Archives for March 2016

Melissa’s Review: Rise of the Mages by Brian W. Foster

Rise of the Mages

Rise of the Mages
written by Brian W. Foster
published by Brian W. Foster, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
You know how you’re reading this awesome book and you get about 80% through only to realize there’s still WAY too much going on for everything to be tied up at the end? You know how that makes you both super annoyed and super excited at the same time? That’s how I feel about this book: I’m annoyed I didn’t get the resolution I wanted, but I’m also pumped about getting to read an entire other book! Yay! . . . and Boo. And Yay! . . . well, you get the idea.

I love how Foster’s characters grow and change throughout the story (some for the better, some not), and I love love LOVE that I honestly can’t decide how I want things to end, whether Xan always makes the right choices, or who he ought to end up smooching. There is, as usual, some editing work to be done, but overall I loved it.

 

GOLDEN LINE(S)

“Look, sometimes you don’t have a choice between doing good and doing bad. Sometimes the choice is between doing bad and doing less bad.”

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: Absolutely!

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Strange dreams of a beautiful young woman leave journeyman apothecary Alexander “Xan” Conley exhausted. That’s not good since a single mistake could kill a patient. To complicate matters, he’s afraid that finding a way to end the nighttime meetings would mean never seeing the girl again, a horrible thought considering she’s the closest thing to a love life he has.

His existence radically changes when a tenacious catcher bent on capturing and executing Xan forces him and his friends to flee their homes. As Xan quests to rescue his dream girl from the same fate that awaits him, he discovers that the catcher is part of a deadly conspiracy.

Xan’s sole path to safety is to become a mage, thereby embracing forces that nearly destroyed the world during the Wizards War. He must choose between two terrible options—saving the lives of those he loves or risking everyone by ushering in a new age of magic.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – March 15, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the If These Books Could Talk Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

Thank you to all of our past guest hosts!! If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Blue Apron Subscription: Seared Cod & Udon Noodles

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading, I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Seared Cod & Udon Noodles

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OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. And also, NOM.

This recipe was DELICIOUS! Blue Apron forgot to include my hunk of ginger, so I just subbed 2 tsps. of powder. I also ditched the soy sauce in favor of liquid aminos, which my sister tells me is super healthy. She knows this sort of thing, and I can’t really taste the difference, so I go with it.

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Obligatory photo of all the ingredients:

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The internet told me I’d never have to buy scallions again if I simply regrow them from the root bit. I always have a pot of sprouts going, so I tossed ’em in. Will it work? Dunno . . . I’ve been trying to sprout avocado seeds for years now with no luck. It’s fun to try, anyway!

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Sprouts and Scallions!

 

If I make it again: I’d skip the fish; it was gratuitous and didn’t add much flavor.

Did my kids eat it: YUP. We all nommed it, and I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to the regular rotation.

melissasig

Chrissy’s Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One DayJust One Day (Just One Day #1)
written by Gayle Forman
published by Speak, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did enjoy this read. It was sweet, romantic, crazy, heartbreaking, breathtaking . . . you get my point. And I think I read it in about one day.

I flew through this book. I loved every page. I couldn’t imagine going to Europe on my own at Allyson’s age. And her one impulsive move lead to something that would forever change her. Forever shape her life. But can one day really do that? It was interesting to read how that one day changed Allyson and how it made her reevaluate her past choices and future decisions. Her journey . . . changing her mind, pining for a lost love, losing a close friend . . . was real. I’m sure many of us have experienced quite a few of the issues and decisions and consequences that Allyson experiences in Just One Day. I can say that the end left me with a dropped jaw. The whole book left me happy to have read it. Now, I must read the next book, Just One Year. I can’t wait to read about Willem’s year.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Yes, it was a fabulous read.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

 

 

efchappy

Melissa’s Review: The Girl in the Time Machine by Debra Chapoton

The Girl in the Time Machine

The Girl in the Time Machine
written by Debra Chapoton
published by Smashwords, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazon, iBooks,  Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
It’s scary cool.

The Girl in the Time Machine is a dark, creepy, sleep-with-the-light-on kind of fun. I loved it.

I’ve read several of Chapoton’s books (check out my reviews HERE, HERE, and HERE), and I love how different they all are. This one, though, is fast becoming my favorite. It gave me goosebumps. I’m pretty sure readers are going to figure things out way before Laken does, but the time traveling thing will keep you wondering how the heck it happened. You know how in horror movies the stars of the show always run right into the graveyard at night? Yeah, it’s like that, only with a time machine. I love that Chapoton left some things unexplained, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll think up next.

GOLDEN LINES

“Anybody who time-traveled like I did would eventually kill someone, would eventually destroy everything around them. Accidentally or not.”

everyfree4

Would I recommend it: YEAH. But keep a few bricks handy.

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads:

A desperate girl
A faulty time machine
A paradox waiting to happen …

Laken Mitchel wants revenge, but she also wants to help certain “unfortunates.”. Using the time machine in her family’s hidden laboratory, she sends them one by one into the last century.
Now the disappearances are being linked to unmarked graves. Parents are lying about their missing kids’ whereabouts. The police want to search the lab. And Laken is running out of time to retrieve the last girl she sent to 1994.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – March 8, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

We have a guest host this week!! Check out Author Joann Keder’s website.

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Author Joann Keder’s Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 


 

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Guest Review: Forgiving Maximo Rothman by AJ Sidranksy

 

Forgiving Maximo Rothman

Forgiving Maximo Rothman
written by AJ Sidranksy
published by Berwick Court Publishing, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
No. The author had too many story lines going to allow for good depth of character, and the excessive use of time shifts detracted from the novel for me. Moreover, while the first half of the book established a foundation for a strong story arc, the second half was utterly predictable.

everyfree3

Would I recommend it: No. While the subject matter had great promise of emotional substance, the author fails to make the connection between the characters and the reader.

~ Jeff ~

(husband of EFC reviewer, Julie)


About the book – from Goodreads: 
On a chilly autumn night in New York, the lives of two men born decades and continents apart collide when Max Redmond is found bludgeoned in his Washington Heights apartment. While investigating the crime, Detective Tolya Kurchenko comes across the dead man’s diaries, written by Redmond over four decades. He hopes the diaries will lead him to the killer. In fact, they help him sort out the complexities of his own identity.

Spanning 65 years and three continents — from Hitler’s Europe to the decaying Soviet Empire of the 1970s, and revealing the little-known history of Sosúa, a Jewish settlement in the jungles of the Dominican Republic — A. J. Sidransky’s debut novel leads us into worlds long gone, and the lives of people still touched by those memories.

 

efchappy

Blue Apron: Seared Chicken & Mashed Potatoes

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

TONIGHT: Seared Chicken & Mashed Potatoes with Maple-Glazed Carrots and Pan Sauce

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Comfort Food

Ok, so here’s what happened: I couldn’t possibly start dinner until I’d applied Kid #1’s epically important temporary tattoo.

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Look at those pretty Jamberries I sometimes have time to put on my fingers!

This recipe requires lots of “put this in a warm place and save it for awhile” bits, which, while mildly annoying, lead me to an awesome discovery:

MY MICROWAVE HAS A ‘KEEP WARM’ BUTTON! SWEEEEET!

20160213_191330Yeah. That’s the entire meal shoved into the microwave. Turns out Husband was late getting home, so I definitely broke in the KEEP WARM button.

I didn’t think two little carrots was enough for my family, so I tossed in some extra.

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Letting the chicken rest under foil for a few minutes made a big difference–it was juicy and delicious! Kid #1 turned out to be an awesome potato masher, and there were absolutely no leftovers.

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I was supposed to plate this nonsense up in some fancy-schmancy way, but listen. I’m not fancy-schmancy. I just tossed this all on plates & we tucked in. Guess what? It still tasted delicious!

NEXT TIME:

  • add even more carrots

DID THE KIDS EAT IT: Yes. They loved it. Kid #2 ate more mashed potatoes than I did, and Kid #1 declared his undying love for carrots. We’ll definitely be making this one again!

 

Happy Reading (and eating!),

melissasig

Blog Tour: Suddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean (spotlight)

spellbound banner


Suddenly-Spellbound-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalSuddenly Spellbound

written by Erica Lucke Dean
published by Red Adept Publishing, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

About the book: Something witchy this way comes.

Kindergarten-teacher-slash-sorceress Ivie McKie has officially sworn off magic. With her father back from the dead—just in time for her upcoming wedding to sexy former magician Jackson Blake—Ivie has plotted a course straight to happily-ever-after-ville. And she won’t let anything get in her way this time.

But Daddy Dearest has something sneaky up his sleeve. When “just one more spell” goes horribly wrong and detours her into the path of her father’s dangerously hot new apprentice, Ivie has to scramble to get the magic… and her love life… back on track.

Along the way, she encounters a promise made before she was born, a clan of Scottish sorcerers in kilts, and yet another goat.

Suddenly Spellbound is a new madcap adventure featuring Ivie McKie from Suddenly Sorceress.

 

EricaLuckeDeanAbout the author: After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.

When she’s not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her first book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.

How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.

Find Ms. Dean here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

 

efchappy

Book Blast: See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

 

See You Soon Broadway

See You Soon Broadway
written by Melissa Baldwin
published by 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Maris Forrester has a wonderful life with an amazing boyfriend and a fulfilling job. She’s happy and content . . . or so she thinks. Maris has always had huge dreams of being on Broadway. Ever since her very first performance as a child, she has envisioned herself on the stage under the shining lights. Now she has to decide whether she should to give up her wonderful life to chase those dreams.

When her parents announce they are moving, she comes across a long-lost family treasure. She doesn’t realize that this treasure may hold the key to her future and to all her dreams coming true.

And if that wasn’t sign enough, a mysterious stranger throws another wrench in the mix at a dazzling rooftop party benefiting the Arts. These could be signs of things to come.

But will she remain content in her perfect world, or will she step into the unknown world she has always dreamed of?efcexcerpt
“What are you guys up to?” I ask. My mom and Cassie are busily looking through some boxes.

“Hi, hon. Dad was cleaning out the garage and found these boxes,” Mom replies. She continues to empty some junk from a box onto the table.

“Mom and Dad are finally cleaning out their stuff. I told them that they need to feng shui,” Cassie says softly.

Cassie just opened her own yoga studio; she’s probably the most calm and mentally sound person I have ever met in my life. I have thought about talking to her about the possibility of me moving to New York, but I’m a little nervous about what she’s going to say.

“Maris, do you remember this? We used to play restaurant with this old menu.” Cassie holds up a menu that we stole from IHOP in the 80s. We used to play restaurant in Mom’s Tupperware closet for hours.

“I can’t believe we still have that thing,” I exclaim. Although, I’m not surprised since Mom and Dad never throw anything away.

“I’m keeping this for my kids,” Cassie adds. Ugh, typical Cassie—she may be calm and patient but she will always be the bossy older sister. She thinks she knows everything just because she’s a whopping three years older than me.

“Um, why do you get to keep it and you don’t even have kids yet?” I demand. She doesn’t say anything; no doubt she is chanting some kind of yoga stuff in her mind to ease the tension that’s building.

“You’re right,” she replies calmly. “We should share this once we both have kids, of course.”

I guess I can’t really argue with her considering she’s definitely closer to having kids than I am.

I start looking through a box that’s on the floor. It looks like a bunch of old stuff that belonged to my grandmother. Grandma passed away two years ago and my parents got the remainder of her things. I sort through the box of romance novels, crossword puzzles, and National Geographics from thirty years ago. As I’m sorting through the stuff, I find a red leather-bound notebook at the bottom of the box. My curiosity is building as I run my fingers over the gorgeous worn leather. I open it to the first page and immediately recognize my grandmother’s handwriting.

The first page is dated March 10, 1948 . . .
efcpraise

I also look forward to any other books that Melissa has to offer. This is my second one by her and I have liked them both a lot.

~~~

This is a very entertaining book about pursuing your dreams. I really enjoyed reading the book and am actually looking forward to a possible sequel.

~~~

I enjoyed reading See You Soon Broadway. In fact, I finished it in two days; I could hardly put it down.

~~~

This is the first book that I have read by this author, but it will not be the last.

~~~

If you enjoy reading sweet romance, then definitely pick this up!

 

MelissaAuthor Melissa BaldwinAbout the author:Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published two more novels, Wedding Haters and See You Soon Broadway.

Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Find Ms. Baldwin here: Website * Facebook * Twitter

giveaway
50_Amazon_Paypal

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/20/16 — Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

efchappy