Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reading Challenges Update: October 2013

Here is where I stand with the challenges I have joined after the month of October (only challenges that I read books for this month are featured here):

Audio Book (10/12)
9. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
10. Branded Outlaw by L. Ron Hubbard

100 Books in a Year (100/100) - COMPLETED!
93. The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight
94. Echo by Alicia Wright Brewster
95. Romance at the Royal Menagerie by Ruth J. Hartman
96.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
97. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
98. Spell Check by Ariella Moon
99. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
100. I, Nemo by J. Dharma & Deanna Windham

Book Blogger Recommendation (4/10)
4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Debut Author (3/12)
3. The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight

Why Buy the Cow (2/12)
2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Standalone (5/15)
5. Echo by Alicia Wright Brewster

British (12/12) - COMPLETED!
11. Romance at the Royal Menagerie by Ruth J. Hartman
12. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

A to Z (23/26)
23. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Witches & Witchcraft (5/10)
4. The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight
5. Spell Check by Ariella Moon

Elsewhere Online: October 2013

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves posts, I review for two other websites ( and As I cannot post my reviews there and here, but I would still like to count the books I read for the challenges, I am going to have a post like this at the end of the every month listing the books I reviewed and what challenges the went towards.

Title: Man Made Boy
Author: Jon Skovron
Challenges: n/a

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Love Birds of Regent's Park

Love Birds of Regent’s Park
by Ruth J. Hartman
published by esKape
ISBN n/a
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: n/a

If you are looking for a delightful Regency, look no further than Ruth J. Hartman’s Love Birds of Regent’s Park.  The fun play on words in the title is just the start of this light-hearted romp that is sure to please romance fans.

Lucy Ashbrook loves to spend her days sketching the birds at Regent’s Park.  On day, she meets the dashing Oliver Barrow, a worker there who takes the time to introduce her to all the birds in the park.  Lucy quickly falls for Oliver although she knows she could never be with him.  First off, her money-hungry father would never let her marry below her station, and secondly, he has always promised her hand to the loathsome Lord Conrad Croome, the fifth Earl of Lofton.  When Lofton gets word that someone at the park might have stolen Lucy’s heart, he demands to be her chaperone.  Luckily, the birds are on Lucy’s side.  However, her father will be much harder to convince than her feathered friends and Lucy fears her time with Oliver is quickly drawing to a close.

Hartman’s writing is simply delightful.  Lucy and Oliver are wonderful as the romantic leads, and Lofton is the perfect villain.  The best scene is the one where he gets his comeuppance from a crazy cuckoo – but I won’t say any more because I do not want to ruin this laugh out loud scenario.  Even though the reader knows how it will end, Hartman makes it easy to root for Lucy and Oliver every step of the way.

I am not really a fan of Regency, but Ruth J. Hartman has swayed me.  Love Birds of Regent’s Park is so delightful and endearing, I actually want to read it again.

Rating 5/5

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: 10/20-10/26

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Fallen by Traci L. Slatton
Cold Light by Traci L. Slatton
The Adversary by Erin M. Evans

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs

Bought from Musa Publishing:
New Girl by Joan B. Flood
The Fox's Mask by Anna Frost
Twin Sense by Lydia Sharp
Where No One Knows by Jo Ramsey
And If I Offered Thee a Bargain by Jules Jones
Angels and Airheads by Anne Brooke
Acting Out by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Blue Skye by Viki Lyn
Dudleytown by LB Gregg
Tommy by Darrell McBreairty

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Branded Outlaw

Title: Branded Outlaw
Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Audio
ISBN: 978-1-59212-349-0
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Audio

Thoughts: I always enjoy the multicast performances of these Hubbard novellas, but this one just didn't keep my interest like others have.  I am not sure if it was the genre or that I was having trouble keeping the relationships of all the characters straight.  Still, it was an entertaining listen.

Rating: 3 stars

Rescued by That New Guy in Town

Title: Rescued by That New Guy in Town
Author: J. L. Salter
Publisher: Astraea
ISBN: 978-1-62135-082-2
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: n/a

Thoughts: A sweet and sexy read, but I had just a little trouble connecting with the main character, Kris.  She kept mentioning how women in her county act, and I guess I just don't know any who act quite like that - or who even characterize themselves based on their county (now area of the county, that's a completely different thing).  Kris and Ryan were very likable, though, and made for a fun couple.

Rating: 3 stars

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I, Nemo

Title: I, Nemo
Author: J. Dharma & Deanna Windham
Publisher: Argo Navis
ISBN: 978-0786752867
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: I really had a hard time reading this one.  The story stayed too much on an even keel to be interesting, and the "missing pages" did not seem realistic in that they always stopped at the end of a full thought (except once) and when they picked up, they seemed to recap what was missed.  Also, the steampunk was just not there.

Rating: 1 star

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Title: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author: Mark Twain
Publisher: Kobo
ISBN: n/a
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Why Buy the Cow, A to Z, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: I tried reading this back in grade school and got stuck on the dialect.  Either I have gotten better at reading dialect or this one did not have as much.  Anyway, the story was actually more fun than I would have thought and was less episodic than many novels from the same time period, but I still would have liked a tighter story.

Rating: 3 stars

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spell Check

Title: Spell Check
Author: Ariella Moon
Publisher: Astraea
ISBN: 978-1-936852-97-0
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: Witches & Witchcraft, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book.  It was a fun, sweet YA with a protagonist who is just starting to learn about herself - with the help of some magic.  The only thing I had trouble with is sometimes it seemed like her dad just died, but other times it did seem like it was really two years ago.

Rating: 4 stars

Stacking the Shelves: 10/13-10/19

For possible review (on Bookloons):
The Counselor by Cormac McCarthy
Heartless by Sam Shepard
The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill
Far Shore by Traci L. Slatton
Teardrop by Lauren Kate
Indigo by Gina Linko
Premeditated by Josin McQuein
Red by Alison Cherry

First Reads from Goodreads:
Magic Most Deadly by E. L. Bates
Angels and Alchemy by Donna Wolfe Gatti

LibraryThing Early Review:
The Loathly Lady by John Lawson

Bought from Musa Publishing:
Summerspelle by Lisa Greer

Bought on Amazon:
Resurrection Bay by Neal Shusterman

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Mysterious Howling

Title: The Mysterious Howling
Author: Maryrose Wood
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
ISBN: 978-0061988325
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Audio, British, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: It takes a talented writer to craft the perfect MG book, and Wood has done just that.  This hearkens back to those timeless children's books that everyone has read and fell in love with.  And to make it even better, Katherine Kellgren has the perfect narration style.

Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ender's Game

Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor
ISBN: 0-812-55070-6
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: Book Blogger Recommendation, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts: Everyone has told me how awesome this book is, but for me, it was just meh.  I wanted it to be more of a mindf*ck than it was.  It did have a slight twist, but it really only related to the second to last chapter.  Also, never once did I believe Ender was really six.

Rating: 2 stars

Eyrie Book Blast & Giveaway

Society of Feathers #2

Somewhere between falling and will find the truth.

The truth is being unveiled and Iris’ past is unlike anything she ever could have guessed. For Stryx, finding your missing half doesn’t always mean finding your mate. Iris has been missing a part of herself for so long that no one is sure she will be able to put the pieces back together and her ever reliable dreams may be forcing her astray. Coping with the death of someone she loved, she is forced to face the truth and break free from the lies that have caged her.


Iris lost herself in Falcon's arms, feeling the world drift away again as her lips melted against his stronger, larger ones. The warmth spreading through her body felt like electricity filling very part of her, pooling at the tips of her fingers where she touched his shoulders then traced along his arms. The tension that had worked its way up her back and through her own shoulders released as his hand brushed lightly down the length of her spine, sending sparks through every nerve.

"Please," she whispered softly, centimeters from his lips as they breathed in each other's warm breath. She felt herself lean towards him, this time not holding back as she moved his arm to her waist, making him wrap both arms around her fully. His secure hold on her was the only thing keeping her upright.

"Anything," he whispered into her ear a few moments later after she had caught her breath.

"Be the one beside me when I enter the masquerade. Be the one by my side when I change it all. I know I can do it on my own or with Nestor but...I don't want to. I want you both there with me,” Iris said.

The look on Falcon's face, the light in his eyes, showed her the joy he found in her invitation. "I was waiting for you to ask. Waiting for you to want to need me, even if you never will. It would be my pleasure, Izzy. I will always be there for you. Nothing could pull me away." He didn't say the words but they still hung silently between them, the knowledge that anyone who tried to pull him away from her would die trying. She knew she should be afraid, but somehow he was the only person she knew she could trust, the only one her heart was perfectly sure about, like a tether tied them together, connecting their lives.

"I do need you. Even if I don't, I still need you." She whispered and kissed him harder, forgetting the world outside their doors, ready to explore the man that the boy she had known had become. The man who felt like such a part of her now that she had accepted him. She didn't know what she’d do if she ever lost him. She had never felt a connection this powerful, this all consuming.

"I love you." He whispered, his eyes gazing into hers, their intensity only pulling her further into the joy of just being close to him, just letting herself forget the world she wanted so desperately to help, to change. "I want to do something for you."

"What is it?" Iris almost pulled back, not wanting to lose the moment between them but instead she leaned the side of her face against his chest so that she could hear his heart beating.

"I want to show you what it’s like to run without hesitation, without taking away the one part of running that makes it so magical̶the freedom. I want to show you that freedom." He bent and traced his fingers along the back of her legs. They buckled but he lifted her, taking it as an invitation.

She smiled and leaned against his chest. This time he wasn't carrying her because something was wrong. It was like when they were kids and he wanted to show her he was strong enough to support her, that he could be that person who would pick her up even if she hadn't fallen. He walked to the door and she turned the doorknob for him. They found Autumn in the hallway.

"Wanna go for a run?" Falcon asked Autumn, his voice a conspiratory whisper.

"Sure!" She said and smiled lightly when she realized what Falcon was planning. "Every girl should get to feel the aves inside of her come alive."

Iris smiled feeling like she had her team. They were the people she needed and wanted by her side. They were the ones who kept her human and kind, protecting her at all costs. Nestor was upstairs with Nathaniel preparing for his duties in their upcoming plans. The rest of her family was downstairs. As they jogged by, they passed Jarem on the way, heading up to meet Diana. "We’re going running, wanna come?" Falcon offered and Iris laughed.

"If you invite everyone we may as well all go." Iris giggled and smiled widely, looking forward to it, not caring who decided to come. Iris knew that no matter how people surrounded her and Falcon, somehow they were always alone. They were the only two people in on the secret. That was their unusual type of love. It would only grow with time and trust as long as it was never betrayed.

"Sure, why not." Jarem said and smiled. He opened the door to Diana's room and hollered, "We’re going running with Falcon, wanna come?"

"Absolutely!" They heard Diana yell back. She joined them even though she was wearing a short dress. Not bothering to change, she threw a pair of high-tops on with it.

As they jogged through the house David joined them, leaving the fort to Neal, Garah and Griffin so as not to disturb Nathaniel and Nestor. When they went out the door, Diana led them to the back of the house, going through the garden to a strange trail beyond it. "Is this the fairy trail?" Jarem asked. When Diana nodded, he smiled and looked at Iris. "It's perfect."

"Wooooo!" Diana shouted, crying out like a hawk soaring through the sky. Jarem and even Autumn joined in and Iris realized it was for her and Falcon, egging them on. Falcon set her on her feet and knelt down the way he once had to offer her a ride on his back. She blushed feeling like that same little girl for one beautiful moment, attaching herself to his back and holding onto him tightly.

The bird calls got louder and louder until Falcon got ready and whispered, "You ready?"

"Yes." She whispered next to his ear and then looked straight ahead realizing, she really did need him. Falcon knew what she needed even before she did. As he started running, she shifted her weight and realized, she fit so well against his back, like they had been molded for just this moment, for him to give her the freedom that her body robbed her of. Suddenly her grudges against her body for being made the way it was disappeared as the wind whipped her hair away from her face. She arched her back ever so slightly to get the full effect and to keep her weight manageable for Falcon as he ran faster and faster. Her heart felt like it was soaring for the very first time. There was nothing like it, the faster he went the more amazing it felt. All she could feel was the earth around her and the link to her aves.

She couldn't help but giggle with glee as she watched Diana pass them, holding her arms out at her sides like wings. The wind was pushing her arms behind her, and her face was lifted toward the sunlight shining through the trees. Jarem sped to catch up with her and they started to race each other, getting competitive each time one of them would pass the other.

Autumn was at Falcon’s side as she called out, "Oh come on, go for it. She'll love it!"

"Faster!" Iris squealed like a little kid, the sheer joy of movement giving her a rush she had never felt before. As she leaned her face against Falcon's, she could feel that he was smiling as he gained speed. He wrapped his arms behind her, entwining his fingers at her back like he was stretching as his position formed a brace for her. She leaned into it and as he went faster and faster. She slowly let go of his shoulders and held her arms out at her sides like Diana. The sun beat down on her face and arms. As she closed her eyes, she felt like she was flying, really and truly flying.

Author Emma Michaels

Emma Michaels is a multi-talented bookish girl. Not only is she the designer of beautiful covers, but she has many other accomplishments under her belt. She started book blogging in 2009 and was first published in 2010 (The Thirteenth Chime). She started The Writers Voice in 2011 as a way to help readers get to know authors on another level.

She moved to Washington at seventeen to be with the man that she loves, who asked her what she secretly wanted to be when she grew up. Naturally, she told him that she wanted to be an author, but at the time she thought "it was a pipe dream." He encouraged her to pursue her dreams and taught her that "sometimes reaching for the impossible can make a world of difference in your life." Now she is published and reaching well beyond what most people can imagine.

Book 1 is now 99 cents on Kindle!

Add Book 3 to your Goodreads list!
coming October 13, 2014

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: 10/6-10/12

For possible review (here and on Bookloons):
World After by Susan Ee
Eyrie by Emma Michaels
Sets, Lights, & Lunacy by Lloyd Burlingame

First Reads from Goodreads:
Jumping Ship by Janice G. Ross

Bought from Musa Publishing:
The Governess and the Master by Lisa Greer
The Inheritance by R. S. Ramdial

Bought from Amazon:
Divided by Jennifer Sights
Ravaged by Jennifer Sights