2015 Reading Challenge

2015ReadingChallenge

I absolutely LOVE this idea. Sure, there are a lot of categories listed that I will fill automatically, but there are several that I will honestly have to think about and maybe even research. That’s going to be the fun part. The hard part will be remembering to fill the categories as I go along. (I read a lot.) Want to join in? You can pick up your list and check out the post at PopSugar.

Tiny Treats – Multi-author Collection

TinyTreatsTiny Treats is a multi-author collection of holiday-themed micro-stories. These are tales that can be read in their entirety in only a handful of minutes. The stories are submitted by dozens of authors who often set them in the larger worlds of their other books.

  • Mistletoe Cowboy by Trish Milburn
  • An Ugly Sweater Christmas by Heather McGovern
  • Close to Perfect by Suzanne Ferrell
  • To Santa with Love by Lindsey Brookes
  • A Perfect Party by Anna Sugden
  • The Miracle of the Child by Bridget Hodder
  • Mistletoe Magic by D.B. Sieders
  • On This Christmas Day by Natalie J. Damschroder
  • Fashionably Late for Christmas by Tanya Michaels
  • A SEAL’s Proposal by Tawny Weber
  • White Christmas Pizza by Donna MacMeans
  • The Christmas Before Hell Froze Over by Sally Kilpatrick
  • Snowflake by Monica McCabe
  • An Unexpected Guest by Beth Pattillo
  • New Year’s Magic by Jody Wallace
  • Giving Thanks by Jeanette Grey
  • A Holiday Miracle by Michelle Monkou
  • A Bluestone Christmas Homecoming by M.J. Fredrick
  • Haintsgiving by Maureen Hardegree
  • All She Wants for Christmas by Janice Lynn
  • The Solstice Ball by Nancy Northcott
  • Zombie of Good Cheer by Gretchen Stull
  • Snow and Ghosts by Nicki Salcedo
  • A Candle in the Window by Dorien Kelly
  • In Which Miss Gardella Receives Three Gifts by Colleen Gleason
  • A Miracle for Molly by Trish Milburn

The title of this one pretty much says it all. Tiny Treats is a Holiday compilation that gives readers just a teeny tiny taste of the individual authors and some of their characters. Each story is only a couple of pages long, so it’s definitely a quick read. I’ve only read a couple of these authors, but after reading these little tidbits, I’ve found a couple more to follow.

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Beyond Possession (Beyond #5.5) by Kit Rocha

BeyondPossessionTatiana Stone has worked hard to establish herself as one of Sector Four’s most skilled crafters. All she wants is peace–but the sins of her father haunt her. He ruled the sector as a petty tyrant before the O’Kane takeover, and plenty of people harbor bitter memories of his cruelty. Especially now that Tatiana’s beloved baby sister has fallen in with a man who wants to start a revolution.
Zan failed his boss once, and it won’t happen again. So when Dallas O’Kane asks him to defuse the rebellion brewing in the sector, he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done–including seduce Tatiana. It’s the perfect opportunity to get closer to the pretty crafter and complete his mission. But what he discovers is a fiery, passionate woman–and an affair that could destroy them both.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Yes, I’m reading this series totally out of order. Even though the novellas are written so they can be stand alone, I’d suggest at least reading the first book in the Beyond series, Beyond Shame, before tackling the rest of the series.

I love this world that the Kit Rocha duo has created. It’s raw and violent, but within the walls of the O’Kanes it’s all about family, respect and protection. Something Tatiana has never experienced. Beyond Possession gives readers a glimpse of the ‘roots’ of the O’Kanes reign. That reign began when Tatiana’s father was destroyed. That was the beginning of her independence and something she isn’t willing to give up, for anyone.

Zan has admired Tatiana for a while, but he respects her independence enough that he’s never acted on that admiration. When Dallas O’Kane doesn’t give him a choice, he’s totally honest with Tatiana and she’s just as honest with him. I admired that about Zan. He could have easily tricked her, but he respected her too much.

There is nothing ‘light’ about this series. There is an unexpected soft side to pretty much all the characters though. In our world, they would be considered the ‘bad guys.’ In the Beyond world, they keep the peace and offer protection from the really ‘bad guys’… and isn’t that a scary thought?

I’ll be backtracking soon so I can hopefully catch up before the next installment comes out. Beyond Innocence is due to be released in early 2015 so I have some serious catching up to do!

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Cursed Blood (Grimwood #1) by Kelly Apple

CursedBloodZel has lived his entire life within the confines of a square mile of the forest. The tower is his refuge. The witch, his captor. Forced to do her bidding, he dreams of a day when he can leave the cursed place and be free. 

But fate has other plans and freedom can take many guises. 

As a girl, Geneva devoured stories about the wild boy who lived at the highest point in the forest. A changeling, a prince, a forest spirit—all the tales tell a different story. Imagine her surprise when she stumbles across the cursed tower and the young man held prisoner there. 

It’ll take all her cunning and courage to free him. 

What she doesn’t know is that freeing him might doom them all.

Oh, I think I’m gonna like this series. 😉 Not surprising though. For one thing, I love twisted Fairytales in general. Having Kelly Apple twist them pretty much guarantees that Grimwood is going to be entertaining.

Cursed Blood is a twist on Rapunzel, from a totally new perspective. In this author’s rendition, the captive in the tower isn’t a damsel, but a tortured prince.

I loved the connection between Zel and Geneva. She was the first person that had shown him anything close to kindness. He was terrified to lose her, but even more terrified that she would meet the same fate as all the other trespassers. Geneva had a few tricks up her sleeve though.

There were a few more surprises in Cursed Blood, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself. All you need to know is that this quick read isn’t lacking in action, cringe worthy gore (Kelly Apple doesn’t hold back on her descriptions *shivers*) and there’s more than enough smexiness to balance it all.

The next installment in the Grimwood series can’t come soon enough. I can’t wait to see how this author twists the next Fairytale. 😉

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The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau

FleshCartelCaptureIn this first installment of the exciting new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel, orphaned brothers Mat and Dougie Carmichael are stolen in the night from their own home. Taken to a horrifying processing facility, they are assessed, microchipped, and subjected to unspeakable brutality—all in preparation for sale to the highest bidder.
In a world where every person has a price, the beautiful and subduable PhD student Dougie is highly prized. His brother, a rough-edged MMA fighter, is less desirable—and potentially too dangerous—but he still has his own appeal.
Abused and locked up under round the clock surveillance, with no idea where they are or even why they’ve been taken, escape seems impossible, which leaves staying together their only hope. And after being separated once by the foster system, they’ll do anything to keep it from happening again. Anything at all.
(Publisher’s note: This title contains material some may find objectionable or trigger-inducing, including explicit violence, non-consent, and forced incest.)

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This is definitely not a series for the faint of heart. In other words, the warning in the Publisher’s note above shouldn’t be ignored. This first installment is short, but there is nothing sweet about it.

Capture is aptly titled. Dougie was the abductor’s target but when Mat interrupted their capture, it was either kill him and leave behind too many questions or take him as well. From that moment on the story was filled with pretty much non-stop pain, violence and abuse. It was raw and hard to read, but impossible to stop. By the end I was actually glad that there were only between 65-75 pages in this installment. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to continue reading.

You can purchase each installment separately or you can purchase them by ‘Season.’ Season 1: Damnation, includes Capture and Auction. The rest of the 19 installments are included in Season 2: Fragmentation, Season 3: Transformation, Season 4: Liberation and Season 5: Reclamation. I think I’m going to take my time reading these, even though I have them all. I believe small, painful doses is the way to go…

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Hidden Illusions (The Hunted #2) by Amanda Shofner

HiddenIllusionsShe’s driven by one purpose

Janey Jones may have escaped the Hunters, but the scars they inflicted still mark her, inside and out. One goal keeps her moving forward: kill Captain Reed, the man who tortured her, destroyed her Gift, and murdered her mother. She’ll do anything to succeed.

He’s seen what blind ambition can do

Will Brown protects people. First his family, now the people he leads in the Gifted army. He knows what needs to be done to keep everyone safe: destroy the Hunters for good. And that’s exactly what he plans to do. The right way.

But one secret binds them, and its ramifications are explosive

When Will and Janey are thrown together, they’re forced to put aside their differences for a greater purpose: find a way to stay alive—and salvage the mission to cut the Hunters down, once and for all.

What they uncover will change their lives forever

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Wow… a lot happened in Hidden Illusions. I kind of wish I had done a quick re-read of Elusive Memories before I started, but it didn’t take me long to get up to speed. That doesn’t mean that I’m not eventually going to do a re-read though. This is one of those kinds of books (the once is not enough kind 😉 )

I have to be honest here… Janey kind of got on my nerves. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like her as a character. She had been through more than most people would have survived. She earned the right to handle things any way that worked for her. It’s just with Janey, everything was extreme. Knowing that and understanding why she acted out as much as she did, totally made me sympathize with Will in Hidden Illusions.

Janey hid a lot (understandably) from everyone, even people who knew her past. She had an agenda that she was blinded by. She had her own demons to take care of and was determined to not let anyone stand in her way.

So yeah, a lot happened in this book. There were secrets, betrayal, confrontations that were long overdue, action and a hint of romance. Hidden Illusions was definitely a page turner. It was also character driven and not just by Janey and Will. I loved the interactions between all the characters. I especially loved the way that Coop and Sam handled Janey. I also loved the not so subtle message that violence isn’t always the answer to violence.

This is the last book in the Hunted series and even though it came to a satisfying end, I’m kind of sad to say goodbye to these characters. Amanda Shofner has promised readers more books and longer series so I guess we’ll just have to patiently wait and see what she has in store for us next.

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Lone Wolf Virtual Book Tour

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Aleksandr Voinov/L. A. Witt blog tour for the latest installment in the Bluewater Bay series, Lone Wolf!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one eBook off each of our backlists (excluding Lone Wolfand a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 28th, and winners will be announced on December 29th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

LONE WOLF Blurb:

LoneWolfHunter Easton is screwed. Fans, producers, and his agent are all chomping at the bit for the next book in his wildly popular Wolf’s Landing series, but he’s got epic writer’s block and is way behind deadline. Then he reads The World Tree, a fanfic novel by his online friend “Lone Wolf.” It isn’t just a great story—it’s exactly what the series needs.

Kevin Hussain is thrilled when “Wolf Hunter” wants to meet up after reading The World Tree. When Wolf Hunter turns out to be Hunter Easton himself, Kevin is starstruck. When Hunter tells him he wants to add The World Tree to Wolf’s Landing, Kevin is sure he’s being pranked. And when their online chemistry carries over—big time—into real life, Kevin is convinced it’s all too good to be true.

The problem is . . . it might be. The book deal, the sex, the money—everything is amazing. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Kevin is left wondering if Hunter really loves him, or just loves his book.

EPIC Award winner and Lambda Award finalist Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as a financial editor. His genres range from science fiction and fantasy to thriller, historical, contemporary, thriller, and erotica. His books were/are published by Random House Germany, Samhain Publishing, Riptide Publishing and others.

If he isn’t writing, he studies sports massage, explores historical sites, and meets other writers. He single-handedly sustains three London bookstores with his ever-changing research projects. His current interests include special forces operations during World War II, the history of chess, european magical traditions, and how to destroy the world and plunge it into a nuclear winter without having the benefit of nuclear weapons.

Visit Aleksandr’s website at www.aleksandrvoinov.com, his blog atwww.aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter, where he tweets as @aleksandrvoinov.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

By creativedeeds

Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt

LoneWolfHunter Easton is screwed. Fans, producers, and his agent are all chomping at the bit for the next book in his wildly popular Wolf’s Landing series, but he’s got epic writer’s block and is way behind deadline. Then he reads The World Tree, a fanfic novel by his online friend “Lone Wolf.” It isn’t just a great story—it’s exactly what the series needs.

Kevin Hussain is thrilled when “Wolf Hunter” wants to meet up after reading The World Tree. When Wolf Hunter turns out to be Hunter Easton himself, Kevin is starstruck. When Hunter tells him he wants to add The World Tree to Wolf’s Landing, Kevin is sure he’s being pranked. And when their online chemistry carries over—big time—into real life, Kevin is convinced it’s all too good to be true.

The problem is . . . it might be. The book deal, the sex, the money—everything is amazing. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Kevin is left wondering if Hunter really loves him, or just loves his book.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1There was so much about Lone Wolf to love, I’m not exactly sure where to start. Out of all the books so far in the Bluewater Bay series, this is my favorite.

I could so relate to Kevin’s reaction to everything that happened in Lone Wolf. I surround myself in my ‘virtual’ life with people who consider authors as rock stars. I have no idea how I would react to meeting one of them, much less having them admire anything that I had done. That would be the ultimate fantasy come to life. The authors did a great job of portraying his reaction to everything realistically.

Hunter had been where Kevin was, to an extent. Fame had been thrust on him, but he had a lot more time to adjust to it than Kevin did. I loved his patience with Kevin and his sense of responsibility where his emotional well being was concerned. I also liked his honesty, even though that honesty almost blew it for them, I still had to admire it.

Basically Lone Wolf was like a behind the scenes glimpse into the lives of people we usually admire from a distance. Through Kevin, readers got to experience it… panic attacks and all. The supporting characters were great and there were more than a couple that I hope the series visits again.

I have to admit that I got a little frustrated with Kevin near the end, but he deserved a melt down or two. I wanted to hug him more than I wanted to shake some sense into him, but that’s normal… right?

So yes, Lone Wolf has turned into one of my favorites. Not surprising since this author duo is one of my favorites as well. This one was a lot lighter than most of their books, but it wasn’t silly or campy, it was fun. Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz are up next with Burnt Toast B&B.

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Twelve Shades of Midnight Anthology

12ShadesOfMidnightThe stroke of midnight ushers in many things. From hijinks and mischief to danger and evil, romance is the magic that binds these paranormal novellas together. Join 12 best-selling and award-winning authors as they explore the different shades of midnight in exclusive, never-before-released stories.

This anthology turned out to be a huge tease. I ended up enjoying most of the stories and found quite a few authors in the mix that I intend to follow. I’m just hoping that most of these turn into series or at the very least continue to full length novels. Some of these characters are too good to walk away from with just the little taste that the authors gave us.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Liliana Hart: The Witch Next Door

This is the second book by Liliana Hart that I’ve read and if she continues this series, it definitely won’t be my last. Basically this story is about three sisters, who also happen to be powerful witches entrusted with protecting the inhabitants of a town. A handsome stranger that seems to know more than he should. Toss in reincarnation, an evil force that’s getting closer, a touch of humor and nice little romance and you have a quick, enjoyable read. I can’t wait to find out what happens next because readers are definitely left hanging at the end of The Witch Next Door.

Darynda Jones: A Lovely Drop

This is my first Darynda Jones read, but she’s an author who I’ve been curious about for a while now. It was the perfect way to get a quick taste of her writing style. It’s also a story that I definitely want more of. A Lovely Drop had a unique premise and the characters had that ‘real’ quality that I really liked. This story not only has me wanting more from these characters, but has also put this author on my TBR radar.

Shea Berkley: Dark Secrets: Stone Cold Dead

Another first…. and another case of wanting to get to know characters better. This was also another unique premise. I loved the mix of vampires, werewolves and a fighter who was much more than she seemed. This one even had a couple of precocious kids thrown in to make things even more fun…. and dangerous.

Dakota Cassidy: Witched at Birth

I wasn’t really sure about this one at first. It started out almost a little too ‘campy.’ The silliness leveled off though and once the story got going I couldn’t put it down. Mystery, humor, danger, an adorable little girl, magic and romance proved to be an interesting mix. This is also the first story in this anthology that didn’t leave readers hanging. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy more from these characters….

Claire Cavanaugh: Midnight Renegade

Basically, this was a military/science experiment gone terribly wrong. A scientist trying to do the right thing for the wrong person. A daughter who was on a mission to save her dad and a deadly soldier who barely understood the powers forced on him, much less how to control them. His only goals were to find a cure, the rest of the infected soldiers he felt responsible for and seek revenge on the man who tore his world apart. Can’t wait to see where this series goes….

Rachel Grant: Midnight Sun

Possessed artifacts, helpful spirits and bad guys possessed by greed. I liked this one too. It was pretty much non-stop and I liked the paranormal twist. The romance was fun too, considering how it started. That’s something I can’t giveaway… it was just too much fun seeing them try to fight the inevitable.

Trish McCallan: Spirit Woods

I really liked this one. Of course, I wasn’t surprised because I’m pretty familiar with the author, but this wasn’t like any of the other books I’ve read by Trish McCallan. The mystery behind the magic of Spirit Woods is one that I can’t wait to continue.

Angi Morgan: Bodyguards in Heels: Hit and Run Hallie

Oh, this is going to be a fun series. The characters are just a little quirky, but not to the point of being silly. Magic, mystery, a crazy family romance… what’s not to love?

Robin Perini: Night of the Jaguar

Out of all of the books in this anthology, this one was the hardest for me to connect with. It did get better as it went along. The world building was a little confusing, but I liked the twist on the supernatural, especially the vampires and the unique breed of hunters.

Robyn Peterman: Switching Hour

I honestly thought I was going nuts when I started reading this one. The first chapter of Switching Hour is pretty much the same as the first chapter of Witched at Birth. Turns out it was planned that way… very sneaky of Robyn and Dakota. This one wasn’t quite as campy but it was just as silly in places. The main character in Switching Hour and the main character in Witched at Birth were best friends. Long story short, they were being punished for their mistakes and they both had to go their separate ways to fulfill their sentences. The first chapter in each book was told from different POVs, but they both happened right before they were forced to split. I’m sure that sooner or later these two silly but lovable witches will find their way back to each other.

Ann Voss Peterson: The School

Well, now we can add fairies to the mix. Not that any were actually seen, but they were definitely present and accounted for – and not in a very nice way. Not sure if this one is going to continue or not, but there are definitely a couple of characters that I’d like to learn a little more about.

Jenn Stark: Getting Wilde

Well that certainly was an awful lot packed into a short read. Almost too much. And, to top it all off it ended in a crazy cliff hanger. Yikes! There’s no doubt that this one will continue… hopefully with answers to a lot of question I have about the crazy alternate world created in Getting Wilde.

So there you have it. I didn’t love all of them, but I definitely added more than one author to my TBR list.

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The Bells of Time Square Virtual Book Tour

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Hi, and welcome to the blog tour for The Bells of Times Square!  This book is close to my heart– if you read the extra front and back matter in the story, you will see that I drew inspiration from my grandparents and their roles in WWII.  There was a lot of research involved here and also an unusual romance.  I hope you enjoy this stop on the tour, and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below for the giveaway of a $10 Riptide store credit and a signed copy of The Bells of Times Square!  Feel free to comment, or to contact me at any of my links below–I’d love to hear from you!

Blurb

TheBellsOfTimesSquare_200x300Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.

When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.

Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:
Website • Blog • Goodreads
Twitter: @amymaclane • Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous

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