Books I’m Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop!


Books-I'm-Grateful-I-Read-Hop

Welcome to the Books I’m Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop, hosted by Stuck In Books! For the hop, one lucky winner will have the chance to select one book of their choice from the list below.

Here are the Rules:

  1. You must be 13 years or older to participate. Giveaway is open internationally.
  2. Fill in your name and email in the form below (one entry per person, please – duplicates will be deleted).
  3. The Books I’m Grateful I Read Giveaway will close at 12:01 AM, November 15th.
  4. No following or retweeting required, but much appreciated. Also feel free to leave a comment below if you would like, I love meeting new people!

Good Luck!!

Click here to follow the Books I’m Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop and view other great giveaways that are occurring!

Release Day Buzz and Giveaway: Blocked by Jennifer Lane


Blocked Cover

 New Adult Contemporary/Sports Romance

Released October 21, 2014

Amazon

College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. Hijole. Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.

Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.

When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?

 ***Guest Post: Writing Blocked***

Lucia opened the door. “They say not to discuss politics and religion on the first date.”

“Well, then.” I gave her a huge smile. “We’re screwed.”

~*~

Has a political opinion on social media ever made your blood boil? Have you struggled to tolerate friends’ opposing political views? There’s a bitter political divide in many countries, including the US, and those polarized philosophies inspired the story of Blocked.

Heroine Lucia Ramirez and hero Dane Monroe view the world in opposite ways but are thrown together as their parents compete for the US presidency. Underhanded national politics are hardly the place for a trusting relationship to begin, but can love bridge the gap of mistrust and hatred?

The theme of forbidden love intrigues me. Lucia’s conservative father, the Republican nominee for US President, would be horrified to learn of his daughter’s crush on his liberal opponent’s son Dane. Dane and his mother, the Democratic nominee for US President, believe that harsh conservative ideals thwart the American dream.

One lesson from my psychology career is that perception is reality. Democrats see the world quite differently from Republicans, and both groups are hell-bent on proving they’re right. Dane wants equality for all. Lucia stands for individual responsibility. Which philosophy is better? Which will persevere in the next election?

Sometimes, political discussion becomes heated. It gets ugly. In contrast, I tried my hardest to present each viewpoint fairly in this story. Readers and editors from both sides of the aisle critiqued the manuscript, and one reason I self-published the novel was to preserve a delicate balance of political views between Dane and Lucia.

Despite their political differences, Lucia and Dane share one thing in common: volleyball. Both are scholarship volleyball players at a top university, vying to earn a spot on the US national team one day. In addition to swimming, I played volleyball at a small college, and my love for this sport bleeds onto the pages. To smash a perfectly set volleyball down the opponent’s throat? There’s nothing more satisfying. And the closeness of a team is one of life’s special pleasures, experienced by Lucia and Dane.

I hope you enjoy the political and sport elements in Blocked.

***GIVEAWAY***

Jennifer Lane is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card on her Facebook page for the release! You can enter HERE.

About the Author

Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen wove some of her own experiences into Streamline—a military mystery about swimmers. And readers can dip their toes into Jen’s world of swimming romance by sampling her free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

College volleyball romance Blocked is Jen’s newest release, launching 10-21-14. Peek inside big-time college sports and even bigger national politics when the offspring of two presidential candidates find out whether opposites really do attract, or their match is blocked from the start.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry.

In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plus-size, “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: The Darkness Within by Kelly Hashway


The Darkness Within

Title: The Darkness Within
Author: Kelly Hashway
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Formats: Paper, e-book

Summary:

After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she’s finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she’s part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives–the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life–things couldn’t be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong?

Magic.

Ethan’s magic came from a witch who’d turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he’d be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he’s Sam’s sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he’s a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what’s wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

Add to Goodreads

***Giveaway***

In honor of this cover reveal, Ketch’s Book Nook is giving away 3 ebooks of the first novel, The Monster Within (INT) -> a Rafflecopter giveaway

ashelyn drakeKelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Curse of the Granville Fortune Scavenger Hunt‏!!


Let the hunt begin!

Curse of the Granville Fortune officially releases into the world today! This middle grade fantasy adventure involves a race to a treasure, so there’s a scavenger hunt to celebrate.

Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.’s family history. He’s been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and Return the Granville’s stolen property. But he’s not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he’ll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it’s too late.

Amazon | B&N

Now for the scavenger hunt. Below is a list of bloggers helping out with the hunt. Visit each of their pages and collect a letter that is “hidden” in their post in either a different color or a larger font size. If you go through the list in order, the word will spell itself out for you. If you don’t go in order, you’ll have to unscramble the word. Either way is fine and totally up to you. Then enter the word on the rafflecopter form for bonus entries. You don’t have to find the word to enter the giveaway, but the word will earn you the most entries.

What’s up for grabs?

SWAG from ALL of Kelly’s books!

Yes, that’s right. There’s a drawstring bag, coins, buttons, a mood ring, a heart bracelet, a flame pendant, trading cards, a key, and bookmarks! All this loot could be yours!

Here are the stops for the scavenger hunt (in order):

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Into the Fire (Birth of the Phoenix #1)


Author: Ashelyn Drake

Genre: YA fantasy
Published: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 300
Source: Purchased Paperback
Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

My Rating of this Book – 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

If Into the Fire hadn’t kept triggering some hard memories and emotions, I would have swallowed this novel whole. It was that good! Full of suspense and romantic tension.

I could really relate to both Cara and Logan, as you could tell from my earlier comments. I had similar situations, some even recently. Practically when it came to family hardships and what was referred to by Cara and her family as “imprinting.” Those strong emotions. That strong attraction. How hard it is to stay away. Their story truly coincided with my actual life, only better results.

Though the inner thought was amazing in most of this novel, there were other things I didn’t like about the style. It didn’t feel the same as other works by Ashelyn Drake or Kelly Hashway; such as the settings. With The Monster Within and Campus Crush I could get at least a basic lay out of the town, campus, and houses. But in Into the Fire, I felt the description lacked. I couldn’t even get a feel of Cara’s or Logan’s bedrooms, which makes it difficult to picture the characters.

Also, a lot of the beginning and even some of ending dialogue was continuous and untagged, as if most of the interweaved action was cut from the text. I couldn’t place what the character was doing, what emotions they were feeling, or how the conversation was affecting them at the time. It was just pure conversation.

But, OMG, what an intense, heart wrenching ending! Forget the first chapter in the back of the book; this novel will make you want the sequel, Out of the Ashes, now!

Other recommendations:

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!


Spooktacular Hop

Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer! For the hop, one lucky winner will win:

Here are the Rules:

  1. You must be 13 years or older to participate. Giveaway is open internationally.
  2. Fill in your name and email in the form below (one entry per person, please – duplicates will be deleted).
  3. The Spooktacular Giveaway will close at 12:01 AM, November 1st.
  4. No following or retweeting required, but much appreciated. Also feel free to leave a comment below if you would like, I love meeting new people!

Good Luck!!

Click here to follow the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop and view the other 200 great giveaways that are occurring!

The Weighing of the Heart: the Sins and Virtues of the Descendants of Isis


Daughter of IsisSon of Set

In my series, the Descendants of Isis, one of the ancient beliefs I refer to regularly, especially when it comes to Seth O’Keefe’s sacrifice, is the Weighing of the Heart. In saving Natti, a sin in itself, Seth has given up his god’s protection over his heart, and with it, his chances of an eternal afterlife.

The ancient Egyptians considered the heart to be the most important organ in the body. It was the center of all thought, memory, and emotion, and therefore, essential for the rebirth into Amenti, the equivalent of heaven. As such, it was never embalmed with the other organs. It was instead left untouched during mummification, and a scarab amulet placed over it to ensure that it spoke the truth once the deceased reached the Hall of Judgment.

Once there, the judgment of one’s heart was determined based on the deceased’s behavior in this life. This was known as the Weighing of the Heart. A ceremony believed to take place in front of a tribunal of 42 gods known as the Assessors, who were overseen by Osiris (god of the dead).

Standing before the Assessors, the deceased were to name each of the 42 divine judges and made a ‘negative confession’: a list of 42 sins the deceased had not committed, ranging from stealing food to murder. After which, the deceased’s heart and the feather of Ma ‘at would be placed a set of scales to see if the deceased had spoken the truth.

As exhibited in Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, it wasn’t truly about being pure of all sin. It was all about being balanced. In many depictions, the ancient Egyptians even showed Anubis providing aid to the deceased, adjusting the scales just enough so that the deceased’s heart and Ma ‘at would come to a perfect balance; insuring that the deceased whose virtues outweighed their sins were successful in entering Amenti.

Unfortunately, for those such as Seth, whose heart is weighed down by sin, another fate awaited. One that not even Anubis could prevent.

In Seth’s young life, he had repeatedly committed 24 of the 42 sins. Even saving Natti from becoming a sacrifice to Set would’ve been considered stealing a god’s offering and frowned upon by the Assessors. And though Natara “Natti” Stone brought out the best in him, that will never be enough. When he eventually enters the Hall of Judgment, his heart’s sins would tip the scales, and it’ll be feed to Ammit, sentencing him to a fate worse than entering a place of torment like hell. Instead, Seth will cease to exist and be cursed to wander Duat (the Netherworld) for all eternity without thought and emotions. A concept that terrified ancient Egyptians.

Seth's Sins

In addition to Chapter 125 in the Book of the Dead, the ancient Egyptians also listed 42 principals of Ma ‘at including being respectful, quiet, not hasty, modest, gentle, restrained in eating and drinking, trustworthy, and not being boastful or arrogant. The ideal was to lead a life in accordance of the socially acceptable or ethical ways to behave. In fact, the texts of Wisdom Literature revealed certain crimes were consider crimes against Ma ‘at such as disorder, rebellion, envy, deceit, greed, laziness, injustice, and ingratitude.

All things Sons of Set, the order which Seth was raised in, are best known for.

Natti, on the other hand, was blessed at birth by the goddess Isis to carry a sliver of the feather of Ma ‘at. Her whole existence is to live in truth and seek it in others. It’s one of the things that draws her to Seth in the first place as she tries to piece him together.

Natti's Sins

Natti’s behavior, however, consists of 26 of the 42 principals of ma ‘at; and is weighed down only by four sins. A small adjustment for Anubis and his scales. When her time comes to visit the Hall of Judgment, her heart will speak the truth and allow her to enter Amenti. Yet there’s one thing that could prevent her from taking her rightful place in Osiris’s kingdom: her love for Seth. It’s what Seth fears the most for her. Though willing to sacrifice his own eternity, he could never accept her doing the same for him.

Though an unlikely pairing, Seth and Natti actions and behavior complete a necessary circle that will help Natti complete her destiny. Her heart guiding the way with truth and good intentions while Seth’s sins that will continue to protect Natti on their journey and open the way to finding Ra’s secret name. Meanwhile, their sacrifices for each other will grow beyond love, as Isis and Osiris’s love had before them.

Ying-Yang

Sources:

  • Faulkner, R.O. (2010) Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. New York, New York: Fall River Press.
  • Fletcher, J. (2002) The Egyptian Book of the Living and Dying. New York, New York: Chartwell Books, Inc.
  • Gahlin, L. (2011). Gods and Religion of Ancient Egypt. London, England: Hermes House.
  • Oakes, L., and Gahlin, L. (2003). Ancient Egypt: An illustrated reference to the myths, religions, pyramids and temples of the land of the pharaohs. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
  • Strudwick, H. (2006). The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York, New York: Metro Books.