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Nell’s Gossip and book hunt 10/13/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Ruby Lee and I went to Sioux Falls, SD this weekend to see the authors participating in the Fall Into Books Event hosted by On The Run Book Reviews.

Ruby and I didn’t know what to expect since this is the first ever of a hopefully every other year event.  We got to Sioux Falls in time to hear through the grapevine that there was going to be an informal meet and greet that evening.  After settling in we ventured out. Lo and behold, as we were walking out of our room, here was author Terry Maggert battling the ice machine like it was some ancient demon.  You know, writers are pretty tough cookies…

Around 6 pm, we went to see if we could crash the meet and greet event.  Ruby sat next to Jane Ashley Converse who wrote Backroads that released July 19, 2018.  It’s now in my TBR pile.

Title:  Backroads
Author: Jane Ashley Converse
Published:  July 19, 2018
Description:  A detour is what she needed.


I was living the life I always thought I wanted. Good job, rich fiancé, and a glamorous social life. But in a blink of an eye it was all taken away. With nowhere else to go, my aunt offers me a job on her ranch. I didn’t know I’d be forced to work alongside her gorgeous ranch hand Chase. Instead of getting my old life back, I’m finding he’s a distraction I didn’t see coming.


I’ve spent years running from my past. Don’t stay in one place too long, don’t make long-lasting friendships, and most definitely don’t fall in love. The day I met Holly, I was done running—I just didn’t know it yet. Those heels, that skirt—all wrong for the country, but perfect for her. Her past is keeping her from trusting me. But I’m going to show her she’s more than worth the wait.

For a bit (because she fluttered around from person to person like a super hostess) I got to sit and visit with Annaliese Murine.  She flies through this world like a bullet on crack.  Her On The Run Book Reviews is perfectly named.  Annie knew that I was super stoked to meet Kris Michaels – the author that, as she walked into the room, the sky opened and angels sang.  Okay, that’s maybe a bit dramatic, but I was very excited to meet her.  Kris writes The Kings of Guardian series, The Guardian Security Shadowland jewellseries and she’s also taking part in the Silver SEALs series.

Annie sat me next to Kris Michaels who was super nice and very modest.  “I’m no celebrity” she says.  Uh huh.  Right.  In my book, she definitely is a celebrity. While we sat visiting, her husband sent her a picture of the sunset overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, where Kris lives.  It was an warm and inviting photo not only because it was picturesque, but because it had snowed in Sioux Falls that day.

I got to ask questions of all the authors that were there but the thing I had always wondered was how Kris got so in depth with her characters and well, it’s a complicated process.  In my opinion, she is a great writer because of all the research and effort she puts into creating her books.  If you haven’t read them, stop over to your local ebook store and check them out.

mira lyn kellyOn my other side was Mira Lyn Kelly.  She was another author that had a lot of insight as to how the book world worked as she should because of all the books she has published.  She’s also now on my TBR pile.

ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT – Saturday.  Ruby and I stood in line so we could be one of the first 50 to get swag bags.  After we were admitted, there was so much to see that I didn’t know where to start.  That turned into a no brainer since Kris Michaels was practically inside the door.  We kind of felt like Norm on the tv show Cheers.  It made us both feel all warm and fuzzy inside to be recognized. I went from table to table looking at book covers trying to decide if they were my genre or not.  Either way you look at it, my TBR pile multiplied.  There are a lot of great authors out there, we just don’t know them yet!

Ruby’s holy grail meeting was E.J. Whitmer who wrote Iowish Roots.  According to Ruby it was amazing, so I think that endorsement alone should warrant a wander over to your ebook store and check it out.

Title:  Iowish Roots
Author:  E.J. Whitmer
Published:  December 15, 2017
Description:  After suffering a devastating loss, Violet Monroe needs a fresh start. Billybog, Ireland is the ideal place to open a coffee shop and finally live the life of her dreams. With her Instagram-famous dog in tow, she says goodbye to Iowa and runs toward her next adventure.

Pub owner Aidan Donovan is the epitome of a wounded soul. Jaded by his last relationship, he’s dedicated his life to never giving his heart to anyone again… then, he meets “Lettie”, Billybog’s newest resident. She’s beautiful, funny, and an American, and that makes her too much of a risk. While he does everything he can think of to keep her at a safe distance, her quirky American sensibilities and irresistible nature prove to be more difficult to resist than he imagined.

Will Lettie find her new home in the arms of a brooding Irishman, or will his tortured soul keep them from the happily-ever-after they both deserve?

Here comes the picture of the haul that Ruby made.  I was thrilled with the books and swag I got too.  I just want to say, if you ever come across a book signing of authors that are not known – take a risk and check them out.  They are worth it. 

Now, let me talk quick about the logo below.  Stitches Embroidery had these very cool screen prints available on just about anything.  I ordered the reading team in a sweatshirt, hoarding books in a tshirt and I got the audio nerd in a coozie.  I am positive that if anyone out there wants to order something, the proprietor would be more than happy to accommodate. Contact her through her website or she also has a page on Facebook.  As a reader, I love to promote my habit.










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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 10/7/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

New release!  Yay!!  Bought this a couple of days ago and I’m waiting to crack the spine on my kindle to start reading!  (The release date kind of slipped past me, so sorry about that.)

Title:  Shades of Fire and Ash
Author:  Ken Lange
Series: The Vigiles Urbani Chronicles #3
Release Date:  September 25, 2018
Description:   After surviving an unholy horde in New Mexico, Gavin Randall didn’t think things could get much worse, but the world he walked into eleven months ago grows more dangerous with each passing day.

A new threat has surfaced in the form of fanatics hellbent on destroying him, his friends, and the Archive itself. It’s his job to make sure that doesn’t happen, but these guys don’t play fair and have found a way to stack the odds in their favor.

With the primordial fires of Muspelheim lapping at his heels, can he survive long enough to fulfill his destiny, or will the world be burned to ash?

Also, if you haven’t started the series, you can slip on over to Amazon and get Accession of the Stone Born, Book #1 of the Vigiles Urbani Chronicles for 99 pennies.

My reviews of the others of the series:


Now this is not a book find but rather an event find.  Next weekend in Sioux Falls, SD, On The Run Book Reviews will be sponsoring an amazing event called Fall Into Books.

The Sioux Falls FALL INTO BOOKS Event (FIBE) is a multi-genre book signing that is hosted by the local book blog, On The Run Book Reviews.

FIBE will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at the Museum of Visual Materials in downtown Sioux Falls, SD.

This event is for ALL book lovers, readers, and writers alike. A place for readers to meet their favorite authors and visa versa. Have you ever wanted to meet the person behind the pages? This event is for you!

With nearly 40 authors attending there will be something for everyone. Ranging from children’s to fantasy to romance, FIBE will have a little of everything.

These authors are some of the best in the Indie world right now.  Here’s a peek at the line up.

I have reviewed two of the authors that will be attending:

Terry Maggert                                                         Kris Michaels

The Fearless series                                                  The Kings of Guardian series
Halfway Witchy series                                             Guardian Security Shadow World

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Halfway Bitten by Terry Maggert

2016-standout-award-badge-smallOutstanding sequel. ‘Nough said.

Halfway BittenTitle: Halfway Bitten
Author: Terry Maggert
Series: Halfway Witchy 02
Publish Date: February 9, 2016
Genre:  Paranormal
Source: Author provided ARC for honest review

Publisher’s Description: Take a bite out of evil.

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird.

When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be.

When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare.

Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after.

With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

This is an incredible story. I feel like Carlie and crew were really focused in this book.  Though I was disappointed there was no appearance by the faeries, there were other players that brought their own specialties to the table.

Carlie is forced to take the law into her own hands to protect her family lands and the great citizens of Halfway from evil vampiric clowns.  Clowns, in this context, is not a label, it’s an occupation.  Can you imagine clowns that are vampires?  Scares me, for sure.

Stand Out Award Badge2You might say “pfft, Carlie can handle it…” but there were a few times that I really thought she got over her head.  That made it exciting and also developed Carlie more for me.  She is young – very young.  She should know that she doesn’t know everything, but I’m sure that’s how I was at that age.  Gran is center stage with Carlie this episode and they have to put a stop to murders in Halfway.  It’s a mystery of WHO that is somewhat easy to figure out, but WHY is the reason the pages keep getting turned.  The characters that are brought in to help point Carlie and her Gran in the right direction didn’t need much introduction.  They were quick characters that added depth to the story.  Anna introduced her brother Alex, who in my opinion is MUCH nicer.  Carlie enlists help from the friendly neighborhood librarian who is one of the few residents of Halfway that are clued into the world around them.  Wulfric makes an attractive appearance, of course, but it’s the ending that really gets the ball rolling for the next book.  It’s not EXACTLY a cliffhanger as the book arc is finished, but the series arc is just getting it’s groove on.

badge5v4I have to admit that the author upped his game with this book.  I enjoyed it a lot and will be waiting in line for the next release.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

Halfway Bitten is another beautiful book by Terry Maggert. As in the first installment, Halfway Dead, the writing is lyrical and the characters are wonderful.

Maggert must believe, like many other folks, that the circus is as creepy as it is fascinating. Plus, there are clowns. In this novel, the circus is a front for a group of traveling vampires who are terrorizing all other vampires in Eastern North America and Canada. The right to survive becomes a competition; and Carley, Gran, and Wulfric get caught up in it.

badge4v4I absolutely love the introduction of ghosts in this novel. Ghosts of the town’s previous witches live on in “spirit.” They are able to assist, teach, mentor, or just socialize with living witches as long as their spirits are intact.

Once again, the audiobook version is superb. Erin Spencer perfectly captures Carly’s and Gran’s beautiful natures and the author’s lyrical writing.

Our reviews in this series…

If you like this book, try…


Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

2016-standout-award-badge-smallNew series alert by old author!! I mean… not old… like age-wise… I mean old like he’s been featured on this blog before. Oh, geez. I’m in trouble now, aren’t I? Anyway, moving on… You like waffles? You like witches? You like white hat witches? You like nasty scary monsters dripping with gross goo from a filmy, oily pond where souls may or may not spend eternity? Have I got a book for you!

25827242Title: Halfway Dead
Author: Terry Maggert
Series: Halfway Witchy 01
Publish Date: June 30, 2015
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionCome for the waffles. Stay for the magic.

Carlie McEwan loves many things.

She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.

When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years–Come find me.

Like the forest shadows, danger can run deep. The threat is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

Terry does it again. This new series is somewhat similar to The Fearless Series, only by killing evil, yucky monsters. The character is a very likable young witch with incredible power. She does good as often as she can and even goes as far as granting wishes.

badge4v4Some idiot glory hound exposes, albeit unknowingly, rare trees that create all sort of a fuss. One thing leads to another and she finds out that an ancestor, a young boy, is trapped – well, his spirit is trapped and she takes it upon herself to save him. She meets characters along the way, exposes creatures that should not be left roaming wild and ends up saving the day, with a little help from her friends. Okay, a lot of help from her friends.

That is an incredibly succinct description of the story lacking in a lot of details of the twists and turns that her journey must take.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I’ve been wanting to start this series by Terry Maggert for a while now. Nell beat me to finding it, and now I have to catch up. The cover and the description sound interesting!

Why I kept reading: I listened to this book in audio, and the narrator, Erin Spencer, really impressed me. She gives the main character, Carlie, a positive and content feel, which I believe is how she is meant to be portrayed. Carlie is happy in her little town, happy with her job, and happy with her life.

The combination of the narrator and the writing make the storytelling feel very lyrical, even in the midst of fighting nasty monsters. Carlie notices and comments on very small details—the moonlight shining through the window and onto her floor, for example—but these details make the world she inhabits vivid and beautiful while giving us a sense of her inner peace.

The book does fall prey to some of my pet peeves that often plague the first books in series. For example, I think the final battle ends too fast and too easily considering all the build-up to it. Also, the “big bad” is somewhat two-dimensional; the reader doesn’t know much about him other than he’s petty and evil. There is a surprise reveal at the end that, upon reflection, I don’t think was foreshadowed at all. That is a little disappointing. However, I have only listened to this book; I haven’t read it yet, and I find I pick up different aspects of a story depending on how I “consume” it. Perhaps those details are there, and I just missed them.

In any case, these pet peeves didn’t interfere much with my enjoyment of this book. I have a feeling that as the story gets deeper and the conflict gets more personal to Carlie, they won’t be an issue anymore. Plus, the author manages to set up a situation in which he can use the Viking word “jarl.”  Correctly. God, I love it when history teachers write. 😉

badge4v4Why I recommend it: Halfway Dead is a positive story about a gal who loves her life and tries to do good, positive things whenever she can. The “voice” of the story is lovely and a pleasure to hear in audio. If you want a break from the gritty urban fantasies about reluctant heroes with too many vices and would prefer a positive story where the people are good and only the monsters are evil, you can’t do much better than Halfway Dead.

Stand Out Award Badge2Our reviews in this series…

If you like this book, try…

Heartborn by Terry Maggert + Giveaway!

This beautiful YA novel spans time and hearts to convey a message of love and sacrifice. And to celebrate its release tomorrow, the author is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Amazon and an electronic copy of any one of his other books.  Be sure to enter at Rafflecopter.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

AuthorTerry Maggert
Series: no name yet, but it will be a series
Publish Date: September 01, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

As you may know if you read this blog often, I do not prefer to read YA. Kat tells me I have some inaccurate stereotypes of what young adult literature is — whiny, overdramatic highschoolers bitching because life isn’t fair, making poor choices, and mooning over the football captain. I did not have a good time in high school and I do not wish to relive it in my mid-40s, thank you very much.

So, let me just say that Heartborn does NOT fit my stereotype of YA. Though the protagonists are young, we don’t see them in school (thank goodness!) and they are not whining about their circumstances at all; in fact, they are being incredibly brave and mature—something many adults could learn from.

For much of the book, there appear to be two storylines. One is set in a fantasy world in the sky where the ruling body is brutal, selfish, and concerned more with its own power than the welfare of its citizens (I know, art imitating life, right?). This storyline follows characters who are planning to overthrow this ruling body so its citizens may be free.

The other storyline follows Livvy, a young girl in a world like our own who works in a library, makes friends with her co-worker and the library regulars, and falls in love with a cute patron. Livvy has half a heart, or a heart condition that severely limits her ability to participate in many of the activities of everyday life. Livvy is no whiner, though.  She does what’s necessary to cope with her condition, but she isn’t going to let any opportunity to really live pass her by.

I enjoyed both storylines, but the way they come together confused me at first. I did NOT expect it and, I’ll be honest, my brain had to take a step back and look at the whole story from a completely new angle after the reveal. The reread value of this book will be pretty good; once you “get it,” there are metaphors and allusions and other “Easter eggs” to find.

And I have to take a minute to talk about this cover.  OMG, it’s amazing! Staci Hart, of Quirky Bird, should win some awards for this cover.

badge3v4I’m pretty impressed with Heartborn and am happy to find that all YA books aren’t what I imagine. I struggled to set aside my linear, literal thinking for this book. If you know going in that you’ll have to do the same, or you aren’t burdened with that limitation in the first place, I think you’ll find this book very engaging.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I had a hard time deciding what to rate this.

On the one hand, the writing is lovely and descriptive, though sometimes it goes a bit over the top. For the most part I enjoyed the lushness of the setting and introductions to the characters and both worlds that are introduced in this book. There are a couple of pronouns that make it hard to tell who’s narrating, especially in fight scenes towards the end, but nothing that distracts me from the actual story.

On the other hand, as much as I enjoyed the build-up of the world, character, and plotlines, the execution of the ending really fell short with me. I didn’t know what happened, nor did I understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. We had a classic scenario of 2+2 = 17. Something was missing and it was something big, so it really drew away from what the story was trying to say.

I also didn’t find myself relating to any of the characters because we knew so little about their roles in the story. Then there was this beautiful world erected – but it wasn’t explained very well. The ending came and it sucked in all of that world-building and just vanished. Some of the character names were forgotten too easily; there were creatures that weren’t given a description, so you had to concoct your own; and although it was a good attempt at coalescing two very different storylines together, it mostly failed when it mattered most.

badge3v4If I could, I’d give it a 2.5 because even though I enjoyed most of what I read, the rest didn’t come together for me. I don’t feel like it’ll be something I pick up again because my brain hurts from thinking too hard about what the author was trying to convey. But then again, it started out super cool with its new take on angels who can create magic and wield swords.

So I’ll settle for a three and hope others are less confused than I am.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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