pig’s eye. No idea why that’s appealing, but apparently in the seventeenth century, calling a lady pigsney was the very height of courting.’

Through his fake specs Luke’s blue eyes fixed me with a stare so earnest I almost managed to stop laughing.

‘But this is a Death on the Nile-Stroke-Dart murder mystery night, Luke,’ I managed to get out. ‘Set in the nineteen thirties, not the seventeen thirties.’

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but my character tonight, Mr Fijawaddle, is a historical fiction writer, isn’t he? So as well as dressing like a brainy recluse – and I’m warning you now, I won’t hear another slur against this tweed jacket – he’d know all kinds of obscure terms. Like ginglyform and jargogle and nudiustertian and bromopnea and farctate and quagswag and philosophunculist.’

His showing off sobered me just enough to control the giggles. ‘You made those words up,’ I accused, poking a crimson talon into his mustard-yellow shirtfront.

He blinked at me innocently. ‘Did not. I told you before we left the house, I did my homework.’

I narrowed my eyes. ‘All right then, Mr Fijawaddle, what does that last word you said mean?’


‘Yes, that.’

‘Er…’ Luke gave me a sheepish grin.
‘Spill it,’ I said menacingly. As menacingly as a girl dressed up as a vintage Hollywood starlet with cute little pin curls and rouge aplenty can be, that is.

‘Philosophunculist,’ recited Luke. ‘Noun. A person who pretends to know more than they do in order to impress others.’

I threw my head back and laughed. ‘Busted!’

Luke slipped an arm around me and pulled me close. Really close.

‘Bet you like it when I use long words,’ he said huskily, eyes fixed on my too-red lips.

‘Bet you like it when I wear a clingy nightgown as a dress,’ I replied, eyes fixed on his too-kissable lips.

‘Brazen hussy,’ he growled at me.

‘Randy boffin,’ I murmured back.

Then neither of us said another word for quite some time.