Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! No tricks, all treats!

Hey guys!

It's Halloween! Yaaay! 

I was thinking that I'm maybe a little old to go trick-or-treating for candy, but I will never be too old to go trick-or-treating for free books through Amazon. Here's a list of free Halloween books I found. They are all free (as opposed to being on kindle unlimited which is part of their lending library that you have to pay for). At least, today they are. All of these books are currently rated on Amazon as having 4 or 5 stars. Please be aware that with the exception of Dracula, I have not read any of these. I will, however, likely post reviews of them sooner or later since I downloaded them all. So with that said...

Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to read!

Classic Dracula

I'm going based on the title alone with this one: Psychosis. Thirteen short stories

Viral Zombies at Sea: Sea Sick

Serial Killer scary! Evangeline

Multiple authors, Halloween anthology: The Cat, the Crow, and the Cauldron: A Halloween Anthology

A little late to go to Hogwarts. Young adult paranormal comedy romance: Halloween Magic & Mayhem

Bonus Points: Joe Jill's Locke & Key is available as a free audiobook on Audible until November 4th! This is a 13 hour dramatized version, and my husband is going nuts over it. I have not listened to it or read the graphic novel yet, but I have heard nothing but good things about this. Doesn't hurt to snag it for free, so get to it!

I hope I found a treat or two that you'll like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Who Doesn't Love Coloring Books? The Time Chamber

The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring BookThe Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book by Daria Song

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had been looking forward to The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book for weeks. Now that I have it, I can say that I am not disappointed; I'm delighted. The artwork is beautiful and intricate, with plenty of details to color to your heart's content. Daria Song has also included a simple story about a tiny fairy who becomes curious about what lies outside her cuckoo-clock home. The story is, of course, told primarily through the artwork with few words.

The pages are double-sided on thick, smooth, high quality paper. Other coloring books may provide perforated pages, enabling the colorist to remove and frame the artwork. Time Chamber's pages are not perforated, and you will have a difficult time removing them without losing details or the back side of whichever page you wish to display.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to adults looking for a creative way to relax, as well as to anyone over the age of 7 who can hold a pencil steady and wants to color pretty pictures.

This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Book Tour: The Phoenix Year

Book Title: The Phoenix Year
Book Genre: Thriller
Author: David L Blond
Publisher: Wattle Publishing

“… from out of the fire, would rise a new order, like the legend of the phoenix. There would emerge a new world, a new super economy…”

So starts a sequence of events destined to rock world economies to their very core. On the 50th anniversary of their induction into the Society of the Phoenix, a group of billionaires is about to change the world dramatically, with devastating effect. Overseen by the reclusive Heinrich Von Kleise, the Society has hatched an audacious plan to subvert world economies, by using and abusing some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and their families; in some cases, holding them literally to ransom, or worse. Michael Ross, an economic adviser to the US President, Ben Masters, a disgraced property tycoon, Natalya Avramowitz, a Russian economist and spy, and “Kim” a CIA Agent, find themselves at the center of this plot, involving inside trading, sex slavery, and political corruption. As the world careens towards financial Armageddon, can Michael, Natalya and Kim prevent global disintegration, or are the world’s financial institutions fated to implode? The Phoenix Year by David L. Blond is a gripping novel, encompassing many of the financial crises that have hit the headlines in the past decade. The author has skillfully woven these together to create an action-packed conspiracy thriller that smacks of reality and future possibility.

Dr. David Blond works as a private economic consultant specializing in quantitative analysis of economic data. He began his career working for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During the period of 1978 – 1985, he was a Senior Economist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and after leaving that position worked for various major global economic forecasting and consulting firms. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Twitter: @davidblond2000

The Phoenix Year is a love story set in a time of economic turmoil. 
Michael Ross, senior economic advisor to the US President, meets a Russian government official; Harvard educated Natalya Avramowitz at a secret meeting in France. When the meeting ends, Michael offers Natalya a ride back to Geneva, but Natalya, recognizing Ross’s infatuation suggests that they need to find out if the attraction between them is real. Natalya, however, has a secret that she fears will destroy their affair.       
When she was 12 years old her father, a shadowy longtime Russian economic advisor sent her to a special school where she was taught spy craft, American English, and fed propaganda. It was the price he had to pay to the State to get Natalya and his brother’s family out of a Russia then on the verge of complete economic collapse during the transition years.     
Now lured back to Russia four years from a Wall Street job to advise the Ministry of Finance, she fears Russia is changing fast and the exit door may be closing. She sees Michael as a way out of Russia. But when men try to steal Michal’s briefcase at the hotel, Natalya kills them both, revealing her training. Desperate to keep him, she convinces a reluctant Ross to take a week to see if they are a matched pair.  During this time they visit an old friend of Michael’s from his UN days, Heinrich von Kleise, a Swiss billionaire.   
Their story, the developing love affair is set within the backdrop of a Russia beginning to fragment as a rising tide of nationalism, protectionism, and mass immigration overwhelm the fragile global economy still reeling from the financial collapse of 2008. With markets poised for a fall as a series of negative events flash “sell everything” to investors, Natalya knows that to solve the riddle of the Phoenix and save Michael, and then she must climb the Bluemlisalpenhorn and confront Heinrich von Kleise’s in his mountain-top fortress.

Who wants free stuff?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't wait for free stuff? Buy it!

No, really. I mean it. Buy this book! I have had the pleasure of reading a few chapters as part of the book tour, and I'm looking forward to writing a full review about it just as soon as I've finished reading it. The writing is excellent and the plot intriguing. I can feel that some aspects of it may be difficult to get through; after all, parts of the story do have to do with sex slavery. And how often outside of elections do people consciously think of the economy? Even so, I'm expecting a fantastic story. Click on some of the links below and help support this author!

Kindle Edition:

Paperback Edition:
Other links:

Wattle Publishing is an independent publisher. We publish fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Twitter: @wattlepub

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Immortal Circus: Act Two (Cirque des Immortels, #2)The Immortal Circus: Act Two by A.R. Kahler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Immortal Circus: Act One left me with so many unanswered questions and such a dizzying cliffhanger that despite my annoyances I went right ahead and read Act Two. To be fair, this was likely due to my already having downloaded the series and having the second book readily available more than needing to answer those burning questions. In any case, The Immortal Circus: Act Two was marginally better.

In this continuation we find out more about Vivienne's past through many detailed flashbacks. I enjoyed these, as they were the only bits of the book where I could get any actual information about what was going on. With her powers starting to spiral out of control, Vivienne and her now "boyfriend" Kingston go on a vacation to return to her home where hopefully they can find the reset button and fix the mess they're in. In this book, Viv pretends as much as possible that the events of the first book didn't happen: no murders, demons, or wars occurred. The important thing now is for her to get her memory back! Little do she and Kingston know that their ringleader, master, and fae queen Mab has been planning for every possible thing that could happen and they will only get screwed over some more; all according to Mab's plan. Vivienne still emotes little or not at all, and she is still constantly getting jerked around. Her romance with Kingston remains nonexistent, no matter how much she tries to remind us that they are an official couple, and more characters who were supposed to be "normal" before are now discovering they have magic powers! We don't really see any of these, but supposedly they exist.

Meanwhile, I was finally desensitized to the pain of the first person narrative or A. R. Kahler got better at writing it. Either way, this book wasn't such a chore to get through. Kahler's descriptions of the circus, the magic, and the backgrounds are still fantastic. The characters didn't become more complex, though. There were times we added devil horns and fiendish mustaches to some of our cardboard cutouts, but that's about as complex as they got. The plot crept forward briefly. I started reading the third book, but I don't think I'll finish it. I can't describe how much I wanted to like this series, but without character development this is all just fluff. Fluff gets boring after a while.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler

The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have conflicting feelings regarding this book. So conflicting that I changed my rating of it at least three times within the last several days, though it stayed well within the "I didn't HATE it, I just didn't like it" range. It was okay.

I finished reading it, and I read the second one, and now I'm actually reading the final book in the series, so you might think to yourself, "Well, you must have liked it!" Let's be clear: it was readable, although painful to get through at times. It is written in that style that is seldom done well: the first person present narrative. It was not done well. The main character is practically a blank slate throughout the book that you can project your own feelings of confusion at. She typically has little to add to the story, despite the fact that it's supposed to be all about her. It contained more than a few cliches, such as: main character has amnesia, main character running away from her past, characters being described as "perfect" or "sexy" with few additional details so you can imprint whatever you want on them, etc. Probably the most annoying part of the book is that you are attached to the narrator and the narrator knows little about what's going on. Hence, the reader is attached to a whiny, untalented, unremarkable girl somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21 who is as focused (if not more so) on having the hots for the magician as she is on the inexplicable murders happening within a circus where everyone is supposed to be immortal. Did I mention that Vivienne, our heroine, hardly emotes except to moon over her magician? I mean it. People are dying, she's being hit over the head with magic, she discovers that she and most others at the circus have magic powers, but whatever. It's just Tuesday.

"This book sounds TERRIBLE! Why would you say it's okay?"
It's like a pumpkin spice latte: good in theory, but a gastric disaster in execution. The concept is what drew me in to begin with. I was lured in by the promise of an impossible murder mystery in an immortal circus surrounded by fairies. Sadly, the execution was lacking. The best parts of this book were the backgrounds and background characters. The fairies, the magic, the settings were all fantastic. A.R. Kahler can actually give some decent descriptions about the circus, the fairies, and how the fairies are generally going to be dicks to all humans. They're dark, and I found that wonderful. I wanted the story to be more about them. And that is why I found this book to be only "okay" instead of dreadful or enjoyable. I obtained enough glimpses of the dark, deadly, dickish fairies to keep me engaged until the end of the book, though just barely.

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