Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Rewind: Guest Author│MYSTERY—SUSPENSE, SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? (Cindy McDonald)




MYSTERY—SUSPENSE, SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE??

I’ve had several readers and reviewers post that they love my mysteries. Ahhh, but most recently I had a reviewer complain that she was upset because there was no mystery involved in one of my latest books, and there’s a darn good reason for that: I simply do not write mysteries! While some readers and reviewers put my books in the mystery category, the simple fact is that I write murder suspense and romantic suspense novels.


Okay, so what’s the difference?


mystery writer holds their cards close to their chest. Bit by bit the mystery writer will slowly feed you clues as to who killed the poor widow who lives in the Victorian mansion on the hill. During the course of the story they will throw suspicion in several directions and perhaps throw a few twists into the plot to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end as to whodunit. A very good mystery writer will surprise you.


suspense writer holds nothing back. The suspense writer tells you straight up that the handsome, young man whose car broke down during the storm and showed up at the poor widow’s door asking to use her phone killed her. But now will her beautiful, recently divorced daughter who shows up unexpected be next?


suspense writer will toy with your emotions and your apprehensions by leading you to believe that perhaps you—the reader—is mistaken. Maybe, just maybe, the young man isn’t the murderer, and perhaps someone else killed the old woman. A suspense writer will send cold-hard fear crawling up your skin as the murderer charms the widow’s daughter.


When is he going to kill her?


How is he going to kill her?


Will the police officer that lives down the street figure out what is going on and come to her rescue before it’s too late?


If you can’t put the book down because you simply can’t wait to find out the answers, then the suspense writer has done their job well.


In a mystery book there is always the telling moment when all the characters, which of course includes the protagonist detective and the suspects, all gather together to put all the clues together and reveal the murderer.


In a suspense book the action comes to a climax where people’s lives are hanging on the edge, requiring the protagonist to hatch a dodgy rescue, risking everything to save the widow’s daughter.


It all seems extremely basic, doesn’t it? So what’s all the confusion about?


Stick with me, because this is the important part:


When looking for my books on Amazon, you may very well find works of suspense under the category of mystery. Why? Because when Amazon categorizes books many are lumped together in one category. Mystery and suspense books are put together in a mystery/suspense/thriller category, and then the book will be broken down from there into sub-categories like: romance, police procedural, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, murder suspense etc. Yes! My books could possibly be listed in the same category as Stephen King’s thrillers regardless of the fact that they are not the same kind or genre as Mr. King’s books.

In other words my romantic suspense and murder suspense books can show up in several categories, including mystery, even though it is not a mystery at all.


Whew! Did I clear that all up for you? I suppose the point is, the next time you shop for a mystery on Amazon, you may very well get suspense or a suspense that teases your sense of deductive reasoning with a mystery.


To the Breaking Pointe

Author: Cindy McDonald
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 250
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Pushed to the breaking pointe!


Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia forces her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties. Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties—until an American financier offers to bail the failing ballet company out. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire. Against her will, Silja is taken to the American's mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: HELP!


Now Grant is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man's subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?


**originally published in 2014


Purchase your copy

 

Free Kindle Download (Sci-Fi thriller): The Whisper of Stars by Nick Jones





The Whisper of Stars
Hibernation Series Book 1
by Nick Jones 



About the book:

The year is 2091. With accelerated warming and global population out of control, the survival of humanity hangs in the balance. On the brink of extinction, science delivers one last hope. Human hibernation.

Jennifer Logan is a tough cop in the newly formed Duality Division, tasked with enforcing hibernation. When she uncovers a memory, hidden deep within her mind, her belief in the system she protects is shattered. Together with an unlikely partner, and convinced that her past holds the secret to mankind’s future, she embarks on a dangerous search for the truth, one that rapidly turns into a struggle for her life. Pursued by the very people she once trusted, Logan must risk everything for answers to the mystery that unfolds. As her world unravels and the layers of deceit are revealed, she is forced to question everything and use all of her skills to survive. In The Whisper of Stars, author Nick Jones delivers a breathtaking, sinister vision of the future, where nothing is what it seems. He shows us that some secrets cannot stay buried, no matter how deep.




Monday, August 29, 2016

Goodreads book tag!





Been a long time since I participated in the q&a like this... nice to be able to make time for the tag (from Sabrina of reviewingroom.blogspot.com). 

What was/were the last book/s you marked as read?
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen


Chasing the Wild Sparks by Ren Alexander

What are you currently reading?
I'm listering to The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. I still haven't decided if I liked the main character and the story. I'm so close in DNF'ing this... 


What was the last book you marked as TBR?
Daring the Wild Sparks (Wild Sparks, #2)

What book do you plan to read next?
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Michael Hebler - an ARC, no book cover yet.

Do you use the star rating system?
Yes! 

Are you doing a 2016 reading challenge?
Failed twice so no, I'm not doing it EVER again.

Do you have a wishlist?
Right now, nothing. I just want to relax... often, I find new books 'exhausting'. The VA series and its spin off (re-reading) is making me busy...

Do you have any favorite quotes? Would you like to share a few?
Used to have but no longer remember any of them. 

Who are your favorite authors?
Tolkien, Richelle Mead, Kristen Ashley and Keri Arthur.

Have you joined any groups?
Yes, lots of groups everywhere! I remember even stalking members for their reviews! Uhmm no longer active for years .... blogger is crazy lazy now.

Tag yourself too, happy reading!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Spotlight with Excerpt: Elemental Myths Series by Nicole Pouchet




Elemental Myths 
Volume 1: A Paranormal Romance Series
by Nicole Pouchet


Series Name: Elemental Myths
Books in this Volume: 1-3
Official Length: 466 pages
Date of Publication: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Nicole Pouchet

About the book:

Embark on a unique Incan mythology-based urban fantasy quest to save humanity. In this three-book volume, three women must discover and be true to their destinies as the battle between gods and goddesses rages.





** Second prize winner in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award **

CEIBA'S GRACE
(Book 1)

In a pre-Incan society ten thousand years ago, Ceiba is the living vessel of the Mother Earth goddess. Duty dictates her coming marriage to the god of the spiritual realm’s living vessel, Malc. An irresistible love draws her to the guard sworn to protect her.


LAYLA'S GALE
(Book 2)

Life is finally on track for fledgling stage actress Layla Cohen until she realizes her gorgeous new director, Sebastian, is the star of the erotic dreams which she’s been having for months. She could handle the uncomfortable work situation if not for the further evidence she’s losing her mind: The wind suddenly whooshes at her command; memories of a past life emerge; and she’s sure someone is trying to kill her.

Meanwhile, director Sebastian Tawanti is steering his small D.C. theater company into the big-time with his Incan mythology-based play. The culmination of his life’s work, he won’t let anything stand in the way of his play's success--not his mother's objections, not the inappropriate heat he feels for Layla, and not even the mysterious, empathic symptoms he's experienced since meeting her.

As Layla and Sebastian struggle with new love and burgeoning power, a sinister force unravels to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Will they learn the truth behind the Incan mythology script in time to save their lives, the love they’re destined to share, and the future of humanity?


ANNIE'S DEFIANCE
(Book 3)

D.C. lawyer, Annie Birch, believes her life is one logical assessment after another. That changes, however, on the day she accidentally teleports during a high-profile negotiation. Knowing her new power must be a side effect after miraculously getting healed by the Incan Mother Earth goddess doesn’t help matters. Annie has already seen how emerging powers like hers also come with psycho villains that are bent on destroying her, as well as the corporeal world.

The icing on the cupcake of her ridiculous day is two gorgeous men who show up on her doorstep, both vying for her attention. Now, her choices involve much more than her oft-neglected libido. Annie is tasked to play a role in the Incan prophecy, which she prefers to watch from the sidelines. Will she stick to her safe, legal path? Or will she defy all logic to experience the decidedly more fun adventures being thrust her way?


Excerpt:




Purchase your copy

  

About the author

Nicole Pouchet is a memoirist and a paranormal romance novelist. Books from her Elemental Myths paranormal romance series have enjoyed spots on Amazon’s Bestseller list. Layla’s Gale, A Paranormal Romance won second prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Additionally, Cadence’s Cauldron, A Paranormal Romance won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 RWA Pages from the Heart Romance Novel contest.

Still amazed to be an adult, Nicole has managed to center her life on raising her two small sons and being true to her family (including husband and friends). She resides in Issaquah, Washington where she is a marketing executive. Happiest near the water, Nicole spends her free hours plotting her next escape, writing, and staring at the ceiling.




Saturday, August 27, 2016

Recommended Read: Gooseberry Island by Steven Machester



Gooseberry Island
by Steven Machester



Amazon 5-star rating - 68%



About the book:

They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?


Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.


Book review originally posted in February 2015

The story of Gooseberry Island focuses on David McClain, a ranger who had a one time war trip in Afghanistan. When he met Lindsey Wood, he believes he found his soul mate in her. Both tried to make the long distance relationship work and have been counting the days til his return to Gooseberry Island. 

Bad things happened with David and his war brothers. Right after they traveled back home, all of them suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is so common for those who served in combat. Lindsey is a daughter of a war veteran who after more than 20 years, the man is still suffering PTSD. Although she loves David so much, she believes it is highly likely that they would separate as she saw this happen to her mom and dad.


Gooseberry Island for me is not at all just a love story. It talks about friendship, family, pride, honor, etc. It was such a heart-warming story. I love every character, not just David and Lindsey. Every story made my heart ache especially Big Al's and Max's. I know someone who married a soldier who is on a war tour and recently she was complaining that she didn't get to see enough of her husband and their babies are looking for their dad. Ok, it was not really complaining but more like a frustration over raising their kids alone. I know she loves the man so much and she reminds me of David and Lindsey. 


I highly recommend this book especially to those people on LDR (long distance relationship) / who are married to a soldier. 



Purchase your copy

Follow Friday: Top 5 Favorite Book Boy Friends








Prompt of the week

Top 5 Favorite Book Boy Friends

These are my boyfie for more than 10 years now. I remain loyal to them lol!

1. Quinn (Riley Jenson by Keri Arthur) - the ancient vampire lover of Riley Jeson. Toughie but softie. I love that he is full of secrets, not one day goes by without 'aha! moments.'

2. Nathan King (Accidentally Yours by Susan Mallery) - my very first billionaire boyfriend! A bf I won't forget for a long time! 

3. Richard Zeeman (Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton) - a polite wolfie, a boy(friend) scout as described by his enemies. 

4.  Dimitri Belikov (Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead) - a serious guardian/teacher. Oh that fighting skills, he's a god! As a friend and boyfriend, pure awesomeness! 

5.  Jeremiah Johnson (The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James) - MIAH! That guy who would wait for his one true love even if it takes forever! Kind, friendly, considerate, honest, gentle, honorable, reliable, zZzzzz .....  Perfect guy, forever love. 



How about you? Happy Friday!

For newbies, to join the hop, 





Friday, August 26, 2016

Free Kindle Download: Devils Among Us by Chastity Harris




Devils Among Us
by Chastity Harris






About the book:

Sharp-tongued Richmond City Police Detective Devin Dushane is on a never ending quest for redemption from the tragic nightmares of her youth. Pushing away her loved ones and pushing the boundaries of her job finds her temporarily suspended after a risky sting operation goes very wrong. With time on her hands, Devin travels to the small Virginia town where her alcoholic father grew up. And where the unsolved murder of his sister thirty-five years earlier, set into motion the unraveling of Devin’s family before she was even born. If Devin can ever hope to heal her broken family and her broken soul she must uncover the secrets locked away in this sleepy community, and find the devil that has risen among them.

Download Free Kindle

Free Kindle Download: Dissonance by Amanda Staley




Dissonance
by Amanda Staley




About the book:

Malcolm is youngest son of Preston Stone, the largest liquor importer on the east coast since the prohibition. His family’s affluence has afforded him the opportunity to follow his passion of being a pianist. He married a successful local artist Anabelle Connolly.

They appeared to have the perfect life, but it had turned sour. After Anabelle’s death, the truth of their marriage can no longer be hidden. Years of Malcolm’s carefully constructed lies start unraveling at his feet. Will he be able to pick up the pieces of his shattered life?

Dissonance explores and exposes a violent relationship, infidelity, substance abuse, depression, and lies.

Download Free Kindle

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Guest Author: Andrew Joyce (Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure)




My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Jenai has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

Andrew dragged me away from an interesting documentary on television about how dogs were originally domesticated. He wanted me here to speak for him. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I’ll tell you about our latest adventure. We’re always having fun adventures and I like to write about them. And everything I write is 100% true.

I’m Danny or to my fans, Danny the Dog. Today, I’d like to tell you what happened one recent morning after I walked Andrew. We live on the Asun; that’s the name of our boat. She’s named after my friend Suni. Andrew wanted to call her the Andrew, but I nixed that idea. I mean how narcissistic can you get? Well, in his case, quite a lot.

Before I can get to the events of two mornings ago, I have to preface my story by telling you what happened three days ago. I outsmarted Andrew and earned myself an hour of freedom. In addition, while running free, I came across a delicious treat and ate it. I’m not sure if it was the treat or what, but that night I got sick. So I was a bit out of sorts for a day. Andrew made a big show of insouciance and told me it was my karma. He even went so far as to say God was punishing me for running away. By the way, don’t blame me for using big words. Andrew makes me learn a new one every morning before he’ll give me my daily hot dog.

Anyway, after being a little under the weather for a day, I was feeling frisky that morning. When we got back from our walk, Andrew drummed a new word into my head. That day’s word was enfilade. I’m a dog—when am I ever going to need to use a word like that? If he taught me a word like bratwurst, now that is something I could use. I think it’s German for hot dog. And speaking of foreign languages, why can’t he teach me French? I’d love to go up to a pretty mademoiselle and say, “Je voudrais un hot dog.”

I’m getting away from my point. I was feeling pretty good and felt like playing. But would that old fart Andrew play with me? No, he wouldn’t! He sat there at his computer writing some silly story while I lay on the bed and begged him to come over and play. I gave a low growl to get his attention, then barked one bark. He looked at me and said, “If you want to play, come over here, and I’ll scratch your head.” I didn’t want a scratch on the head. I wanted Andrew to get on the bed and roll around with me, and maybe rub my tummy. For twenty minutes, every few minutes, I’d give out with a single bark, all to no avail. But in the end, I did win. He gave me a hot dog just to shut me up.

That was in the morning. At mid-afternoon, I still wanted to play, but Andrew was napping. Old people nap a lot. I let him sleep then, but the next time I’m going to jump up on the bed and lick him on the face until he wakes up and plays with me. At the very least, I’ll get a hot dog. By the way, tomorrow’s word is vociferous. He hasn’t told me what it means yet, but he did say my actions that morning inspired him to teach it to me. Maybe it means hot dog in French.

That’s about it from Dannyland for now.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Jenai for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.


Resolution: 
Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure 
by Andrew Joyce



About the book:

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Purchase your copy

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?







"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. This is where we share the books we have read the last week and our reading plans for this week.


* * *  *


I almost quit blogging (again) as I had been on a constant 'life busy mode' for the past months. But I just couldn't give up THIS! So I took an almost two-month-long hiatus (my 3rd this year btw!), read tons of books not thinking of doing ANY reviews. It was a good decision. I felt refreshed. Now here I am, happy to be blog hopping again! Happy Monday!



* * *  *


Books Reviewed

Review

Summer dreamed of becoming an artist and painting natural beauty on canvas. But all that changed when she married Joshua Hart, a man carrying a powerful dream of his own. With a temper to match his wild-boy good looks, he stormed out of their marriage to pursue a life as a musician, leaving her alone and, unbeknown to him, pregnant. 

Five years later, Summer is busy raising her daughter and managing the family’s camp and retreat center in the woods of Eastern Washington. With her artistic dreams all but forgotten, her world turns upside down the day Josh shows up with an offer to help her get the camp ready—and plans for divorce. 

Only Josh didn’t expect to find a blue-eyed darling who calls him “Daddy” living at Hart’s Camp. Not to mention his surprise over the attraction he still feels for Summer Day. Can he make amends for the past? Or is it too late? 

Ty and Winter Williams, marriage-retreat speakers, share their heartwarming story of second chances, and Summer and Josh must face the choices they’ve made. Is God’s grace enough to carry them through the divorce? Or can He change their hearts and help them find their way back to love? 




I came to work for Blake Carson under a ruse. I never guessed those false pretenses would lead to a job as his assistant. 

Or that I would end up pressed against a glass wall in his mammoth empire, naked and begging. 

I thought I was just using him to get back the only thing that mattered to me. And that he was using me too, for his own selfish, seductive reasons. Turns out neither of us have any clue who is using who. And it feels too incredibly good to stop. 

Especially since someone is out to get us—and Blake may be the last person I can trust. 
Or the only one.



The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them. 

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways. 

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future. 


Books for Review

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.


What would you do if the love of your life doesn’t want the same life you do?

Hadley Beckett has failed in not only her career, but as a daughter, friend, and girlfriend. Hadley’s longtime boyfriend, Finn Wilder, who is Richmond, Virginia’s local daredevil and favorite sportscaster, isn’t afraid of anything…almost. Hadley desperately wants a marriage and kids with him, the two things Finn infamously dreads. 

Finn pressures Hadley into moving in with him, but being traditional, she wants to be married first and she wants to stick to her beliefs, just as he clings to his own. On the other hand, Finn has tolerated Hadley’s stubbornness long enough and he’s reaching his breaking point. 

Fearing at 33 that she will soon be too old to have kids, Hadley wants Finn to change his mind and marry her, yet her insecurities about his public life and from his constant rebuffs have her questioning her aspirations. With conflicting advice from her friends, Hadley concludes she should take things into her own hands.

But then again, Finn Wilder has his own story to tell.



After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger—and even romance.

Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.





Introducing Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Most people don't even bat an eye at vampires since they've been given equal rights by the Supreme Court. But Anita knows better--she's seen their victims. . . . A serial killer is murdering vampires, however, and now the most powerful vampire in town wants Anita to find the killer.








For readers throughout the world, The Hobbit serves as an introduction to the enchanting world of Middle-earth, home of elves, wizards, dwarves, goblins, dragons, orcs and a host of other creatures depicted in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion -- tales that sprang from the mind of the most beloved author of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Newly expanded and completely redesigned, Douglas A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit is the definitive explication of the sources, characters, places, and things of J.R.R. Tolkien's timeless classic. Integrated with Anderson's notes and placed alongside the fully restored and corrected text of the original story are more than 150 illustrations showing visual interpretations of The Hobbit specific to many of the cultures that have come to know and love Tolkien's Middle-earth. Tolkien's original line drawings, maps and color paintings are also included, making this the most lavishly informative edition of The Hobbit available.

The Annotated Hobbit shows how Tolkien worked as a writer, what his influences and interests were, and how these relate to the invented world of Middle-earth. It gives a valuable overview of Tolkien's life and the publishing history of The Hobbit, and explains how every feature of The Hobbit fits within the rest of Tolkien's invented world. Here we learn how Gollum's character was revised to accommodate the true nature of the One Ring, and we can read the full text of The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf's explanation of how he came to send Bilbo Baggins on his journey with the dwarves. Anderson also makes meaningful and often surprising connections to our own world and literary history -- from Beowulf to The Marvellous Land of Snergs, from the Brothers Grimm to C. S. Lewis.


DNF'd

Most of these I gave up reading after the first quarter/half of the story. For the past 8 years, I felt guilty of DNF'ing books so this time, I made sure reading would be guilt-free.  



Crystal Frost has spent her whole life believing she's ordinary, and her mother has long held the secret of her heritage. When Crystal begins seeing the ghost of a dead classmate, her life spirals out of control. She’s faced with the threat that everyone will find out she’s a freak, as if the struggle to figure out her new-found abilities wasn’t enough pressure. Crystal has to find some way to save the people who have come to her for help all while trying to keep her abilities a secret. Will she be able to fulfill these overwhelming demands while solving the mystery that is the ghost of Olivia Owen?


Is she a criminal or a victim? Or both?

After the deaths of two husbands and a fiancĂ©, Claire Saint-Ange is branded the Widow Spider in her coastal Maine town. Tormented by threatening phone calls and desperate to prove her innocence, Claire hires a P.I. But her attraction to the rugged investigator poses an even greater threat. She can’t risk losing someone she cares about… not again. Never again.

Two tragic losses cause federal agent Michael Quinn to submit his resignation, but he’s forced into one last gig—spend Christmas investigating the widow’s connection to her last husband’s drug smuggling. Uncovering this lovely, mysterious woman’s darkest secrets should be just an assignment, but her gentle soul and passion break down his walls and make him long to believe in her innocence.


Annie Donavan’s life as a veterinarian is safe. And boring. Between focusing on keeping her small, inner-city clinic running, paying off student loans, and living in the tiny apartment above the clinic she has no time for fun or dating and certainly not for anything adventurous.

Then one night, danger and surprise show up in the alley behind her clinic. And Annie is in for the ride of her life.

Stoney is a mystery. A man of few words but smoldering looks. She decides to take a risk and after a night of passion finds herself thrown into a world that she never knew existed. A world of drugs, danger and intrigue.

Shane is a detective, who vows to keep Annie safe at all costs. Losing his heart to her is the easy part. Keeping her safe and earning her trust will prove to be his most difficult task.


Hannah Wilson is having a bad day. Her cruel boss, Craig Allen, has just trashed the presentation that she’s been slaving over. This time she’s had enough. She’s going to tear up the presentation, march back inside, and quit. She’s sick of controlling, pushy men wreaking havoc in her life. 

So when a mysterious stranger intervenes to ask if she’s OK, Hannah is in no mood to entertain his enquiry. She just wants to be left alone. But when she discovers that this mysterious stranger is none other than her next big client, and just looking at him sets her lust aflame, she starts to realize that she may be in over her head. 

Brandon’s on a mission to protect Hanna - but will he find a way to give up her control and surrender to his power? 


Jillian Grayson is a disillusioned divorcĂ©e and best-selling romance novelist who suddenly can't write a chapter without her hunky male heartthrob suffering ED, an STD, or even worse. Brian Nash is a tennis-obsessed college senior who's unlucky in love and the roommate and best friend of Jillian's son, Rob. When Rob brings Brian home for Spring Break, and Brian meets the surprisingly young and tennis passionate Jillian, their shared interest quickly develops into an intense mutual attraction. After nearly giving in to their feelings, they hatch a plan, while under the influence (of something more than just the perfect Miami night), to be Friends With Partial Benefits, complete with rules to define the boundaries. Will the lonely pair continue with this distinctive relationship, actually explore their desires, or discover all of it is a really bad idea? 





The Pirate Cats have traveled back to Milan, Italy in the year 1770, in order to steal one of the most important musical works in history: a symphony composed by a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart It's up to Geronimo and his friends to go back in time and stop the Pirate Cats from their dastardly deed.





Even my sister Thea told me a ghost was haunting New Mouse City's subway tunnels, I knew I had to get the scoop for The Rodents Gzette! So I set off with Thea, Trap and my assistant editor PinkyPick.







Currently listening to:



Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands.

How about you? What are your reading plans this week? 
Happy Monday!
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