Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Storm Siren - Book 1 - Mary Weber

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

My Thoughts
Be prepared for a tale full of twists and turns that will knock you off your feet and steal the very breath from your lungs. Infused with the powers of the Elementals Storm Siren has everything a YA Fantasy novel should posses. 

Epic battles, devastating loss, search for purpose, simmering romance, bad guys that are the most vicious sort of people and good guys that will sacrifice everything for the good of the people. Nym has totally swept me into her world and I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series (which I was SMART this time around and placed all three books on hold at the same time at my library*).

While the elements of faith are not blatantly in your face. I do recognize the threads weaving through the story. The constant battle between good and evil, the enemy being a deceiver, the good sacrificing everything. But maybe most importantly is seeing what is inside ourselves...and recognizing it for the GIFT it is rather than a curse. 

If you enjoy Young Adult Fantasy with clean content and decent morals, you should definitely check this series out! Stay tuned for my thoughts on the remainder of the series.

*My regular readers will remember the numerous times I start a series and have to wait an excruciatingly long time to read the next book (you know, like a week) because I was being "unsmart" and didn't place the books on hold at the same time.

I borrowed a copy of Storm Siren from my local library. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

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Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Little Known Facts About Me...As Told by the Husband

Today I have turned over the reigns of Top Ten Tuesday to my husband, Zach. I am slightly terrified...What secrets is he going to reveal to you all today? I blame Carrie from Reading is my SuperPower for this idea...Check out what HER hubby had to say about her last year HERE.

Many of you know my lovely wife, Rachel, and a few of you may know some of these things about her. But I would have you know her better. We all have facets to our lives that are only seen by certain people, or groups of people. This is neither a good or bad thing, just a natural way of life. Fortunately, most of us have a very close person or group that sees the whole spectrum of our life through these facets. Please allow me to spin the kaleidoscope and shine some light on a few of Rachel's unique surfaces.

#1. Rachel has odd coffee-drinking habits.

Though the hair color is wrong, I will compare Rachel to Goldie Locks. Her coffee cannot be too hot or too cold in the morning. Lukewarm is closer to the temperature she prefers. Also she will take an entire day sometimes to drink a cup, reheating it several times, and inevitably having to let it cool...and forgetting about it...again.

Bahaha! Ya...Sometimes I will go an entire day and not even finish 1 cup of coffee. Shameful, I know. Them: "How do you take your coffee?" Me: "Ridiculously sweet and lukewarm."

#2. Rachel prefers her soda on the flatter side.

Usually when she gets a soda, Rachel will let it sit open till it's gone mostly flat and become close to room temperature before she drinks it. 

Ya...this is so true. I can't stand a ton of carbonation...In fact I have a Dr. Pepper in the fridge I should drink (it was opened last night).

#3. Rachel spent 14 years in ballet.

Yes, my beautiful bride is a ballerina! I have not had the opportunity to see her perform, though she does dance around the house on a regular basis. And yes, I have taken her to several professional ballets.

Dancing is a part of my soul. It is the most effective way that I have found to express my heart and passion. Although I am horribly out of practice, I will never give up dance.

#4. Rachel is a natural redhead.

Though occasionally she puts in some purple or pink or dark brown, her hair is actually a deep red. Her erubescent coloring can best be seen on a sunny summer day.

My hair has continued to get darker over the years. I wish it had gotten lighter, but I can't complain! I love my natural hair color, I just like to change things up every now and then.

#5. Rachel raised goats while growing up.

Though I despise the animals, Rachel has told me, in no uncertain terms, that we are getting goats as soon as we have a house on acreage. She had goats for about 10 years as a kid (no pun intended), and had to feed, milk, clean, and care for them every day.

I miss my furry babies! I simply adore goats! I raised Nubians and Toggenburgs for 10ish years. I help my sister run the goat barn for our community fair and I just want to cuddle the adorable creatures all day! And yes, Zach knows he really gets no say in the matter bahaha....as the next point proves....

#6. Rachel is extremely stubborn.

Growing up raising goats, I think Rachel got this trait from spending too much time with the hard-headed animals. When she wants, or doesn't want something, she can dig her heels in and become as unmovable as a barn.

While I admit this is definitely not one of my better qualities...It has been useful. Especially when it comes to the care Ezra received in the hospital. I had to put my foot down a couple of times.

#7. Rachel has a brown thumb.

If you wish to give a gift of flowers to Rachel it's best if they are already cut and dead, otherwise it will be only a short time before they are anyway. If a plant isn't self-sufficient then more likely than not Rachel will find a way to kill it. Either through lack of water or drowning it in water, plants tend to have short lifespans in her care. So the upkeep usually falls to me.

No shame...I'm a plant killer. There are just some things I am not good at. Gardening just happens to be one of them....

#8. Rachel is a great cook, but...

Soups, chowders, roasts, pretty much anything in a crock pot, that's Rachel's mainstay. When she thinks about cooking she does a magnificent job. But, with having two little hooligans careening through the house all day, it's sometimes hard to think about, much less find time, to cook. So, since I love food, and love to cook I usually end up doing the cooking, and Rachel is happy to oblige me.

Ok, I think it is best to say that Zach does the summer cooking, I do the winter cooking. It is just so hard to think about food and cooking when it is hot. I would eat salad and wraps all summer if I could...Unfortunately, my children do not agree with this. 

#9. Rachel loves her candy.

Mike and Ike's, Skittles, Starbursts, Redvines...anything but chocolate! OK, Rachel occasionally enjoys a piece of dark and bitter chocolate, but she would much rather have gummies or hard candy. Oh, and she will eat them by the bag-full while reading through a stressful point in a book.

True statement. I am also VERY possessive of my candy...Basically...I don't share my candy.EVER. (Unless it's the pink Starbursts lol) Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Runts, Jelly Babies, Wine Gums, and Hot Tamales are a few of my other faves...And Chocolate...can be mixed with brown butter, salt, or caramel...NOTHING ELSE! Mint, peanut butter, fruit....can't do it! Black licorice is another big no no.

#10. Rachel is patient.

Nothing shows this more than the relationship between us. For starters, she liked me for 4 years before I even realized it. (Actually I had to be told by a friend. I can be a little thick at times.) We have been married for almost 6 years now, and we have lived a LOT of life! Over and over again she astounds me with her grace and her patience for myself and our two boys. What I would do and where I would be without her is not a comfortable thought. She is the delight of my life and I love her tremendously!

Oh gosh....Here come the waterworks. Although my first reaction to this..."You think I'm patient?????" But thinking about it I guess I can be when I need to be haha! (Just not when I am waiting for a new book to come out lol.) I am so very blessed to have a bookish husband and partner in life to encourage and champion me and my dreams.

© 2017 Jeff & Amanda Films
Well, did you learn anything NEW about me? We had so much fun putting this post together for you! Can you relate to any of my personality traits? Tell me in the comments below! And don't forget...Next week starts a FULL MONTH of celebrations! Be sure to check back for more info.

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

First Line Friday - A Name Unknown (Link to Giveaway)

Happy Friday!

Saying that I am excited about Roseanna M. White's new series is an understatement of EPIC proportions! I simply adored her last series (Ladies of the Manor...Read my reviews HERE.) And after reading this first line, I hope you head over and pick up your copy of A Name Unknown right away! And if THAT doesn't convince you, you can read my review HERE (Link to a giveaway as well). EEEEEP! 

May 1914
Rosemary Gresham may have been a thief, but she was a thief who preferred to work in broad daylight. Pulling her coat more tightly around her middle, she stopped in one circle of streetlight outside the park and looked toward the next. 

If you would like to host First Line Fridays on your blog, contact Carrie on Reading is my SuperPower.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Name Unknown + Giveaway - Shadows Over England Book 1 - Roseanna M. White

Click HERE to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: A Name Unknown  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Release date: July 4, 2017  
Genre: Historical Romance  

She’s Out to Steal His Name. Will He Steal Her Heart Instead? 

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name? As Europe moved closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past. When danger and suspicion continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

My Rating
Ok y'all...I MAY just have to implement a 1/2 star rating...Because A Name Unknown is is definitely deserving of a 5 1/2 stars. As in....I want to start this book over again RIGHT NOW! Let's label THIS rating...."Fiction is truth...in a pretty wrapping." (More Info)

My Thoughts
White's Ladies of the Manor series was my first (and only) taste of her books, and EVERY.SINGLE.ONE brought me to tears, pulled at my heart in ways that I can't even describe and helped me to realise things about myself that I never knew. Things that I may never have admitted to if I hadn't cracked open the pages of that first book The Lost Heiress

A Name Unknown will completely sweep you off your feet. If you are even the slightest bit bookish, you will simply fall head over heels for Peter! A man of incredible character, high standards, genuine compassion, a deep relationship with Jesus, and a serious TALENT with words! Rosemary, is just...AHHHH! A woman who I want to meet. A woman who I wish was a real life person so that I can interview her, have lunch with her, and go for walks together along the cliffs in Cornwall. Also, Roseanna talks about Cornish Pasties...Um...those are perhaps my very favorite meal EVER! (Here is a recipe, Jody Hedlund also talks about them in Undaunted Hope...I use butter and not margarine and I do not put rutabaga in them.) 

Throughout the story both Peter and Rosemary struggle with secrets that lay in their past. Some known, some unknown, (even to themselves) some discovered along the way. As they grow closer they come to understand that they can not have these barriers between them."With the greatest risks come the greatest rewards", but is it worth it to risk everything that they have built their lives on? Will they be able to confide in one another before all is revealed? And will the past stand between them and keep them apart? Or draw them closer together?

There is SO MUCH we can learn from this story. And ONE of the biggest points is that God is able and willing to forgive us...NO MATTER our past, no matter what we have done, what we have been through. The question is, do we want Him to? Do we want Him to change us for the better? The other message that stands out SO.STRONGLY...Is that God hears us. He may not always give us the answers we WANT...But He HEARS us...Even if it doesn't feel like He does. 

Set at the very beginning of WWI, this book begins an incredible adventure for Rosemary's family. I am SO looking forward to the next books. 

I received a complimentary copy of A Name Unknown from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna White

It’s always a challenge to make a historical setting authentic—especially when it’s set in a region you’ve only ever read about. As I was writing A Name Unknown, I learned so much about Cornwall—all the more when I had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Penzance region while the book was still in edits! I quickly learned that I had far too many trees in my story, and hadn’t quite captured the uniqueness of the coastal setting. I dove into rewrites with excitement and gusto, ready to make my fictional Cornwall more like the real one. I studied the Cornish accent, Cornish foods, typical Cornish coloring in hair and eyes. I’ve now gotten rather proficient at making pasties (beef hand pies) from scratch, I’ve special-ordered ingredients to make Cornish ginger cookies called fairings, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time listening to videos of people speaking in a Cornish accent. Delving into this rich region and its history was a blast! And I’m so excited to get to share the culture of Cornwall—and a taste of their unique flavors—with you. In a special Celebrate Lit giveaway, I’ll be offering not only a signed copy of my book, but also some homemade ginger fairings! Here’s the recipe I used . . . after special ordering the Mixed Spice (reminiscent of pumpkin pie spice) and Golden Syrup (a thick syrup with a bit of a toffee flavor) from Amazon. 😉 (I have a gram scale so did use the weight measurements rather than volume—also, English teaspoons and tablespoons are a bit bigger than American, so I heaped them, and I turned out deliciously.) 

100 grams butter, cold and diced 
225 grams all-purpose flour
¼ heaping teaspoon salt
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
2 heaping teaspoons baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon ginger
2 heaping teaspoons mixed spice
100 grams superfine (caster) sugar
4 heaping tablespoons golden syrup 

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a stand mixer. Add the butter and beat until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in sugar. In a small saucepan, warm the golden syrup until it’s clarified a bit; stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and put on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden. Cool a few minutes on the trays and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Blog Stops

July 20Genesis 5020
July 21Pause for Tales
July 22Bigreadersite
July 23Vicky Sluiter
July 24Pursuing Stacie
July 25Live.Love.Read.
July 26Carpe Diem
July 27cherylbbookblog
July 27Splashes of Joy
July 29Karen Sue Hadley
July 31Cafinated Reads


To celebrate this tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of A Name Unknown & 2 dozen cookies from Roseanna!!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bc0e

More Books by Roseanna M. White on Bookworm Mama

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise.