Sunday, April 20, 2014

Release Day Blitz: V-Card by Alicia Michaels

Release Day Blitz

Hi guys! I'm pleased to welcome New Adult, Romance author Alicia Michaels to the blog! She's celebrating the release of her newest book, V-CARD, out today! Enjoy the excerpt, and don't forget to enter the giveaway before you leave. Good luck! :)

Enjoy!

V-Card
Alicia Michaels

Release Date: April 20, 2014

Alicia Michaels

Book Description:
Jennifer Nolan has been unlucky when it comes to love; even more unfortunate when it comes to sex. In fact, the twenty year-old college junior is about to enter her senior year still carrying her v-card. All she wants is to be with that special someone without it resulting in a trip to the emergency room, runaway office supplies, or being scarred for life by someone's weird fetishes. With several botched attempts under her belt, she begins to fear she'll end up a lonely spinster or a crazy cat lady.

With only 60 days until her 21st birthday, Jennifer is determined to lose her virginity once and for all. Little does she know that her mission will lead her down a path toward love. She never expects that her mission will lead her to a discovery of what true womanhood is, and where true and lasting love begins.


Excerpt:
My mission? To lose my stupid virginity by my twenty-first birthday ... which is in two months. I can’t very well go into the next phase of adulthood with my v-card. How can I honestly call myself a ‘woman’ if I fidget, wheeze, and just about have a heart attack at even the thought of intimacy? Any guy I date is going to wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

So, it’s happening. I’m not sure when, or with who—since I’m not dating anybody—but I’m determined not to see twenty-one without shedding that one last thing keeping me at girl-status.

Drastic, much? I don’t think so. Maybe if you knew some of my history, you wouldn’t either. First, there was Jeremy …

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: Tied

Hi guys! Today I’m taking part in the cover reveal of the fourth book in the Tangled series by Emma Chase – Tied. So check out the lovely cover and add it to your to-read list!

Tied (Tangled #4)
Emma Chase

Release Date: October 7, 2014

Emma Chase

Book Description:
In the fourth sexy romance by the New York Times bestselling author of Tangled

and Twisted, Drew and Kate can’t wait to tie the knot—if they can survive the pre-
wedding festivities.

For most of my life, I never imagined I’d get married. But Kate did the impossible: she changed me. I think we can all agree I was pretty frigging awesome before, but now I’m even better.

The road to this day wasn’t all rainbows and boners. There were mistakes and
misunderstandings worthy of a Greek tragedy. But Kate and I made it through with our inexhaustible lust, boundless admiration, and everlasting love for one another intact.

That being said, there were some unexpected incidents in Vegas last weekend that could have been a problem. It was kind of…my final test.

I know what you’re thinking—what the hell did you do this time? Relax. Let’s not judge, or call for my castration, until you’ve heard the whole story.

And hold on tight, because you’re in for a wild ride. Did you expect anything less?


Amazon US | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: My Paris Kitchen

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
David Lebovitz

Release Date: April 8, 2014

David Lebovitz

Book Description:
A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from Chez Panisse pastry chef turned popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way modern Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

French cooking has come a long way since the days of Escoffier. The culinary culture of France has changed and the current generation of French cooks, most notably in Paris, are incorporating ingredients and techniques from around the world. In My Paris Kitchen, David Lebovitz remasters the French classics, introduces lesser known French fare, and presents 100 recipes using ingredients foraged in the ethnic neighborhoods of Paris. Stories told in David's trademark style describe the quirks, trials, and joys of cooking, shopping, and eating in France, while food and location photographs reveal modern life in Paris.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Egalley courtesy of Ten Speed Press via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

Paris! What can I say? I simply can’t resist my fascination, love, and admiration for the city of lights. Then you add food to the mix… and I really can’t help it. I spied My Paris Kitchen while browsing on NetGalley one day and I had to have it, so I’m incredibly grateful for a chance to get acquainted with this gorgeous and inspirational cookbook and feel honored for a chance to share it with you.   

David Lebovitz, the man behind My Paris Kitchen, is no stranger among foodies and food enthusiast. He is a celebrated food writer, blogger, and former top pastry chef. He first started his food blog in 1999 (you can check it out here), and even though I don’t regularly follow the blog myself, I peek around once in a while and often find his recipes and suggestions – creative and inspirational. But what I enjoy most about the blog and this cookbook, are the approachable manner in which David manages to present his recipes and ideas.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Copper Girl {Blog Tour}

Copper Girl (Copper Legacy #1)
Jennifer Allis Provost

Release Date: June 25, 2013

Jennifer Allis Provost

Book Description:
Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara's dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.


Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Excerpt Chapter 1:
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

My office, like most modern offices, cranked the air conditioning down to Arctic proportions during the summer months. Consequently, we workers arrived in the morning dressed in sandals and sleeveless tops, donned heavy sweaters upon reaching our desks, and ended up shivering by noon. Ironically, when our workday ended we were hit by a wall of oppressive heat the moment we stepped outside the main doors. No, this wasn’t a flawed system in the slightest.

That day, I wasn’t having it. I had the grand idea of spending my lunch hour outside, away from the icy wind stiffening my fingers and chilling my neck. After I unwound myself from the afghan I kept in my desk (and only used in the summer months), I gathered up my lunch and my phone and headed out for an impromptu picnic in my car.

What I hadn’t considered was that the office runs the air conditioning so cold because it was, well, hot outside. Very hot, in fact. So hot that the cheese was melting in my sandwich and the lettuce looked like something that had washed ashore months, maybe even years, ago. I was parked in the shade and had taken down my car’s convertible top, but I still couldn’t manage to get comfortable. I’d already shed my sandals and cardigan, which left me wearing my sundress and…

Dare I?

I glanced around the parking lot of Real Estate Evaluation Services, the ‘go-to firm for all your commercial real estate needs’, according to the brochures. No one, human or drone, was taking a noontime stroll, and, by virtue of my being on the far side of the lot, no cars were near mine. Most of my coworkers didn’t even have cars, so the lot was rarely more than half-full. What was more, from where I sat, I couldn’t even see the office.

I dared.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1)
Penny Reid

Release Date: March 14, 2013

Penny Reid

Book Description:
This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the first book in the Knitting in the City series.

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Fun, quirky, romantic and totally adorable!

Neanderthal Seeks Human has been on my to-read list for quite some time now and since I had a long weekend planed I eyed my opportunity to finally read and have a proper introduction with Janie and Quinn. Now, I admit, I’ve read second and third books of the series previously (I know! It is so improper of me, but fortunately Penny Reid’s books work as standalone(s) too *score!*) and I’ve since become quite a fangirl of hers, so I expected nothing less than a delightful reading experience, which was exactly what I got.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cover Reveal: West

Hi guys! Today, I’m very excited to unveil the cover of West, which is out this April. West is the second book in the Campbell series by a Toronto-based author C.S. Starr. I read Campbell last year, when it first came out (check my review here). It was brutal, unapologetic, and surprisingly refreshing among the myriad of dystopian novels populating the market today, so my hopes and expectations are high for this next installment and I can’t wait to share it with you. Let’s see what the future brings us…

Have a great weekend!

West (Campbell #2)
C.S. Starr

Release Date: April 15, 2014

C.S. Starr

Book Description:
After her world was turned upside down by the death of her twin and a new alliance forged through an unexpected friendship, Lucy Campbell left West determined to return to her old life.

It took four years and a natural disaster for her to admit that was impossible.

Hatched from a lie devised to keep them both safe, the conflict with East has affected Lucy and Tal Bauman in different ways. It’s left Lucy engulfed in a bitter power struggle with her war-hungry brother. It’s forced Tal to align himself with Campbell, despite questioning their motivations in continuing to attack East, when peace seems attainable. He’s also left to sort out the mess left behind by his predecessor and best friend, Connor Wilde.

When they are reunited by a tragedy, Lucy and Tal are forced to question how far their duties stretch, where their loyalties lie, and how far they would go for one another.

They’re also left reevaluating their morals, values, and the futures of those around them.

West is the second book in the Campbell trilogy.


Goodreads

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tempus Giveaway Winners

And the winners are…

Heather N.
Miss. L.
Amanda B.
Melissa 


You won ebook copies of Tempus by Holly Lauren!

Holly Lauren

Congratulations!

Thank you everyone who participated!

Victoria, xoxo

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Silver Tongue Giveaway Winner

And the winner is…

Heather Norcross

Evelyn Ink


You won an ebook copy of Silver Tongue by Evelyn Ink via Smashwords!

Congratulations!

Thank you everyone who participated!

Victoria, xoxo

Release Day Launch: Love Hacked

Today I’m excited to celebrate release of Penny Reid’s newest novel – Love Hacked. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out Penny’s books before, you are totally missing out because her books are smart, funny, sexy, and all in all fabulous. So add Love Hacked to your to-read list and head on over to Nocturnal Book Reviews for a joint review of Love Hacked by Karina and I.

Love Hacked (Knitting in the City #3)
Penny Reid

Release Date: March 11, 2014

Penny Reid


Book Description:
There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn't been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra--near desperation and maybe a little tipsy--gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the third book in the Knitting in the City series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone.


Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Iced Giveaway Winner

And the winner is…

Elizabeth Haney

You won a signed copy of Iced by Karen  Marie Moning! 

Karen Marie Moning

Congratulations!

Thank you everyone who participated! You guys are awesome. :)

Victoria, xoxo

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Holly Lauren {Blog Tour}

Hi guys! I’m excited to welcome Holly Lauren, author of NA fantasy novel - Tempus.. Holly is a fan of YA lit and today she is sharing her 5 favorite YA couple scenes with us. Also, as part of the Tempus blog tour, I am giving away 5 ebook copies of Tempus, so don’t forget to scroll down for a Rafflecopter giveaway below “and may the odds be ever in your favor” (err… sorry! couldn’t resist).

Enjoy!

Tempus
Holly Lauren

Release Date: November 25, 2013

Holly Lauren

Book Description:
Chapel Ryan isn't crazy. At least, that's what she's been trying to convince herself of for most of her life. But after being hallucination-free for three years, Chapel finds herself facedown on her English classroom’s gritty linoleum floor. When she looks up, everyone around her is suspended in animation. Mouths hang open mid-yawn, feet hover mid-cross, Ms. Freeman’s arm flexes mid-sentence diagram. It's another hallucination. Or, is it?

Chapel prepares to tear herself back to reality when something happens. Something that has never happened before in any of her hallucinations--someone moves. And not just any someone—it’s the new guy with a scar over his lip and a reputation as black as his perfectly styled hair. And all of the sudden Chapel's white-knuckle grip on her life has slipped, and with it, her assurance that what she's experiencing isn't real.


Amazon US | Goodreads

5 YA Couple Scenes I Love by Holly Lauren:
My sister and I are always highlighting scenes and quotes on our Kindles and sharing them with one another. I am going to share 5 of our favorites “couples” scenes below. So, actually, that title should say we love instead of I love. (But if my sister were writing this, she’d probably take all the credit.)

BE WARNED. WE ARE GIRLY AND SILLY AND BASICALLY LAME.

Release Day Giveaway: Chasing the Green Fairy

Hi guys! Today is the release day of Chasing the Green Fairy by the lovely Melanie Karsak! And to celebrate Melanie is giving you a chance to win a fun prize pack with signed copies of both books in The Airship Racing Chronicles series and other cool book swag, enter below via Rafflecopter.

Happy Book Birthday!

Chasing the Green Fairy (The Airship Racing Chronicles #2)
Melanie Karsak

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Melanie Karsak

Book Description:
A sabotaged airship.

A recovering opium addict.

A messenger with life-shattering news.

With the 1824 British airship qualifying race only weeks away, Lily Stargazer is at the top of her game. She’s racing like a pro, truly in love, and living clean. But on one ill-omened day, everything changes.

Pulled head-long into the ancient secrets of the realm, Lily soon finds herself embroiled in Celtic mysteries and fairy lore. And she’s not quite sure how she got there, or even if she wants to be involved. But Lily soon finds herself chasing the spirit of the realm while putting her own ghosts to rest. And only accepting the truth--about her heart and her country--can save her.


Amazon US | Goodreads | YouTube Playlist

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Singer

Omg! Guys, I’m super excited because today I get to unveil the cover of The Singer by the wonderful Elizabeth Hunter, whose books I’ve been fangirling over for some time now! Last year I read and reviewed The Scribe (check my review here) – the first book in the Irin Chronicles series and *ta-da* I loved it! And I can’t wait to read this book, but we still have to wait a bit… So check out the beautiful cover and add it to your TBR list. 

Squee!!!

Happy Friday!

The Singer (Irin Chronicles #2)
Elizabeth Hunter

Release Date: May 2014

Elizabeth Hunter

Book Description:
When you've lost everything you love, how do you fight the darkness?

Ava left Istanbul with a new identity, new name, and new magic she could barely control. Laid low by Malachi's sacrifice, she searches for help from the fabled Irina. But will the secretive women of the Irin race welcome or shun her? Ava's origins are still a mystery, and her powers are darker than any they've encountered before.

The Irin world hangs in the balance. And as the children of angels battle their own demons, ancient rivalries among the Fallen threaten to wreak havoc on earth.

Thousand of miles away, a warrior wakes with no memory of his identity or his people. Stumbling though the dark and twisted schemes of fallen angels, ravenous Grigori, and even his own leaders, he must find a way back to the one thing he remembers. A single voice calls him. Malachi has one mission.


"Come back to me."

THE SINGER is the second book in the Irin Chronicles, a contemporary fantasy series from Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries.


Goodreads | Website

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Evelyn Ink

Hi guys! Today I welcome Evelyn Ink, author of Ill-fated and Silver Tongue. Evelyn’s books don’t fall just within one genre but encompass the elements of fantasy and steampunk to help create fun and exciting world. So check out her post on writing and inspiration, her books and a giveaway below.

On Writing Steampunk and the Fantasy Genre:
Steampunk has been dissected, categorized, and re-categorized so much that sometimes I’m unsure where my books fit into the genre. The best description I can give is that Ill-fated and Silver-Tongue are alternative-world steampunk. That is to say, like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, my “steampunk” books are set in an invented world rather than an altered Victorian-era. 

Evelyn Ink
It is world on the edge of an industrial revolution, with some countries much more advanced in their technology than others. As with all ages of enlightenment, what is called black magic in one place, is science in another, and this most evident in Ill-fated where the heroine, Leila, is forced to leave Bainland– a small, safe, but rather primitive country, and travel south. Once in Southland she finds a world where magic meets machine; sky ships, daguerreotypes, and automatons merge with the earth-dolven magic of the South, leaving her to question, “What is sorcery and what is science?”

Within the pages of Silver-Tongue there is less of this transitional, clock-work culture shock, though the main character, Belin, is introduced to the newfangled “auto-chaise” and sky ships play a more prominent role in the story. That said, I would have to label both works as “light” steampunk. The reason being, they are steampunk in setting only. Everything takes a backseat to plot and characters, and unlike many fantasy and steampunk writers, I do not spend a lot of time expounding on the “science” behind the machines. This is a plus for some readers and a let down for others, but I myself enjoy the visual world of gadgets and gears without the overly scientific explanations.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Giveaway: Iced

Hi guys! Guess what? The other week I participated in Karen Marie Moning’s ICED Giveaway for Bloggers… and I was one of the 25 lucky bloggers to win! Which is great news for you, cause now I have a signed copy of ICED to give away. Enter to win below via Rafflecopter! *Squee* 

Good luck!



Iced (Dani O'Malley Trilogy #1)
Karen Marie Moning

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Karen Marie Moning

Book Description:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning comes the first book in her hotly anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy, set in the world of her blockbuster Fever series.

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recipe: Lamb Stew “Piti”

Hi guys! How's everyone doing? As I'm writing this, we've just had another snow storm and are digging ourselves out once again. It's been quite a cold winter and I'm somewhat over it at this point. Seriously, warm weather can't come soon enough. But one thing I like about winter is that it's a great excuse to make many hearty dishes, such as stews, braises, and roasts. So today I'd like to share a recipe for a lamb stew I made the other day. It's my take on an Azerbaijanian Piti, a slow-cooking soup, traditionally cooked in an earthenware pot (I cook mine in a Dutch oven) with lamb, vegetables and chickpeas. It's hearty and delicious - a one pot meal to please the family. 

Stay warm!  

Lamb Stew “Piti”
Servings 2 – 4



Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Giveaway: Chasing the Green Fairy

Hi guys! Today, I’m very excited to be part of the cover reveal for Melanie Karsak’s second novel in The Airship Racing Chronicles - Chasing the Green Fairy. And it’s such a pretty cover, don’t you think? So, enjoy the excerpt and scroll down for a Rafflecopter giveaway and your chance to win one of the ten ebook copies! 

Have a great weekend!

 

Chasing the Green Fairy (The Airship Racing Chronicles #2)
Melanie Karsak

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Melanie Karsak

Book Description:
A sabotaged airship.

A recovering opium addict.

A messenger with life-shattering news.

With the 1824 British airship qualifying race only weeks away, Lily Stargazer is at the top of her game. She’s racing like a pro, truly in love, and living clean. But on one ill-omened day, everything changes.

Pulled head-long into the ancient secrets of the realm, Lily soon finds herself embroiled in Celtic mysteries and fairy lore. And she’s not quite sure how she got there, or even if she wants to be involved. But Lily soon finds herself chasing the spirit of the realm while putting her own ghosts to rest. And only accepting the truth--about her heart and her country--can save her.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Excerpt:
A chartreuse-colored leaf fluttered down onto the wheel of the Stargazer. It was early morning. The mist covering the surface of the Thames reflected the rosy sunrise. Yawning, I reached out to brush it away only find it was not a leaf at all. Carefully, I balanced the fragile creature on the tip of my finger.

“Mornin’, Lil. Hey, what’s that?” Jessup called as he bounced onto the deck of the Stargazer.

Angus was cursing as he cranked out the repair platform below the ship. We were preparing for our morning practice run to Edinburgh.

“A luna moth,” I replied.

“I thought maybe you’d finally caught the green fairy,” Jessup joked as he climbed into the burner basket.

I grinned. The moth’s green wings, dotted with yellowish eyes, wagged slowly up and down. It was beautiful, but it was dying. “My mother once told me that they are fey things, that they live in the other realm until it’s their time to die. Then, they come to humans.”

“Why?” Jessup asked as he adjusted the valves. Orange flame sparked to life.

“She said that even enchanted things want to be truly loved at least once.”

“Don’t we all?” he replied with a laugh.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy 1st Blogoversary & *Big* Announcement!

Photo Credit: leontine via Compfight cc

Hi guys! I can hardly believe it but today Zemfirka Blogs is celebrating its one year anniversary and I couldn’t be happier or proud of this milestone! I took up blogging on a whirl and fell absolutely in love with it. It’s been a truly amazing year, from meeting so many great bloggers, readers, and authors *grins* to visiting Book Expo America and having one of my reviews quoted in a book by one of my favorite authors nonetheless. I can go on and on as you probably know but I will keep it short and sweet and simply thank all of you for the support, encouragement, inspiration and love – you guys rock!

A special thanks to…

Mindi Havens Wells @ My Literary Obsession

Thank you!

Also, as promised I have some very exciting news to share with you. At the end of December I’ve announced a co-blogger search, wishing to find someone who would share with me the blogging responsibilities and more importantly love for reading and reviewing amazing books. So I couldn’t be happier to say that I’ve gotten an amazing offer which I couldn’t refuse. And starting this month I will be joining the ever amazing Karina over at Nocturnal Book Reviews [or NBR]. *Squee*

What does it mean for Zemfirka Blogs you ask? Well, I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time and the blog will remain for your perusal as always, I might even post an occasional review here and there [or a recipe if the fancy strikes me], but for the most part I will continue my blogging adventures at Nocturnal Book Reviews, which is a fabulous book review blog that I’ve been a fan of for some time now and am encouraging all of you to check out and follow as well. Karina, aside being an amazing blogger, is also a friend and simply a lovely person; we share many similar tastes in books so there is always exciting possibility of joint reviews to come. So come visit us at NBR and as always you can find me on Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

To new beginnings!

Victoria, xoxo

Friday, February 7, 2014

Author Spotlight: Christine S. Feldman

Hi guys! Because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and there is nothing like a sweet romance to set the mood here is a little glimpse at Christine S. Feldman’s newest novella – Playing Cupid! Enjoy and don’t forget to add it to your TBR list!

Playing Cupid (Heavenly Bites Novellas #3)
Christine S. Feldman

Release Date: January 31, 2014

Christine S. Feldman

Book Description:
Much as she loves her meddling matchmaker of a grandmother, free-spirited Aimee Beasley is tired of dodging the dull and downright tiresome dates the older woman keeps trying to arrange for her. So when she notices her beloved Gran preening in the presence of a distinguished elderly gentleman who’s been visiting their apartment building, Aimee is delighted at the prospect of turning the tables on her.

But her plans to match her grandmother up with the gentleman in time for Valentine’s Day hit a snag when Aimee realizes he’s the uncle of their downstairs neighbor, a stodgy thirty-something history professor named Doyle with whom she butts heads on a regular basis. She’ll need to find a way to make nice and enlist his help, or her plan to see her long-widowed Gran happily matched again will never work.

For Gran’s sake, she’s determined to find a way. In the process, she starts to realize that her cranky downstairs neighbor has a softer side she never suspected existed.

And when it comes to romantic heroes, history professors may not have gotten a fair shake…


Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:
Aimee Beasley held the door open to their apartment building’s lobby for her beloved and bespectacled Gram as the older woman listed the many wonderful qualities possessed by her pharmacist, starting with his full head of hair and ending with his detailed knowledge of the common side effects of every medication known to humankind.  It was a surprisingly long list, so either Gram had spent a great deal of time compiling it, or she had simply made half of it up.  Either way, her dedication to her cause was admirable.

“So?” said Gram, expectant and finally pausing to draw breath as she peered at her granddaughter through tortoiseshell glasses that seemed to dwarf her face.

Aimee shook her head.

“But he’s such a nice young man—” her grandmother protested.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spotlight & Book Reivew: The Courtesan Chronicles {Blog Tour}

Coven of the Courtesan (The Courtesan Chronicles #1)
Yolanda Shoshana

Release Date: October 2013

Yolanda Shoshana

Book Description:
Coven of the Courtesan- The Courtesan Chronicles Series

Coven of the Courtesan follows a coven of witches in New York City who bring back the magick and art of the courtesan. Come on the adventures of Bast, Lola, and Pixie as they take you on a journey that looks like Charmed meets Sex in the City.

Coven of the Courtesan, Book 1- The Courtesan Chronicles Series

Bast Buchanan is about to become CEO of Spellbound Entertainment until the Ewing family swoops down and buys the company. She never saw this coming.

Ramennis Ewing expects to run his father’s new conquest and take over the family media empire. He is ready to prove there is more to him than what is in the press.

When Bast is asked to work side by side with roving playboy, Ramennis, can she continue to keep her guard up with this new enemy, one of the sexiest men she has ever met or does her coven have to open up a can of power of three on him. Just who will seduce whom?

*The mixed media novelette series contains real magick and spells.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Excerpt:
As Bast Buchanan got closer, she could see the shadow of a man standing in the distance and hear a voice whispering something that she could not make out. All she could tell was that it was a woman’s voice.

"Hello, can you hear me, you called to me,” stated Bast.

The whispering continued and the words flowed faster. Walking over debris in the darkness, Bast moved closer to the voice speaking to the person who was calling out to her. "What are you trying to tell me, can you speak louder?” Darkness and echos filled the space. From the corners of her eyes, Bast could see other spirits moving around her, but she was focused on the voice that was speaking to her.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)
Deborah Harkness

Release Date: July 10, 2012

Deborah Harkness

Book Description:
IT BEGAN WITH A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Second in Deborah Harkness’s bestselling All Souls Trilogy, Shadow of Night is a breathtakingly beautiful and historically rich tale of love and marriage, trust and family, magic and mystery, and a long lost manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Picking up where A Discovery of Witches left off, Shadow of Night plunges its readers into the intricate and colorful world of 16th century Elizabethan England, where Diana and Matthew find themselves among Matthew’s friends, a famed group of poets and scientist known as the School of Night. Still, journeying into the past to find a manuscript and a witch to educate Diana quickly proves to be a much more cumbersome and time-consuming task than Matthew would expect. And soon the whirlwind of intrigues and conspiracies, not to mention Matthew’s countless identities and many masters, threaten to envelope them all together.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Archetype

Archetype (Archetype #1)
M.D. Waters

Release Date: February 6, 2014


Book Description:
Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .
The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Digital copy provided by Penguin’s First to Read Program. This review is my honest opinion.

ar•che•type noun \ˈär-ki-ˌtīp\
: a perfect example of something

Sometimes the hardest books to review are the ones that you’ve enjoyed the most and this stunning debut novel by M.D. Waters is just that kind of a book. Archetype tells the story of Emma, when she wakes up in a hospital with no memories to guide her on and an uncanny voice inside her head warning not to trust her current reality.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: Friends Without Benefits

Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City #2)
Penny Reid

Release Date: September 29, 2013

Penny Reid

Book Description:
Friends Without Benefits can be read as a standalone, is a full length 120k word novel, and is book#2 in the Knitting in the City Series.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she's unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
You guys! This was such a sweet romance, full of antics and sincerity, insecurities, imperfections, smart and witty dialogue, and some very lovable characters. I have to admit I didn’t read the first in Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series but fortunately Friends Without Benefits can be enjoyed as a standalone [I love it when authors do that!] nonetheless you can be sure I’ll be reading other books by the author very soon. 

Penny Reid delivers a sexy, laugh-out-loud funny romcom that will cheer you up and make you wish that you were part of this knitting group. Heck, even being absolutely incapable of the simplest mending job let alone knitting I still would want to be part of this group and friends with these fabulous ladies. They were smart, honest, supportive, pushy at all the right moments, and absolutely hilarious. I laughed, I almost cried, and I definitely awed, because humor and love are always a winning combination in my opinion and they are perfectly in balance here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Deb Perelman

Release Date: October 30, 2012

Deb Perelman

Book Description:
The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen—home cook, mom, photographer, and celebrated food blogger.

Deb Perelman loves to cook. It’s as simple as that. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. How do you choose? Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?

So Deb founded her award-winning blog, smittenkitchen.com, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should be—delicious...every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to finding the best of the best and adapting them for the everyday cook—the ones with little time to spare, little money to burn on unpronounceable ingredients, and little help in the kitchen. And now, with the same warmth, candor, and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook—more than 100 new recipes, plus a few favorites from her site, all gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of Deb’s beautiful color photographs.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking: stepped-up comfort foods, stewy dishes for windy winter afternoons, an apple cake that will answer all questions: “What should my new signature dessert be?” “What is always welcome at a potluck?” “What did Deb consume almost single-handedly a week after having a baby?” These are the recipes you bookmark and use so often they become your own; recipes you slip to a friend who wants to impress her new in-laws; and recipes with simple ingredients that yield amazing results in a minimum amount of time. Deb tells you how to host a brunch and still sleep in—plus what to make for it!—and the essential items you need for your own kitchen. From salads and slaws that make perfect side dishes (or a full meal) to savory tarts and pizzas; from Mushroom Bourguignon to Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies; from Buttered Popcorn Cookies to Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake, Deb knows just the thing for a Tuesday night, or your most special occasion.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is comfort food refined and perfected, and is on the level of its own genius. It is by far one of my favorite cookbooks and certainly one that I keep referring to all the time. And this review has been long overdue.

Let me tell you why I think everyone should check out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by the fabulous, award-winning, food blogger Deb Perelman whose blog I’ve been following quite religiously for a few years now. Her recipes are creative, inspiring, scrumptious, and yet absolutely approachable. I simply get lost every time I open this cookbook because I keep turning the pages, unable to decide what I want to make first – everything looks and is delicious. All of Deb’s recipes both from the cookbook and her blog [which you should check out here] that made it to my family’s table turned out wonderfully, and several made a few reappearances since. Clearly I can’t help but gush about how awesome this cookbook is and my opinion might be absolutely biased [but that’s why you wanted it, right?] but trust that I’m not the only one expressing my love for this cookbook.   

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1)
Ilona Andrews

Release Date: December 2, 2013

Ilona Andrews

Book Description:
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Light hearted and refreshing Clean Sweep is a delightful and highly entertaining read. And I’ll be sure to add other books by the writing duo known as Ilona Andrews to my growing to-read list.

All in all, Clean Sweep is a trip! Unexpected, humorous, sarcastic and fast paced; this urban fantasy, gory details aside, had me giggling late at night. I couldn’t help but love the heroine – Dina the Innkeeper. She was feisty, determined, and self-sufficient [just the way I like my heroines to be]. Add to that a couple of impetuous alpha males, one werewolf, the other vampire; and you know there’s bound to be plenty of fun exchanges between these three [and if your thoughts immediately jump to Twilight, rest assured that these novels have very little in common]. Truly, even the ever annoying love triangle works charmingly well here, creating the needed tension between the heroine and her two would-be suitors and comrades-in-arms, as well as offering plenty of comic relief. The dialog alone was one of the bigger highlights for me; still there are plenty of other enjoyable aspects as well.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Recipe: Mushroom Julienne

Hi guys! Today I’d like to share this great hot appetizer with you. If you are a lover of mushrooms like me then I’m sure you’d like this dish as well. It is a Russian recipe and popular among many of the Eastern European countries, it is quite similar to a gratin and has little to do with the julienne technique of cutting vegetables as the name might suggest, but it is delicious nonetheless. I have fond memories of mushroom juliennes which were traditionally served at intermissions in theater’s cafeteria, along the caviar toasts and other fancy snacks and desserts [the indulgence of which I often found as an exciting part of the theater-going experience while growing up]. So give this dish a try! Quick, rich and creamy, served in small individual dishes, called cocottes, it’s bound to impress.

“Russian” Mushroom Julienne
Servings 2 – 4



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
Emily Croy Barker

Release Date: August 1, 2013

Emily Croy Barker

Book Description:
An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her "real life" against the dangerous power of love and magic.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
When it was first published last summer The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic was heavily marketed to fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy and even praised by Ms. Harkness herself as “fun, seductive, and utterly engrossing.” Naturally, I had to read this book or rather listen to it since I purchased an audio version, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan [which might have contributed to my overall experience]. Regrettably, I had many issues with this novel which outweighed its positive elements and at the end I found it far from charming and captivating but rather dull and unnecessarily long.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Cindy Spencer Pape {Blog Tour}

Hi guys! It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another spotlight & giveaway. This week I’m very excited to share with you an excerpt from a new steampunk novel, Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape. Now, I admit, I haven’t read this series yet, but it certainly sounds fun, so on to my never-ending to-read list it goes and don't forget to add it to yours! 

Note: Scroll for the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Happy reading!


Ashes & Alchemy (Gaslight Chronicles #6)
Cindy Spencer Pape

Release Date: January 6, 2014

Cindy Spencer Pape

Book Description:
London, 1860

Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that's not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian's doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that's responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy's classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it's he who will need protecting—from emotions he'd thought buried long ago.


Amazon US | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:
Police Inspector Sebastian Brown stirred the coals in his study’s small iron grate. The clock on the wall chimed quarter past two. Another night with no sleep, then. Bloody hell, this insomnia was getting to be a habit. Perhaps he should ask his superior to move him to the graveyard shift. If he was going to be awake all night, maybe he’d be able to rest during the day. It was better than what he was doing now, getting no sleep at all. At forty, he was too old to keep that up indefinitely. He eyed the half-empty decanter of brandy on his desk but shook his head. He’d tried that for the last couple of nights, and all it had earned him was a headache to go along with his fatigue. That, he could do without. It was bad enough that the British winter made his hip hurt like hell—except he knew from experience that hell was hot and dry, not frigid and damp.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Book of Life



O*M*G! I literally cannot contain my excitement. The US cover for Deborah Harkness’s third and final installment in the All Souls Trilogy, the eagerly anticipated The Book of Life was just exclusively revealed on USA Today! Go check it out and read the fabulous excerpt here. Squee!!!

Happy Thursday everyone!

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Deborah Harkness

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Deborah Harkness

Book Description:
The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions and translations, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: Songs of Submission: Sequence One

Songs of Submission: Sequence One (Songs of Submission #1-3)
C.D. Reiss

Release Date: March 24, 2013

CD Reiss

Book Description:
Beg
My name is Monica. I'm a singer born and raised in Los Angeles.

I've stopped dating. When I cut a record, or win a Grammy, maybe then I'll be with someone, but every man in my past has done everything he could to make me submit myself to him, and it's gotten in the way of my career. I won't do it again.

But there's Jonathan. He owns the high-rise hotel where I work, and he is gorgeous and charming. I refuse to fall in love with him, even though when he asks me to submit to him, I want nothing more.

Tease
When Jonathan was gone I couldn't stop thinking about him, and the first thing he did when he got back was demand more of me. I'm willing to give him my body and my time, but I find myself giving up pieces of my heart.

My career is on track, and even though I can't write a thing, I can sing. So I'll go to the art opening with him, because his ex wife will be there. I feel this need to protect him from hurt, though in bed, his domination brings me to my knees.

This man is going to break me into a million little pieces.

Submit
"You're mine. The minute I told you to spread your legs and you did it, you were mine. When I told you to beg for it and you did, you were mine. When you put your hands behind your back without being told, I owned you. You never had to say a word. You are a natural submissive."

No. God, no.

My name is Monica, and no matter what Jonathan says, I am not submissive.

****18+ GRAPHIC LANGUAGE, SEX, AND ADULT SITUATIONS****


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Hot, quick, with a touch of BDSM, these books are surprisingly addicting. Trust me; you can’t stop at just one…

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: A Study in Ashes

A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair #3)
Emma Jane Holloway

Release Date: December 31, 2013

Emma Jane Holloway

Book Description:
As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, in handcuffs and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.

Not even Niccolo, the dashing pirate captain, and his sentient airship can save her. But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.

But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is…he’s dead.


Amazon US | Goodreads

Review:
Egalley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra via NetGalley in exchange for fair and honest review.

What a great end to a wonderful series! I must admit, at over 600 pages long this book took me awhile to finish but it was well worth it. There is magic, gadgetry, intrigues and treachery, love, bravery, and much more. This beautiful dark magical world, so vividly drawn throughout the series serves as a perfect backdrop to the multiple storylines explored here, each having their own unique arc and purpose. And the fabulous cast of characters does not stop to impress. At the end, A Study in Ashes serves as a perfect conclusion with a hopeful glimpse into future possibility of more stories to come.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Diane Alberts {Blog Tour}

It’s the first Friday of the New Year so what are you reading? How about a nice New Year romance from the lovely Diane Alberts? Check out her new novel – Kiss Me at Midnight and enter for a chance to win Take a Chance series bundle. See the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Happy New Year!


Kiss Me at Midnight
Diane Alberts

Release Date: December 30, 2013

Diane Alberts

Book Description:
Her New Year’s resolution was seduction…

Doctor Ashley Hanes has one mission and one mission only—end her annoyingly long dry streak and ring in the New Year with a bang. Literally. When her long lost and oh-so-sexy ex-best friend, Ethan Pierce, shows up as if he hadn’t broken her heart all those years ago, suddenly she doesn’t want to bring home just any man. She wants Ethan.

What should have been one night of blow-your-mind make-up sex quickly turns into another. And another.

Before long, Ashley thinks maybe she and Ethan should reunite for good. If only the elusive bachelor will stop running from his tortured past and trust a future in Ashley’s arms…


Amazon US | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

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