Friday, November 24, 2017

Promo & Tour: The Oath - Maddy and Silenus by Susan Badaracco

Title: The Oath - Maddy and Silenus
Author: Susan Badaracco
Genre/Age: Fantasy Adventure
Series: The Oaths (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
SynopsisWhen her past merges with her present, Maddy is not sure what to think. Was that really an abduction she witnessed? Does she have the courage to find out?

Silenus is a unicorn haunted by his past failure to protect his charge. His training is relentless, but is he fierce enough to protect this innocent? Will she even trust him?

Can a mortal and immortal pursue the truth together or will Maddy pay the ultimate price? 

Five Favorite Movie Scenes
by Susan Badaracco

Note from Dawn: Images added by me!

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The World According to Garp
Garp’s mother is standing in front of a house with a real estate agent. As they watch, a plane crashes into the roof. She says, “We’ll take the house. Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It’s been pre-disastered. We’re going to be safe here.” It was a great set up for the irony of the entire movie but it also had a touch of wishful truth. The very human notion that when terrible things happen, it should somehow give you karmic credit and protect you from other horrible events. The whole movie was genius. 

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The Last of the Mohicans
Hawkeye is talking to Cora in a recess in a cliff overlooking a waterfall. They’re trapped and capture is imminent. Hawkeye plans to jump into the water but he knows that Cora would not survive. His lines: “No! You stay alive! If they don’t kill you, they’ll take you north to the Huron lands. Submit, do you hear? You’re strong! You survive! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far. I will find you!” 

Water is spraying into the cavern and dampening their faces and clothes.The noise of the falls is ominous, thundering, and Hawkeye has to shout to be heard above it. His voice is urgent, demanding, raw. The viewer wants to take Cora’s place, to have someone declare their love no matter what. To pursue us, no matter what. It’s a beautifully intense scene. 

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The Intouchables
If you’ve seen it, you know that I have not misspelled the title. If you have not, you really should find it and watch it. Now. It’s a French movie, subtitles and all, but you’ll forgive the hassle once the movie starts rolling. It’s based on the true story of a handicapped millionaire and an ex-con who becomes his caretaker and friend. It’s classified as a comedy but one comes away from the movie feeling like you have learned something wonderful about human nature. It dawns on me that I cannot tell you my favorite scene because I want you to enjoy the experience for yourself. You’ll recognize my favorite scene when you see it…. 

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Field of Dreams
I’m a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact. There is a scene in the movie where a little girl has fallen from the stands. She’s not moving and her mother and father are frantic. On the field are the ghosts of baseball players, including a rookie that ultimately became a doctor and never fulfilled his dream of playing baseball. He realizes what has happened to the young girl. He moves toward where she is, weaves around the other players, stops for a moment at the edge of the field. You can see a split second of indecision before he crosses over the line and transforms from a young man to an elderly doctor. 

Naturally, he saves her. It is then that everyone, including the viewer, realizes that he can’t go back. He lost his chance. But you see his face, his acceptance, and I recognized the feeling. Missing countless social events, spending holidays at the hospital, I feel like I’ve crossed that same line. And I would do it again…so don’t feel too bad for the old man. In our hearts, we know where we belong. 

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The Princess Bride
The movie starts with a grandfather reading to his unenthusiastic grandson. The boy gets interested with time, and who wouldn’t, the book has fighting, torture, love, giants…the list goes on. The drama is actually a romance between Buttercup and Wesley, the farm boy. Wesley spends a lot of time answering Buttercup by saying “As you wish”. With time, she learns that this really means I love you. The movie should be silly but provides a satisfying mixture of suspense, action and humor. 

The end scene is my favorite. 

Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow. 

Grandpa: As you wish. 

I guess I just love cheesy happy endings.

Susan Badaracco is the author and independent publisher of “The Oath: Maddy and Silenus”. 

In her real life, she is a pediatrician at Kids First Pediatrics where she routinely consoles anxious moms, retrieves interesting objects hidden in ears and laughs at made up knock-knock jokes.

She lives with her husband, a dog (ADHD is not limited to humans) and a cat. Her daughter and son both made the unfortunate decision to grow up which means she travels more than she used to. 

Susan Badaracco Author Information

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Excerpt & Tour: The Fated Saga by Sariah Skye

Fated Souls
The Fated Saga Book 1
by Sariah Skye
Genre: Paranormal Romance

James is your average, single woman. Works in a coffee shop, drives a beat-up car, watches TV with her cat, and lives a very ordinary life in rural Minnesota among humans. On the outside, you’d never know that the entirely-typical woman hides a secret.
Leorah is a dragon-shifter. Not just any dragon shifter, but a pink dragon shifter.


Yes, pink.

Unlike her dragon counterparts, she’s smaller, cannot fly, doesn’t breathe fire, and is not very intimidating at all. In her home kingdom of Anarach, she is bullied, tormented, and hated. So, she chooses to live simply, and blend in with humanity.

Until a cute, but mysterious stranger enters the shop where she works. And he knows exactly who, and what Leorah is hiding. Gabriel O’Donnell will help uncover who she is, and teach her what she’s capable of. All the while a dark, ominous force that hasn’t been seen in centuries threatens everything Leorah holds dear.

Together, will they succumb to the darkness?

Or will they fight in the shadows, and discover just who Leorah is fated to be?

Fated Magic
The Fated Saga Book 2

No one can outrun their destiny, but just whose destiny is she running from?

Dragon-shifter Leorah James has everything she ever wanted. Friends. Magic. 

The ability to fly. And the promise of more romance than she can handle. But with her newfound power comes responsibility far greater than Leo ever imagined. 

As darkness infects the very heart of Anarach, Leo and her companions must leave the sanctuary of Castle Danger and face their worst fears. Betrayal, loss, action and adventure- Leorah is in for one hell of a ride.

Nobody said being the hero would be easy but is Leo strong enough

to play the part?

Fated Hope
The Fated Saga Book 3

Leorah James grew up in a kingdom of dragon-shifters; friendless, and considered useless, with no magic. All because of age-old ideas, and fear towards what they didn’t understand.

Now, she’s back in Anarach, in a position she never thought possible: a queen, bonded to the gorgeous Maxxus, with extraordinary magic; ruling over the kingdom that once shunned her very existence. Now, Leorah and Maxxus must bring the kingdoms together to try and strengthen everyone against the mysterious foe up against them. 

The very thing that set her apart from her kingdom could be the very thing to save them all, if only they quell their fear and let her.

Some might consider Leorah a hero, given everything she’s been through and everything that stands before her. But, is she heroic enough to give everyone hope?

**Author's note**
The romance intensifies in this third edition of The Fated Saga and is recommended for readers 18+ only.

Goodreads * Amazon

I smiled at them, shaking my head. I tried to imagine what it would have been like to dream only of fairy tale things back then when I was their age. Instead, I had fantasized about living in a place where no one knew who I was just so that I could escape the agony of constant ridicule from my family and their friends and—well, everyone really—about who I was, what I was, what I couldn't do compared to everyone else. Living under constant scrutiny was hard. I could do no right. I was an embarrassment. I was a freak. Here in Pineville, Minnesota I was still technically a freak too , but what people didn’t know about me didn’t hurt them. I appeared human. Although, I am not. At any moment if I truly desired, though, I could turn into my real self. My real dragon self.

Yes, that's right. Dragon. I am a dragon. We live in another realm, not unlike your own. Except the primary species in our realm are dragon-shifters.

Everything you’ve heard about dragons is probably true. We fly, breathe fire, are loud and a bit scaly. What you don’t know is that we have magic both in our human and dragon forms.

All dragons are capable of different kinds of magic; the type of magic you wield relates to the color of your dragon skin, and we exist in every color of the rainbow right down to silver and gold. My grandfather, an Elder in our home kingdom of Anarach because of his age, is silver. In his dragon form, his skin gleams like a pocketful of coins in a fountain, and he can use light magic which is beneficial in healing. Golden dragons also heal, but can harness the wind as well. My brother is a red dragon, and he is a fire user; my parents are black and yellow and wield powerful arcane magic and air magic respectively. A dragon for every color and a place for their magic in our society. Well, everyone except me.

All because I share my color with Cyril the Mad, a powerful dragon who was greatly respected until he lost his mind and was exiled by the King and Queen of the Court at that time. No one knows what drove him to madness, but he committed grievous crimes with his power against dragons in a nearby village. Deeds rumored to be so terrible that the law forbade talk of Cyril and his kind. Over the centuries, stories of Cyril and his powers faded into myth and legend. Until another of his kind was born. Another pink dragon. Me.

Pink dragons? I know. I mean… really, it's ridiculous sounding. It’s a color mutation, apparently. It doesn’t exactly sound scary or intimidating as one expects a dragon should be. But Cyril was a pink dragon and the commonly held opinion is that something about the gene gifted him with immense power while cursing him with insanity. So it is assumed that any others of his kind will be the same: batshit crazy. And that’s what they expect of me- the last remaining pink dragon, the only one of my kind. Rare, ridiculed and despised. But unlike Cyril, I have no magic, I cannot fly, and I don’t even breathe fire. So how can I be a threat to anyone? Nobody seemed to care about that, though. There wasn’t a day back home that I didn’t face disdain and torment. Other drakes—our term for adolescent dragons—wanted nothing to do with me. My parents wanted nothing to do with me; I was a hindrance to their reputations. They were utterly convinced they’d be ruling Anarach and be King and Queen by now had it not been for the taint of shame my birth had left on their standing.

The only two souls that had shown me love and kindness were my brother, Braeden, and my grandfather. A few years ago, on my legal adult birthday back home in Anarach, I took the nearest portal I could find on the outskirts of our village, Green Knoll, and it took me here, to Pineville, Minnesota. With the help of a rogue orange dragon I obtained a last name, documentation and everything else that would be essential for me to live as a typical human in the United States. Coming into the realm of humans, I found it ironic that pink was stereotypically a color signifying weakness and girlish fantasy. You know, princesses, frilly dresses, that sort of thing. Perhaps it was a twist on the stigma that had carried over somehow from the dragon world. Of course, humans like Kit, and heroines in movies, proved to me time and time again that femininity wasn’t weak and pink could equal strength. Pity the same didn’t ring true for this pink dragon.

Back in my birth realm, I am known as Leorah e’na Miradoste. Loosely translated it means "Leorah, daughter of Miradoste," although it would sound very different in the dragon tongue; rough and guttural to human ears. Amongst humans, I’m Leorah James. It’s the name I prefer. Leorah James; an ordinary human girl with long, strawberry blonde hair, and green eyes. I am small as a dragon and whereas most dragons are tall and lithe in their human form; I am short and curvy with a larger than average chest, wide hips and a slightly soft stomach. No washboard abs for me—but I didn’t desire them. I can shift at a moment’s notice into my dragon form, but I can also live comfortably as a human. On the surface, I smelled, sounded and functioned the same as the people around me, set apart only by my mark.

Every dragon has a mark, resembling a tattoo, somewhere on their body. That mark is individual to them. Dragons in Anarach typically had Celtic symbols, dragon outlines with knotwork on them, in the color of their dragons. Mine was a round dragon, outlined in Celtic weaving with more intricate work in the middle and it was of course, pink. I knew the likelihood of anyone recognizing it as anything other than a tattoo or a birthmark even, was slim, but just in case I wore my long hair down in a thick braid down my back. Paranoia wasn’t a typical dragon trait, but given my upbringing I had acquired it as a necessary skill along with sarcasm, bitterness and a penchant for all things geeky.

Sariah Skye physically resides in southern Minnesota with her husband, two kids and a dog (so really...3 children) but mentally her head is in the clouds dreaming of anything that doesn't require adulting. 

When not writing she's probably geeking out watching Star Trek, playing World of Warcraft, reading yet another fantasy book or staying up way too late. She'd love it if you dropped her a line at Facebook or Twitter but be prepared...she's a nictofiliac so be patient for a response while her eyes adjust to the light of day and beware of sarcasm. It helps to throw her chocolate or glitter first before engaging. Wine is also acceptable...but not to throw. Hand it over gently.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Review: Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer

Title: Enchant
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/YA
Series: Enchanted (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via NetGalley
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisMara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.

Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous. 

The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.

When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

A girl receives the surprise of her life...

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When Mara's world falls apart, she finds herself on the run from an evil force who wants her dead. Her savior is a complete stranger and a man she can barely stand to be around. With no one else to turn to and questions about everything she's ever known, Mara has no choice but to trust this mysterious guy. Stranger thing is...she sort of already does.

But Theo is more than he appears and Mara soon learns that he's in charge of her protection. He's the one person in the world who can keep her safe and Theo is tied to her in ways she can't explain. As their connection grows, so do her feelings for him, even though they are forbidden to be together. Even if they did decide to give in to the temptation, there is still a dangerous group of sorcerers with their wicked eyes on Mara. She may never be safe again.

This book surprised me while also being quite a bit predictable. I know, that may not make any sense. There are a lot of your usual tropes here with an angsty love triangle, teenage mean-girl slash resident slut (who our heroine hates), and the main character is a 'chosen one' who has no idea she even has these special powers and accepts them as truth pretty easily. Of course, right?

It's all been done before and usually I roll my eyes at that. I can't lie, the whole thing with the jealous mean-girl was a little eye-roll worthy. But for some reason, I still found myself immersed in the story and unable to put the book down. There was enough uniqueness here to keep me interested and still surprise me a few times.

I liked our main characters a lot and enjoyed reading about them, even though Theo's sister did get on my nerves quite a bit. She was immature and her behavior didn't make sense to me at times. Winston was a nice character and I liked him even if I didn't like him for Mara. Her chemistry with Theo was great. I definitely ship this pair.

In closing...
There is a cliffhanger ending and it left me clutching my Kindle for dear life. I will absolutely be reading the sequel. Four suns!

Review & Tour: Saving It by Monica Murphy

Title: Saving It
Author: Monica Murphy
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/YA
Series: None
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Format: ebook via Chapter by Chapter 
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
SynopsisEden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is what happens when American Pie meets Friends with Benefits. It contains two best friends, plenty of angst, and lots and lots of sex talk. Reading this might have you looking at your best friend in a different light!

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is a traditionally published author with Bantam/Random House and Harper Collins/Avon, as well as an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson. She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Purchase Links:

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

When you realize you already have exactly what you've been missing...

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Josh has a plan to lost his virginity before graduation and going off to college. Well, it's more like a half-plan and depends on whether his best friend agrees to help him find a girl to take his v-card. Convincing Eden is the easy part, but going through with the plan is harder than he thought it would be, especially when he starts to wonder if Eden is the one he wants to share this moment with instead.

Eden is surprised to learn that her best bud is still a virgin and wants her to help him find a girl to take care of the problem. And she's even more stunned to realize that helping him hook up with another is the opposite of what she really wants. When she stops to think about it, she hates the idea of Josh being with anyone else.

But their friendship is perfectly comfortable and neither is sure if what they're feeling is reciprocated. They're both afraid that taking a risk of revealing their feelings for each other may ruin everything. Toss in an ex-boyfriend who wants to rekindle the flame plus two meddling BFFs and you get one crazy story.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed both of them. I definitely need to check out more of her work and won't hesitate to read the next YA book she publishes. Her ability to make the characters likable and relatable is great. She also weaves a story filled with drama, humor, and plenty of teenage angst.

For this book, I liked both of our main characters pretty easily. I also loved their connection and how well they fit together as friends. They had inside jokes, understood each other's body language, and genuinely cared about the other. I can really root for a couple who have such a strong and easy friendship. Reminds me of the relationship I have with my own husband.

There is a constant sex theme here, which is to be expected with a virginity-losing plot. Even though the actual love scenes were tame enough for YA, I would consider this to be upper-YA and recommend it to those who are 16+, simply due to all of the discussion about the dirty deed. These characters talked about sex in a realistic manner and I can appreciate that. It made the story all the more believable.

In closing... 
Another fun and entertaining book with great characters and adorable romance. 4.5 suns!